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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Holy Blood by Kim Fleet






16th century England was not just medieval it was also on the road to inquisition. Catholics were persecuted and despite this Catholicism prevailed in pockets. Such was faith. The punishment for even having a holy book was horrendous and you'd think that people would be more cautious of having priests around and having mass but this they did.  The 16th century part of the novel set in Hailes Abbey and its subsequent surroundings and inhabitants dealt with exactly that.


We then move on to modern Cheltenham 2015 and a bunch of archaelogists, forensic scientists and a TV personality dealing with the discovery of a skeleton and a vial described as Holy Blood. The trail of murder and mystery surrounding this discovery and the unraveling of a sordid personal history is the second part of the story.


My second read from this author - Paternoster was very good, this was also excellent reading taking you into two time lines both intriguing.


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


On another note, since weather seems to be a prevailing topic these days, we are having blindingly hot weather - going out after nine am seems precarious. I try to do any chores early returning as quickly as possible to the cooler haven of my flat.  Its dangerously hot out there.



Thursday, February 20, 2020

The House at Silvermoor by Tracy Rees




1897 and 1905. In 1897 things were engrained in a system. One knew "one's place". Most people were very happy with the arrangement. You were born into an occupation, however hard, however overbearing your superiors you just went on. You lived in the same village, married someone from the same village and the whole pattern is repeated. Once in a while you get a changeling. Someone who questions, who wants a better life or a different life and then things get very tough for that person. Surprisingly the worst was from the family itself who could not understand why you wanted to bring the wrath of your betters on your entire clan, by wanting something better for yourself.


This was the hard part of the book, but was a fact of life in 1897. Josie was a bright spark and with Tommy also within a coal mining family in Yorkshire wanted education, wanted to see what the world could offer other than the mundane. This did not sit well with either family and this story chronicles their life story, their adventures, their search into their ancestry not always with favourable results and their life and happy future.


I loved reading about the various characters of this book, the lifestyle of both the rich and the grindingly poor. Surprising that revolutions did not happen more often given the condition of the majority of the people.


This was history as well as a saga of a village and family.


Sent to me by Netgalley for an honest review, courtesy of Quercus Books.







Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Liar's Daughter by Claire Allan




Joe McKee lay dying. The last stage. He had a daughter and a step daughter. Ex wife, sister all around but the atmosphere was so dark, so heavy, so ominous that from the first page you knew that everything was awry.


For atmosphere you can give this book a hundred percent. For deep down anger and sadness and the inability to throw these feelings off was very hard to read about. I almost gave up mid way as the book made me angry and mad at family who were blind, and in the end not just blind but actually wicked.


Ciara and Heidi are the two girls involved and their story is told in alternate chapters. They detest each other, with and without reason. Despite being adults the feelings of animosity and hatred have not gone away. The story builds up to a crescendo between these two with plenty of emotion provided by secondary characters.


This was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Avon Books UK

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Beach House by P R Black




It was going to be their dream holiday and when Cora's fiancée sold his business for an eight figure sum it was the icing on the cake.


Little did they know that many eyes were following their path. Many people knew about the sale and the money involved and even if it meant murder, they meant to get their hands on it. Befriending Cora and Jonathan till it came to the point that they did not know who their friends were and who were their enemies, the story unravels slowly taking you to a point of almost no return.


I was not a fan of any of the characters, but having said that the characterization was spot on. The island's beauty and sleaze were both depicted in equal measure and the bad guys were really bad!


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

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau




The year 1911 in America was hard for progressive women and Peggy was different from the other young women of her class. She was an heiress and though she was pretty naïve about money, she knew her position and family invariably brought restrictions of every kind.


When she was coerced to accompany the family to Coney Island to one of the most aristocratic hotels in the holiday atmosphere, it was with reluctance she went. Mainly to please her mother, and because it seemed that her younger sister's marriage to the heir Henry Taul depended on this trip.


