Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: April 2019

A Dream of Italy (April 2019)

By Nicky Pellegrino

April 17, 2019

For sale: crumbling building in southern Italy.  Asking price: 1 euro.

In the drowsy heat of an Italian summer, three strangers arrive in Montenello, a beautiful hilltop town.  Each has agreed to buy a crumbling historic building for a single euro – and each is dreaming of a new adventure.

Elise is desperate to get on the property ladder.  Edward wants to escape a life he feels suffocated by.  Mimi is determined to start afresh after her divorce.  And there’s one new arrival whose true motives are yet to be revealed…

For each of them, Montenello offers a different promise of happiness.  But can they turn their dream of Italy into reality?

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (April 2019)

By Mary Roach

April 16, 2019

What happens when we die?  Does the light just go out and that’s that – the million-year nap?  Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness, persist?  What will that feel like?  What will I do all day?  Is there a place to plug in my laptop?

We know what happens to the body after death.  Mary Roach told us in her first bestseller Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.

But is that all there is?  In Spook she takes on the big questions from the world of spirit:

What is the evidence for reincarnation?
Can you weigh the human soul?
Ghosts: just bad acoustics?
Is it true that the afterlife is like Florida without the humidity?

Spook is both thought-provoking and hilariously funny.  Mary Roach’s fascinating cast of enthusiasts, eccentrics and serious researchers of the paranormal prove conclusively that while the dead may be bad conversationalists, you can always rely on the living to entertain you.

Anatomy of a Scandal (April 2019)

By Sarah Vaughan

April 16, 2019

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight.

A prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming.

A scandal that will rock Westminster.

And the woman caught at the heart of it.

The Female Persuasion (April 2019)

By Meg Wolitzer

April 16, 2019

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college student when she meets the woman who will shape her life.  Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others.

Hearing Faith speak for the first time, in a crowded campus chapel, Greer – misunderstood yet full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place – feels herself changed.  And then, astonishingly, Faith invites her to make something out of this new sense of purpose, with a career opportunity that leads her down the most exciting and rewarding path as it winds towards and away from her meant-to-be love story with high school sweetheart Cory and the future she had always imagined.

The Suspect (March 2019)

By Fiona Barton

April 9, 2019

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers.  Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception.  But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen since he left home to go travelling two years ago.  This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, it becomes clear that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…

The Fallen Architect (March 2019)

By Charles Belfoure

April 9, 2019

Someone has to take the blame.

When the Britannia Theatre’s balcony collapses, killing more than a dozen people, the fingers point at the architect.  He should have known better, should have made it safer, should have done something.

Douglas Layton knows the flaw wasn’t in his design, but he can’t fight a guilty verdict.  When he is finally released from prison, he has nothing: no job, no family, nowhere to go.  He needs to assume a new identity and rebuild his life.

But he soon finds himself digging up the past in a way he never anticipated.  If the collapse was not an accident…who caused it?  And why?  And what if they find out who he used to be?

About Grace (March 2019)

By Anthony Doerr

April 9, 2019

David Winkler has lived on a remote Caribbean island for more than two decades, after running away from his former life, his wife Sandy and his daughter Grace.

David fell in love with Sandy at a supermarket in Alaska – as he dreamt he would.  Moving from Alaska to Ohio to escape his fear of the future, they have a child: Grace.  But a shadow of fear hangs over David.  And when the floods come, he can’t face up to the future he has seen for his little girl and leaves both the people he loves.

Twenty-five years later, he finally finds the strength to discover his daughter’s fate…

Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities (March 2019)

By Bettany Hughes

April 9, 2019

Byzantium.  Constantinople.  Istanbul.

In this epic new biography, Bettany Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world’s greatest cities.  Drawing on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul spans thousands of years – from the Neolithic to the present – and reveals Istanbul as not just a city, but a global story, with tendrils that spread across the world.

Unto Us A Son is Given (March 2019)

By Donna Leon

April 9, 2019

As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, the Count Falier, Commissario Guido Brunetti agress to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son.  Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo’s friends, including the Count, find appalling.  For his part, Brunetti wonders why the old man can’t be allowed his pleasure in peace.

Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes.  Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned, and a few of his oldest friends gather in Venice to plan the memorial service.

But when Berta, a striking woman and Gonzalo’s best friend, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzabo’s past.  What did Berta know?  And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?

Once again, Donna Leon, brilliantly plumbs the twists and turns of the human condition, reuniting us with some of crime fiction’s most memorable characters.


The Huntress (March 2019)

By Kate Quinn

April 9, 2019

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying.  When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment.  But when she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a  lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress.  Only bravery and cunning will keep her alive.

Unable to forget the horrors of Omaha Beach and Nuremberg, British journalist Ian Graham becomes a Nazi hunter after the war.  Yet one target eludes him.  Finding the Huntress is like catching smoke, and only Nina Markova can help him bring her out of the shadows.

In post-war Boston, Jordan McBride is delighted when her widowed father comes home with a new fiancée.  But as Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past, she discovers a well of dark secrets – which threaten to destroy everything…

In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth.

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