This month's selection of leisure reading chosen by the Journal's Book Review Editor

The Upright Piano Player

David Abbott

Maclehose Press: £7.99

This stunning debut novel beautifully observes Henry Cage as he retires early from the successful business he built, faces up to the breakdown of his marriage, and encounters unexpected but tragic reconciliation with his wife and son. The description of the charmed (but soon to be shattered) London life contrasted with Norfolk is delightful. Readers of McEwan and Cartwright will not be disappointed.

Until Thy Wrath be Past

Asa Larsson

Maclehose Press: £12.99

With the eclipse of Stieg Larsson and Wallander, the Nordic detective genre has enabled new openings. District Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson is unknown to UK readers, but deserves to become well known. This complex, compelling and satisfying story of hidden truths and fear of disclosure and the consequences is set against the background of north Sweden.

An Agent of Deceit

Chris Morgan Jones

MacMillan: £16.99

This gripping narrative of the Russian Oligarchy is centred around a deal gone wrong. Tourna brings a complaint to arbitration while engaging a company run by former spooks, to raise the pressure and feed the press. But have they focused on the right man? Oil deals, skimming money, money laundering and the extravagance of the new Russian elite is laid bare. A brilliant read.

The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages

Sophie Hardach

Simon & Schuster: £12.99

An impressive debut novel, incorporating elements of comedy, tragedy, mystery, love story and commentary on the recent troubled history of Kurdistan. The narrator for much of the story, an idealistic young anarchist, enters into a marriage of convenience with a Kurdish refugee to allow him to stay in Germany. This impulsive act binds the two together for years to come, complicating both their lives in ways that neither could have anticipated. The author explores the themes of marriage, family, nationality and belonging (and the universal frustrations of being a public servant) with humour and poignancy. Well worth a look.

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