Last night the virtual crime book club met and discussed The Invisible by Peter Papathanasiou as part of sequel month, where we read a sequel for a book we’d read in the club’s previous three years. It was, after all, the book club’s three-year anniversary last night. Three years have flown.
I love hosting the group. It’s friendly and welcoming and easily discusses a book even when members don’t agree on it. All thoughts and comments are welcome. We can’t all love the same books.
So, if you’d like to join us, you can sign up HERE to receive the login details for the next meeting.
Below is the recording of last night’s meeting. The Invisible proved to be a popular book with most readers, with praise heaped on Peter for the sense of place he evoked. Three members even pulled out maps while reading to get a better look at the area being described!
Be aware the video contains spoilers.
This month we are reading art crime fiction. Read the blurbs and vote by leaving a comment with your choice on the bottom of the post by the end of Friday 7th April.
The next meeting is Monday 15th May 8pm BST (UK timezone). There is a longer period between meetings this time due to bank holidays.
I look forward to seeing what we’re reading next!
Unfortunately, there is a problem with the server as I write up this post and I can’t get it to load up images, so there is no judging a book by its cover this week. You have to choose wisely, by only reading the blurb! You can of course check Goodreads or other places to see the cover. There are five books to vote on if that helps make it clearer.
Portrait of a Thief
History is told by the conquerors. Across the Western world, museums display the spoils of war, of conquest, of colonialism: priceless pieces of art looted from other countries, kept even now.
Will Chen plans to steal them back.
A senior at Harvard, Will fits comfortably in his carefully curated roles: a perfect student, an art history major and sometimes artist, the eldest son who has always been his parents’ American Dream. But when a mysterious Chinese benefactor reaches out with an impossible—and illegal—job offer, Will finds himself something else as well: the leader of a heist to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago.
His crew is every heist archetype one can imagine—or at least, the closest he can get. A con artist: Irene Chen, a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything. A thief: Daniel Liang, a premed student with steady hands just as capable of lockpicking as suturing. A getaway driver: Lily Wu, an engineering major who races cars in her free time. A hacker: Alex Huang, an MIT dropout turned Silicon Valley software engineer. Each member of his crew has their own complicated relationship with China and the identity they’ve cultivated as Chinese Americans, but when Will asks, none of them can turn him down.
Because if they succeed? They earn fifty million dollars—and a chance to make history. But if they fail, it will mean not just the loss of everything they’ve dreamed for themselves but yet another thwarted attempt to take back what colonialism has stolen.
Equal parts beautiful, thoughtful, and thrilling, Portrait of a Thief is a cultural heist and an examination of Chinese American identity, as well as a necessary critique of the lingering effects of colonialism.
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.
But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence… because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.
To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps…
From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history.
The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
It’s time to solve the murder of the century…
Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. He took it to his remedial English teacher, Miss Isles, who became convinced it was the key to solving a puzzle. That a message in secret code ran through all Edith Twyford’s novels. Then Miss Isles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven’s memory won’t allow him to remember what happened. Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Isles murdered? Was she deluded? Or was she right about the code? And is it still in use today? Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened to Miss Isles, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn’t the only one trying to solve it…
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER?
New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes.
One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor – enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.
Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.
Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.
Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own.
Ripley Underground by Patricia Highsmith
Tom Ripley is now the owner of a beautiful estate in France, a wealthy art collector and married to an heiress. The Buckmaster Gallery is staging an exhibition by the celebrated artist, Derwatt, but an American collector claims that the expensive masterpiece he bought three years ago is a fake. It is, of course and he wants to talk to Derwatt – but Derwatt, inconveniently, is dead.
Ripley needs the perfect solution to keep his role in the fraud a secret and his reputation clean, but not everyone’s nerves are as steady as his. Especially when it comes to murder.