Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: March 2020

Trace Elements (March 2020)

By Donna Leon

March 10, 2020

A woman’s cryptic dying words in a Venetian hospice lead Guido Brunetti to uncover a threat to the entire region in Donna Leon’s haunting twenty-ninth Brunetti novel.

When Dottoressa Donato calls the Questura to report that a dying patient at the Fatebenefratelli hospice wants to speak to the police, Commissario Guido Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, waste no time in responding.

‘They killed him.  It was bad money, I told him no,’ Benedetta Toso gasps about her recently deceased husband, Vittorio Fadalto.  Even though he is not sure she can hear him, Brunetti softly promises he and Griffoni will look into what initially appears to be a private family tragedy.  They discover that Fadalto worked in the field collecting samples of contamination for a company that measures the cleanliness of Venice’s water supply, and that he had died in a mysterious motorcycle accident.  Distracted briefly by Vice Questore Patta’s obsession with youth crime in Venice, Brunetti is bolstered once more by the remarkable research skills of Patta’s secretary, Signora Elettra Zorzi.  Piecing together the tangled thread’s, in time Brunetti comes to realise the perilous meaning in the woman’s accusation and the threat it reveals to the health of the entire region.  But justice in this case proves to be ambiguous, as Brunetti is reminded it can be when, seeking solace, he reads Aeschylus’s classic play The Emmenides.

Platform Seven (March 2020)

By Louise Doughty

March 10, 2020

Two deaths on Platform Seven.  Two fatalities in eighteen months – surely they’re connected?

Platform Seven at 4am – Peterborough Railway Station is deserted.  The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone.  As he sits on the metal bench at the end of the platform, it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get.

What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company.  Lisa Evans knows what he has decided.  She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.

No one is more desperate to understand what connects her to this man than Lisa Evans herself.  After all, she was the first of the two to die …

Between Two Evils (March 2020)

By Eva Dolan

March 10, 2020

A young doctor is found brutally murdered at his home in a picturesque Cambridgeshire village.  Is his death connected to his private life – or his professional one?

Dr Joshua Ainsworth worked at an all-female detention centre, one still recovering from a major scandal a few years before.  Was he the whistle-blower – or an instigator?

As Detective Sergeant Ferreira and Detective Inspector Zigic begin to painstakingly reconstruct Dr Ainsworth’s last days, they uncover yet more secrets and more suspects.  But this isn’t the only case that’s demanding their attention – a violent criminal has been released on a technicality and the police force know he will strike again: the only question is who his first victim will be …

Haven’t They Grown (March 2020)

By Sophie Hannah

March 10, 2020

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his under-16’s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her.  Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories?  She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years.

But she can’t resist.  She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car.  Except …

There’s something terribly wrong.

Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected.  It’s the children that are the problem.  Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old.  Today, they look precisely as they did then.  They are still five and three.  They are Tomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.

They are no taller, no older.

Why haven’t they grown?

You Are Not Alone (March 2020)

By Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

March 10, 2020

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.  She wants to find love, but it eludes her.  She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.  She wants to belong, but her life is becoming increasingly isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.  They have an unbreakable circle of friends.  They live a life of glamour and perfection.  They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.

But what they really want is hers.

The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart (March 2020)

By Margarita Montimore

March 9, 2020

If you knew your future, would you change your past?

Brooklyn, 1982.  Oona Lockhart is about to celebrate her 19th birthday and ring in the New Year.  But at the stroke of midnight she is torn from her friends and boyfriend, finding herself in her fifty-one-year-old body, thirty-two years into the future.

Greeted by a friendly stranger, Oona learns that on every birthday she will enter a different year of her adult life at random.  Still a young woman on the inside, but ever changing on the outside, who will she be next year?  Wealthy philanthropist?  Nineties Club Kid?  World traveler?  Wife to a man she’s never met?

While Oona gets glimpses of the future and thinks she knows what’s to come, living a normal life is challenging.  As she struggles between fighting her fate and accepting it.  Oona must learn to navigate a life that’s out of order – but is it broken?

The Secrets of Strangers (March 2020)

By Charity Norman

March 9, 2020

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.  But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye, and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons the line between right and wrong starts to blur.  Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Vigil (March 2020)

By Angela Slatter

March 9, 2020

Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength, and the ability to walk between our world and the other, as a couple of her talents.  As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is being offered for sale to those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

Verity must investigate, before ancient forces start carving our world apart.

Reasons to be Cheerful (March 2020)

By Nina Stibbe

March 9, 2020

Teenager Lizzie Vogel has a new job as a dental assistant.  This is not as glamorous as it sounds.  At least it means mostly getting away from her alcoholic, nymphomaniacal, novel-writing mother.  But, if Lizzie thinks being independent means sex with her boyfriend (he prefers bird-watching), strict boundaries (her boss keeps using her loo) or self-respect (surely only actual athletes get fungal foot infections?) she’s still got a lot more growing up to do.

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