Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

BOX 88

By Charles Cumming

March 7, 2023

Years ago, a spy was born …

1989: The Cold War will soon be over, but for BOX 88, a top secret spying agency, the espionage game is heating up.  Lachlan Kite, recruited from an elite boarding school, is sent to France, tasked with gathering intelligence on an enigmatic Iranian businessman implicated in the Lockerbie bombing.  But what Kite uncovers is more terrifying than anyone expected …

Now he faces the deadliest decision of his life …

2020: MI5 hear rumours of BOX 88’s existence and go after Kite – but Iranian intelligence have got to him first.  Taken captive and brutally tortured, Kite has a choice: reveal the truth about what happened in France thirty years earlier – or watch his family die.

In a battle unlike anything he has faced before, Kite must use all his skills to stay alive.

The Beloved Girls (March 2023)

By Harriet Evans

March 7, 2023

‘It’s a funny old house, Janey.  They have this ceremony every summer … There’s a chapel, in the grounds.  Half derelict.  The Hunters keep bees in there …’

Catherine, a successful barrister, vanishes from a train station on the eve of her anniversary.  Is it because she saw a figure – someone she believed long dead?  Or was it only a shadow cast by her troubled, fractured mind?

The answer lies buried in the past.

It lies in the events of the hot, seismic summer of 1989, at Vanes – a mysterious West Country manor house – where as a young girl, Janey, arrives to stay with the gilded, grand Hunter family, and where a devastating tragedy will unfold.  Over the summer, as an ancient family ritual looms closer, Janey falls for each member of the family in turn.  And she and the eldest daughter of the house will forge a bond which later, is still shaping the present …

Paris Never Leaves You (March 2023)

By Ellen Feldman

March 7, 2023

The war is over, but the past is never past …

Paris, 1944.  Charlotte Foret is working in a tiny bookstore in Nazi-occupied Paris struggling to stay alive and keep her baby Vivi safe.  Every day they live through is a miracle until Vivi becomes gravely ill.  In desperation, Charlotte accepts help from an unlikely saviour – and her life is changed forever.

Charlotte is no victim.  She is a survivor.  But the truth of what happened in Paris is something she knows she can never share with anyone, including her daughter.  Can she ever really leave Paris behind, and embrace the next chapter of her life.

Seamlessly interweaving Charlotte’s past in wartime Paris and her present in the 1950s world of New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is a heartbreakingly moving and unforgettable story of resilience, love – and impossible choices.

A Necessary Death (March 2023)

By Anne Holt

March 7, 2023

The Snow is Falling

Selma Falck is living a nightmare.  Trapped in a burning cabin on a freezing snow-covered mountain.  She has no idea where she is or how she got there.  Bruised, bleeding and naked, she barely makes it out in time as the flames engulf the cabin.  With no signs of human habitation nearby, the temperature rapidly dropping and a blizzard approaching, how will she survive?

She’s Lost in the Wilderness

As Selma fights the cold, the hunger and her own wounds, she eventually forms a frightening picture of the past six months.  Not only does she have to find a way to stay alive, she needs to make it back to civilization, quickly.  Murder has been committed and a great injustice must be stopped.  The very future of the nation itself is at stake …

If the Cold Doesn’t Kill Her,

The Wedding Party (March 2023)

By Cathy Kelly

March 7, 2023

For the first time in years, the beautiful Robicheaux sisters are returning to their childhood home.  Decades after they first met, their parents are getting married again!

Indy is used to high-stress situations in her job as a midwife – but she knows that keeping the peace in her family of big personalities is a different matter entirely …

Eden is on the brink of political success and a surprise family wedding is the last thing she needs.  Especially when a long-buried secret is threatening to destroy everything.

Savannah might look like she has it all, but she’s spent her whole married life hiding the truth.  It’s a fragile facade that’s unlikely to withstand a week spend with her sisters.

Rory lives with her gorgeous girlfriend and tends to avoid family gatherings.  Particularly now, as her new book might just revel more than her sisters or parents would like …

A big wedding party is sure to throw up a few surprises – but one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a week that the Robicheaux family will never forget …

The Murders at Fleet House (March 2023)

By Lucinda Riley

March 7, 2023

One dead bully.  A school full of suspects.

