The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths (2019)

Mystery
Adult

The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths (2019)

Clare Cassidy teaches English at secondary school set in seaside England, at the very school where famed Victorian-era horror writer R.M. Holland lived and worked. She uses his short story, The Stranger, in her creative writing class for adults, in fact, and is such a fan of his work, she is writing a biography of the enigmatic author behind The Stranger, rumoured to have killed his wife. As October draws to a close, Clare is shocked to hear of the murder of her good friend and colleague Ella. Even more startling is the news that a note was found by the body, quoting a line from The Stranger. Clare soon finds herself at the centre of the investigation when she discovers an entry in her diary, written in the same handwriting as the note by Ella’s body.

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The Homecoming, by Andrew Pyper (2019)

Horror Fiction
Adult

The Homecoming, by Andrew Pyper

Four members of the Quinlan family – surgeon Aaron, his adored teenaged sister Bridget called Bridge, middle child Franny mourning the son she lost because of her addiction to heroin, and mother Eleanor – gather at Belfountain Estate to hear the terms of Ray Quinlan’s will. A largely absent father and husband, he was a secretive man – no one knew of this spectacular estate, not to mention a sizeable fortune which they stand to inherit. But there’s a catch. The four must stay at Belfountain for 30 days, with no technology or outside contact, starting immediately, or all the money goes to a charity.

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Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School (#1), by Julie Falatko, illus. by Colin Jack (2018)

Humourous Fiction
7-10

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Colin Jack (2018)

Sometimes a title just grabs you and says Read Me. This is one of those titles. It’s the first of two reviews I’m doing this week, both of them books for children. There are three books in the “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat” series; this is the first. Sassy and Waldo are two dogs whose lives are devoted to eating food, protecting the household from the evil squirrels, and napping in the sun. Until they realize Stewart, the boy in their house, needs saving from a place called School, a place he goes every day and returns dejected and bored. Thanks to Waldo’s surprising ability to speak English, the two dogs finagle their way into the classroom, where they learn just how exciting school is, and help Stewart make a friend along the way.

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This Fallen Prey (Rockton #3), by Kelley Armstrong (2018)

Mystery
Adult

This Fallen Prey, by Kelley Armstrong (2018)

Kelley Armstrong is a well-known Canadian author, with a strong backlist in young adult and science fiction. I’ve read her before, but not lately, so when I spotted this on our library’s new book shelf, I picked it up and added it to a growing pile. Turns out it’s the third book in series I have not read. I think it would be best to start with book 1, but in summary, Casey Butler is a deputy in a tiny off-the-grid settlement in the Yukon, where its residents come to stay to escape some kind of threat in the real world. Some of them are there willingly, and others not. She’s in a relationship with Eric Dalton, who is her boss, the town’s sheriff. Both are about 30 years old. The book opens in mid-May when a plane lands and delivers an unexpected “package” – an accused serial killer “sentenced” to stay there instead of facing the law, thanks to a hefty payoff by his stepdad.

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See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy, by Frances Mayes (2019)

Nonfiction
Adult

See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy, by Frances Mayes (2019)

The woman who introduced readers to Italy with Under the Tuscan Sun more than two decades ago returns with another love letter to Italy, focusing as usual on the smaller towns. This is a travel guide, but a highly personalized one. Mayes, who also published the fictional Women in Sunlight last year, describes the smaller towns where she and her family have eaten, cycled, played and shopped. It’s presented from north to south, rather than as a chronological memoir, giving travellers a chance to delve into an area such as Piedmont, Umbria or Sardinia, among others. In my digital advance reading copy, a table of contents listed all the regions and towns, but there was no map, though I understand one is included in the print edition.

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The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg (2019)

Historical Fiction
Adult

The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg (2019)

How do we want to be remembered? Even close friends of many years are often surprised to learn our stories of growing up, of jobs had and lost, of paths taken and ignored. Doris is 96 years old; she has outlived all her friends and nearly all her family, and her days are spent in pain. The bright note in her life is a weekly Skype call to Jenny, her only living relative who is in America. Thumbing through her beloved red address book, given to her as a child by her father, Doris sees so many names crossed out, and remembers their stories and hers. She decides to write these stories down for Jenny, from her childhood in Sweden, modelling in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, falling in love, escaping to New York City with her sister when Hitler invaded France, and eventually returning to Stockholm where she now lives.

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The Thing About Clare, by Imogen Clark (2018)

Fiction
Adult

The Thing About Clare, by Imogen Clark (2018)

All families have secrets, but some secrets can be devastating. Should they stay buried? When mother Dorothy passes away, the four Bliss siblings – sensible Miriam, wild and unpredictable Clare, favourite child Anna, and adored little brother Sebastian – gather at the funeral, where we learn Anna has, in response to Dorothy’s dying plea, retrieved her will and an accompanying letter. But she has not destroyed them as her mother asked. Anna eventually discovers why her mother was so desperate to bury the secret, and now carries the burden herself. It’s a secret that could change her siblings’ lives forever.

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