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Bookreporter.com's Top 10 International Mysteries of 2013

Special Feature

Bookreporter.com's Top 10 International Mysteries of 2013

It’s been a stellar year for crime fiction fans, especially given the impressive range of mysteries translated into English. Skilled storytellers including Maurizio de Giovanni, Fuminori Nakamura, Denise Mina and Colin Cotterill deliver not only solidly good mysteries, but also offer fresh perspectives on place. These international writers serve as literary and cultural ambassadors introducing readers to distinct regions of the world --- from the shadowy alleys of Naples and snowy Ukrainian farms to the quiet suburbs of Tel Aviv and haunted waters of the Mekong River. The world of international mysteries is inviting, scary, thrilling and fun. In this special year-end feature, Bookreporter.com contributor Miriam Tuliao, the Assistant Director of Central Collection Development at BookOps, brings you 10 of her top favorites from 2013.

Baksheesh: A Kati Hirschel Istanbul Mystery written by Esmahan Aykol, translated from the Turkish by Ruth Whitehouse - Mystery


“What could be missing in the life of a woman who loves reading detective stories and has a shop specializing in crime fiction that provides her with enough to live on, who lives in a city she adores and has a lover she finds attractive?” Set in Turkey’s largest city, BAKSHEESH follows the misadventures of Kati Hirschel, a self-deprecating German ex-pat who runs a mystery bookshop and finds herself suspected of murdering a man of shady repute.

The Crocodile written by Maurizio de Giovanni, translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar - Mystery/Police Procedural


After being banished to Naples, a bewildered and depressed Inspector Giuseppe Lojacono, formerly of the Agrigento major case squad, finds solace downing nightly glasses of red wine. The sad situation changes when Lojacono is assigned to a chilling series of murders. Noir fans take notice: If “death is a dance,” then THE CROCODILE is a dance choreographed by a first-rate artist.

Death of a Nightingale: A Nina Borg Novel written by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, translated from the Danish by Elisabeth Dyssegaard - Mystery/Thriller

 

When Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman convicted of the attempted murder of her abusive boyfriend, escapes from police custody and desperately tries to locate her daughter in a refugee camp, Nina Borg, a big-hearted Red Cross nurse, comes to her aid. DEATH OF A NIGHTINGALE is a chilling tale filled with the dark memories of the Stalinist era.

Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura - Thriller


“In this world, you must be powerful, because when an able person becomes a cancer, he is formidable.” Prize-winning novelist Fuminori Nakamura impressively chronicles a young man’s perverse upbringing. Born into a wealthy family, Fumihiro Kuki is fated to carry on a family tradition and become a thorough villain. EVIL AND THE MASK is a chilling mystery thriller, disturbing father-and-son story and dark romance all at once.

Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina - Mystery/Police Procedural


Detective Sargeant Alex Morrow investigates the brutal murder of an elderly man in a Glasgow post office the week before Christmas. Veteran writer Denise Mina delivers another gritty, dark and distinctive story of corruption, politics and power.

The Jackal's Share by Christopher Morgan Jones - Mystery/Thriller


Darius Qazai appears to be an unstoppable force --- a successful Iranian businessman, an enlightened philanthropist, and serious collector of Persian art. However, when a series of big American deals dissolve, Qazai hires a corporate intelligence firm to investigate his rumoured past. THE JACKAL'S SHARE is a first-rate post-9/11 thriller.

The Missing File written by D. A. Mishani, translated from the Hebrew by Steven Cohen - Mystery


According to Police Inspector Avraham, “Regular kids don’t just disappear. They may decide to cut school, to get away from home for a few hours, or be too ashamed to come home because they’ve done something unforgivable. But they don’t simply disappear.”  But when a 16-year-old boy inexplicably vanishes from suburban Tel Aviv, the guilt-ridden detective assumes an active role in the inquiry.

The Sudden Disappearance of the Worker Bees: A Commissario Simona Tavianello Mystery written by Serge Quadruppani, translated from the Italian by Delia Casa - Mystery


“Iris, bellflower, honeysuckle, daisies.” This refreshing whodunit opens on a fine spring morning in Italy’s Piedmont region. Police Inspector Simona Tavianello and her retired police chief husband stop by a beekeeper’s shop to buy honey and stumble upon a corpse. When Simona discovers that the victim, a biotech engineer, was murdered with her gun, she reluctantly gets involved in an investigation implicating radical environmentalists.

Summertime, All the Cats Are Bored written by Philippe Georget, translated from the French by Steven Rendall - Mystery/Police Procedural


Radio reports predict a calm, routine summer in France until a 23-year-old Dutch woman is found dead near a nature preserve and another mysteriously disappears. The Perpignan police force are on full alert, and the shrewd Inspector Gilles Sebag emerges from an emotional funk, summoning his sharpest investigative instincts.

The Woman Who Wouldn't Die by Colin Cotterill - Historical Mystery


A Lao general eager to find the remains of his missing brother summons the help of a once-dead witch and Dr. Siri Paiboun, the recently retired national coroner. THE WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE is a thoroughly charming mystery with a healthy dollop of quirk.