My Blog List

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Middle Ground by Jeff Ewing

A collection  of short stories that had got to the end of my Netgalley list.

Dealing with almost forgotten characters those who have lived very normal lives and now either in middle age or old age gone to the periphery of society, even of peoples minds and that is sad. All of them lived lives of interest and seemed somewhat faded now.

Some of the stories left me perplexed, some were inspiring.

Sent by Into the Void for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

My apologies for the delay.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Sorrowful Girl by Keenan Powell

Liam is a good man. Having given up on his dreams to go to Harvard and become a lawyer, he has become a policeman and is trusted with the upkeep of justice in this small town in  Massachusetts.

It is not an easy task trying to keep a balance between the rich and powerful who do not heed the laws and who all close ranks if one of them is threatened. The finding of a body of a young woman in the woods, sets off a search for the murderer, and the hapless tramp is the first suspect. Liam knows that the murder suspect is out there but pressure from outside and lack of any others forces him to an arrest.

The young woman dreamed big and sought a way out from the routine of what her life would be if she remained behind, and this was seen as a threat and she was eliminated.

The story is about injustice, the part that money and in its turn power and influence can play on lives if one does not conform to rules laid down by high powered society and how people keep their heads down due to fear. Liam sought justice but he too had to pick his battles.

This was a compelling read. Things haven’t changed very much still. In some parts of the world anyway

Sent by Three Hooligans Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Murder by Invitation by Verity Bright ( A Lady Eleanor mystery)

 Two vintage mystery reads was I fear a bit much, however nice they are.

Lady Eleanor along with her butler Clifford and the entire menagerie is good in small doses.

Celebrations for the Kings birthday are on in full glory. No holds barred with decor and street parties and food. A committee is in charge and Lady Eleanor is on it. But dark undercurrents abound, and when one member is found murdered, strangled with bunting, followed by another bashed on his head with the ceremonial plaque no less along with anti royal calling cards, the big guns are called in to stop these anarchist arising before the celebrations.

The story is a rather long one going into one man’s sad, past history and nothing to do with royalty which was a real red herring and put detectives off track. Very descriptive of the surroundings always this went from this little quaint village to a rather dreary mining village in wales.

This was a pleasant, light read with plenty of humour and nice varied characters to add range to the story.

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Wife in the Photo by Emily ShineroLa

 This was twisty and quite a tense read. A family with a teenage daughter having a bit more than the usual ups and downs. When Lola discovers that her husband is being unfaithful, she initially tries to work through the problem and Evan promises to stop the affair. He doesn’t. That eggs Lola to plan to leave him taking Jessica their daughter with her. She didn’t know that spelled doom for herself and she dies of a so called “accident”. 

Fast forward, we have a housekeeper entering the scene and though Jessica initially angry, calms down somewhat though Evan is never quite at ease. Ariel came recommended through Miriam who has worked with Evan for years and is a dependable sort.

The machinations behind Ariel and Miriam come up midway in the story, as it is divided into chapters outlining all the main characters emotions and plans but it did not work out, quite the way anyone bought it would.

Each person wanted a different outcome - no one got that.

Very much a page turner.

Sent by General Fiction (Adult)for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, September 8, 2023

The Fire at the Exhibition by T E Kinsey (A Lady Hardcastle mystery)

 I’ve read two books about aristocratic Ladies who are not representative of the Ladies of the time. They were either haughty, vapid or cowed down. Lady Hardcastle was neither. Along with her supportive maid Flo and a very loyal staff they lived a very democratic and happy existence.

When the village had its inaugural exhibition of art - offerings from the villagers themselves, the productions were surprising. The prized ones were a book on Shakespeare, valued at Stf £ 1000 jewelled and dazzling, and a painting of the Grange by Summerhayes, one of a pair and an alabaster bust of an ancestor of the local laird.

At the inauguration a deliberate attempt to cause a fire, resulted in the theft of the prized exhibits and Lady Hardcastle with Flo was deputised to help the local Police in whatever way they could. They were also more keen to get the Summerhayes back as the Grange was in dire financial straits and needed the painting as one of a pair, to save the Grange from being lost.

Armed with few clues, lots of clever deductions, the addition of an eccentric brother and sister treasure hunting scheme, a hoity toity insurance investigator all adding false trails to the ultimate happy end.

Pleasant and easy to read novel set in 1912 rural England.

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

Sunday, September 3, 2023

TheLiterary Undoing of Victoria Swann by Virginia Pye

Vintage Boston we have a successful career woman writing under a pseudonym because her own name was considered provincial. Sadly she was scammed by her publishers who paid her much less than any of their other authors as she was a female, and a double wham when she was literally left destitute when her husband stripped her of all her assets.

Left to fend for herself, she left her publisher joined a pair of young newly established publishers, changed the format of her books, joined a provocative and energetic young woman and sued her former publisher for what she was cheated.

A story of bravery and courage to fly in the face of society’s conventions and norms was not easy but she did it. Successful in turning her life around and a beacon for young women her age.

Written descriptively about the age Victoria lived in, and the challenges women had to face even their own property.

Sent by Regal House Publishing, for an unbiased read, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Hotel by Emily Shiner

The hotel set in a bleak, lonely area may not be everybody’s idea of a vacation but the Rowe’s booking the entire B & B for three weeks was with deadly purpose.  The story is very twisted. Very early on you cotton on to the fact that Mark and the Rowes have a history. A complicated history involving blackmail as Well.

What no one cottons on to is that the simple, hardworking wife is no simpleton. Scheming from the very beginning she is the mastermind who engineers the whole situation in her favour - she wants to get out of the marriage with as much money as possible to safeguard the future of her baby son Henry. Everything works with that aim in mind.

Devious, all the characters were - and this was the story. Their deviousness. Not apparent at the beginning but apparent within a few pages of the story, each chapter giving you another bit of depth to the story.

Very well told, this was a good thriller.

Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Last Impressions by Laura Martin

 A Regency detective

 story with Jane Austen as our sleuth. 

Jane and her sister Cassandra are invited for dinner to a neighbours house - Mr and Mrs Paulson. The weather has turned and they know they may have to stay overnight but Mrs Paulson is very hospitable and they have no qualms over this.

The evening progresses with music and good conversation, until the body of their host is discovered in the study stabbed. What makes it incomprehensible is that the study is locked, the windows are firmly closed with no access in or out. To add to the quandary, they are all snowbound. It is dangerous to even think of sending someone to fetch the local magistrate and despite objections from one of the men, Jane takes on the role of investigator, preserving the evidence and questioning everyone in the house. When the butler is found murdered the next day the household is in hysterics because everyone realizes the murderer is in their midst. The weather still seems bad and then their hostess is found dead, seemingly a suicide till proven otherwise.

Putting together whatever evidence is available is hard as there is very little and although the tendency is to put the blame squarely on one of the staff, for Jane the solution seems too slick and convenient. 

This was really a very well written detective story which other than the setting would be perfect even in a modern setting.

The author has a new book coming out in October and I am very keen to get my hands on that.

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

Monday, August 21, 2023

Murder At The Village Fair by Helena Dixon

Summer of 1935. Kitty and Matt enjoying a delayed honeymoon staying with an Aunt in idyllic and very comfortable surroundings. It is everything that one thinks of an idyllic English countryside, the weather and farmlands all beautiful. 

A fete being held is a highlight of the summer and the entire village is involved. When Miss Crowther is found murdered alias Madame Zara, fortune teller the first dimming of village allure begins. Kitty and Matt are the people who discover the body and their investigation, alongside the local detectives uncover deep secrets, simmering resentments and secret relationships which must be kept secret. The killer seems to be always one step ahead and when another attempted murder happens, followed by another murder we know the killer is desperate and is now reckless.

Kitty and Matt risk personal danger to uncover the secrets in this small village and bring justice for the victims. 

Very pleasant for readers this is reminiscent of more classic mystery murders.

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

Saturday, August 19, 2023

There’s a plane on fire on the runway by Patrick Langdon

 A travel memoir covering several countries, lots of details of each place and other than a few exceptions everything was dusty, dirty, with piles of garbage, the guides were scammers and cheats and the food was lousy.

The writer accompanied by his wife went on guided tours to Egypt, India twice, then Cambodia, amongst several others. Historical details were faithfully detailed but one did get tired of the slightly condescending tone throughout the read. He did have a couple of good experiences but they seemed to have been overshadowed by the negatives.

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Season of Second Chances by Kristina McMorris

 There were two stories in this book.

The Christmas Collector dealt with the stuff we all collect during our lives. The endless crockery, linen, furniture is one. The mementoes like photographs, certificates, souvenirs with no sentiment for anyone other than the owner is the other. Jenna is a person who deals with all the stuff that is a persons home or estate. Dealing with it sensitively is her forte and in this story secrets unraveled of memories long gone is very evocative.

The second story is Gifted by T Greenwood. Alex is a gifted ballerina wHo just froze during a performance and is now analysing her feelings about her dance, her talent and her life. She realises that driven by her mothers ambition and dreams she has pushed herself to do better, reach an excellence that she is no longer enchanted with. Simone also gifted is eighty and living with senile dementia. How the two meet, unexpectedly is moving. It is a catalyst for Alex to decide how she goes forward.

