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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Murder at the Seven Dials by Cara Devlin

Happy New Year all. Now onto my first review for 2023. This was a treat covering several genres. When the aristocracy are involved, it never bodes well for Bow Street and for the detectives involved. With some agile maneuvreing the high and mighty close ranks not even bothering to be interviewed despite all signs pointing to tgem being perpetrators of the crime. In this story, we find the Duke of Fourniers covered in blood, cowering, speechless in the room ofa brutally murdered opera singer. He does not give any explanation for his presence or offer any for his defence. Hugh Marsden the officer in charge arrests him, keeping him in a room in a tavern rather than carting him offto jail. The Duchess so far has been a young woman of a retiring nature. In this case she knows that her husband is innocent. It is a secret that cannot be disclosed as it will cut the entire family away from their circles, apart from bringing revulsion amongst most people of their time. The Duke apart from taking opium, is a confirmed homosexual whose relationships have upto now been a very closed secret one his wife is aware of. She has a secret of her own, one which put her in an asylum for two years. Audrey has the ability to see events from inanimate objects and for this ability, she has suffered greatly. Despite her aversion to the officer, and her inability to know very much about the demi monde, she begins her own investigation using whatever objects she can pilfer from the scene of the crime. Unraveling the story Hugh and Audrey find out who the murderers actually are, going against the society they are a part of and bring about justice not just for Philip but for the two victims as well. Sent by BooksGoSocial for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Worst Woman In London by Julia Bennett

Francesca earned the title by asking for a divorce, refusing to accept her husband's flagrant affairs, his installing his mistress at tge family home. Her husband is flabbergasted at her "attitude" deeming it unreasonable and unfair. The same whiney attitude is followed by his family and even worse her own, who have all cut her out of their lives. Francesca has had a single short lived affair, documented by her husband and dangerously close to another more passionate one with her husband's bestfriend. The story highlights the hypocrisy and double standards of society, which was willing to overlook Francesca's escapades provided she kept them discreet and avoided the D WORD. She was not willing to do that so face the music she did. Very unusual ending to the story which caught me by surprise, a pleasant one. Very good reading over the holidays. Sent by Historical Fiction Romance for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

AAn American in Scotland by

Dr Emilia McRoy recently arrived in the small island of Sea Isle in Scotland is finding her new environment to be totally different from the busy ER she faced in the States. Emilia wanted a peaceful pace plus she was running away from personal tragedy. She did not expect open antagonism from one man, followed by a murder, a general cover up from the entire community and wheels within wheels. Being the doctor she was entitled to deem the death suspicious despite the Chief decrying her stand. Forced subsequently to accept that things were not as they seemed on several fronts, Emilia was also under threat with several attempts on her life.The story was unusual, the setting was beautiful and the characters were varied and quirky in turns. A fery charming read. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

urder at the Charity Ball by Helena Dixon

One in a series this is charming vintage classic crime genre combining good detection skills with all the restrictions of polite society. Kitty is getting married in a week. She is also seeing her father after a long time. He has been irresponsible in the past, not a favourite amongst family and she has an uphill task with her in laws to be who think her too modern. unfortunately things do not go according to plan. In the midst of a Christmas party, the hostess gets murdered and Kitty's father becomes just initially the main suspect. Kitty along with her fiancee start investigations alongside the Police and whilst this is going on another attempted murder happens, then another and everyone is stumbling to find a reason and who is the murderer. The setting for the story was charming - the village is very nicely described, the characters masterfully put together and a lovely read for this period as its set during Christmas week. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Death on a Deadline by Joyce St Anthony

Irene is holding the fort as editor for her father who is covering the war from the Pacific. The small town is fully behind the war effort and support for its troops. During a celebration where Clarke Gable was expected to be present, but when eventually another minor celebrity takes his place, the papers are willing and supportive to cover the event. When the man is found murdered, Irene uses her detective powers working with her father in law to try to solve this surprising murder. There are plenty of suspects including the actors wife, who was very averse at Freddie's roving eye and who had been very loud in her objections. When enquiries progress nothing seems to be what they appear to be and Irene herself is in danger. A cosy set during wartime this time around in a small American town was very different to the usual genre reads. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Pride & All This Prejudice by Alex A. King

Retelling of the famed P&P tales are intriguing. This one had another variation. Set in Greece it added elements of fury and anger, which added to the intensity of the romances. The five daughters all present and accounted for go about their lives and the men they fall in love with appear and disappear, albeit temporarily. The parents of the girls however vary from the norm. Mama is a virago breathing hellfire over all including the milder father. she is a major character in this retelling. It was also interesting to have descriptive tidbits of Piraeus, Meriton with a Greek twist and Meraga which was the equivalent of Pemberley. This was a download from Amazon.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Angel of Vienna by Kate Hewitt