The trip gives Peggy the chance for freedom of some kind where she gets to mingle with normal folk and in time she meets up with a small time Balkan origin entertainer cum odd job man who very unlike her she falls deeply in love with. She knows that this will not be tolerated by the Family at all and it does not bode well as you know how it is going to turn out.


Things take an unexpected turn when bodies of young women turn up, and when the Police try to pin it on either Stefan (Peggy's love interest), him being Balkan and hot headed and Peggy herself. Will the Batternberg money be able to spin a web to cover up the actual murderer and will Peggy have the courage to uncover the actual murderer.


Descriptive of a period long past, of a culture in America which was very distinct and the problem of immigrants (still existing) and how America dealt with it then. Very good reading.


It also showed the machinations of a manipulative scheming family where respectability was paramount even though everyone knew what everyone was upto!


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

Friday, February 14, 2020

Murder in Rat Alley by Mark de Castrique




My first read of this author - this book is fine as a stand alone as well.


We have a pair of private investigators ex Veterans who somehow find themselves surrounded by the mystery of dead bodies and in this case the body is decades old. Missing from his work station, Frank was a quiet, hard working man a computer geek at the time of the computers infancy, he had no enemies and was an unassuming man. When body parts were discovered in the grounds of a space station the odds of a murder being committed there were very high what with security being tight but slowly unraveling the mystery we find it connected to a murder in Vietnam of another veteran and the involvement of a family and current criminal activities, the pace hots up.


Very good characterization, a fast pace and well thought out plot and story this held my interest throughout. I will be looking out for this author in the future as well.


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



Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Man She Married Alison James




This is another one of those stories that is so improbable that it is actually quite possible. It is quite feasible for someone to copycat or what they call identity theft nowadays and become someone else.


Alice was trusting. She was a bit naïve. Not overly so. Brought up by loving parents and with a very normal sibling there was no reason to distrust people. When Dominic came into her life, despite that there were certain twinges of misgivings she over rode those feelings. She also knew distinctly that her best friend had reservations about the relationship but once she knew Alice was in deep, she put them aside and gave her the support she needed.


It was only after his death, that the entire mess unraveled in stages and showed the workings of a clinical, cold blooded man who was only after one thing - himself and that anyone who wanted more from him had to go. Alice escaped with her life, after several near calamities and should be considered one of the lucky ones.


A mystery serial killer murder/thriller. Psychopathic character who literally got away with murder until he was killed surprisingly by accident himself.


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

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Neighbours by Nicola Gill



A book that will exasperate you, annoy you, keep you amused, make you rather prickly too.
It was entertaining.

Cassie and Ginny are neighbours. 55 and 35 respectively very un alike in ways, attitudes and characteristics but both are tenacious, both underlying the frivolity are good people and this is their story. Of hopelessness, despair, depression, relationships, the difficulty in finding (and keeping) a partner and their hopes for their futures.

It was a mish mash of feelings and basic living and trying to come to terms with life and come to terms they did - eventually. Ginny's basic fear of ending up alone without a family is shared by many and many would be able to empathise with her in this story though at times she annoyed me no end. Cassie is someone as a neighbor you'd steer well clear of - she was a pain in the butt but Ginny obviously saw beyond the façade.

The story was an excellent one and I will be looking out for this author in the future as well.

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

On a non book note, I am looking forward to visiting Melbourne and seeing the grandchildren and the children (note order of preference now). It has been too long.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Place We call Home by Faith Hogan




A family centric story but one also of with strong historical links set in an idyllic setting of Ballycove a village in Ireland which forms the backdrop to the story.


Miranda has taken over the mills through a quirk of fate. Now with intense hard work she has brought it from the brink of bankruptcy to its present state of being one of the foremost mills in the country with a reputation for quality and innovation unmatched by other designers. With ill health dogging her footsteps, Miranda knows she has to decide on who is going to take over the mills when she steps down but with three children of widely differing personalities and capabilities she is in a quandary.


