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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.