Both stories deal with forgiveness, love and looking forward to new beginnings.

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

Monday, August 14, 2023

Death at a Scottish Wedding by Lucy Connelly

 I do like the Scottish settings. Bleak countryside all towering hills, desolate moors, dour, strong, manly men and huge castles especially in this story.

Angie is the bride to be, a Gothic bride at that. The castle fits the theme. Owned by Ewan the local laird,plus being the law of the area he knows everyone and everything that happens in his little world. The doctor who has taken over the local practice has dealt with one murder, and hopefully believes that this wedding will go without a hitch. When a man, not an invitee of the wedding is found murdered, Ewan and Emilia the doctor, acting as Coroner hope that they can find out who the victim is and solve the crime, because they are snowed in. No one has a way in or out. However it is not as easy as it looks. The pointers are to several suspects but they all fall by the wayside and the informal investigation continues with murder attempts several times on several key guests including the bride and Doctor Emilia.

This was a good mystery murder - good characters and very scenic settings.

Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley 

Friday, August 11, 2023

So Late in The Day by Claire Keegan


A short story looking over what ‘may have been’ if you played your cards right, or if you said something different. Cathal with a bottle of champagne thinks of how Sabine could have been his wife if - there were many ifs here.

Cathal is troubled from the beginning - did the relationship spin too fast, did it get out of his control. The cracks appeared with his frugal ways - with feeling as well as money. Cathal seemed to be his own enemy . He said the wrong thing at the wrong time, did not think through what he said, or it was omission on his part of saying nothing when he should have said something.

The book was contained and seemed just right for this story. Anything more would have been too much.

Sent by Grove Atlantic for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

The Husband Criteria by Catherine Kullmann

The year 1817 the setting the London debut of young ladies mainly intent on securing a catch. In the matrimonial stakes that is. Three of them good friends have slightly loftier ambitions. They have within themselves set guidelines which they will stick to. The criteria would hold good even today other than the need for a comfortable lifestyle (they’ve not known anything else) . They are loyal to each other and when one of their group is refused vouchers at Almacks (a necessity of approval from the social powers that be)they take the highly irregular step of all three boycotting events hosted there.

Cynthia finds herself drawn to the very eligible Earl of Marfield and finds that she is very much in tune to his own views and ways of life. Chloe finds herself drawn to Thomas Musgrave but is hesitant, andAnn must decide whether music as a career is more important than marriage however impecunious the circumstances she may find herself in.

The book was a pleasant read for those who like romance in an uncomplicated manner without too many twists and turns.

Sent by Books Go Social for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Beginning French by Les Americains

 I always envy any nationality that can decide to go buy a property in another country. With the hoopla that Asians face (not all) with just getting a tourist visa, this kind of story for me is almost magical.

Eileen and Marty had a French ideal. They took French lessons, Eileen was more successful than Marty then they bought a 400 year old farmhouse with a barn, redid it, came back to find it ruined due to a burst pipe. Started all over again. Got entrenched into the village life enjoying the food, the wine, the brocantes and the neighbours. Took French bureaucracy in their stride and as we would say boxed on.

I loved the vivid descriptions of life in this part of France, warts and all. The good overshadowed the inconvenient, the hard bits and being a foodie, Sarah s cooking encompassed it all. Liked the recipes at the end of the chapters. It added so much flavour to the stories.

Thank you to Les Americains for sending me the book, courtesy of Netgalley.

This is a re read by me. I enjoyed it so much.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Murder at the Inn ( AJulia Bird Mystery. No 4)

A pub quiz should be fun and entertaining. In this village it is quite a serious one and everyone taking part wants to win. The teams are quite level, there are all sorts of people taking part and all of them are experts in one field or another. The problem begins when one of their more distinguished panellists are found murdered, and then the numbers seem to increase with murders and attempted murders abounding.

Julia and DI put their heads together to sort out random unconnected clues. Even the hit and run where the DI was injured in hindsight, does not look accidental so the need is immediate before more murders take place.

This murder streak in this small village in the Cotswolds is jarring for the inhabitants as well as the serenity of this village. The end was not surprising for me, though the reasons unraveled were.

A good cozy mystery.

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The presidents wife by Tracy Emerson Wood

Edith Bolling was living a contented life. Turning a failing business around was a huge achievement for the time and she had good friends. She did not plan on the relentless romancing of a recently widowed President, who fell in love deeply just months after his wife passed away.

Their courtship restrained by Edith, eventually they did marry but what followed was different. Woodrow Wilson began to depend on the judgement and views of his wife, and she began to have enormous sway over all matters of state as well. This was in the midst of America being drawn into WWII. Edith was against  the suffrage movement (which in view of her other views was different) but when Wilson became incapacitated, she excluded all but the very minimum number needed to attend to the President, decoded messages, summoned people, gave decisions and was literally the force of the Presidency.

Utterly devoted to the man she loved, Edith’s entire focus was to protect him and her country. A powerful, emotional story but would have liked to read how she adapted after leaving the WhiteHouse and when she was widowed again.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for sending me this book for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, July 30, 2023


The sequel to the first book, this takes us right back in 74 year old Ronnie’s life. With a daughter Nadia turning out of the blue, heavily pregnant but still acerbic as ever, Ronnie has to steer a path between the past heavily obscured by her daughters view of the past, which was very much in favour of Ronnie’s husband now dead. 

As was common years ago, one was stoic about many subjects - unfaithfulness, domestic abuse. There was no recourse, no counselling available and one got on with life. Maybe Ronnie closed her eyes to the infidelity, but in the case of the abuse she thought she did the right thing in order to protect a youngster. In hindsight it was not right but that is neither here nor there.

Now faced with her past in a double whammy she faces not only her own daughter but the girl she protected all those years ago from an abusive father. Will taking sides cause irrevocable damage to the relationship she is craving to build with both her daughter and grand daughter. Is the decision to live in Rome going to create a bigger rift. Can Ronnie move back to England after so many years and live there.

The story of family, sacrifices, questions of how, why and what does one do is eternal. Trying to balance it all is hard sometimes not pleasing to all.

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

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Evans Above by Rhys Bowen


I got the series all nine of them but I am spacing them out not to bore my followers!

The pace of detection is slow. Our Evans is just a village copper. He is keen, quite focussed and thinks out of the box. Not quite acceptable to the condescending higher ups who do not seem to appreciate enterprise or a different perspective. Two hikers found fallen, dead and the constabulary wants to say accidental death and they did not know their mountain hiking lore so what do you expect. Evans is not at all convinced and finds a link between the two. Evans also enquires into a death six years ago which was also classified as accidental. When a third hiker is found with his throat slashed, the authorities cannot talk about accidental deaths anymore. Add to the mix a paedophile on the loose, a peeping Tom who steals food as well and Evans is a busy cop.

The insularity of this small Welsh village and the clannishness is very apparent. Their dislike of the English is also very much part of the story (something I have to read about a bit)! It added to the charm of the story.

A purchase from Amazon though they still do not allow me to post reviews there!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Rome Apartment by Kerry Fisher

Beth and her husband have reached an impasse in their marriage. Joel wants a break and finds a job opportunity in Paris leaving everything open to whatever may follow. He doesn’t want to commit himself to whether he wants to stay or go from the marriage and Beth has been so compliant throughout that she cannot take a stand, though inwardly she knows she is a coward for not taking a stand.

A chance advertisement in a magazine is the impetus she needs to spend a few months in Rome with two older ladies who are so full of life that they somehow drag Beth from the dull and routine which she has followed throughout her marriage.

The story of revival, survival, finding new interests and even love is an invigorating read. It is fun to read about reviving interests one had when one was in your twenties, and know there is so much still to do when one is in one’s fifties.

The good part is that though the story does not end conclusively there is a sequel (review follows).

The book was sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

PS at last I’ve sorted the issue of posting photographs to my posts via the kindness of a niece who went through blogger page by page to find out how to rectify my errors.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

The Paris Assignment by Rhys Bowent

The two great wars brought us so much good literature - each with a different perspective all so different and all riveting reading. This was no different. Maddie is one of the most conformist, mild souls you could envisage. Not one for confrontation, anything for the sake of peace she goes along with her family plans in a plodding manner until one day she decides to go as part of a study course to Sorbonne, falls in love with France, finds a love of her own and makes France her home. The story evolves from there, WWII breaks out, she and her young son forced to returnto England, her husband joining the Resistance and the heartbreak starts there. The story goes much further than this with really heart breaking consequences which no person should be called upon to bear. The imagery throughout this book is the steadfastness to a cause, the stoic bearing of misery still maintaining qualities of goodness isdifficul to imagine. Most people will break under that pressure, just give up any attempt to be humane. Powerful story Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. Just got discharged from hospital with so much medication. At least the good news is that they all finish within ten days.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The Antiquity Affair by Lee Kelly and Jennifer Thorne

