Murder and mayhem set at the time of the secretive Templar Order.
The year is 1152, and Jerusalem is still in the hands of the Crusaders, although the lofty ideals of before have now been replaced by subtle power-play. Meanwhile, in England, King Stephen is waging bloody war against Henry Fitzempress. The Templar Order, now fifty years old, is a wealthy power, glittering with tempting riches. Against this background of bloodshed, Robert de Payens, grandson of Eleanor, one of the co-founders of the Temple, finds himself caught up in a murder mystery when Raymond, Count of Tripoli, is brutally assassinated. Who would have wanted to murder Raymond, and is it possible that the answer may lie within the hallowed ranks of the Templar Order itself?
Hall, M.R. The Disappeared ($34 Signed)
Two young British students, Nazim Jamal and Rafi Hassan vanish without a trace. The police tell their parents that the boys had been under surveillance, that it was likely they left the country to pursue their dangerous new ideals. Seven years later, Nazim’s grief-stricken mother is still unconvinced. Jenny Cooper is her last hope.
Jenny is finally beginning to settle into her role as Coroner for the Severn Valley; the ghosts of her past that threatened to topple her, banished to the sidelines once more. But as the inquest into Nazim's disappearance gets underway, the stink of corruption and conspiracy becomes clear . . .
As the pressure from above increases, a code of silence is imposed on the inquest and events begin to spiral out of all control, pushing Jenny to breaking point. For how could she have known that by unravelling the mysteries of the disappeared, she would begin to unearth her own buried secrets?
1st May 1926 - Dear Alec,
Just when those who should be working are all downing tools for this wretched strike (and I still can’t believe it – I mean to say: riots, Alec – in Edinburgh of all places) guess who is setting her virgin shoulder to its very first wheel?
I am dressed in serge and sensible footwear, sleeping in an iron bed and dining off pickled tongue at six o’clock each day. I am, in short, that nice young Mrs Balfour's new maid. But don’t worry, Alec dear: things haven’t got as bad as all that. It’s just that that nice young Mr Balfour is going to kill his wife. At least, she thinks so, and the more I hear about him from butler, cook and bootboy the more I’m inclined to agree.
So I’m undercover, in disguise, bent upon foiling. And jolly hard work it is too – tomorrow is my half-day free if you’d care take me out for a restorative bun. (Every maid needs a beau to buy buns for her.)
p.s. Ask for Miss Rossiter: below stairs I am she.
Monroe, Aly. Washington Shadow ($39 Signed)
September 1945. Bankrupt and desperate, Britain sends John Maynard Keynes to boom town Washington to beg for a loan. Under cover of the backup team, agent Peter Cotton is sent to investigate the break-up of America’s wartime intelligence agency.Cotton finds himself caught up in a world of shadows involving an extraordinarily attractive girl from the US State Department, a Soviet ex-tank commander claiming to be his opposite number, a contrarian African academic, an ambitious, quick-tempered boss from the world of misinformation . . . and an Anglo-American conspiracy that will change the world of post-war intelligence for ever.
Pearce, Michael. A Dead Man in Naples ($43 Signed)
Naples, 1913. Sun-baked, blue-skied, and with its amazing bay. One of the most beautiful spots in Italy – but also, one of the most backward. Into that world is sent a minor British consular official, Scampion, banished from Florence because he has allowed himself to be caught up in the mad social whirl surrounding D’Annunzio, the famous Italian poet, Nationalist and revolutionary. Scampion brings with him from Florence the new craze that is sweeping Italy: bicycling. And one day as he walks home after a road race that he has been organizing, he is stabbed to death. Nothing extraordinary about that in Naples – it happens all the time – but his wallet was not taken, a fact that is remarkable. Could Scampion’s murder have something to do with the racing? Bicycling may seem like a harmless pursuit but in Italy passions run high and Neopolitans, too, are great gamblers; they gamble on anything, including bicycle races. And where there is gambling, in Naples there is usually the Camorra, the powerful Neopolitan secret society. But then the Foreign Office receives a tip off that the murder may be more complicated. It might be linked to high politics in Rome. And that’s when Seymour, the foreigner from the F.O, is sent South to investigate… Praise for Michael Pearce’s A Dead Man in… series .
‘The steady pace, atmospheric design, and detailed description re-create a complicated city. A recommended historical series.’ Library Journal
‘Sheer fun.’ The Times