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  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2019/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: agatha christie, alex michaelides, , , , the silent patient,   

    Agatha Christie, Sleight of Hand, and Psychological Complexity: An Interview with The Silent Patient Alex Michaelides 


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    There’s no shortage of excellent thrillers to read in the modern world, but every now and then a book comes along that rises above the rest and becomes that book that gets passed from person to person like a virus, accompanied by breathless endorsements and the sort of giddy joy only book lovers recognize. Well, we have our first bona-fide phenomenon thriller of 2019, the twisty, buzzy The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides.

    The Silent Patient has the bones of an old-school mystery, fused with a modern energy similar to The Girl on the Train or Gillian Flynn’s novels. It’s the sort of book you immediately want to recommend to your book club or best friend or, you know, strangers on your morning commute, just so you’ll have people to discuss it with. And then we thought, wait a sec, we’re Barnes and Noble, we can excitedly discuss the book with the author. So we reached out and sat down with Alex Michaelides himself to fanblog all over him, chatting about Agatha Christie, working as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, and, of course, the genesis of his remarkable debut novel.

    You obviously have a deep love for old-school mystery-thrillers like the works of Agatha Christie or Patricia Highsmith. How did those old-school cool novels influence The Silent Patient?

    Well, I grew up on the tiny island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean. It was before the internet, and there was nothing to do in the summers except read. I was thirteen when I discovered Agatha Christie, and devoured all of her novels over one summer at the beach. It was probably the happiest reading experience I ever had, and it made me into a reader—and, I suspect, a writer. So later on, when I began thinking about writing a novel, I knew I wanted something to replicate that experience I’d had on the beach. And the plan was to take a Christie-style plot and marry it with a deeper psychological complexity. I tried to imagine what Christie might be writing now, if she were alive and had my life experience. Of course it’s not just Christie—I’m a huge fan of Patricia Highsmith, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers, all women actually! There is something so satisfying about encountering a story that works on one level and yet when you reach the end you realize you have been looking at everything the wrong way up. I think that sleight of hand, like a magician’s trick, is what appeals to me the most.

    Like all magic tricks, at its core writing is all about process. They say write what you know, and you drew on your experience working at a therapeutic community to write The Silent Patient. How much ‘real life’ is in the story?

    I was pretty messed up as a teenager, neurotic, anxious, depressed—and I had a lot of personal therapy for many years. I also studied it a couple of places at a postgraduate level—but never finished my studies, as I felt strongly that I was a writer not a therapist. As part of my studies, I worked at a secure psychiatric facility for teenagers. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life, and certainly the most humbling. It was incredible, helping kids heal and get well—and it went a long way to healing the messed-up teenage part of myself. I didn’t know I was going to write The Silent Patient then, but later on when I knew that I wanted to write a Christie-style book, I needed an enclosed location—the kind of thing she does so brilliantly—and I suddenly thought of the psychiatric unit. And instead of a detective, I could have a psychotherapist. Everything went from there. I didn’t use any of the people I encountered at the unit, but I did use the atmosphere and the emotions that I felt while I was working there. I kept notes at the time, and that helped me a lot when I came to write the book.

    Many have noted the symbolism of a woman who doesn’t speak, combined with the themes of Alcestis in The Silent Patient, which ties into what’s going on today with #MeToo and other movements. Was this intentional?

    You know, it wasn’t intentional, as I wrote The Silent Patient before the #MeToo movement began. But there was a synchronicity there, for sure. When they were bidding for the movie rights, I had many producers, male and female, comment on the fact that Alicia does not speak and asking me how I felt it related to #MeToo. It was quite clear to me that when a person is imprisoned, and not believed, not being heard, then her only recourse is not to speak. So silence in my thinking is a last resort; the last weapon available, when everything else has been taken away from you. That was what interested me about Alicia—as well as the silence in the Greek myth of Alcestis. Alcestis dies to save her husband, and yet when she’s brought back to life at the end of Euripides’s play, she refuses to speak when confronted with her husband. Why? Is she overjoyed, overcome with emotion? Or is she deeply furious, angry with him, betrayed and hurt that he let her die? The refusal to conclude, the refusal to supply a definite answer, is so powerful, and has been haunting me my whole life.

    We hear you’re adapting your own novel for a film version—are there any special challenges to turning your own work into a different medium? Did you think about a film version as you were writing it?

