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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Prologue to Murder by Lauren Elliott

Addie has worked with books and in a prestigious library at that. She has now moved into her hometown to settle down with a small shop.

Her friendship with the Police Chief does not go down well with a certain lady and when June is found murdered, Addie finds herself mired in innuendo connecting her to the lady's death. No slander no libel possible, just a gossip column doing untold damage to her reputation and to her business.

Addie is determined to get to the bottom of the story and slowly a plot of pirate treasure, caves, family feuds going back centuries are uncovered. Added to this is Addie's own troubles of the heart, having just got over her relationship and now finding both the Chief of Police and the new Surgeon at the local hospital both attracted to her. She herself is in a quandary not knowing whom she likes the most and this makes her very unpopular!

Told in a step by step cozie mystery manner, this was a nice mystery murder read.

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

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Only One Life by Ashley Farley

Julia was from a wealthy household. But she had snobbish parents or rather an over bearing father and a mother who just went along with him. She also had an overbearingly bullying sister who never gave up.

When Julia met Jack she married him and whilst pregnant with his baby, Jack met with an accident and died. At the time Julia had been estranged from her family and although her mother appeared out of the blue in Julia's neighbourhood, she never met her. Just watched from afar and disappeared.

Julia became destitute and realized that the only way out for her was to seek help from her family. It was not easy and there was the father and sister together sniping away. When her father died and left his entire wealth to his eldest daughter, questions had to be asked as to why he would leave his wife and younger daughter bereft of any of his wealth.

Her mother's past and questions about her birth are the answer to Julia's questions and though buried in a decades old story it unearths the reason why her father disliked her. The questions of maintaining a facade in their lives and marriage, led to so much heartache and pain all for the lack of communication - forthright communication on a touchy topic.

A family story with more than its fair share of heartache.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell

An affluent home and a child snatched. Ellen is four years old and has been brought up in an isolated manner for reasons only known to her father the famed Dr. Curtis. She goes with her kidnapper because he said her father said so. She has been taught to follow instructions.

DI Amy Winter is put on the case and investigations reveal a very tangled story which has to be slowly unravelled if the Curtis's want to see their daughter alive. The fact that they are slow to give information, albeit reluctant to talk at all points the finger at them squarely but this is discounted with a second child, this time a disabled one is taken away from school. The links have to be linked and then Amy may find who is responsible.

Many of those close to the children say it is Luka who is the kidnapper but Luka and his mother died in a fire years ago. No autopsy was done, no remains can be found so the suspicion is now rife that Luka is very much alive and he is seeking revenge for the experiments that Dr. Curtis carried out on him and other young children in his care. All for the sake of science and for the benefit of humankind, but at what expense to those who were experimented on..

Uncovering a story of monsterish proportions DI Amy is working against time and against a kidnapper who seems to know her every move, and only wants her involved in the case. A cat and mouse game begins and the end is surprising.

Very good suspense/thriller/mystery holding the audience captive.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Amazon Publishing UK.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Re Tyred (Discovering India) by Sara McMurry

Image result for re tyred sara McMurry cover images

I like travel memoirs and though this is not a travel memoir as such, it was much more than that. The writer spent months spread over a number of years in parts of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh as an English teacher volunteer. Her writings about her experiences in two very different locations added much interest to the work of teaching.

Rajasthan is desert country. Parched, dry and a hard life. Himachal Pradesh is picture perfect - mountains and valleys, green and fresh. The physical contrast alone was a very good story because the author paints a beautiful picture of both.

Her experience in dealing with simple, straight forward villagers who liked the idea of their children learning English but she also accepted the practices of the villagers and never tried to influence them to change their ways, despite her own personal ideas on the subjects. Very young marriages of girls at the age of 15 are common in the Rajasthan area, despite being illegal. Children are expected to help out on farms, with cultivation, with livestock. The family is of paramount importance, not the individual. The differences are many and all are very well articulated in this book.

Very vividly described both geography and people, this was a very entertaining read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Troubadour Publishing Limited.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Dare by Carol Wyer

Does any parent know what actually goes on behind the facade of their teenage children. I think we think we do, but we really don't!

Jane thinks she has a good rapport with her daughter. Not being rigid but there are guidelines and when her daughter does not return home by 4 pm on a school day and when none of her friends know where she is Jane's nightmare begins. Her body is discovered just a few hours later.

Natalie Ward is the detective on the case and she knows that this one is not going to be an easy ride. She feels that she is getting close to the killer, but then a second girl goes missing and she knows the killer is mocking them with the clues he leaves behind. A killing of a similar nature in another city rings a bell and now Natalie has to find some common link with the previous killing to check whether a serial killer is on the rampage. When Natalie's own daughter goes missing the nightmare comes closer to home.

Full of suspense this is a real page turner.

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson

This was a really emotional read which was however not overwhelmingly so. The prejudices of narrow minded people (existing even today!) lead to so much sorrow and heartache and for our Cussy who just wanted to live a normal life was made just so much harder.

Cussy is a woman who is blue skinned. I had not heard of this condition and had to look it up. In an era of prejudice Cussy was an aberration and one who was ostracized from society as on a level with the African Americans and had to be treated accordingly with segregation and downright dislike.
Part of Roosevelt's Pack Horse Librarian services, serving distant communities and bringing reading and a modicum of education to others Cussy and those of her ilk did yeoman service in the face of prejudice and natural hardships covering long distances through remote, isolated areas.

Cussy was one of a few people who were blue skinned and despite that she was a happy soul who was satisfied that she was of some use to a community and also independent financially . That she was thwarted by the people surrounding her both in her workplace who were downright wicked and those in the community did not dull her spirit or her kind heartedness to others.

An interesting take on a part of American history and culture, also unknown to me until now.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Templar Silks by Elizabeth Chadwick

I was lucky I got this book from Netgalley because I have not had much luck with many good books I've wanted to read. Those on the wish list never come my way so this was one was a really good break for me.

