New books by my Favourite Writers

It’s always very exciting when one of my favourite writers publishes a new book. The summer and autumn of 2020 has brought a raft of new titles, some delayed because of COVID, and here are four of my favourites.

First up is Margaret Murphy who I first read in back in 2005, I think. Her thought-provoking psychological thrillers were enthralling and I particularly loved the Liverpool settings. Murphy went on to write thrillers under the name of AD Garrett and Ashley Dyer.  I was delighted to see that Joffe books are now publishing her backlist along with a new book, Before He Kills Again featuring Detective Cassie Rowan. Cassie is working undercover on the streets of Liverpool to capture a predator known as the Furman who is killing women sex workers. As I’ve come to expect from Murphy’s books, this new thriller combines a compelling plot along with a keen eye on life for the working girls and the subtleties of Cassie’s relationship with her colleagues.

Marnie Riches is a versatile writer whose crime series have been published to rave reviews.  She’s written a series of historical sagas about the early days on the NHS under the name of Maggie Campbell, the first of which is Nurse Kitty’s Secret War. It has a Manchester setting,  Park Hospital which is now the Trafford General. It’s just after the war and Kitty Longthorne is a nurse juggling a family unsupportive of her career, a romance with a doctor and the stresses of nursing in a new regime. There’s plenty of suspense, especially in relation to Kitty’s love life and I personally loved the insights into the birth of the NHS and it’s impact on ordinary lives still reeling from the effects of war. Meticulously researched this book is a perfect celebration of the early days of the NHS.

Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite writers. The Lantern Men is the latest outing for DCI Harry forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson. A man convicted for killing two women is prepared to reveal the location of other bodies but only if Ruth will do the digging. Ruth has relocated to Cambridge but is unsettled personally and professionally. I love how Griffiths keeps the will they/won’t they drama going for Ruth and Nelson and there’s a nice touch of folklore about the existence of the lantern men in the marshes. Possibly my favourite in the series, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

Jane Bettany is a debut writer who I met at one of my writing workshops and was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the early chapters of the book which became In Cold Blood. DI Isabel Blood investigates a body in the back garden of a house she once lived in as a child. The forensic team think the body has been in the ground for forty years which coincides with the date of Isabel’s father’s disappearance. In Cold Blood won the 2019 Gransnet and HQ writing competition and it’s easy to see why. It’s a tightly written police procedural with a very relatable protagonist and a compelling plot. If you like Elly Griffiths, I’m sure you’ll love this book.

Recent Reads

I always look forward to the latest Ruth Galloway novel from Elly Griffiths and in The Stone Circle, out on the 7th February, it’s great to see Ruth back in Norfolk. There’s an interesting link to Griffiths’s first book in the series,  Crossing Places. DCI  Nelson has been receiving letters similar in tone to those which tried to derail the investigation into missing children. The culprit’s son, Leif, has returned to look at a prehistoric stone circle where a twelve year old girl’s bones are discovered. The vulnerability of children and babies is explored in a sensitive manner. The bones are those of Margaret Lacey who disappeared thirty years earlier in a crime which the community has never forgotten. Griffiths is excellent at keeping up dramatic tension both in terms of the murder investigation and the Nelson/Ruth relationship.

The Boy who Lived with the Dead is the new novel by Kate Ellis featuring Scotland Yard detective, Albert Lincoln. Before the First World War, Lincoln led the investigation into the disappearance of Jimmy Rudyard, a young child in the Cheshire village of Mabley Ridge. Now, a woman has been killed, her small baby is missing and Lincoln is back to investigate the murder.  He discovers a town still reeling from war and families with plenty of secrets to hide. The book is an absorbing read and I loved the period detail.

Cuckoo by Sophie Draper is a psychological thriller set in my home county of Derbyshire. Caro inherits, along with her sister, their childhood home after the death of step-mother, Elizabeth. The villagers are unfriendly and the house brings back long forgotten memories for Caro. Cuckoo is an interesting psychological thriller, very well written, which cleverly exploits the closed confines of the story. Draper is excellent at  keeping the reader guessing until the denouement.

Thomas Mogford’s A Thousand Cuts had been on my shelf  for a while, a shameful admission given how much I love the author’s writing. The fifth book in the Spike Snguinetti series sees Spike’s fiancé about to give birth while he takes on a case that brings him into conflict with childhood friends. Spike is a fascinating character and it looks like he’s about to let his obsession with his case ruin another relationship. Mogford’s descriptions of the Gibraltar setting are wonderful but never allowed to overshadow the plot. It’s one of his best.