Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Suspense, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Suspense, Travel

The Chateau Catherine Cooper 4*#Review @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheChateau #France #CrimeFiction #domestic #noir #psychological #suspense #MurderMystery #Relationships #Secrets #BookReview

They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…

A glamorous chateau

Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink

The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out…

Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in a glamorous region of France renowned for its Chateaux, this is a twisty and menacing fusion of murder mystery and psychological suspense. Aura and Nick are living the French dream but can their relationship survive their past? The ex-pat community are welcoming, but not everyone wishes them well. The book begins with a party that ends tragically. The reader is taken back to the time preceding the party and Aura and Nick’s first few weeks. The main protagonists’ Aura and Nick, both give their viewpoints at different times. Neither are easy to like, and both are unreliable.

The chateau is a work in progress with a menacing ethos that the children pick up on. Pertinent additional points of view are injected into the story to add intrigue. Well-plotted twists and timely reveals are balanced with misdirections, multiple suspects and unreliable narrators, making the ending climactic.

Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper is a journalist specialising in travel, hotels, and skiing who writes regularly for the Telegraph and the Guardian among others. She lives near the Pyrenees in the South of France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier.

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Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, New Books

A Lesson in Murder Verity Bright 4* #Review A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book @BrightVerity @bookouture #Historical #1920s #cozymystery #MurderMystery #ALadyEleanorSwiftMystery #BookReview

When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

A totally gripping and glamorous 1920s cozy! 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Lady Eleanor Swift’s latest murder investigation takes place in her old boarding school. The suspects are numerous, and Ellie and Clifford pose as school staff to find the murderer. The school setting is atmospheric and evokes classic murder mysteries. The engaging characters and twisty mystery plot make this another addictive read.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, New Books

The Man Who Died Twice Richard Osman 5*#Review @richardosman @VikingBooks @PenguinBooksUK TheThursdayMurderClub #BookReview #TheManWhoDiedTwice #MurderMystery #cozymystery #friendship

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK-Viking via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second book in this cleverly crafted series is an engaging read. The club members vow to seek justice for Ibrahim after a brutal assault and are pitted against organised crime when someone from Elizabeth’s past returns.

The main characters are distinctive and easy to like. The well-paced plot has humour and poignancy with a positive view of ageing, which is refreshing and uplifting. The downside of getting older is explored but not seen as defining the characters.

An engaging mystery with entertaining characters makes this story well worth reading.

Read my review of The Thursday Murder Club

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Murder in the Village Lisa Cutts 4* Review #BrendaPenshurstMystery @LisaCuttsAuthor @bookouture #MurderMystery #cosymystery #Village #England #BookReview #MurderintheVillage

Nothing ever happens in Little Challham… until the local pub owner is drowned in his own ale. Belinda Penshurst, owner of Challham Castle, is on the case!

Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market, and she’s determined to keep it peaceful. She may live in Challham Castle but she knows almost everything that goes on under her nose. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s perfectly placed to investigate.

Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But the police don’t seem half as enthusiastic as Belinda about the case, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…

Is there a dognapper snaffling schnauzers and luring away Labradors? Is Belinda barking mad to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry track down the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, the mysterious man in the black car following dogwalkers around. But are the dogged detectives running out of time to sniff out the killer, before he starts hounding them?

A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters. 

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Belinda Penshurst lives in the castle that overlooks the village. An active participant in village life, she uses her finances and influence to rejuvenate local businesses. Naturally, she is perturbed when the landlord of the pub she’s invested in is murdered. Harry is an ex-detective, working as a dog food delivery driver who uncovers a dog knapping plot. The two join forces to investigate. There is an intriguing dynamic between Belinda and Harry. Their dialogue is humorous, and they are both vibrant characters with pasts and secrets. The mystery is well-written, with multiple suspects and twists.

The intricate world-building is relatable. The characters and setting are easy to imagine, and an immersive writing style draws the reader into the village world. It’s an easy and entertaining read.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Death at Candlewick Castle Emma Jameson 4*#Review @bookouture @msemmajameson #MurderMystery #JemimaJagoMystery #Mystery #IslesofScilly #BookReview #ADeathatCandlewickCastle #cosymystery

Off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are a balmy haven with never-ending beaches and aqua-blue sea. But unbeknown to the happy tourists and cheerful locals, someone is about to commit a terrible crime…

Librarian Jemima Jago’s summer is off to a delightful start. By day she works on cataloguing the oldest library in Cornwall, and by night she can be found catching up over tea and chocolate biscuits with her old friend Pauley Gwynn.

