In the middle of the second lockdown in England, I’m reading more than ever. It’s such a shame that bookshops have had to close their doors but good news we can still order online. I’ve read some great new crime books recently and my reading pile is tottering with novels for the coming weeks.
As soon as No Exit Press sent an email saying they had review copies of Angel‘s Inferno by William Hjortsberg, I couldn’t wait to read the book. It’s the follow up to Falling Angel which was made into the successful film, Angel Heart. I reread the original book for a workshop I was giving on novels which successfully mix crime and the supernatural and Hjortsberg is a master of this. Angel’s Inferno follows the investigation of Harry Angel who now knows of his role in the disappearance of Johnny Favourite. He’s determined to track down Louis Cyphre and his journey takes him to the Paris underworld in the hunt for the magician who goes by numerous devilish names. It’s written in Hjortsberg’s trademark noir style and the darkness at its heart holds the reader’s attention until the end. A very accomplished follow-up that will delight Hjortsberg’s readers.
I’m a huge fan of Ann Cleeve’s writing and her latest Vera book, The Darkest Evening, is a delight. It has many of the Golden Age tropes that I love: a country house, a family with thrilling secrets and the possibility of a disputed inheritance. It is also packed full of atmosphere.
The body of Lorna Falstone is found on a snowy evening after she abandoned her child in a neighbours car. Vera, finding the child, takes it to the nearest house belonging to her estranged relatives. Lorna’s story enfolds, a child of loving but overprotective parents, she’s spent time in a clinic for her anorexia and has refused to name the father of her child. Vera must put old family hurts aside to discover Lorna’s murderer. In this book, we see more of Vera’s frailty but she’s as redoubtable as ever.
Margot Kinberg is an old friend to Crimepieces. Way back in 2011 when I first started blogging, she was a supportive commenter and promoter of this blog which has continued to this day. Margot is a talented crime writer and I reviewed her novel, Publish or Perish back in 2012. A Matter of Motive is her latest novel. Newbie detective Patricia Stanley has her first murder case. Ron Clemons is found dead in his car. At first, it appears he’s a victim of a heart attack but suspicions are raised by medics and, as Patricia digs beneath his apparent faultless life, professional and personal tensions become apparent. A Matter of Motive is written in Kinberg’s witty prose and there’s a lovely classic crime feel to the plot. I loved it.