    I think writing for screen and for novels is very different. A friend of mine is a critic, and he always says something I find very helpful—that screenplays are about contraction, and novels are about expansion. Meaning that for a movie you try to keep everything going, keep the plot ticking along. Whereas in a book you can slow down and go into someone’s thoughts and spend a day with them as they walk round the park or think about their life. And discovering that transformed me as a writer. I feel very much that I’m more of a novelist than a dramatist. I never really imagined it as a film. And I think the silence will be extremely challenging. Having said that, making the film is an incredible opportunity. It will be very exciting to take the book apart and put it together again for another medium. I am very pliable these days. I think you have to be, if you’re going to succeed as a writer. It’s never good to get stuck on ideas or lines or bits of dialogue.

    What’s harder—writing a novel or getting a movie made?

    I would say each is hard. The motivation to keep writing every day, for months at time, is a big part of writing a book. But it’s much harder—as in emotionally more painful—to make a movie. I personally have found film-making to be a soul destroying process. A movie with a decent script and a great cast can be derailed by production problems that are nobody’s fault. It’s heartbreaking. So the decision to write The Silent Patient was a last ditch attempt to try and be in control of the creative process from start to finish, and get away from movies. So the irony I am now writing the screenplay is not lost on me. I have a feeling it’s going to be different this time, as I’m working with some amazing people.

    Speaking of writing, The Silent Patient contains a DefCon-5 kind of plot twist that has people’s heads spinning, yet it works perfectly. Did you start with the twist, or did you start with the premise or the characters and find the twist as you outlined? What’s your position on ‘spoiler etiquette’?

    It was rather a magical moment, the way it happened. As I have said, the various strands came together—Greek Mythology, Agatha Christie, psychotherapy—and the idea was born in one moment, as I was walking through the park near where I live. I was trying to imagine a psychological detective story about a woman who doesn’t speak and the therapist trying to help her. I was trying to come up with an ending—and I remember asking myself, ‘what would Agatha Christie do?’ And then suddenly, I saw it. I sat down on the nearest bench and pulled out my phone and wrote down the whole plot, which I still have on my phone. The details changed of course, but the general movement of the story and the twist have remained the same. It was a really good day, that day.

    Regarding spoilers, I will always remember going to see The Mousetrap in London, when I was a kid. At the end of the performance, one of the actors steps forward and asks the audience not to reveal the ending to anyone else as it would spoil their enjoyment of the play. So I think it’s just good manners, don’t you?

    We do! So we’re not going to spoil The Silent Patient, we’ll just encourage everyone reading this to buy a copy immediately so we can all discuss it freely. Thanks, Alex, for taking the time to talk about your book with us!

    Shop all thrillers >

    The post Agatha Christie, Sleight of Hand, and Psychological Complexity: An Interview with <i>The Silent Patient</i> Alex Michaelides appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Brian Boone 3:00 pm on 2019/04/15 Permalink
    Tags: , agatha christie, , , , , , , , , greatest of all time, h. rider haggerd, harry potter and the sorcerer's stone, , , , she: a history of adventure, , , ,   

    How Many of These 10 Bestselling Novels of All Time Have You Read? 


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    I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but approximately more than eight kajillion books have been published since Gutenberg invented the printing the press lo, those many years ago, and most if not all are currently available for purchase and/or download on this very website. Not every single one can be a bestseller, of course, because funds are limited and we just can’t spend every last cent on books, the way we would in a perfect world. The following books are bestsellers, the stories that have engaged and delighted and enchanted so many people, generation after generation, that they sit atop the list of the most-read and most purchased books ever. How many of these important titles have you read?

    A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
    Charles Dickens created A Christmas Carol, solidifying many holiday tropes, and novels like David Copperfield serve as historical accounts of Industrial Age London, but he also wrote blockbuster novels, such as this, his most epic and ambitious work, set around the time of the French Revolution in England and France. (It was, you know, “the best of times” as well as “the worst of times.”)

    The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Tolkien’s epic, wildly imaginative but somehow deeply familiar story of good vs. evil and the powers of friendship and duty created an elaborate mythology, an entire world, and even languages. It’s essentially the first (and probably greatest) full-on fantasy novel, and without it there would be no Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or Dungeons & Dragons.

