THE RICHEBOURG AFFAIR, by R.M. Cartmel (Crime Scene Books, 2014,$15.00) takes us to the Burgundy region of France, known for its superlative wine and long history of bloodshed. Commandant Truchaud finds both when he is called home to his brother’s funeral. He has questions that must be answered: what, exactly, was the cause of his brother’s death? Why is his neighbor so insistent on buying the family’s vineyards? The wine business is rife with corruption, and Truchaud must expose a fraudulent wine scheme and a family scandal before he’s finished. French policing is complex, but Truchaud is a dogged detective, who isn’t afraid to face his superiors when he knows he’s right. A tour of the French countryside, with murder and mayhem thrown in!
Felix Francis has taken up where his father, Dick Francis, left off, covering the British horse-racing scene, and DAMAGE (Putnam, 2014,$24.95) deals with the changes in the system of regulating what has become a multi-national million-pound industry. The British Horse-racing Authority has replaced the aristocratic Jockey Club, which had the reputation of sweeping indiscretions under the upper-class rug, but skullduggery rears its head anyway. Horses are testing positive for forbidden substances, throwing racing results into chaos. Investigator Jeff Hinkley is called in to find out exactly what is going on. Are the test results accurate, or is it all a giant scheme to get blackmail money from the BHA? Who is behind the doping, if doping is going on? Why would a small-time crook murder a bookmaker in broad daylight at a race meet? Jeff uses all the tricks of his trade to find the answers, and comes up with a stunning discovery that leads to a thrilling chase and a final, devastating revelation.
THE LONG WAY HOME, by Louise Penny (Minotaur, 2014, $24.99) continues the story of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, now retired to his idyllic village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada. There he can enjoy his well-earned retirement and try to forget the devastating events that led to his leaving the Surite de Quebec. However, crime seems to follow Gamache, even to this remote village, and he answers the plea of his neighbor, Claire Morrow, when she asks him to find her missing husband. The trail leads from a college in Toronto to a desolate village at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, where a vicious murderer lurks. A portrait holds a devastating secret in this psychological thriller, that reveals the depths behind the veil of Canadian politeness.
Cathi Stoler’s KEEPING SECRETS (Camel Press, 2014, $14.95) takes us to New York City, where Laurel Imperiole and Helen McCorkendale find that love leads to murder, as they pursue a friend’s fiancé who seems to have multiple identities. Laurel’s love interest and Anne’s seem to connect with Mafiosi and a n elaborate scam involving politicians, cops, and identity theft. It takes more than New York’s Finest to untangle this web of intrigue! Laurel and Helen are a good team, but they have no luck with men, Stay tuned for more adventures for this New York duo.
Reviews provided by Roberta Rogow for her column Roberta’s Ramblings in the March 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.