Welcome to the inaugural post of Joanne’s Mystery Picks. Our crime and mystery afficiando will provide monthly clues to great reads!
A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh
Stevie Flint, former journalist, and now employed selling products on Shop TV, fights her way through a London in the grips of a plague that is felling residents faster than she can count. Her boyfriend, Dr. Simon Sharkey, appears to be one of the unlucky until Stevie realizes that things just aren’t adding up. In pursuing the truth about Simon’s death, Stevie puts her life in danger again and again. Join her for a ride through a London that is barely recognizable.
A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows
Morse is an opera aficionado (primarily Wagner); Dalgleish is a poet; and Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is a birder. In this first of a new series (Birder Murders), Jejeune, newly posted to Saltmarsh in Norfolk, investigates the murder of Cameron Brae, an ecological activist. He is found hanged in the marsh area near his home. Jejeune thinks that a feud over bird watching lists has led to Brae’s death. The very clever solution to this murder has me a fan of Burrows, without question.
A Pitying of Doves by Steve Burrows
When Jejuene is called to a bird sanctuary to investigate the murders of two seemingly unrelated people found murdered in a bird cage, it’s all about the birds to him. His DCS sees it differently and insists that Jejeune follow her lead. With both their jobs in jeopardy, Jejuene hopes that his decision to follow his own path is not a flight of fancy. Some great wordplay here again with collective nouns!
Tainted/Tampered/ Up in Smoke by Ross Pennie
How about a summer mystery binge read? Then start turning the pages of Ross Pennie’s novels featuring Dr. Zol Szabo, an epidemic investigator working for the Public Health Dept. in Ontario. In Tainted, Zol investigates an epidemic of deaths due to a new form of mad cow disease. In Tampered, Zol’s own Grandfather is at risk when the senior’s home that he is a resident of becomes an incubator for a deathly food poisoning. In Up in Smoke, Zol is called in to investigate the deaths of high school students in Ontario’s tobacco country. They have all died from liver failure and he suspects contaminated cigarettes that they are buying at cut-rate prices from a near-by Indian Reserve. Zol doesn’t just rely on his expertise as a scientist to work out the answers to these epidemics. He has a good back-up team consisting of his young son, Max, infection specialist Hamish Wakefield, and Natasha, his lab technician. Pennie gives us a nice change from the regular “police procedurals” with his character of Dr. Zol Szabo and borrows from his personal background as an infectious disease specialist.