Brenda's Staff Picks

Brenda Jordan at Murder By The Book since 2009

After years of reading only True Crime, I slowly moved to mystery novels. Now, I primarily read British, Historical, Foreign and Espionage novels. From Peter James to Alan Bradley, Geraldine Brooks to Mark Pryor, Kate Morton to Amor Towles, Martin Walker to Daniel Silva, each author offers his/her unique ability to tell a story well. And, the well-written, well-told story is what I want!

Whether fast-paced, intense, poignant, charming— I know the story has “it” when I can’t get it out of my mind. What’s better than the anticipation of a new book by a favorite author, or the unexpected find of a great book by a new author? Nothing! That’s what it’s all about.

Brenda's 2020 Top Ten:

  1. Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  2. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
  3. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
  4. Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
  5. Murder in Chianti by Camilla Trinchieri
  6. The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart
  7. Death and the Maiden by Ariana Franklin/Samatha Norman
  8. The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos
  9. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  10. Firewatching by Russ Thomas

Check out Brenda's Recommendations Playlist on the MBTB YouTube channel.

Staff Pick Badge
Ghosts of Harvard: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525510383
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 22nd, 2021

This one has it all - suspense, thriller, ghosts and mystery. What could be better? - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
An Irish Hostage: A Novel (Bess Crawford Mysteries #12) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062859853
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - July 6th, 2021

Well, the War is over and Bess is waiting for permission to continue her work.  In the meantime, sh'e has been invited to Ireland to attend the wedding of a former colleague - Eileen Flynn.  But, since the Uprising of 1916, the English are not welcome in Ireland.  And, anyone who served in France is considered a traitor.  

After much discussion, Bess is allowed to go.  But, on arrival, Bess finds a divided house.  Eileen is distraught because fiancee Michael Sullivan has gone missing.  Michael’s best man - his British commanding officer -  and Bess are not welcome, and Eileen’s cousin Terrence, who was a hero in the Uprising, is still being hunted by the British.

With tensions rising, will Bess be able to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Michael?  Who else will go missing?  And, will Bess be able to get home?

An Irish Hostage is number 12 in the Bess Crawford series and it’s obvious the Todds have much more in store for Bess. - Brenda

The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway Mysteries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358237051
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - June 29th, 2021

Ruth is back as Head of Archeology at the University of Norfolk.  There’s not much Ruth dislikes more than a bunch of amateur metal detectorists…and now one such group calling themselves the Night Hawks has uncovered some Bronze Age artifacts on the beach.    But, along with this find comes the discovery of a recently deceased body, washed up on the shore.  Ruth is called in to verify the archeological find and Nelson is called in to investigate the death.  And, so it begins.

Thirteenth in the Ruth Galloway series, Griffiths has once again given the readers a look into the lives of the main characters - both professional and personal.   I can’t wait for the next installment.  Griffiths always excels! - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
The Bombay Prince (A Perveen Mistry Novel #3) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781641291057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Crime - June 1st, 2021

It’s 1921 and  Bombay is experiencing civil unrest regarding Prince Edward’s tour of India.  As his procession passes through the streets of Bombay, an 18-year-old female Parsi student Is found dead at her college, believed to have fallen from a second floor balcony to the ground while attempting to see the Prince.  However, the victim - Freny Cuttingmaster - had visited Perveen only days before.  She wanted to know whether the college could expel her is she did not attend the procession.  When it’s determined that her death was not accidental, Perveen feels a responsibility to Freny’s parents to find her murderer.  

It’s another case for Perveen.  And Massey has given us another look at Bombay in the early 1900s - views regarding religion, politics and women rights.  If you’ve not read Massey, be sure to pick up a copy of the first book in the series - The Widows of Malabar Hill. You will immediately want more! - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
Who is Maud Dixon?: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316500319
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 2nd, 2021

Florence Harrow is a wanna-be writer, currently working as a low level employee in a publishing house.  An extraordinary opportunity presents itself when she is given the chance to work for Maud Dixon, the pseudonym for an unnamed author, who has written an instant best seller.  Who is Maud Dixon?  Only her publicist knows.  So, leaving her mundane life behind, Florence sets off to aid Maud in her newest book endeavor.  

But when Florence wakes up in the hospital, and no one knows where Maud is - things become a bit more complicated.

Well-written, with twists galore, Who Is Maud Dixon will keep you guessing until the very end.  Loved it! - Brenda