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 2021 Top Ten:

1. We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker
2. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
3. Left You Dead by Peter James
4. A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz
5. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
6. The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson
7. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
8. The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett
9. The Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
10. The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

Find of the Year:

The William Warwick series by Jeffrey Archer 

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

Nine Lives: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062980076
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - March 15th, 2022

Reminiscent of Christie’s And Then There Were None, Swanson, author of best-selling Eight Perfect Murders, once again gives us a grand example of his ingenuity and skill.  Don’t miss this one! - Brenda

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Bloomsbury Girls: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250276698
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 17th, 2022

Author of The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner has an new equally charming novel - The Bloomsbury Girls.  Set in 1950 London, Evie, Grace and Vivien are the three women employees of Bloomsbury Books, a hundred-plus-year-old bookstore in the heart of London.  Run by men and currently guided by the general manager’s 51 unbreakable rules, the ladies believe the bookstore should be changing with the times.  

Literary icons of the age - Du Maurier, Doubleday, Blair (widow of Orwell) and Guggenheim are leading the way for women to be taken seriously in their endeavors, and the ladies of the bookstore hang on to their coat tails to forge a way forward with Bloomsbury Books.  

Absolutely delightful - if you loved The Jane Austen Society, you’ll definitely need to pick up a copy of The Bloomsbury Girls.  - Brenda

The Maid: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593356159
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - January 4th, 2022

What a way to start 2022!  Molly Gray is a 25-year-old maid, employed by a most exclusive hotel.  Loyal and hardworking, Molly prides herself on doing the best job she can, while remaining pleasant and helpful to all those around her.  But Molly’s social skills and misinterpretation of others' actions lands her right in the middle of a murder investigation — as the police target her as their main suspect.  Fortunately, Molly has a few true friends who come to her aid.  But will their help be enough to exonorate Molly?

Told simply with humor creeping in ever-so-slyly…The Maid is an excellent way to start your 2022 reading! - Brenda

The Magnolia Palace: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593184011
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton - January 25th, 2022

In typical Davis form, The Magnolia Palace pulls the reader into her world.  And, this world - this year, is one of my favorite Davis novels…a great read to start off 2022! - Brenda

The Windsor Knot: A Novel (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063050013
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 8th, 2022

What an unexpected delight! 

 A quote from the back of the book:   “S J Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen:  kind yet worldly, decisive, shrewd, and most important, a great judge of character.”  There’s no way to say it better.  - Brenda

All the Queen's Men: A Novel (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063051140
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - March 1st, 2022

After last year’s The Windsor Knot, this year Bennett gives us All The Queen’s Men.  It’s 2016, and the Queen is back at Buckingham Palace (for those in the know - BP), and this book begins with Her Majesty’s attempt to recover a small beloved painting that used to hang on the hall wall opposite her bedroom.  It’s turned up in an exhibition and it’s argued that the Queen is mistaken in her claim.  Time to call in Rozie, her private personal secretary.  

Add to Rozie’s investigation for the Queen - there’s a matter of several female staff members receiving disturbing letters.  When one of the targeted women is found dead near the BP swimming pool, the Royal Investigative Team gets to work.  The Queen calls in Chief Inspector Strong (who was instrumental in the earlier crime at Windsor Castle.  As all parties go about investigating the crime, it is Queen Elizabeth who once again proves she is the most clever sleuth. - Brenda

We Begin at the End Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250759665
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - March 2nd, 2021

Winner of the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel from the Crime Writers’ Association (UK)
Winner for Best International Crime Fiction from Australian Crime Writers Association
An Instant New York Times Bestseller

A Game of Fear: A Novel (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries #24) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062905598
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - February 1st, 2022

USA Today Bestseller

In this newest installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge is faced with his most perplexing case yet: a murder with no body, and a killer who can only be a ghost.