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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

A Poisoned Fortune by Laura Martin

 A Jane Austen based story on Jane’s sleuthing skills. Different and very good reading.

Jane and her sister Cassandra are in Bath on a small vacation mainly to help Cassandra come to terms with her fiancĂ©es death. Jane is worried over her sisters mental state and tries in small ways to assist her. In Bath a chance encounter with Lady Waters and her much older husband set the scene for the story. When Lord Waters dies suddenly, despite his advanced years and ill health Jane is suspicious over his death, and brings it to the attention of the authorities. 

This does not go down well with not just the doctors involved, but also the family who just want the wife convicted, and financial matters settled with no scandal attached to the family and with little inconvenience to themselves. Jane delves further into the matter and justice is sErved.

The story set in 1797 England indicates the precarious position for women of that era, commoner or aristocracy alike. Very little was fair to women and their position in society was dependent on the whims of family.

A different Jane Austen variant which was excellent reading.

Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy ofNetgalley.

Monday, October 30, 2023

A Haunting at Linley by Michelle Cox (A Henrietta and Inspector Howard detective story)

 Clive and Henrietta return to their cousins estate to find it in financial ruin.  The only way out would be to sell it, but this seems to beyond the understanding of Wallace’s mother who cannot understand that her late husband due to financial mismanagement has brought about this situation.

When an agent is found murdered, and the beginning of ghosts haunting not just the old matriarch but even leaving Henrietta uneasy, it is time to get to grips with the so called apparitions and to the present inhabitants of the castle, who have vague timelines of how long they are going to be there and even their credentials are in doubt.

There is another developing story of Elsie and Gunther in Omaha, a run away marriage, Melody masquerading as a nun to give Elsie enough cover and the reappearance of grandfather Oldrich, manipulative and harsh. I hope the inclusion of these characters will mean there is a continuation of stories from Henrietta’s side of the family.

A well told cozy, English country characters well detailed.

Sent by She Writes Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Brewery Murders by J R Ellis

 An award winning beer recipe has gone missing, presumed lost forever with the death of the owner of the brewery, until it seems it is not really lost just hidden.

The setting of a small Yorkshire town of Markham, two competing breweries which support almost the entire town and a very traditional history of brewing which goes back decades. The two breweries are owned by siblings - and the one managed by the sister is run almost totally by women. The owner is openly gay, lives and manages the brewery with her partner. In a conservative community, they get more than their fair share of misogyny and hate.

When two people are murdered, and an attempted murder on the owner of one of the breweries takes place, Detective Ockroyd knows that things will have to be sorted as the entire area is full of tension and suspicion. Taking a step at a time the Detectives use the media judiciously to flush out their murderer.

The background and setting to the story was charming, the characters were spot on and fitted in seamlessly. The introductions of snippets of various beers produced in Yorkshire, along with bits of history added enormous interest.

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Night of the Sleepover by Kerry Wilkinson


The story went back and forth in several time frames. You had to be aware of which time the story was being related because to Leah, twenty five years ago seemed like yesterday. Every year towards the anniversary of the girl’s disappearance conspiracy theories abound. Leah has never been exempt from them and most people are skeptical how one could sleep through an abduction of three teenage girls, sleeping next to you.

Things are never what they seem and though parents have resigned themselves to the disappearances, several siblings have not. Bringing out a documentary to bring some kind of closure to one, whilst hopefully winning an award from the film, may sound callous,but someone also does not want old stories and histories dug up. The survivor Leah is pivotal to the whole story and it slowly but surely gets tenser and tighter towards the end.

A mystery murder well told.

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

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Vicar Brekonridge by Richard Helms

 I’ve been wanting a change of genre because I seem to be reading mystery murders in a straight spell. This was a good change.

1843 the Prime Minister is Robert Peel and through a case of tragic misidentify Daniel M’Naghten  a Scottish wood turner guns down EdwardDrummond his Secretary, who dies of the injuries. Thus unfolds the story of why this quiet and unassuming man wants to get rid of the Prime Minister.

