Books: Author David Lagercrantz wrote a classic murder mystery

David Lagercrantz

MacLehose Press, £20 (ebook £11.99)

A Sherlock Holmes-inspired crime thriller, written by the author who successfully continued writing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, sounds like a dream. But it happened, and Stockholm-based David Lagercrantz has penned a classic murder mystery bringing together two unlikely allies, needing each other’s expertise to uncover an international conspiracy. Local community police officer Micaela Vargas opens the story after being drafted into a murder investigation, as she knew the suspect. She teams up with Professor Hans Rekke, a specialist in interrogation techniques, who is brought in to help extract a confession. Bringing together an educated man from the upper classes with a young local police officer from the suburbs of Stockholm is an ingenious idea, and you’ll love the massive contrast in the styles of the two main characters, as they deal with the ups and downs of a complicated investigation – which Holmes himself would have loved to solve.

8/10

The Last White Man

Mohsin Hamid

Hamish Hamilton, £12.99 (ebook £7.99)

This latest novel by Mohsin Hamid is a parable-like tale of a town whose inhabitants suddenly begin to change their skin complexion from white to brown. Hamid recounts in a detached and rolling manner the resulting tensions, conflicts and near-collapse of society, with particular emphasis on the impact on the lives of yoga instructor Oona and coach of gym Anders, among the first to change. It is in recounting Oona and Anders’ relationship, their thoughts and feelings, their struggles with loss – of family members, identity and community – that the novel is strongest, insofar as where the wider consequences of the changes, the conspiracy theories and the riots, almost disappear from sight. The personal experience of difference and assimilation, a familiar theme in Hamid’s other works, is movingly evoked and gives this romantic fable its emotional root.

7/10

In love with another girl

Florence Data

Brazen, £16.99 (ebook £7.99)

When artist Eartha finally dumps her cheating and fairly useless boyfriend, she’s thrilled to be herself and try to date women and men. She quickly discovers that relationships can be tricky no matter who they’re with, and life gets even more complicated when her drunken exit video makes her a social media celebrity. Given’s enjoyable debut novel examines how people interact with each other in person and online, and considers how real life differs from the social media constructed images people create. The easy-to-read story also offers an interesting perspective on the prices influencers are sometimes expected to pay for a living.

7/10

nonfiction

Forgiveness: an exploration

Marina Cantacuzino

Simon & Schuster UK, £14.99 (ebook £8.99)

What does forgiveness really mean? Is it an act of kindness, selfishness, or something else entirely? This is what Cantacuzino’s ongoing forgiveness project sets out to uncover. As such, Forgiveness is less of a self-help book and more of an in-depth case study of what exactly it means to forgive. Bringing together a series of personal stories and expert opinions to present and challenge various definitions of forgiveness around the world, applying science, religion and spirituality to refine the concept, it offers readers an understanding more objective about how forgiveness can help us overcome trauma and live without resentment. A tentative warning: The personal stories Cantacuzino has chosen are often extreme and sometimes heartbreaking, and can often make the feeling of forgiveness difficult to approach as an average reader. Approach with caution and don’t necessarily expect to feel more forgiving when you turn the last page.

5/10

Children’s book of the week

Peter Rabbit: Hide and seek!

Rachel Bright, illustrated by Nicola Kinnear,

Puffin, priced at £7.99 (ebook £5.99)

The world’s most beloved bunny is back on the childhood agenda with Hollywood movies, an animated TV show and now a new adventure thanks to author Rachel Bright. Peter Rabbit: Hide and seek! is the second in this new series of adventures for the lop-eared hero, and sees him play tricks on Mr. Tod the fox and invent a coat of leaves to protect him from sight. But when Peter gets boastful, he attracts unwanted attention that once again puts him in danger. Bright features a new story that matches the original books and is peppered with characters from the Beatrix Potter canon, but with a sweetness that deviates from Potter’s more outspoken tone. With an encouraging and playful narrative complemented by lavish illustrations by Nicola Kinnear, this lyrical tale is a welcome addition to any young child’s library.

8/10

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