Told in two different time lines though in the lifetime of one person - William - the story delves into the personal and political life of both the Kings of England the political strife of Jerusalem and the difficulty in holding on to it in the face of Saladin.

Descriptive in detail from both the workings of households in both states, to the journey itself. Perilous, facing brigands and treacherous weather it was a pilgrimage in adverse conditions and from which many did not return alive. It was also no ordinary turn around journey William and his group spent several years in Jerusalem, lived there under the patronage of eminent folk, he became a secular Templar and this added another dimension to the story.

The telling of his story towards the end of his life when death was around the corner was poignant and far sighted. A life story of great interest, the story thrown back to decades before when William was in his prime was out of a fantasy. Overcoming odds, making decisions which were vital for the groups survival were all mind blowing. I loved the juxtaposition of both history and personal melding together very well into a whole.

Ancient history told in a way to capture the interest of any modern reader.

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

Monday, June 3, 2019

Trophy Life by Lea Geller

Trophy Life

Agnes Parsons came from humble beginnings. But she has now got used to a high maintenance life. With a much older, much richer husband and now a baby, she has got used to a very luxurious life, also strangely never wondering from where the money comes. She just goes with the flow, accepting her riches and quite oblivious to the situation around her.

When her husband does not turn up after going off to office, she has only the contact with his lawyer. There are no friends because her husband did not encourage any and when the lawyer tells her that her husband is in trouble, that there is no money, and that she should herself take her baby and disappear to a middle school and take up an appointment there Agnes accepts it packs up baby and a few things and moves across country to a crummy school, an even more crummier apartment and rather appalling school kids.

Throughout the story, I was slightly taken aback at Agnes's attitude. She just went with everything dictated by Don and her husband when he enigmatically called on and off, she accepted the explanation that he had cheated lots of people out of their savings, she put up with her horrible downturn in circumstances just for an opportunity to meet her husband once more and believed him when he said that this state was only temporary.

This was a quirky novel, a little unbelievable but at the same time showing how circumstances can change so drastically that you wonder whether you lived in a fairy tale before.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy (The Marquess House Trilogy #1)

I like stories with two separate time lines. This one from the very present modern pair of twins in an exquisite setting of the Marquess House and then we go back centuries to the time of the Tudor King Henry VIII and yes some of his wives.

1539 and Catherine Howard is a simple girl just arrived at the court. She wasn't to know that she would catch the rapacious eye of the King who just did not like his Queen - Anne of Cleves. She was too "plain" for him and he wanted someone younger, more pliant than a maturer woman. Catherine fitted the bill. That she did not like the King, and that she was coerced into the relationship is obvious from the start.

On the other hand we have Perdita and Piper who have been estranged from their grandmother who they believe cut them out of her life when her only daughter was killed in a car accident. Just days after her grandmother died, the twins are amazed to know that not only was their father in a very good relationship with their grandmother, but that their grandmother had followed every detail of their lives minutely and that both of them were her only beneficiaries of her estate.

How the two disparate stories come together is very well told in this epic story. History to a great extent, factual and very much part of the story and then the fiction crept in and what a story. It would change the history of the British Royals if factually true!

This was history, family saga, mystery and of course a fair amount of murder considering that we are talking of Henry VIII.

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

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Reluctant Hotelkeeper by John Searancke

Along with an idyllic cover, the story of a reluctant hotelkeeper who was forced into this occupation is a good one. Factual, hilarious and very matter of fact humour. Very tongue in the cheek humour very typical of a British attitude (I think). The British seem to excel at this.

Told over a span of several decades, inheriting a hotel which was run down, in a shambles, no known systems, the owners (his parents) not interested at all in its functioning and definitely in the red. How through sheer hard work and a few dashes of good luck and good timing, he turned the hotel into a star winning, accolade winning enterprise is a good story.

Handling staff, plumbing and electrical systems almost at the end of their natural life, dealing with irritating and interesting guests in equal measure kept the book alive throughout.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Troubadour Publishing Limited.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tomorrow's Bread by Anna Jean Mayhew

In the South in America the year 1961 still sees a lot of segregation and discrimination is rife. Loraylee lives with family and her young son Hawk whose parentage though suspect is never discussed either within the family or outside.

Urban renewal at the time seems to only focus on "black" neighbourhoods considered a blight on the environment due to its neglect, its lack of facilities and curb appeal so hundreds of these neighbourhoods are razed to the ground in the face of "development". When Brooklyn faces the same fate, how these three residents face them courageously is the story of this book. The end is inevitable but how they handle it with grace and dignity and the sense of survival that brought them this far, is very courageous.

Told in the language of the times and of the community this was a very well told story, especially for an outsider.

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

Monday, May 27, 2019

Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly

Little Lovely Things

Claire is having an absolutely horrendous allergic reaction to a vaccine. She does what anyone would do. At a rest station she hesitates whether to lock the car or not and thinks it is safer otherwise, leaving two sleeping infants in the car she dashes into the room, then collapses. Comes out to the nightmare every parent hopes never to face. Both toddlers and the car  are missing.

It is the best of suspense mystery novels. Two little girls, a mad couple heavily into drugs on the other side and a couple breaking apart over guilt, misery and no news. When the littlest one's body is found, a sense of dread pervades the story and you wonder what is the fate of the older girl because unlike the parents who know who has taken them. You know the character of the beast and you are fearful where his mind (the little he has of it) will take him.

Holding on to your breath every step of the way, you are rooting for our couple, you are rooting for spunky Andrea now Colly and hope that some salvation is there around the corner. I felt for the McCann parents right then.

One of the best I've read this far.

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

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth

In any other family Lucy would have been a very welcomed daughter in law. She was loving, warm and wanted to be part of the family.  She was a good caring wife and mother and I thought that was the main criterion for a mother in law! I was wrong. Diana was cool and collected and she kept Lucy at arms length. She did not dislike her but she was never welcoming either.