Vicar Brekonridge is a thief taker, a clever man formerly Bow Street Runner and. Policeman who undertakes assignments wherever the money is good. Rough in appearance but with principles of his own, he is chosen to proceed to Scotland check out Daniels acquaintances and peers and look for any reason as to why he did what he did. Accompanying him to Scotland is the young and clever Simon a clerk of the same law firm, sent to assist with the record keeping.

What they discover is layer upon layer of subterfuge with a plot to overthrow the British government being cloaked in a plea for insanity so that Daniel will be put away and the real culprits hidden very safely. This is exactly what happens though we read the truth of the case.

Meticulously explained and descriptively set out, this was an excellent example of a historical mystery.

Sent by Level Best Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Waxwork Man by J C Briggs

 As usual Inspector Sam Jones and Charles Dickens investigate the seedier parts of London where petty crime abounds, murderers go scot free and both of them fight an unending battle of seeking justice for the poor, the people who have no one to fight for them.

Apart from that, the stories are set in very dismal surroundings - poverty, death, a never ending life of misery. This can be quite an overwhelming background to have constantly in a story but it is a hallmark of the Dickens tradition.

A murder of a disliked judge, witnessed by waxworks figures. Someone not going to be missed by anyone. The case is an open and shut one, till the waxworks figures keep appearing in public places in seeming mockery of the police forces, with a catch me if you can theme attached to it. The newspapers have a field day at the expense of the Police, and all Sam Jones wants is to have it all put away tidily. Then his beloved wife is abducted and things take a sinister turn and immediacy so that the investigators are put under pressure to bring matters to a close.

The story is fast paced and intense. Very well told.

The book was sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Sufficient Encouragement (A Pride & Prejudice variation by Rose Fairbanks

 Late in my reviews and lots of catching up on the reading side as well. I was on holiday with friends to Amritsar, Dharamsala, Chandigarh and New Delhi where the air pollution got us eventually. All returned home with coughs and sniffles.

The book was delightful. It carried out the Darcy Elizabeth love story which is always not straightforward as against the Jane and Bingley love story milder and falling in line. There was a surprising love story for Caroline Bingley, completely in opposition to the haughty, arrogant miss she is usually portrayed. Comes across as a normal person who has feelings and even though her choice was not conventional, she does go for it.

The story was very nicely descriptive and was the ideal holiday read.

A download from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

First Victim by L A Larkin


Sally is an ex cop who has been recalled to take over a case as the department is over worked. The Austin case is a high profile one and when the body count spirals, it becomes urgent to find this killer who is cautious and fastidious as well. 

Suspicions mount but when one of the suspects is himself murdered, the detectives have to delve deeper into history and backgrounds and what is discovered is quite surprising. The innocent, frail old lady is hiding massive secrets, the suave retired friend has secrets of his own and Sally has to deal with a nightmare of an ex husband who has returned to her own police department with revenge on his mind.

The story was a busy one, the bodies only part of it. The blackmail, the political maneuvering to hide crime, the old boy network closing in against a female added great interest overall. Enjoyed the fast pace and was a real page turner.

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

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Murders of a Feather by Eileen Brady

 Dr Kate is an accomplished vet who has a tendency to get drawn into murders and with her innate interest in them, gets involved in solving them.

Finding a young couple, both murdered by a lake wasn’t enough. Finding their temporary receptionist murdered in their own surgery was more than what they could take. Dr Kate and her assistant start their own investigation to link up the dots, as she is convinced there is a connection between these three people. Disparate though they may be.

Descriptive of the Hudson area in frozen February and equally descriptive of how a flourishing veterinarian practice would work, we follow them in their pursuit of justice for the victims, with a good dash of a budding romance thrown in.

Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict


I was hoping for a Christie version of events and that is not fair to the author. Maybe it was the title which drew me in.

Journeying in very bad weather to Scotland, the train is forced to stop and with a bunch of very mixed characters the story was certainly varied, till it went wrong and then murder happened not just once or twice but thrice. At least two murders one death by causes suspected not confirmed.

The enforced occupation in a small area of a dozen people is not easy. The not so nice characteristics begin to appear - the sniping, the off hand remarks, and even the most tolerant can get irritated.

The story unravels very slowly, the endings I never saw but human nature at its best and worst amply displayed.

A good read for anytime of the year - again I would say title misleading.

Sent by Poisoned Pen Press for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.