Jonathan Whitelaw (Urbane, £8.99)

The Scottish author and journalist follows up 2018’s Hellcorp with another heretical adventure for his beleaguered lord of darkness. The Devil is persuaded by two of his most unscrupulous denizens to capitalise on a surge of popularity by breaking free of his time-honoured constraints. This would upset the Natural Order of things, but the Devil is still taken aback by the Almighty’s response, which is to decant him into a feeble human body and task him with solving a kidnapping. Quite how cracking a missing persons case will end the wave of violence and chaos sweeping the Earth is beyond him, but he gamely teams up with police officer DS Laurie, with the very hounds of Hell on their tail. Whitelaw keeps this diverting comedy moving at a decent pace, wringing a good deal of humour from its fish-out-of-water premise, though playing the Devil as a tetchy, condescending businessman leaves him somewhat unimposing and short on memorable lines.


Kate Quinn (Harper Collins, £8.99)

In the aftermath of World War II, British war correspondent Ian Graham runs an operation to catch Nazi war criminals. Together, he and his wife, Nina, a former Serbian bomber pilot, set out to find Lorelei Vogt, a particularly ruthless Nazi known as the Huntress. Meanwhile, in Boston, photographer Jordan McBride is having doubts about her new stepmother, Anneliese, despite her claims to be an Austrian refugee. Focusing on the three main female characters – Nina, who suffered at the Huntress’s hands and, uniquely, lived to tell the tale; Jordan, finding a viper lurking in the bosom of her family; and the Huntress herself, guilty of unspeakable acts – it’s a suspenseful novel set in a morally complex post-war era in which the protagonists are still fighting their war after the military focus has shifted to the USSR. Quinn was inspired by real people, including the husband-and-wife team who netted Klaus Barbie and a regiment of female Russian combat pilots, now largely forgotten.


Ursula Owen (Salt, £12.99)

A founding director of Virago Press, Ursula Owen is one of the great and good who has advised the Labour Party, promotes literacy, opposes censorship and sits on many boards, including the South Bank Centre and English Touring Opera. Her autobiography wanders as far afield as Egypt, America and Lebanon, detailing her part in the rise of feminism and the establishment of Virago. But it’s her account of her early years that leaves the most indelible imprint. Born in England in 1937 of secular bourgeois Jewish-German heritage, the “conformist child” quickly realised that she and her siblings would be her parents’ route to assimilation in their new country, and the first part of this book is a fascinating memoir of a girl with a foot in two cultures, trying to find her own path in life as her mother’s mental health deteriorated and she feared, from an early age, that she would one day develop schizophrenia herself.


ISBN numbers

The Man in the Dark: 978-1-912666-46-1

The Huntress: 978-0-00-832619-7

Single Journey Only: 978-1-78463-187-1