This week's selection from the arrivals pile looks to be particularly wide-ranging:
The Limpopo Academy Of Private Detection is (astonishingly) the 13th in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and Mma Ramotswe has an unexpected visitor who may be able to help her with resolve a worrying and difficult situation. I'm already well on with this book and laughing out loud as usual.
The Harbour by Francesca Brill is set in Hong Kong in 1940 where, with the war in Europe a world away, a young American journalist is keeping her readers entertained with society gossip. Stevie becomes involved with a British soldier sent to investigate suspicious activity inside the colony, and when the Japanese army seizes the island, the two are faced with terrifying challenges.
Gold by Chris Cleave "explores the extremes of human capacity - from the peak of athletic condition to the nadir of ill health ... it is a novel about ambition and failure, about what drives us to succeed and what we choose to sacrifice for success". Interestingly, as part of his research for Gold Chris spent time in velodromes and on a bike, but also a fortnight shadowing doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Scarp by Nick Papadimitriou is "part meditation on nature and walking, part memoir and part social history, and also a personal inquiry into the spirit of a place". Its focus is the 14-mile broken ridge of land on the fringes of northern London, the North Middlesex/South Hertfordshire escarpment, and it seeks to explore and re-imagine this landscape to "celebrate the poetry in everyday life and the past beneath our feet".
Sound by T.M. Wolf sounds quite intriguing. It's "a poignant love affair with an atmospheric setting" but the story is evoked using the form of a musical score, with the reader 'hearing' the book as it is read. It is a complex layering of dialogue, thought, heartbeats and a hip-hop soundtrack, and its unusual form makes it "a novel in stereo, while everything else is in mono".
Snake Ropes by Jess Richards is "a terrific story, quirky and wildly original" - so says Joanne Harris. It combines unusual language and vivid imagination and is reminiscent of Angela Carter and early Margaret Atwood, with myths and subverted fairytales woven through it and rich imagery colouring a take about an island off the top of the map where boys are disappearing ...