The Wilder Aisles 

Janice Wilder has been a legend of Sydney bookselling for over 40 years.

A new Camilla Lackberg

 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014

SWF attendee, Camilla Läckberg's new book, Buried Angels-the seventh in her series featuring writer Erica Falck & her husband, detective Patrik Hedström-is, I think, one of her best. I have been a fan of her's since I read a review of her first book, The Ice Princess, and this latest doesn't disappoint. Läckberg is very good at setting the scene, and of course, the remote islands off the coast of Sweden are perfect for mystery & murder. Erica is a writer of true crime, Patrik, is a policeman. No matter how many times Erica is told not to interfere in a case, she just can't help becoming involved and always helps to solve the crime. Buried Angels revolves around the strange disappearance of a family at Easter 1974 from the island where they had a school for boys. When the police arrived they found only the daughter, one-year-old Ebba, alive. They had left everything behind & the mystery of what happened to them was never solved. Years later, Ebba, now married to Tobias, returns with him, to the island to restore the house where she was born, hoping that this will help them after the accidental death of their only child. Both are so bound up in grief and guilt that they cannot communicate. Not long after they arrive on the island their house is attacked by an arsonist and Patrik is called in to investigate. Erica, who has always been interested in story of the disappearance of Ebba's family, becomes involved, and when as a result of the renovations, dried blood is found under the floorboards of the house, the past is suddenly brought back to life. What follows is complex story of secrets and lies, politics and the people who want the past to remain just that. Erica and Patrik are such a good team, complementing each other with their thoughts and ideas, and both desperate to bring a killer to justice.

A new Ann Cleeves is also always a source of pleasure. I hadn't realised she'd released a new book until I stumbled on Harbour Street displayed in the Gleebooks crime section-you can imagine I was really pleased by my discovery. This is Cleeves' sixth novel featuring DI Vera Stanhope. Vera's offsider Detective Joe Ashworth & his daughter Jessie are returning from Xmas shopping on a very crowded train, forced to stand with the other passengers packed tightly together, when a sudden snow fall brings  the train to a standstill. When at last they leave the train, Jessica notices that a woman hasn't moved, and on approaching her they find that she is dead. The woman is Margaret Krukowski, a woman in her seventies, looking very respectable in her conservative but elegant clothes. She has been stabbed as she sat on the crowded train. Despite the number of people around, no one saw a thing-an invisible murderer with no apparent motive. When Vera arrives on the scene, she has an inkling that this may turn out to be a complicated case, and as she delves into Margaret's past, this proves to be so. The investigation leads to the boarding house where Margaret lived, to a women's shelter where Margaret volunteered, and back to what may be a deep secret in her past. When another woman is killed Vera is certain that there is a link between the two murders. Before her death, Margaret had hinted that she was troubled about something, but didn't confide in anyone, including her landlady with whom she had developed a friendly relationship. Vera is convinced that the secret behind Margaret's troubles is the key to solving the crimes. And it all seems to revolve around the seemingly  benign neighbourhood of Harbour Street in the town of Mardle. As Vera pursues her investigations, the town closes down-protecting their own, the residents are reluctant to speak to her. Vera is once again at her very best as she and Joe attempt to find justice for those who can't speak for themselves.

And briefly, I have just read an Alice Rice mystery by Gillian Galbraith. Set in Edinburgh, The Road to Hell takes the reader to the seamier side of this lovely city. It is set amongst the homeless, the destitute and those who have nothing or very little to cling to in their lives. When the body of a half-naked woman is found in a park, there are few clues as to her identity-and she hasn't been reported as missing. Later, the naked body of a Church of Scotland minister is found in another park and Alice wonders if the two bodies have anything in common. Then someone tries to sell a ring taken from the hand of the dead man in a pawn shop, which leads Alice to shelters and the dark places where people with nowhere to go doss down for the night. This is a rather sad book, full of desperate people, who would most likely sell their mother for a drink. I have read previous Alice Rice mysteries, and enjoyed them all. I like her-she's strong and clever and very good at managing her team. Gillian Galbraith's latest book, The Good Priest, is a Father Vincent Ross mystery. I haven't caught up with this yet, but it is on my list of books to read.