When a young student is found dead at a private boarding school, its elite reputation is at risk.  The headmaster is determined to write the death off as a tragic accident – but Detective Jazz Hunter will soon suspect that a murder has been committed.

Escaping her own problems in London, the beautiful and isolated landscape of rural Norfolk had felt like the ideal place for Jazz to hide.  But when it becomes clear the victim was tangled in a web of loyalties and old vendettas that go far beyond just one student, and as the body count begins to grow, Jazz knows she is running out of time…

All roads lead back to the closed world of the school.  But Fleet House and its residents refuse to give up their secrets so easily – and as her investigation gathers pace, Jazz realises that they are even more sinister than she could possibly have imagined.

Exit .45 (March 2023)

By Ben Sanders

March 7, 2023

When a former NYPD colleague is shot dead in front of him, private investigator Marshall Grade discovers there’s far more to the killing than meets the eye.

Ray Vialoux is in trouble.  Big trouble.  And he needs Marshall Grade’s help.

Reluctantly, Grade agrees to meet.  Over dinner in a Brooklyn restaurant, he learns that his former NYPD colleague owes money – a lot of money – to the wrong people.  But the conversation is cut short by gunfire, and suddenly Ray is lying dead on the restaurant floor.

As Marshall investigates the circumstances leading up to the murder, tracking down the drug dealers, bag men, bent cops and mob players within Ray’s orbit, it becomes clear there’s far more to the killing than a gambling debt.  Just who is responsible for Vialoux’s death … and why?  What secrets are his family hiding?  And can Marshall find the answers before his own history marks his as the prime suspect?

The Devils You Know (March 2023)

By Ben Sanders

March 7, 2023

Vincent needs a change.  He’s spent the last fifteen years in covert operations for the US government, but after a botched and fatal mission, he decides he’s done with pulling triggers.

He lucks into a dream job in Santa Barbara as head of security for supermarket mogul Eugene Lamar: nothing more that driving the boss to and from golf, with ample downtime for surfing, or sitting by the pool contemplating life – and how to live it with a zero body count.

There he meets and intrigued by Lamar’s daughter; the journalist Erin Jones, who’s on tour in California to promote her book about the benefits of war: Vincent’s seen his share of conflict and is sure he can change her mind – and he’d really like to make his case over drinks.

But there’s a problem: if Lamar’s business is confined to supermarkets, why does he need a panic room full of assault rifles, and a .357 revolver in his car?  It doesn’t take long for Vincent to find out that Lamar owes a debt to bad people – and that’s only the start of it.  He’s ensnared in a criminal enterprise, which soon brings costs in lives as well as money.

Erin wants answers, and needs Vincent’s help to get them.  But how much does she already know?  Is his growing attraction to her a liability?  And can he keep her safe from the brutal killers who are after her father?

It seems that Santa Barbara is a sunny town full of dark talent, and Vincent will have to revert to dark talents of his own if he’s going to survive…

Horse (February 2023)

By Geraldine Brooks

February 28, 2023

A discarded painting in a roadside clean-up, forgotten bones in a research archive, and Lexington, the greatest racehorse in US history.  From these strands of fact, Geraldine Brooks weaves a sweeping story of spirit, obsession and injustice across American history.

Kentucky, 1850.  An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South, even as the nation reels towards war.  An itinerant young artist who makes his name from paintings of the horse takes up arms for the Union and reconnects with the stallion and his groom on a perilous night far from the glamour of any racetrack.

New York City, 1954.  Marcha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.

Washington, DC, 2010.  Jess a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse – one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.

The Autumn of the Ace (February 2023)

By Louis de Bernieres

February 28, 2023

Is it ever too late to change your story?

Daniel Pitt was an RAF fighter in the First World War and an espionage agent for the SOE in the Second.  Now the conflicts he faces are closer to home: Daniel’s marriage has fractured beyond repair and his relationship with his son, Bertie, has been a failure.

A sudden family tragedy spurs Daniel to leave England for a while, but some bonds are hard to break…

Daniel and Bertie soon find that their different experiences of war, although devastating, may bring with them the opportunity to reconnect.

If only they can find a way to move on from the past…

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