Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: December 2016

The Heart Goes Last (December 2016)

By Margaret Atwood

December 1, 2016

Charmaine sees an advertisement for a project called Positron that promises you a job, a place to live, a bed to sleep in – imagine how appealing that would be if you were working in a dive bar and living in your car.  She and her husband, Stan, apply at once.  The only catch is that once you’re in there, you can’t get out.

No one writes the lust and the loves, the wickedness and the weaknesses of the human heart like Margaret Atwood.

Cold Earth (December 2016)

By Ann Cleeves

December 1, 2016

The tide of earth had deposited debris, thrown it up on its way through the croft.  Perez saw a bedhead, a couple of plastic garden chairs that must have been stored in the lean-to.  And something else, bright against the grey wall and the black soil.  A splash of red.  Brighter than blood.

In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the road and sweeps down to the sea.

At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, DI Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash throuogh a croft house in its path.  Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress.  In his mind, she shares his Meditarranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity.

Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house.  Perez feels bound by duty – and something more powerful – to find out who she was, and how she died.  Within the house, the only clue is a wooden box that contains two photos, one of two small children and one of an elderly couple.  And a handwritten letter, which begins: My dearest Alis…

The German Girl (December 2016)

By Armando Lucas Correa

December 1, 2016

Before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life.  But now, in 1939, the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags and she is no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home.  Hannah and her best friend, Leo Martin, make a pact: whatever the future has in store for them, they’ll meet it together.

Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, a transatlantic liner offering Jews safe passage to Havana.  At first, life on board the St. Louis is like a surreal holiday for the refugees, but soon ominous rumours from Cuba undermine the passengers’ fragile sense of safety.  The ship that once was their salvation seems likely to become their doom.

Seven decades later in New York City, Anna Rosen receives a strange package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah.  Its contents will inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Hannah to learn the truth about their family’s mysterious and tragic past, a quest that will help Anna understand her place and her purpose in the worldl.

Red Herring (December 2016)

By Jonothan Cullinane

December 1, 2016

A man overboard, a murder and a lot of loose ends…

In Auckland 1951 the workers and the government are heading for bloody confrontation, and the waterfront is the frontline.  But this is a war with more than two sides, and nothing is what it seems.

Into the secret world of rival union politics, dark political agendas and worldwide and anit-communist hysteria steps Johnny Molloy, a private detective with secrets of his own.

Caitlin O’Carolan, a feisty young reporter, is following her own leads.  Together they begin to uncover a conspiracy that goes to the heart of the state – and which will threaten their own lives in the process.

The Tourist (December 2016)

By Robert Dickinson

December 1, 2016

‘She’s missing.  Isn’t this the kind of thing we report?’

It’s expected to be an excursion like any other.  There is nothing in the records to indicate that anything out of the ordinary will happen.

A bus will take them to the mall.  They will have an hour or so to look around.  Perhaps buy something, thry their food.

A minor traffic incident on the way back to the resort will provide additional interest – but the tour rep has no reason to expect any trouble.

Until he notices that one of his party is missing.

Most disturbingly, she is a woman who, according to the records, did not go missing.

Now she is a woman whose disappearance could change the world.

With breathtaking plot twists that ricochet through time, The Tourist is the most original conspiracy thriller you will read this year.

The Dark Flood Rises (December 2016) – Athenaeum Book Club

By Margaret Drabble

December 1, 2016

An Athenaeum Book Club Pick

Francesca Stubbs holds our hand as we take a walk through old age and death.  Fran brings us to drinks with her friends, dropping off suppers for her ex-husband, warm and cosy in his infirmity.  She visits her daughter, holed up as the waters rise in a sodden West Country, and texts her son in Lanzarote, as he deals with the estate of his deceased girlfriend.

The questions of what constitutes a good death preoccupy this glittering novel.  The Dark Flood Rises asks momentous questions as it entertains and enthralls.  In her beautifully imagined new novel, Margaret Drabble is at her incisive best, exploring the end of life with her trademark humour, composure and wisdom.

The Dry (December 2016)

By Jane Harper

December 1, 2016

Who really killed the Hadler family?

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself.  The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily.  If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier.  But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened.  For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret…A secret Falk thought long-buried…A secret Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

The Pretty Delicious Cafe (December 2016)

By Danielle Hawkins

December 1, 2016

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe.  The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them.  Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.

When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign.  But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living.  And the food is geat.

The Girls (December 2016)

By Lisa Jewell

December 1, 2016

You live on a communal garden square where your children run free.

You’ve known your neighbours for years, and you trust them.  Implicitly.

You think your children are safe.

But are they really?

Midsummer night, and a girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden.

What happened to her?

And who is responsible?

Burial Rites (December 2016)

By Hannah Kent

December 1, 2016

Northern Iceland, 1829

A woman condemned to death for murdering her lover.  A family forced to take her in.  A priest tasked with absolving her.

But all is not as it seems, and time is running out: winter is coming, and with it the execution date.

Only she can know the truth.  This is Agnes’s story.

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