Thanks to Marcia of The Printed Page for hosting my favorite weekly meme, Mailbox Monday. I'm spoiled. Every Monday, I get to roam around the Internet checking out all the books, glorious books that fellow book bloggers have discovered in their mailboxes during the past week.
If you'd like to roam around and check out those books, too... or if you'd like to share the books you've carried into the house, click on that redhead to the left. She'll take you right to the heart of the action on Marcia's blog!
Last week, I did manage to exercise a bit of moderation. Of course, it was probably for that week, and that week only. We'll see! I sent 6 books to new Paperback Swap (PBS) foster homes and received 6, most (but not all) from fellow Paperback Swap members. Here's the rundown on the books I found hiding in my mailbox:
- Murder in the Abstract by Susan C. Shea (author requested review). "Danielle O'Rourke's gala evening at the Devor Museum ends in catastrophe when the body of a young artist plummets from her office window. The police label it murder and suspect Dani, the Museum's chief fund raiser. Self-preservation and an insider's understanding of how money moves the art world drive her to investigate who might have a motive for murder. Dani's playboy ex-husband and a green-eyed cop complicate matters as her search moves through the fashionable worlds of San Francisco and Santa Fe."
- A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan (PBS). "Poke Rafferty, a travel writer turned detective, intends to settle down in Bangkok with his ex-prostitute girlfriend, Rose, and a young urchin, Miaow, when Miaow brings her troubled friend Superman into the household. While dealing with this intrusion, Rafferty takes on dual sleuthing assignments to help pay for adopting Miaow. The first case involves finding Australian Claus Ulrich, a hardcore bondage aficionado. When Rafferty meets the powerful and rich Madame Wing while investigating Ulrich's disappearance, she offers him $30,000 to find an envelope and the Cambodian man who took it. The only catch? If Rafferty opens the envelope, he'll learn information about Madame Wing that will force her to kill him. Rafferty stumbles through the clues like the foreigner he is, always on the outside looking in."
- Rough Treatment by John Harvey (PBS), the second in the Charlie Resnick mystery series. "Grice and Grabianski are an ill-matched pair of burglars working Charlie Resnick’s patch. When they break into the house of television director Harold Roy, they get more than they bargained for. Grabianski falls in love—or is it lust—with the director’s wife, and the pair become enmeshed in a dangerous plot to sell the cocaine that was in the safe back to its supplier."
- Murder at Shots Hall by Maureen Sarsfield (PBS). "Flikka Ashley and her outspoken Aunt Bee Chattock live in the ruins of a formerly great manor house called Shots Hall, located near a Sussex village named after it. ...the two women have been forced to make ends meet by selling off the occasional bottle of vintage port or pre-war whiskey from the hall's legendary cellars. When Molly Pritchard, an old family retainer, is murdered, a loathsome local policeman-- whose attentions were spurned by Flik-- sets out to measure her lovely neck for a noose, Scotland Yard's Lane Perry doesn't think Flikka is guilty, but he has to admit that she is doing little to prove her innocence. First published in 1945."
- Murder at Beechlands by Maureen Sarsfield (PBS). "Inspector Lane Perry of Scotland Yard finds himself on a busman's holiday when he is forced to take refuge from a heavy snowstorm in a country hotel while traveling in Sussex in January 1948. When he first glimpses the hotel guests frolicking in the snow, he mistakes them for lunatics at play. Instead, he learns that they are all guests invited to attend a homecoming party for a war hero. But when the battered body of Wing Commander Lawton Lawrence turns up in the snow, Parry realizes that playtime is over and that a murderer is walking the halls of Beechlands. First published in 1948."
- The Gentle Axe by R.N. Morris (PBS). "Porfiry Petrovich, the police investigator who worked on the case involving the deranged student Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, is given another life in R.N. Morris's The Gentle Axe. It is 1867 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a cold winter morning. An elderly woman is scouring Petrovsky Park in search of a few sticks of firewood. What she finds instead is horrifying: a big, burly peasant hanging by a rope from a tree, with a blood-covered axe tucked into his belt. Nearby, she finds a suitcase. Packed inside is the body of a dwarf, with a deep head wound caused by an axe. Conventional wisdom says that the peasant killed the dwarf and then, in a paroxysm of guilt and remorse, killed himself. That scenario is good enough for everyone but Porfiry. In a wonderfully atmospheric novel, Morris has created a world-weary protagonist in Porfiry, a man still exhausted from his last case, joined by a collection of absolutely believable characters to flesh out the novel. Mysteries abound and multiply in layers of characterization and narrative. Porfiry's investigation goes on, despite repeated attempts to take him off the case, and it leads him from the dregs of society to its most genteel heights. He follows clues, hunches, people, and stories to get to the bottom of the mystery--and when he does, it comes as a complete surprise, but one that makes perfect sense."