In brief

Reviews of ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’, by Robert Galbraith; ‘The Riot’, by Laura Wilson; ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’, by Maria Semple

The Bard behind the curtains

Jude Morgan’s ‘The Secret Life of William Shakespeare’ is an absorbing historical novel that enjoyably reinvents the few familiar facts about the playwright

Grotesque fascination

David Whaitehouse’s ‘Bed’ is a quiet domestic tragedy narrated by a lonely brother whose life is eclipsed by his dysfunctional sibling

Red Ken’s postscript

In Ken Livingstone’s memoir ‘You Can’t Say That’, London’s first mayor analyses his political career with deadpan humour

Enter the dragon

‘When China Rules the World’ is Martin Jacques’s highly sympathetic assessment that places the state in the context of east Asian economic history

Thespian lives

Esther Freud’s ‘Lucky Break’ whips up plenty of fun, intrigue and theatrical fluorishes in this tale of four budding acting students striving for fame

A recalibration of memory

Julian Barnes’s ‘The Sense of an Ending’ is an eloquent meditation on relationships, emotional arrogance and the discomfort of remorse

Unseemly pleasure

A widow takes a pair of lodgers to fill a shortfall in the rent while a gay and vain banker marries a plain Betty

Real inheritance

Tim Pear’s ‘Disputed Land’ is shaped by a child’s naive commentary on family bickering and evokes a sense of cumulative loss, place and heritage

Holy City’s evolution

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem: The Biography’ is a highly readable narrative about the ancient city’s turbulent history

Enemy of the regime

Journalist Luke Harding’s ‘Mafia State’ is a probing, sobering view of a powerful – and dysfunctional – Russia

Inner turbulence

‘The Troubled Man’, Henning Mankell’s final Kurt Wallander mystery novel, is more gritty procedural than spy thriller

Eviction notice

A nuanced and darkly comic tale that probes a small community’s ethics to illuminate wider conflicts of aspiration, dignity and circumstance

Sea yearnings

A sympathetically imagined novel about Herman Melville’ life that deftly navigates intense relationships, and fiery characters who weigh ambition and regret

Chemical lives

Hugh Aldersey-Williams cross-references art, literature, religion and politics to write a remarkable history of the table of elements in ‘Periodic Tales’

Rear window

Curious characters and a sinuous plot set the tone for this novel that examines the anxious social milieu of Nazi Vienna in 1939

Art, death and intrigue

In Jane Harris’s ‘Gillespie and I’, a wealthy art-lover becomes entangled in the mysterious killing of an artist’s daughter

Finding the past in Tibet

Colin Thubron’s heartfelt memoir ‘To a Mountain in Tibet’ explores the region’s martial and religious history

Corporate chicanery

Tim Wu’s ‘The Master Switch’ examines the threat of innovation to established companies

Human remains

An engineer comes to terms with the direction of his desires as he transports the contents of a Parisian cemetery in Andrew Miller’s ‘Pure’

The exploration of reading

‘Stop What You’re Doing And Read This!’, by Zadie Smith et al, is a collection of essays on the creative, immersive, vital activity

The Weekend

Bernhard Schlink’s novel is an adaptation of the classic country house murder story