In this, the 11th of Christopher Fowler’s superb Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries, it’s clearer than ever that the real hero of the series is London herself. If you’ve never visited the city, you could ask for no better education—or pressing invitation—than the one you’ll receive by reading the entire series. Fowler not only tells delightfully lurid tales of both famous and well-hidden landmarks, but also provides clear warnings about neighborhoods you should avoid (after all, these are murder mysteries).
True stories of bravery and heroism make for great listening this month.
How to Be Both, by the British writer Ali Smith, tells two interconnected stories. The first is about Georgina, known as George, a 1960s teenager outside of London grieving the death of her mother and taking her first tentative steps toward love. The other is the story of the 15th-century Italian painter Francesco del Cossa, a historical figure responsible for the remarkable frescos in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara, Italy—and about whom very little else is known.
This month's Lifestyles column features a guide to wreath-making, a small yet mighty ode to commercial design and a collection of fun and simple crafts for gifting.
I have to admit I was a bit nonplussed when Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in 2013. Not because she didn’t deserve it. On the contrary, no writer is more worthy of this crowning literary honor. No, my dismay stemmed from the fact that the secret had gotten out: For years, we Munro fans had fooled ourselves into thinking we were part of some exclusive society with special appreciation for an unsung master. Crazy, of course, since Munro had been reaching tens of thousands of readers for decades with her stories in The New Yorker. But such is the unvarnished assuredness of Munro’s prose, the knowing intimacy of her plots—it is easy to believe she is writing for you alone.
This month's best new mysteries include a cold case captured in a photograph, a puzzling standalone set in Scotland, the second installment in a hit French series and the newest Thorn novel.
In Anthony Doerr’s riveting novel, All the Light We Cannot See, we meet 16-year-old blind girl Marie-Laure and 17-year-old Nazi soldier Werner as they are hunkered down in separate corners of the French seaside town of Saint-Malo during the American liberation of the Nazi occupied city. Through alternating chapters that jump back and forth in time between 1934 and 1944, Doerr beautifully tells the story of two children doomed by the war and destined to meet.
Best-selling author Sarah MacLean concludes her Rules of Scoundrels series with Never Judge A Lady by Her Cover. The long-awaited final book stars Lady Georgiana Pearson, the daughter of a Duke. Ruined at the tender age of sixteen, Georgiana turned her back on society and created her own world when she became part owner of “London’s most scandalous and most popular gaming hell,” The Fallen Angel.
As the first African-American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference, Perry Wallace earned plenty of headlines. But few of the articles under those headlines told Wallace’s real story, or described the emotions he felt as he made history almost half a century ago.
The author of a new book on Perry Wallace, who broke the color barrier in SEC basketball in the 1960s, explains why he decided to tell Wallace’s little-known story.