For Mysteries & More!

Recommended Reads

Discover new authors (or revisit old favorites) with The Poisoned Martini ‘s newest monthly feature: Recommended Reads.  Perhaps these suggested titles will expand your reading list.


Spotlight on Soho Press!

Founded in 1986, Soho Press publishes literary fiction and, under the Soho Crime imprint, international mysteries.  Travel the globe in the pages of these mysteries by authors foreign and domestic.  Experience Italy and Spain during the second World War.  Expose secrets in Slovakia and South Africa.  Examine the clues in Alaska and Scandinavia.  Execrate the conflicts that plague Northern Ireland and Palestine.  Explore the world of mysteries with these 12 armchair travel destinations…

A Mortal Terror by James R. Benn (2011) – This sixth book in the series brings US Army Lieutenant Billy Boyle to Italy in 1943.  Two American officers are murdered in seemingly separate crimes but for the single playing card left behind at each crime scene.  As the Allied invasion of Anzio begins, Billy must unmask a serial killer before the killings escalate and potentially derail the war effort.

Murder in Montmartre by Cara Black (2006) – In her sixth outing, Paris PI Aimée Leduc sets out to clear her childhood friend, Laure, now a policewoman, of murder charges.  Laure accompanied her partner, Jacques, to a meeting in Montmartre with an informer.  Jacques was shot and killed.  Not only was Laure’s gun fired, she also has gun residue on her hands.  To unravel the case, Aimee navigates the seedy Montmartre neighborhood, encountering Corsican separatists, prostitutes, and a boy who may have witnessed the murder.  The first Aimée Leduc mystery, Murder in the Marais, appeared in 1998.  Each book is primarily set in one of Paris’ 20 arrondissements.

Red Jade by Henry Chang (2010) – A seemingly simple murder-suicide of a young man and woman expose secrets of the criminal underworld.  For NYPD Detective Jack Yu, the investigation draws him to Chinatown to unravel a series of puzzling links that led to Seattle’s Chinatown and a mysterious Hong Kong femme fatale.  Red Jade is the third book in the series; the first, Chinatown Beat, was published in 2006.

Every Bitter Thing by Leighton Gage (2010) – Travel to Brazil in this fourth mystery featuring Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the Federal Police.  The son of a Venezuelan foreign minister is shot and beaten to death.  Silva discovers that this potential political incident may in fact be linked to four unsolved murders with the same modus operandi.  The only connection shared by the victims?  They were all on the same flight from Miami.  Silva first appeared in Gage’s Blood of the Wicked (2008) about the assassination of a Catholic bishop.

Requiem for a Gypsy by Michael Genelin (2011) – The wife of a prominent Slovakian businessman is publically assassinated, but were the bullets meant for her or her husband?  Commander Jana Matinova, a witness to the crime, is drawn into a complex case involving government secrets and an international network of bank accounts.  This fourth novel in the series will take Matinova to Paris and Berlin to uncover a sinister plot.  Genelin, a former deputy district attorney, introduced his series’ heroine in 2008’s Siren of the Waters.

White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones (1999) – Two suspicious suicides in a small Alaskan town draw the attention of State Trooper Nathan Active.  Rumors of trouble in the poverty-stricken village of Chukchi and at a local copper mine may illuminate a motive for murder.  White Sky, Black Ice is the first of four mysteries in the Nathan Active series to date.

The Blood of an Englishman by James McClure (1980) – Afrikaner Lieutenant Kramer and his Bantu assistant, Mickey Zondi, investigate the shooting of an antiques dealer and the death of a woman’s younger brother, found bound in the truck of her car.  Two crimes, seemingly unconnected, will be solved by navigating the sordid underworld of Trekkersburg and exposing a secret dating back to World War II.  McClure passed away in 2006, but left behind eight Kramer and Zondi mysteries, the first of which, The Steam Pig, appeared in 1971.  The Blood of an Englishman is the sixth novel in the series.

Death of an Englishman by Magdalen Nabb (1981) – Marshall Salvatore Guarnaccia longs to spend the Christmas holiday in Sicily with his family; instead, he is stuck in Florence with the flu and a murder to solve.  When the death of a retired Englishman is reported, the marshal must find out who shot the man in the back.  Nabb passed away in 2007, leaving behind fourteen novels featuring Guarnaccia.  Death of an Englishman is the first in the series.

The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville (2009) – Originally published as The Twelve, The Ghosts of Belfast haunt former IRA killer Gerry Fegan.  Fegan sets out to assassinate the men who ordered him to kill, but his vendetta threatens to derail Northern Ireland’s fragile peace process.  Enter double agent David Campbell tasked with eliminating this problem.  Turbulent times in Belfast continue in Neville’s Collusion, featuring Detective Inspector Jack Lennon.

Death of a Nationalist by Rebecca Pawel (2003) – Pawel’s debut mystery won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 2004.  Set against the backdrop of post-Spanish Civil War Madrid in 1939, Sergeant Carlos Tejada Alonso y Léon must investigate the murder of his best friend, who was a Nationalist hero of the siege of Toledo.

The Samaritan’s Secret by Matt Beynon Rees (2009) – A sacred scroll has been stolen from a tiny religious community, a young man’s body turns up on the site of an ancient temple, and millions of dollars have gone missing.  Omar Yussef, in town for the wedding of his policeman friend, is drawn into the investigation.  This is Rees’ third book in the quartet of mysteries set in Palestinian territory; the first book, The Collaborator of Bethlehem, was published in 2007.

The Torso by Helene Tursten (2006) – Perhaps the creepiest kind of murder involves body parts.  In this aptly titled story, a torso washes up on a beach.  Inspector Irene Huss of the Göteborg Criminal Police tracks a tattoo found on the torso to Copenhagen.  There, she will team up with her Danish counterparts, who have a similar unsolved murder.  The Torso was the second book in the Irene Huss series to be translated into English, although the book was originally the third published in 1999.


Have you read them?  Comment on your favorite international mysteries.

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