Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Best of 2013: Mysteries!

Two of the many items enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2013, recommended for your consideration:

Aunt Agatha’s Favorite Mysteries of 2013:

I would have to say that by far the best book I’ve read this year is Louise Penny’s How the Light Gets In. Her novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec have been consistently excellent, but Penny’s latest in the series really blew me away! Have you ever read a book where you wanted to race to the conclusion, but at the same time slow down to savor each word, each sentence, each page? That was my reaction to How the Light Gets In.

Gamache comes face-to-face with corruption that reaches high into the Sûreté’s hierarchy. His enemies have ransacked his department’s best agents, replacing them with incompetent and disloyal officers. Long-time friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir is battling addiction and suffering from a damaged psyche. He, too, has turned away from his one-time mentor. Gamache is isolated and there are very few he can trust.

Then one of his friends in the rural village of Three Pines asks him to look into a strange disappearance that turns out to be murder. The victim was the last member of Canada's famous Ouellet quintuplets, who were world-wide celebrities in their youth. Gamache’s investigation gives him the opportunity to return to the tiny, remote village and its wonderfully quirky inhabitants. It has become Gamache’s refuge and the villagers his trusted supporters.

 Even though How the Light Gets In is the ninth in the series, you could certainly pick it up and enjoy Louise Penny’s intelligent storytelling. But the treat is always sweeter when you read them in order. You can be sure that this book will make it to many “Best of 2013” lists in the coming weeks. Read a full review here.

Editor's note: We have this as a book, an e-book, and an audio book. Check one out!

If you are a fan of Dan Brown or Steve Barry, may I recommend the new thriller by bestselling German author Oliver Pötzsch, admirably translated by Anthea Bell. The Ludwig Conspiracy blends modern-day adventure and intrigue with a compelling historical thriller. You may be unfamiliar with the tale of King Ludwig II, the Fairy Tale King of Bavaria, but will instantly recognize Neuschwanstein, one of his famous castles that served as the inspiration for Disney’s iconic castle.

The story of Ludwig, sometimes referred to as “Mad King Ludwig,” is a mystery in itself. Remembered today for the string of tourist attraction castles in Bavaria, Ludwig was deposed in 1886 after being declared insane by a psychiatrist who had never even examined him. Soon after, he drowned in waist-deep water. Certainly a suspicious circumstance.

From the moment an encoded diary and artifacts fall into the hands of rare-book dealer Steven Lukas, he knows that it will bring him more misery than money. Danger dogs his footsteps as he tries to decipher the diary with the help of art detective Sara Lengfeld. They investigate three of Ludwig’s castles, searching for clues to help crack the diary’s code, always trying to outrun a mysterious gang of thugs and a group of Ludwig’s fanatical followers.

I really enjoyed the adventure in The Ludwig Conspiracy, and was particularly interested because I had always loved Ludwig’s fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein. I was fortunate to have visited it once on a trip to Europe.

Aunt Agatha, library mystery blogger, http://deathinthestacks.blogspot.com

No comments: