From a Raven's Shelf: April 2023

From a Raven's Shelf

April 2023 Edition

By Sarah Young


“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”

—T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Ah, Mr. Eliot! We are not looking out at a wasteland these days, but his observation is oddly appropriate in the context of murder and mayhem, isn’t it? Out of winter’s dead land are some of the most anticipated mystery novels of the year. Spring always brings enough great reads to keep us occupied for the rest of the year. Here are some good ones that I have noticed:

If you have been a faithful reader of Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series, she rewards you with The Last Remains. This is the end of Griffiths’ fifteen-book series that begins with Crossing Places, featuring Galloway, an archeologist at the University of North Norfolk.

Anne Hillerman has a new entry in her series starring Navajo Tribal Police officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito. A murder at Bears Ears National Monument brings Chee and Manuelito in on the case. The Way of the Bear is the eighth book in Hillerman’s continuation of the Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn series created by her father Tony Hillerman. Beginning with The Blessing Way in 1970, Tony Hillerman wrote evocative and enthralling mysteries set in New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation over the course of eighteen books. Anne Hillerman’s first entry in her series is Spider Woman’s Daughter.

Another crossover series with a new publication this month is Anne Perry’s Daniel Pitt series, with the son of her characters Charlotte and Thomas Pitt in his career as a barrister in 1910. The Fourth Enemy is the latest in the unbelievable career of Anne Perry. She is really the queen of the English historical mystery genre with six series totaling over one hundred well-crafted, compelling historical novels. The Daniel Pitt series begins with Twenty-One Days. [After completing my column for this month came the news that Anne Perry died in Los Angeles on April 10.  She was a complex, interesting woman who was incredibly gracious when she came to the Raven many years ago. It will be so strange not to see new Anne Perry novels on the shelf each year, but according to her publisher, there is another of her famed Christmas mystery novellas, A Christmas Vanishing, coming in November and book number 5 of her Elena Standish series called A Traitor Among Us arriving in September, so we have this year to accustom ourselves and bid her farewell.]

If you prefer thriller or suspense, Megan Miranda hits another one out of the park with The Only Survivors. The survivors of a terrible accident meet on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, only to discover one of their own has gone missing. Has she, like two other survivors, been overtaken by guilt and taken her own life? Or was she helped along in the process? And what really happened ten years ago in that fatal bus crash?

Dennis Lehane offers up Small Mercies this month. Lehane is completely on brand with this intense thriller set in the desegregation fight in Boston in 1974. Unflinching, unbearable, and un-put-downable, as Lehane’s novels tend to be.

In The Eden Test, Adam Sternbergh gives us a breathtaking domestic thriller set in a couples’ retreat in upstate New York. Daisy and Craig are headed to the retreat to try to save their marriage. The trouble is that Craig has already planned to ditch Daisy for another woman. In a remote cabin in the woods, Craig and Daisy begin to confront the web of deceit that has spun through their marriage with terrifying results.

Several of these April publications surely will be on the nominee lists for mystery awards to be given next year, but the Left Coast Crime Awards for books published in 2022 have now been awarded. I mentioned a few of the nominees in my previous two columns. All of them are splendid books, but I didn’t pick a winner in any of the categories! In fact, most of the winners are still on my to-be-read stack. Here are the winners:

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel:
Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron

 

 

 

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel:
Anywhere You Run by Wanda Morris

 

 


Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel:
Shutter by Ramona Emerson

 

 


Lefty for Best Mystery Novel:
Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

 

 

 

All of these are top-notch picks, and several are in various categories for other mystery awards this year, so we may see them mentioned here again.

Unfortunately also in March, the mystery world suffered a loss with the death of Christopher Fowler after a long illness. He was the author of the wildly popular and astonishingly clever Bryant & May series. Beginning literally with a bang, Full Dark House introduces us to the quirky, cranky team of John May and Arthur Bryant, detectives in the Peculiar Crimes unit of the London Police Department. The unit is formed during World War II to investigate crimes that are too sensitive for public knowledge. Fowler was brilliant, blending genres, and offering up Golden Age detective story style and panache. Fowler wrapped his series in December with London Bridge is Falling Down and then offered a final delight with Bryant & May: Peculiar London, a Peculiar tongue-in-cheek tour of the London you never knew. Treat yourself to Full Dark House if you have not found it yet.

