I don’t know about you, but when the colder months roll around I always find myself more inclined to pick up a thriller or a good ol’ fashioned whodunnit. There’s a strange kind of comfort in cracking open a book featuring thieves, drug dealers and serial killers whilst snuggled up under a warm blanket with a lovely mug of hot chocolate, knowing that no matter how bad life might seem at times you’re at least better off than whoever you’re reading about.
If you’re anything like me, dear reader, and you do enjoy a bit of detective work at this time of year then you’re in luck! Here at Seren we have a few books that might just peak your interest.
by Anne Lauppe-Dunbar
Unhappy West Berlin police officer Sophia is called on to investigate the murder of her childhood friend Käthe, after her beaten body is discovered in Sophia’s local park. Sophia is forced to return to the hometown she fled as a teenager with her enigmatic father Petrus, and Mia – a frightened child who turned up on her doorstep. She must investigate Käthe’s murder and care for a mother she believed abandoned her. As she reluctantly delves into the sordid Stasi secrets of those she grew up with, Sophia uncovers a web of horrors about her own abusive past as a child-swimming star in the former GDR. But her hunt for the truth has not gone unnoticed by those close to her, people who still have too much to hide.
The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Bullseye Killer
by Steve Wilkins with Jonathan Hill
The story of Operation Ottawa, the cold case detection of John Cooper for two Pembrokeshire double killings: the Scoveston Manor murder of Richard and Helen Thomas in 1985 and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murder of Peter and Gwenda Dixon in 1989. Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Wilkins tells how he gathered a specialist team to review the murders, used cutting edge forensic techniques to prove Cooper’s involvement in the crimes, and how the tv programme Bullseye led to a crucial identification. The dramatic timeline involves psychological profiling, intimidation by Cooper, the relationship between police and media in the arrest and the predicament of the victims’ families during the long years when the cases remained unsolved.
The combination of painstaking evidence gathering, new forensics, psychological profiling, and careful detection made Operation Ottawa the template for subsequent murder enquiries. Now, for the first time, the lead detective tells the story of how a vicious killer was brought to justice.
by Ivy Alvarez
Disturbance is a novel in verse by Ivy Alvarez that chronicles a multiple homicide, a tragic case of domestic violence, where a family was gunned down by the husband and father.
The book features poems in a kaleidoscope of voices from all the characters involved. We first meet the family itself and witness how the father’s controlling attitude gradually escalates into violence. Then we get the aftermath: the authorities, police and neighbours, who all might have helped to prevent this tragedy. This is a very dark book, but a courageous one, ultimately about evil and its presence in our everyday lives. The fact that this family was relatively well-to-do, seemingly prosperous and well-connected, adds another layer of intrigue and mystery. There is some graphic violence, but the emphasis is on the characters and their motivations.
by Jo Mazelis
Lucy Swann is trying on a new life. She’s cut and dyed her hair and bought new clothes, but she’s only got as far as a small town in northern France when her flight is violently cut short. When Inspector Vivier and his handsome assistant Sabine Pelat begin their investigation the chance encounters of her last days take on a new significance.
Lucy’s death, like a stone thrown into a pool, sends out far-reaching ripples, altering the lives of people who never knew her as well as those of her loved ones back home.