10 books like The Light of Day

By Eric Ambler,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Light of Day. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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11 Harrowhouse

By Gerald A. Browne,

Book cover of 11 Harrowhouse

I have a special fondness for 11 Harrowhouse, the 1973 thriller that spins the tale of a huge theft of rough diamonds from The System, a fictional London diamond powerhouse modeled on the real-life De Beers. When I started writing about diamonds, De Beers was still the Darth Vader of diamonds—all-powerful, feared, despotic. More than eighty percent of the world’s rough diamonds poured through its London headquarters at 17 Charterhouse Street. In the novel, thieves thread a hose from the roof into the diamond vault, and hoover up the loot. In reality, a different method was used to steal diamonds from De Beers’s London fortress, which I described in my non-fiction book, then re-tailored for my own purposes in The Russian Pink

11 Harrowhouse

By Gerald A. Browne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 11 Harrowhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An American courier and his lover are selected as the key operatives in an international diamond swindle


Koh-I-Noor

By Anita Anand, William Dalrymple,

Book cover of Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond

Part of the value of diamonds comes from how avidly people steal them. The cat-burglar on the French Riviera. The miner swallowing a stone and trying to make it past the x-ray at the gate. Or the conquerors, snatching jewels from one turban after another as they ride through history. That last is the story of the Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light), told with his usual panache by William Dalrymple, the celebrated historian of Mughal India, in this non-fiction account. It falls to Dalrymple’s co-author, journalist Anita Anand, to track the jewel though it's last, decidedly inglorious change of ownership—stolen by the British from the Maharaja Duleep Singh, when imperial forces prevailed upon him not only to sign away the Punjab, but also to make a “gift” of his family’s famous diamond to Queen Victoria. Sure, the Maharaja did in fact sign the document. But he was 10 years old.

Koh-I-Noor

By Anita Anand, William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Koh-I-Noor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Codewords have been one of The Daily Telegraph's most successful puzzles since their introduction to the paper in summer 2003, and here we are proud to present another in the popular series of Codewords books. The principle is simple: the unsolved grid shows squares containing numbers, each of which corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. Between two and five solved letters are given, and the remainder must be discovered through a combination of logic and word power. This collection contains 150 brand new puzzles. Can you crack the code?


To Catch A Thief

By David Dodge,

Book cover of To Catch A Thief

This is another great diamond yarn where the movie by Alfred Hitchcock is better known than the book. A series of high-end robberies is plaguing the French Riviera. Police suspect that retired jewel thief John “The Cat” Robie may not be as retired as he claims. They come to arrest him. Robie escapes. To prove his innocence, he persuades an insurance broker to give him a list of the wealthiest diamond owners on the Cote d’Azur, so he can intercept and apprehend the new “Cat” committing the robberies, and thus clear his name. On the list is a wealthy American, with whose daughter, played by Grace Kelly, Robie develops a romance. The plot plays out in the ravishing landscape, but the real message is the diamond industry’s favorite—that owning diamonds makes you part of a glamorous world.

To Catch A Thief

By David Dodge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Catch A Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

TO CATCH A THIEF is David Dodge's most famous novel, and rightly so. Alfred Hitchcock firmly cinched its place in the annals of crime fiction by adapting it into an Academy Award winning film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The story centers on John Robie, American expatriate and skilled gymnast, who once-upon-a-time was Le Chat, the famous and elusive cat burglar who worked the South of France. The legend of Le Chat grew with each crime. Following the war, Robie retires to a quiet life in France and vows to leave his past behind. His retirement is shattered when…


Hope

By Marian Fowler,

Book cover of Hope: Adventures of a Diamond

Marian Fowler’s lavish non-fiction account tracks the storied diamond from its origins in India, where it was bought by the great French jewel merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who sold it to Louis XIV. Weighing 110 carats in the rough, the blue was eventually cut into a heart-shaped jewel of 67.13 carats, known to history as the French Blue. In the turbulent early days of the French Revolution, all the crown jewels were moved from the Palace of Versailles to the Garde-Meuble, a treasure house in central Paris. On the night of September 11, 1792, thieves broke in and stole the jewels. Many were recovered, but the French Blue vanished forever. Too famous to be sold as it was, the London jeweler who eventually bought it, cut it down to 44.5 carats—the jewel sold to Henry Philip Hope in 1830. The Hope diamond passed through many hands, leaving behind a trail of…

Hope

By Marian Fowler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Allegedly a curse to those that own it, the Hope Diamond - a flawless blue diamond of over forty-five carats - has inspired centuries of legends and lies, fabulous superstition and fierce passion. In rich, shimmering prose, Marian Fowler explains how the Hope Diamond was formed in nature - and how it was taken from the mines and temples of India to the royal courts of seventeenth-century Europe. Acquired and cherished by Louis XIV, the stone was stolen in an almost farcical French Revolution robbery. It resurfaced twenty years later in London and passed through numerous hands, including those of…


Prague Fatale

By Philip Kerr,

Book cover of Prague Fatale

Philip Kerr’s series of books about Berlin detective Bernie Gunther is a stunning achievement. The series weaves together the often disturbing history of the Third Reich, real-life characters such as Goebbels and Goering, and a sharp-minded and blunt-speaking detective everyman who is trying to survive the maelstrom around him with morals and life intact. Prague Fatale sets Gunther unto solve murders at a house party of high-ranking Nazis at Heydrich’s rural retreat. It’s a grim twist on cosy, country house murders.

Prague Fatale

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Prague Fatale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written' LEE CHILD

Bernie Gunther returns to his desk on homicide from the horrors of the Eastern Front to find Berlin changed for the worse.

