The Usual Suspects Mystery Reading Group has two award winners up for discussion this fall.
This coming Sunday, September 16th, at 2 p.m. our title will be The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin, which was the winner of the this year's Edgar Award for Best Novel.
It is set in 1836. Europe is modernizing and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world, an investigator who can walk with ease in the great halls of the empire, in its streets, and even within its harems—because Yashim is a eunuch.
His investigation points to the Janissaries, who, for four hundred years were the empire's elite soldiers. Crushed by the sultan, could they now be staging a brutal comeback? And can they be stopped without throwing Istanbul into political chaos?
This first book in the Investigator Yashim series is a richly entertaining mystery, full of exotic history and intrigue. A second book, The Snake Stone, is expected in mid-October.
On Sunday, October 21st our title will be The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard, which was the winner of this year's Agatha Award for Best Novel.
It is set in Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987. In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl. It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave; some even believe that her spirit can cure deadly illnesses.
But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the body was found, leaving behind his distraught girlfriend, Abby Reynolds? Why do the town’s three most powerful men – Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former Sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge Tom Newquist – all seem to be hiding the details of that night?
Three families, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences in this remarkable novel of suspense.
This is a stand-alone novel from Nancy Pickard, who is the creator of the acclaimed Jenny Cain mystery series She has also won an Anthony Award for Say No to Murder, a Macavity Award for Marriage is Murder, and two Agatha Awards for Best Novel, for Bum Steer (1990) and I.O.U. (1991).
I hope you can join us. Even if you don’t have time to read (or re-read) the books please feel free to take advantage of an opportunity to meet with some fellow mystery fans.
To reserve a copy of either book, call 291-4821.