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.

Moonflower Murders: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062955456
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 10th, 2020

Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller with echoes of Agatha Christie from New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz.

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life.

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The Jane Austen Society: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250248732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 26th, 2020


"This novel delivers sweet, smart escapism."

The Thursday Murder Club: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984880963
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - September 22nd, 2020

"A little beacon of pleasure in the midst of the gloom...SUCH FUN!"
--Kate Atkinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Sky

Amazon Best Mystery Thriller Suspense 2020

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to...

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Eight Perfect Murders: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062838209
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - March 3rd, 2020

A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2020

“Swanson rips us from one startling plot twist to the next… A true tour de force.” —Lisa Gardner

"Fiendish good fun." —Anthony Horowitz

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Murder in Chianti (A Tuscan Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781641291798
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Crime - July 7th, 2020

Meet Nico Doyle, a former New York City Police homicide detective, who has moved to the heart of Chianti, to the village of Gravigna.  After the death of his wife Rita, he's uprooted and moved to her hometown in hopes of grieving and healing.  An avid cook, helping in Rita's aunt's restaurant has made Nico feel welcome. 

Early one morning he hears a gunshot in the woods near his cabin. The insistent barking of a dog leads him to the body of a dead man, clad in gold tennis shoes.  When the small white dog refuses to leave Nico's side, he lies to the police and claims he's the dog's owner.

It's not long before Nico is pulled into the police investigation by Salvatore Perillo, the local maresciallo.  Identity of the dead man reveals he was no stranger to residents of Gravigna.  

Food, wine, friends, a dog -- perfect for Martin Walker's Bruno fans. I hope this isn't the last we've heard from Nico. - Brenda 

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The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne: A Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250142818
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - August 4th, 2020

In 1703 London, Sir Barnaby Mayne, a most revered scientist and collector of rare artifacts, has amassed an extensive collection of bones, rare gems/stones and books. By invitation only, collectors, scientists and the curious are allowed into his world to observe his life's work.  

But not all who visit are what they seem.  Stabbed to death, Mayne's body is discovered while an unattended tour of his collection is in progress. It's botanist and friend Cecily Cay who is determined to find Mayne's killer. But, the deeper she digs, the more danger she encounters.

Beautifully written, Hart's atmospheric tale places the reader in Mayne's world.  Well done! - Brenda

Death and the Maiden (Mistress of the Art of Death) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062562388
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - October 20th, 2020

" appropriate homage"Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

“Medieval-mystery writing at its best.”—New York Daily News

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The Mystery of Henri Pick (Walter Presents) Cover Image
By David Foenkinos, Sam Taylor (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781782275824
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pushkin Press - September 1st, 2020

For fans of The Awkward Squad, pick up a copy of The Mystery of Henri Pick.  This quirky, witty, poignant novel is perfect for those who love to read books about books.  Set in Brittany in the small town of Crozon, editor Delphine Despero  is on holiday with her family.  The Crozon library houses a section devoted to rejected manuscripts, a place where unpublished authors can leave their work, saved for prosperity.

It is in this section that Delphine finds a gem - a manuscript written by the late Henri Pick, a local pizza chef.  

Taken back to Paris and published, the novel becomes an oversight sensation.  But journalist and sceptic Jean-Michel Rouche heads to Crozon to investigate the story surrounding the found manuscript.  What ensues is a witty, quirky and tender story.

A real delight and perfect summer read, pick up a copy now! - Brenda

The Guest List: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062868930
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - June 2nd, 2020




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Firewatching (A Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler Novel #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525542025
Availability: Able to Backorder
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 25th, 2020

"A pitch-perfect blend of the best of the old and the best of the new--all the traditional strengths and charms are here, with a fresh and relevant twenty first-century edge. I loved it."--Lee Child