Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: September 2023

You Will Never Be Found (September 2023)

By Tove Alsterdal

September 15, 2023

When a dead man is found locked in the basement of an abandoned house, deep in the woods, there is no evidence of what happened beyond his name – scratched into the wall before he died.  The regional police can’t find anyone who knew him.

But no one knows the locals like Detective Eira Sjodin.  When her expert knowledge of her hometown is again called in, she knows one of them must have seen something.  Then, a shock: before she can uncover the truth, someone close to her disappears.

Has he fallen victim to the same criminal they’ve been chasing?  And can Eira put the pieces together in time to save him.

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (September 2023)

By Agatha Christie

September 15, 2023

A dying man’s cryptic last words provide the spark for this beloved Agatha Christie mystery.

While playing an erratic round of golf, Bobby Jones slices his ball over the edge of a cliff.  His ball is lost, but on the rocks below he finds the crumpled body of a dying man.  The man opens his eyes and, with his last breath, says,’Why didn’t they ask Evans?’

Haunted by those words, Bobby and his vivacious companion, Frankie, set out to solve a mystery that will plunge them into mortal danger.

The Librarianist (September 2023)

By Patrick deWitt

September 15, 2023

Bob Comet is a retired librarian passing his solitary days surrounded by books.

One morning on his daily walk, Bob encounters a confused elderly woman and returns her to the senior centre that is her home.  Hoping to fill the void he’s known since retiring, he begins volunteering there.

Here, as a community of strange peers gathers around him, and following a brush with a painful complication from his past, the story of Bob’s life is revealed: the story of an unhappy child’s runaway adventure during the last days of the Second World War, of true live won and stolen away; of the purpose and pride found in the librarian’s vocation.

The Fine Art of Uncanny Prediction (September 2023)

By Robert Goddard

September 15, 2023

Umiko Wada never set out to be a private detective, let alone become the one-woman operation behind the Kodaka Detective Agency.  But so it has turned out, thanks to the death of her former boss, Kazuto Kodaka, in mysterious circumstances.

Keen to avoid a similar fate, Wada chooses the cases she takes very carefully.  A businessman who wants her to track down his estranged son offers what appears to be straightforward assignment.  But she should have known that the simplest cases are never really simple at all.  Soon she finds herself pulled into a labyrinthine conspiracy with links to a twenty-seven-year-old investigation by her late employer and to the chaos and trauma of the dying days of the Second World War.

As Wada uncovers a dizzying web of connections between then and now, it becomes clear that someone has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the past buried.  And the deeper Wada digs, the more danger she finds herself in.  Soon those she loves most will be sucked into the orbit of one of the most powerful men in Tokyo.  And he will do whatever it takes to hold on to his power…

A Change of Circumstance (September 2023)

By Susan Hill

September 15, 2023

It’s midwinter and a body is discovered in a flat just outside Lafferton.

It’s a drug overdose but something doesn’t feel right.  The place is entirely empty.  Damp walls, bare floorboards.  Not even a bed.

And then there’s the man known as Fats.  Preying on young children to run errands for him.  Burner phones with instructions messaged through.  Bribes followed by threats.

Can Serrailler finally break the drugs network that’s spreading through the area or it just too powerful for him?


Reykjavik (September 2023)

By Ragnar Jonasson and Katrin Jakobsdottir

September 15, 2023

What happened to Kara Marteinsdottir?

Iceland, 1956.  Fifteen-year-old Lara spends the summer working for a wealthy couple on the small island of Videy, just off the coast of Reykjavik.

In early August, the girl disappears without a trace.

The mystery becomes Iceland’s greatest unsolved case.  What happened to the young girl?  Is she still alive?  Did she leave the island, or did something happen to her there?

Thirty years later, in August 1986, as the city of Reykjavik celebrates its 200th anniversary, journalist Valur Robertsson begins his own investigation into Lara’s case.  But as he draws closer to discovering the secret, and with the eyes of Reykjavik upon him, it soon becomes clear that Lara’s disappearance is a mystery that someone will stop at nothing to keep buried…

None of This is True (September 2023)

By Lisa Jewell

September 15, 2023

Two women, two stories.  Which one do you trust?

Alix and Josie are two very different women whose lives become entangled when Josie persuades Alix to make a podcast about her.

Alix finds Josie strange and a bit unsettling.  But the story she tells is compelling, and Alix can’t resist the temptation to keep recording it.

She soon realises that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets.

But by then it’s too late.  Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life – and into her home.

And Alix must ask herself: who is Josie Fair?  And what has she done?

Lady MacBethad (September 2023) – Athenaeum Book Club 2024

By Isabelle Schuler

September 15, 2023

Daughter of an ousted king, descendant of ancient druids, as a child it is prophesied that one day Gruoch will be queen of Alba.

When she is betrothed to Duncan, heir elect, this appears to confirm the prophecy.  She leaves behind her home, her family and her close friend MacBethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to embrace her new position.

But nothing is as Gruoch anticipates.  Duncan’s court is filled with sly words and unfriendly faces, women desperate to usurp her position and others whose motives are shrouded in mystery.  As her coronation approaches, a deadly turn of events forces Grouch to flee Duncan and the capital, finding herself alone, vulnerable and at the mercy of an old enemy.  Her hope of becoming Queen all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, vowing that one day she will fulfil her destiny and take up the future owed to her.

Whatever it takes.

Independence Square (September 2023)

By Martin Cruz Smith

September 15, 2023

Arkady Renko is back…

Renko has been confined to a desk job by his superiors to keep him out of the way.  Although he’s more disillusioned with policing and the general state of Russia than ever, he feels an odd sense of hope.  A rebellion is bubbling in the country, with new values butting heads against old-school regimes.  People want change and politician Leonid Lebedev could be the man to do it.

When Karina, a staunch supporter of Lebedev and member of his Forum, goes missing, Renko is asked by her father to find her.  Soon after his investigation begins, Alex, a close friend of Arkady’s son is found dead.  He was also a member of the Forum.

The night before his murder, Alex sent Arkady a cryptic message, simply containing three pictures of Russian writers.  The link between the pictures is there, if only Renko could see it.

But Arkady has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and the physical and psychological effects of the disease are taking their toll.  This time, he must fight more than the impenetrable Russian regime to get answers…he will need to fight himself.

Expectant (September 2023)

By Vanda Symon

September 15, 2023

The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past.  As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

For Sam the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that she is no longer safe, and the clock is ticking…

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