Set in 1907 egypt had become the centre of attention for the artifacts that poured out of the country. There seemed to be vastnumbers of people, seemingly explorerers but mainly looters who found priceless articles which were in high demand amongst so called connoiseurs of art worldwide. Dr Walter Ford was a leading Egyptologist and he was presently on a search for the Serpent Crown said to contain magical powers of conferring absolute control over countries and one which led to dominance over people. Such a crown was naturally sought by many. When Dr Ford started on this quest, he did not envisage that his enemies would focus their attention on his two daughters the debutante Lila or his non conformist and adventure loving Tess. Starting first as an abduction then going into a chase and rescue, the expedition of Dr Ford is not an easy one as his opposition does not care how many victims they leave behind in their quest for the crown. Very descriptive of the life of the times, both in fashionable Manhattan, urban Egypt and then desert Egypt, this was an adventurous read. Sent by Harper Muse for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. I am working with an eye patch looking ridiculous, so please excuse any typos.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

This and That

Went on an unexpected short too short trip to Singapore. Wandered around very hot, very humid. Being Sri Lankan we had to shop and sadly due to the economic woes at home, we tend to go for stuff which will be considered basics by many. Cheese, olive oil, hummus, corned beef you get the picture. And for me always shoes and bags. Not necessarily high end but good stuff. Came back one day later realised something not quite right. My words were slurred mouth was droopy. The worst case scenario a stroke. Too much of char siew pork, chicken rice, biryani! Fortunately thank the Lord, its Bells palsy brought about by a viral infection, overnight in hospital and hopefully tomorrow home. Review posts will be up in a day

Friday, July 14, 2023

The Other Year by Rea Frey

In every life there comes a moment which defines us. We meet someone, we miss a bus or a train with life changing results. In this case Kateloses sight of her nine year old daughter Olivia for a second, and she drowns. The entire story devolves from this moment told in two different frames - what if Olivia bounced back, and then she did not. It wasa slightly unnerving read, what happenedto Kate as a result of the drowning, and what happens if life goes on as normal for Kate as a single mother, having an ex husband plus two men friends interested in her. The trauma,the emotions in each alternate scenario were heartbreaking, normal, like a roller coaster. good reading. Sent to me by Harper Muse for anunbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert

Jane is retired and returning to the world of books, a subject she likes. Cataloguing a vast collection of detective and mystery books from decades past is a job she envisaged she likes doing. She did not expect a boss, young and rich and abrupt with no empathy or filters when he did talk. (reminded me of Sheldon in BBT). It was a small household in which Jane worked, but there were under currents from the first instance. When Jane discovers a dead bodyon her first day of work, she is drawn into detective mode acting as a private investigator where her boss cant go, simply because he is the prime suspect. Jane likes this role as Watson to her boss's role as Sherlock but she is not very sure whether her boss is totally innocent in the first place. Till very much into the story, Jane is unsure whether she is actually helping to cover up a murder. The problem was that all the characters were hiding secrets. Unravelled slowly, this was nice detective work. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Scent of a Garden by Namrata Patel

Set in a very accomplished, high achieving family of migrants now well settled in America, expectations for children are very high. This family was no different. Add to that conflicts between parents where a wife has taken second place to her husbands business, is also another reason why Asha's mother pushed her daughter away from the family business and into a line of work in which she had a natural affinity for. Asha has returned home in a state of confusion and frustration. Working as a perfumier in Paris her nose and sense of smell is all important. Losing that after a covid attack is saying goodbye to her career. Coming home was a chance for her to rest regroup, decide what to do. The story of Asha, her dreams and a family supportive but still demanding and how she is going to steer a path between love of her job, her love for family and the love she has for someone which she has buried deep within her is this book. Making peace with a father she never understood, a mother whose determination was pushy, and the loss of a garden which meant so much to Asha are features of this read. Interesting take on an unusual career and very descriptive of California itself. Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Forever Hold your Peace by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

This was a good change for me from the heavy mystery murders that I tend to drift to. This was all about a wedding and not a bridezilla in sight. It was a mothers zilla episode which had festered for twenty six years and erupted with the full force of a volcano. Amy and June were best friends joined at the hip. When Amy discovered June in the arms of her husband, the friendship was over with heart wrenching sadness and regrets on both sides. Both went on to marry/divorce and their paths would not have crossed if not for some stalking on Amy"s ex husband side who was trying to find June (whom he still loved). He sent his son to try to catch up with Olivia (june's daughter) in Positano because he followed Olivia's social media hoping to find June. The deception did not augur well for the future, especially since Zack and Olivia fell in love, came back from the holiday determined to get married as quickly as possible. The meet up of the parents went disastrously as could be expected, and the two mothers did not keep anything back, never thinking of their children's happiness or peace of mind, but only their long hidden hurt. As if this was not bad enough Zack had never told Olivia about his father's role in finding her,and when this came out into the open the whole thing blew up in everyone's faces. The weddingwas called off amidst all the recriminations. It all ended well. Everyone was forgiven and the wedding went ahead!! Light hearted read for a lazy Sunday. Sent by Alcove Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay

Both M16 and the CIA are betrayed by a moleat the highest level endangering the lives of many and especially two very successful female spies. Set over two time lines on 1954 and the 1980s, the story goes into several cities in Europe covering many people and especially families who will be completely disrupted by any breach in the layers and layers of deception, carefully built over the years which made them bothso successful. Two strong women - one the older Ingrid who is a dutiful wife, a charming hostess never drawing attention to herself with British roots and who becomes so good at her job and then there is Anya, just back from Georgetown University, leaving her heart behind in America and now in a field with access to top secret information, living life on the edge as a spy for the CIA. It was a complicated story with many twists in the tale, but well balanced and very enjoyable. Sent by Harper Muse for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp by Leonie Swann

It took me a while to get my head and mind into this read. The theme was serious two, then three murders but the characters were whimsical.It also brought it very close to home that Icould very well turn into one of those eccentric old ladies give it a few years. A body has been discovered next door. Being neighbours the police come calling. This makes the group agitated, nervous and jittery because their murdered companion lies in their own house. The Police are happily for them unaware of the fact. Lillith was shot after a joint decision taken, including Lillith so the bunch are quite ok with the outcome! The plan is to find who murdered the neighbour so that Lillith's murder could be pinned on the same person and voila they all can clear their minds over the little matter of Lillith's death. This seeking of truth leads to various escapadeswhich in their rather fragile state of health is tricky. A miracle that no one died in the process of investigations. This was quirky, different and refreshing. Sent by Soho Press for an unbiased view, courtesy of Netgalley

Friday, June 23, 2023

The Measure of Silence by Elizabeth Langston

A family death always leaves untied ends. In this case two sisters areleft with three boxes of memorablia, with instructions how to proceed. What they did not anticipate was decades oldsecrets which were shocking, unexpected and had ramifications for tge future. Left with so much documentary evidence, Jessica and Raine try to put together pieces of their grandmother's past, why she kept so much secret and how they should handle the future, given the complications in their own lives. A very good story of a family crossing three generations, a closely knit family who now have to forgive and move forward. Very well written. Sent byLake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Murder in Manhattan by Verity Bright

Number 14 in the series. Still very chirpy, different, slightly eccentric and definitely not in the common way. This is a murder mystery and always Lady Eleanor gets roped in, dropped in call it what you may in unusual circumstances, very often not of her seeking. The characters are all out of the ordinary. From her butler Clifford, to her dog Gladstone whom she takes to all events, even her household staff are full of character. It all adds to the liveliness of the story which takes it from the gruesome viciousness of modern murder stories, though murder is murder of course. This one with the backdrop of Manhattan, gangs, upper class speak easies as well as all the machinations behind high finance and high society in Manhattan. Murders too and the detective work to solve them. Very easy Reading. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Horror of Haglin House by M R C Kasasian

Lady Violet has retired to a quiet town with two servants and her adventuress Ruby, to get over and to understand why her partner jilted her. There she is approached by a lady who needs her services to find out why her friend who was deeply attached to her is no longer receiving her calls. She feels she is a prisoner in her home. The problem is acute because the suspect here has an impeccable reputation and is popular the local doctor. when one death after another follows with no connection at all, both the police and lady Violet are confused but Violet is decided that it is in some strange way connected to Haglin House and the doctor. Unravelling the story was complicated particularly because the comments - some not at all helpful or relevant comefrom voices speaking to Violet. A tad confusing that. Nevertheless an interesting take on detective stories. Sent by Canelo for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Bats in the Belfry by E C R Lorac

Set in the 1930s this was an intricate story, with many characters coming in and going out which could get confusing, if you tried to figure who was doing what. A man goes missing, his suitcase and passport fiund in a derelict building, a very indifferent wife who does not turn a hair when confronted with the gruesome details of her husbands death, her lover who becomes the primary suspect, when the first suspect is found drowned. It was an interesting story particularly for me as I like this era and settings. The detective work was comprehensive and much slower than a modern story setting. it did not detract from the story. This was a purchase from Amazon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Murder at Midnight by Katherine Schellman

I like this series especially Lily Adler. Spending time inHertfordshire is just what she is looking forward to. Meeting her old friend Jack is a bonus. A good friend of her hers he has spent years away at sea and has now returned. Anticipating a relaxing evening at a neighbours Christmas festivities, the party gets snowbound and what they think is an overnight stay gets extended when they find a body in the snow brutally murdered. To add to the mystery the young man found murdered is the same man linked to the gossip around Amelia, Jacks own sister. When (in Lily's opinion) the wrong man is locked up, it is upto her sleuthing skills to get to the bottom of this death in this country house where each person including the host has plenty of secrets to hide. The setting, the period and the varied characters all added depth to the story. Sent by Crooked Lane Books foran unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. We have heard of climate changes and in Colombo we are in the middle of a heat zone. Monsoon rains have broken elsewhere, not in the capital city. It has never been this hot.

