Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: October 2020

The Other Bennet Sister (October 2020)

By Janice Hadlow

October 11, 2020

It is a sad fact of life that if a young woman is unlucky enough to come into the world without expectations, she had better do all she can to ensure she is born beautiful.  To be poor and handsome is misfortune enough: but to be penniless and plain is a hard fate indeed.

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary is the middle of the five Bennet girls and the plainest of them all, so what hope does she have?

An introvert in a family of extroverts, a constant disappointment to her mother; fearful of her father’s sharp tongue; with little in common with her siblings – is it any wonder she turns to books for both company and guidance?

The Other Bennet Sister, though, shows another side to Mary.

Simultaneously a wonderfully warm homage to Jane Austen and a delightful new story in its own right, The Other Bennet Sister is, at its heart, a life-affirming tale of a young woman finding her place in the world.  Witty and uplifting, it will make you feel – and cheer – for Mary as you never have before.

The Mist (October 2020)

By Ragnar Jonasson

October 11, 2020

The dead of winter.  A blizzard sweeps across Iceland.

Eria and Einar sit alone in a remote farmhouse, waiting for the storm to hit.  Darkness has fallen when there’s an unexpected knock on the door.

A stranger is waiting, desperate for shelter.  They take him in – and that’s where their problems begin.

Because this man is not who he says he is.  His story doesn’t add up.  And, when the power cuts out, and the couple retreat to bed, they can hear the sound of footsteps creaking outside their door…

Two months later, Detective Hulda Hermannsdottir – returning to work after a family tragedy – gets a call.  There’s been an incident at an isolated farmhouse.  They say there’s more than one body…

Pandemic (October 2020)

By A. G. Riddle

October 11, 2020

Day 01: Mandera County, Kenya

A young man arrives at a remote hospital.  He’s burning with fever and barely conscious.  He’s also bleeding from his eyes.

Fearing an Ebola-like outbreak, the World Health Organisation scrambles a rapid response team headed by leading epidemiologist Dr. Peyton Shaw.  But what she finds in Kenya is beyond her worst fears.  The world is facing an outbreak quite unlike anything previously documented.  In just two weeks time every corner of the planet will be infected by a disease with a 95 percent fatality rate.

Dr. Shaw is pitched into a race against time to trace the origin of the pathogen.  But with each passing hour, her suspicions grow: this outbreak is no natural catastrophe.  Haunted by her own dark secrets, Dr. Shaw will be drawn into a conspiracy of unimaginable scope and towards a revelation that will change the human race forever.

The Shelf (October 2020)

By Helly Acton

October 2, 2020

Ever feel like you’re losing a race you never signed up for?

Everyone in Amy’s life seems to be getting married, having children and settling down (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she’s falling behind.

So, when her boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday, she thinks he’s going to finally pop the Big Question.  But the dream turns into a nightmare when, instead, she finds herself on the set of a Big-Brother – style reality television show, The Shelf.

Along with five other women, Amy is brutally dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned ‘The Keeper’.

While inside the house, will Amy learn that there are worse things than being ‘left on the shelf’?

The Darkest Evening (October 2020)

By Ann Cleeves

October 2, 2020

DCI Vera Stanhope returns in The Darkest Evening, the ninth novel in the enduringly popular series, from number one bestseller Ann Cleeves.

Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope’s only thought is to get there quickly.

But the snow is so heavy, she becomes disorientated and loses her way.  Ploughing on she sees a car slewed off the road ahead of her.  With the driver’s door open Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter, but when she inspects the car she is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat.

Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in.

Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas.  But outside in the snow a young woman lies dead, and Vera knows immediately she has a new case.  Could this woman be the child’s mother and, if so, what happened to her?

Troubled Blood (October 2020)

By Robert Galbraith

October 2, 2020

Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwell when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother.  Morgot Bamborough, who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old.  But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on – adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on.  And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.

As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they came up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted.  And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly…

Confessions of a Forty-Something (October 2020)

By Alexandra Potter

October 1, 2020

Nell Steven’s life is a mess.

When her business goes bust and her fiancé with it, her happy-ever-after life in California falls apart.  Broke, single and forty-something she moves back to England to start over, but a lot has changed since she’s been gone.  All her single friends are now married with children, sky-high rents force her to rent a room in a stranger’s house, and in a world of perfect Instagram lives, she feels like a f***up.  Even worse, a forty-something f***up.

But when she lands a job writing obituaries, Nell meets the fabulous Cricket, an eighty-something widow with challenges of her own, and they strike up an unlikely friendship.  Together they begin to help each other heal their aching hearts, cope with the loss of the lives they had planned, and push each other into new adventures and unexpected joys.

Because Nell is determined.  Next year, things are going to be very different.  It’s time to turn her life around.

The Tally Stick (October 2020)

By Carl Nixon

October 1, 2020

Up on the highway, the only evidence that the Chamberlains had ever been there was two smeared tyre tracks in the mud leading into the almost undamaged screen of bushes and trees.  No other cars passed that way until after dawn.  By that time the tracks had been washed away by the heavy rain … It was a magic trick.  After being in the country for only five days, the Chamberlain family had vanished into the air.  The date was 4 April 1978.

In 2010 the remains of the eldest Chamberlain child have been discovered in a remote part of the West Coast, showing he lived for four years after the family disappeared.  Found alongside him are his father’s watch and what turns out to be a tally stick, a piece of wood scored across, marking items of debt.

How had he survived and then died?  Where was the rest of his family?  And what is the meaning of the tally stick?

Rodham (October 2020)

By Curtis Sittenfeld

October 1, 2020

‘Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb.  Smart, diligent and a bit plain, that’s the general consensus.  Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises.  At Yale Law School she continues to be a leader – and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill.  But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No.

The rest, as they say, isn’t history.  How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?

With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterize the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men.  Uncannily astute and witty, Rodham is a brilliant reimagining – an unmissable literary landmark and truly a novel of our times.

One By One (October 2020)

By Ruth Ware

October 1, 2020

Snow is falling in  the exclusive alpine sky resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company.  At stake is a billion-dollar dotcom buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high.  When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?

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