Murder in the Marais, by Cara Black. London: Robinson, 1999.
I picked this up from a bookcase in Hove Station with an honesty-box for the local Colts football club, and am glad I did. I wasn't sure about this to start with - an elderly Jewish woman is found in her home in the rue des Rosiers with a swastika carved into her forehead, at the same time as an international conference negotiating draconian new anti-immigration legislation comes to Paris - but it's a gripping read, and the setting in the Marais is perfect. There's enough delving in archives to be interesting, but not enough to go all Da Vinci Code. This looks to be the beginning of a series with another dozen or so Parisian settings; shall be tracking these down.
Bad penny blues, by Cathi Unsworth. London: Serpent's Tail, 2009.
This is set in the late 50s and early 60s in Swinging London; and it's described as noir for a reason. Pete Bradley, an ambitious young policeman, finds a dead body by the river in Chiswick, while Stella Reade, a young dress designer, is haunted by nightmares of the woman's last moments. This is as much about London of the period as it is about the mystery, although that's well constructed; the police are the older, harder cousins of David Peace's Red riding books, and glamour mingles with extreme squalour.
Pegasus descending, by James Lee Burke [audiobook]. Read by Will Patton. Rearsby, Leics.: WF Howes/Simon and Schuster, 2006.
Another excellent James Lee Burke thriller, and I wonder again why I put one of his books down 15 years ago and didn't pick up another one until this summer. Dave Robicheaux isn't a particularly good man, but he knows that. Married to a former nun and sober for many years, Robicheaux is taken back to his wild years by a new case involving the child of a friend who was killed in an armed robbery 25 years before. The plot's intriguing, and the characters are interesting. Helped by a really good reading by Mr Patton.
Back spin, by Harlen Coben. London: Orion, 2011 (originally published 1997.)
Myron Bolitar is asked by a pair of pro golfers to investigate the disappearance of their son in the middle of the US Open. He already knows this is going to be complicated when he discovers that they're related to Myron's formidably blue-blood best friend Win who is estranged from his family; and it just becomes more difficult the further he gets, and the more convinced he becomes that everyone involved is lying to him. There are some excellent plot twists here; despite everything it's extremely funny; and it certainly strikes a chord with people like me who really have no idea what the appeal of golf might be. "Myron shook his head. All sports have their own lexicons, but speaking golfese was tantamount to mastering Swahili. It was like rich people's rap."
Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkhaban, by J K Rowling [audiobook]. Read by Stephen Fry. [S. l.]: BBC/Cover to Cover, 2001.
I have the first four of the Potter books on cassette (the final three sets were just too expensive at the time!); for some reason this is the one I've "re-read" least, and I'd forgotten how good it was. Mostly I put it on for Fry's voice, which is just wonderful, but there were chunks of plot I'd forgotten all about and which were fun to re-discover. Listening to book 4 now, and wondering about getting the final three out of the library when that's done!