With great power and wealth the usual characteristics of greed, envy and ambition rear their heads and even in the closest of families strife and mistrust soon will appear. This family is no different. How Miranda steers the family amongst each of their own personal woes and problems is the brilliant stuff of this story.


Wonderful writing.


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

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Give The Devil His Due by Sulari Gentill




I love this author's style of writing and am very partial to a Sri Lankan origin author anyway!!!! So few of them around.


The story of Rowland Sinclair and his family - the closest we could get to aristocracy in Australia in itself is an unusual family and background. The understated riches, lifestyle and manner of Rowland is in itself admirable and a story on its own. Set him against a motley crowd of arty types like Edna who has acquired a reputation which is not fair, Communists and so called hangers on and then set an attempted murder/s in this background and you have a fascinating story.


Set on a race track with a killer reputation, we have people gunning for Rowland Sinclair. In the process others get killed which adds to the mystery. The 1930s political scene in Australia was complicated and amazing and to someone like me who did not have a clue as to what Australia was like then, the story was a revelation.


Loved the writing.


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

Thursday, February 6, 2020

I Choose You by Gayle Curtis




A very twisted lifestyle with strange characters inhabiting the story but so twisted that it has to be true. Elise and Nathaniel three kids and though life is a bit strange it all goes completely ballistic when their daughter is abducted and then found murdered.


What follows is a story of suicide, suicide watchers, promotion of suicides and with no apparent detective/police follow up as to the series of coincidences where people took their lives and nothing happened.


The book is confusing and though I thought I knew who was behind the killings, I was not absolutely sure. There are a lot of clues strewn around and the subject matter is so emotional in itself that I was floundering.


The story was a good one albeit confusing.


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



Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Marquise of O (Translation) and The Body in the Dumb River




A short review.


A different way of handling an age old problem. How to cope with an unexpected and unexplainable pregnancy. In a very conservative time. In a very respectable family.


A tragi comedy very well written.


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







The writing in this one is slow as well. But it is somewhat different. A mystery murder of an innocuous man who was known to everyone as being mild and meek and who only wanted to get on with his life.


Seemingly quiet, James lived a double life. With a wife and three daughters who disliked him and who only wanted money out of him and above all respectability, there was Martha on the other hand who was a help mate of the best kind who loved him for who he was.


Littlejohn's detective work is brilliant. Very descriptive writing of both the setting and the characters are spot on. A pleasure to read at any time.


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

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Other Woman by Jane Isaac






Cameron Swift was shot dead by a black clad hemeted young person outside his house. It was not a robbery, neither was it random. Seemingly without any reason. DC Beth Chamberlain is put in charge of the case with the orders from high to solve this random murder quickly.


Monika is Cameron's partner and cannot find any reason why this should happen. With no enemies, a fairly low profile, a man who travels for work there are no clues. On the other side of the world in Goa, Sara is on holiday with her two daughters when she gets the news. It is with her getting the news that the whole story unravels.


How Cameron was able to maintain a duplicate life with no one the wiser, two families which he kept happy and contented but with now over riding financial woes despite an opulent lifestyle, Beth has to unravel the clues left behind to find out why and who did this.


Not just the people around him but even the victim has had secrets and they are kept closely guarded.
A typical mystery murder thriller this was well written with good characterization (especially the two women).


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



Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fell Murder by E C R Lorac



Apart from the Classic Crime bit which I love, the cover drew me in so much. It seemed to epitomise all the characters in this story. The farmers, the victims, the victim's children, the by standers, even the publican. All aloof, all minding their own business, insular and very much closed to "outsiders".

A leading farmer found shot dead after a fox hunt. Hardly any suspects around and the detectives put in charge of the case are being stone walled. It is not easy to understand the laconic attitude of the people and you need a special man to get to grips with the problem. Chief Inspector MacDonald is ideal. He is trusted by the locals very fast, and quietly goes about unraveling what is a seemingly impossible task. One and then a second victim much later with no possible suspects.