Of course, I read many genres besides mysteries, even though they are my special concern at the Raven Book Store. My staff pick for April is neither a mystery nor a contemporary novel. It is a classic of Modernist literature. I was recently rereading The Professor’s House by Willa Cather, and the beauty of Cather’s prose left me amazed and inspired once again. It is a novel that muses about the relationship of art to our lives; about the energizing and enervating world of intellectual discovery; about family and relationships; about depression and loneliness. It is a Modernist stylistic triumph that you can sit down and revel in. Cather never disappoints.

Well, I shall round up this eclectic mix with one of my favorite recommendations in the store. Recently, I had an opportunity to recommend Birds of Kansas by Stan Tekiela. If you are looking for a solid, beginning bird book to help you with all those birds coming to your backyard feeder, this is the one. It is organized by color, which is the way most of us start our birding careers: “What was that brown bird?” The pictures are close and easy to use for identification, and the descriptions are straightforward and written for the burgeoning bird enthusiast.

The birds are certainly flocking in high numbers to my feeders; the winter residents like Juncos and Harris’s Sparrows are spending their last days before heading north, and I am putting up my hummingbird feeder soon in anticipation of our swift-winged friends’ return. The lilacs are breeding from the dead ground, spring has come again, and it will soon be time for summer reading in the sun.


The Last Remains: A British Cozy Mystery (Ruth Galloway Mysteries #15) By Elly Griffiths Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780358726487
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Mariner Books - April 25th, 2023

The discovery of a missing woman’s bones force Ruth and Nelson to finally confront their feelings for each other as they desperately work to exonerate one of their own in this not-to-be-missed Ruth Galloway mystery from USA Today bestselling author Elly Griffiths.


The Crossing Places: The First Ruth Galloway Mystery: An Edgar Award Winner (Ruth Galloway Mysteries #1) By Elly Griffiths Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780547386065
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Mariner Books - September 28th, 2010

The first entry in the acclaimed Ruth Galloway series follows the "captivating"* archaeologist as she investigates a child's bones found on a nearby beach, thought to be the remains of a little girl who went missing ten years before.

Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties.


The Way of the Bear: A Mystery Novel (A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel #8) By Anne Hillerman Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780062908391
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Harper - April 25th, 2023

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Best Mystery

Fossil harvesting, ancient lore, greed, rejected love and murder combine in this gripping new installment of New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman’s Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series.


The Blessing Way: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel (A Leaphorn and Chee Novel #1) By Tony Hillerman Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062821669
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Harper Paperbacks - January 2nd, 2018

Don’t miss the TV series, Dark Winds, based on the Leaphorn, Chee, & Manuelito novels, now on AMC and AMC+!  

“Brilliant…as fascinating as it is original.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Spider Woman's Daughter: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel By Anne Hillerman Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062420589
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Harper Paperbacks - April 7th, 2015

Don’t miss the TV series, Dark Winds, based on the Leaphorn, Chee, & Manuelito novels, now on AMC and AMC+!  

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


The Fourth Enemy: A Daniel Pitt Novel By Anne Perry Cover Image
$28.99
This book is hard-to-find or out of print and we may not be able to get it. Email for more details.
ISBN: 9780593359129
Published: Ballantine Books - April 11th, 2023

Daniel Pitt prosecutes a beloved philanthropist whose good deeds may hide dark—and dangerous—secrets in this gripping mystery from New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry.


Twenty-one Days: A Daniel Pitt Novel By Anne Perry Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399179907
Availability: This book is backordered. We'll happily get it for you but we're not sure how long it'll take.
Published: Ballantine Books - April 9th, 2019

In the first book of an all-new series, a young lawyer races to save his client from execution, putting him at odds with his own father: Thomas Pitt, head of London’s Special Police Branch.