    The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    This novel has often been marketed to children because it’s easy to read, boasts unforgettable illustrations, and is short. But it’s really a book for everyone because it is so profoundly moving, this tale of a painfully sensitive and often lonely space traveler wise beyond his years, and the crashed, Saint-Exupéry-like pilot to whom he relates his adventures.

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    It’s a clever and alluring premise for sure—a modern-day Dickensian orphan finds out he’s got magical powers (and blood, and a destiny), and he’s off to attend boarding school at an institution just for wizards and witches. But who would have thought it would be become a publishing and pop cultural phenomenon never before seen and probably never again. Probably the hundreds of millions who bought the first, world-establishing book, which revels in Rowling’s hundreds of ingenious details about the Wizarding World.

    And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
    There are a lot of pioneers on this list who still hold the record for the bestselling book in the genre they created. Mystery novels are big business, and they’re so much fun, trying to figure out “whodunit” before the genius detective in the pages does…or after they do, if the book is especially well-crafted. Mystery novels still follow rules laid out by the early masters of the form: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie. Herein, eight individuals are invited to a small island off the coast of England for various reasons…and that’s when the murders begin.

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
    It’s kind of hard to believe that this was written by a guy who, in his parallel life in 1800s England, was a minister and math professor (under his real name Charles Dodgson). It’s just about the zaniest, most psychedelic tale ever told, generated from Carroll telling imaginative stories to the young daughter of a family friend named Alice. The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter—the whole madcap gang is here.

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
    This extremely engrossing and inventive tale, the opener of Lewis’s beloved series, sends a quartet of kids displaced by World War II through a bureau and into the magical world of Narnia, where they encounter centaurs, heroic lions, evil witches, biblical allegory, and some very costly Turkish Delight.

    She: A History of Adventure, by H. Rider Haggard
    Probably the least famous and least read today of the books on this list, She: A History of Adventure is a phenomenally popular book from the 19th century that didn’t itself endure, but which influenced scores of successors. A daring adventurer boasts of his journeys to a forgotten kingdom (or “lost world”) in the heart of Africa, where he and his loyal ward Leo come upon a tribe ruled by a fascinating, possibly supernatural queen.

    The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
    From the years of 2003 to 2007, was there anybody not on the beach, the subway, on an airplane, or in the park reading this fast-paced popcorn thriller about master symbologist and mystery solver Robert Langdon uncovering secret societies and the earth-shattering truths hidden in famous works of art?

    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    Salinger did the literary equivalent of a mic drop. He published one of the most widely read and analyzed cult novels of all time (everyone seems to go through a Catcher in the Rye phase in high school and college, particularly frustrated, artsy guys), and, as if to prove he wasn’t one of the “phonies” so hated by world-exploring Holden Caulfield in the book, he then went into seclusion, never to publish anything again. What a way to go out.

    How many of these bestsellers have you read?

    The post How Many of These 10 Bestselling Novels of All Time Have You Read? appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:24 pm on 2018/10/03 Permalink
    Tags: agatha christie, andy carpenter, , , Deck the Hounds, , , , , , otto penzler, , , The Big Book of Female Detectives,   

    October’s Best New Mysteries 


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    October is a month for scares and thrills—but there are scares and thrills in the world that have nothing to do with ghosts and goblins. This month’s best mysteries are here to get those goose-pimples popping and those neck hairs rising without a single witch, vampire bat, or werewolf necessary.

    November Road, by Lou Berney
    Berney spins a karmic tale about a mob fixer named Frank Guidry working in New Orleans in 1963. Guidry snips loose ends for his boss Carlos Marcello, violently if necessary. He gets the job of leaving a car in a Dallas parking lot, and after President Kennedy is assassinated he realizes he provided a getaway vehicle for the real shooter—and worse, now he’s a loose end. Trailed by Marcello’s top hitman, Guidry flees and meets up with Charlotte Roy, an unhappy but steel-tipped housewife escaping an abusive husband. As the tension rises, the two find themselves making a surprisingly effective team as they seek to survive in different ways.

    Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales, by P.D. James
    This cunning assortment of previously uncollected stories from the indomitable author of Death Comes to Pemberley is filled with tales of crimes committed long ago, complete with the chilling rationalizations that so often accompany them. Take a deep dive into the heart of a killer, and explore the push-pull in the minds of murderers, witnesses, orchestrators of the perfect crime, and unwitting victims. James’s formidable talent shines even more brightly in her shorter works.