Diana and Lucy got on fairly well. You knew where you stood with Diana who had iron clad principles and beliefs. One was that despite being endowed with a lot of money, she was not going to hand out any either to her son or to her daughter, however dire the circumstances were. She had a tough beginning herself and believed that you worked to overcome that. Nothing could shake her from that belief.

When Diana was found dead with a suicide note by her side, the family believed she had cancer and that may have caused her to take her own life. When that fact was disputed with no oncological records at all and when a vial of a drug found to cause slow, painless death was found the unraveling begins.

Unfortunately at the time of Diana's death both her children were in dire need of funds. The son because his partner had run the business down to the ground, they were in debt and everything had to go. Nettie the daughter desperate to have a child, an obssession if you can call it that, failed IVF treatments behind her, now forty and knowing she had to have one more round. Detectives had a good case for suspicion when they ruled out suicide.

In typical Hepworth fashion the story unwinds slowly but surely. You never know who could be the one but you knew it was close to home.

Fascinating read and a real page turner.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St Martin's Press.

Victoria by Richard Mullen & James Munson

I had just finished watching the film on this Queen and getting this book was just the right moment.
It gave me a further insight into what the young Queen had to face not just from her country, but from her own mother, her uncles and then her husband.

The biography was meticulously detailed. The commentary was succinct and precise. It reflected on Victoria herself. She seemed to be a passionate woman - one with a passion for her husband and then for her country. She was determined to do well by her country, and had to fight the obstacles than men within her circle (including her husband) threw in her way. Most men of the time just thought that she was a Queen in name, lording it over a nursery and a large one at that and happy to be satisfied within that circle. Victoria was far from that. She threw herself into every act of government being partisan to some (the Queen was expected to be above party politics) but she knew her own mind and had no inhibitions about it.

This was a wonderful read of a life of 81 years set out meticulously in a book.

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

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Murder in the Dining Room by Betty Rowlands

After a rocky start, relations with her mother seem to be on an even keel and Melissa is keen for renovations to the extension to be finished soon so that her mother can move in and live with her on a permanent basis. In the meantime, the accommodation at the nearby retirement home is very good and her mother seems to have settled in for this short period.

The apparent murder of a pet dog and then the sudden demise of its owner sets Sylvia off on a tangent, determined that foul play is amiss and Melissa is terrified that with her interference that if there is an actual murderer around, her mother is the one in most danger as she is stirring things up without realizing it.  Initially skeptical, Melissa begins to think that something is amiss in the Home and that its inmates are not exactly what they seem.

Like everyone else, people are hiding secrets. There are skeletons in the closet that no one wants anyone to find and there are those who are determined to keep them hidden.

An old fashioned mystery murder, with slow detective work being laboriously followed up is this story. It does not mean it is boring though. Reminiscent of Miss Marple mysteries this was a good one.

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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Murder in Midtown by Liz Freeland

1913 America and though women were beginning to have a place in society there were still strict boundaries and conventions to be followed. Many careers were completely out of bounds and Louise's decision to join the Police Force was something that did not go down well. Fortunately her own Aunt was solidly behind her but even at the Police Station the treatment meted out to her was derogatory and unkind.

Louise was a determined girl - she was very focused on what she wanted to do and how she wanted to get about it. Having helped in solving one murder, the next one that crossed her path she was not going to give up on, despite all the pressure to do so.  When Guy Van Hooten is found charred to death in a fire which is ruled as not accidental, she is on the case immediately. The fact that Guy belonged to one of the upper rich aristocratic families in the city did not deter her and neither the fact that looking into his death brought her into conflict with the mob were minor details where finding the truth was concerned.

A little unusual for her time this story had lots to give optimism for the future and know that the American girl was going the right way!

Humour despite lots of odds kept Louise going all the way.

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

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

Three separate stories. All intriguing. All involving ladies!

The Gentleman Smuggler's Lady

Set on the Cornish coast Helen returns home to look after her father who is dying. She is quite prim and seeing Isaac she cannot quite figure out whether he is a smuggler and an outcast or a respectable member of Irish society.

The Doctor's Woman

This was a woman who set about doing something extraordinary at a time when women were supposed to be quite submissive and work behind the scenes. Acting as a doctor in most circumstances, she took a lot of people by surprise and upset many at the same time. Set in 1862 she was a pioneer! Much to be admired.

A House of Secrets

Set in 1890 Minnesotta, women still are expected to live and behave within strict boundaries. Amanda's attempts to set things right within a section of society comes up against a lot of odds, surprisingly enough her fiancee.  How does one balance love and your beliefs.

All three stories were about strong women who were willing to face social suicide in their attempts to do things their way.

Very good reading.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Secrets of Willow House by Susanne O'Leary

Maeve is under doctor's orders to take a rest. A complete change of scene. She is run down and on the brink of having a medical breakdown due to stress and constant work. Luckily for her a bolthole with her aunt in Ireland is just the fix she needs.

Maeve returns to recuperate and do absolutely nothing. Sandy Cove is idyllic and her aunt is very happy for the company. Having lost her husband just a year ago, Phil is also trying to come out of the sadness that has gripped her this past year. She also is worried over the state of the house which is now beginning to show its age. She does not have the money for major repairs but she knows that it has to be done. Phil is also surprised at what she has found on her late husband's computer - there are incomings of money unaccounted for and she is worried whether he was in something illegal.

What Maeve discovers and shares with her Aunt is as surprising as it can get. It also is their saving grace and a way for Phil to go on living at Sandy Cove in the way she always wanted to. Sandy Cove also puts Maeve in a dilemma as to whether she really wants to go back to the fast paced life of an interior designer in London or live in Sandy Cove with someone whom she has strong feelings for.

The pull of career and finance against love is nicely balanced here and it is fortunate that it works out well and easily. Life is not always so fortuitous.

A light family story, extremely descriptive of Ireland (one that makes you want to visit now).

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

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Daffodil Affair by Michael Innes

The Daffodil Affair  (Sir John Appleby, #8)

Part of a series, I came to this unexpectedly in the middle at No. 8.