This was a particularly good class crime one, definitely well above many of the others I've read.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for sending it on to me. An unbiased review for Netgalley who facilitated me getting this book.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Good Girls Lie by J T Ellison



The Goode School in a tiny town in Virginia seems an anachronism. Only for the rich and influential, every girl there is a somebody. When Ash Carlisle turns up from England, she has hidden her background and beginnings well enough but not well enough it seems. Her headmistress knows of her chequered past, of her parent's sudden death but it was not generally known until someone got to know and spread the word around.

With her arrival, people around her also suddenly started dying and it seemed a little too cliche for it to be truly coincidental. You did not get to the convoluted part till almost at the end, but you did know you were in for a long, hard ride.

The story was a fascinating one and I am intrigued as to how many permutations of mystery, thriller and murder writers get up to. Apart from that the descriptiveness of the surroundings in Virginia itself, the various characters involved from the Head Mistress to the teachers, to the students themselves was so varied that it added a great weight to the story.

A must read for people who like this genre.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Harlequin - Mira US & Canada

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham



Set in two time lines 1943 and 2017. Also set in two different cities - Venice and London, this was another stellar write up of the War and the part played by the Resistance to block, hinder and obstruct in any which way possible the Nazi advance.

We have Stella Jilani - who poses as a fascist right in the heart of the Nazi offices, secreting documents and information which would be useful in any way to the Resistance and then we have Luisa decades later trying to piece her family history after discovering a pile of documents in the attic after her mother's death. Luisa knows her grandparents are of Italian origin, who came to England during WWII but beyond that knows nothing, as her mother was not willing to reveal any history.

Luisa's yearning to know her past takes her back to the city of origin in Venice and here she slowly uncovers her grandmother's rich and convoluted past and her no small role in the liberation of Venice.

As usual WW both I and II have given us innumerable books on every aspect of the wars and the way it affected the ordinary man on the street and how these very same people were determined not to allow their countries to be taken over completely by the Nazi tide. This is another excellent read and the setting of Venice is stunning.

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

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Kit and Elizabeth by Karen Tufts



The Lady Elizabeth is facing a quandary. She was been a dutiful, obedient daughter from the day she was born. She also knows that she has been a disappointment to her parents - one for being a girl, and secondly for failing to get betrothed even after an understanding with a family has been forged. That the young man died in battle is beside the point for her father. There is a younger brother and you just switch allegiances and feelings. It did not bode well for Elizabeth.

Lady Walmsley widowed and childless takes the young Elizabeth under her wing when Elizabeth's father first absconds to the continent to escape his debtors and then subsequently dies there. Elizabeth's mother basically couldn't care less what happens to her daughter and her callousness is appalling. The story is harsh and emotional, but that it ends well is the saving grace.

I would not say that characterization is typical but marriage and benefits of a financial nature is the only view taken by Elizabeth's parents and it may have been one common amongst the aristocracy of the time. The story is descriptive and depicts the morale and behaviour of the period.

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

Friday, January 24, 2020

Death in Saint Chartier by Ivo Fornesa



Set in rural France, Laurent is wanting a quiet life but enjoys the good things in life as well.
He has a splendid home, a very nice lifestyle and a millionaire neighbour.

The chateau where the neighbour lives is under reconstruction and when it is finally open to the village it is a masterpiece. The party is lavish and everyone is invited. Despite there being many objections to the chateua's new owners, everyone is curious about the place and practically all of them attend. When Carlos is found dead in a secret passage the mystery actually starts.

The case comes to an end when the local police rule it as an accident. Laurent however has different views and is keen to see that justice is meted out for his friend who he felt met with an untimely end. He meticulously draws up a list of suspects and then interviews each in turn and then one by one they are ruled out of the running for the title of murderer.

