Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme currently being run by the blog That Artsy Reader Girl. Put simply each Tuesday has a theme assigned to it and participating blogs have to come up with a top ten list around it. A few weeks ago looking at the forthcoming topics, I decided to join in this week and on the 7th July, as both themes suited my blog well. The titles aren’t in ranked order, it wouldn’t really be fair to rank books I haven’t read yet.

So without further ado here is my list…

No. 10: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Publisher: Viking Release Date: 3rd September)

Synopsis:

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

I have read the first chapter of this title through a book survey website called Bookmarks and I very much liked the premise and the sense of humour Osman brings to it. I can’t wait to find out what happens!

No. 9: Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz (Publisher: Century Release Date: 20th August)

Synopsis:

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend. But life isn’t as idyllic as it should be: exhausted by the responsibility of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, Susan is beginning to miss her literary life in London – even though her publishing career once entangled her in a lethal literary murder plot.

So when an English couple come to visit with tales of a murder that took place in a hotel the same day their daughter Cecily was married there, Susan can’t help but find herself fascinated.

And when they tell her that Cecily has gone missing a few short hours after reading Atticus Pund Takes The Case, a crime novel Susan edited some years previously, Susan knows she must return to London to find out what has happened.

The clues to the murder and to Cecily’s disappearance must lie within the pages of this novel.

But to save Cecily, Susan must place her own life in mortal danger…

I really enjoyed the intricate plotting of the first book in this series, Magpie Murders (2016), so I have high expectations for the next one.

No. 8: Reservation for Murder by June Wright (Publisher: Verse Chorus Press Release Date: 17th September)

Synopsis:

June Wright’s most memorable detective, Mother Paul, might seem a bit otherworldly, but little escapes the kindly nun – she has a shrewd grasp of all that goes on in the hostel for young women she runs in 1950s Melbourne. The atmosphere is already strained by a spate of anonymous letters, when Mary Allen finds a stranger stabbed to death in the garden. Then one of the girls drowns, an apparent suicide, and the tension reaches fever pitch. Is there a connection between the two deaths and the letters? The police investigate, but Mother Paul pursues her own enquiries.

I am a major fan of June Wright’s work, yet my reading of her work has been stymied by the inaccessibility of her later books. So I am very pleased that Verse Chorus Press are going to be reprinting her remaining titles.

No. 7: The Man Who Didn’t Fly by Margot Bennett (Publisher: British Library Release Date: 10th July)

Synopsis:

Four men had arranged to fly to Dublin. When their aeroplane descended as a fireball into the Irish Sea, only three of them were on board. With the identities of the passengers lost beneath the waves, a tense and perplexing investigation begins to determine the living from the dead, with scarce evidence to follow beyond a few snippets of overheard conversation and one family’s patchy account of the three days prior to the flight.

Who was the man who didn’t fly? What did he have to gain? And would he commit such an explosive murder to get it? Bennett’s ingenious mystery remains an innovative and thoroughly entertaining inversion of the classic whodunit.

The British Library’s catalogue this year has included a number of authors I have never tried before, including Margot Bennett and the write up of for this title sounded especially appealing.

No. 6: Bodies from the Library 3 ed. Tony Medawar (Publisher: Collins Crime Club Release Date: 9th July)

Synopsis:

This new volume in the Bodies from the Library series features the work of 18 prolific authors who, like Christie and Crofts, saw their popularity soar during the Golden Age. Aside from novels, they all wrote short fiction – stories, serials and plays – and although most of them have been collected in books over the last 100 years, here are the ones that got away…

In this book you will encounter classic series detectives including Colonel Gore, Roger Sheringham, Hildegarde Withers and Henri Bencolin; Hercule Poirot solves ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball’; Roderick Alleyn returns to New Zealand in a recently discovered television drama by Ngaio Marsh; and Dorothy L. Sayers’ chilling ‘The House of the Poplars’ is published for the first time.

