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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.