    Deck the Hounds (Andy Carpenter Series #18), by David Rosenfelt
    Rosenfelt’s 18th Andy Carpenter novel brings Christmas to Paterson, New Jersey. Andy tries to help out a homeless man named Don Carrigan, offering the veteran and his dog the Carpenter garage apartment during the cold weather. But when Don is arrested for murder, Andy finds himself taking on a new legal client. There’s a sniper working in the area, and Andy quickly finds himself dealing with a blood-curdling series of crimes that put both Don and Andy’s lives in danger. Rosenfelt’s characters are as warm and bighearted as ever, and the holiday setting makes this a great gift for the person who has everything, especially the previous 17 Andy Carpenter books.

    The Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny
    Anyone looking to skim the cream of mystery fiction need look no further—between them, guest editor Penny and series editor Otto Penzler offer up twenty of the absolute best from the famous and the soon-to-be. Penny’s thoughtful selections feature fantastic short fiction from Michael Connelly, Martin Limón, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Andrew Klaven, Paul D. Mark, Joyce Carol Oates, Andrew Bourelle, and twelve others. The choices run the gamut from surprising reinventions of the genre to masterful exercises in the genre’s traditional beats and pleasures.

    The Big Book of Female Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler
    The legendary Otto Penzler continues his popular ‛Big Book’ series with a deep dive into detective fiction with a decidedly female-first focus; considering the current climate, the timing for such a book couldn’t be better. With authors including Agatha Christie (who offers up a delightful Tommy and Tuppence mystery), Marcia Muller (who contributes a Sharon McCone adventure), Phyllis Bentley, Charlotte Armstrong, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Mignon G. Eberhart, this anthology once again demonstrates why Penzler is the most reliable editor working in the mystery genre today.

    October isn’t just a month of tricks and treats—it’s also a month for gumshoes and gimlet-eyed private detectives. Which mysteries will you be reading this month?

    Shop all mystery and crime >

    The post October’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:30 pm on 2017/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: agatha christie, , , ,   

    10 Absolutely Essential Agatha Christie Novels 


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    Tomorrow, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express chugs into theaters with a full head of steam, and naturally, there’s been an accompanying surge of interest in the source material—perhaps the most famous of mystery master Agatha Christie’s long and stories career.

    But then, when aren’t millions of people obsessing over the fiendish cases concocted by the Grand Dame of mysteries? Every day, someone discovers her for the first time. After all, to read one Christie book is to want to read them all. Christie was a genius. She played fair with the reader even as she constructed diabolical plots loaded with so many plausible red herrings and misdirections, it’s often impossible to predict whodunnit it on your first read.

    Ah, but those first reads are glorious. If you’ve never read a Christie novel before, or if you’re simply looking to read for the cream of the crop, here are our picks for the 10 Agatha Christie books every mystery buff simply must read.

    The Murder of Roger Akroyd
    Still the greatest twist ever in the history of mystery stories, bar none. The controversy over whether Christie plays fair with the reader rages to this day—but anyone arguing that she doesn’t is just dealing with sour grapes after having their mind blown, because a reread will demonstrate that Christie never cheats with this story of a wealthy widower who is murdered in a small English town. Anyone unspoiled reader who claims to guess who the killer is before the final reveal is almost certainly lying.

    The ABC Murders
    Christie was still experimenting with form in this 1936 novel, mixing first- and third-person narration to add new levels of twisty complexity. Her legendary Inspector Hercule Poirot receives three letters detailing the serial murders of people whose initials are A.A., B.B., and C.C., and the race is on to solve the riddle before the fourth victim is killed. Containing one of the most audacious red herrings in mystery history, this novel’s solution establishes a trope Christie more or less invented, and is still used to this day by writers seeking to throw readers off the scent.

    Murder on the Orient Express
    One of Christie’s most famous novels for a reason, it remains a part of modern pop culture for two reasons: one, the devious twist behind the solution to the murder, and two, the sumptuous descriptions of a train ride, and a lifestyle long vanished from the world (while there are still train rides labeled “Orient Express,” they are mere recreations for tourists). It’s was a slower, more elegant world (assuming you had the money), and long before CSI came along to put the brilliant detectives like Poirot out of business—but in the end, it’s that absolutely amazing twist that makes this such an incredible read, even today.

