New British Police Procedurals

If you're fond of Ian Rankin and his John Rebus novels, there's a bucket-load of new British police procedurals out there. Some of the authors are well-known, but I've tried to focus on ones the crowds may have missed. Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie is the latest in the Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid mysteries, […]

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Tudor Queens

As Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her birthday last weekend, it might be fun to take a look at her female predecessors on the throne, especially the mightiest of them all: the Tudor queens. Alison Weir made her name writing biographies of English royals, including the excellent The Life of Elizabeth I. Her new fictional series, […]

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Saxon Ladies: What to Read While Waiting for “The Empty Throne”

Bernard Cornwell has done it again: the eighth book in his Saxon Tales series, The Empty Throne, features not only Uhtred, the wily warrior protagonist of the seven previous books, but Aethelfleadh, the widow of the late king of Mercia in tenth-century England. The couple are united in their dream of a united Britain, shoving out […]

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Hooray for the Bookmobile!

Bookmobiles (or mobile libraries, as they are known in England) serve a vital need in both city and country. Chicago has used them when a branch is shut down for remodeling or rebuilding. However, I am going to be showcasing mobile libraries used in a more rural setting. Two take place in Great Britain, and one in America. […]

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Simon Brett Mysteries

Charles Paris is painfully aware he's not a successful actor. Or husband. Or much of anything else, except sleuth. In his latest novel in this long-running series, Simon Brett puts Charles through his paces with a collection of murders during the Christmas pantomime season in The Cinderella Killer. Kenny Polizzi is a big-name actor from the […]

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The Problem With Virtue

Often when I read historical fiction, it seems that the 21st-Century world view is imported with the characters.  No more is this true than with the themes of sex and religion.  Fortunately, Marci Jefferson manages to avoid this pitfall in Girl on the Golden Coin. Young Frances Stuart, the protagonist, wishes only to make a good […]

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Beware a Dashing Man

  England, 1961, is in a full post-colonial hangover. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is sixteen and full of dreams of Paris and the wider world. She gets them for a brief time by becoming the girlfriend of an older man, David (Peter Sarsgaard). David is dashing, glamorous, good looking, and rich. How he gets his money is a bit unscrupulous, […]

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