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(aka The Voluntary Read)


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2013 Selections

January 2013

The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte

(Stand alone) In this novel of suspense, Don Jaime Astarloa teaches fencing to fewer and fewer students in Madrid in 1866. It is an honorable art, one that requires skill, one that no longer serves much use in the modern age, the age of the pistol. Even as Queen Isabella II loses her corrupt grip on power to equally corrupt politicians, Don Jaime acquires a mysterious student, Adele de Otero, who seeks him out so she may learn "the unstoppable thrust". At first, Don Jaime refuses, then accepts her as a student. She is a gifted fencer who seduces Don Jaime into political plots and counterplots. Ultimately, he must use "the unstoppable thrust" to save all that he holds sacred.

(Available for Kindle in the US, Canada, and UK)

AMAZON - CTT Library List

Febuary 2013

Damned in Paradise by Max Allan Collins

(Nate Heller #7) While each case of Nate Heller's "memoirs" contains some commentary about previous cases, the separate cases are self-contained. In this case, it is 1932, Nate has made something of a name for himself, and he has been invited by Clarence Darrow to assist him in finding the truth in the infamous Massie Case. 5 Hawaiians were tried and acquitted of the murder of Thalia Massie, a young, white Navy wife. Now, Darrow's clients are Thalia's widower and mother. They stand accused of kidnapping and killing one of the original accused. Heller must cut through webs of lies, secrets, and bigotry to provide justice.

(Available in Kindle in US, Canada, and UK)

AMAZON - CTT Library List

March 2013

A Play of Heresy by Margaret Frazier

(Sebastian St. Cyr Series, #8)

In memoriam.

(Joliffe #7) In late spring 1438, Joliffe and his companions come to Coventry to perform in the cycle of plays presented for the Feast of Corpus Christi. In addition to all their usual issues with costumes, props, and players, trouble suggests itself when a master merchant disappears and is presumed dead. Trouble for Joliffe and his troupe is assured when Bishop Beaufort insists on Joliffe's investigation of Coventry's great and good. At one point, the players themselves are implicated in the crime. How far and how deep does the Lollard conspiracy run? How far does it reach?

AMAZON - CTT Library List

April 2013

What Darkness Brings by C S Harris

(Sebastian St. Cyr Series, #8) Regency England, September 1812. The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.

AMAZON - CTT Library List


2012 Selections

January 2012

Counterfeit Madam by Pat McIntosh

(Gil Cunningham Mystery, #8) Part of the Gil Cunningham series, medieval. Gil Cunningham had hoped that the first time he set foot in the brothel on the Drygate it would also be his last, but by the time all was settled he felt quite at home within its artfully painted chambers. The bawdy house, along with the neighboring property, is offered to Gil and his wife Alys by the forceful Dame Isabella. But matters are confused by an outbreak of counterfeit coins in Glasgow, which Gil has been ordered to investigate.

Then Dame Isabella is found dead in strange circumstances, and the more Gil pursues the cause of her death, the more false coins he finds. Rumors circulate that the Devil is abroad in Strathblane. By the time Gil and Alys have untangled matters, some very surprising—and sinister—things have come to light.

AMAZON - CTT Library List


Feburary 2012

The Holy Thief by William Ryan

(A.D. Korolev #1) Capt. Alexei Dimitryevitch Korolev of the Moscow Militia's Criminal Investigation Division has come into a certain amount of professional success in 1936. He gets a new apartment, albeit shared with a young widow and her daughter. He has earned the respect of his fellow officers and his superiors for honest, thorough work. The brutal murder of a woman in a former church, followed by another, this time of a high-ranking Thief, a member of the Soviet Underworld, nearly undoes his success and his life. In the course of searching for the killer and a fabulous icon--things he pursues even after the NKVD has warned him off--he learns what it really means to live in the unpredictable panopticon of Stalin's USSR. Nominated for the Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award.

AMAZON - CTT Library List

March 2012

Black Orchid Blues by Persia Walker

(Lanie Price #2) In the 1920s, Jim Crow and Prohibition are the laws of the land, but New York City, Harlem in particular, seems particularly keen to bend those laws. And a few more besides. Queenie Lovetree, a 6'3" drag queen, who wants all the fame and fortune he can beg, borrow, or steal, gets kidnapped right in front of Lanie Price, a society columnist. Lanie not only has the story of the century, she's made an unwilling accomplice to multiple murder and abduction. A white Harvard boy is one of the dead, and his parents put pressure on the NYPD to solve the case. When other Manhattanites start dying, the stakes grow ever higher. The search for Queenie and his true identity take Lanie on a trip through the Harlem Renaissance's dark underbelly--gangsters, illicit booze, savage racism, and, of course, corruption from low to high, black to white.

AMAZON - CTT Library List

April 2012

Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen

(Molly Murphy #7) Returned from a ill-fated trip to Ireland, Molly Murphy is back to work in 1902 New York City. Business becomes hectic when she has to tail a prospective Jewish bridegroom, save an aging actress from a ghost, find the scapegrace of a family from the 400, and make a unknown mute speak. Even for Molly, it's too much. She turns to Daniel Sullivan, her currently disgraced NYPD captain for help. Working together has its problems, for his antediluvian attitudes repel her as much as his charm attracts her.

