30 November 2020
As 2020 finally comes to an end, all we want to do is read a chilling, nerve-shredding story whilst curling up with a cup of coffee and chocolates, in the warmth and safety of our homes. We've rounded up our Christmas reading wishlists and all-time favourites, and thought we’d share them with you.
If our ideas sound like your cup of tea, or you are still stuck on what to read this Christmas, please consider buying your books from independent bookshops and supporting your local booksellers.
Wintertime Crime & Mystery
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (Inspector Erlendur series)
When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him?
The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg
Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after her parents’ funeral, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
Raven Black is the first book in Ann Cleeves’ 'Shetland' series - filmed as the major BBC1 drama starring Douglas Henshall, Shetland. It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter’ s eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance . . .
Night Without End by Alistair MacLean
The all time classic. 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, an airliner crashes in the polar ice-cap. In temperatures 40 degrees below zero, six men and four women survive. For the members of a remote scientific research station who rescue them, there are some sinister questions to answer - the first one being, who shot the pilot before the crash? Then, with communications cut and supplies running low, the station doctor must lead the survivors on a desperate bid to reach the coast, knowing all the while that there is a ruthless enemy in their midst, someone working to accomplish their destruction.
Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson
Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’ s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier.
Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen
Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum is forced to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Vintage, classic Nordic Noir from international bestselling author Gunnar Staalesen.
Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardottir
Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Ursula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again. But on her first day in the post, Ursula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Ursula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her - but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?
Catch up on Crime & Thriller published in 2020
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet every week in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
Street Cat Blues by Alison O'Leary
After spending several months banged up in Sunny Banks rescue centre, Aubrey, a large tabby cat, has finally found his forever home with Molly and Jeremy Goodman, and life is looking good. However, all that changes when a serial killer begins to target elderly victims in the neighbourhood. Aubrey wasn’t particularly upset by the death of some of the previous victims, including Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalls as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats, but Mr Telling was different. Mr Telling was a mate...
The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
Abbie wakes up in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she came to be in such an unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’ s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’ s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science. But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband's motives--and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
An impossible murder. A remarkable detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist. It's 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia. But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night. And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles.
... and last but not least - make sure to catch up on our very own ...
Bloodstock by Rod Humphris
After what feels like a lifetime of mayhem, Simon Ellice returns to the Hampshire village where he grew up. He enjoys the solace and tranquility of rural life, working on a farm and getting to know the lively locals, but suddenly Si walks right into a deadly mystery. Old friends are going missing and then turning up dead. Someone from the City is spreading their evil tentacles and he must dive into London’ s underworld to uncover a conspiracy of poisoning, murder and pagan ritual that threatens those closest to him. Written with Humphris’ razor-sharp style, this is Simon Ellice’ s darkest and most challenging adventure yet, touching on themes of sacrifice and objectification, that threaten the very foundations of our civilised world.