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Monday, January 20, 2020

Death at Eden's End by Jo Allen

Set in a beautiful part of the Lake District (the descriptions are marvellous), in a very posh, expensive elders home Violet is found dead. Of course at the age of 100 this was expected and so why is our detective Jude and Dr Ashleigh determined to question and probe the matter further, much to the chagrin of the authorities of the home.

The look of terror on Violet's face was enough for Ashleigh to pursue the death further and then it was proved that Violet was suffocated. Violet's life was surprising, complicated and unknown to all. Her history during WWII was little known and the part she played in it was unknown till it all had to come out during the investigation.

Surprising how one old woman's life had so many ramifications and twists and turns and eventually led to her murder. On the surface she was just an old lady, beneath it all was mystery upon mystery.

Very well written and for lovers of detective work, this was a good one.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Girls in the Lake by Helen Phifer (Book 2 in the series)

Three young women turn up dead.  The first two victims were found by people who were used the lake regularly. The third victim was unusual. She was pushed into the lake, was rescued but died a few hours later in her own bedroom. All three girls were pretty, blonde and young. All three were acquaintances of three young men.  Two of the men had unsavoury reputations, and one was just a hanger on without money or consequence, just a fellow student.

The story of three young men without any seeming purpose in life, two of them just seem to want to find an easy girl for the night or day, the other equally aimless and not doing anything constructive. The story of too much inherited money and not enough responsibilities and even consideration of others. Condescending, patronizing the worst  possible friends one could have.

Forensics in the form of Dr. Beth Adams refuses to accept that the deaths are accidental and she pushes the detectives on the force to look for anything suspicious. When she feels that the investigations are not making any headway she conducts her own. With the third girl's death, all of them combine efforts to prevent a fourth.

The end was surprising. Like all thrillers it was a twist to the tale.The characters though not likeable at all were compelling as part of the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Barbouze by Alan Williams

Set in North Africa the story between the French Secret Service and the local population trying to wrest control from their colonial masters.

Ingleby the journalist from England is naive and only wants to do the correct thing. Something which both sides decide to use to their own advantage and he is caught in the middle. His copy to his office in London could be the best one yet of his career, but at what cost. Ingleby is not made for the betrayal and lack of loyalty and the mindless murdering that goes on and he seems lost here.

The story was fast paced, the characters were lethal and our main man was very naive. The setting could have been anywhere with a colorful and bloody history.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sapere Books.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Death at Sandy Bay by Betty Rowlands

A beautiful setting of the countryside and a stylish manor hotel. A musical weekend of like minded spirits gathering together. Something they do frequently. When Lance Rainbird is found dead in the lake, not an accident but murder the focus shifts to someone within their intimate group. It also puts paid to Sukey's planned romantic weekend.

With all eyes focused on only one suspect, Sukey thinks they are all barking up the wrong tree and an innocent man is going to be the second victim here.

The interest in this story is not just the murder mystery but the intrinsic character of Sukey who with her quiet intelligent detection and with male chauvinists aplenty has to work in an environment where her instincts and intuition are not taken much note of. This is very much part of the Betty Rowlands stories.

Very good mystery series, invariably in glorious settings.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Last Waltz by Dorothy Mack


This was typical Regency romance and I loved it. It was also very suitable for a particularly stressed out few days when I never knew whether I was coming or going!!

Location was Brussels at the height of the war with Napoleon on their doorstep. Adrienne has two young brothers and Becky who has been their protector and guide. Now without a penny to their name Becky turns to their only hope Lord Creighton whose mother was a dear friend of Adrienne's mother. Becky is also alarmed at Adrienne's insistence on changing their fortunes by going to houses where gambling takes place. Without a guardian or a male protector Adrienne is vulnerable though she is not aware of the dangers.

The story goes on with Lord Creighton's beautiful fiancee who does not wish to play second fiddle to the poor relations of her partner.  Adrienne discovers only much later her actual feelings for the Lord and thankfully it all ends well despite the ups and downs of true love!

The setting was lovely, the characters were all masterful and I enjoyed reading this book.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sapere Books.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Why She Ran by Geraldine Hogan

The setting of a rehabilitation centre is perfect for this book. Rachel is a very caring nurse and she is found brutally murdered. When Eleanor Marshall is found missing from this high security centre, she is seen as the obvious suspect but to the detectives on the case this is not so. They feel that Eleanor may have been one of the victims. The fact that Eleanor has epilepsy, needs medication and is on the run does not bode well for her either.

Unraveling the case, we find a dysfunctional family in the form of the Marshalls. Eleanor is their eldest daughter and Karena their second. Kit Marshall is a powerful, influential man in the community and he can buy silence wherever he wishes (including the detective force investigating his daughters disappearance). However, when on further investigation the truth seems to strike close to home it makes the lives of several people more at risk and with the murder of their youngest daughter Karena the detectives know that Eleanor's life is now a high risk one and they should find her before the murderer does.

Very descriptive, with very well developed characters this story was well told.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Hardie Inheritance by Anne Melville

This is my second read on the Hardie family and it is as interesting as the first one was. It is sadly the final one too.

Lucy Hardie is contented with her lot. Having had one love affair when she was very young, she is now content to look after the property bequeathed to her and live peacefully with her mother and her brother Phillip. Though there is no money (not even for shoes!) she survives very well off the fruit of their own labour.

When four visitors turn up on one single day, it is a turning point for all three of them and how. Ellis brings about the world of photography and art and sees in Lucy's primitive sculptures something which will appeal to art enthusiasts everywhere. He brought with him his very young daughter Trish, who was going to be a major change in Lucy's life in the future, Rupert is the long lost cousin from the side which discarded her mother when she married into trade, Andy is the long lost love from times past.

The story described as historical fiction, is also a family saga and most importantly for me a story of a house and the history behind the house is also a story in itself. Apart from Lucy, the story of each of the characters is very well developed and a story in themselves and Lucy is though the centre of the story is definitely not the entire whole.

History and a family saga which will appeal to many.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Agora Books.