Well we were beginning to lose hope that we would have riddles this month but we are happy to report that things appear to have just been a little slower going up. As always, we have waded through a lot of guesses and these are the books that we think are the most likely selections foe March. We are actually feeling very confident about our guesses, so confident in fact, that this month we aren’t even considering alternative guesses. However, we admit that we might make mistakes so remember that these are only thoughtful guesses and not the confirmed selections. We’re only human after all!
Riddle #1- “Killing Time”Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
Published by William Morrow on March 3, 2020
A chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.
Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne's Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox's Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald's The Drowner, and Donna Tartt's A Secret History.
But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookshop in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.
To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects—and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.
Why It Fits: Out of all of our guesses, I think we are least sure about Eight Perfect Murders. In saying that, we still feel fairly certain about this one. There are numerous factors that make this one a likely pick. First off, Peter Swanson is a repeat author and while that doesn’t guarantee it will be a pick, it does help its chances. It also features an amateur sleuth teaming up with a seasoned law enforcement veteran, a popular trope among Book of the Month titles.
Riddle #2- “A Fork in the Road”The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Published by Ballantine Books on March 3, 2020
In this next captivating love story from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December, a young woman is reunited with her late fiancé in a parallel life. But is this happy ending the one she really wants?
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They'd been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.
But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
So now it's just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life--and perhaps even love--again.
But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.
Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there's an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there's someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.
Written with Josie Silver's trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life's crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.
Why It Fits: Another repeat author, this clue was a pretty easy one to figure out since it fits both the title and provided synopsis of The Lives of Lydia Bird, who, after being with Freddie for a decade loses him tragically and then has to decide if she would would want to live the same life all over again if given the choice. Josie Silver is the author of One Day in December and with Book of the Month making a greater effort to include romances in their monthly line ups it seems highly likely that we will see this one in March.
Riddle #3- “Round These Parts”A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 10, 2020
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door―an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.
Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.
Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.
Why It Fits: A Good Neighborhood is another title that just sounds like one Book of the Month would choose: Its a social issues contemporary that asks hard questions about race and class struggles in urban America as an African American family wrestle with a “new money” white family who moves in next store and sets to work on changing things that cause plenty of friction between the two families. Definitely a solid contemporary fiction pick for March!
Riddle #4- “The Beautiful and the Villainous”The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
Published by Crown Publishing Group (NY) on February 25, 2020
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and The Devil in the White City delivers a startlingly fresh portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz
On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons (30,000 of them Londoners) and destroying two million homes. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally--that she was willing to fight to the end.
In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinksmanship but also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country house, Chequers, and his wartime residence, Ditchley, where Churchill and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest. Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only now available, Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their daughters, Sarah, Diana, and the youngest, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his dangerously observant private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Federick Lindemann.
The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when--in the face of unrelenting horror--Churchill's eloquence, strategic brilliance, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.
Why It Fits: Another obvious pick based on the clue, this nonfiction novel is perfect for fans of The Crown, The Splendid and The Vile is Erik Larson’s newest foray into his own special brand of immersive nonfiction. Known best for The Devil in the White City (which was previously an add-on for Book of the Month), Larson tends to write expansive and immersive books and this is no exception. The Splendid and the Vile follows Winston Churchill, privately and professionally, during his first year as Prime Minister. During this first year, Hitler began his invasion of Poland and Churchill would become a rallying point for the British people and, eventually, the world. This one sounds amazing for lovers of World War II novels or detailed non-fiction.
Riddle #5- “Chronicles of Romantic Pursuits”Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Published by Grove Press on March 3, 2020
Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman.
Blindsided by her mother's sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she's been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey's fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.
Writers & Lovers follows Casey--a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist--in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Written with King's trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.
Why It Fits: Writers & Lovers follows Casey Peabody, a 31-year-old author. She is living in Boston after her mother’s death and struggling to find her place in the world. This is a coming of age story for the older millennial set, struggling to live a life of meaning in a world that sometimes makes that difficult. Although some call the writing uneven, it has been blurbed by two former BOTM authors and hailed as a must read. I love the idea of a novel exploring a woman’s life in the last phase of what is commonly considered “youth” rather than the many novels either much older or much younger that we more often see.
What Do You Think?
What do you think of our guesses? Are there titles you think fit the clues better? If these are the picks, which one will you be picking up? Let us know in the comments!