May 2023


Dhungel, OmBhutan to Blacktown
Kariuki-Machua, RosemaryA joyful life
Neill, SamDid I ever tell you this?
Olson, LynneEmpress of the Nile

Empress of the Nile by Lynne Olson

Bestseller Olson follows up Madame Fourcade’s Secret War with another scintillating biography of a woman who worked in the French Resistance against the Nazis. But Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt (1913–2011) had an even more impressive second act, according to Olson: as an Egyptologist, she spearheaded “the greatest single example of international cultural cooperation the world has ever known,” a campaign in the 1950s and ’60s to save Nubian temples and other antiquities from flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. Throughout, Olson details the misogyny Desroches-Noblecourt dealt with from her male colleagues at the Louvre and the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, even as she reached the top of her field. Beginning in 1958, she helped raised money from dozens of nations to dismantle the temples block-by-block, transport them up the Nile, and rebuild them on higher ground. Olson also credits first lady Jackie Kennedy with helping persuade her husband’s administration to support the campaign, and documents Desroches-Noblecourt’s involvement in a 1967 Paris exhibition of King Tutankhamun’s treasures. Enriched by fascinating digressions into Egyptian history, museum rivalries, the plundering of archaeological sites, the 1956 Suez Crisis, and more, this is a captivating portrait of a pathbreaking woman. Readers will be enthralled. Publisher’s Weekly, November 2022

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Usamani, SumayyaAndaza
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Barron, CarolineGolden days
Berry, SteveThe bishop’s pawn
Davis, BarbaraThe echo of old books
Deighton, LenBomber
Docker, SandieThe Redgum River Retreat
French, JackieBecoming Mrs Mulberry
Garrett, KellyeLike a sister
Harpman, JacquelineI who have never known men
Howell, AdrianeHydra
Hawkins, KelliApartment 303
Hurwitz, Gregg AndrewInto the fire
Jewell, LisaWatching you
Jordan, ToniPrettier if she smiled more
Li, YiyunThe book of goose
Morton, KateHomecoming
Needham, KylieGirl in a pink dress
Oster, Henry H.The stable boy of Auschwitz
Pomare, J. P.Home before night
Preston, EdwinaBad art mother
Read, ShelleyGo as a river
Roberts, NoraNightwork
Simsion, Graeme C.Creative differences
Sittenfeld, CurtisRomantic comedy

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Agatha winner Garrett (the Detective by Day series) delves into the vagaries of families, fame, and wealth in this insightful, briskly plotted novel. Columbia graduate student Lena Scott, who’s working on her master’s in nonprofit management, has been estranged for years from her younger half-sister, Desiree Pierce, a former reality TV star turned Instagram darling. When Desiree’s body is found in a Bronx playground the morning after her 25th birthday party, the authorities attribute her death to an overdose. Despite their differences, Lena, who knows Desiree was terrified of needles, begins her own investigation. In her search for answers, Lena gets back in touch with her famous hip-hop producer father (whose financial support she refused), forcing her to reevaluate her childhood and the choices she’s made. Lena regrets having been alienated from Desiree and is jealous of the friends who became Desiree’s substitute sisters. Garrett explores racism and sexism with aplomb, as shown by the sarcasm Lena displays when others underestimate her because she’s a young Black woman. This talented author has upped her game with this one. Publisher’s Weekly, December 2021


Go As a River by Shelley Read

A young woman’s courage is tested in Read’s affecting if undercooked debut, set in 1940s Colorado. Victoria Nash, 17 cares for her brother and father after her mother’s death, while helping keep up the family’s peach farm. She’s stifled by the controlling men in her life, so she takes comfort in fellow teen Wilson Moon, an openhearted newcomer who returns Victoria’s feelings. Because Wilson isn’t accepted by Victoria’s family or the community due to his Native American heritage, the couple hide their relationship. After Victoria learns she is pregnant, she flees alone to the forest for several months and has the child there. She leaves the baby with a couple she finds picnicking, in hopes the child will have a better life, and returns to her family. In the final act, set in 1970, Victoria learns of her son’s life through a series of letters, and Wilson’s fate becomes clear. The fleeting nature of Victoria’s two important relationships leaves them a bit underdeveloped, but Read beautifully evokes Victoria’s aching love for Wilson: “I wanted more of him, like a craving for sunshine hidden too long behind the clouds.” Though the family story is a bit too drawn out, there are plenty of shining moments. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023


