A treasure hunt that turns violent, Stanley Tucci’s foodie memoir and an espionage tale of Jewish refugees in Louth – Independent.ie

Posted By on October 12, 2022

Thriller: The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly Hodder & Stoughton, 504 pages, hardcover 17.99; e-book 6.99

Nell Churcher is a successful glass sculpture artist who tries to live off the grid on Englands canals in a narrow boat. But now she has reluctantly returned to her childhood home next to Hampstead Heath in London because her celebrated father, Sir Frank Churcher, has planned a special celebration.

Fifty years ago, as a penniless hippy artist, Frank wrote The Golden Bones, a part-picture-book, part-treasure-hunt fairy tale about Elinore, a murdered woman whose bones were scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles throughout the pages of the lavishly illustrated book led readers to seven sites where gold and jewelled parts of a womans skeleton were buried.

One by one, the golden bones had been dug up, until only one, the dead womans pelvis, remained unclaimed. The book had been a sensation and earned Frank and his collaborator a fortune.

A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters was formed and over the years they grew more and more frenzied. Some targeted and attacked Nell because they believed she possessed the golden pelvis. Now her father was going to reveal the location of the final piece.

Inspired by the 1979 publishing sensation Masquerade, a richly illustrated fable by artist Kit Williams that sent thousands of treasure hunters digging up swathes of the English countryside, Erin Kellys take on the tale is a delight, particularly the descriptions of Nells eccentric and utterly dysfunctional family.Myles McWeeney

Memoir: Taste by Stanley TucciFig Tree, 320 pages, paperback 11.99; e-book 5.99

He may be best known as one of the finest character actors of his generation, but Stanley Tucci is a bona fide foodie too. He has already brought out a pair of popular cookbooks and now this memoir traces a veritable obsession with food.

There are accounts of his childhood, growing up in a food-obsessed Italian-American family, and anecdotes about the significant part that cuisine has played in his acting career, not least in Julie & Julia, the film he made about the great American cookery writer Julia Child.

An irreverent and witty book, it offers a snapshot of the man himself and he writes so well about food that its best not to read it on an empty stomach.John Meagher

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Thriller: Black Lake Manorby Guy MorpussViper, 400 pages, hardcover 18.75; e-book 5.69

Ella Manning, a marine biologist and part-time police constable, is attending a glitzy product launch at the island home near Vancouver of billionaire tech genius Lincoln Shan, her former fianc.

A violent storm cuts all communications with the mainland, so when Lincoln is found murdered in his locked office, the guests ask her to solve the crime. But when she is sure she has identified the killer, time is unwound and she must start all over again.

Partially set in the early 1800s, but mostly in a high-tech 2045, is this a historical thriller, or science fiction? It doesnt really matter, because at its heart is an intriguing take on a Agatha Christie-type locked-room mystery.Myles McWeeney

Fiction: The Emerald Spy by Nicola CassidyPoolbeg, 450 pages, paperback 15.99; e-book 3.99

During the summer of 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, a group of Jewish refugees were housed in Termonfeckin, Co Louth. This historical fact intrigued author Nicola Cassidy, and she has spun a slow-burning and intriguing espionage tale around the experiences of classical musician Gisella Mller and tram conductor Hans Schmitt as they try to settle in Newtown House farm near Drogheda, home to generous English-born Laila de Freyne and her dangerously flighty and rebellious 17-year-old daughter Nola.

Both Gisella and Hans struggle to come to terms with the huge upheaval and loss of their loved ones in their new lives, and when an German secret agent lands nearby, the local IRA brigade threatens everybodys safety.Myles McWeeney

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A treasure hunt that turns violent, Stanley Tucci's foodie memoir and an espionage tale of Jewish refugees in Louth - Independent.ie

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