With a full-length novella by John Dickson Carr and an unpublished radio script by Cyril Hare, this diverse collection concludes with some early ‘flash fiction’ commissioned by Collins’ Crime Club in 1938. Each mini story had to feature an orange, resulting in six very different tales from Peter Cheyney, Ethel Lina White, David Hume, Nicholas Blake, John Rhode and – in his only foray into writing detective fiction – the publisher himself, William Collins.

Having thoroughly enjoyed Bodies from the Library 1 and 2, my top ten list would not have been complete without the forthcoming sequel. As you can see we are in for a treat with this latest collection not just in terms of the authors included, but in the wide variety of prose styles. The Collins Crime Club flash fiction collection certainly sounds intriguing!

No. 5: British Detective Fiction 1891-1901: The Successors to Sherlock Holmes by Clare Clarke (Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Release Date: 30th July)

Synopsis:

This book examines the developments in British serial detective fiction which took place in the seven years when Sherlock Holmes was dead. In December 1893, at the height of Sherlock’s popularity with the Strand Magazine’s worldwide readership, Arthur Conan Doyle killed off his detective. At the time, he firmly believed that Holmes would not be resurrected. This book introduces and showcases a range of Sherlock’s most fascinating successors, exploring the ways in which a huge range of popular magazines and newspapers clamoured to ensnare Sherlock’s bereft fans. The book’s case-study format examines a range of detective series– created by L.T. Meade; C.L. Pirkis; Arthur Morrison; Fergus Hume; Richard Marsh; Kate and Vernon Hesketh-Prichard― that filled the pages of a variety of periodicals, from plush monthly magazines to cheap newspapers, in the years while Sherlock was dead. Readers will be introduced to an array of detectives―professional and amateur, male and female, old and young; among them a pawn-shop worker, a scientist, a British aristocrat, a ghost-hunter. The study of these series shows that there was life after Sherlock and proves that there is much to learn about the development of the detective genre from the successors to Sherlock Holmes.

The Sherlock Holmes stories were my gateway drug into the wider world of classic crime fiction and the literary culture within which they were written is something I have been interested in since my university days. So it is no surprise that this book sounds like it is right up my street.

No. 4: The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain (Publisher: Gallic Books Release Date: 22nd September)

Synopsis:

When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.

But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story …

I’ve enjoyed two or three by this author, so my ears certainly pricked up when I saw that this might possibly enter the realms of crime fiction. Time will tell…

No.3: Jeeves and the Leap of Faith by Ben Schott (Publisher: Hutchinson Release Date: 15th October)

Synopsis:

The Drones club’s in peril. Gussie’s in love. Spode’s on the war-path. Oh, and His Majesty’s Government needs a favour. I say – it’s a good thing Bertie’s back!

One man – and his Gentleman’s Personal Gentleman – valiantly set out to save the Drones, thwart Spode and nobly assist His Majesty’s Government.

From the mean streets of Mayfair to the scheming spires of Cambridge we encounter a joyous cast of characters: chiselling painters and criminal bookies, eccentric philosophers and dodgy clairvoyants, appalling poets and pocket dictators, vexatious aunts and their vicious hounds.

Replete with a Times crossword, and classic Schottian endnotes, you hold in your hands the most blissfully entertaining means to while away an idle hour.

P.G. Wodehouse has long been a panacea for the woes of the world… have we ever needed a new Jeeves and Wooster more?

This is another case where I loved the first book in the series and I can’t wait to read the next instalment!

