Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr (Atlantic, £16.99)

Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr (Atlantic, £16.99)

Huguette Clark, named after the French writer when she was born on Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris, was one of America's richest heiresses, who spent the last 20 years of her life hiding her cancer-ravaged face from a world who that long forgotten her. This fascinating biography partly challenges, partly reinforces, the poor little rich girl cliché.

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After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry (Serpent's Tail, £11.99)

Perry's debut successfully creates an air of real eeriness and tension when, 30 days into a drought, John Cole is mistaken for another and welcomed into a country home by its odd but friendly occupants. Even though it's possible to guess what's going on, the real pleasure here is in Perry's insightful and convincing depiction of family.

Greek and Roman Political Ideas by Melissa Lane (Pelican, £7.99)

Should "Ancient Peoples no longer (be) a model for modern ones", as Rousseau argued? Lane's guide takes us through eight political ideas, including justice and citizenship, as she combines history and art with philosophical questions. It makes for a rather dry and somewhat passionless read, in spite of the colourful past, but is clearly explained and set out.

In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge (Faber, £8.99)

Not surprisingly perhaps, given the title, this is a novel about endings: the ending of a regime (in this case the German Democratic Republic), the ending of a life, the ending of a family, but Ruge makes you more curious than depressed, contrasting with often gripping emotional honesty the earlier, more brutal days of East Germany and the present.