When the body of Hermie Castleberry is found on the beach at Candlewick Castle, Jem’s perfect summer is turned upside down. Jem doesn’t want to get involved, but when somebody close to her is arrested for murder, she springs into action to clear their name.

Jem soon discovers that Hermie had already ruffled a few feathers in St Morwenna and she’s worried that the police seem to have overlooked other suspects. Could Jimmy the scorned salesman or Seth the shifty scout leader have killed Hermie? As she hunts down more leads, she butts heads with the handsome Sergeant Hackman. If their relationship is purely professional, why does Jem blush every time she catches his eye?

The discovery of another victim, this time in the island’s picturesque harbor, leaves Jem reeling. Can she catch the culprit before the sun sets on summer in St Morwenna?

A charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Although this book’s setting is English, the writing style is reminiscent of American cozy mysteries with an eclectic collection of characters and an enigmatic main protagonist in Jemima. This time a body is discovered on a small island in the Isles of Scilly that is the setting for Candlewick castle.

The characters are unique and have a good friendship dynamic that allows them to be successful amateur sleuths. The romantic tension between Jemima and Hack, the police detective, intensifies, which she struggles to understand. Their fledgling investigative relationship flourishes, as Jemima’s knack of seeing things from a different perspective, proves invaluable to Hack’s inquiry.

This is another engagingly quirky book in a series that is well worth reading.

Read my review of A Death at Seascape House

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, New Books, Suspense

Death Comes to Bishop Well: The Shires Mysteries Anna Legat 5*#Review @LegatWriter @AccentPress # #CrimeFiction #Wiltshire #DeathComestoBishopWell #TheShiresMysteries #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

When Sam Dee moves to the beautiful Wiltshire village of Bishops Well, he expects a quiet life of country walks and pub lunches. OK, so his new neighbour, Maggie Kaye, is a little peculiar, but she’s very nice – and his old pal Richard Ruta lives just down the road.

But when Richard throws one of his famous parties, things take a sinister turn. Sam, Maggie and the rest of the guests are dumbfounded when Richard falls down dead. A horrible tragedy – or a cunningly planned murder?

With a village full of suspects – and plenty of dark secrets – just who exactly would want to bump off their host? Is there a connection to another mysterious death, nearly twenty years before?

Armed with her local knowledge, Maggie – with Sam’s reluctant but indispensable help – is soon on the case. But when the body count starts to rise, will sleepy Bishops Well ever be the same again?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Headline Accent via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This book, the first in The Shires Mysteries’series is a fusion of cosy and murder mystery with a twenty-first-century twist. Set in a small Wiltshire town, the inhabitants are ordinary but beneath the respectable exterior are the secrets that lead to murder.

Sam, a retired barrister, relocates to the town to escape the memories of his dead wife, which haunt him. Maggie is his neighbour with an unusual talent for seeing the dead. The unlikely couple, drawn together as amateur sleuths when one of the town’s celebrities dies in suspicious circumstances.

Intricate world-building slows the novel’s pace, but it’s essential to create a believable setting for this type of story. Excellent characterisation, so vital for this genre, draws the reader into the story. The suspects are numerous and the motives plentiful, and it’s fun to work out the perpetrator and motive. Authentically flawed characters, many with less than politically correct views, make this relatable. The older protagonists will appeal to many cosy mystery fans, but the story has a contemporary edge that widens its reader appeal.

Anna Legat

Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

The Appeal Janice Hallett 5*#Review @JaniceHallett @ViperBooks #audiobook @HachetteAudioUK #CrimeFiction #murdermystery #legal #psychological #suspense #BookReview #TheAppeal

In a town full of secrets…. 

Someone was murdered. 

Someone went to prison. 

And everyone’s a suspect. 

Can you uncover the truth?

Dear Listener – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death. 

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed. 

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered. 

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth? 

The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

This book has a contemporary and original format well suited to audiobook media. The author’s insightful exploration of community, social hierarchy and relationships are intrinsic to the story.

A respected barrister is prepping for an appeal. On his instruction, two pupil lawyers investigate the case through emails, messages and crime documents. The ordinariness of the email and other electronic communications belie the information they contain. The reader is invited to get to know the characters and their relationship dynamics. Being part of the investigative team immerses the reader in the story, which is addictive.

The narrators are excellent, bringing each character to vibrant life. Whilst, there are no physical descriptions of the characters, sensory imagery makes them and the events that unfold easily visualised.

Additional information and a list of characters are divulged to the pupil lawyers. This allows them to focus on the case’s pertinent areas and produce a legal analysis of the information to make a viable appeal case. The final revelations reveal the truth with just a hint of mystery to ponder.