    And Then There Were None
    It’s a simple premise: eight people are invited to a remote island under various pretenses, trapped there, and murdered one-by-one as punishment for past crimes they’d seemingly gotten away with. The result is widely regarded as Christie’s best book, and is today the most popular mystery novel of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold. Christie also named this book the most difficult of her novels to plan and write, which makes perfect sense once you’ve discovered the solution. The level of intricacy involved in pulling this one off makes it an absolute must-read.

    Curtain
    Hercule Poirot, the fussy, fearless Belgian detective who was Christie’s greatest creation, meets his final case. Although Christie’s writing had suffered a serious decline by the time this novel was published (just a year before her death), it’s one of her strongest works, with a twist that catches every Poirot fan off guard. This may be because Christie actually wrote it 30 years before, when she worried that World War II might, well, kill her. She wrote Poirot’s last case—setting it in the same location as his first—and locked it in a vault, bringing it out only when she knew she had no more novels in her.

    Death on the Nile
    One of Christie’s twistiest puzzles is set during a holiday in Egypt, where Hercule Poirot meets a couple being stalked by the husband’s former lover. The couple books a cruise down the Nile to escape the woman, but she follows (as does Poirot). Several murders are committed on board, including the murder of the unfortunate wife. As each crime occurs, the sense of danger and paranoia increases to a level almost impossible to withstand. It seems impossible it will all fit together in any sort of sane way—but once again, Christie proves to be smarter than all of us.

    Endless Night
    Probably the last really good book Christie wrote before her natural decline took away her genius, this is also the novel Christie herself named her favorite. Published in 1967, it’s a dark story that puts the detection in the background, as the crime is revealed to the reader only partway through. Instead, it’s a fascinating study of greed, guilt, and desperation that proves beyond a doubt that Christie was not only a great designer of mysteries, but a flat-out great writer.

    Peril at End House
    Another Poirot adventure, this one finds him investigating a series of crimes at a country estate called End House, and pivots on one of Christie’s smartest misdirections. Let’s just say always you have to be on guard against your own assumptions when reading Christie. This is one of those books where the solution almost makes everything seem too obvious—if not for the fact that, a few pages before the reveal, the atmosphere was tense with mystery, and finding the truth seemed nearly impossible.

    The Mysterious Affair at Styles
    The very first Hercule Poirot case (and Christie’s first published novel overall) is also one of her best, a story that captures a long-gone time and place—in this case, England, immediately following World War I]. A classic mystery setup sees a wealthy woman poisoned, and Poirot, a recent refugee from Belgium, called on by a friend to assist in solving the crime. As Christie’s first novel, it’s a little more concerned with scene setting and description than some of her more efficient later works, but it’s a satisfying mystery all the same, and introduces one of the greatest detective characters of all time.

    The Murder at the Vicarage
    In the first novel to feature Christie’s other famous detective, Miss Marple, someone everyone in town wanted dead turns up murdered, and there is not one but two confessors to the crime. Miss Marple is a fantastic creation—a seemingly mild, unexceptional old woman whose keen intellect catches clues others miss and makes deductive leaps others would never dream of. The determined, gentle pressure of her investigative techniques eventually bring out the truth—which is naturally something Christie made very plain, but which readers almost always misconstrue. It’s a classic.

    The post 10 Absolutely Essential Agatha Christie Novels appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 10:00 am on 2017/09/29 Permalink
    Tags: agatha christie, , , felix francis, , , , , , , , , pulse, sarah bailey, , the dark lake, , , the witches' tree: an agatha raisin mystery,   

    October’s Best New Mysteries 


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    Fall has officially begun, and if there’s a better time of year to kick back with an absorbing whodunit, we’d like to hear about it…right after we finish this chapter. Mystery lovers of all stripes will find something to keep them up late at night in the following collection of brand-new must-reads, which features everything from potboilers to cozy mysteries, and both modern and classic authors. Dig in, gumshoes!

    Pulse, by Felix Francis
    Dr. Christine Rankin, the complex and troubled narrator of Francis’ newest thriller, is pushed over the edge when a well-dressed man who was found unconscious at the local racetrack dies while under her care. No one can account for the man, and the mystery of his identity sends her into an obsessive spiral into discovering his identity—a secret that someone very dangerous is eager to protect. A fascinating story by an author at the top of his game.

