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From Rivka Galchen to Ruth Padel, Jordan Tannahill and Vaseem Khan: This week’s best new fiction 

From Rivka Galchen’s triumphant novel to Daughters Of The Labyrinth by Ruth Padel, a tense tale by Jordan Tannahill and Vaseem Khan’s latest, this week’s best new fiction

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch

Rivka Galchen                                                                             Fourth Estate £14.99

A richly depicted 17th Century Germany is the setting for award-winning Galchen’s triumphant second novel. There, Katharina Kepler, an illiterate widow known for her herbal remedies, is accused of witchcraft by a neighbour. 

In the fight to clear her name and save her life, she must rally family, friends and her own sharp wits. The story is based on real events, and Katharina’s adult son turns out to be none other than astronomer Johannes Kepler.

Hephzibah Anderson

 

Daughters Of The Labyrinth

Ruth Padel                                                                                                  Corsair £18.99

Hit by the double-whammy of Brexit and the death of her English husband, a Cretan artist returns from London to the island of her birth. But her Greek roots prove far more tangled than she had realised: her mother has spent years concealing her Jewish heritage, along with the fact that she had a younger sister. 

Padel has produced a slow-burner of a novel but the writing is both lyrical and psychologically astute.

Max Davidson

 

The Listeners

Jordan Tannahill                                                                        Fourth Estate £14.99

Schoolteacher Claire is overwhelmed and under pressure. Disturbed by an unidentified, unremitting hum, beset by headaches and insomnia and isolated from her sceptical husband and daughter, she unwisely bonds with a student and fellow sufferer, upending her entire life. 

Sacked from her job, she finds herself in the clutches of conspiracy theorists and a cult-like leader with dubious motives. It’s a tense if over-the-top account of a woman on the verge of losing everything.

Eithne Farry

 

The Dying Day

Vaseem Khan                                                              Hodder & Stoughton £16.99

Khan’s splendid heroine, Persis Wadia, Bombay’s first female detective, returns for a second adventure. It’s 1948 and an English academic has disappeared from the city’s Asiatic Society, bearing with him a fabulously rare original copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy. 

What follows is a thoroughly enjoyable yarn, complete with atmospheric setting, intricate puzzle-solving and much derring-do, as Persis cracks codes, battles ex-Nazis and struggles with her increasingly tangled love life.

John Williams 

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