A bit of a far fetched tale. A horse goes missing - this horse is a bit different, good at numbers!
At the same time two young girls go missing, presumably kidnapped, probably human trafficking and the best part is yet to come, during the Blitz a house in Bloomsbury actually goes missing.

Now to put the three strands together - they are connected though not obviously so is the work of our Inspector and his side kick.

This is a quirky read, lots of literary references splattered throughout the book, all adding a piquancy to the read. It is a detective story with a lot of suspense. I like the references to the author himself in the book all adding great interest. Also very descriptive.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased read, courtesy of Ipso.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Until the Day I Die by Emily Carpenter

There were elements in the book which were difficult to follow, difficult to fathom and also difficult to accept. It did not mean the book was bad, it may be that I could not understand what the author was trying to say.

I liked the stories set in separate chapters - Erin and Shorie's stories particularly. Shorie seemed a particularly well balanced young woman who knew what she wanted. It was just not a college education. I felt for her as she had very good views of her own, she knew what she felt was right but she got conflicting advice from several sides so was a bit thrown. Erin as her mother felt (like most mothers would feel) that a university education was a must and this was the initial conflict.

Starting with Perry's death and the initial sense of grief and loss which continues throughout the story and then segues into a very complicated dark area where we really do not know who are the good guys and who are the bad ones. You suspect every character that gets thrown into the mix from this point on.

The incarceration of Erin depicted in the form of a "rehabilitating spa retreat" is a bit fantastical. From the very beginning it did not seem right, and there were a lot of things that were not in balance and off.

A bit unsettling!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Hetty's Secret War by Rosie Clarke

WWI and II both fascinate me. The stories thrown up are intense and emotional - always. Survival in the face of hardship, persecution, then the separation sometimes temporary most often permanent from loved ones, the fear of the unknown, the missing. Then you get immense stories of courage of ordinary men and particularly women who took up the challenge at every level. The stories are never dull.

This was another good one.

Three separate people linked by the War. Georgie the only man she loved gone on a secret mission as a spy. Will he ever return? It seems so sad that after waiting so long for happiness that it is snatched away from her. We have Beth on the threshold of being a young woman. In love and marrying in such haste. Her husband in France. Every time the bell goes she is in suspense whether it is for her with the dreaded news. When it does come she has to face it head on with a baby on the way. Then we have Hetty who went away to France impetuously. Fled with a French lover, disillusioned by love and men, now caught in a no mans land with no way to return.

Each story was intense and Hetty's one though more dramatic than the other two all were equally emotional. The losses which each woman faced in turn were really sad. Each waited for happiness, each was given it for a short time, then it was lost. The fact that they continued to live with faith and hope and finally found comfort and love was enlightening.

Beautifully told the three women were individually strong characters who grew with the story. Descriptive of both England and France at the time in 1939 it brought everything alive.

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

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Murder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac

1945 London is gripped by the blackout and the parks is not a place that most people would want to be. However, three people find their way to the park in the pitch dark for various reasons of their own. They also witness a murder but not the murderer.

It is a very atmospheric setting and unraveling it seems inexplicable because the reasons for each of the gentlemen being there at that very dark moment seem questionable.  Each one has reasons which may seem plausible but on going back through their claims, too many coincidences start creeping in, and this starts different lines of questioning.

Plodding through in a slower pace 1945 style gets the job done of course.

The characters are all splendidly described and the setting of London during this period was bleak but not miserable. There was plenty of lightness in the story as well so that it was not a difficult read.

I only wish the covers could be a bit more attractive!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

1938 was a tough year for women. If they were in a relationship or marriage divorce seemed out of the question, on whatever grounds. If you were in the higher income bracket like our couple here, there was no way you could walk away from a marriage. Infidelity on the part of the man seemed to be an accepted feature of life and one that would hopefully go away. On the part of the women, yes if done discreetly.

Independence, working and having satisfaction from a job well done seemed unheard by all the society women flocking Montauk. The new Florida. One in which Beatrice and her husband Harry especially had high stakes. It was very important for Beatrice to cultivate friends, something she was not very good at, especially those who would help Harry's career. It did not matter that everyone knew that Harry was a philandering so and so. It was accepted in the society they moved.

When Beatrice got attracted to someone else, not of her class and started fraternizing with employees of the hotel it did not bode well for her. It marked subterfuge on her part to cover up her tracks and for her to decide what she was going to do.

The novel as it was depicted a society that looked very attractive to outsiders but was rotten to the core. Jealousy, infidelity, greed and social climbing seemed to characterize most of the people involved. It was difficult to read and accept as being the norm.

The setting was idyllic and descriptive. The story is a harsh one of a lifestyle which is not to be admired!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

To The Bright Edge Of The World by Eowyn Ivey

Set in Alaska an expedition is going to set out on previously uncharted waters and territory. An expedition that is fraught with danger. Previous expeditions have failed but this is now a challenge to open the Wolverine River and get access to Alaska's rich natural resources.

Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester thinks of this as an opportunity of a lifetime being given the lead for such an important expedition. His young pregnant wife Sophie does not know what the future will hold when they are parted for an year.

The story said through journal entries, letters, pictures,  notes add a lot of graphic interest and strength to the story both personal and historical.

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

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Neglected Garden by Suzanne Winterly

Gilly and her sister Vanessa could not be more different. Vanessa is organized, methodical and has a plan for everything. Gilly is haphazard, unwilling to think things through and right now finds herself in a predicament. She has given up on her present job, walked out on it actually, is overdrawn at the bank, has no place of her own and knows she is on sufferance at her sister's flat.

A chance offer of turning a neglected garden into an oasis of tranquility serving five apartments with an employer who is not a control freak is a wonderful chance for Gilly to assert her independence and get her life back on track.

The employer himself a wealthy businessman seems to have a lot going on in his life, lots of secrets and is an enigma. It does not help that both Gilly and Marc are attracted to each other but both are wary of the future.

