Daily Express


- This is a tête-bêche, or headto-tail book – two novellas BY JAKE KERRIDGE

Beware The Woman Megan Abbott Virago, £18.99

This is the most claustroph­obically creepy thriller of the year – unsuitable for those of a nervous dispositio­n but to be devoured by everybody else.

The narrator is heavily pregnant Jacy, travelling with her new husband Jed for her first meeting with her fatherin-law at his remote home in rural Michigan. Jed’s genial dad Dr Ash, a retired physician, gives Jacy a warm welcome.

But when there are complicati­ons with the pregnancy and Dr Ash takes charge of her treatment, she realises she is at the mercy of a misogynist­ic monster. A tense, terrifying treat.

The Secret Hours Mick Herron Baskervill­e, £22

Herron’s latest spy novel sees a petulant Prime Minister with a grudge against MI6 authorisin­g a public inquiry into past wrongdoing by the British Intelligen­ce Services.

What starts as a wicked satire on the pointlessn­ess of public inquiries takes a sombre turn when the panel stumbles on an account of a spy mission that went disastrous­ly wrong in 1990s’ Berlin. This is a more sober work than Herron’s comical Slough House novels but even at his most serious he provides more good gags than you’ll find in the entire Christmas TV comedy schedule.

The Turnglass Gareth Rubin Simon & Schuster, £16.99

printed back to back in a single volume with two front covers.

When you’ve read the first, turn the book upside down and start the second. One story is set in England in the 1880s, the other in California in the 1930s. Both are atmospheri­c murder mysteries and each offers clues to the solution of the other.

A unique, deeply enjoyable read and I’m in awe of the plotting – it must have taken longer to construct than the Forth Bridge.


Hunter HB Lyle Hodder & Stoughton, £20

If you’re a fan of old-fashioned rip-roaring adventure stories, snap up HB Lyle’s novels featuring Wiggins, the street urchin from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories – now a grown-up secret agent in the 1910s.

Here, it’s 1914 and Sherlock Holmes has been murdered! Wiggins is determined to find the killer, while taking on an espionage mission that will change the course of the First World War.

Lyle truly captures the spirit of Conan Doyle in these playful, gripping yarns.

The Library Suicides Fflur Dafydd Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99

This offbeat thriller sees identical twins Ana and Nan, who work at the National Library of Wales, come up with a scheme to take revenge on the critic whose scathing reviews drove their novelist mother to suicide.

A library is an unlikely setting for a hostage crisis and a psychopath­ic revenge plot, but this is also a surprising­ly moving paean to libraries and the power of reading.

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