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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Death at the Dinner Party by Emma Davies

I am in cold and chilly Melbourne after the humidity and heat of Colombo - it is a treat. It may pall after two weeks though! Right now enjoying the companionship of children and grand children, and even visited Mount Waverley library where my heart soared at all the books I could see. I restricted myself to three - a Joanna Trollope, a Vaseen Khan and a Rhys Bowen. More of that to follow. Death at a dinner party was a good read. Francesca - is a reputed caterer and she is called upon to provide very upmarket catering for a weekend from breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between snacks to a discerning and arrogant crowd of people. Fran did not expect to find a dead body and when it was decided by the local constabulary that the death was a murder, her detective instincts kick in and she is on the case along with Adam who helped her in her first amateur detective round. The Officer in charge of the case knows how Adam and Fran work, and is keen for them not to get involved in the police procedures but is also keen to get their insights into what actually happened and behind the scenes goings on which are not always apparent to the police. The murder of a rich businessman in their own home with only a handful of associates present restricts the number of potential murderers but with everyone's alibi being ticked off it is not going to be an easy case to solve. A good cozy with plenty of suspects, lots of twists and turns and a lovely setting as well. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness No. 9)

Lady Georgina may be only 35th in line to the throne but she has never forgotton the importance of royal duties. Her loyalty is absolute and her personal opinions of royalty is kept quite separate from what she is expected to do. When called upon to guide the young Princess Marina before her marriage to Prince George, Georgiana undertakes the job with a feeling of relief that she at least for a month has a place to stay in. Her brother under the influence of his wife, does not welcome Georgiana home and she is presently without a residence in London. Kensington Palace is good enough for the time being. The history in the story is spot on because these were all events which actually took place, but in this story the murder of a former mistress of Prince George and the need to sweep it under the carpet may be an added story. Fortunately for all Bobo the girl who was murdered had no family to look out for her and the murder was very cleverly hidden by the man who was in charge of the Palace along with the Intelligence branch who needed the marriage to go ahead as they felt that the Princess may cancel the marriage if she really knew what her fiancee was upto. The story will have its critics because of its attitude towards gay men but then it could be that this was the feelings of the general public at the time and the story just reflects that. Unmarried mothers would have got the same rap and in this story there were two of them. It was just the way people looked at life. Not very nice but that is part of the story. Georgiana is someone who wants to do what is right, but she is not willing to step too much out of line - her loyalty is first to the royal family and she will protect it all costs. A good read descriptive of the times and the people who populated the story. A book I picked up from Glen Waverley library.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Lady with the Gun asks the questions - Kerry Greenwood

A collection of short stories, all involving Phyrne Fisher the sassy, society beauty of vintage Melbourne fame who through sheer intelligence and wonderful detective skills in very short time solves the most vexatious problem Seventeen short stories which I read of an evening as each one was better than the one that went before. Different settings, different people of different walks of life. Phyrne though rich and famous never looked down her nose on the poor or the downtrodden. These stories were so good I just loved the lot. Set in Melbourne of the 1920s in itself something unique, this feisty female character will be loved by any person who loves the detective genre. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The French for Murder (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Murder Book No. 10) by Verity Bright

This is pure vintage mystery detective work. A real Lady along with her butler whom she inherited from her late uncle, a bull dog Gladstone who is definitely part of the proceedings and her domestic staff, all loyal servants, proceed to France on a holiday. She wants quiet, and peace and a chance for her staff to have a good time. She did not envisage her butler Clifford finding a dead body in the cellar when he went rooting for wine! The discovery of the body ends with Clifford being taken into custody because the Mayor wants under any circumstance possible to keep the murder under wraps. He is looking at a long term political future and wants to be the person who brings prosperity to the village, by attracting many film directors to film in this area so that prospects for the locals will be enhanced. The story is convoluted, the suspects are many, the background histories are complicated and Lady Eleanor is in the midst of it all, charming the local Constabulary and Mayor on the one side purely with the hope of getting Clifford released. The story is very descriptive of the region, the hijinks which are involved when you've got famous Hollywood stars in the vicinity and the gossip is rife The language is fluent, the characters are just so and the story evolves. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. PS In case I havent said it I am in chilly Melbourne. After the heat and humidity of Sri Lanka, this is welcome though the freeze can be a bit too freezy! I've been to the local library twice now, delighting in the finds.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Murder at the Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan

A book I picked up at Mount Waverley library - one where I hope to go to frequently and pick out as many books as I possibly can get hold of! A book of the Baby Ganesh series, we have Inspector Chopra - recently retired - set up his detective agency and highly respected by the Bombay detective force. When an American millionaire is found with a sabre in his chest, the local police turn to Inspector Chopra to find out what he could. The story has also another side story of a missing bride whose wedding is being hosted in the same hotel - this bride is a princess of a minor royalty and Inspector Chopra's wfe Poppy gets unwittingly drawn into that drama and that detective story. The death of the billionaire however is a complicated story - going back over thirty years to a small village and once Chopra gets his hands on the case, he is not letting go. His tenaciousness and clever detective skills go laboriously over every person who stood to lose (or gain) by the man's death and what he discovers is something that is going to make a lot of people unhappy including the government. Though not directly said, it has tones of the Bhopal disaster with the loss of hundreds of lives and though that was not hushed up, this story involves many people in a cover up and several murders happening before this particular one at the Hotel. Poppy's search for the missing bride involves an equally complicated course and that ends well. The bride is found, explanations are given and it is a happy ending. In our American billionaire's death everything is concluded and handed over to the authorities. Lighthearted with the addition of Baby Ganesha (the elephant) monkeys, a south indian film crea and many extras the murder detective part was fabulous and detailed.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

Following in the footsteps of Jane Austen, we have Belle, Elianor, Marianne and Margaret following a modern saga with equally heart rending stories. Belle is being thrown out of her home forthwith by her nephew John and his domineering wife Fanny. A long lost cousin materializes and offers them a charming cottage. (I felt that their gratitude was very limited, for a family which was destitute). True the cottage was nowhere near the grandeur of their home at Norland, but a free home is not to be sneered at and Marianne and Margaret and their mother Belle were really lacking in the gratitude department. This was irritating but part of the general story. Belle throughout had a sense of entitlement which was totally unjustified, Marianne lived on another planet, Margaret was too young to understand the drastic changes facing them all at once and it was left to Elinor to deal with the practicalities of bills, transport and just how to survive. Marianne and her mother did not endear themselves to me but it was Elinor who had to hide her own heartache over her thwarted love for Edward and focus entirely on Marianne with her disastrous love affair with Willoughby and her tendency to fall ill at every turn. Marianne's dramatic outbursts were unbelievable and that no one found her over the top was also unimaginable. Her subsequent illness had to be tended to over everything else and everyone and everything took second place to that. That it all ends well for all of them was good. I especially liked Elinor getting a fair deal at the end. It had overtones of the 19th century in a very modern environment and this was slightly off. A re-read on my part but one I thoroughly enjoyed nevertheless.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Murder's a Swine by Nap Lombard

By 1940 the air raid shelters were being used quite a bit and a young air raid warden and Agnes a amateur sleuth discover a body hidden in one of the sandbags. No one can deduce anything other than murder and when at the same time many signs and threats appear with the intention of frightening residents with images of pigs heads, and stuff pig related all appear to confuse any detective trying to solve the two cases - present and past. It is a classic crime of a vintage era and the setting of WWII adds to the aura. Descriptive of the way of life during WWII plus the social mores of the times, this was an interesting and an enlightening read (apart from the mystery murder and finding out who the victim was). Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Ferret Files by Philip Legard

Ferret seems to be having it all but what he longs to do is follow his dream of becoming a paranormal investigator. I did not quite get it till much later in the story. Totally different to what I was expecting, it was a bit unreal. But it did draw you in and that is the part of it being a good book. I downloaded this book ages ago and am sorry it took me so long to get to it. I am now trying to clear up my shelves of books which I've had for a long time. Sent by Troubadour Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Peril at Pennington Manor by Tracy Gardner

I found the mix of an American background set on the Hudson river, aristocrats (unusual for America) and antique business people with a penchant for mysteries all put together in an intriguing story. The aristocrats are finally selling this manor (the one on the Hudson river) and they want all their antiques appraised and valued for sale. To their dismay Avery and her associates discover right at the beginning firstly that most of the more valuable pieces are fakes, and secondly that some are totally missing. Added to that when the housekeeper is murdered, followed by another murder, and the story gets out about the previous housekeeper also being murdered and the story not widely known and hushed up, Avery knows that trouble is afoot. The story with the backdrop of antiques and the procedures that one followed in appraising them is a good one. It added a depth and flavor to the story of murder and mystery and history of this particular family. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

William the Conqueror by John Wingate

The story of William is a interesting mixed tale. Born to unmarried parents he rose very high in the social hierachy though he was not popular with many. He and his wife Mathilde were very much in love which was a nice note in an era where marriage, especially amongst the upper classes was for convenience, connections and money. Bloodthirsty and brutal was the pointers for this age and survival and annexing lands and properties was the sole focus of many in order to hold on to power. Unpleasant but part of the era. It was a detailed read going back before the 11th century and gave you much information on who changed the face of England. Very good read for history buffs. Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The House of Marvellous Books by Fiona Vigo Marshall

A story of a bookshop which sounded like it came out of the archives, a host of quirky characters and the' impossibility of maintaining and upkeeping the place with the lot in charge. There is a legendary book, which if found can save the library and its people, but it has been looked for for decades and never been found. However, the employees here (at least some of them) believe that it is around it is only a matter of following obscure clues and pouncing on the manuscript. Nice, quirky, eccentric characters who all developed as time went by, and humourously told this made for an entertaining read. Sent by Fairlight Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.