The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li

Li follows Must I Go with an intriguing novel of two devious teenage friends who are coping with the aftermath of WWII. Fabienne helps her drunken father, a widower, on their Saint Rèmy farm, and her friend Agnès lives with her parents and attends the village school. One of their “games” involves Fabienne dictating a series of stories about little children who die in various ghastly ways, which Agnès records in a notebook that they share with the recently widowed postmaster, M. Devaux, whose friendship they pursue on a lark. Devaux, an author himself, helps get them published, and Agnès, whom Fabienne decides should get sole credit, becomes famous. Her rise from peasant girl to author becomes a big story, and she is given free education at a finishing school in England. Then, on a whim, Fabienne lies and frames Devaux for a drunken sexual assault on her, forcing him to leave town in disgrace. As the story unfolds, Agnès reckons with a frightening series of episodes in which she takes on Fabienne’s mischievous traits. Bringing to mind Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, by way of Anita Brookner’s quietly dramatic prose, this makes for a powerful Cinderella fable with memorable characters. It’s an accomplished new turn for Li. Publisher’s Weekly, July 2022

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Correa, Armando LucasThe night travelers
Ferguson, SarahA most intriguing lady
Hill, AnthonyThe investigators
Myers, BenjaminCuddy
Smith, Wilbur A.Nemesis
Veerapen, StevenOf blood descended

The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa

Correa (The Daughter’s Tale) unfurls a stunning multigenerational story involving WWII Germany and the Cuban Revolution. In 1931 Berlin, poet Ally Keller gives birth to Lilith, her daughter with jazz musician Marcus, a Black German man. After Marcus goes missing, and as Germany marches toward war, Ally fears Lilith may be targeted by the Nazis because of her skin color, so she begs her Jewish neighbors, Beatrice and Albert Herzog, to take seven-year-old Lilith with them to Cuba. As Lilith adapts to life in Cuba with the Herzogs, she befriends Martín Bernal, and they eventually marry. But Martín’s alliance with Batista’s government puts him in danger when Fidel Castro comes to power, forcing him to leave Lilith and their daughter Nadine alone after he is captured, and Lilith arranges for Nadine to leave Cuba for the U.S., where she’s adopted by an American couple. Years later, Nadine attends college in Germany, and while working as a scientist at a research center in Berlin, her interest in her heritage leads her to information about her birth mother’s early years. Correa makes palpable the sacrifices made by Ally and Lilith for their children’s survival, and the taut pacing keeps the pages flying. Readers will be deeply moved. Publisher’s Weekly, October 2022


A Most Intriguing Lady by Sarah Ferguson

This superior blend of mystery and romance from the Duchess of York (Her Heart for a Compass) introduces Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, the younger daughter of close friends of Queen Victoria, who chafes at being expected to adhere to her era’s rigid restrictions on women. She gets an opportunity to exercise her intellect and knowledge of human nature in 1872 when her parents host a party at a family home on the Scottish Borders. When a guest is distraught by the theft of her jewel-festooned brooch, Lady Mary solves the mystery, and this personally rewarding experience leads to other cases. By 1875, her reputation for handling sensitive inquiries discreetly—including probing the theft of charitable funds and the burglary of an aristocrat’s safe concealed in her sitting room—has led to a secret life as a problem-solver for high society. Her detective work coincides with her growing interest in Col. Walter Trefusis, a 34-year-old war veteran who leads a covert life of his own. The author never lets the romantic plotline dominate and plausibly depicts the struggles of a capable woman who empowers herself to achieve her own potential. Claudia Gray fans will welcome a sequel. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023