Monday, June 12, 2023

The Puzzle of Blackstone Lodge by Martin Edwards

Nell Fagan is a brash journalist on the trail of two disappearances - centuries apart. The men literally disappeared into thin air, never sighted again, but rumours are rife. The Lodge is nota welcoming space neither are the owners popular amongst the locals. To add to the mystery, a psychiatric facility run by the Sambrook family is also in this village, and the family's aloofness addsto the mystery about the patients. When Nell meets with one attempt to kill her which was unsuccessful, she does not heed the warning that her prying into events even though 300 years old, obviously is upsetting a few people. Meeting an untimely end, Rachel Savernake now embarks on her own lines of enquiry typing up a death in London, with the multiple deaths now happening in this remote village, and uncovering old family disputes and secrets. The characters are so varied, the rector and the doctors, the wanna be lord of the manor all hiding behind a facade of secrets they dont want uncovered. The detective work progresses slowly but this vintage classic crime and it is very good. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Bereaved by Julia Park Tracey

1859 was a bleak time if you were a woman with no money and responsibilities. Widowed very young, with four children Martha's life was tough but when her father in law who was their guardian died and left Martha and her young family to the guardianship of the lecherous lawyer Montgomery, Martha knew she had to run away. New York City was another world - poverty, the incessant noise, the animosity of neighbours, the environment were foreign but they all gritted their teeth and tried to survive. When things began to threaten their lives Martha took the bold step of handing first her eldest two to the Friends of Society and then the youngest two. She did not realise that she was legally giving them up. The story of heartbreak with plenty of determination to get her children back against immense odds is beautifully told. Martha never gave up hope for a reconciliation and she was successful with the exception of Homer who did not know his biological mother at all. At the end of the story there was a chapter giving details of how the children's lives evolved after they reconciled including Homer who had links with the author of this story. This added a great human touch to the story and it was good to see how far they all came to lead happy settled lives. Thank you to Sibbyline Press for sending this to me, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Murder At The Elms by Alyssa Maxwell

Emma and Derrick just married and Emma is trying hard to live life "differently" aware of Derrick's elevated social position, though despite it being 1901 with very Victorian ideas that people in general have about women in society, Derrick has startlingly modern views. Covering a rather newsworthy event, a strike by domestic staff at the Berwinds bungalow unheard at the time and put down drastically by the family by summarily dismissing all the errant staff brought Emma into direct contact with the family. an invitation to view the house with all its mod cons was the opening Emma needed to find out more about the repercussions of the strike but it ended with the discovery of a maids body (one of those who didnt strike) and the loss of an invaluable necklace. Detective Jesse calls on Emma and Derrick to provide the inside information on this high society party because he will never be privy to its machinations and cover ups and it is this that for me was very good reading. How this society was blind to its own defects and swept everything under the table to protect their own because the deaths were mere poorer people who worked for them, mere nobodies. The story unravelled slowly but it was a fascinating read - the murder, the clues, the position of a newspaper reporter at the time, hypocricy of society all added to the variety of the read. Sent by Kensington Books for an unbiased read courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

A Perfect Vintage by Chelsea Fagan

There is a lot of money, lots of beautiful men (all ages), women too all ages, A explosive mix. Lea is a consultant and in this case she is converting an old chateau into a very high class boutique hotel. No detail is too minute for Lea who wants to be hands on, on every aspect till the hand over. She knows this project can make or break her career. She did not expect her cousin and daughter to want to tag along. Stephanie is just beginning a divorce proceeding and her ex husband is as difficult as they come. Lea also did not expect the antagonism and put downs of the boss's son. At every turn being critical unjustly, and very quietly insinuating vituperative stuff to his father about Lea. The dynamics get further complicated by romance which do not go down well with the family further complicating matters. The story of the stages of a hotel renovation, especially the descriptions added variety to a story although it was one which was mainly about relationships in a close knit family, especially when "outsiders" come on the scene with all its cross cultural effects. Sent by Orsay Press LLC for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Blind Eye by Marion Todd

Detective Claire Mackay is in her seventh of the series and there is no let up.Not just the actual story, but the human interest stories of the Detectives and those involved in the behind the crime scene are also very much part of the story. Harry Richards does not fit the picture of crime. A solicitor handling mainly property conveyancy, his world is removed from the circumstances of his death. Found with his throat cut, Detectives have to sift through seemingly innocuous business matters to find his connectio n to crime. When the wife of his junior solicitor is found dead in a horrific car crash, detectives are skeptical that the two are linked. But in detective work there is no room for coincidences, and when common links begin to start becoming apparent, the local force realise that they have a very well organized, smooth operation to deal with. Fast paced, varied characters, a really tangled storyline which started unravelling once the pieces were in place, all added to the story's interest. Sent by Canelo for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Crook O Lune by E C R Lorac

A sone house Aikengill is what the story revolves around. It has been in existence from the 1700s and its history has been well documented and is an integral part of the story. The present owner has inherited it from his uncle and though he loves tye isolation and the lifestyle of this part of Lancashire, he has still not made up his mind as to the house and his future.
Coincidentally Chief Inspector Macdonald is visiting the area because he is very keen on finding a retirement home and farm for himself. The unexpected sheep stealing is a new phenomenon which is worrying the locals and when Aikengill is set alight causing the death of the housekeeper, all detectives are on the case. It was not the detection alone that drew me in. The wealth of history in the house and church records (which were part of the story) , the sturdy characters of sheep farmers, even the language used was so different and though slow, was never boring. I will be coming back to this author very soon. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Guest House by the Sea by Faith Hogan

This is one of those stories where your faith in humanity can be restored. Where one feels there is still innate goodness in all of us- even the slightly cynical hardened beings found in modern society. We have the guest house in idyllic surroundings in summer (closed during winter not so idyllic) then the old owner presently incapacitated, thefaithful retainer more family than anyone else and then the habitual returnees to the guest house. This time around for most of them its a bolt hole from the pressures or problems of life. They want think through solutions in a quiet place. The haven is quite busy though and everyone finds something to occupy them, apart from their own issues. The influence that one has on another helps one to see things clearly and all of them are much more clear headed than when they started. A lovely read. Sent by Aria & Aries for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Tempest in the Tea Room (A Jewish Regency mystery) by Libi Astaire

The 19th century background and the detective plus the lady detective plus the Jewish overtones throughout the story made this different from other Regency mystery stories. The Jewish community in London at the time was a flourishing one and we come across so many diverse characters in this story. The new immigrants from Jamaica, the doctor and his sister are crucial to the story, the unwittingly made suspects for murder, we get the cunning Amos & Amos brothers, marketing a new brand of tea, we have established families and the mothers whose focus is matchmaking and we have seniors in the group who maintain links with outsiders, keeping a balance and being fair by all. This made the story though it was a mystery also a very interesting account of Jewish centric London. I enjoyed this aspect of the story - community ties, traditions added great interest to the story. This was a free download from Amazon.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Radcliffe Ladies Reading Club by Julia Bryan Thomas

Four young ladies have entered Radcliffe. This is in itself momentous. 1954 was still an era where girls of eighteen worked at anything temporarily whether studies or a job - as a means to an end. Finding a suitable husband and being respectable. The four young women came from widely dissimilar backgrounds but they did settle in to do their time in college. The bookshop owned by Alice became the center of a small book club where Alice encouraged them to widen their horizons, question situations, look at life from different perspectives. She guided them but was not intrusive. Because social life was a part of college life the girls began to venture out to take part in a pleasurable part of college life. Things dont always go smoothly and the incident with Caroline set off far reaching consequences for all. The storyline was good but for me the characters other than Alice were weak. All were very preoccupied by society's expectations and standards, preferring to overlook abuse, chauvinism, inequality all completely overshadowed by the standards of society of the day. It took a lot of courage to take a stance against injustice the way Caroline did. Her character developed as an independent woman from that point on. A warm story of four girls in a changing world. Sent by Sourcebooks Landmark for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Ones Who Are Buried by Kerry Wilkinson (A Whitecliff Bay Mystery Book 3)

I kept a small gap between the Books 1 and 2 and it helped me to enjoy this story more. The setting of Whitecliff and its environs are mediocre, the characters seem also a bit drab and grey. Millie and Guy in this story are there purely to unravel the mystery of two boys presumed murdered. The only person who can give the location is Kevin Ashworth in prison who has decided to reveal any information only to Guy and Millie much to the local Police Chiefs anger and chagrin. Murder destroys on many levels and we see lives twisted with pain on many levels not just the victims families alone. This is a particular feature in this story. The murderer was a victim too here. His actions were purely to protect his son. This is revealed only towards the end, it changes the entire tenor of the read. Very stark, quite an emotional read. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

