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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Murder by the Book by Martin Edwards

The collection of short stories in this book were all very good. They were mainly puzzles and you had to be imaginative in seeing what was beyond the actual happening and then piece it together. I couldn't do it but the way the stories unravelled were rivetting. A murder on a train was one of the more easily solved crimes, but the story of a deceased leaving clues was very enjoyable. A Savage Game was set in a country house (I always like those settings) and was cleverly done. A Man and his Mother in Law was also clever where the murderer was caught because he thought he was so clever. It was through a sale of a book that he got caught! Dear Mr. Editor - the writer was mad and that set the tone of the story. The collection was very relaxed reading. It was not edge of the seat suspense but it reflected a slower pace of life and detection. It also described the conventions and stereotyping that happened at the time which was fair. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Dastardly Deeds at St. Bride's by Debbie Young

I am so late on reviews and reading as well. Just got back after three months in Melbourne and find that catching up is taking longer than before. The title got me intrigued as I thought a convent school and I am always interested in that background. St Bride's is a posh school set in beautiful surroundings with an odd mix of teachers - more than meets the eye definitely as all of them have secrets they will like to hold onto. Gemma joining them was perfect she was running away from a controlling boyfriend, she did not want to be found and at St. Bride's she thought she found the perfect niche. Coupled with eccentric teachers and pleasant work place Gemma fit in easily but she is curious by nature and it is this curiosity that uncovers a whole bundle of secrets - combining suspense, comedy, escapism by the bucketful and ended up being a very good relaxing read. Descriptive of the English countryside and its people the book was a good fun read. Sent by Boldwood Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Gentlewoman Spy by Adele Jordan

The lady detectives of the 16th century - at least the ones I've read have all been ladies of the aristocracy who have the intelligence and keenness to turn their hands to detecting. In this story in 1584 the young spy is Kit a woman of no known background though one has suspicions of her lineage though nothing is said. Walsingham Queen Elizabeth's spy master has discovered a plot which seeks to murder the Queen and place Mary Queen of the Scots on the throne. First despatched to Scotland to access a prisoner who may be able to give them clues Kit succeeds in this mission, disguised as a soldier. When the plot focuses on London she has to team up with someone whom she does not trust and finds hard to work with. Iomhar whom she has to work with is equally hesitant to work with Kit but there is no choice in the matter. How the aristocracy in London has penetrated the court, got easy access to the Queen and thus able to carry out an assassination is plotted through this story. Apart from the detective genre here, there is plenty of historical fiction to keep one on one's toes! Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Sometime Sisters by Carolyn Brown

Dysfunctional families have their own complicated stories to tell and this one is no different. Three sisters and one niece meet after years on the death of their grandmother. She has left them a small guest house, a store selling bait and fishing stuff and has stipulated that she would like them to run the business each one taking on one line of the work. Under the guidance of Uncle Zed who has been there for ages and who is very fond of the girls and hopes that the experiment will work. This was a good feeling kind of ending. All three girls came from chequered backgrounds, with broken relationships in them. All needed stability but all three were suspicious that they could ever agree and pull together and work as a team. That they could and did was a surprise to all, and in the face of any outside interference they were loyal to one another. A family story that ended well. This was a free download from Amazon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Murder Mystery (A Beth Haldane Mystery Book 1) by Alice Castle

Beth is a young widow with a small son. Having landed a job at Wyatts the local prestigious boys school in Dulwich she is very keen to establish herself as an archivist in the school and ultimately hope that it will pave the way for her son to get admission to this school. What she did not envisage is finding her boss murdered just hours after she started working. The archivist was unpleasant, unhelpful and a bit of a lecher. When the detectives started swarming the school, it seemed that there were many undercurrents at play - the murdered man's wife acted strangely, a receptionist at the school seemed to have been on very good terms with the archivist, the Principal wanted to keep everything under wraps and maintain the good name of the school come what may. The story was a good one. I could never figure out why just because Beth discovered the body, she should consider herself the first suspect and did everything in her power to figure this out. She met the man for the first time on the day she started work, she had nothing to gain from his murder and she was terrified that she would be arrested. It seemed a bit over the top. Beth investigating the crime and being more successful than Detective York is the detective genre at play here but her trying to show that she had nothing to do with the murder was overplayed. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson

The style of writing in this book is so reminiscent of P D James that I just had to finish it in one go. My last book I picked up from Glen Waverley library because I am leaving for Colombo tomorrow the 28th August. The story starts in very peaceful countryside and Detective Archie Penrose does not expect to find the horror he does. In an abandoned grave, Archie finds the mutilated body of the church organist, a private man who did not antagonise anyone and who led a very quiet life. No apparent enemies and the only significant piece of evidence is a torn photograph of a house with a few words on it. Trying to piece the clues of this brutal murder takes Archie back to Cambridge and to a group of young men who on the surface do not have any close links other than they were members of a choral group. They are today scattered in different professions, one of them dead, one dying of cancer, the others seemingly harmless very highly placed and one particularly boorish bully. Finding no cooperation within this group of men, and also having one by one them picked off does not bode well for the Police because they cannot find who the murderer is. The only clues are the choir and the remaining members are tight lipped. Alongside this, a series of rapes and brutal attacks on women have put the Police on full alert as the numbers keep mounting. This puts more pressure on the police force and Inspector Webster is the most empathetic of the Force because other officers do not give the assaults and the victims the support they should have. The story is complicated and intense, the detective work is detailed and intricate and extremely involved. Uncovering the strands is a tough job and needs focus even whilst reading let alone solving it. Alongside the two strands of the rapes and the murders, we have Archie's own personal history being in the forefront of the story. His love affair with Bridget who also now lives in Cambridge and the discovery of a twenty year old secret in the form of a daughter he never knew he had are two additional strands to the story. Josephine Tey's involvement is almost like a sideline in this particular story albeit an important one. I couldnt put this book down till I read it fully.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Death Down the Aisle by Verity Bright (A Lady Eleanor Swift mystery)

I like the indomitable spirit of Lady Eleanor who is definitely different from ladies of this era. Totally modern in the very best sense of the word, fair and just employer with a sense of humour and love towards all. Also an excellent detective and along with the love of her life the very clever Detective Hugh can solve most mysteries. In this story Constance is getting married in a few days and she seems to have it all - a distinguished bridegroom, money in plenty, very much in love with her groom and everything on track till the small matter of a murder of a girl who turns out to be the ex fiancee of the bridegroom. All hell breaks out with the bride's father refusing his consent to the marriage at all, the groom in custody but the bride believes in her groom and Lady Eleanor is sought to clear his name. The story is a good who dunnit going through the list of suspects (which grows) with each passing day starting from the bridegroom's mother a very nasty lady to the bride's own father with reasons of his own. The star of the story however is the relationship between Clifford the butler and Lady Eleanor. Discreet, indispensable, impeccable in behaviour and appearance, a fountain of knowledge and always there when needed this is a story in itself. Captivating reading. Very descriptive of the times and behaviour of all. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.