|Toni Kan - Nights of the Creaking Bed (2019) - Edelweiss|
Nights of the Creaking Bed is full of colourful characters involved in affecting dramas: a girl who is rejected in love because she has three brothers to look after; a middle aged housewife who finds love again but has an impossible decision to make; a young man who can't get the image of his naked, beautiful mother out of his mind; a child so poor he has to hawk onions on Christmas day - and many others. Some, initially full of hope, find their lives blighted by the cruelty of others, or by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or by just not knowing the "right" people. Corruption, religious intolerance, gratuitous violence, the irresponsible attitudes of some men to their offspring and the importance of joy are some of the big themes that underlie this memorable collection.
|Liz Jensen - War Crimes for the Home (2002) - bought copy|
'You know what they say about GIs and English girls' knickers,' ran the wartime joke, 'One Yank and they're off.' When Gloria met Ron, he was an American pilot who thought nothing of getting hit by shrapnel in the cockpit. She was working in a munitions factory in Bristol during the Blitz, but still found time to grab what she wanted - ciggies, sex, American soldiers. But war has an effect on people. Gloria did all sorts of things she wouldn't normally do - evil things, some of them - because she might be dead tomorrow, or someone might.
Now, fifty years on, it's payback time. In her old folks' home, Gloria is forced to remember the real truth about her and Ron, and confront the secret at the heart of her dramatic home front story.
In a gripping, vibrant evocation of wartime Britain, Liz Jensen explores the dark impulses of women whose war crimes are committed on the home front, in the name of sex, survival, greed, and love.
|Hans Olav Lahlum - The Human Flies (2014) - bought copy|
Oslo, 1968. Ambitious young detective Inspector Kolbjorn Kristiansen is called to an apartment block, where a man has been found murdered.
The victim, Harald Olesen, was a legendary hero of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation and at first it is difficult to imagine who could have wanted him dead. But as Detective Inspector Kolbjorn Kristiansen (known as K2) begins to investigate, it seems clear that the murderer could only be one of Olesen's fellow tenants in the building.
Soon, with the help of Patricia - a brilliant young woman confined to a wheelchair following a terrible accident - K2 will begin to untangle the web of lies surrounding Olesen's neighbours; each of whom, it seems, had their own reasons for wanting Olesen dead. Their interviews, together with new and perplexing clues, will lead K2 and Patricia to dark events that took place during the Second World War . . .
The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum is a gripping, evocative and ingenious mystery - the first in a series featuring K2 and Patricia - which pays homage to the great Agatha Christie and will plunge readers into Norwegian history, and into a world of deceit and betrayal, revenge and the very darkest murder.
|Russell Rowland - Cold Country (2019) - Edelweiss|
Montana, 1968: The small town of Paradise Valley is ripped open when popular rancher and notorious bachelor Tom Butcher is found murdered one morning, beaten to death by a baseball bat. Suspicion among the tight-knit community immediately falls on the outsider, Carl Logan, who recently moved in with his family and his troubled son Roger. What Carl doesn't realize is that there are plenty of people in Paradise Valley who have reason to kill Tom Butcher.
Complications arise when the investigating officers discover that Tom Butcher had a secret--a secret he kept even from Junior Kirby, a lifelong rancher and Butcher's best friend. As accusations fly and secrets are revealed one after another, the people of Paradise Valley learn how deeply Tom Butcher was embedded in their lives, and that they may not have known him at all.
With familiar mastery, Russell Rowland, the author of In Open Spaces and Fifty-Six Counties, returns to rural Montana to explore a small town torn apart by secrets and suspicions, and how the tenuous bonds of friendship struggle to hold against the differences that would sever us.
|Wayne D. McFarland - Tales from the Day (2018) - Black Rose Publishing|
A collection of 19 humorous, moving, and often heart-pounding stories.
Yeah, this is a memoir of sorts, if shark fishing in one’s underwear, roping a bear, getting drunk with your Grandfather, or losing ten grand at the Hollywood Sign is a memoir. The Day Johnny Cash Hit On My Wife is on the roster as well, for the only name drop in all the stories. There’s also a thing about getting shot in Arkansas and a road trip with a monkey. I can’t deny these were life shaping events, but truth be told they all happened under the heading of “oops.”
|Hans Olav Lahlum - Satellite People (2015) - bought copy|
A gripping, evocative and ingenious mystery which pays homage to Agatha Christie, Satellite People is the second Norwegian mystery in Hans Olav Lahlum's series.
Oslo, 1969. When a wealthy man collapses and dies during a dinner party, Norwegian Police Inspector Kolbjorn Kristiansen, known as K2, is left shaken. For the victim, Magdalon Schelderup, a multimillionaire businessman and former resistance fighter, had contacted him only the day before, fearing for his life.
It soon becomes clear that every one of Schelderup's ten dinner guests is a suspect in the case. The businessman was disliked, even despised, by many of those close to him; and his recently revised Will may have set events in motion. But which of the guests - from his current and former wives and three children to his attractive secretary and old cohorts in the resistance - had the greatest motive for murder?
With the inestimable help of Patricia - a brilliant, acerbic young woman who lives an isolated life at home, in her wheelchair - K2 begins to untangle the lies and deceit within each of the guests' testimonies. But as the investigators receive one mysterious letter after another warning of further deaths, K2 realises he must race to uncover the killer. Before they strike again . . .