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.

Staff Pick Badge
Next in Line By Jeffrey Archer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780008526184
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - September 27th, 2022

The fifth book in the William Warwick series, this episode is set in 1988.  At the height of Royal fever, Scotland Yard is tasked with investigating the Royal Protection Agency (responsible for the Royal family’s protection).  And William’s right hand man and unconventional officer - Ross Hogan - finds himself with the express duty of Princess Di’s protective companion.  But, as the assignment unfolds, Ross and William find betrayal in the Royal Protection Agency…and more worrying - a covert operation to undermine the Crown.  

As usual, excellent dialogue rules Archer’s books!  If you’ve not read Archer, pick up the first book in the William Warwick series - Nothing Ventured. I’m a fan! - Brenda

Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives By Rick Bleiweiss Cover Image
ISBN: 9798200991990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blackstone Publishing - June 28th, 2022

One of my favorites: For armchair detective fans, pick up a copy of  Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss ($28.99). He solves crimes while sitting in the local barbershop.  Throw in 2 barbers, a shoe-shine guy, a journalist, and a pretty bookseller and you've got the setting. Quirky—think Christopher Fowler, Sophie Henaff and Fred Vargas.  Delightful!

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Metropolis: A Novel By B. A. Shapiro Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616209582
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - May 17th, 2022

A book you may have missed: Metropolis  by B. A. Shapiro ($27.95) begins with the auctioning of unclaimed property in four self storage units. Follow the mysteries associated with six people -- the owner of the self-storage building - the Metropolis, his receptionist and four individuals whose units are being auctioned. From the author of The Art Forger…another unique and entertaining read.

Die Around Sundown: A Henri Lefort Mystery (Henri Lefort Mysteries) By Mark Pryor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250824820
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - August 16th, 2022

My upcoming pick: Fans of Mark Pryor — get ready.  His new book Die Around Sundown  ($27.99) will be out August 16th. Set in German-occupied Paris in 1940, Inspector Henri LeFort is given the assignment to solve a murder of a German soldier found in the Louvre. But, the Germans will not allow him inside the Louvre and have given him a list of 5 suspects and only 5 days to solve the crime.  Witty, sarcastic and smart — don’t miss this one! - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
The Murder Rule: A Novel By Dervla McTiernan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063042209
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - May 10th, 2022

New on McTiernan’s horizon is The Murder Rule. Hannah Rokeby is a third year law student in Maine.  Wanting to work for the Innocence Project, she submits an application to the University of Virginia where she hopes to become a Project volunteer.  Their work - investigating requests from prisoners who claim their innocence.  And, Hannah is accepted into the program.  But are her motives to free a convicted felon, or see that he remains in prison for life?

As I’ve said before, McTiernan just gets better with each new book.  And, The Murder Rule is her best yet!  If you haven’t read her, pick up a copy of The Ruin, first in a series featuring Cormac Reilly.   Good job, Dervla! - Brenda

Nothing Ventured (William Warwick Novels #1) By Jeffrey Archer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250753434
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 8th, 2020

Nothing Ventured heralds the start of a brand new series in the style of Jeffrey Archer’s #1 New York Times bestselling Clifton Chronicles: introducing Detective William Warwick. But this is not a detective story, this is a story about the making of a detective . . .

Staff Pick Badge
The Marlow Murder Club: A Novel By Robert Thorogood Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728250519
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - May 3rd, 2022

Think a spunky Miss Marple…77-year-old Judith Potts lives on the banks of the River Thames.  She’s a crossword puzzle creator, loves jigsaws, crosswords, whiskey and swimming (in the nude) in the River Thames, daily.  One evening, Judith was swimming and heard (coming from a neighbor’s property) a plea, and then a gunshot.  She had witnessed a murder.  

When police are less than willing to share information with Judith, she decides she’ll solve the murder herself.  Aided by a local dog-walker, Suzie, and the vicar’s wife Becks, Judith is unstoppable.  

Delightful!  A perfect easy summer read - witty, well-crafted and fun! - Brenda

The Hidden Man (A Jason Kolarich Novel #1) By David Ellis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425237410
Availability: Special Order
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 4th, 2011

A finalist for the LA Times Book Prize

A little girl, snatched from her bed in the dead of night...