BOOKS AND BLOG: Feb. 13, 2023

by | Feb 13, 2023 | 2023, Blog Posts

  • A Ghost of Caribou, Alice Henderson
  • The Verifiers, Jane Pek
  • A Marvelous Light, Freya Marske
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • The Long Way Home, Louise Penny
  • The Unhoneymooners, Christina Lauren
  • The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
  • The Taken Ones, Jess Lourey
  • Such Sharp Teeth, Rachel Harrison
  • Marple, Twelve New Mysteries, anthology
  • The Bullet that Missed, Richard Osman
  • How to Write a Mystery, edited by Lee Child and Laurie King
  • Two Nights in Lisbon, Chris Pavone
  • The Curator, Owen King

You can tell by the length of my list (and it doesn’t include things I reread, and things I didn’t really care for) that it’s way too long since I took care of my website. It was under construction, and I just stayed away. I think it’s beautiful now!

Alice Henderson writes what I think of ecological mysteries. If you are concerned about the habitat of natural things, and if you are uneasy about humans who are bent on spoiling the earth, read A Ghost of Caribou. A game camera in Washington State takes a picture of what may be a mountain caribou, which has been considered extinct in the lower forty-eight for years. Alex Carter is invited to investigate, and she is very gung-ho. Unfortunately, the site is also in great conflict between loggers and preservationists, and Alex is automatically the target of those who want to make their living by logging the area.

The Verifiers is an urban contrast. Claudia Lin is hired by an online detective agency called Veracity. Veracity’s interesting job is verifying the identity of potential romantic interests by skeptical applicants. Claudia has her own secrets, chiefly kept from her family, and Veracity is not what it seems, either. This is really good reading, as we follow Claudia through her misgivings and her detection work.

A Marvelous Light (Freya Marske) is about detective work of a different sort. Set in Edwardian England, Robin Blyth, baronet, is named to a job he has no aptitude for; he’s the liaison between the government and the magicians of England, whom he’d never suspected even existed. Robin has many problems, and this unsuitable job adds to them greatly; but Robin is a sticker, and he meets a wonderful man in the process.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer is just riveting. Nigerian nurse Korede comes from a relatively wealthy family, but she is very good at her job. Her sister, Ayoola, is almost cursed with beauty. Both abused by their father, Korede is used to cleaning up after Ayoola’s messes, but lately she’s been disposing of the bodies Ayoola has left in her wake. What to do?

Everyone knows Louise Penny is a star. Chief Inspector Gamache is everyone’s favorite sensitive, intelligent, policeman. Now that he’s gotten to retire to Three Pines, he’s looking forward to a life with only peace. But then his neighbor’s husband vanishes, and she drags Gamache into the search for him. There’s death along the way, to no one’s surprise. The Long Way Home is Penny at her usual high level of writing.

I enjoyed Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners from beginning to end. Olive Torres takes the honeymoon that her sister is too ill to take: food poisoning has struck the entire wedding list except for Olive and her archenemy Ethan, the best man. Ethan is also taking the honeymoon. If you like enemies-to-friends told in a fresh, believable way, this is the book for you.

The Hiding Place is Corrie Ten Boom’s story of how she and her family came to hide Jews in their Dutch home during World War II. It’s heartrending, amazing, and full of the miraculous.

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Jess Lourey’s The Taken Ones, which will debut in SEPTEMBER 2023. Three little girls go into the woods on a hot summer’s day in Minnesota. Only one comes out alive. Evangeline Reed, an expert on the case, is called when a fresh body turns up wearing one of the victims’ necklaces. There are all kinds of twists and turns to this story, and you’ll be enthralled by every one.

Rachel Harrison’s Such Sharp Teeth is obviously about werewolves, but it’s a fresh take. Rory Morris returns to her home town since her sister needs help. Rory is a bristly character, and she resent the whole thing: but she loves her sister. After going to a local bar, Rory hits an animal in the road and gets out of her car to help it – but instead, she’s attacked. We expect that, right? But we don’t expect Rory’s reaction, or what happens to her afterward.

Marple consists of twelve new stories by wonderful crimewriters (for example, Elly Griffiths, Val McDermid, and Ruth Ware) featuring Agatha Christie’s revered sleuth. Of course, they vary and some were more satisfyingly Agatha than others. But this was WELL worth reading, and so enjoyable.

Richard Osman’s books are charming without being twee, and The Bullet that Missed is just as good as his previous novels about the Thursday Murder Club. The club consists of four senior citizens in an upscale British retirement community, and I’ve enjoyed all their adventures. Unpredictable and charming.

How to Write a Mystery contains heartfelt and contradictory advice from well-known mystery writers. (Full disclosure: my essay, “Crossing the Genres,” is included.) If you are a would-be mystery writer, you really need to have this book to hand.

Chris Pavone is most accurately a thriller writer, and Two Nights in Lisbon delivers. A wife, dragged along by her husband on a business trip to Portugal, wakes up to find him gone. And he doesn’t reappear. At first baffled, Ariel becomes angry, and then active. This is a story of escalating tension.

I got an advance copy of Owen King’s The Curator, and I found it amazing. The world-building is outstanding, the characters surprising, and the reading rich. Buy a  hardback, put it on your Kindle or other reader, or listen to it.


Now that my website is reinvented, I hope all of you will take time to visit it and offer your feedback. If you have comments or complaints, address them to Sarah Simpson-Weiss on the Forum. If Sarah can’t help you, she knows who can. I will be visiting more often now that I don’t find the attempt so exhausting and unsatisfying. I picked the background and the headings, and I think it’s lovely. I hope more readers will return to offer their thoughts, though now that I can be contacted on Facebook and GoodReads maybe people will not return? But I hope so.

Thanks for being patient during the long transition period.

Charlaine Harris