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Adolfsson, MariaCruel tides
Ayatsuji, YukitoThe Mill House murders
Beaton, M.C.Agatha Raisin devil’s delight
Frech, SteveSecrets to the grave
Green, CassThe whisper house
Hall, J. M.A Pen Dipped in Poison
Hallett, JaniceThe appeal
Hallett, JaniceThe Twyford code
Hampson, AmandaThe tea ladies
Hilliard, M. E.The unkindness of ravens
Indridason, ArnaldurThe girl by the bridge
Khan, VaseemThe lost man of Bombay
La Plante, LyndaPure evil
Larsson, AsaThe sins of our fathers
Lynch, RachelDeep fear
MacRae, MollyArgyles and Arsenic
Marsons, AngelaTwisted lies
Moore, IanDeath and croissants
Nagendra, HariniThe Bangalore Detectives Club
Nagendra, HariniMurder under a red moon
North, AlexThe half burnt house
Patterson, JamesThe girl in the castle
Perry, AnneThe fourth enemy
Starr, Melvin R.Unhallowed ground
Sutanto, Jesse Q.Vera Wong’s unsolicited advice for murderers
Thompson, JannaLockdown
Tremayne, PeterAtonement of blood
Tremayne, PeterPenance of the damned
Waugh, MaliJudgement day
Webb, DebraThe last lie told
Winspear, JacquelineThe white lady

The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra

Nagendra (Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities) makes her fiction debut with an exceptional series launch. In 1921, 19-year-old Kaveri Murthy, who has a passion for advanced mathematics, lives just outside the sprawling city of Bangalore. While Kaveri and her physician husband, Ramu, are attending a reception at the prestigious Century Club, the body of a pimp is found murdered in the garden. When the deputy inspector of the local police force arrives to investigate, Kaveri confides that she saw the dead man in the garden with his hands around the throat of a beautiful woman. Kaveri’s desire to see justice done takes her from the bastions of British wealth to humble mud-floored shacks. By placing her intelligent and clear-eyed protagonists in the multilayered and multicultural milieu of colonial India, Nagendra, a university professor in Bangalore, imbues this mystery with a rich, edifying, and authentic feel. She rounds out the volume with easy-to-follow recipes for dishes like spiced rice with lentils, a welcome change from the sugary fare that culinary cozy recipes typically offer. Readers will hope Kaveri and Ramu will be back soon. Publisher’s Weekly, March 2022


Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

At the start of this stellar mystery from Sutanto (Dial A for Aunties), 60-year-old, strong-willed widow Vera Wong discovers a body with a flash drive in its hand in her tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Vera contacts the police, but confident she can do a better job at pinpointing the murderer, she snatches the flash drive before their arrival. The authorities identify the victim as 29-year-old Marshall Chen and determine he died from an allergy attack. Convinced the death was no accident, Vera is thrilled to delve into detective work when a handful of people who knew Marshall come into her shop looking for information. The eclectic group includes Marshall’s widow, his twin brother, a reporter for Buzzfeed, and the host of a true crime podcast. Seeing them as potential suspects, Vera lures them with her distinctive teas and cooking, developing genuine friendships with each one, but also easily able to sniff out their lies. The engrossing plot, which is full of laugh out loud humor and heartfelt moments, builds to a satisfying conclusion that will leave readers eager for more Vera. Sutanto has outdone herself with this cozy with substance. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023


The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Framed as transcripts of 200 audio files recorded on an iPhone, this ingenious novel from British author Hallett (The Appeal) consists of recovered memories (perhaps false) told in the voice (perhaps unreliable) of Steven “Smithy” Smith, a recently released, now missing ex-con. Forty years earlier, Smithy came across a book by WWII-era children’s author Edith Twyford filled with handwritten notes. He showed the book to his remedial English teacher, Miss Alice Isles, who believed the notations were some sort of code. Indeed, Twyford may have hidden treasonous secrets in her books. Miss Isles (often transcribed as Missiles) subsequently disappeared on a school field trip to Bournemouth. Smithy tracks down a handful of other classmates to retrieve their “vanished youth” and solve more than one “explosive secret” from the past. Rumors of the audacious Operation Fish meant to move British gold bullion across the Atlantic during WWII blend with an account of one of Smithy’s most daunting heists and converge on a mind-boggling resolution that contains several bombshell revelations. Filled with numerous clues, acrostics, and red herrings, this thrilling scavenger hunt for the truth is delightfully deceptive and thoroughly immersive. Publisher’s Weekly, October 2022

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Alderton, DollyDear Dolly
Coulthart, RossIn plain sight
Frankopan, PeterThe Earth transformed
Jones, Darryl N.Curlews on Vulture Street
Kondo, MarieKurashi at home
Macintyre, BenColditz
Mansberg, GinniSave your brain
Morgan, MattOne medicine
Pettegree, AndrewThe library