“[Anne] Perry’s excellent new series launch expertly takes the Pitts into a new century.”—Library Journal (starred review)


Staff Pick Badge
The Only Survivors: A Novel By Megan Miranda Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668010419
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - April 11th, 2023

A New York Times Bestseller
A LibraryReads Hall of Fame Pick

From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and “master of suspense, Megan Miranda” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl), a thrilling mystery about a group of former classmates who reunite to mark the tenth ann


Staff Pick Badge
Small Mercies: A Detective Mystery By Dennis Lehane Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780062129482
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Harper - April 25th, 2023

Instant New York Times Bestseller

Small Mercies is thought provoking, engaging, enraging, and can’t-put-it-down entertainment.” — Stephen King


The Eden Test: A Novel By Adam Sternbergh Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250855664
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Flatiron Books - April 25th, 2023

"A galloping and exhilarating thriller." —Laura Dave, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me


Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery #1) By Ellen Byron Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780593437612
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Berkley - June 7th, 2022

A fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.


Anywhere You Run: A Novel By Wanda M. Morris Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063082502
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 25th, 2022

As Seen on The TODAY Show!

Called One of the Best Crime Novels of the Year by New York Times * NPR * New York Post * Washington Post * Buzzfeed * South Florida Sun-Sentinel * Library Journal * CrimeReads


Staff Pick Badge
Shutter (A Rita Todacheene Novel #1) By Ramona Emerson Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781641293334
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Soho Crime - August 2nd, 2022

Longlisted for the National Book Award

This blood-chilling debut set in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation is equal parts gripping crime thriller, supernatural horror, and poignant portrayal of coming of age on the reservation.


Like a Sister By Kellye Garrett Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316256773
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Mulholland Books - February 7th, 2023

In this "crackling domestic suspense" filled with "wry humor and deft pacing" (Alyssa Cole), no one bats an eye when a Black reality TV star is found dead—except her estranged half-sister, whose refusal to believe the official story leads her on a dangerous search for the truth.

Edgar Award Finalist for Best Novel
 • Anthony Awa


The Professor's House (Vintage Classics) By Willa Cather Cover Image
$16.00
This book is hard-to-find or out of print and we may not be able to get it. Email for more details.
ISBN: 9780679731801
Published: Vintage - October 31st, 1990

A lyrical and bittersweet novel of a middle-aged man losing control of his life that's a brilliant study in emotional dislocation and renewal—from one of the most highly acclaimed authors of the twentieth century.


Full Dark House: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery By Christopher Fowler Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553385533
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Bantam - September 30th, 2008

Edgy, suspenseful, and darkly comic, here is the first novel in a riveting mystery series starring two cranky but brilliant old detectives whose lifelong friendship was forged solving crimes for the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit.


Bryant & May: London Bridge Is Falling Down: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery By Christopher Fowler Cover Image
$28.99
This book is hard-to-find or out of print and we may not be able to get it. Email for more details.
ISBN: 9780593356210
Published: Bantam - December 7th, 2021

“Unbeatable fun . . . [Christopher Fowler] takes delight in stuffing his books with esoteric facts.” —The Guardian

The brilliant duo of Arthur Bryant and John May uncovers a nefarious plot behind the seemingly innocuous death of an old lady—and when the case leads them to London Bridge, it all comes down on the Peculiar Crimes Unit.


Bryant & May: Peculiar London (Peculiar Crimes Unit) By Christopher Fowler Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780593356241
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Bantam - December 6th, 2022

Thinking of a jaunt to England? Let Arthur Bryant and John May, London’s oldest police detectives, show you the oddities behind the city’s façades in this tongue-in-cheek travel guide.


Birds of Kansas Field Guide (Bird Identification Guides) By Stan Tekiela Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781885061348
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Adventure Publications - December 12th, 2001

Go Birding with Kansas's Best-Selling Bird Guide