In the shelter of Holythorne House by Sarah E Ladd

A young widow left with a baby son and now an uncertain future. The sudden death of her husband was a relief for Charlotte - Roland was a bully with a string of mistresses but his death revealed further unsavory news. He was in debt had made a string of enemies, who wanted their monies paid. Charlotte only wants to keep Henry safe, not just outsiders but Roland's brother too whom she does not trust at all. Fleeing to her older home Holythorne Hall with two men for security she tries to create a safe haven. She did not take into account that Anthony one of tge men guarding her, was her first love from whom she had parted years ago. Set in the Yorkshire Moors in the 1800s the surroundings seem bleak, forbidding except maybe for those born and bred to this environment. The story was an easy read, very pleasant as well. Sent by Thomas Nelson Fiction for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Mrs Varman by Sanjeewa Behera

This is not a easy book to review or describe. We have a husband and a wife two different personalities. returning to India Julia and Sachin work on building their relationship. We then have Vijay the slightly dangerous third wheel in the story. The entire story is about human relationships within a marriage and how an outsider would view the same relationship from another angle altogether. The book outlining Mumbai its diversity, the glorious food, the never ending family celebrations of one event or another all add richness and interest to the story. The development of all three characters as the story evolves is another facet. The story is very descriptive too of living with a family as against independently, the lack of privacy, the freedom that elders have to be quite critical of a daughter in law and the submissiveness of men who go along with the flow. These may be hard to accept for some readers but it is factual and very much part of actual life in many parts of the world, not just India. Sent by Sanjeeta Behera for an unbiased review, courtesy ofNetgalley.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

The Coach Trip by Izzy Bromley

This is one of those stories that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. The beginning is not hopeful. Two young women both 29 going on 18 (not fair to many sensible 18 year olds) are joining a coach trip just to accompany Granny. The trip is interesting and covers York, Holy Island and Edinburgh. Everyone in the group is over sixty and from the word go there is bickering and sniggering at the old fogeys. It goes the other way too with some of the older folk just waiting to pounce on the two younger women. A sudden near death experience changes the tenor of the tour. A missing man adds to the tension. It makes the trippers realize that people may actually have a very valid reason for their fears and foibles, that one must not be so quick to judge one's fellow travellers. The young folk may noteven be able to imagine the pain which hides behind brittle and irritating facades. The story taught one tolerance, patience and human emotions. The reunion after one year at the very end was poignant. How many of us think we can get in touch with someone, maybe tomorrow or day after and days slide into oblivion. Very well written. Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. I was looking for a change of genre from the detective mystery murders I generally read. This was a gem.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Viviana Valentine Goes Up The River by Emily J. EDwards

The title alone sounded quirky. The story too. Viviana is detective partner with Tommy. It is 1950s New York and society still has very clear demarcations of what ladies can and cant do. Invited by Buster, a wealthy businessman of science to a weekend party - this is a cover for what Buster actually wants tgem to do. Find out how, why and where strange sounds emanate from empty rooms in his mansion at all odd times of the day and night. Seemed a bit of a weak start but the characters at the party were all amusing, all had agendas of their own and despite the murder of one of the guests, everything seemed too light hearted to be taken seriously. A bit of a letdown. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Murder on Tyneside (Agnes Lockwood mystery) Eileen Thornton

Agnes has come to Tynesideafter decades to see places of her childhood and to have a relaxing holiday. She did not expect the plush hotel where she was staying to be the scene of robbery after robbery of expensive jewellery plus a murder to boot. Being a witness and very observant as well, Agnes teams up with the Detective who also happens to be a long lost friend to slowly unravel this plot. Entertaining read, charming women, slightly old fashioned men, descriptive surroundings. A free download from Amazon which sadly does not allow me to publish reviews!

Monday, May 8, 2023

An American Beauty by Shana Abe

1867 richmond Virginia. A mother desperately trying to hold her family together on the borderline of gentility, a facade really. Catherine knows that her daughter Bella holds the key to dragging the family out of poverty. Right now Bella works at a gaming saloon, gritting her teeth against the liberties taken not just by clients but by the owner Johnny. When she catches the eye of Collis Huntington, Bella and more importantly her mother Catherine ,nows that their future is now secured. Negotiating for a settlement with the finesse of a peace agreement, the terms are all beneficial for the whole family. Bella becomes a part of society never acknowledged, never recognised but Bella is pragmatic and sets herself on a goal and future which can never be shaken. Acquiring real estate, bringing up her son, remaining loyal to her benefactor despite being attracted to his nephew, she steers a very lever path up the ladder eventually marrying Collis when his wife dies. The story is good because it lies in the cleverness of the story telling of the author who keeps you enthralled every step of the way. The characters were beautifully depicted, weaknesses and strengths in equal measure. Sent by Kensington Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The One Was taken by Kerry Wilkinson (A Whitecliff Bay Mystery) Book No 2

I think I came to the second book in the series too soon. There seemed to be a sameness which did not ignite my interest.
Millie is herself rather colorless. She has been too much in the critical eye of the public - notorious to the point that she expects the calculated criticsm of the entire town and she has retreated from her peers to just a couple of people and the inmates of the home she volunteers at. A contact from her teen years unravels a mystery, a blackmailing attempt and ultimately flaws amongst those whom she considered teen buddies. This was a story about human frailities rather than mysteries - from the need to be popular, to be attractive to the lure of money above all lofty beliefs. I liked the read from the point of the various characters and how they evolved from the time they were teenagers, and to the way some people's characters never really change. Especially self centred beings. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Scottish Ladies Detective Agency by Lydia Travers

1911 and the world still rigidly governed by gender roles. Not easy for a woman keen to forge an independent path. Also an unusual path. As a lady detective. Maud Mcintyre thought her first queries would be baby steps in detection but she gets landed head first in a serious case of theft - robberies in aristocrats homes and of jewellery which is very expensive. Posing as a fellow guest with her side kick Daisy being her maid, they successfully weave their way through the weekend, with a murder and a heist and a successful conclusion. Following their success several queries follow. A missing dog, also found, a missing bride also found but Maud has a niggling fear that their initial arrest was of the wrong man and the actual culprit is at large. How to connect the dots, and convict the correct thief forms the intrigue of the latter part of the story. The setting of 1911 and social expectations and attitudes of the day added a great interest to the story. Sent by Bokkouture for an independent review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, April 28, 2023

A Wealth of Deception by Trish Esden

Set in Vermont a whole enclave of art galleries and art and antiques form the background for this modern day story of espionage, mafia and down to earth cheating in the complicated art world. The second in this series that I had the good fortune to get my hands on. Edie Brown is battling to save the family gallery from going under. Her mother's arrest and consequent jail time hasnt helped their reputation, egged on by rival galleries determined to see them go under. Edie needs funds just for daily work, and when a "Vespa" painting turns up, it seems like an answer to a prayer. Considered a modern Grandma Moses, the artist herself remains elusive. Working with Kala and her Uncle Tuck and boyfriend Police Detective Shane should be enough protection for Edie but her snooping for information and unravelling clues from the nearby retirement home ruffles a number of feathers which would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie, including a murder going back twenty years. Very well told, in sequence the story was not disjointed despite several strands having to be brought togetger. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Lady and the Barrister by Ruth A. Casie

I seem to have drifted in April towards a more vintage type of read, going back to Victorian times somewhat and though I do enjoy these reads, it may get monotonous for readers Lady Anna Ravenscroft knows exactly what she wants from her life. Having gone through two Seasons she knows the horrors of scheming Mamas, bankrupt barons, and prefers a quiet life till she meets or does not meet the man of her dreams. She is an accomplished hostess and is much in demand arranging receptions and soirees and she enjoys helping out. Dragged into helping out a distant relation, against her better judgement for him to make a political debut, she is unwittingly dragged into a scheming maelstrom where her future will be compromised and where her fortune will be taken over by an undeserving man. Her old friend who has been a confirmed, very eligible bachelor has begun to realise his developing feelings for Anna and can see clearly how her loyalty to helping a cousin, is going to drag her into a greater mess. How Anna with the help of her friends unravels herself from the impending mess is a nicely told happy ever after. Sent by Caffeinated PR for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, April 24, 2023

The One Who Fell by Kerry Wilkinson A Whitecliff Bay Mystery. BOok 1

I am behind schedule with the reading of this triology. I hope I can complete it by the end of the month. Whitecliff Bay is a bit dreary as a setting. That was my first impression. But like all small towns there is gossip, secrets which unravel slowly in the strangest ways. Millie has a colorful past. By innuendo accused (and believed by many) to have murdered her parents, subsequently accused by public shaming of an affair with a married MP, divorced by hercondescending, know it all husband, deprived custody of her only son, Millie is stoic and resigned. This can get irritating when we get to the bottom of her story. Working as a volunteer at an old peoples home, Ingrid one of the inmates discloses that she saw a young woman on the roof of a very tall house directly in front of the home. Whether to brush this off as imagination or not is Millie's dilemma. The story picks up from there and slowly unravels in a sequence. The setting was drab, millie herself colorless for the most part, her own house characterless so that drawing a good story out of dullness was clever. The story was precise, cleverly put together. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The Lost Highlander by Adele Jordan

