British Crime Club

For the reader of British mystery, traditional and contemporary, trade paperbacks or unsigned hardcover books published in the US or the UK. One unsigned paperback or hardcover per month.

2021

March: Elly Griffiths. The Postscript Murders (Houghton Mifflin, $25.00)

Murder leaps off the page when crime novelists begin to turn up dead in this intricate new novel by internationally best-selling author Elly Griffiths, a literary mystery perfect for fans of Anthony Horowitz and Agatha Christie.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should not be suspicious. Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing out of the ordinary when Peggy’s caretaker, Natalka, begins to recount Peggy Smith’s passing.

But Natalka had a reason to be at the police station: while clearing out Peggy’s flat, she noticed an unusual number of crime novels, all dedicated to Peggy. And each psychological thriller included a mysterious postscript: PS: for PS. When a gunman breaks into the flat to steal a book and its author is found dead shortly thereafter—Detective Kaur begins to think that perhaps there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

And then things escalate: from an Aberdeen literary festival to the streets of Edinburgh, writers are being targeted. DS Kaur embarks on a road trip across Europe and reckons with how exactly authors can think up such realistic crimes . . .

February: Russ Thomas. Nighthawking

When a nighthawker on the hunt for antiquities instead uncovers the body of a foreign student, Detective Adam Tyler is pulled into a serpentine mystery of dangerous secrets, precious finds, and illegal dealings.

You are a trespasser. You are a thief. You are a Nighthawker.

Under the dark cover of night, a figure climbs over the wall of the Botanical Garden with a bag and a metal detector. It’s a dicey location in the populous city center, but they’re on the hunt–and while most of what they find will be worthless, it takes only one big reward to justify the risk. Only this time, the nighthawker unearths a body. . . .

Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler and his newly promoted protégé, Detective Constable Amina Rabbani, are officially in charge of Cold Case Reviews. But with shrinking budgets and manpower in the department, both are shunted onto the murder investigation–and when the victim is identified as a Chinese national from a wealthy family, in the UK on a student visa, the case takes on new urgency to prevent an international incident.

As Tyler and Rabbani dig further into the victim’s life, it’s becomes clear there’s more to her studies and relationships than meets the eye, and that the original investigation into her disappearance was shoddy at best. Meanwhile, someone else is watching these events . . . someone who knew the victim, and might hold the key to what happened the night she vanished.

January: Victoria Gosling. Before The Ruins

A gripping, multilayered debut in the tradition of Tana French and Donna Tartt about four friends, an empty manor, and a night that will follow them for the rest of their lives

It’s the summer of 1996 and school’s out forever for Andy, her boyfriend Marcus, her best friend Peter, and Em. When Andy’s alcoholic mother predicts the apocalypse, the four teenagers decide to see out the end of the world at a deserted manor house, the site of a historic unsolved mystery. There they meet David—charming and unreliable, he seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

David presents an irresistible lure for both Andy and Peter and complicates the dynamics of their lifelong friendship. When the group learns that a diamond necklace, stolen fifty years ago, might still be somewhere on the manor grounds, the Game—half treasure hunt, half friendly deception—begins. But the Game becomes much bigger than the necklace, growing to encompass years of secrets, lies, and, ultimately, one terrible betrayal.

Meticulously plotted and gorgeously written, Before the Ruins is a page-turner of the highest order about the sealed-off places in our pasts and the parts of ourselves waiting to be retrieved from them.

2020

January: Steadman, Catherine. Mr Nobody

February: Airth, Rennie. The Decent Inn of Death

March: Thomas, Russ. Firewatching

April: Bruce, Camilla. You Let Me In

May: Forry, Lauren. They Did Bad Things

June: North, Alex. The Shadows

July: Feeney, Alice. His & Hers

August: Perks, Heidi. Three Perfect Liars

September: Cleeves, Ann. The Darkest Evening

October: McDermid, Val. Still Life

November: MacMillan, Gilly. To Tell The Truth.

December: Horowitz, Anthony. The Moonflower Murders.