Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

Crossroads (August 2022)

By Jonathan Franzen

August 8, 2022

It’s 23 December 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago.  Ross Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it.  Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father.  Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh-graders, has resolved to be a better person.  Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.

 

Picture You Dead (August 2022)

By Peter James

August 8, 2022

A Detective Superintendent Roy Grace Novel

Harry and Freya, an ordinary couple, dreamed for years of finding something priceless buried amongst the tat in a car boot sale.  It was a dream they knew in their hearts would never come true – until one day it does…

They buy a drab portrait for twenty pounds purely for its beautiful frame, planning to cut the painting out.  Then, studying it back at home, they notice that there appears to be another picture beneath, of a stunning landscape.  Could it be a long-lost masterpiece from the 1770’s?  If so, it could be worth millions.

One collector is certain it is genuine.  Someone who stops at nothing to get what he wants.

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself plunged into the unfamiliar and rarefied world of fine art.  Outwardly it appears respectable, gentlemanly, above reproach.  But beneath the veneer, he rapidly finds that greed, deception and violence walk hand in hand.  And Harry and Freya are about to discover that their dream is turning into their worst nightmare.

The Heretic (August 2022)

By Liam McIlvanney

August 8, 2022

Glasgow, 1975

A Deadly Fire

An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child.  Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping.

A Brutal Murder

Five years ago he was walking on water as the cop who tracked down a notorious serial killer.  But he made powerful enemies and when a mutilated body is found in a Tradeston slum, McCormack is assigned a case that no one wants.  The dead man is wearing a masonic ring, though, and Duncan realizes the victim is not the down-and-out his boss had first assumed.

A Catastrophic Explosion

As McCormack looks into both crimes, the investigations are disrupted by a shocking event.  A bomb rips though a pub packed with people – and a cop is killed in the blast.  With one of his own unit now dead, McCormack is in the firing line.

But he’s starting to see a thread – one that connects all three attacks…

The Book of Form and Emptiness (August 2022)

By Ruth Ozeki

August 8, 2022

After his father dies, Benny Oh finds he can hear objects talking: teapots, marbles and sharpened pencils, babbling in anger or distress.  His mother, struggling to support their household alone, starts collecting things to give her comfort.  Overwhelmed by the clamour of all the stuff, Benny seeks refuge in the beautiful silence of the public library.

There, the objects speak only in whispers.  These, he meets a homeless poet and a mesmerising young performance artist.  There, a book reaches out to him.  Not just any book: his own book.  And a very important conversation begins.

The Book of Form and Emptiness is about grief, resilience, creativity and psychological difference.  It is about the importance of reading and an observation of the mess consumer culture has got us into.  It is an affirmation of the power of community.  It is funny, kind, wise, urgent and completely irresistible.  If you let it – if you listen – it could change your life.

Greta & Valdin (August 2022)

By Rebecca K Reilly

August 8, 2022

Valdin is still in love with his ex-boyfriend Xabi, who used to drive around Auckland in a ute but now drives around Buenos Aires in one.  Greta is in love with her fellow English tutor Holly, who doesn’t know how to pronounce Greta’s surname, Valdisavljevic, properly.

From their Auckland apartment, brother and sister must navigate the intricate paths of modern romance as well as weather the small storms of their eccentric Maori-Russian-Catalonian family.  This beguiling and hilarious novel by Adam Foundation Prize winner Rebecca K Reilly owns as much to Shakespeare as it does to Tinder.  Set in a world that is deeply familiar (but also a bit sexier and more stylish than the real one), Greta & Valdin will speak to anyone who has had their heart broken, or had decided that they don’t want to be a physicist anymore, or has wondered about all the things they don’t know about their family.

Cry Wolf (August 2022)

By Hans Rosenfeldt

August 8, 2022

A Dead Wolf

Hannah Wester, a detective in the remote northern Swedish town of Haparanda, finds herself on the precipice of chaos.  When human remains are found in the stomach of a dead wolf, Hannah knows that this summer won’t be like any other.

A Drug Deal Gone Wrong

The remains are soon linked to a bloody drug deal that went down just across the border in Finland.  But how did the victim end up in the woods outside Haparanda?  And where have the drugs and money gone?

A Lethal Female Assassin

Hannah’s team are stumped.  But time is scarce, and they aren’t the only ones looking.  When secretive and deadly Katja shows up, unexpected and brutal events begin.  In just a few days, life in Haparanda will be turned upside down …

Oh William! (August 2022)

By Elizabeth Strout

August 8, 2022

Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read.  ‘William,’ she confesses, ‘has always been a mystery to me.’  Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years.

So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret – one of those secrets that rearranges everything we think we know about the people closest to us.  In the story that follows we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together – the fears and insecurities, the simple joys and acts of tenderness – even after we’ve grown apart.

Local Gone Missing (July 2022)

By Fiona Barton

July 26, 2022

Everyone watches their neighbours.

Elise King moves into the sleepy seaside town of Ebbing.  Illness has thrown her career as a successful detective into doubt, but no matter how hard she tries to relax and recuperate, she knows that something isn’t right.

Everyone lies about their friends.

Tensions are running high beneath the surface of this idyllic community: the weekenders in their fancy clothes renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes.  A town divided, with the threat of violence only a heartbeat away.

Everyone knows a secret.

This peaceful world is shattered when two teenagers end up in hospital and a local man vanishes without trace.  Elise starts digging for answers, but the community closes ranks, and the truth begins to slip through her fingers.  Because in a small town like this, the locals are good at keeping secrets…

Everyone’s a suspect when a local goes missing.

Burial of Ghosts (July 2022)

By Ann Cleeves

July 26, 2022

Abandoned as a baby, twenty-five-year-old Lizzie Bartholomew spent her childhood moving between foster homes and has had more than her fair share of troubles.  Now a holiday in Morocco seems to be the perfect escape.  Especially when she meets Philip, a fellow tourist.  After a brief affair, Lizzie returns to England, only to find a solicitor’s letter waiting for her.

Philip Samson has died, and has left Lizzie a gift of $15,000 in his will.  But there are conditions attached to this unexpected legacy that will soon force Lizzie to confront terrifying secrets from her past life…

The Dockland Murder (July 2022)

By Mike Hollow

July 26, 2022

November 1940.  Darkness descends and another anxious night begins for those tasked with guarding London’s industrial heartland from enemy attack.  As a policeman patrols the Royal Albert Dock he stumbles upon a man sprawled across a barge, a dagger lodged in his back.

Detective Inspector John Jago of West Ham CID discovers the victim was a dock worker by day and a Home Guard volunteer by night – but there are things even the victim’s wife doesn’t know about his past.  During the course of the investigation Jago uncovers a widening circle of secrets ranging across family tensions, the Great War and a far-flung corner of the British Empire.

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