He begins to investigate the death of a railway worker, but is obliged to drop everything when Reinhard Heydrich of the SD orders him to Prague to spend a weekend at his country house. Bernie accepts reluctantly, especially when he learns that his fellow guests are all senior figures in the SS and SD.

The weekend quickly turns sour when a body is found in a room locked from…


Hangsaman

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of Hangsaman

Shirley Jackson’s gothic American novels imbued with an eerie sense of the uncanny. Hangsaman is a campus novel about the mysterious disappearance of a freshman student—from the pen of a woman who herself was an academic’s wife at a liberal art’s college at Bennington, where Paula Welden was an American college student who ostensibly disappeared in December 1946 Vermont's Long Trail hiking route. The book is a misty, creepy read and if you research Jackson’s real life, you begin to wonder what is she really telling us?

Hangsaman

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hangsaman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shirley Jackson's Hangsaman is a story of lurking disquiet and haunting disorientation, inspired by the real-life, unsolved disappearance of a female college student.

'Shirley Jackson's stories are among the most terrifying ever written' Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch

Natalie Waite, daughter of a mediocre writer and a neurotic housewife, is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. In the midst of adolescence she senses a creeping darkness in her life, which will spread among nightmarish parties, poisonous college cliques and the manipulations of the intellectual men who surround her, as her identity gradually crumbles.

This Penguin edition includes…


Death of a Red Heroine

By Qiu Xiaolong,

Book cover of Death of a Red Heroine

There’s a kind of charm and naïveté about the detective in this book, he is a relatively strait-laced character and his shock and moral outrage at the sexual and material excesses of some of the corrupt children of high-ranking CCP officials betokens a wholly different society and upbringing, conditioned by Party propaganda. Inspector Chen revels in poetry and ‘good' food, although descriptions of banquets of turtles and bear’s paws again speak of different cultural tastes. The story is delivered slowly—this is set in a Shanghai before computers and mobile phones and the hero must wend his way around town to speak to witnesses by bus and train. It’s a satisfying read and an evocative journey to a faraway time and place.

Death of a Red Heroine

By Qiu Xiaolong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death of a Red Heroine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Qiu Xiaolong's Anthony Award-winning debut introduces Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police.

A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.


Dead Lions

By Mick Herron,

Book cover of Dead Lions

Expendable and incompetent Secret Service agents eventually wash up at Slough House, where they toil on pointless administrative tasks for a foul-mouthed, grubby boss called Jackson Lamb. Lamb is deliciously politically incorrect, offensive, and drinks and smokes to excess in his pit of an office. However he has a keen mind, is an experienced spy, and not afraid to act decisively to protect his employees and society. In this episode he unravels a nest of sleeper agents after an old Cold-War era colleague is found murdered on a coach. The book is well written and neatly plotted.

Dead Lions

By Mick Herron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dead Lions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning British espionage novel about disgraced MI5 agents who inadvertently uncover a deadly Cold War-era legacy of sleeper cells and mythic super spies. 

The disgruntled agents of Slough House, the MI5 branch where washed-up spies are sent to finish their failed careers on desk duty, are called into action to protect a visiting Russian oligarch whom MI5 hopes to recruit to British intelligence. While two agents are dispatched on that babysitting job, though, an old Cold War-era spy named Dickie Bow is found dead, ostensibly of a heart attack, on a bus outside of Oxford, far…


The Athenian Experiment

By Greg Anderson,

Book cover of The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.

At the very end of the sixth century BCE, the Athenians took a leap of faith and turned their city into the first democracy – or proto-democracy, anyway: much tweaking went on over subsequent decades. In terms of European history as a whole, this has probably been the most important event to come out of ancient Greece. It has of course been much studied – so it is remarkable that Anderson’s book is filled with fresh insights into the background of the “Athenian experiment,” what actually happened, and why. The results are often surprising. Above all, he demonstrates that it was not a bottom-up spontaneous revolution by the masses, but a deliberate piece of social engineering by members of the Athenian elite.

The Athenian Experiment

By Greg Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Athenian Experiment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In barely the space of one generation, Athens was transformed from a conventional city-state into something completely new--a region-state on a scale previously unthinkable. This book sets out to answer a seemingly simple question: How and when did the Athenian state attain the anomalous size that gave it such influence in Greek politics and culture in the classical period? Many scholars argue that Athens's incorporation of Attica was a gradual development, largely completed some two hundred years before the classical era. Anderson, however, suggests that it is not until the late sixth century that we see the first systematic attempts…


The Agora of Athens

By Homer A. Thompson, R.E. Wycherley,

Book cover of The Agora of Athens: The History, Shape, and Uses of an Ancient City Center

Another book getting on in years, but which remains an essential resource for the history and topography of the Agora, the economic and social heart of Athens. Here people came to shop, trade, chit-chat, discuss political affairs, attend some public institutions including the law courts, and ‘hang out’. The time period covered is very wide, from 600 BC to AD 267. The authors’ discussion of the buildings and monuments in the Agora with copious and detailed drawings brings alive what this vital area was like and what its architecture tells us about the Athenians.

The Agora of Athens

By Homer A. Thompson, R.E. Wycherley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Agora of Athens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The subtitle, The History, Shape and Uses of an Ancient City Center, suggests the general character of this volume, which provides an overview of the area that served as the civic center of Athens from about 600 B.C. to A.D. 267. After a general resumé of the historical development of the Agora, the monuments are treated in detail, grouped by their use and purpose. Each monument is discussed in the light of both the literary and the archaeological evidence for its identification and its restoration. In the light of the topographical conclusions the route of Pausanias is traced. A chapter…


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