The Lady Killer: Japanese whodunnit

An artful, old fashioned murder mystery which merrily leads its investigators (and the reader) along a convoluted pathway scattered with clues. Even the title is a masterful play on words, open to several interpretations… more than one of which may be correct. The Lady Killer isn’t as outright bizarre as more modern Japanese crime fiction,…

A Grain Of Truth: complex Eurocrime

A weird murder with ritual overtones, the stifling confines of small-town society and a charismatic detective: this would be an enthralling investigation if that’s all it offered. But A Grain Of Truth also gets to grip with one of the toughest issues of our times: anti-Semitism and its complex implications. Few nations were as affected…

A Last Act Of Charity: a strong lead and a thrilling plot

Initially drawn to ‘Charity’ by the cover, it turns out to be a solid read. It starts out with a crime scene and immediately draws you in. It’s gritty, exciting, funny, and captivating, everything you’d expect from a good thriller and suspense novel. The language was descriptive and, at times, humorous. For example, in reference…

Death Notice: a twisting mystery

A series of near-impossible murders in in Chengdu, China, are connected by the beautifully-penned ‘death notices’ which precede them, daring the police to stop this calculating killer. Each of the victims has to atone for his or her crimes; adultery, betrayal, murder and corruption. But this serial killer’s secrets start far in the past, with…

The Book Of Mirrors: a warped whodunnit

An intriguing investigation into an unsolved cold case, The Book Of Mirrors deals with fragments of memory, conflicting perceptions, a whole host of unreliable narrators and a good old-fashioned murder in the library with a decent list of potential suspects. The author uses the format of a writer-writing-about-publishing which normally encourages me to flick to…

Nightfall Berlin: another brick in the wall

In the mid-1980s, just as Cold War tensions appear to be easing, Major Tom Fox is sent on an unusual mission to bring back a defector from behind the Iron Curtain. In no time flat he’s accused of murder, abandoned by his agency and left to fend for himself on the bleak streets of Berlin…

The Shadow Killer: Iceland at war

It seems that there’s an insatiable appetite for crime novels which are also war stories – historical fiction which uses the international upheaval of WW2 as its dramatic backdrop. I blame Bernie Gunther… but find these philosophical investigations as compelling as any contemporary thrillers. It’s as if we still can’t come to terms with what…