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Sunday, December 31, 2023

A Body on the Doorstep by Marty Wingate


Literally starting with a man keeling over on your doorstep, on your first day of work and at a wake (almost) was Mabel’s introduction to the Useful Women’s Agency from where she was assigned to help Rosalind the widow, deal with the fact that her husband has just been declared dead after seven years of being missing.

The story could not be anything but interesting with a Victorian sort of setting, and Mabel trying to help everyone on the sidelines, whilst also solving not just one but two murders. The characterisation was spot on, the descriptions down to earth and vivid. Also very charming.

Altogether a very good read for the holidays, despite the murders.

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Murder by Candlelight by Faith Martin

 The holidays prevented me from getting to reading and reviews but am back now. Greetings and all good wishes to all.

The story set out in a small village of Maybury has all the characteristics of a vintage cozy. The well to do family not aristocrats but wealth from hard work, then the residents all the usual characters, each adding a necessary piquancy to the whole story.

Two murders one the classic locked room scenario, one a supposed overdose baffle the local constabulary but with judicious thinking through, the young local author Arbie solves it methodically and presents it to the Inspector on a platter.

Ideal holiday read, charming background and setting and excellent characterization.

Sent by HQ Digital for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Murder on the Cornish Cliffs by Verity Bright (A Lady Eleanor Swift mystery)

 The escapades of the Lady Eleanor are always quirky. Accompanied by her faithful butler, a veritable trove of information and an uncanny ability to handle any situation, we see the duo again in a fight for justice and the most improbable suspect.

Set in a bleak snowbound estate in Cornwall, we are treated to Cornish food, beliefs and sayings aplenty whilst the duo solve not just one but two murders.

Although the subject was murder, the setting was Christmas. It added to the warm feeling the festival brings.

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

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Fall of the House of Borgia E R Chamberlain


The history of the Vatican is interesting to put it mildly. That it was not just that - that it was manipulative, murderous, incestuous and every shade of corruption in between is being about right. The history is chequered with every human frailty that one can imagine and the Borgias were one family which encapsulated all of the above.

This was a complicated book, which I read over a period of a couple of months. It had to be digested in small doses as it was not easy to read (I am a Catholic myself). But it was excellent historical reading which anyway cannot be erased, however unpalatable it would be!!

As another reviewer explained, the author states clearly facts as what is written and tabulated from hearsay and fiction which could be greatly exaggerated to suit the whims of enemies and competitors. This was a highlight for me.

Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley. My apologies for the delay.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Past Encounters (World War II saga) Davina Blake and Deborah Swift

 A story told in two time frames. One was the harrowing time that Peter and Archie endured during their capture by the Nazis. It included in great and descriptive detail their lives, the work, the humiliation and the fact that they survived to return, marry their sweethearts and live out their lives.

The other story is in the years after how Peter lived a secret life unknown to his wife, having close connections to Archie and his wife Helen, even continuing the practice after Archie’s death. Finding this out suddenly was a shock to Rhoda who wanted to investigate this further.

The story had during both periods of time, many twists and turns. Apart from the historical detail, it depicts frailties and the way human nature can still surprise us. 

Good reading.

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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Death on the Scotland Express by Fliss Chester


This cozy series is very entertaining when you want straight forward stories in a pleasant setting with varied, invariably a sprinkle of eccentric characters. This was one such a read.

Cressida the Hon is the way she introduces herself (bit strange right there) is with friends returning to London along with her pug Ruby who plays a leading role in the story. One murder whilst on a train journey is bad enough but when second one is attempted and two people injured, one rather badly, we know the murderer is on the train. Cressida’s good friend Detective Andrew’s and his able assistant Kirby are coincidentally on the same train and now that the chief suspect is shot, they all have to look elsewhere for the murder suspect.

Told in a very easy style though the timing is just a train journey from Scotland to London we are taken along the ride with deduction and detective skills in full force.

Nicely told, relaxing read.

Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley 

Monday, December 4, 2023

The Mandeville Shadow by Callie Langridge


I wanted a break from murder stories and I found it in this family saga, touching on the supernatural in a beautiful village setting.

Kate is burdened with grief and loss. Her father dead, her mother sold the family home moved out to stay with her son and Kate has lost her job at the steelworks. No home, no family her chance encounter on a walk brings her a chance of work and a welcoming, warm family home.

Hill House has a history, most of it good but with one villain who reaches out mentally to destroy the young heir of this home. Kate has spiritual powers of her own, hitherto known to her in the most fleeting manner but now developing at a faster rate to protect and save Tommy from death.

Fascinating story, beautifully crafted.

Sent by Storm Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Murder In A Country Village by F L Everett (An Edie York mystery Book No 2)

 England 1944 and Edie is a courageous woman who is keen to make her mark in the newspaper world but she gets sidelined .She is an obituarist but she wants to be a crime reporter making front page news.

Finding an active anti war activists body at the bottom of a cliff becomes the news. In this village where many men have not returned from the wars,  Joyce Reid’s death was not mourned by many. Joyce ran a house with a load of artists who were all anti war in varying degrees. They were a bunch of people with secrets to hide, and they did not take kindly to DCI Louis Brendan’s investigation into the suspected murder. Edie has better luck and gradually unravels a whole heap of information which could lead the Police to the murderer.

The setting is picturesque, both the village and the contrast with the artists residence. We have the background of 1944 WWII with its rationing, the hard life civilians faced on a day to day basis. It added a depth to the cozy.

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