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MUST READS

THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman (Penguin £8.99, 400 pp)

THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB  

by Richard Osman (Penguin £8.99, 400 pp)

Coopers Chase is a genteel retirement home with an excellent restaurant and a lively collection of residents. While some take classes in art history and French conversation, ex-trade union leader Ron, psychiatrist Ibrahim, Elizabeth, who is tight-lipped about her past, and Joyce, a nurse, meet each Thursday to discuss unsolved murders.

When Ian Ventham, the perma-tanned owner of Coopers Chase, and his henchman, Tony Curran, meet untimely ends, the club begins a live enquiry.

Occasionally frustrated by the retirees’ maverick methods, investigating officers DCI Chris Hudson and his bright young colleague, PC Donna De Freitas, eventually come to value their self-appointed colleagues.

Richard Osman’s delightful debut is warm-hearted and funny, with captivating characters and enough twists to keep you guessing until the final page.

AGENT SONYA by Ben Macintyre (Penguin £8.99, 400 pp)

AGENT SONYA by Ben Macintyre (Penguin £8.99, 400 pp)

AGENT SONYA  

by Ben Macintyre (Penguin £8.99, 400 pp)

In 1945 a housewife and her children came to live in a Cotswold village. Ursula Burton’s husband, Len, was serving with the Army, but she was no ordinary soldier’s wife. Born in Berlin to a wealthy Jewish family, Ursula joined the Communist party as the Nazis gained power and was recruited as a spy.

Codenamed Sonya, she baked scones, raised children and passed on the information that gave Russia the secrets of the atomic bomb. Despite the suspicions of MI5, she was never caught.

Ben Macintyre’s account of Ursula’s career is a non-fiction thriller with a heroine whose remarkable life spanned the whole of communism, from the Bolshevik revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett (Dialogue £8.99, 384 pp)

THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett (Dialogue £8.99, 384 pp)

THE VANISHING HALF  

by Brit Bennett (Dialogue £8.99, 384 pp)

When Desiree Vignes returns to the Louisiana town of Mallard in 1968, it causes a sensation.

Over a decade ago, 16-year-old Desiree and her twin, Stella, ran away from the town of light-skinned African-Americans ‘who would never be accepted as white but refused to be treated like n*****s’.

Desiree, the rebellious twin, had dreamed for years of leaving; studious Stella hoped to go to college. But when their mother takes them out of school to work as cleaners, the girls escape to New Orleans, where Stella vanishes.

Decades later their daughters meet, with no idea that they are cousins, and a shocking family secret begins to emerge.

Brit Bennett’s compelling bestseller is a vivid exploration of family, identity and corrosive tensions within communities. 

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