Kurashi at Home by Marie Kondo

Kondo returns with a wise guide to achieving one’s “ideal lifestyle” that builds upon the “spark joy” philosophy laid out in her bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She invites readers to ask themselves “what do you really want to put in order” and to imagine their perfect home. One’s entryway should feel like “a sigh of relief” with just one pair of shoes left out for each family member, a living room should “foster conversation” and have a designated space for each object, and “a good kitchen makes cooking fun.” Then come steps for tidying up each part of a daily routine: morning should involve a good breakfast, daytime plans should stick to an established schedule, and cotton or silk pajamas are a good idea for a calm evening. Along the way, Kondo includes family recipes, among them her mother’s black vinegar chicken wing stew, miso soup, and “amazing amazake.” While some suggestions will likely be a bridge too far (such as wiping the soles of one’s shoes every day), the majority of her advice is sound and easy to implement. This one’s another must-read for Kondophiles. Publisher’s Weekly, July 2022

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Holland-Batt, SarahThe jaguar
Marne, WesThrough old eyes
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Armstrong, KelleyA rip through time
MacLeod, KenBeyond the hallowed sky
Schwab, VictoriaThe invisible life of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Schwab (the Shades of Magic series) crafts the tale of one woman’s desperate drive to be remembered into a triumphant exploration of love and loss. The story hops across time as it follows the life of Adeline “Addie” LaRue from the French country side in the early 1700s to New York City in 2014. As a young woman, Addie makes a deal with the devil to save herself from the tedium of an arranged marriage, asking for “a chance to live and be free.” The devil grants her immortality but curses her to a life of horrible isolation: no one she meets will be able to remember her. The first half of the book––as Addie learns the limits and loneliness of her curse––is as devastating as it is prescient in these self-isolating times. Which makes Addie’s eventual meeting with Henry, the first person to remember her in some 300 years, all the more joyous. This sweeping fantasy is as much a love story as it is a tribute to storytelling, art, and inspiration. Schwab’s diverse cast is beautifully rendered, and the view of human connection on offer is biting and bitter, yet introspective and sweet. This ambitious and hopeful work is a knockout. Publisher’s Weekly, May 2020


A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong

When the Scottish grandmother of Vancouver police detective Mallory Atkinson, the narrator of this inventive series launch from bestseller Armstrong (the Rockton novels), enters hospice care, Mallory flies to Edinburgh for one last visit. After a difficult day at Nan’s bedside, Mallory jogs through the Grassmarket, where she spies a flickering female figure in Victorian garb calling for help. When Mallory stops to assist, a man ambushes and chokes her. Mallory wakes in 1869 Edinburgh, her consciousness trapped in the bruised body of the woman she tried to save—an illiterate housemaid named Catriona Mitchell. Mallory tries to keep a low profile lest Catriona’s employers—undertaker Duncan Gray and his widowed half-sister, chemist Isla Ballantyne—fire or institutionalize her before Mallory finds a way home, but when she realizes Duncan is a forensics pioneer working with a forward-thinking cop to solve a bizarre murder, Mallory can’t resist getting involved. Armstrong puts a fresh, fun spin on an age-old premise. Mallory’s snarky narration complements the delightfully preposterous plot, and the vividly sketched cast is studded with charming iconoclasts. Readers will eagerly anticipate future installments. Publisher’s Weekly, February 2022

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New additions to eBooks at SMSA

eBooks & Audiobooks help


BiographyJohnson, SusanAphrodite’s Breath
BiographyNeill, SamDid I Ever Tell You This?
BiographyPrince HarrySpare
GeneralCooper, CatherineThe Cruise
GeneralMorton, KateHomecoming
GeneralNovak, BrendaThe Seaside Library
GeneralRoberts, NoraBrazen Virtue
MysteryAdams, ElleryThe Whispered Word
MysteryBlunt, Ashley KalagianDark Mode
MysteryCairns, RaeDying to Know

