Death's door, by Jim Kelly [audiobook]. Read by Roger May. Oxford: Isis, 2012.
On a hot August day in 1994, 76 holidaymakers travel to an island off the North Norfolk coast; only 75 come back. 20 years later, the cold case is revived with the aid of DNA evidence off a beach towel, and the survivors are invited for a mass screening. One of them, Marianne Osborne, is found dead in her bed. Is there a link? As ever, the North Norfolk coast is like another character in this book featuring DI Shaw and DS Valentine, and the finale comes as a genuine surprise.
I am half sick of shadows, by Alan Bradley. [S.l.]: Anchor Canada, 2012.
Flavia de Luce, eleven-year-old chemist and amateur sleuth, is engaged in a plot to trap Santa Claus in the chimneys of her family's crumbling pile at Buckford. Meanwhile, her father has found a way of shoring up the family's fortunes by renting out the stately home to a visiting film company, including the star Phyllis Wyvern. The whole village turns up to see a charity show at Buckford, and is then snowed in; and in the morning, Ms Wyvern is found dead. Flavia investigates. This is a lovely book - Flavia shouldn't be an engaging character, but her combination of innocence and bookish knowledge are quite delightful, and the rest of the cast of characters are quite fascinating.
Faithless, by Karin Slaughter [audiobook]. Read by LJ Ganser. Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper, 2006.
Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver are walking in the woods when they stumble (literally) upon a buried box which contains the body of a teenage girl; it's obvious that the girl was buried alive. The girl's family are part of an isolated religious community, one which likes to keep its secrets to itself. Also investigating is Lena Adams, a woman who has secrets of her own to hide. As ever, Slaughter writes a well-constructed, fast-paced thriller with some interesting characters.
Winter in Madrid, by C J Sansom. Kindle edition.
Harry Brett, a traumatised Dunkirk veteran, is sent back to Madrid as a spy; previously, he'd been there during the Spanish Civil War. His quarry is Sandy Forsyth, a former schoolmate. Sandy's "wife" Barbara has her own secrets - she's discovered that her ex-boyfriend Bernie Piper, a soldier with the International Brigades, may still be alive in a prison camp, and is determined to rescue him. This is a dense, intertwined novel, and very moving in parts. I found the ending somewhat disappointing, but it's a good read for all that.
The death of Lucy Kyte, by Nicola Upson [audiobook]. Read by Sandra Duncan. Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper, 2013.
Josephine Tey has inherited her godmother's house in Suffolk; her godmother was an actress who specialised in playing Maria Martin, the victim of the Murder in the Red Barn, in melodrama. The house overlooks the site of the Red Barn, and there's something very odd about it. Josephine begins to investigate, and becomes entwined in the life of both her godmother and the writer of a mysterious diary. I love these books, and the combination of a historical mystery and a real-life figure is something I think Ms Tey would approve...