When I started reading this, I did realise I've read one of this author's books before and had liked it tremendously. Walsingham is a spy master with a network of intelligencers working under his control. Kit is one of the more unusual finds, a woman working as a spy in the Elizabethan reign, was rare enough. One with utmost loyalty to the Queen, with a price on her head from the court of Mary, Queen of the Scots was an accolade that Kit did not want. Now Kit has got a personal assignment from Elizabeth, to her cousin Mary a prisoner on a remote castle bypaSsing Walsingham much to his dismay. Kit has a personal assignation, which she does not intend divulging. To find Iohmhar who has been her personal partner, now gone silent for a year. Kit does not believehe is dead, goes to his own home to unravel whatever clues she can, and to strew false clues because she knows she is followed by spies and enemies right from the moment she leaves London. The adventures are brutal and many. thwarted at every turn, her assailants are frustrated until she arrives at the Court of Mary who hands over the trusting Kit to Kit's worst enemy Lord Ruskin who has a personal vendetta of his own. Fast paced and interesting reading in various settings from rural, primitive and grand this is a well set out story of historical fiction. Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Irish House by Ann O’Loughlin

Marianne has a full on life in New York doing what she loves doing - dress design. When her grandmother passes away and leaves behind a huge fading property in Ireland with vast acreage, the guardianship of two troubled nieces trying to get to grips with the loss of their own mother, and the vitriolic Katherine,the daughter who has been passed over in favor of Marianne. Facing hostility on several fronts, whilst trying to live in this remote area of Ireland, where her Aunt has been able to influence the local population against Marianne is not easy. It is a tense daily situation and the letters that Collie left behind give her some inkling as to why Collie acted the way she did. A family saga, with strong history attached to the house which is a big feature of the story. The pivotal characters including the children are very definite and within all of them a story is spun. Bringing the past, present and future into a cohesive whole. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy ofNetgalley.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Murder in Florence by T A Williams

Dan Armstrong is a private investigator in Florence. The job has been low key till now. A series of threats against the stars and the filming of a block buster has set everyone including the local Police on edge. The murder of one of the crew especially with a bow and arrow sets the investigation in a different way. Is it linked to the story being filmed and someone's aversion to the story, or the manner in which the story is being directed, or is it personal to someone who is acting or directing. When the killings and attempted killings escalate, the investigation has to escalate too to prevent more blood shed. Unusual setting, for a mystery murder, seemingly laid back detective work but a good story. Sent by Boldwood Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, April 14, 2023

The story set in a military hospital inEngland during WWII was atmospheric to start with. Six doctors and nurses form a small coterie of friends. When a routine surgery goes wrong and it is found that it is due to an anesthetic wrongly administered, Inspector Cockrill knows he is facing a clever, professional who is actually mocking Inspector Cockrills efforts to solve the case. When a second death occurs the investigation can no longer be slowly attended to and cracks appear among the friends, because one of them is the killer. The investigation and detection was good, but the setting amidst the battles of WWII added to the story. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


I have not been posting because i was in hospital for surgery. All done and dusted and now at home but its proving harder than I thought to get up and get back to normal. Hopefully I will start visiting blogs as well. At the same time Sri Lanka starts celebrations of the Singhalese and Hindu New Year. Familyreunions, lots of food especially sweets, new clothes for all and hopefully above all a spiritual reawakening.

Friday, April 7, 2023

The Secret Sister by Liz Trenow

England 1944. A small village and the call up letters are beginning to come. Eddie at thirteen volunteered to go with his father to Dunkirk four years before, and though they ferried over a 100 soldiers to safety, the death of one man traumatized Eddie so much that he decides to flee before the call up comes. Hoping that he will come to his senses and return his parents and twin sister await before the news gets out that he has run away. in the meantime Lizzie his twin sister gets her call up orders, followed by a letter saying she is not fit for duty and in a bizarre turn of events, poses as her brother and joins the Bevin Boys, a group of boys not sent to war but to the coal mines instead. What follows is a dangerous subterfuge with Lizzie having to act, live and work in the coal mines, on guard all the time, maintaining contacts with her family that she is at a secret location hoping against hope that her twin will surface and not be condemned as a deserter. The story unravels with a mining accident but it is a very descriptive one - from the coalfields, to the attitudes of villagers to conscientious objectors like the Quakers and even the disparaging way the miners were treated, despite them doing a necessary and very dangerous job in England. An interesting bit was that recognition of their services came only seventy years after the war ended. No merit was given, no medals, neither were they acknowledged or allowed to participate in parades. That was sad. A different perspective of WWII from an angle I had never heard about. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Sherlock Holmes and the Persian Slipper by Linda Stratmann

Arthur Stamford is pressurized by his cousin Lily to visit an old friend of hers who has written letters which indicate that allwas not well in her very hurried marriage. Arthur arrives at Coldwell to find he is a bit too late. John Clark is dead shot with his own pistol found lying by his bed. No forced entry, neither wife nor housekeeper heard the shots, no strangers loitering around and the first suspicion falls on the wife once the police get their hands on the letters she wrote to Lily. Stamford persuades Sherlock Holmes to come to Coldwell and pursue the case. It is not the usual Holmes classic. John Clark is really not Jihn Clark, but several characters rolled into one. The reveals come slowly and the actual murderer was a total surprise. How it was done was quite convoluted too. A Holmes and Watson is good and in this case Holmes and Stamford was an equally good combo. Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard by Marilyn Baron

Hadley newly married to Luca is a Art curator, building anreputation for herself in the highly competitive world of art in Italy. She wants to succeed in her career first and then start a family. Finding a client who wants her opinion on a missing Fragonard would be a coup for Hadley and she disappears to Rome, only informing her office with scant instructions to her husband as to her whereabouts. The actual story commences here. It is not just a Fragonard that has to be certified and valued, but a kings ransom in paintings from Goering's stack which have been looted and plundered by the Nazis and have now fallen into one persons hands and he now wants to encash the lot and he needs Hadley's valuation of each and every one. The story brings up the subject of robbed art which most of the time disappears into the galleries of rich individuals, never to be seen again or shady museums who are avaricious to own a masterpiece and not bothered about its title. Does well as a standalone though there are two volumes before this one. Sent by The Wild Rose Press. Inc for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Dauntless Hearts by Lincoln Tuvelais

A romance set in 1812 in Northern England. Kitty was a sensible young woman who wanted to marry someone she loved and respected. The brash Irishman set her heart on fire but his behavior, for her, was boorish and she knew that he was unacceptable in polite English society. Putting her personal feelings aside she proceeds to London for her debut, meets up with another young woman and Kitty throws herself into a whirl of entertainment and meeting new people hoping that her earlier feelings will lessen. When her Irish Lieutenant in desperation to win her back invites Kitty and her family to his ancestral home, all hell breaks loose. The family dislikes Kitty intensely, is disparaging and condescending and is determined to get rid of her by any means possible. The book apart from the straight forward romance highlighted the animosity which existed between the Irish and the English, each side not willing to compromise. This was a Regency setting to the whole story which added to its interest. Sent by BooksGoSocial for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Mansion for Murder by Frances Brody

1930 Kate Shackleton arrives in the village of Saltaire at the request of an unknown gentleman who seeks her help as an investigator. On arrival, she finds the man initially missing, then drowned under suspicious curcumstances. Investigating further Kate discovers many facets to the murder - rival suitors for an heiress's hand, control of a business through fair means or foul, old curses which the current villagers believe to be true and prevalent today and unsaid, hidden stories that have to be feretted out. Slowly and diplomatically Kate along with her loyal troop of Mrs Suden and Mr Sykes untangle a web of old and new animosities and a desperation on the part of one man who is determined to escape the gallows. It was also interesting to see how women who were capable and clever had to hide their talents, work discreetly so as not to ruffle tge men's feathers. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Now You See Me byDK Hood

A psychopath on the loose in a small isolated area is not easy to find. It is true that people know each other, but when the area is vast, the weather is against you and the abductions are random with no pattern at all, the Detectives are flummoxed. No clues left behind, snatchedfrom the side of the road, snatched from their own house, no forced entry Sheriff Jenna and Detective Kane are at theirwits end to stop the abductions. A chance miscalculation on the part of the murderer, the slip up which every detective waits for and a grisly discovery in church solves the string of murders. Ingenious way of hiding the victims in full sight. Part of a series, my first foray into reading about this pair of detectives. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Nevermore Bookstore by Kerrigan Byrne & Cynthia St. Aubin

Very much a modern, social media type of story, the setting of the bookstore drew me in. Cady loves her books, she has also got addicted to a caller who only calls on Thursdays andto put it in a ladylike way as possible sets Cady on fire. The calls arefirst innocuous till they start lasting for hours, definitely volatile between the two. The story was romance and fantasy, a lot of conjecture. light reading at best. Sent by Oliver Heber Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, March 17, 2023

The Slumber Party by Shannon Hollinger

We go back ten years - four girls its prom nite, also the 18th birthday of two abd everyone is in high spirits. The mood changes swiftly, the buoyancy goes, some become morose, the attraction of their dance partners wanes, and the unthinkable happens. Fast forward ten years, every one of the four young women have something to hide, the fissures appear fast and with it fear, that the secrets they held is unravelling before their eyes. The story was an intimate one of growing up in dysfunctional families and though appearing damage free, the cracks and emotional distress lie just below the surface. How parents supposed to be primary care givers, protectors of children fail in their duties. you wonder whether they are blind or pretend a problem does not exist or that communication is no longer possible with a willful teenager with angst aplenty. Is it that parentsg get selfish too, thinking that their own chances of a life are slipping away when the responsibilities of children overwhelm one. These were the thoughts which came to me, whilst I read this story maybe nothing what the author intended. A murder had happened, kept secret by four girls and now it was forced into the open by a persistent Detective, who knew that the key lay with the girls. Good story, dark though. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Maid of Steel by Kate Barker

