A Breath On Dying Embers

Denzil Meyrick

Polygon, £8.99

It doesn’t seem that long since Whisky from Small Glasses, but we’ve already reached the seventh instalment of DCI Jim Daley’s adventures, although Daley himself has to take a bit of a back seat in this one when his lifestyle catches up with him. One glimpse of the bruises on his estranged, unfaithful wife’s face and he’s in hospital with a suspected heart attack. As he’s convalescing, an important international trade delegation is meeting on a cruise ship just offshore from Kinloch, and security is a major concern. The ship is the target of a Somali terrorist cell, there’s an embittered old man seeking “true, elemental justice” and the ship’s captain, a commander in the Royal Navy and the local police are all in danger of getting in each other’s way. The locals’ couthy dialogue can feel forced and a bit grating, but Meyrick does his usual exemplary job in balancing his continuing characters’ storylines with humour and a high-stakes threat.

Lying For Money

Dan Davies

Profile, £9.99

Economist and market analyst Dan Davies has isolated four fundamental ways fools are parted from their money in this accessible study of “how legendary frauds reveal the workings of our world”. Among the historic scams he uses to illustrate his points are the Ponzi scheme (subsequent pyramid schemes, he says, are just a crude imitation), the invention of a non-existent British colony in South America, plots involving racing pigeons and salad oil, and the works of fraudsters like Bernie Madoff, Charles Keating, Kray twins accountant Leslie Payne and Jordan Bellfort, who inspired The Wolf of Wall Street. Davies is a natural storyteller and weaves a lively and informative book out of his expert knowledge. But his wider point is that fraud is less about exploiting individuals’ greed and gullibility than spotting vulnerabilities in the system. Fraud has the power to reshape the economy, and unless precautions are in place to prevent it, legitimate commerce suffers.

Silence Is My Mother Tongue

Sulaiman Addonia

Indigo, £8.99

Addonia’s early life in a refugee camp informs his second novel, which follows a young girl, Saba, after she is evacuated to a Sudanese camp with her mother and mute brother, Hagos. Against the wishes of her mother, who wants her to conform to tradition, Saba longs to become a doctor and can’t wait for the school promised by the aid workers. She’s also fiercely protective of her brother, who displays all the femininity Saba feels she lacks, and is the only one who understands that behind Hagos’s mute, angelic façade he has a grown adult’s needs. Sensuality and danger are inextricably linked in this novel, and the terrifying spectre of mutilation stalks its young female characters, but the control the community tries to exert over people’s bodies can sometimes be creatively subverted. Silence is My Mother Tongue is suitably ambiguous for a novel concerned with gender fluidity, but the dreamlike blurry edges never blunt its power and poetry.