Involving past secrets overshadowing the present, a complicated case of revenge, abduction and over riding it all beautiful garden talk makes this book very readable! Romance with shades of suspense and mystery all evolve very nicely together.

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Castle Mystery by Faith Martin

This story combined two loves of mine - food and mystery! Set in a castle the story couldn't  have been more appealing to me.

One day after Jenny takes up an appointment as the cook in this castle, Ava the governess is found dead stabbed through the heart. Alibis abound, everyone is accounted for but it is an inside job. The Detective Inspector who is sent to find out who did this murder is clueless where to start but Jenny has a head start as she knows the atmosphere is not quite right and immediately ferrets out information to show that almost everyone other than her master and mistress have a reason to dislike the governess.

Whether dislike is enough to murder someone has got to be seen and methodically Jenny goes about uncovering the real culprit.

Very entertaining, very chatty and a lovely light read.

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

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Wrong End Of The Table by Ayser Salman

Though described as a  "mostly comic memoir" it is also a very factual account of immigrant life and how someone will cope in modern America.

Considering the "Muslim" question post 9/11 Ayser had a tough time as it is to assimilate and be part of the crowd from the time she was a little girl. She was just different and she had a tough time beginning with her name. Her parents were highly educated, modern and forward thinking but they still carried with them different ideas re women and their behaviour and this carried out in their way of thinking towards their daughters. It did change by the end of the book, but it seemed hard and this seems to be quite the form and commonplace for most immigrant daughters Muslim or not!

Taking place across Iraq their place of origin which they got out in the nick of time, then crossing over to Kentucky and then back again to Saudi Arabia in which Ayser fit in surprisingly well and then back to the States where Ayser grew up and lived her adult life. Trying to find love, life and a balance between pleasing everyone else and then finally beginning to please herself.

This memoir, bit of travel guide and biography was tongue in cheek humor and factual as well.
Enjoyable read.

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

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Murder At The Old House by Betty Rowlands

Another superb old fashioned detective story. Though it may seem to plod along without the suspense of the more modern mystery murder thriller, the stories still feel good and the descriptiveness of both the surroundings, the incidents and the characters are all spot on.

This particular story is definitely different as it hits closer home. Melissa has just finished her last book and looks forward to a rest. She receives the news that her father from whom she has been estranged for years is dead and she now needs to get back to her mother with whom she has never had any contact since she left home and try to find out what has happened.

Frank her father she discovers has not been quite good! giving an appearance of being a church warden and a man of strict moral ethics and principles he seems to be just the opposite and her mother is quite a helpless sort of woman who has never had the courage to take a stand. When her mother is arrested for her husbands murder and (released quickly) Melissa knows she has to take the investigation under her wing to try to find out what actually happened. It does not help that she is also not very sure whether her mother is the murderer or not!

Coping with an investigation on the one hand, Melissa has also got to balance an emotional reunion with her mother who does not seem to be quite aware of the gravity of her situation.

Good reading in an old fashioned sense.

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill

The setting 1930s Australia. A very traditional family background on the one side and someone who wants to kick up their heels on the other. Two brothers very different, different ideologies but both committed to family and loyal to each other trying to come to grips with each other's world.

Raymond Sinclair just wants to live his bohemian life the way he does. He does not intend to harm anyone by it, but his family is annoyed by it. He has a number of friends who for want of another word are hangers on, living on Raymond's wealth even at a time of economic depression with widespread unemployment.

Some of them have radical leanings and the Communist angle is not one that is popular in Australia. There is a movement on both sides of the fence to gain ascendency and how they gain it is immaterial. Unearthing a plot was by the way. Raymond's main purpose of going in as a spy was to find out how and for what reason his uncle by the same name was murdered. Uncovering a vast spy network in which he even suspects his strait laced elder brother was an eye opener for Raymond. At the same time getting out of it was equally difficult especially when you assume another person's name and identity.

A lot of Australian politics is involved in this story. I liked to follow it as it was totally new to me. May not be appealing to a lot of folk though. A bit detailed.

A big bonus for me was the author is of Sri Lankan origin. I am always looking out for authors originally from Sri Lanka.

Thanks to Netgalley for sending me this book for an unbiased review, courtesy of Pantera Press.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Two short reviews. One philosophical. One historical!

A self proclaimed exile is rediscovering himself and trying to build a new life for himself in a small town in Oregon.

Adam has to find himself before he interacts with others. He is also fascinated by the history of the woman who lived in the house before him.

The book is peopled with a lot of day dreaming and life seems to be a bit dreamy. Moving to a small town and starting a new life in a library could be considered idyllic by many. For Adam it was a way of life he looked at whether this would work for him or not. There was a fair amount of negativity as well and altogether it was not an easy read to pin down to review.  I never really got to grips with the book but this could very well be my fault not that of the author.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Zimbell House Publishing.

King Frederick issues an invitation (an order actually) for Haydn to meet him. Haydn definitely thinks its a trap. The King has never appreciated his music and its a bit difficult to understand why. The Kings of this time are such wily beings that nothing they ever do seems to be what it should appear to be. It is wheels within wheels within wheels.

The story shifts from one point to another. From Empress Maria Theresa to Haydn to King Frederick himself. In between there are plots and sub plots all devious, all very complicated and all very reminiscent for history at the time. There is marriage talk but it is the hard headed talk not the romantic kind.

There is murder and Haydn has to prove that the ambassador was not just a common thief apart from finding his murderer.

Lots of sub stories within the main. Good for history buffs and lovers of European monarchs.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Kobo Writing Life. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

After the Funeral

Julie has taken the death of her mother very hard. Emily was ailing and weak and now Julie feels bereft and all alone. Finding a total stranger at the funeral claiming a relationship with her mother, and a very close one at that leaves Julie bemused, nervous and curious as to why her mother never ever mentioned this before.

