The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

5th gospelCo-writer of The Rule of Four, Caldwell pens an intriguing mystery surrounding two brothers and the Shroud of Turin, the cloth believed to have covered Christ’s body in the tomb. The novel is set in 2004, and begins on the property of the Vatican. Father Alexander Andreou, an Eastern Catholic priest with a young son, receives an urgent phone call one evening from his brother Simon, a Roman Catholic priest, who begs Alex to “pick him up before the police do…”  When he arrives at Castel Gandolfo, Alex finds Simon standing over the dead body of their mutual friend,Ugo Nogara, who was working on an exhibit for the Vatican Museum, whose focus was the Shroud. The mystery of Ugo’s death is just one piece of the puzzle, which widens to include the Crusades, Pope John Paul II’s dying wish, the Orthodox Church and the four Gospels of the New Testament.

The Fifth Gospel is fast-paced, and provides a fictional look inside Vatican politics for the curious reader.

Murder in Clichy by Cara Black

amy ledThis is an older novel in the Aimee Leduc investigation series, #5, and was published in 2005. Aimee is a Parisian computer security expert, who finds herself embroiled in murder investigations as she tries to simultaneously run her security firm. Her partner in the firm, Rene is a dwarf but well schooled in martial arts. This mystery involves a number of stolen Vietnamese jade zodiac figurines, shortly after Amy takes possession of them, intending to give to a third party. the jade pieces are sought by many, and Aimee’s partner Rene is kidnapped in an effort to force her to find the valuable figurines.

Black uses vivid descriptions as Aimee runs around Paris, which is enjoyable to read if you have already visited the city. The list of characters involved in quite long, and sometimes difficult to keep track of. But the novel flows well, and keeps you in suspense until the end.

“Broadchurch”

9781250067975_p0_v1_s114x166“Broadchurch” is a small town on the Dorset coast of England.  It is the setting for the BBC TV series and the novel based on the series.

Detective Ellie Miller and her family are life-long residents of Broadchurch.  Upon her return from vacation, she expects to be promoted to Chief Inspector of the local police force.  She soon learns that she has been passed over for promotion in favor of an outsider, Alec Hardy.

Hardy, not a people-person, is faced not only with trying to find his way in the tight-knit community, but is tasked with leading an investigation into the murder of a local eleven-year old boy.  Ellie knows everyone in the community and cannot believe that anyone in Broadchurch would harm this young boy.  Hardy, on the other hand, suspects everyone from Danny’s parents to almost all the locals.  Although Hardy is a difficult person to work with, Ellie tries very hard to be professional.

Erin Kelly based her novel on the television series written by Chris Chibnall.  She presents many possible suspects within the community and creates back stories that provide enough information for the reader to suspect many different characters.

The writing is fast-paced and the ending is quite unexpected.  The television series created the characters of Miller and Hardy in more depth, which I wished the book the author had developed further.

Mystery Website

For those of us who enjoy a good mystery, check out mysterynet.com/books for some suggestions of who to read, author interviews, mystery movies, TV miniseries, what to read next, genres and more. I recently started to watch a British TV miniseries: the Midsomer Murders, which are based on a crime series by Caroline Graham. It has been called “the British rural version of Law & Order by the San Francisco Chronicle. The locale is a fictional town in the English countryside, deceptively peaceful, since all kinds of foul play are being investigated by Detective Chief Tom Barnaby. The shows are broadcast on TV channel WLIW.