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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Mayfair Dagger by Ava January

London 1894. It was not a good place for a single woman with a guardian who was self centered and whom she loathed.

Albertine came to London with the idea of earning her living as a female detective but realised very early on that without a man as a front her efforts were doomed. Her first foray, very successful getting back letters ended when the Lady just ignored Albertine after getting them into her own hands. 

To her dismay the gentleman whom she took the letters from was found dead the next morning and Albertine is the chief suspect.

Enter Duke Erleigh actually investigating the death of Lord Grendel and trying to get to the bottom of the story and also trying to trace Albertine’s non existent husband, do things get complicated, interesting and a touch romantic.

The classic female investigator of 19th century England is a little more savvy than Albertine and this was the negative factor in the story. Setting of contemporary London at the time spot on.

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

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ash Dark as Night by Gary Phillips


Harry is a good photographer and he is in the eye of the storm in 1965 downtown Chicago in the maelstrom of riots. He gets good photographs of police brutality very clear and concise, and then finds himself at odds with the local police force.

When recuperating he is approached to track down Tolbert which in turn takes Harry down the road of bank corruption, wheeling and dealing and robberies. All the while being in the crosshairs of LAPD intelligence.

Very reminiscent of current events and riots in cities across the world, with no sign of abating. Is this a sign of the breakdown of justice,  fairplay all around? 

The first half of the story is fast paced, the second part less so.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Wild Lavender Bookshop by Jodi Thomas


The story focuses on two sets of people. Noah retiring and shy owner of the bookshop and Cora Lee a primary school teacher, under the domineering elder sister and an elusive father Bear. We have Delane come on a flying visit to find out anything about her missing father, and the three siblings she never knew about. Delane is in hiding because she has a bounty on her head so she needs to be anonymous in a place she is not known.

Delane and Noah were not looking for love or romance. It found them in subtle ways, creeping up on them. With the gunfight that went around, all ended well.

A light read.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Canal Murders by J R Ellis


The setting was Yorkshire and it was so descriptive it was so good . The area was brought to life and then the specific was life on the canals, a narrow boat and the community that has sprung around the canals.

A small group of has been folk singers now live in these narrowboats. Their lives have inter twined for decades and despite differences and arguments they’ve lived on. When Annie’s body was discovered on her boat by Andy and Steph, both detectives on holiday, they draw in the big guns for a spot of detection.

The story meanders like the waterways, in many directions with many, many suspects, all who have strong motives to see Annie dead. When a local nosey Parker is found murdered, detectives know they are closing in but on who is the question.

Surprising end which I didn’t see coming, good read all around.

Sent by Thomas and Mercer for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

A Duke of One’s Own by Emma Orchard


1816 England. Debutantes, Almack vouchers, balls, endless picnics and outings, shopping and tiresome journeys. This was the world of the rich and very similar to a Georgette Heyer novel. It is lovely reading of times past with wily, matchmaking mamas and very few thinking of the masses whose lives were far, far different. The similarity in this story ends there.

Racy, sexual encounters explicitly detailed in the midst of a story of a rebellious young lady who despite the rules and restrictions of her day, managed to break free to create a story of her own. 

Could have done with a little less detail but this is a one off and a break from my usual genres! 

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

Friday, May 10, 2024

The Murder Club by Sam Baron


Once I turned a couple of pages couldn’t put it down.

Susan Parker is down to earth FBI but with a high profile history which follows her around. Finding a millionaire strangled is one thing, but finding eight cases of strangled single mothers, ignored by the local detectives is another. Finding similarities and weaving the strands together brings Susan closer to uncovering the killer and exposing herself and her little family to an audacious killer.

The modus operandi of the killer was slick and meticulously planned. Susan was up against a rich cartel of businessman who didn’t want their hobby of watching and tracking a serial killer do his job, go public. They threw everything at Susan to get her to stop investigating The Millionaires Club, intimidating her and even throwing her into jail. Nothing could stop her.

This was a murder/thriller of the highest quality. The writing was inviting, but matter of fact. 
Loved it. 

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Death in the Details by Katie Tietjen

Maple Bishop is trying very hard to deal with the loss of her husband Bill. It is post WWII and she now finds herself penniless, going to lose her home and lifestyle. She turns to her craft, the one she is good at - miniature dollhouses, till she discovers a dead body when she goes to deliver her first order.

Being the first on the scene she notices discrepancies in the way the body was hanging and though the doctor and sheriff both want to wrap it up as a suicide,  Maple has her doubts right from the start and is frustrated when her efforts to start an investigation are stalled. The sheriff does not want his upcoming retirement disturbed and the doctor, who is an old hand is in Maples opinion a very straight and honest man.

When she gets the support of the youngest recruit in the sheriffs office on her side, Maple starts a quiet investigation of her own, disrupting the life of several of its citizens and creating a furor wherever she goes. Undeterred Maple continues, bringing down corrupt government officials, baring a sugar racketeering scam and setting right many things including getting justice.

A rather vintage crime classic. Very pleasant reading.

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

Saturday, May 4, 2024

The Royal Librarian by Daisy Wood

Tried copying the cover and didn’t work. Pity as it described the story pretty well.

We start in Austria just before Hitler took over. The family was an industrious hard working one. Father of Jewish origin working in the National Library and his wife a talented baker. Two little girls. On Hanna’s birthday the nightmare began with their father being beaten to death before their eyes, and their mother taken away never to be seen again.  Sophie is now in charge of Hanna with no place to go and no adult to guide them.

The story is long and complicated. Hanna ends up in America with a foster family who love her dearly. Sophie ends up as the Royal Librarian at Windsor. The story moves then to Hanna’s family in America who discovers their grandmothers roots - that she was born in Vienna, and that she has a sister. Gubby as she is affectionately known has never disclosed any of this. Confronted by her place of birth she explains to Lacey her grand daughter the broad outline of what she remembers leaving lot of detail out. Lacey takes it on herself to pursue looking for the grand aunt they never knew existed and uncovers the exciting and very unusual story of Sophie Klein.

Spanning Europe and America, in different eras with a different culture in each this family saga is a wonderful read. It covers history in great detail especially the time of Chamberlain followed by Churchill, the turbulent Royal history of the time with the abdication of Edward and the glamour and power that Wallis Simpson wielded.

Sent by Avon Books U K for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Escape to the Rome Apartment by Kerry Fisher


I’ve read a previous book by the author and the story of Beth and Ronnie and Marina, so it was like coming home. I am green with envy over those who have “strong passports” and thus fly to wherever they want to go, do their thing, stay months in beautiful locations and enjoy to the full joie de viere.

This story captivates. Sara in a loveless marriage 57 years old uses a legacy to dispose the ashes of her bestest friend Lainey. Sara after a lifetime of giving in to the wishes of an over riding husband, and twin sons who want her to be general dogsbody, finds it very hard to think of herself first.

Finding love was an unexpected bonus, but finding friends and an independent path for herself was even better.

The beautifully detailed descriptions of Rome, Florence and the in between places, alongside the myriad nooks and crannies off the beaten track added so much more.

Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley this was a five star rating for me.