Favorite Quotes

"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight. "

— Robertson Davies

Reader's Link - May 2011 Staff Picks Archive

Finding Roseanna


Title: Roseanna
By: Maj Sjöwall

After purchasing the complete set of Martin Beck mysteries on audio for the library, I found my curiosity piqued by the lasting charm of the series by Maj Sjöwall and her husband Per Wahlöö. During the period of 1965 to 1975, the couple wrote one 30-chapter mystery every year. The whole series is designed to be read as one epic story. It is also intended to be served as a mirror of Swedish society, which, despite its endeavor for advocating social democracy, suffers from the same problems of inequality and crime as in other Western countries.

However, the consistently entertaining tales, serious mystery solving, and above all, the life of First Detective Inspector Martin Beck of National Homicide Bureau, have won many loyal readers for over half a century. They set the tone for later Swedish writers like Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, i.e., allowing us non-Swedes to critique its culture while having a great time.

In this sense, Roseanna (1965) is especially worth reading. It is the first of ten Martin Beck series. The plot is very simple: while working in Lake Vättern, a dredger unearthed the body of an unknown murdered young woman. Lacking the identity of both victim and killer, Inspector Beck and his team had very little to go on with the murder case. Three months later, however, with international cooperation, Beck traced the victim’s identity to Lincoln, Nebraska. Six months and nineteen days later, he managed to trap a murderer whose strong sense of propriety was offended by the victim’s free-spirit and casual attitude toward sex. Two distinctive features of the series have revealed themselves: Beck’s police procedure with a few local and international twists, and reliance on a collective crime solving method by Beck and his ensemble.

The whole ten Beck’s mysteries are:

1. Roseanna (Roseanna, 1965)
2. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Mannen som gick upp i rök, 1966)
3. The Man on the Balcony (Mannen på balkongen, 1967)
4. The Laughing Policeman (Den skrattande polisen, 1968) (Edgar Award, Best Novel, (1971)
5. The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Brandbilen som försvann, 1969)
6. Murder at the Savoy (Polis, polis, potatismos!, 1970)
7. The Abominable Man (Den vedervärdige mannen från Säffle, 1971)
8. The Locked Room (Det slutna rummet, 1972)
9. Cop Killer (Polismördaren, 1974)
10. The Terrorists (Terroristerna, 1975)

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,mystery
Posted by Hui-Lan on May 12, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.

In the Name of Blue Demon

City of Fear

Title: City of Fear
By: David Hewson

Rome was under siege in the heat of tourist season and on the eve of the G8 summit. In the name of the Blue Demon to revive Etruscan civilization, a group of terrorists started a series of deadly attacks on the city’s officials and people, the presidential palace, the conference, and history.

Thirty-year-old Detective Nic Costa was called in personally by President Dario Sordi, a friend of his late father, to restore peace to the Eternal City. After much blood-shed, numerous fights and escapes, little did Nic know that he actually held the key to reveal the ghost of the Blue Demon, a powerful political organization in Italy, "The men behind the Blue Demon are quietly seizing every institution, carving up the proceeds between them, hoping to make sure this nation will remain theirs for generations." (p. 367)

So far, there have been nine titles in Nic Costa mysteries by David Hewson. Although living in Kent, England, Hewson is known to feature police officers in solving crimes and murders in Venice and Rome. A Season for the Dead (2003) marks the debut of Nic Costa, while the Villa of Mysteries (2004) introduces his new partners, Vice-inspector Gianni Peroni, Inspector Leo Falcone and pathologist Teresa Lupo. City of Fear is book eight in the series, in which readers can witness the maturity of Costa through his family history and life stories.

Nic Costa series

A Season for the Dead (2003)
The Villa of Mysteries (2004)
The Sacred Cut (2005)
The Lizard’s Bite (2006)
The Seventh Sacrament (2007)
The Garden of Evil (2008)
The Dante Killings (Dante's Numbers in UK) (2008)
City of Fear (The Blue Demon in UK) (2009)
The Fallen Angel (2011)

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,mystery
Posted by Hui-Lan on May 5, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.

Book Kits

To help your book discussion group, we've gathered a collection of popular paperback titles and sorted them into kits which can be sent to you upon request.

Learn more... Browse titles...

Upcoming Book Events...

Wed, Jan. 17

Sat, Jan. 20