Catherine the Great was the legendary last empress of Russia. Nobody imagined that she could rise from up from such humble origins as a princess from an obscure German principality to become the ruler of the largest country in the world of that time. Catherine's reign during the late 18th Century provides readers with a fascinating story.
Amitav Ghosh recently published "River of Smoke," the second book in a planned trilogy. In the first novel, "Sea of Poppies," Ghosh transported readers back to 18th Century India. He introduced a number of characters who we meet again in the second book.
Denise Mina is on the leading edge (along with Ian Rankin) of the wave of Scottish crime novelists known as "Tartan Noir." Rankin hails from Edinburgh. Mina is from Glasgow. This is not a unified movement. They are quite different writers.
Physicians have long been compared with detectives, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was himself a physician. This episode features Dr. Jonathan Edlow from Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, author of "The Deadly Dinner Party" -- a collection of medical detective stories.