1911 for a working girl was tough. For girls wanting something more than the drudgery and back breaking work in the factories was even harder. Women were old before their time, broken by the relentless hours working. When a factory fire destroyed many women's lives and the life of Martina, Emma's best friend, Emma knew tge time had come to make a change. Arriving in New York for abrecuperative spell, Emma sets about settling in and sees tgat the suffragette movement needs support. This forms the next part of Emma's story. The movement was gathering momentum, despite opposition but needed organisatiin and support whichEmma was eager to contribute to. The other part was the attraction that was building between Emma and Thomas the manager of the hotel where Emma stayed and Alice his wife who wanted to control Thomas though she had no interest in him. Swinging between the events of 1911 and 1912 both personal to the characters as well as those that actually occurred like the suffragette movement getting momentum, as well as the disaster of the Titanic the book was a good read on history at the time. A book that could be described as Womens Fiction with a good bit of history in the setting. Sent by The Book Guild for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, March 13, 2023

No More Secrets by Kerry Lonsdale

Shiloh and Lucas are both trying to escape their past. Lucas six months in a detection centre now riddled with guilt that he failed his family in several ways by ignoring what was happening to his family. Shiloh abandoned by her mother who preferred a boy friend to her helpless daughter whowas being molested by said boyfriend. Now lucas and Shiloh's paths have crossed. Lucas wants to help Shiloh in a way he did not help his sisters but Shiloh after her present experiences with most of the men she met, distrusts Lucas and only sees him as a means to an end - finding enough money to join a boy who she thinks of as a boyfriend someoneshe met online. One knows how the story will pan out for Shiloh and how Lucas will rescue her (once again) but the reunion with the family was a nice touch for both characters. The story draws you in and makes a person realise how important the family structure and support really are. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong without good family relationships and communication without trust and love. The book was sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Death on Deck A Lady Eleanor Swift historical mystery/cozy by Verity Bright

Though there are usually a couple of murders in each book, the way the story is told between the Lady Eleanor, her bulldog Gladstone and her faithful and immensely clever butler Clifford - an element of frivolity or lightness always creeps in. Very different to modern mystery murders Set on an opulent ship (shades of the Titanic) again on its maiden voyage, the Captain with his crew do not want any mishaps, any delays to mar their arrival in New York. When Lady Eleanor witnesses the first murder which is explained to all as a man overboard accident, she knows something is afoot. Finding Detective Hugh Seldon aboard the ship adds to the confusion. The captains table in the first class lounge also throws up debatable characters with dubious reasons for travelling. Unravelling one murder is hard and when the second happens and Lady Eleanor is expressly forbidden to investigate, she knows she has to find the murderer and tge reasons to exonerate Hugh Seldon from suspicion. Very descriptive, class distinctions and all, this was a light read. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Lay This Body Down (Gideon Stoltz mystery) by Charles Fergus

This was not an easy read. No book dealing with inhumanity, or inequality, or degrading treatment of another being would be easy to read. i had a hard time to keep going but I hoped and did receive brighter, better news as I read on and this was good for my mind, which was quite disheartened through most of the story. Gideon Stoltz is the Sheriff. He is not from the town, considered an outsider being of Pensylvvanian Dutch ancestry, supposedly a minus point in this community. The county is free frim slavery but is being used by many as a conduit for slaves to escape elsewhere. The black community in this town are close knit and free, but live in permanent fear and are thus resentful. Does not make for good neighbourliness. When an anti abolition supporter Potter is found murdered, Gideon starts investigations which also unearth a series of missing free black folk who seem to be kidnapped. That investigation runs alongside the investigation into Potters murder and ruffles many feathers in the community who do not want questions asked. It endangers Gideon's own life but he is determined to see justice down, whether to a white or black man. Very good reading encapsulated into a pocket sized version of black enslavement in America. Sent by Skyhorse Publications for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Priorsford Scottish Historical Novel by O Douglas

I read a lot of mystery murder stories so it is important to balance stuff a bit and this was an ideal read. A domestic novel set in the hometown of Jean's childhood to which she has returned as a Lady, with three children and an entourage for a long vacation whilst her husband travels overseas. For Jean herself the stay is bittersweet - separated from the husband she adores she has to take on responsibilities previously shared and it is onerous. There is the shadow of end of the Great War and all the economic hardships it has brought on the populace apart from the loss of life and structure in Britain. The true British grit, the want to survive and overcome is very much part of the character of the story itself and this was the tone throughout. I am very appreciative that I first heard of this author through Cornflower Books. It was such a good and gentle introduction to Scottish life. Bought through Amazon Kindle.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Death of a Bookseller by Bernard J Farmer

Books, book sellers, the second hand book trade, the "runners", and the greed and avarice to procure a rare book at any cost is the basis of this story. Michael Fisk dealt in books, Sergeant Wigan's hobby was collecting the books he liked. on the fringe were all the other elements oftge trade. The story of a murder over a rare Keats, the investigation handled by Wigan and the meticulous following up of every detail. When the powers that be decided that Hampton was the murderer because everything pointed to him Wigan was the only one convinced thatthey had the wrong man. He embarked ona private investigation along with Charlie and Connington whom he was able to convert to his point of view, and despite the fact that the accused was a disagreeable character who quarrelled viciously with all even berating Wigan, the end result was excellent with Hopton escaping the execution by a whisker. The story was full of characters - all linked to the trade and it was detailed and descriptive of how bookselling operated at the time. Anyone interested in books should read this story as it told the story of a murder as well as the book trade in equal measure. Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. ten Steps from Baker Street by Thomas A Burns Jr

A collection of short engaging stories, typical to Holmes and Watson. Some with a rural setting but many set in the miasma of London slums involving everydayLondoners The intriguing part is the portrayal of the deductive and detective skills of Holmes who at a glance can narrow down the profession, the locality, the status of many who turn to him for support. Holmes isthe quiet, supportive partner meticulouslyfollowing instructions, very protective of Holmes and just trying to keep up with his partners brilliantmind. Loved the stories, never will get tired of them. Sent by Teckrighter. LLC for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

This was a really good read about older women - four feisty, smart and determined ones taking up a challenge thrown their way and dealing brilliantly withthe chinless wonders they meet on the way. The Four women have worked as assassins,worked very creditably, now retired each one dealing with the new phase in their lives. Not so easy it seems, with one final assignment which on the surface seems reasonable, but as time goes on shows flaws such as an insider threat, betrayal within the over ruling establishment and too many coincidences to be probable. The level of skill in not just executing a person, but the precise forward planning before eachenterprise, the methodical implementation of the plan, the dependance of one and in other words putting your life in your partners hands is fabulous. Enjoyed every second of this read, feasible or not the reading was riveting. I got a Deanna Raybourn book after ages after requests were made and I am appreciative that I got this one. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton who sent this on to me for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Rose Girls by Jennifer Chase

I have not posted or reviewed any books as I was on a short holiday in Singapore and Malaysia. I hope I will do better now and keep my reviews updated. A murder of a young girl is hard on detectives too. A young life cut in her prime, no apparent reason and withe words MORE carved on her torso sounds ominous. Days later her two best friends found in similar fashion and the Detectives nowfeel they have failed in their duty to protect the youngsters. Working blind against a very clever killer who leaves no clues behind, and a town which is hiding a lot of secrets, Detective Katie Scott has to stop the murders which are three times too many for this town to handle. One of-a series (this was my initial foray) the story and detective work are top class. will hold you riveted from beginning to end. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Friday, February 17, 2023

The Polish Girl by Godiva Nealon

Poland 1944. Not a good place to be for ordinary Poles, for Jews, for Roma for anyone who did not fall in line. There were many ordinary people resisting the enemy, and despite the man power, the fire power and sheer weight of the German army, the Nazis had it hard in Poland. In this setting Wanda has to face her father's murderer, shot in cold blood. She vows she will kill him one day, but when that day comes she faces a quandary. One that she hadn't bargained for. The story evolves through the ravages of war time Poland - losses, brutality, murder, the fear that overwhelmed it all and the need for survival. The story had a unusual twist in the tale, almost from the beginning which roughly foretold the end. The change from enemies to lovers was another difficult feature to accept but then it became an integral part of the story. Very descriptive, even the harsh bits this was an excellent story. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Jumping Jenny by Anthony Berkeley

What started out as a party in costume - everyone had to come as some sort of criminal or a detective. It was meant to be a fun evening of camaraderie amongst a closely linked bunch of friends. All of whom knew each other. One was a famous writer of what else - mystery murders and the party got off very well. One woman however was not happy. She wanted attentiin, she was unhappy if others were happy and she felt unimportant. Everyone was very aware that she was spoiling for a fight and talking to all that she wanted to kill herself, going on and on and it was hardly a surprise when she turned up dead, hanging at the end of a rope on the top balcony of the house. Our famous author however at the onset knew this was murder but was determined that the initial verdict of suicide be upheld. The woman was vicious and created misery around her so a joint effort had to be made to keep their stories straight with the Police. Each person suspected another , all declaring themselves innocent. Funny in parts, really laughable at the very end, this was planning at its best Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Summer House at Larkspur by Kay Pritchett