This was not easy to read but then nothing involving the Nazis is. I struggled through sections maybe the reason I am so late in reviewing this one. Hannah after her nurses training ends up in the hospital where Hitlers dream ofa pure Aryan race was propagated. Children born to pure German mothers blonde, blue eyed birthed adopted by families approved by the Reich. When the summons came for her to visit her half brother who was a Senior in German Intelligence, Hannah knew it did not bode well for her. Her orders to accompany her disabled nephew to Vienna to a hospital for surgery and treatments, a euphemism for certain and premeditated death. A way to rid society of disabled, both physical and mental and anyone the regime considered undesirable. Hannah teams up with Margrethe to spirit out children one at a time to safety from certain death. Hannah sadly could not save her nephew but she played a role in helping many. I read about callousness and cruelty all the time but the Nazis honed it into an art form. Brutal, but factual this was a tough one. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

The Faraway World by Patricia Engel

The collection of short stories set in the Americas are fairly raw, depicting the struggle of immigrants wanting to find a secure home in a foreign land, hankering for not just the food of their cultures but even the sights and smells of something as simple as a river or sea. The ones leftbehind seem to want to get out for a better life not always economic. Some of them were running away from complicated lives involving crime, drugs, family rifts without an end in sight. All of the characters want to make good. Either financially and for many having stable relationships - finding love with one person then sadly finding their hopes dashed when a brighter competitor emerged, invariably with more to offer. The ladies seemed to like to gamble with love, hoping that this relationship will be the lasting one. The men predominantly took full advantageof what was on offer, reading the signs well, then moving on to a more profitable partner. Most took the disappointment well, almost looking at it as their fate with a stoicness which was very sad. Each story dealt with a hard life in many ways, and each story was both moving and precise in its description. Sent by Avid Reader Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, December 16, 2022

In Too Deep by Simon McCleave

Laura Hart is an ex police officer. Trained in the field of negotiating in hostage situations Laura left theforce when she saw her husband blown up whilst negotiating his release. It has not been determined how the leak happened and questions remain unanswered. Laura now runs professional courses for negotiators, looking after her two children and having long conversations withher dead husband who pops up all the time, very much there in the physical sense at least toLaura. This was the quirky part of the story but I just say its unusual, not that it cant happen. in the midst of this, a sting operation gets under way tracking three drug dealers who are using Anglessey beach as a drop off point. What follows is every policeman's nightmare. A school trip to the outlying islands for six year olds begins a hostage situation with one reckless, dangerous lunatic and two others following his orders. When the detective in charge realises he is out ofhis depth,he calls on Laura who has the skills to handle the situation. What changes Laura mind to accept the case is when she realises that the child takenhostage along with the teacher is none other than her own son. This is a tense read with a lot of detail about the conflicts between the IRA and the British Army. It added another strand to the story. Sent by Avon Books UK for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Widow’s Secret by Kate Hewitt. The Goswell Quartet Book 4 FINAL

This was a delightful series. You have to read it in order however to get the nuances and sequence to the stories. England 1766. Abigail is a young woman who has blotted her copybook, ruining her chances for any offer from a respectable, honourable man.It must be said that her only fault was her naivety and innocence and tge man involved was a scoundrel. However it was a tiny town and when she was able to secure an invitation to a dance, her mother was tense with nerves that it would turn into a fiasco. Abigail secured the attention of James, a shipowner who not only seemed prosperous but was a kind and loving husband. The real ramifications of the story begins with her husband presenting her with a six year old slave girl. Adelaide as others insisted she be called brought mayhem to the house but awakened in Abigail maternal feelings which she could not show to anyone, as all expected the child to be treated as a thing not a human. This part of the book was very hard to read, but it was factual, historically accurate depicting faithfully conditions of slaves till the abolitionist movement took sway in society. With James death and Abigail facing penury, a decision to join the Wesleyan movement and adopt Adelaide formally were huge steps for Adelaide who had led such a protected life. This is one story. The parallel story is set in present times, when a mining company finds a wreck and Rachel who is a marine archaelogist is called uponto investigate. In her search for clues, she stumbles upon the story of Abigail and James, their life together and the discovery of what happened to Adelaide. Rachel gerself is in turmoil one with her mother and also with her husband. Rachel's personality is "prickly" not warm or open to affection and everyone around her finds her closed and unapproachable The story of Rachel also finding a way out of her predicaments is also complicated but shows how quickly relationships can be nurtured or irrevocably destroyed. Everything ends well after all the tension. This final story was for me the most interesting read. Not just for the emotional impact but also for the wealth of historical information. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, December 12, 2022

