Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: February 2016

The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne

By Andrew Nicoll

February 1, 2016

A woman murdered
A crime unsolved
A mystery that has lasted a century

In the quiet seaside town of Broughty Ferry, all is not as it seems at Elmgrove, the mansion of wealthy spinster Miss Jean Milne.  When her tortured and horrifically murdered body is discovered lying in the hallway – her feet bound and her skull crushed – a killer must be found.  But nothing has been stolen, the doors and windows are all locked and there are no obvious suspects.

When Detective John Trench arrives to assist the local police, he finds a force determined to find someone – anyone – to take the blame.  And sensational newspaper headlines have the whole country in a frenzy.  But as the truth slowly begins to unravel, Trench discovers that the respectable Miss Milne has been leading a double life and that her frequent trips away from home mask an altogether different story.  Could this be the key to the mystery?

Based on a true story, this is a shocking tale of class division, money, sex, lies, betrayal and murder.  With new evidence from police files, at last the curious death of Miss Jean Milne may finally have found a solution.

Killing Monica

By Candace Bushnell

February 1, 2016

When P.J. Wallis, creator of peachy-skinned, button-nosed good-time girl Monica (of Monica: A Girl’s Guide to Being a Girl, its three sequels and four movies) was christened Pandemonia, someone must have been looking into a crystal ball.  She might have been born into faded elegance in a dilapidated mansion in the Hudson Valley, but after years of struggle, Pandy Wallis – the fabulously successful author – is cutting a swathe through Manhattan, leaving a trail of trashed pool clubs, shrieking girlfriends and empty pink-champagne bottles in her wake.  And then there are the men: if it’s not movie star Doug Stone, with his chiselled jaw and megawatt smile, it’s darkly glamorous celebrity chef husband Jonny Balaga, who brings some very specialised skills to Pandy’s table.

But as a Monica on Top billboard as big as Bergdorf Goodman raises its head above the New York skyline, all is not well in P.J. Wallis’s world.  Jonny Balaga has sunk his teeth into her earnings, her loyal agent Henry is losing patience and her soul sister, sidekick and saviour – actress SondraBeth Schnowzer (who also happens to play Monica) – has betrayed her.  Worst of all, though, P.J. Wallis has had enough of her lucrative alter ego.  Yearning to return to her roots, she dodges divorce lawyers, lighting strikes and a giant revolving Lazy Susan.  It begins to look like the only way out for Pandemonia is killing Monica – even if it kills her too.

Red Bones

By Ann Cleeves

February 1, 2016

Sometimes the dead won’t stay buried…

When an elderly woman is shot in a tragic accident, Shetland detective Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate.

The sparse landscape and the emptiness of the sea have bred a fierce and secretive people.  As Jimmy looks to the islanders for answers, he finds instead two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness have lasted for generations.

Then there’s another death, and, as the spring weather shrouds the island in claustrophobic mists, Jimmy must dig up old secrets to stop a new killer from striking again.

The Bitter Season

By Tami Hoag

February 1, 2016

It was a shocking crime.

A middle-aged couple, hacked to death in their own home – with a samurai sword.  Normal people.  Who were they?  Any why were they targeted?

It was a shocking crime.  But it wasn’t the first.

Twenty years ago a policeman was murdered in his own back garden and the killer was never caught.

One woman might link these mysteries.  But she is being watched.  Can Detectives Nikki Liska and Sam Kovac find her before it is too late?

In the Cold Dark Ground

By Stuart MacBride

February 1, 2016

Sergeant Logan McRae is in trouble…

His missing person investigation has just turned up a body in the woods – naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin-bag duct-taped over its head.  The Major investigation Team charges up from Aberdeen, under the beady eye of Logan’s ex-boss Detective Chief Inspector Steel.  And, as usual, she wants him to do her job for her.

But it’s not going to be easy: a new Superintendent is on her way up from the Serious Organised Crime Task Force, hell-bent on making Logan’s life miserable; Professional Standards are gunning for Steel; and Wee Hamish Mowat, head of Aberdeen’s criminal underbelly, is dying – leaving rival gangs from all over the UK eyeing his territory.

There’s a war brewing and Logan’s trapped right in the middle, whether he likes it or not.

This Essentialism

By Greg McKeown

February 1, 2016

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin at home or at work?

Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised?

Do you ever feel busy but not productive?

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly in motion, but never getting anywhere?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is becoming an Essentialist.

This is not a time-management strategy, but a systematic discipline you apply every time you are faced with a decision.  By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our choices so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.


By Graham Masterton

February 1, 2016

Katie Maguire knows that in this part of Ireland, the past can never stay buried…

In Blarney, Cork, an old millworker’s cottage guards its secrets.  In 1921, a mother, father and their two young children disappeared from this house.  And now, ninety-five years later, their mummified bodies have been discovered under the floorboards.

The neighbours cannot imagine who would have killed such a harmless family all those years ago.  But as DS Katie Maguire investigates, the flames of old family rivalries flare up once more … and Katie is caught in the crossfire.

After You

By Jojo Moyes

February 1, 2016

Lou Clark has lots of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live.  And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in…

The long awaited sequel to Me Before You

Coffin Road

By Peter May

February 1, 2016

The Million-selling author of The Lewis Trilogy brings murder back to the outer Hebrides

A Man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris.  He cannot remember who he is.  The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named the Coffin Road.  He does not know where this search will take him.

A Detective from Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt.  DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore.  He does not know if he has what it takes to uncover how and why.

A Teenage Girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her scientist father’s suicide.  Two years on, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her.  She does not yet know his secret.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.

In The Light of What We Know

By Zia Haider Rahman

February 1, 2016

One September morning in 2008, an investment banker approaching forty, his career in collapse and his marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London home.  He struggles to place the dishevelled figure carrying a backpack, until he recognizes a friend from his student days, a brilliant man who disappeared years earlier under mysterious circumstances.  The friend has resurfaced to make a confession of unsettling power.

Theirs is the age old story of the bond between two men and the betrayal of one by the other.  As the friends begin to talk, and as their room becomes a world, a journey begins that is by turns exhilarating, shocking, intimate and strange.  Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic crisis, and moving between Kabal, New York, Oxford, London and Islamabad, In the Light of What We Know tells the story of people wrestling with unshakeable legacies of class and culture, and pushes at the great questions of love, origins, science, faith and war.

In an extraordinary feat of imagination, Zia Haider Rahman has woven the seismic upheavals of our young century into a novel of rare compassion, scope and courage.

Born in rural Bangladesh, Zia Haider Rahman was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and at Cambridge, Munich, and Yale Universities.  He has worked as an investment banker on Wall Street and as an international human-rights lawyer.

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