To add to Julie's misery, she is not getting over her break up with her partner for five years and his apparent finding a new girl friend and also finding her heavily pregnant has added to her woes. She cannot believe that Greg had been unfaithful for such a long time and the agony is acute as he did not want children with her and she now finds him very happy about his impending fatherhood.

Unraveling the secrets of who Linda is, is the main crux of the story. Complicated and going back decades to a time when mental stress and post par tum depression was not understood the complications are dire and reflect on the present day as well. Handling misery on so many sides Julie feels her life is crumbling as nothing seems to be going right for her - personally or professionally. Her family life even with her step brother is disintegrating and there does not seem to be anything she can do about it.

The coincidences dovetailing are a little too precise to be believable but the story covering three generations of a family is a good one. It also reinforces my belief that every family has secrets well hidden!

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Red Door Publishing.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

What The Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Anne Gallagher grew up with stories from Ireland. Not all the family secrets but enough of Irish history for her to love her roots. When her grandfather lay dying his last wish was his ashes to be sprinkled over the Lake or Lough of his birth. Though his death was inevitable, when it happens she is devastated and goes to Ireland wanting to also find something for herself of her history.

Going across the lake Anne is pulled into another time going back decades to when her grandfather was a little boy, and she his mother. Convoluted as it is, her absence and then her presence in Ireland draws the suspicion and questions of where she disappeared for five years and what her intentions are now. With her husband Declan dead, Ireland in continuous strife, Anne is drawn towards the calm, enigmatic Doctor Thomas Smith. How she is going to balance what she knows of the future, what she knows of her own life in America and can she decide to stay back in the past, or move back into her future is the question here.

Drawn into a history of which she has a little knowledge only, Anne is literally torn into two. To give her son the protection and love he needs in the absence of his father and to return the love shown by Thomas and then her other life as a successful writer in New York.

A very intense love story. Plenty for the history aficionados. This was a wonderful read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Song of the Dead by Douglas Lindsay

John Baden has been dead for twelve years. So when someone purporting to be him walks out of an Estonian forest claiming to be John Baden opens up a dead case which sees Ben Westphall go back to Estonia and then back to Inverness to track the case.

The case becomes stranger and stranger and facts begin to appear as fiction - as it becomes very complicated with overlapping characters and events. Ben Westphall our detective is himself carries an overlay of  sadness, loss and desolation. He seems slightly other worldish able to decipher feelings of loss and sadness in others and is able to read an atmosphere of most locations which seems out of place in a supposedly hard boiled detective, dealing with facts and figures.

The story is fantastic but intriguing. Not boring in the least but very complicated and at times I lost the thread of the story but I grasped it again soon enough.

I like the characterizations and the descriptiveness of the physical surroundings of both Estonia and Scotland.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

The House of Secrets (The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, #2)

Sarah is running away from an unsavoury past. The court case where she became the victim was horrendous and because Jack Bennett was the "nice" guy she has been hounded ever since. Dr. Matthew Geisler a psychiatrist with his own private hospital, has offered her a safe haven. Providing emotional support as well as financial she will work as a typist for his copious notes, and also use her talents as a psychic to help him.

Sarah is also in love with Zeke, a spy who inexplicably left her to face the wrath of everyone when the case blew up re Jack Bennett and she finds it difficult to move on from that fact. He is an inmate of the hospital and this adds to her mental troubles. At the same time she is worried by the spirits of people especially Matthew's sister who is definitely trying to tell her something and it seems it is vitally important.

Balancing the world of psychics and spirits, along with the machinations of someone who only wants to benefit from riches and who is trying to convince the world that a person is insane is this story.
Very well told and alternating between the two, both stories are separate but linked at the end.

Very good characterization, and the setting is very good too.

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

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Standard Grand by Jay Baron Nicorvo

Spanning just a year in the lives of several people, this book encompasses a whole spectrum of emotions and actions.

The book deals with current issues and those that have still not been resolved. War veterans returning to an empty life, no direction, no care. The book is very heavy and at times it did seem to drag but it is good reading and shows how great the impact of American interference in the Middle East has created. The havoc played on the minds, families and hearts of the American people alone is enough for generations to come.

I cannot say I enjoyed the read, but it was compelling reading.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Colour of Murder by Julian Symons

John Wilkins was a very simple man. He did not like to create waves, he tried to be pleasant - overly so and was disliked for this. He was almost coerced into marrying someone who he began to dislike and then he fell head over heels for an attractive girl, who was way out of his reach.

Wilkins was subject to blackouts. No reason, no trauma and he had no clue what he did during one of these time outs.

Sheila Morton the girl whom he liked very much, was found dead at the beach at the time Wilkins was on holiday with his wife. Brutally murdered. The odds were stacked against Wilkins. He did not do any favours to himself during the proceedings. Even at the end of the story I was not convinced of his guilt!

The story is predictably slow - taking on the pace of the characters themselves. It may be tedious for some readers but it was fine by me. Not a story to be hurried through. A typical classic crime in an old fashioned manner.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

I am in the minority here. I found this book hard going though I did finish it.

The reviews were so good that I think maybe I did not appreciate it the correct way.

The story of Azara who is a spirit child who despite a lot of sadness lives with much joy on his face. Called back to the land of the dead, his parents succeed in keeping him alive but in the process are made very poor.

There is a lot of problems between living in the land of the living with its existing issues and the carefree life of the dead. The book with its elements of magic did not draw me in the way it should have.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber

The Glovemaker

Utah in the dead of winter is so bleak, so inhospitable and very dangerous for travellers. Deborah lives in Junction a settlement of just eight families. They part of the Mormon community have moved here to set up a new life for themselves. The purpose seems to be not to be a rigid community having the bishop overlooking every aspect of their life but to be members of the community with views and a mind of their own.

At the same time, Junction is a point where Saints come through who are being pursued by the law mainly for the transgression of polygamy. With multiple wives, which in the law's view was an aberration, they are actively pursued these polygamists, their property seized and confiscated, the men thrown into prison and forgotten and they seem to be on the run to a safer area. Junction is a through point for them and Deborah and her husband Samuel unwillingly along with Nels help these men on their way.

