CJ Sansom (Mantle, €17.15)
It is 1545 and England is in the grip of soaring inflation as King Henry VIII's war with France has gone wrong and a French fleet prepares to invade.
Henry's sixth wife, Queen Catherine Parr, gives her friend, the hunchback lawyer Nicholas Shardlake, a case in which he must investigate claims that "monstrous wrongs" have been committed against a young ward of Hampshire landowner Sir Nicholas Hobbey. Shardlake and his clerk Barak travel to Portsmouth where Henry's army is preparing for battle and find their lives at risk from both the French and devious grandees in the King's court.
This, the fifth Shardlake case, is an enthralling historical crime novel packed with details of life in Tudor England. Highly recommended.