Take Ten: We’re Having a Heat Wave

It seems senseless to complain about the weather here in the Magic Valley. After all, we should expect the heat – we’re living in the high desert. But, after a few days of 90°+ cloudless days, things tend to get a little old. So, it’s time to turn the tables – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The following are all books that deal in some way with a heat wave. Reading one might not cool you down, but it might make you feel better about the long, hot, summer.


The Dead Season: A Mystery in Florence – Christobel Kent

  • Sandro Cellini will not be joining the crowds of holidaymakers escaping the heat this year. The former policeman turned private detective has a case: a man who seems to have vanished into thin air, leaving his pregnant young wife alone in the city.  As Florence sweats it out, Cellini attempts to grapple with his case and the complications it throws at him. And when the weather finally breaks, it brings with it a shocking revelation. (This is the third Sandro Cellini mystery)

Frog Music – Emma Donoghue

  • Burlesque dancer Blanche Beunon tries to discover who murdered her friend Jenny, who was shot through a window in a railroad saloon in 1876 San Francisco, amidst a record-breaking heat wave and smallpox epidemic.

Full Blast – Janet Evanovich

  • Jamie Swift and Max Holt find themselves taking on a murderer who is targeting some of the less popular citizens of Beaumont, South Carolina, when they discover that the key to the killings lies in the personal ads of the newspaper. (Fourth in the Full series)

Good Graces – Lesley Kagen

  • During a sweltering 1960 Milwaukee heat wave, Sally O’Malley struggles with the trauma of her father’s sudden death and her sister Troo’s possible role in a string of burglaries, an escape from a reform school, and an orphan’s disappearance.

Heat Wave – Richard Castle

  • In the midst of a suffocating heat wave, NYPD homicide detective Nikki Heat investigates the falling death of real estate tycoon and a brutal attack on a Manhattan socialite. However, when another shocking murder puts Heat on a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy, her investigation may prove fatal. (First in the Nikki Heat series)

Instructions for a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell

  • When a recently retired family patriarch clears out his bank account and disappears during a sweltering summer in 1976, his three children converge on their mother’s home for the first time in years and track clues to an ancestral village in Ireland, where they uncover illuminating family secrets.

The Square Root of Murder – Ada Madison

  • While celebrating famous scholars of the past with her students, Dr. Sophie Knowles, a much loved math teacher at Henley College, must add up the clues to prove her assistant’s innocence when she is accused of killing Dr. Keith Appleton, the most disliked professor on campus. (First in the Professor Sophie Knowles mysteries)


And 3 nonfiction books:

Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt – Edward P. Kohn

  • Shows how Democrat William Jennings Bryan’s hopes for the presidency began to flag amidst the abhorrent heat of 1896 New York just as police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt scrambled to mitigate the dangerously high temperatures.

The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm – Juliet Nicolson

  • Chronicling four months during 1911, an evocative portrait of an English society on the brink of turbulent change describes such milestones as the crowning of a new king, strikes that paralyzed British industry, and the first London appearance of the Ballets Russes, from the viewpoints of a debutante, a suffragette, a trade unionist, a butler, a politician, the queen, and others.

Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World’s Fair on the Brink of War – James Mauro

  • The summer of 1939 was an epic turning point for America – a brief window between the Great Depression and World War II. It was the last season of unbridled hope for peace and prosperity; by Labor Day, the Nazis were in Poland. And nothing would come to symbolize this transformation from acute optimism to fear and dread more than the 1939 New York World’s Fair.


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