May 1, 2016 Booklist 11 #mysterymonth
to find the killer of a detested author of
the most saccharine of fairy tales.
Murder may have no boundaries, but
it’s no match for the most interesting
women in the world.
DAVID WRIGH T is Reader Services’ Librarian,
Seattle (WA) Public Library. KAITE MEDIATORE
STOVER is Director, Readers’ Services, Kansas
City (MO) Public Library.
1222. By Anne Holt. 2011. Scribner, $16
Away with the Fairies. By Kerry Greenwood. 2001. Poisoned Pen, $14.95
Dog Day. By Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett.
1997. Europa, $14.95 (9781933372143).
Finding Nouf. By Zoe Ferraris.
2008. Houghton/Mariner, $13.95
The Silent Dead. By Tetsuya Honda.
2016. Minotaur, $26 (9781250061591).
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. By
Alexander McCall Smith. 2009. Double-day/Anchor, $14.95 (9780307277473).
loving look at our primate penchant for
endlessly writing it all down, as though
it made sense. Brazil’s another place I’ve
No, I’ve spent my life here on the Pacific
Northwest coast. Yet Stanley Evans’ wonderful series featuring Salish detective Silas
Seaweed (beginning with Seaweed on the
Street, 2005) makes me wonder if I’ve ever
really known this place. I stumbled upon
Silas in one of Victoria, B.C.’s many great
bookshops, delighted to find the northwest coastal version of Tony Hillerman.
These books combine the gritty realities of
indigenous people in the city with striking
Northwest myth and legend. Nothing else
is quite like them: they make me feel like a
world traveler, right here at home.
GLOBAL WOMEN OF MYSTERY
By Kaite Mediatore Stover
Readers have been gobbling far more mysteries with worldwide locations ever since that girl’s dragon tattoo
appeared on the scene. Solving murders
isn’t easy in any setting. For some international female investigators, their countries
or cultures can make it near impossible,
but that doesn’t stop them from the universal urge to right wrongs and speak for
At first glance, Zoe Ferraris’
Finding Nouf appears to be a debut mystery
about Palestinian orphan Nayir, a desert
guide, but the secret sleuth is Katya
Hijazi, a highly educated Saudi woman
working in the coroner’s lab. Her careful observations of the dead woman’s
body, her knowledge of the secret lives of
wealthy Saudi women, and her advanced
degrees both help and hinder Katya’s
efforts to uncover Nouf’s killer. The murderer’s reasons for killing Nouf might be
considered clichéd in an American crime
novel, but this gripping literary mystery
presents an ancient world struggling
to adapt to modern times, and Nouf’s
death is a breaking point.
From the sweltering Arabian desert to
the icy Norwegian mountains, murder
moves easily between continents. In
her fifth outing, re-
tired police inspector
in Anne Holt’s 1222,
is reluctantly pulled
back when her train
derails at the titular
1,222 feet above sea
level. Paralyzed from
a bullet to the spine,
Hanne is locked in
her wheelchair, locked
in a hotel, and locked
in with a deranged
killer. Hanne is
still bitter about her
and doesn’t give two
snowflakes for her fel-
low passengers. Still,
she’s slowly drawn to quietly solving
the crime, if for no other reason than to
keep her snowbound mates quiet and
herself from killing them.
Petra Delicado, the sophisticated,
rigid rookie partner to Fermin Garzon,
would sympathize with Hanne. In Alicia
Gimenez-Bartlett’s Dog Day, Petra and
Fermin are investigating a violent dog-
selling ring. Aloof Petra immediately
bonds with a dog named Freaky and
casts a cool eye on Freaky’s dead former
owner and canine hustler. This is a Bar-
celona with a sordid underbelly, one the
sensitive Fermin would rather avoid and
Petra barely notices in her single-minded
search for the criminals.
The newest member of Tokyo’s Homi-
cide Division, Reiko Himekawa, faces
situations similar to Petra’s. Young, politi-
cally unconnected, and facing gender and
age bias from her coworkers, Reiko has
only her fearlessness and gut instincts to
help her find a serial killer stalking the
neon grit of Tokyo. She is determined to
speak for The Silent Dead, no matter what
the personal cost.
Precious Ramotswe and Phyrne Fisher
face all their challenges with an unhurried
aplomb and uncanny understanding of
human nature. In Ramotswe’s native Bo-
tswana, there’s precious few mysteries and
misunderstandings that can’t be cured,
solved, or soothed during Tea Time for the
Traditionally Built. Ramotswe’s conun-
drums are simple ones: a recalcitrant van,
a fiendish typing-school rival, a losing
soccer team with a befuddled owner. Give
Precious a cup of tea and some quiet time,
and watch all the threads untangle.
Australian Jazz Age amateur sleuth
and aristocrat Phryne Fisher coats her
steely inner strength and razor-sharp
intelligence with the trappings and reckless behavior of the carefree wealthy.
Her wealth and progressive lifestyle may
afford Phryne the ability to shrug off
detractors, but it only goes so far when
her Chinese lover is kidnapped and ransomed. It’s of no help at all when Phryne
goes Away with the Fairies as an undercover columnist at a women’s magazine