The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
England 1985, a time and a place where they take literature very seriously indeed. An England where fanatical bands of Baconites roam the countryside, where forging the works of Byron is a capital crime, and where it is possible to get lost in a good book, literally.
When fiendish master-criminal Acheron Hades (the Third Most Wanted criminal in the world) kidnaps Jane Eyre straight from the pages of the original Bronte manuscript it is up to literary detective Thursday Next to travel into Jane Eyre and stop what could be the most heinous literary crime of all time.
It’s a race against time for Thursday to stop Hade’s devilish plot before Jane is killed and one of the most treasured literary works of all time is changed forever!
Death of a Prankster by M.C. Beaton
“For every ten jokes, thou hast got a hundred enemies.”
If there was one thing old Andrew Trent loved it was playing practical jokes. From Whoopie cushions in the armchairs and buckets of cold water on top of door frames to staged hauntings and dummies hidden in the wardrobe no one was safe and no body was amused.
So when Andrew is found dead dressed in a Halloween mask and stuffed into a wardrobe everyone assumes it’s a joke gone wrong. After all, who would want to kill a harmless old prankster.
But as he looks into the death it doesn’t take local constable Hamish MacBeth long to deduce that there were plenty of people who wanted Andrew Trent dead. Was it someone after the old man’s money or did he play a joke that just went too far? When another body is discovered it’s certainly clear to Hamish that murder is no laughing matter.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome k. Jerome
‘What we want is rest,’ said Harris.
‘Rest and a complete change,’ said George. ‘The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.’
I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old-world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes—some half-forgotten nook, hidden away by the fairies, out of reach of the noisy world—some quaint-perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far-off and faint.
Harris said he thought it would be humpy. He said he knew the sort of place I meant; where everybody went to bed at eight o’clock, and you couldn’t get a Referee for love or money, and had to walk ten miles to get your baccy.
“No,” said Harris, “if you want rest and change, you can’t beat a sea trip.”
I objected to the sea trip strongly. A sea trip does you good when you are going to have a couple of months of it, but, for a week, it is wicked.
You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself. You wave an airy adieu to the boys on shore, light your biggest pipe, and swagger about the deck as if you were Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, and Christopher Columbus all rolled into one. On Tuesday, you wish you hadn’t come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you wish you were dead. On Saturday, you are able to swallow a little beef tea, and to sit up on deck, and answer with a wan, sweet smile when kind-hearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning, as, with your bag and umbrella in your hand, you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it.
“Let’s go up the river.”
He said we should have fresh air, exercise and quiet; the constant change of scene would occupy our minds (including what there was of Harris’s); and the hard work would give us a good appetite, and make us sleep well.”
Well it seemed like a good idea at the time…
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The ancient prophecies spoke of a terrible evil, a great darkness that would rise and envelop the land. But the prophecies also spoke of hope, of a hero who would arise and face the darkness. And lo, the hero arose to challange the darkness and save the world, but he failed…
A thousand years later, a dim red sun struggles to shine on a world draped in mist, where no green things grow, and ash falls from the sky. A world dominated by the Final Empire where the skaa labor day and night under the crushing heel of the divine and immortal Lord Ruler.
The Lord Ruler’s power is absolute, enforced by the dreaded and inhuman Steel Inquisition, and every revolt against him has failed. At least until now…
A new kind of hero has arisen, a criminal mastermind bent on pulling off the ultimate caper, the overthrow of the Lord Ruler and the destruction of the Final Empire. It’s an impossible scheme riding on a gang of underworld con-artists and an untried street urchin, a girl with the mysterious magic of Allomancy the powers of a Mistborn.
Death Warmed Over: Dan Shamble, Zombie PI by Kevin J. Anderson
You can’t keep a good private eye down, and a man like Dan Chambeaux isn’t going to let a little thing like his murder keep him from doing his job. And it’s a good thing too…
From a pair of witch sisters who want to sue a publishing company for not “spell checking” their grimoires to a disgruntled Egyptian mummy seeking to end his exploitation as a museum exhibit, Dan, his ghostly girlfriend Sheyenne, and his human partner Robin Deyer have plenty of work to keep them busy. There’s also the little matter of his own murder to solve. Who would want to kill him, did it have something to do with one of his cases, or was he too close to finding out who poisoned Sheyenne?
Life in New Orleans’ Unnatural Quarter is never dull, and Dan is about to find out that death there is just as exciting.
Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure by Michael Chabon
Frankish Zelikman is tall, dour, obsessed with excellent hats, and as thin as the needle-sharp blade he carries. Gray-haired Amram comes from Abyssinia and is broad, strong, with a wit as sharp as the edge of “Defiler of Your Mother” his Viking battle-axe. They are adventurers and hired blades making their way through the Caucasus Mountains circa A.D. 950 living as much by their wits as by the weapons they carry and using both to make their fair share of enemies.
Until an unexpected witness to one of their bamboozles forces them into more legitimate employment, as the guardians of Filaq, the dethroned prince of the Khazar Empire and as unwilling generals in the counterrevolution to restore him to his rightful throne.
It is an impossible task that will require quite a bit of daring, quick-wits, and even quicker blades. Surely child’s play to such experienced gentlemen of the road as these, assuming they live that long…
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Major Ernest Pettigrew (British Army, retired) has lived his life in the village of Edgecombe St. Mary as many other old English gentlemen have done before him: quietly and with dignity surrounded by old family momentos, books, and his garden. Until a chance encounter with the village shopkeeper, Mrs. Jasmina Ali, starts to wear away the foundations of his solid and somewhat ordinary life.
Out of their shared love of literature, and shared grief over the loss of their respective spouses, Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali begin an unusaual friendship (he the quintessential local gentleman she the foreign outsider). A friendship that soon blossoms into something more, something of which their families, and the rest of the village do not approve of. Are the bonds of culture, family and tradition too strong to break or does a retired army officer still have enough courage to make one final stand in the name of love.