When a man turns up in bleakest January, ready with all the signals that signify that he is a fugitive and safe for Deborah to help, she still however feels that something is not quite right. Passing him on to Nels to take him through the rest of the journey she returns home to find a Marshall skeptical of her answers and determined to follow the man. What follows is a disaster for not just Deborah and Nels but also for the whole community who now have to rethink their own future and the safety of their families. With Samuel missing for over four months now, feared dead Deborah herself must think of what she is going to do.

Very interesting reading because it also showed that all church goers were not blindly following their leader but also had views of their own. Polygamy is a thorny subject - even here where a Muslim is legally allowed more than one wife - but peeking into a Mormon household gave one an idea that the principle of polygamy was distasteful to many. It promised a celestial paradise for those that followed it, but that was very convenient (in my opinion!).

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

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird

Born into servitude Cathy Williams always considered herself above all the rest. When the opportunity for freedom came, she took it and entered into service under the veteran Sheridan. When she had to return home, she refused to enter into any kind of service again and disguising herself as a man joined the Buffalo Soldiers.

Now fighting for just survival, Cathy is bent on finding her mother and her younger brother and also the love of her life. Based on a true story which I realised only much later this was a tale that could only be described as swashbuckling.

A good very descriptive history lesson especially for those not American, the story of Private Williams is a fascinating one.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

This was a lovely story. From war with its heartbreak and loss, there was also survival. There was love both in the past and present and always a hope for things better.

Told in two separate time frames from 1919 the story of Ellen and her love for Jimmy set against the Irish war for independence and then fast forwarding to an Irish woman of 2016 and her quest to build a life away from a manipulative and emotionally abusive husband.

Ellen was a simple girl who found employment as a maid. Her employer was a woman of distinct courage who was fearless in her support of the quest for independence. She knew Ellen was like minded and involved her in a few simple but very important tasks all helping the rebels. When Jimmy Ellen's sweetheart was involved in an attack, he was forced to leave her and move far away. He never knew Ellen was pregnant and at that time, the fate of unmarried pregnant girls was dire. The Madeline Laundries were horror chambers and Ellen who was sent there fared badly. Ellen disappears after the birth of baby James to try to find out what has happened in her own home, and when she returns she is told that the baby died.

The story takes off from there and Ellen has to find her feet sans any support from anyone because there is literally no one around. Picking up the pieces, we only unravel Ellen's life in 2016 when Clare Farrell literally running away from her husband discovers an old birth certificate and a medallion and tries to go back in history to find out to whom these belong.

Clare herself is trying to find her feet after a 25 year marriage has fallen apart and she is ill equipped to do so. Even simple things seem beyond her because her husband has over ridden all her wishes and done exactly as he wanted. But Clare herself knows that she is strong and that she must overcome those obstacles to live again, the way she wants to live.

Both stories bitter sweet and emotional, one set in older Ireland and one set in modern Ireland are equally very compelling.

A history lesson on the side also helped.

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

Murder at Benbury Brook by Betty Rowlands


Melissa Craig is a crime writer. She has now decided to give her fictitious detective a retirement and go into the world of literary fiction. Her nose however leads her elsewhere. Mystery and murder seems to follow her even in this idyllic village she now calls home.

Melissa is missing her friend Irish who lived next door to her. The house has stood empty but at last there seems to be a tenant - a quiet man who is the teacher in the local school. Melissa hopes the new neighbour will prove to be a good one. The village is turned on its head when one of its youngsters is found dead in a brook in the village. When a chance encounter with her next door neighbour turns out to be chaotic and frightening, Melissa now has to decide whether the man is innocent as she believes him to be, despite his shadowy past or whether he is just a victim of circumstance.

Believing him to be innocent, Melissa sets out on a dangerous path of proving the Police wrong and finding the actual culprit responsible for this murder.

Set in beautiful surroundings and extremely descriptive of this part of England - the Cotswolds added to the interest for me in this book.

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

Friday, March 15, 2019

A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy

Nine heirs and one billionaire. You know there is going to be trouble. Wherever money accumulates very seldom will you find the heirs amicable. This is one difficult bunch of people -relations and outsiders and all heirs to the particular frame of Malcolm's will.

It seems that Malcolm is actually inviting someone to murder him. One attempted murder, two murders, three incidents which are not murder but almost there puts a lot of tension within one house whose inmates are prohibited from leaving till the inquiries are over. The list of suspects can cover all and Jasper, retired British police living in France is giving a hand to the French authorities in trying to solve these murders.

All the people in the house have a history related to Malcolm - our billionaire. Some are known like his ex wife, his ex partner who stole his wife, his secretary, his nephew, There are some who are unknown and when the story unravels it shows all have grudges and cudgels to take up with Malcolm for slights done to them, injustices shown in the past some of which he is unaware to give him his due.

The ending is most enlightening. Something I did not envisage and even that ending though clear enough, still left you with one doubt clouding your vision at the end as to who was the real culprit here.

A very different take on mystery murder, similar to an Agatha Christie.

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Country Rivalry by Sasha Morgan

A Country Rivalry by [Morgan, Sasha]

I seem to be on a roll with film people because this book too deals with a film crew. Set in the gorgeous village of Treweham we have the current Lord and his family on the one side and motley film crew doing a documentary on this village and its inhabitants.

That Malcolm the extremely clever and popular director of the film has his own agenda regarding the inhabitants of the manor, is not known to any. His idea is to get into the minds of the Lord Tobias and strip the veneer off his very popular facade and show to the world what villains they actually are.
All this is of course unknown to anyone and Malcolm proceeds to do just that.

The aristocracy in this case is a very loving family with their usual eccentric relations but on the whole one who has maintained close links to the community in which they live and is very protective of their inhabitants. Tobias, the present Lord is not going to stand for anyone trying to hurt anyone in his wide circle of family and village and will go to any length to protect them. When Viola the main editor working under Malcolm tries to jeopardize Tobias's family, he goes into aggressive mode and completely cuts the grass under Malcolm's feet without his knowledge.

