Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: April 2021

A Minute to Midnight (November 2019)

By David Baldacci

April 22, 2021

‘My sister was abducted from this house nearly thirty years ago.  The person who took her was never found.  And neither was she.  So I’m back here now trying to find the truth.’

Atlee Pine has spent most of her life trying to find out what happened that fateful night in Andersonville, Georgia.  Her six-year-old twin sister, Mercy, was taken and Atlee was left for dead while their parents were apparently partying downstairs.  One person who continues to haunt her is notorious serial killer Daniel James Tor, locked away in a Colorado maximum-security prison.  Does he really know what happened to Mercy?

The family moved away.  The parents divorced.  And Atlee chose a career with the FBI dedicating her life to catching those who hurt others.  When she oversteps the mark on the arrest of a dangerous criminal, she’s given a leave of absence offering the perfect opportunity to return to where it all began, and find some answers.  But the trip to Andersonville turns into a rollercoaster ride of murder, long-buried secrets and lies.

And a revelation so personal that everything she once believed is fast turning to dust.

Who Is Maud Dixon? (April 2021)

By Alexandra Andrews

April 14, 2021

Florence Darrow wants to be a writer.  Correction: Florence Darrow is GOING to be a writer.  Fired from her first proper job in publishing, she jumps at the chance to be an assistant to the highly secretive, wildly successful novelist known by the pen name Maud Dixon.  The arrangement requires discretion but offers Florence the chance to watch a bestselling writer at close range.  Before long, the pair are on a research trip to Morocco, the setting of Dixon’s long-awaited second book.  Strolls through the souk, delicious food, red sunsets and long, whisky-filled evening discussions: the whole package feels idyllic…until Florence wakes up in a hospital, with no memory of the car crash she barely survived.  How did it happen – and where is Maud Dixon, who was in the car with her?  But wait, if Maud is no longer around, maybe Florence can make her mark as a writer after all…

Cry Baby (April 2021)

By Mark Billingham

April 14, 2021

It’s 1996.  Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man.  Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again.  Cannot.

The solitary witness.  The strange neighbour.  The friendly teacher.  All are in Thorne’s sights.

The case will be the making of him…or the breaking.

The gripping prequel to Mark Billingham’s acclaimed debut, Sleepyhead, Cry Baby is the shocking first case for one of British crime fiction’s most iconic detectives.

The Quiet People (April 2021)

By Paul Cleave

April 14, 2021

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch love their job.  Why wouldn’t they:  The crime novelists get to travel the world promoting their books.  In interviews they often joke that if anyone can get away with murder, it’s a crime writer – after all, if you can devise the perfect crime in a novel, surely you can plot one in real life.

Then their young son, Zach, goes missing.  At first sight, the evidence shows a stranger took him from their house – but isn’t that the way crime writers would stage it to look?  The police think so.  As do the media.  And the public.  Soon Zach’s disappearance captures the world’s attention.  As the death threats roll in, and as hundreds protest outside their house, the question is asked over and over: have the Murdoch’s finally decided to prove what they have been saying – that they can commit the perfect crime?

Win (April 2021)

By Harlan Coben

April 14, 2021

Over twenty years ago, heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery at her family’s estate.  Patricia escaped, but so did her captors, and the stolen items were never recovered.

Until now.

On New York’s Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his apartment alongside two objects of note: a Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3.

Windsor Horne Lockwood III – or Win as his friends call him – doesn’t know how his suitcase or his family’s lost painting ended up in the dead man’s home.  But he’s interested, especially when the FBI tell him that the man who kidnapped his cousin and stole the painting may still be at large.

The case has baffled the FBI for decades.  But Win has three things the FBI has not: a personal connection to the case, a large personal fortune, and his own unique brand of justice…

House of Correction (April 2021)

By Nicci French

April 14, 2021

Tabitha is not a murderer.

When a body is discovered in her hometown, Tabitha is shocked to find herself being placed in handcuffs.  It must be a mistake.  How could she possibly be a murder suspect?

She knows she’s not.

Tabitha’s entire life is picked apart and scrutinised – her history of depression, her decision to move back…and of course, her past relationship with the victim, her former teacher.  But most unsettling, Tabitha’s own memories of that day are a complete blur.

She thinks she’s not.

As dark, long-buried memories from her childhood came to light.  Tabitha begins to question if she knows what kind of person she is after all.

What if she’s only lying to herself?

Murder on Mustique (April 2021)

By Anne Glenconner

April 14, 2021

The residents of Mustique can only watch and wait as tropical storm Cristobal edges towards them across the Atlantic, growing more dangerous by the day.  Most villa owners have escaped the island but a few young socialites remain, unwilling to let the summer’s partying end.  American heiress Amanda Fortini is one such thrill-seeker – until she heads out for a morning swim and doesn’t return.  Amanda’s friend Lily is suspicious and scared, and so she calls the person she trusts the most: her godmother.

Lady Veronica Blake knows all Mustique’s secrets.  Her husband Jasper bought the island decades ago, and they invested time, money and love creating a paradise.  Jasper is in St Lucia designing a new village of luxury villas but Lady Veronica (Vee to her friends) catches a plane in the nick of time.  She would never desert a loved one in need and she can keep a cool head in a crisis.

Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Solomon Nile, the island’s only fully trained police officer, is on the trail of the killer, but the local community isn’t co-operating.  He desperately needs Lady Vee’s insights to help him solve the mystery – before the storm hits…

The Mirror Book (April 2021) – Athenaeum Book Club 2021

By Charlotte Grimshaw

April 14, 2021

‘This was the terror and the comedy of interrogating the past…’

Brave, explosive and thought-provoking, this is a powerful memoir from a critically acclaimed writer.

‘It’s material, make a story out of it,’ was the mantra Charlotte Grimshaw grew up with in her famous literary family.  But when her life suddenly turned upside-down, she needed to re-examine the reality of that material.  The more she delved into her memories, the more the real characters in her life seemed to object.  So what was the truth of ‘a whole life lived in fiction’?

This is a vivid account of a New Zealand upbringing, where rebellion was encouraged, where trouble and tragedy lay ahead.  It looks beyond the public face to the ‘messy reality of family life – and much more’.

Aue (April 2021)

By Becky Manawatu

April 14, 2021

Taukiri was born into sorrow.  Aue can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s.  It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to a violent home.

But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow.  As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters.  Here is a novel that is both raw and sublime, a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction.

Spellbound (April 2021)

By Catherine Robertson

April 14, 2021

The delightful third novel in the bestselling Gabriel’s Bay series

Big trouble is brewing and secrets are coming out, threatening reputations and even lives.  Outsiders are in town with questionable motives.  Power and privilege are casting a seductive but ominous spell.  And the Love Bus is completely munted.

All your favourite characters are back: Mac, down-to-earth as ever;  Sidney, eight months pregnant and feeling it; Dr Ghadavi, anxious to do right; Patricia, quietly determined; Bernard, who must face his nemesis; and young Barrett unable to face the truth.

It’s crunch time for Gabriel’s Bay, and nothing less than magic might be needed to protect this close-knit community and its future.

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