Book talk: Cold crimes, suffragettes and fake miracles

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This week, Jeff Popple reviews three books about cold crimes, suffragettes and fake miracles.

The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo

Text, $29.99

When a mummified Viking corpse is discovered on an isolated ice sheet in Greenland, Danish journalist Matthew Cave thinks that he has stumbled on the story of his career. His elation is short lived, however, when the corpse disappears and is replaced by the flayed body of a policeman. Soon Cave finds himself investigating a series of murders from the 1970s, which are somehow linked to the latest killing. This intricate crime novel mixes a grisly plot with interesting insights into Greenland’s history and culture. A good addition to the growing number of Arctic crime novels.

You Daughters of Freedom by Clare Wright

Text, $49.99

Clare Wright’s timely book brings to life an almost forgotten period of history when Australian democracy was the envy of the world. In 1902, Australian suffrage campaigners won the vote for white women making them the political equal of men. It was a trailblazing move for the new democracy and drew worldwide attention. Wright’s readable study tells the story of that victory and recounts the subsequent role of Australian women in the British suffragette movement. It is a fascinating book that also raises interesting questions about our national culture and historical memory. In a time of political conservatism, it is good to remember that we were once at the forefront of change.

Holy Ghost by John Sandford

Simon & Schuster, $32.99

The small Minnesota town of Pinion is fading into decline. The sometime mayor decides to do something about it by faking a miracle to draw visitors and dollars to the town. It seems like a foolproof plan until people start getting shot in front of the church. This amusing murder mystery is the eleventh in Sandford’s series about state investigator Virgil Flowers and offers his usual entertaining mixture of clever plotting, wry humour and moments of suspense. His vision of small-town America is scarily believable and the book will keep you entertained until the end.

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