The Booklovers Guide to Paris by Emily Cope

Covering literary history with many illustrations, the book is one I am going to keep in my library at least till I've gone to Paris again. Very similar to a travel guide but emphasising writers and artistes in the literary world. Interesting factual reading. Good visuals. Sent by White Owl publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley

Saturday, December 10, 2022

The Village Vicar by Julie Houston

The story of three united sisters living in the small Yorkshire village they grew up in. A slightly Bohemian family in one way, and a traditional family in some aspects. The three sisters have very different professional lives. One is a dentist, married with two children running a flourishing practice, the other is a youth counsellor dealing with troubled kids and the other is tge vicar returning to the same church where her disliked grandfather was vicar. She forms the main part of this story. The lives of the three sisters is complicated. The married one is bored, looks for excitement and finds it in the new hire in the clinic. Unfortunately for her, his interests lie elsewhere. The next is involved with a married man, swears to the sisters that she broke it off/going to and doesnt until full drama in the form of his wife turning up at church and creating a scene that was so dramatic, it was pure theatre and then we have the vicar returning after a bout of cancer, on top of a devastating love affair to find that her ex lover has also moved back home. The drama in their lives spill over but the strong bond of sisterhood overcomes any other problems they face. A interesting take on sisters, motherhood and vicars(my knowledge of vicars is zero) sent by Atria and Aries for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Murder in the Basement by Anthony Berkley

One of a series in a kind of classic crime type of read. A young recently married couple move joyously into their first home. They did not expect to find a body in their basement neatly cemented over. Chief Inspector Moresby and Roger Sherringham are given the job of finding the woman, and how she got to be buried in this basement Unravelling clues after six years is going to be difficult. Missing Persons does not give any clues at all to fit the description of a young woman, a couple of months pregnant. Painstakingly going one step at a time, tracing possible leads the story of a hard young woman emerges. Sherringham is totally convinced who the murderer is, but how to get the conviction to stick. The murderer is slick, clever and very confident. the way it finally ends is a surprise. A bit unexpected but a nice one at that. Very descriptive, good characterization in this story. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Redemption Murders By J C Briggs No 6 in series

I have liked everything written in this series involving Detective Jones and Charles Dickens. There are the secondary characters a whole raft of them. All are unique in the roles they play in the stories and though they are secondary characters, they still play a major part inthe stories. This is something quite different in this series. The other over riding feature of the series is the actual physical location of each section as they unravel. They add not just the heightened atmosphere to the story but add a dimension not found elsewhere. London particularly sounds extremely grim, not a city one would want to live in, especially if one was poor. The story starts with the stabbing of a seacaptain. No robbery no clues. The killings escalate and Dickens and Jones try their best to outwit a very clever murderer to keep the number of victims down. Set in Victorian London, this is vintage detection at its best. This was a download from Amazon.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Something Blue Lord and Lady Hetgeridge series by Emma Jameson

Anthony Hetheridge is Chief of Scotland Yard. He is marrying Kate a detective in three weeks. Anthony is also a Lord and Kate' s family is a bit dysfunctional and loud to put it mildly. There is a fair amount of people being disgruntled and envious at the forthcoming nuptials. A CEO is found murdered in the Hotel Nonpareil. there are many suspects. His ex wife, his son, the Manager of the hotel, even the current women in his life. Michael Hughes also had a common foe with Hetheridge - the formidable Sir Duncan Godington who will stoop to nothing to unseat Hetheridge, Kate and Bhar. Though the plot is thin, the characters are well defined, lively and hold your interest throughout. The story ends with the long planned, obstacle strewn wedding and this was a nice touch. This book was a free download from Amazon.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Bride’s Sister Kate Hewitt Book No 3

This was the third in the quartet and I only realized the significance of the title towards the end of the book. Told in two time frames the older story is a hard one to accept. Sarah and her sister are left destitute after the death of their parents and seek shelter with their Aunt in Goswell. Estranged from the family, the Aunt gives them a home, but it is a physically hard, mentally challenging life. When the Aunt tragically dies, the two girls areagain destitute. sarah accepts marriage as a means of escape, not realising that her sister Lucy who is simple, is lookeddown by both her husband and his daughter from a previous marriage. Fast forward and Ellen's life is turned upside down by the arrival of a step daughter who is rude, condescending and uncooperative. Rifts both in her marriage and with her ten year old, previously sunny tempered daughter appear. Finding a death certificate for Sarah Mills just 22 years of age sets Ellen trying to unravel the mystery and the story unfolds. The story is revealing in both segments. total helplessness of females if left unprovided for by careless parenting and their exploitation by husbands who could be hard, bigoted or just careless of their wives feelings. We then have the blendedfamilies, a phenomena of present times and the difficulties faced by all in such situations. The book was a bit hard for me to read as it seemed so unfair, but it typified social history of the times. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.