Last night the virtual crime book club met to discuss Missing Presumed by the late Susie Steiner. The book was loved by the majority with over half of the group saying they will read the next book in the series. In fact, several members had already ordered it. Of particular note were Susie’s beautiful and evocative writing and the characterisation of Manon. How real Manon felt with her internet dating in today’s modern world.
The crime writing world has clearly lost a great talent. Our thoughts go out to Susie’s family and friends.
You can watch the meeting in the video below. Be aware it does contain spoilers for the book.
The theme for the next read is the locked room mystery, which can either be a literal locked room or a situation where it doesn’t seem possible for the characters to enter or exit, for example, a mountaintop where a snowstorm is raging, blocking of the way in and out.
Below are the books to choose from. Leave your vote in the comments below by the end of Friday this week, the 19th of August.
The next meeting is Monday 12th September at 8pm BST. If you are not yet a member of the group but are interested, visit THIS PAGE for more details.
Now to the vote…
Malice by Keigo Higashino
Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems.
At the crime scene, Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka’s best friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same public school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Nonoguchi eventually left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka.
As Kaga investigates, he eventually uncovers evidence that indicates that the two writers’ relationship was very different that they claimed, that they were anything but best friends. But the question before Kaga isn’t necessarily who, or how, but why. In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the killer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. And if Kaga isn’t able to uncover and prove why the murder was committed, then the truth may never come out.
The Botanist by M W Craven
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.
And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot to twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’
Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.
For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . .
Shiver by Allie Reynolds
How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.
In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.
So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.
Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.
Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm–and one another.
One by One by Ruth Ware
When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?
Marina Sofia says
Ah, gutted I missed this, as I am a big fan of Manon – and Susie Steiner is indeed a great loss to the crime reading community. I have read all but one of the books up for a vote for the next session, so I will choose the one I haven’t read: Shari Lapena’s Unwanted Guest.
Dr Margaret Ainsworth says
I’d like to read The Botanist. I checked the Amazon reviews for each book and this appealed most to me. It’s story is complex, the characters are well portrayed and there is humour in the book as well.
Jacqueline Jolleys says
Loved the Susie Steiner and looking forward to reading the sequel. Don’t know any of this month’s selection so will be happy to read the chosen book. My vote is for ‘Malice’.
Margot Kinberg says
Thanks for hosting yesterday’s meeting, Rebecca! I always appreciate your skilled moderation. My vote is for Malice, but they all look interesting.
Muriel Summersgill says
I agree that I missed a good session last night and will read on the next book in the series and so on. Susie Steiner was definitely one of the really best in the genre,
I would like to vote for Malice by Keigo Higashino for a change of culture and language – I have already read the book but would like to hear what everyone else thinks of this author. I am very keen on several Japanese and Korean crime authors.
Jane Beresford says
I’d like to try An Unwanted Guest – Shari Lapena as this is a writer I’ve come across, not read any of but would like to try. Same goes for Ruth Ware so One by One would be my second choice.
Emma @ Words And Peace says
I love PD Kyoichiro Kaga, and Higashino (funny, I have been recently recommending him), BUT I haven’t read Malice yet, so that’s my vote.
My vote goes to Malice thanks Rebecca
I am looking forward to discussing all – I have already read most of them and enjoy them.
Really enjoyed reading ‘Missing.presumed’ and will go back for more of Manon.
I like the look of ‘One by One’ – Ruth Ware
Lorna Smith says
My vote goes to Malice, looking forward to seeing you all in September
Malice gets my vote
Hi Rebecca, I would like to vote for Malice please.
J - LovesBooksReadsBooks says
Thanks for Monday night’s book club meeting it was really good and I enjoyed the book.
Malice looks to have a majority and they all sound good but I’m going to vote for One by One.
Shiver for me please.