Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

Double Agent (June 2021)

By Tom Bradby

June 15, 2021

Kidnapped in Venice by a Russian defector, Kate Henderson knows she’s in trouble.  But all is not as it seems.  The spy offers her conclusive evidence that the British Prime Minister is a live agent working for Moscow.  Kate’s holiday quickly becomes the start of her next mission.

With proof of the PM involved in a sordid scandal and a financial paper trail that undeniably links him to the Russians, the evidence seems bulletproof.  But the motives of the defector are anything but clear.  And, more worryingly, it seems that there are key people at the heart of the British establishment who refuse to acknowledge the reality in front of them

Kate can trust no one, and this mission will push her dangerously close to the edge…but is that the price she must pay for the truth?

Girl, 11 (June 2021)

By Amy Suiter Clarke

June 15, 2021

Former social worker Elle Castillo is the host of a popular podcast that tackles cold cases of missing children in her hometown.  After four seasons of successful investigations, Elle decides to tackle her white whale: The Countdown Killer, or TCK.

Twenty years ago, TCK established a pattern of taking and ritualistically murdering girls, each a year younger than the last.  No one’s ever known why – why he stopped abruptly with his eleven-year-old victum, or why he followed the ritual at all.

Weeks into her new season, Elle sets out to interview a listener promising a tip, only to discover his dead body.  When a child is abducted days later, in a pattern that looks very familiar, Elle is convinced TCK is back.  Will she be able to get law enforcement on her side and stop TCK before it’s too late?

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot (June 2021)

By Marianne Cronin

June 15, 2021

Life is short.  No one knows that better than Lenni, seventeen years old and living on the terminal ward.  But as she’s about to find out, it’s not what you do with your life that counts, but who you share it with.

Seeking adventure, Lenni joins Art class, where she bumps into Margot, a rebel-hearted eighty-three-year-old from the next ward.  Their bond is instant, and soon they realise that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they begin to paint their stories – of growing old and staying young, of giving joy and receiving kindness, of losing and finding the person who is everything.

As this extraordinary friendship deepens, one thing becomes vividly clear: life is not done with Lenni or Margot just yet.

The Canning Town Murder (June 2021)

By Mike Hollow

June 15, 2021

September, 1940.  As the Blitz takes its nightly toll on London and Hitler prepares his invasion fleet just across the Channel in occupied France, Britain is full of talk about enemy agents.  Suspicion is at an all-time high and no one is sure who can be trusted.

In Canning Town, rescue workers are unsettled when they return to a damaged street and discover a body that shouldn’t be there.  When closer examination of the corpse reveals death by strangling, Detective Inspector John Jago is called upon to investigate.  But few seem to really care about the woman’s death – not even her own family.  As Jago digs deeper he starts to uncover a trail of deception and betrayal…

Mirror Land (June 2021)

By Carole Johnstone

June 15, 2021

No. 36 Westeryk Road: an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  A place of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur.  But it’s what lies under the house that is extraordinary – Mirrorland.  A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters Cat and El created as children.  A place of escape, but from what?

Now in her thirties, Cat has turned her back on her past.  But when she receives news that El has disappeared, she is forced to return to Westeryk Road; to re-enter a forgotten world of lies, betrayal and danger.

Because El had a plan.  She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets.  And to discover the truth, Cat must first confront the reality of her childhood – a childhood that wasn’t nearly as idyllic as she remembers.

The Book of Longings (June 2021)

By Sue Monk Kidd

June 15, 2021

Ana is born in Galilee at a time when women are seen as possessions, only leaving their father’s homes to marry.

Ana longs to control her destiny.  Taught to read despite her mother’s misgivings, she wants to be a writer and to find her own voice.  A voice that will speak for the silenced women around her.  Betrothed to an elderly widower, Ana almost despairs.  But an encounter with a charismatic young carpenter in Nazareth awakens new longings in her, and a different future opens up.

Yet this is not a simple love story.  Ana’s journey will bring both joy and tragedy, but it will also be enriched by the female friendships she makes along the way.

The Book of Longings is an exquisite tale of dreams and desire, and the power women have to change the world.

Loop Tracks (June 2021)

By Sue Orr

June 15, 2021

It’s 1978: the Auckland abortion clinic has been forced to close and sixteen-year-old Charlie has to fly to Sydney, but the plane is delayed on the tarmac.  It’s 2019: Charlie’s tightly contained Wellington life with her grandson Tommy is interrupted by the unexpected intrusions of Tommy’s first girlfriend, Jenna, and the father he has never known, Jim.  The year turns, and everything changes again.

Loop Tracks is a major New Zealand novel, written in real time against the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic and the New Zealand General Election and euthanasia referendum.

A Madness of Sunshine (June 2021)

By Nalini Singh

June 15, 2021

Golden Cove was a peaceful town.

Then one fateful summer a tragedy shattered the trust holding the community together.  All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships and a silent agreement to never look back.  But you can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

The town’s dark past and haunted present are about to collide – in a murder mystery that’s been years in the making.

What Abigail Did That Summer (May 2021)

By Ben Aaronovitch

May 18, 2021

Ghost hunter, fox whisperer, troublemaker.

It is the summer of 2013 and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices.  This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake.

While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks chasing unicorns, Abigail is chasing her own mystery.  Teenagers around Hampstead Heath have been going missing but before the police can get fully engaged, the teens return home – unharmed but vague about where they’ve been.

Aided only by her new friend Simon, her knowledge that magic is real, and a posse of talking foxes that think they’re spies, Abigail must venture into the wilds of Hampstead to discover who is luring the teenagers and more importantly – why?

The Fine Art of Invisible Detection (May 2021)

By Robert Goddard

May 18, 2021

Umiko Wada has had quite enough drama in her life.  With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before his body is cold, she just needs to keep her head down.

As a secretary to a private detective, her work life is pleasingly uncomplicated, filled with coffee runs, diary management and paperwork.

That is until her boss takes on a new case.  A case which turns out to be dangerous enough to get him killed.  A case which means Wada will have to leave Japan and travel to London.

Following the only lead she has, Wada quickly realizes that being a detective isn’t as easy as the television makes out.  And that there’s a reason why secrets stay buried for a long time.  Because people want them to stay secret.  And they’re prepared to do very bad things to keep them that way…

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