Homecoming by Kate Morton

Morton (The Clockmaker’s Daughter) delivers an eerie epic involving a wealthy family’s mysterious deaths in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It’s Christmas Eve 1959, and patriarch Thomas Turner is abroad on business, leaving behind his wife, Isabel, and their four children. One day, neighbor Percy Summers happens upon the family while riding his horse. At first, it appears they’re resting on blankets after a swim, but upon closer inspection, he realizes they’re dead and that baby Thea is missing from her basket. A painstaking investigation begins, and Percy is grilled by a detective who was brought in from out of town. Morton then cuts to 2018 as journalist Jess Turner leaves her London home to travel back to Adelaide after her grandmother, Nora, injures herself in a bad fall. At Nora’s house, she finds an old book about the unresolved Turner deaths, which Jess never knew about, and discovers the family’s connection to her own. Jess’s gripping inquiry into what happened brings up staggering revelations. Along the way, there are beautiful descriptions of the region’s landscape and canny insights into the neighborhood’s tight-knit community. This is Morton’s best yet. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023


Spare by Prince Harry

Sibling rivalry, fatherly neglect, and the crushing weight of public opinion haunt this anguished, searching, and occasionally vindictive memoir from Prince Harry. Framing the narrative as an attempt to explain why he and his wife, Meghan Markle, fled the U.K. “in fear for our sanity and physical safety” in 2020, Harry begins with Princess Diana’s death in 1997, recounting how he and his brother William were made to walk behind their mother’s coffin “to garner sympathy.” For years afterward, Harry harbored a belief that Diana had disappeared to escape the paparazzi—an illusion that enabled him “to postpone the bulk of my grief.” Made to feel like a “nullity” by his family, he found solace and companionship on safari trips to Africa and boozy nights with friends, but the tabloids turned “basic teenage stuff” into allegations of drug addiction and his father chose “to play ball” rather than fight back. Time and time again, the twin pressures of the royal family and the British media scuttled Harry’s search for meaning and purpose, leaving him beset by panic attacks and self-doubt, until he met Meghan—and then those same specters turned on her. The mix of dirty laundry and earnest soul-baring sometimes jars, but Harry’s frustrations are deeply felt and authentically conveyed, as is the joy he takes in nature and in his friendships. This royal family tell-all delivers. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023

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GeneralHamer, KateThe lost girls
GeneralMartin, CharlesThe Letter Keeper
HistoricalGreen, JocelynThe Metropolitan Affair
MysteryDahl, AlexAfter She’d Gone
MysteryEsden, Trish The Art of the Decoy
MysteryGray, ClaudiaThe Late Mrs. Willoughby
MysteryPopp, MishaMagic, Lies, and Deadly Pies
Mystery Shirley McKayHue & Cry
MysteryWinters, MaryMurder in Postscript
Sci-FiBrown, PierceRed Rising

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Turnbridge, Mass., baker Daisy Ellery admits at the start of Popp’s arresting debut and series launch, “The first time I killed a man with a pie, it was an accident.” She adds, “But only the first.” Daisy, a loner with a lovable dog as her only real friend, uses the special witchy talent she possesses to target men who cause serious harm to women. She has reason to worry after she finds a blackmail letter on her door that threatens to reveal she’s a vigilante serial killer. Several people in her orbit raise her suspicions, including Frank, the cantankerous owner of the local diner, and do-gooder Melly, but farmer Noel also gains her attention for other reasons. Daisy needs to thwart the blackmailer before that person can spoil her efforts to help women at the upcoming state pie fair. Popp addresses social issues such as domestic violence, politics, and same-sex partnerships, and she peppers her charming and darkly humorous tale with profanity. Cozy readers looking for something different will find much to like in this unusual culinary cozy. Publisher’s Weekly, February 2022



The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green

In this gripping entry, Green (Drawn by the Current) follows a pair of reunited friends as they try to get to the bottom of a spate of artifact forgeries in 1925 Manhattan. Egyptologist Lauren Westlake and detective Joe Caravello met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as adolescents and formed a deep connection. As adults, they’ve drifted apart, but when Joe suspects a link between a recent speakeasy shooting and the rash of forged Egyptian antiquities plaguing the city’s art collectors, he turns to Lauren, now assistant curator of Egyptian art at the Met, for help. Meanwhile Lauren, aching for the father she’s never been close to, works to improve their distant relationship, though she’s beginning to wonder if he might be connected to Joe’s case. As the two work through layers of the mystery, Lauren draws on her faith to navigate the case, her complicated past with her father, and her growing feelings for Joe. With a convincing backdrop of Prohibition-era New York, Green carefully weaves historical detail and complex relationships into a tense narrative that doesn’t let up till the close. The author’s fans won’t be disappointed. Publisher’s Weekly, January 2023

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