AMAZON - CTT Library List


May 2012

Dark Voyage by Alan Furst

(stand alone) In April 1941, Captain Eric DeHaan of the Dutch freighter NOORDENDAM begins his clandestine relationship with Britain's Naval Intelligence Division. He takes his ship undercover, as a Spanish tramp, to run men and materiel to strategic and embattled locations. Getting caught in the act by the Germans is a constant threat; becoming collateral damage in battle is almost equally so. There are other problems that further complicate matters: crossed intelligence operations, potential saboteurs and double agents, lovers being chased by the NKVD, in addition to the usual replenishing of lost crew. The tension ratchets up and down like demands on a engine, but Captain DeHaan handles it with a quiet, almost impossible courage.

AMAZON - CTT Library List
Available on Kindle in both US and UK.

June 2012

Mrs Jeffries Defends Her Own - Emily Brightwell

[Victorian Murder Mystery, No 30] When the general office manager of Sutcliffe Manufacturing is murdered, no one is really surprised. Ronald Dearman was anything but a dear man. The tyrannical bully had more than enough enemies to go around. But who hated him enough to walk into his office and put a bullet between his eyes?

For once, Inspector Gerald Witherspoon doesn't get the case; it's given to another inspector. Then someone from Mrs. Jeffries' past—someone she'd hoped to never see again—shows up and begs for her help. Now Mrs. Jeffries must step into the fray and stop a terrible miscarriage of justice…

AMAZON - CTT Library List

July 2012

The Chinese Nail Murders - Robert van Gulik

As part of routine administrative movement, Judge Dee arrives in Pei-chow, an isolated frontier district in the north of Tang China, to take up his duties as magistrate. Despite its distance from the capital, Pei-Chow is no stranger to murder and intrigue. Judge Dee and his usual entourage of sidekicks--Ma Joong, Chiao Tai, and Tao Gan--must solve three intricate and intertwined cases, one of which is connected to an older, unsolved murder. Solving these cases proves especially poignant for Judge Dee, whose feelings for a suspect challenge his Confucian views of women and virtue.

AMAZON - CTT Library List

Aug 2012

Still Life With Murder - P.B. Ryan

Book #1 of P.B. Ryan’s bestselling historical mystery series featuring Boston governess Nell Sweeney and opium-smoking former battle surgeon Will Hewitt. Long thought to have died during the Civil War, Will is arrested for murder, and it's up to Nell to prove his innocence. Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime.

AMAZON - CTT Library List

Sept 2012

The Hot Kid - Elmore Leonard

(Carl Webster #1) Leonard (author of the short story "3:10 to Yuma") returns to western mystery with Deputy US Marshal Carlos (Carl) Webster. Young Carlos has his first encounter with a bank robber in 1921 when he is fifteen years old. It leaves an indelible mark. Carlos becomes Carl when he joins the Marshals, and he is soon on the trail of notorious crooks like Pretty Boy Floyd and Jack Belmont. When he kills the crooks, he attracts fame, reporters, and enemies. The master of dialogue, Leonard captures the sound of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and the surreality and stupidity of bank robbing during the Depression.

AMAZON - CTT Library List

Oct 2012

                         None Selected

November 2012

Under the Dragon's Tail by Maureen Jennings

(Wm. Murdoch #2) In late 19th century Toronto, not all is as it seems, for the Great and the Good of the city have plenty to hide. These secrets, most of them sexual in nature, make important people perfect targets for blackmail--and not even the perfectly prim wife of the hanging judge is immune. William Murdoch must solve the murder of a drunken midwife that is suddenly overlain with the murder of the midwife's "adopted" son. Are they connected? If so, how? And where is the deaf and dumb daughter of the deceased, a girl who spent time in prison for murder?

Also available on Kindle in both US and UK.

AMAZON - CTT Library List

Dec 2012

The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

(Benjamin Ben-Akiva ) In 1592, the Jewish ghetto of Prague is a "relatively" safe place--so long as Jews remain within the walls. That changes on Passover, always a time of strain between Jews and Christians because of the pervasive belief that Jews need Christian blood for Passover. The blood libel. This Passover begins sundown on Good Friday. In the morning, a 7 year old Christian girl is found dead on the shop floor of a Jewish merchant, who is, naturally, is arrested for the crime. The new shammes, Ben-Akiva, insists on taking transferring the case from the local authorities to the imperial court of Rudolf II because the Jews fall directly under the authority of the Emperor. He earns three days to find the actual killer or have the Jewish ghetto destroyed. Making life even more difficult fort Ben-Akiva is his very newness. He's Polish, not Czech, just arrived, still does not know his way around the ghetto; worse, he is not seen as a member of the Prague community of Jews. Once his investigations take him into the Christian community, he runs into complications added by the Reformation and the witch-craze. Wishnia provides a gripping murder mystery that is also a meditation on community--who's included, who's not.

Also available on Kindle in both US and UK.

AMAZON - CTT Library List


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