Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gift Ideas - For History and Mystery Buffs

Some more gift ideas from the Deweys - today we pick our some of our favourite histories and mysteries.

For the History Buff

The Reckoning of Boston Jim by Claire Mulligan
Immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the Cariboo Gold Rush, these finely drawn, complex characters interact with historic people, places and events while struggling towards goals which, finally, are not about gold at all. This book was on the Giller longlist and a Quill and Quire Best Book of 2007. Historical fiction
Two Trails Narrow, by Stephen McGregor
Set against the residential school experience for Native children and the looming shadow of the Second World War, Two Trails Narrow recounts the pain of a young generation of Natives who were pulled into the vortex of forced battle at home and overseas. Historical fiction.

Childs searches for an answer to one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in history- what happened to the Anasazi people?
Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age by Matthew Brzezinski
A look at the early days of the space race.
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Execution by Caroline Weber This book provides a fascinating look at the doomed royal, using the unique lens of her fashions- from her first appearance in court, right up to her appointment with the guillotine.

This is in many ways a tough book to read, but an important and mesmerizing one. What does one do when one's father is a complete monster? Callil knew personally the daughter of Louis Darquier, the Vichy Commissioner for Jewish Affairs who sent thousands of Jews to their death and it was her suicide that prompted Callil to investigate this family history.
Part travel memoir and part journalism, Mak recounts the key historical events of the twentieth century by travelling around Europe during 1999, visiting the places where events happened, talking to the survivors and describing the lasting effects on the cities and countries he visits.
The Age of Conversation by Benedetta Craveri
A fascinating look at French salon society - and the women who ruled there - between the reign of Louis XIII and the French Revolution.

Forge of Empires by Michael Knox Beran. This is a non-fiction version of War and Peace. A fabulous story of three great leaders - Lincoln, Bismarxk and Alexander II, who gave birth to three great empires.


Mapping a Continent: Historical Atlas of North America, 1492-1814 by Raymonde Litalien et al. Fabulous historical maps of Canada never published before.

For the Mystery Lover

The Humbugs Diet by Robert Majzels
A story that seeks to answer why old folks are falling out of windows at a retirement home.

For those who love a dark, twisted mystery: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Portland Detective Archie Sheridan was kidnapped and tortured by Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer whom he was tracking. Now Gretchen is locked away, while Archie is in a prison of another kind, addicted to painkillers, and powerless to erase Gretchen from his mind. When another killer begins snatching teenage girls, Archie volunteers to lead the investigation, shadowed by reporter Susan. They need to catch this killer before he strikes again, and maybe somehow Archie can free himself from Gretchen once and for all.
For those who love a great historical mystery: The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
It is 1836. Europe is modernizing and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out. The first Investigator Yashim mystery. Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel.
For cozy mystery readers: Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter by Blaize Clement
She’s left her job as a sheriff’s deputy and has set up a pet sitting business, but crime seems to follow Dixie Hemingway. While checking on her current client, an Abyssinian, she finds a dead man face down in the cat bowl. The owner is missing and Dixie can’t help but get involved. This book falls on the darker side of ‘cozy’- Dixie is dealing with the tragic loss of her husband and child- but her witty humour and insight into the pet sitting business makes this a great read.
Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
On a cliff edge overlooking the North Sea, a quadriplegic woman in a wheelchair stares unseeingly at the waves. She had been murdered. And, miles away, in a storeroom in the Maze, a medieval warren of yards and alleys at the heart of Eastvale, Yorkshire, a young woman lies sprawled on a heap of leather scraps, also murdered. DCI Alan Banks and DI Annie Cabbot attempt to solve these crimes as a ghost from the past is back to haunt both them. DCI Banks is a super character. I care as much about what is going on in his life as I do about the mystery itself.
Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger
Ridley Jones saves a little child from being hit by a car and because of the publicity, someone slips a note under her door that says “I think you are my daughter”. This book is one of the most intense, addictive mysteries I have ever read. I really liked the character of Ridley Jones and fortunately she re-appeared in Sliver of Truth. Booklist calls this second book a sizzling sequel and I couldn’t agree more. Treat yourself.

This bestselling author from France is just terrific. In this latest Adamsberg mystery, he and his Paris team travel to Quebec to take a course on DNA testing. Adamsberg inevitably gets tied up in a murder, except he becomes the main suspect. How he manages to escape the Quebec police and the RCMP and all of airport security to get out of Canada so he can solve the crime is absolutely ingenious! For Reginald Hill fans in particular. Watch for her new one in January, This Night's Foul Work.
Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason
A skeleton is found on a construction site but it is several decades old. Detective Erlendur's team is skeptical that they can find out how it got there but secrets always come back to life. A mysterious green lady, a missing fiancee and a cryptic note written by a dying octogenarian all provide clues. For fans of Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum, Indridason is the new, great voice in Nordic Crime. This novel won the CWA Gold Dagger and caused some controversy when complaints poured in that too many works in translation were winning the award. Which is of course a complete load of poppycock.
For something a little more lighthearted - the myseries of Edmund Crispin are a lot of fun. Featuring eccentric Oxford don Gervase Fen, these always have lots of fun literary references sprinkled in. Try Holy Disorders, Love Lies Bleeding or his most famous The Moving Toyshop.

Gotta be Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn!! He is the king of high concept mystery and his key character Mitch Rapp is back. Reading Flynn is a wonderful experience, but listening to him on audio is exceptional!

The Law of Three: Sara Martin Mysteries by Caroline Pattison

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