This week we review a polished thriller evoking the gilded world of the British royals by Anne Glenconner, who wrote a bestselling memoir of her relationship with Princess Margaret.
Top crime writer Ian Rankin is back with his recurring protagonist Inspector Rebus, now fully retired – but not past his best just yet.
And another best-selling author, Ruth Ware, returns with a page-turner with echoes of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
For all that and more, read on – and don’t forget to join the Mirror Book Club.
Murder On Mustique, by Anne Glenconner
Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99
Anne Glenconner’s memoir Lady In Waiting, which recalled her long friendship with Princess Margaret, was a runaway bestseller last year.
This polished thriller evokes the same gilded world – but our aristocratic heroine Vee also has two brutal murders to contend with.
It is 2002 and former lady-in-waiting Vee, who lives on Mustique, is mourning the death of Princess Margaret. Then two young socialites disappear from the island and Vee has good reason to fear her adored god-daughter Lily, who has developed a divisive project to regenerate the island’s coral, may be next.
DS Nile Solomon recently returned home to the island from Oxford where he made a fatal mistake at work that haunts him still.
Can he atone for his sins by solving the Mustique murders?
Smug Vee is a tiresome narrator, forever patting herself on the back for her resourcefulness or for winning the admiration of fellow aristocrats.
But this is a well-plotted thriller that unfolds at a clip with a decent twist at the end, so it’s sure to find readers among fans of Lady In Waiting.
BY VANESSA BERRIDGE
Fifty Fifty, by Steve Cavanagh
The first 911 call comes from Alexandra, saying she has just found her father’s mutilated body and she believes her sister Sofia killed him. The second 911 call is from Sofia. She says she has just discovered the butchered body of her dad and that Alexandra is responsible.
Both women are arrested and charged with the murder of their father Frank, a former Mayor of New York.
As they face a joint trial, we know that one of the sisters is a liar and a cold-blooded killer. But it will be up to their defence lawyers to make sure the right woman is convicted.
Lawyer Eddie Flynn represents Sofia, who has a troubled past of mental illness, while Kate Brooks represents beautiful socialite Alexandra.
But then witnesses for the prosecution start disappearing or dying.
Eddie and Kate realise that whichever sister committed the murder sees the upcoming trial as an opportunity to ensure her sister’s conviction – and only they can stop her.
Fast-paced, inventive and hugely
enjoyable, the twists come hard and fast in
this superb thriller.
by JON COATES
One By One, by Ruth Ware
Harvill Secker, £12.99
Erin, 22, and Danny, 25, are the maid and cook at an exclusive ski resort in the Alps. Their latest guests are the staff of a music app called Snoop, a cross between Facebook and Spotify that allows you to listen to the same music as anyone you choose to snoop on.
However, the directors and shareholders of Snoop are divided about whether to accept a billion-dollar buyout. They have come on this luxury trip to thrash out an agreement.
Then on their first day on the slopes, one of the team goes missing. And soon afterwards an avalanche strikes and cuts the rest of the team off from the world.
One by one, the Snoopsters are murdered, as dark secrets from the past are revealed and threaten to turn all their lives upside down. Who is the killer – and who will survive?
A novel with echoes of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, One By One is an engaging page-turner that will keep you guessing, though its ending is a little too neat.
by PAUL DONNELLEY
A Song For The Dark Times, by Ian Rankin
Life is moving on for Inspector Rebus. Now fully retired from Police Scotland, he moves into a ground-floor flat with pet dog Brillo to ease his creaking knees. But when he learns his daughter Samantha’s history buff partner has disappeared, Rebus drops everything to head to their windswept coastal community.
He’s out of his comfort zone and annoying the local cops, indeed annoying everyone (Sam included, when she senses her father’s doubts over her innocence), so this is classic Rebus at his bloody-minded best.
And the dark secrets of a Second World War prison camp reverberate in the present as the action plays out over seven tightly plotted days.
Back in Edinburgh, Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox investigate the murder of a Saudi millionaire’s student son. Inevitably, the cases collide and Rankin, as usual, wraps them masterfully together in a double helix.
No matter how dark the times, the arrival of a Rankin novel remains one of life’s pleasures.
BY MATT NIXSON
The Law Of Innocence, by Michael Connelly
While some authors struggle to come up with one compelling character, Michael Connelly has created two: cynical LA detective Harry Bosch and larger-than-life defence attorney Mickey Haller. Individually, they’ve sold millions of books. But when the two collide, it’s thriller nirvana.
Haller is in prison after being arrested with a body in his boot. He knows he has been framed – but who has framed him and why?
He plots his own defence from behind bars, helped by ex-wife Maggie McPherson, Bosch and his Harley-riding investigator Cisco – and the clock is against him if he is to clear his name before the trial.
When it comes to the law, Haller knows every trick in the book but it’s a bare-knuckle fight to the end. In this case, “not guilty” isn’t good enough. To truly clear his name, Haller must discover the real killer.
Pick up this gripping book at your peril, especially if you have other things to do like working or sleeping. It’s another masterpiece from one of the world’s greatest crime writers.
BY MATT NIXSON
Join the debate and read our next book of the month!
For our latest book of the month, Mirror Book Club members have chosen An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. So read along with us!
In this 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction winning novel, newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. But then Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Devastated Celestial struggles to hold on to the love that has been central to her life, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. But then Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns home to resume their life together.
We’d love you to give An American Marriage a read and let the Mirror Book Club know what you think at facebook.com/groups/mirrorbookclub. We’ll print your feedback here on November 20.