I'll hold off telling you about Mukoma Wa Ngugi's Black Star Nairobi (Melville International Crime, 2013) until next week. Today, let me mention a few books on the way to their spawning grounds:
I read Peter Dickinson's Some Deaths before Dying (Mysterious Press, 1999) years ago, but I was in the mood for a re-read. Dickinson is one of crime fiction's most original writers, and all of his books are a pleasure. This one's about memory, honor, and betrayal. Rachel Matson spent her life as a photographer, but now the 90-year-old widow of a soldier who survived a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II lies in bed, barely able to move. Her spirit is still strong, and her mind is still sharp. When she learns that one of her husband's Ladurie dueling pistols is missing, she uses the photographs that document their lives and the help of her nurse, Dilys, to investigate. This complex story, which zigzags back and forth in time and place, is beautifully told and populated by unforgettable characters.
Who can resist a book about the heart strings that bind us set against the backdrop of war? Anthony Marra's 2013 debut, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, published by Hogarth/Crown, revolves around eight characters in rural Chechnya after the fall of the Soviet Union. Three of the characters are key: eight-year-old Havaa, whose father is abducted by Russian soldiers, and Sonja and Akhmed, two doctors who risk their lives to protect her. While the circumstances are bleak, the characters retain enough humor and their fates remain optimistic enough to sustain us. After David Benioff's City of Thieves, I'm once again ready for a return to war.
And now, back to my books, before they return to the library.
|Spawning library books|