Malcolm also begins to realize that his vendetta with Tobias and the family is cold comfort if he is going to lose the women he has fallen in love with. How the story ends with a very happy family reunion and love conquering all was very sweetly accounted for.

Descriptive of the Cotswolds to an extent that it could be a travel book added to the interest of this story.

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

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Dreaming of Tuscany by T.A. Williams

This was ideal for me in between reads of psychological thrillers and murders and mayhem.

Bee was on a shoot when she was injured along with the main star in a freak accident on set. Left with scarring on her face and loss of all her hair she is off balance and undecided what to do next. An offer of a secluded villa in Tuscany for as long as she wants chaperoning the film star who was also injured looks ideal and spot on. The star in question is reserved and moody but Bee takes on the challenge.

In Tuscany the villa is idyllic, the setting amongst Tuscan forests far removed from the imagery of Tuscany promoted for the tourists and Bee settles in very well. There are very few inhabitants in this remote part of Tuscany except for a manager of the estate and a few others.

How friendship develops between the off hand star and Bee and how romance develops resulting in a complete change for Bee is this story. A light hearted fun read in a beautiful setting which is very descriptive, makes you want to get to Tuscany at the first available opportunity.

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Death Comes to Call by Clare Chase

Death Comes to Call (Tara Thorpe Mystery #3)

Tara Thorpe is a young detective in the Cambridge police force. She is not without her enemies though within and outside the force. Having being stalked from the age of eighteen Tara has developed a keen sense of self preservation especially since the stalker was never found.

Now after a death defying solving of a crime, Tara and the team face the problem of solving another murder. A young woman strangled on a lonely stretch of the fens, followed by the death of her lover opens the field to many suspects. There is the husband and boyfriend (before his death), the employer who shows a sense of being jittery and nervous way beyond his feelings as an employer, there is the victim's brother and the list goes on. Each one has to have their alibis checked and double checked, motives if any ruled out and seeing whether old enmities exist within the family.

Tara is working closing on the case with her boss Blake. There are a few other detectives on the case and her unorthodox methods and tendency to not work as a team can get people riled. To top it all, she is aware that her former employer (a magazine) hates her guts and will do anything to bring her down, insidiously planting vicious rumours about her work ethic and her morals.

This was a very good mystery murder. I would not call it a cozy as it went beyond the cozy! I liked the characterization, the descriptiveness of the Fens and the way the suspense built up to an ending that got me by surprise.

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

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon

Anna and the King of Siam

The year is 1862 and the King of Siam is widowed with two small children to raise. Anna accepts the position of governess to the two small children but from the onset the relationship with the children's father is fraught with tension. The King is traditional and conservative, Anna looks forward to change.

Whilst being thoroughly intrigued with the customs and traditions of Thailand, Anna does not swerve from more modern principles of freedom and the abolition of slavery and it is her influence which led the young Prince to abolish both slavery and seek democratic reform in this ancient kingdom.

Most people know the basic story with its touch of romance as well from the The King and I, but this story researched in minute detail gives us the background in which Anna started her work and how she did not give up on her principles of justice and freedom for all.

I knew a bit of the background of this story but the book filled me in on the pieces I didnt know. Anna showed extreme courage in the face of constant adversity and persevered in her influence on the next generation. In this she was successful.

Good reading with detailed background of the actual setting of 19th century Thailand.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Danger on the Downs. by Bianca Blythe

I like cozies. I like when the setting is in England in nice old fashioned houses but this particular read though it ticked all the boxes was a little too stilted, a little too constrained for me.

The gentleman of the house - suave, polished and Bulgarian was found stabbed to death in his study. There was a full party of guests in the house. Of course all are suspect. The one who has to take the fall is initially the butler who is Bulgarian himself. The Bulgarian part was given a lot of emphasis in the story as if by being Bulgarian you were automatically judged as being anarchist and looked at with suspicion by all. The butler was harmless. The guilt lay elsewhere. A second murder takes place. This time it is the innocuous Accountant. The pace hots up and the detectives know that they have a killer in their midst.

Cora is one of the invited guests but her aunt is a servant in the house. So her position is rather mixed. Neither upstairs or downstairs though the hostess appeals to her to find out who is going to kill her husband (this was just a day before he was actually killed).  The onus of guilt spreads amongst almost all the house guests and then by a series of deductions falls on the murderer.

Cora is a former Hollywood child star. The other guests are a mixed bunch and some of them have much to gain from Mr. Ivanov's death but many have no link to him at all. When the Accountant is killed, there is no one who is going to gain by his death so who and why was he murdered.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Victory Editing Netgalley Co-op

Monday, February 25, 2019

A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill

Having finished the book in record time, I am so sad that I could not get to all the books by this author. I just missed out one by a couple of days as it is archived, but I did get one at least.

Rowland Sinclair is an odd bird for the upper classes. He is more democratic, has communist ideals, does not fit in with the hounds and huntin groups, does not conform to finding a deb and a suitable bride and seems to have an eclectic bunch of friends. He is also financially independent, artistic (paintings not considered  exhibition worthy because of their content!) but is a happy man.

His father's death several years ago was always under suspicion. He was found shot one evening when Rowland was just a teenager and Wilfred the elder a few years older. Now the case is being resurrected, and a series of happenings show that there is a sinister hand afoot, giving out information which was private and within the family. A series of accidents involving Rowland, Wilfred's children  is too much to be a coincidence and the whole family is on guard.

Set in Australia on sweeping farms, with tones of more Downton Abbey than rural Australia this was descriptive and very good reading. The characterization of all was varied and added to the interest in the story. The uncovering of the villain in the piece was done step by step and the general telling of a simple mystery murder/s was very well handled.

I enjoyed my introduction to this author and will be looking out for more books.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.