This was one in a series but for me was my first read by this author. Mosey Frye is looking around an old house. An estate agent she is always scouting for a residence which could be sold or rented. she discovers human remains in a half covered cistern and reports it to Chief Oliviera to investigate. On the same day a nun, the only survivor of the family which owns this property is found brutally stabbed to death. The nun was mild,harmless and the killing seems senseless. Mosey is convinced there is a connection between the two incidents but the Chief thinks otherwise. The story set in a Southern part of america in a small town is quite descriptive of a more family oriented, close knit community whose family histories seem inter twined and connected over several generations. Quite old fashioned families with ties of loyalty and respect. The detective part of the story was well done and detailed. Sent by The Wild Rose Press, Inc for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Murder at an Irish Castle by Ellie Brannigan

Rayne and Ciara are cousins who do not know each other, two very different characters to boot. Ciara is prickly, antagonistic not willing to meet Rayne halfway. Rayne is a bridal designer with a posh boutique in California. Ciara is enmeshed in the life of a working farm. Thrown together with the sudden and suspicious death of a beloved uncle and father Rayne has to take over the responsibility not just of the castle but also the livelihoods of 500 villagers. Rayne has been cheated by her boyfriend of her livelihood leaving her bereft mentally and financially. Ciara is bereft by the fact that her father preferred to leave the property to his niece, rather than his daughter. Both of them have to pull together to sort out the mess they find themselves in and solve the mystery of Neville's death where everyone is a suspect. The story dealt with the intricasies of family well, the characterizations of two very different girls done particularly well, the Irish setting and people were spot on and the murder did not seem paramount to the story, though integral at the same time. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, February 6, 2023

No Life For a Lady by Hannah Dolby

1896 was not a good time for a lady and certainly not for Violet Hamilton. 28 years old, a spinster, outspoken but still hemmed in by antiquated rules of decorum and blighted in the eyes of local society because her mother the beautiful flirty woman that shewas has just disappeared. Nearing the tenth anniversary of her disappearance Violet is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. There is a lot of pressure on the hapless Violet. Her father has started bringing a series of ineffectual and vapid young men as suitors, hoping one of them will take Violet offhis hands, his hope is that he himself wants to get married. After a disastrous interlude with the detective in town, whom Violet instinctively distrusts (but cant get out of his clutches) she appeals to the honest Mr Blackthorne for help. He is dragged into it much against his will but the entire story ends well for all. The hypocricy of the age, with its well delegated rules and roles for each gender heavily in favor of the males does not make for pleasant reading. It is however what it was. To have to navigate that and come out victorious one had to choose one's battles. That is what Violet strove to do. A bit slow at times, this was Victorian romance and life well written about Sent by Aria & Aries for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Three Widows by Patricia Gibney (Detective Lottie Parker series)

This story has all the elements of a thriller. A cold blooded calculating psychopath of a killer. Elements of deep seated hatred and revenge towards his victims. Three women - all have suffered loss of husbands. Detectives try to put the pieces together to find out what links the random women together. No one is talking and the trails are getting old, anyone on the periphery of tgr crimes are aggressively not divulging any information and when one of the final abductions hits close to the detectives themselves, you know the case is accelerating. I enjoyed the writing, the painstaking detective work but three quarters through it became very complicated to keep the plot in mind, along with many strands which were being woven together tocome to the end. I am willing however toread other books by this author because the storyline and characters were well portrayed. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiasedreview courtesy ofNetgalley.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Post afterPost Morten by E C R Lorac

The setting of the story was idyllic. We had the Surrays five children, sensible loving parents. All the children high achievers - no one failed at anything they put their hand to. All gathered for the holidays with a handful of friends. Very harmonious till the body of Ruth their daughter was discovered, dead from an overdose suicide note by her bed with explicit instructions. With minimum fuss the coroner gives his verdict and the family curls into itself to try to heal. The arrival of a letter written by Ruth arrives after the funeral and all hopes of tranquility is shattered. It indicates that there is a strong possibility that Ruth was murdered and now Scotland Yard in the form of the affable but determined Inspector Macdonald is called into play. Deciphering Ruth's life was not easy as many things were not disclosed to anyone and the detective work unraveling her secrets were slow. The story was not boring in the least and one never knew who the final murderer was. Very descriptive, full of varying characters this held my interest throughout. Sent byPoisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Monday, January 30, 2023

A Novel Disguise by Samantha Larsen

1794 not a good time for women. Especially for a woman like Tiffany without a cent to her name totally depending on her brother Uriah, a mean character who begrudged his half sister every penny he had to spend on her. When Uriah died in suspicious circumstances Tiffany took a wild risk. Impersonating Uriah she took on his tasks at the big house, knowing that this would be the only way, she could keep the cottage, have a small income and feel safe. There were underlying currents in the house too. Another death in similar circumstances ofa flirtatious maid was an indication that there was a murderer around, but Tiffany had no way of disclosing this to the local constable without confessing her own part in the tale. The story had several twists and turns, accusations went every which way and when her secret came out Tiffany herself was thrown into jail for the crime of impersonating a man. slowly the story unravelled, justice was served eventually. Apart from the story of Tiffany, the bigger point of interest was the manner in which people lived, the divisions between the rich and poor, and the sheer arrogance of the aristocracy who felt like in this case, that they could get away with murder. High moral standards were expected of ordinaryfolk, but a blind eye would be turned to the liaisons which abounded amongst the aristocrats. Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Jeweller of Stolen Dreams by M J Rose

The stories written by this author never fail to fascinate. This one combining the elements of mystery, a transference through decades of lives apart being brought together, a thread of psychic powers running throughout the story, family saga against the historical turbulence of World War II. Set in two timelines 1986 and 1941 we have two very strong, character driven women with strong personalities forging careers and trying to do thebest they can. Suzanne Belperron a reputed jeweller with a complicated family background is running an atelier despite restrictions, catering to the elite and Nazi higher ups in Paris, mainly as a front for her attempts to raise funds to send Jewish families out of France. Her close friends Dixie, Xavier and her lover all work behind the scenes all part of the Resistance. In 1986 Violine is called to assess an estate of Paul Osgood and she discovers a secret cache of jewellery hidden cunningly in a trunk. Violine comes from a long line of women who have powers which were described as witchery, but in her case she feels, hears and sees the past when she touches an object, especially one with a past. The jewellery items discovered in Paul's case evoke feelings of despair and terror. This sets the story of Violine delving into the past history of the jewels, also uncovering Paul's aunts connections to the story and secrets of his own family closely guarded upto now. This was a magical read. Despite the atrocities of Nazi occupied France, the story of loyalty, faith in family and friends, love that surpasses all held the whole story together. The supernatural psychic phenomenon was an added attraction. Sent by Blue Box Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. I have been on a trip out of Colombo, after a very long time. Hence the delay in reviewing and visiting blogs. Blogger is playing havoc with me. I cant comment on many blogs, I've resorted to commenting on their facebook pages instead. Even autocorrect is not working now which makes blogging so hard.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The House that is Our Own by O Douglas

The description says Scottish novel and that encapsulates the entire description, though a good part of Canada also comes into play. I read about this book on Cornflower Books and was pulled in by the rather old fashioned narration. Two ladies, one is Isobel just comfortably off not rich lives in a little hotel in London. She is happy with her circle, her small accomplishments and the stuff she dies. A bit humdrum butshe is happy. Kitty has been widowed after a long spell of caring for a sick husband and has lived eight months with Isobel. Kitty feels the need to change, to get to grips with actually living, not merely existing. She finds a flat she falls in love with, does it up beautifully, pulling out her furniture which has been in storage and making in the process a veautiful home for herself. For me this brought such a feeling of joy, reading about the minute details of housekeeping needed to set this house in order. Isobel though Scottish has never had a hankering for Scotland, upto now. She embarks on a sort of discovery program starting with Glenbucho a tiny village, promptly falls in love with the village, the inhabitants, the scenery and a house which she buys, moves in. Tge story could have ended there because the two women made huge decisions, vast changes in their respective lives. It goes further though with Isobel's adventures into a trip to Canada and how romance enters the picture. I found the book so descriptive that I lingered over every stage. The hotel, the change to the London flat, the Scottish village and house - the minute housekeeping details added to the lustre of a good old fashioned read. A way of life which is very idyllic and which I hope still exists. I am grateful I was introduced to this Author.The bookwas purchased by me from Amazon

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Secret of Summerhayes by Merryn Allingham

This was the sequel to the book which initially introduced all our characters. Everyone is much older, many have died, WWII has commenced, Summerhayes is now being used as a base for soldiers and still life in this small part of England goes apace. The story winds on at an easy pace. People still have romance, despite odds, the spectre of war looms over all. The ones who are really old still live in anticipation of something good turning up, and it does. Family always an important thread in stories, becomes even more important in this one. Preordained, destiny, karmic forces call it what you will all come to life here. Then we have the darker elements of greed, arrogance, envy, the feeling of superiority of birth that some people can never get quite rid of despite democracy and a steady levelling in society. The final chapter in the Summerhayes story brought all the characters to life and more. It had many very human elements woven into the story and this was delightful. Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.