No. 2: Footsteps in the Night/Beat Back by Tide by Dolores Hitchens (Publisher: Stark House Press Release Date: 24th July)

Synopsis:

FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT

The Southern California land had been in Dronk’s family for years, but he sold most of it to developers, and that’s how Dellwood came to be. Once a few new houses went up, they flocked to buy… Miss Silverter, the repressed spinster with a hidden passion. The brash, young Arthur family, including their stubborn old grandfather. The Holdens, a curious couple who feed off each other’s weaknesses. And the tightly-wound Bartletts, with their beautiful young daughter, who immediately befriends Dronk’s crippled teenage son. When she disappears one evening, the Bartletts naturally assume that the son is involved. But Dellwood is so full of secrets that the son is only one of Sheriff Ferguson’s suspects. They’re all guilty of something…

BEAT BACK THE TIDE

Glazer hires Francesca Warne as governess to his young son without realizing that she has a history with his cliff house. Her husband Adam had been shot to death on the beach below, back before Glazer bought it. Now she is asking Glazer to help her find out what really happened two years ago. So Glazer begins questioning the people involved: lovely, sensuous Mary Shelton, who married one of the men who used to own his house; the sadistic cop, Byronson, who still thinks Francesca was involved; pugnacious Conway, the other former owner, who knows more than he is telling; and Tremaine, Adam’s only friend. Glazer quickly learns that Adam Warne was a self-hating drunk who had been despised by most of the town—but who hated him enough to have killed him?

This is perhaps a bit of a sneaky one, as it includes two novels, but I was introduced to Hitchens work through the Stark House Press last year, and I look forward to exploring more of her work.

No. 1: Fear and Trembling by Brian Flynn (Publisher: Dean Street Press Release Date: October)

Synopsis:

David Somerset, an industrial chemist, meets a mysterious syndicate in the village of East Brutton in Gloucestershire. The meeting contains threats, veiled and otherwise, and offers of significant amounts of money. What exactly does David Somerset have to sell?

When Somerset fails to return to London and his son Geoffrey disappears on the same day, the firm’s concerns are justified when the pair of them are found dead. With the villain’s (villains’ ?) sights now set on the other son, Gerald, it falls to Anthony Bathurst to track down the mysterious syndicate and unmask a cunning murderer. But he’s a little distracted by a femme fatale…*

*This synopsis comes from the Puzzle Doctor’s review of this title, which you can read in full here.

In 2019 the Dean Street Press reprinted Flynn’s first ten mysteries, and this October they are due to release the next ten. I was wondering which of these upcoming titles to read first, so I decided to get expert advice and the Puzzle Doctor, (who writes the introductions to these reprints), selected this title.

Publisher and release date information has come from Amazon, (bar no. 1), so if there are any errors let me know!

Is anyone else looking forward to some of these titles? Which different titles would you add to the list?

29 comments

  1. Definitely looking forward to the Osman and the Horowitz novels — ordered them months ago. My list would have James Scott Byrnside’s new novel The Strange Case of the Barrington Hills Vampire on it, too. Also, The Lost Gallows by Carr is being riessued…woo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m intrigued by the Osman – he always comes across as a very clever guy and I feel like he wouldn’t do a detective story unless it was very good. I’m looking forward to The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars and The Red Right Hand from American Mystery Classics and The Decagon House Murders from Pushkin Vertigo and I think one of the Flynns is a serial killer tale so I’d definitely get that one. When I saw the title of your post I was “Oh no, ten more books to add to the wishlist” but I was already aware of most of these.

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha yes I did have similar thoughts about Osman! I did consider AMC, but I have already read the Boucher title. I didn’t realise TDHM was being re-reprinted, as Locked Rooms International did an edition a few years ago.

      Like

  3. Thanks for flagging these imminent publications. 🤩 I had #10, 9 and 8 on my to-watch-out-for list; I’m inclined to add #4 to my list too.

    Other titles I have on my list that might be of interest: I’m keen to get my hands on Stuart Turton’s “Devil and Dark Water”, Alex Pavesi’s “Eight Detectives”, Christopher Huang’s “Cat’s Paw”, Ann Cleeves’s upcoming Vera novel, as well as Kate Ellis’s upcoming (and final?) instalment for the Albert Lincoln series. 🧐✨

    Liked by 1 person

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