In the style of slightly older amateur detectives, this was investigation done meticulously and painstakingly. The book is a translation and it is done very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Allison & Busby.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Necessary Killing Paul Walker/Paternoster Kim Fleet. History & Murder in both



1579. An exciting time for shipping and exploring. William Constable physician, inventor and now an unwitting spy is caught up in circumstances beyond his control.

Constable is a different character from the rest of the ships captains. He is simple, unassuming, kind, respectful and loves his fiancee and is keen for the voyage to be over so that he could marry. He really wishes he could get out of this voyage but does not see a way out. The purpose is to go to the New World, trade in goods and slaves, plunder ships that are sailing back and eventually become very rich.

The killings which take place adds to the delay in setting off on their journeys. The getting ready and refitting of the ships before the journey is descriptive enough for a story and the mystery and the characters involved in the story add to its interest.

This was not fast paced but it did not plod along either.

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




Though it has been done a myriad times, stories told in two time lines are fascinating for me. Invariably the first one is ancient, so there is history involved. Then the present time line brings in a modern twist to the mystery that has to be unfolded.

This is what happens here. England 1795 Rachel has lost her benefactor. She has gone back to being a prostitute and sees her future prospects dwindling.  In the brothel, she is forced to join the Paternoster Club and this is the beginning of the end for Rachel.
This part of the story was harsh, and showed the hopelessness of women in Rachel's position sans family there was no protection of any kind.

Cheltenham 2013 and the discovery of two skeletons halts construction at a very posh school. Much to the irritation of the Management, it becomes a crime scene though the crime was committed 200 years before. Eden Grey is called upon to sort the mystery out, but she has secrets of her own and when they start to unravel Eden herself is in grave danger.

Paternoster was an edge of the seat thriller. Combing the best of historical fiction, mystery murders and a beautiful setting with excellent and unusual characters the book had everything going for it.

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

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. 

A Long Way Down by Randall Silvis



Ryan de Marco is trying to get his head clear to look into any future he has.  A estranged wife, a dead son is his history and he finds it hard to shake off the memories of a difficult marriage. Jayme his partner has his dark memories to contend with in trying to forge a future together.

Faced with a triple murder by someone who seems to enjoy torturing and decapitating his victims and then another victim totally different to the others is the dilemma faced by the detectives trying to solve this crime.

Bringing in Jayme and de Marco was not a popular choice as outsiders to try this old crime but they set to, to try to find one common factor linking these diverse victims. When they do, they uncover a ring of academics, drugs and sex orgies combined with a wild philosophy which drives someone to murder.

The characters are very well developed and the pace is intense. Looking forward to my next read from this author.

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

Monday, January 6, 2020

Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier



A private island owned by a millionaire is opening its doors for a welcome party for the mainland village. Lucy and her husband are invited too. Further as a reporter, she is invited to interview Mr. Newman on the island spending a few days with the family to get his ideas and views how he has discarded all modern appliances including telecommunication facilities and even cooking facilities wanting to live off the grid as it were.

Lucy approaches the break from her usual routine happily. There is much tension at home with her daughters and especially one of them has a new boyfriend who is anything but acceptable. Lucy feels the break will do all of them good.

The discovery of a teenager's body on the second day of her stay - the twin daughter of the owner is unexpected and when it is confirmed that it is not an accident but murder it becomes even worse. There are only two families on the island. The caretakers who have been there for generations and the only people who refused to leave the island and now the present owner.

When Scott Newman becomes more irrational, more drunk and not quite in his senses, his wife seems to be also losing control of reality. With two twin boys to look after and neglected by their mother who seems to be living in a world of her own,it is upto Lucy and the remaining older sister to be caretaking the two kids. When they disappear too, it is too much to be a coincidence and you need to try to reach the mainland in one way or the other. Waiting for the weekly steamer to come is far too long a wait with a family living on the edge.

The story was long, but the island was very well described. The characters were peculiar, but they added substance to a very odd dysfunctional family.

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