    The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey
    Rosalind Ryan’s transcendent beauty made her a legend in her small rural town, but many years later, it also made her a target. As an adult Rosalind returned to Smithson High School to teach drama, and when she turns up in a local lake, dead of strangulation, it falls to lead homicide investigator Gemma Woodstock to solve the mystery of her murder. Except Gemma is a former classmate of Rosalind’s, and unraveling the puzzle of Rosalind’s strange and lonely existence stirs up Gemma’s own murky, questionable past.

    Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women, by Emily Brightwell
    Christopher Gilhaney seems to have made enemies at a recent Guy Fawkes Night dinner party—judging by the fact that he was shot dead later that night. Granted, he did spend the evening insulting every guest in attendance, to the mortification of hostess Abigail Chase. The mystery of Christopher’s murder, which is suspected to be related to a botched robbery, remains unsolved six weeks later, and Inspector Witherspoon’s expertise is called upon. But the holidays are approaching, and Witherspoon and his household at large are concerned that their holiday plans are at risk of being interrupted. Can they put this one to bed, or will the truth forever elude them?

    The Best American Mystery Stories, by John Sandford
    This riveting, carefully-curated short story collection is perfect for readers looking for high-octane, bite-sized tales that pack a serious punch. Fans of well-known authors of longer works, from C.J. Box to Joyce Carol Oates, will be delighted to discover that their talents are no less impressive in shorter formats. If you’ve got a busy month ahead of you, this best-of collection is the perfect go-to for short bursts of well-written and deliciously enigmatic stories.

    Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
    A famous train is immobilized in a snowdrift, and in the morning one of the passengers, millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett, is found stabbed to death in his compartment (which was locked from the inside). Fortunately another of the passengers is incomparable detective Hercule Poirot, whose “little grey cells” are on the case as the clock ticks down to the next murder. One of the most famous, beloved, and widely-read mystery novels by a master of the genre, if you haven’t yet read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, now is the perfect time to experience it—just in time for Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation, which hits theaters November 20.

    The Witches’ Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery, by M. C. Beaton
    Driving home from a dinner party in the village of Sumpton Harcourt, the new vicar and his wife come upon a body hanging from a tree. It belongs to an elderly spinster named Margaret Darby, and the general suspicion in the village is that the cause of death was murder, and not suicide. Agatha Raisin is happy to be on assignment (welcoming the distraction from her woeful personal life), but when two more victims turn up, the case grows more urgent—and more dangerous. And it certainly doesn’t help that Sumpton Harcourt’s residents are tightlipped when it comes to prying investigations…and it’s also home to a coven of witches.

    The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, by Peter Lovesy
    What do you get for the crime reader who has everything? How do you get your favorite armchair gumshoe into the holiday spirit? And where can you find 18 hilarious, chilling, and bizarre stories centering around suspicious mall Santas, mysterious dinner parties, and stolen diamonds? The answer to all of these questions (and so many more) is The Usual Santas, A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, an anthology featuring stories by some of your favorite Soho Press authors and their most unexpectedly twisted Christmas-themed tales.

    Parting Shot, by Linwood Barclay
    A young man swears he has no memory of stealing a Porsche and murdering a girl while inebriated—an act which devastated the small community of Promise Falls and unleashed a barrage of threats against his family. Against his better judgment, Cal Weaver reluctantly agrees to investigate the threats, but before long he finds himself sucked into a brutal quest for revenge.

    The Secret, Book & Scone Society, by Ellery Adams
    The first book in a new series that combines a few of everyone’s favorite things—books, baked goods, and deep, dark secrets. Nora Pennington resides in beautiful Miracle Springs, North Carolina, a place renowned for the healing properties of its hot springs. Nora owns Miracle books, and she has a talent for drawing out people’s stories about their lives—in exchange for her uncannily perfect book recommendations. When a businessman is found dead before he can keep his appointment with Nora, she forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, which gives members a place to turn for support and a feeling of camaraderie—as long as they first reveal their darkest secrets first. As the members of Nora’s club begin to investigate the businessman’s mysterious death, they discover a sense of community—along with some hidden dangers.

    What mysteries are keeping you up at night this fall?

    The post October’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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