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 2022 Top Ten:

  1. Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor
  2. The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
  3. The Maid by Nita Prose
  4. Pignon Scorbion and the Barber Shop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss
  5. The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman
  6. The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
  7. Metropolis by B.A. Shapiro
  8. Look Closer by David Ellis
  9. The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz
  10. The Cloisters by Katy Hays

Find of the Year: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

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

Staff Pick Badge
The Puzzle of Blackstone Lodge (Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mysteries) By Martin Edwards Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728271040
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - August 1st, 2023

A present story of 1930 and a past story of 1606 - a man vanishes from a locked gatehouse.  Same gatehouse - 300 years apart.  When journalist Nell Fagan latches on to the mystery of Blackstone Lodge, she travels there to investigate.  But Nell becomes the latest victim when she is murdered.  Leave it to Rachel Savernake to solve one or more of these crimes.

Fourth in the Savernake series, Edwards once again gives us a good story with Rachel’s ability to entertain us while she goes about her business of investigation.  Martin Edwards at his best! - Brenda

Staff Pick Badge
Murder Before Evensong: A Canon Clement Mystery By The Reverend Richard Coles Cover Image
ISBN: 9781803364827
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Titan Books - July 11th, 2023

Canon Daniel Clement is the rector of Champton.  The quiet village is suddenly divided when Clement announces the desire to place toilets inside the church.  The biggest opposition - the church flower ladies who want the proposed expanded area for flower arranging.  But soon everyone has other things on their minds when a cousin of the church patron is found dead in the back of the church — a pair of pruning shears the probable weapon.

For a light-hearted summer read, pick up a copy of Murder Before Evensong.  You’ll love the sarcastic, witty and annoying mother of Canon Clement.  Patience, Canon….. - Brenda

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The Dark Edge of Night: A Henri Lefort Mystery (Henri Lefort Mysteries #2) By Mark Pryor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250825049
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - August 15th, 2023

Author of Die Around Sundown, Mark Pryor hands us the sequel The Dark Side of Night.  It’s winter 1940 in Paris and once again Police Inspector Henri Lefort is tasked with another case - ordered by the Gestapo.  This time Henri is to find a missing neurologist, Dr. Victor Brandt, who is involved in a secret project at a hospital in Paris.    

Never one to put a Nazi order above his own cases, Lefort once again goes about this investigation with the wit, sarcasm and ire for the Germans that he displayed in his first book.  But it becomes very real, very quickly, that Lefort’s own cases are connected to the missing Dr. Brandt.

A truly unforgettable character, Henri is every bit as delightful as he was in Die Around Sundown.  I’m a long-standing Mark Pryor fan and definitely a Henri Lefort fan, as well.  Well done, Mark! - Brenda

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