Former spook Elizabeth, retired nurse Joyce, psychiatrist Ibrahim and trade unionist Ron decide to investigate the disappearance of journalist Bethany Waites
THE BULLET THAT MISSED
by Richard Osman (Penguin £9.99, 432pp)
‘Not an awful lot happens in Kent,’ reflects Joyce, one of the ‘four harmless pensioners’ whose hobby of investigating cold cases from their retirement home provides the plots for Osman’s best-selling novels.
In fact, Kent is a maelstrom of wickedness —money-laundering, cryptocurrency, buried weapons, kidnappings and murder.
Former spook Elizabeth, retired nurse Joyce, psychiatrist Ibrahim and trade unionist Ron decide to investigate the disappearance of journalist Bethany Waites, who was digging into a fraud case when her car was driven off a cliff. Her body was never found.
Beautifully written, with white-knuckle jeopardy, irresistible humour and heart-wrenching pathos, Osman’s third whodunnit in the Thursday Murder Club series is a celebration of the indomitable resourcefulness of ‘harmless pensioners’.
The standoff between Kennedy and his Soviet counterpart, Nikita Khrushchev, lasted for 13 days
ABYSS: THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS 1962
by Max Hastings (William Collins £10.99, 576pp)
On the morning of October 16, 1962, a pyjama-clad President John F. Kennedy was watching TV with his children in his White House bedroom when his National Security Adviser, Mac Bundy, interrupted with the news that the Soviets had deployed nuclear missiles on Cuba, a mere 90 miles off the U.S. coast.
The standoff between Kennedy and his Soviet counterpart, Nikita Khrushchev, lasted for 13 days, during which the world trembled on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
As U.S. hawks urged military action, Kennedy and his defence secretary, Robert McNamara, held their nerve, insisting that the missiles must be removed.
Hastings ends his account of a narrowly averted catastrophe with a timely warning: ‘In 2023, the means still exist for humankind to destroy itself’.
Fishman’s elegant debut is an exploration of the sensual, philosophical and moral limits of desire
ACTS OF SERVICE
by Lillian Fishman (Europa Editions £13.99, 224pp)
‘I had hundreds of nudes stored in my phone, but I’d never sent them to anyone.’
One night, barista Eve overcomes this, hiding what she is doing from her girlfriend, Romi, and posts a trio of naked photos. Among the responses is one from Olivia, a painter.
When she and Eve meet, Olivia turns out to be in a relationship with Nathan, a fellow artist from ‘a large and monied clan’.
While Olivia, also the fortunate possessor of a trust fund, longs for love, Nathan is interested in sex as an art form in its own right, and they hope that Eve will join their exploration of erotic possibility. But when Nathan is accused of workplace harassment, their relationship takes a darker turn.
Fishman’s elegant debut is an exploration of the sensual, philosophical and moral limits of desire.
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