This is an engaging and enjoyable audiobook.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Mystery at the Church (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 6) Clare Chase 5* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #Location #BookReview #EveMallowMystery #TV #MysteryattheChurch #SaturdayMorning

When a TV drama crew descends on sleepy Saxford St Peter, Eve Mallow joins the excited throng of extras in a funeral scene. But then a real body is found… and Eve gets a starring role as sleuth!

Eve Mallow is looking forward to her fifteen minutes of fame when Saxford St Peter is chosen as the location for a new drama series. A devoted people-watcher, Eve is thrilled to learn that TV stars are just as glamorous – and tempestuous – as she’s always imagined.

But then someone delivers a bouquet of poisonous flowers to the director Rufus Beaumont, making Eve worry that some of the rivalries she’s noticed are deadly serious. And when Rufus’s body is found in the church where the funeral scene took place, it’s clear that someone’s out for the kill in real life.

Eve and dachshund Gus have been on the ground from the start, and now they’re on the case, interrogating the suspects one by one. Is it the devastating diva whose relationship with Rufus was far from professional? The cameraman who caught Rufus doing something he shouldn’t? Or the groupie groundskeeper who’s in the background of every shot? One thing’s for sure – Eve must catch the killer before she stars in their next murderous production… 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

As a devoted follower of this series, it definitely gets better with each new book. Eve Mallow, the part-time obituary writer and tea shop helper, is a lovely character. The perfect amateur sleuth being courageous, kind, nosy and quirky. Her latest role as a film extra provides lots of opportunities to use her keen observational skills. A dangerous gift and an unexpected death lead to a new commission and the chance to investigate a murder.

I love the methodical way she draws up a timeline to solve the murder. With her useful police contacts and her opportunity to interview potential suspects in her obituary writer role, she soon has lots of clues, motives and suspects, to consider.

The characters are relatable. The potential suspects have secrets that Eve and Robin discover as the story unfolds. It’s a good balance of action, deduction and investigation. The immersive writing style invites the reader to draw their conclusions too.

The perfect read for lovers of classic mystery.

Read my reviews of previous books in the series.

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Book1) – Read my review

Mystery at Apple Cottage(Book2) – Read my review

Mystery at the Old Mill (Book4)Read my review

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel – Read my review

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Murder Mystery, New Books, Suspense

The Corfe Castle Murders Rachel McLean 4*#Review #Detective @rachelmcwrites @rararesources #CrimeFiction #Detective #Dorset #TheCorfeCastleMurders #DorsetCrime #MondayBlogs

Meet DCI Lesley Clarke. She’s a straight-talking city copper who doesn’t suffer fools gladly… and she’s been transferred to rural Dorset.
After being injured in a bomb attack, Lesley is presented with a choice – early retirement, or a period of respite in a calmer location.
But things don’t stay calm for long.
Before she’s even started her new job, Lesley is dragged into investigating a murder at one of England’s most iconic landmarks, the imposing Corfe Castle.
Lesley must hit the ground running. Can she get along with her new partner DS Dennis Frampton, a traditionalist who doesn’t appreciate her style? How will she navigate the politics of a smaller force where she’s a bigger, and less welcome, fish? And most importantly, can she solve the murder before the killer strikes again?
The Corfe Castle Murders is a compelling, character-driven mystery.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A detective story with some interesting characters, a complex plot and a lovely rural setting. DCI Lesley Clarke is rehabilitating and has taken a rural posting to remain on the job. Her sense of frustration is authentically portrayed and leads to friction with her new team.

The murder investigation has numerous clues, false leads and suspects. There is a good balance of the personal and professional that draws the reader into their world. The setting is engaging, and the rural world-building adds to the story’s authentic quality. This is engaging and entertaining and promises to be a series to look out for.

Rachel McLean

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at a breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery, New Books

Blooming Murder Simon Whaley 4*#Review @simonwhaley @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #cozymystery #cosymystery #WelshBorders #BloomingMurder #TheMarquessofMortifordeMysteries

MURDER IS BLOSSOMING IN THE WELSH BORDERS.

Aldermaston’s having a bad day. A falling hanging-basket has killed the town’s mayor, and a second narrowly missed him. His wife wants him to build her new greenhouse in three days, and some nutter is sending him death threats.

This isn’t the quiet life he expected as the new Marquess of Mortiforde.

It’s the annual Borders in Blossom competition, and Mortiforde is battling with Portley Ridge in the final. But this is no parochial flower competition. The mayor’s mishap looks like murder, and there’s another body in the river. Someone desperately wants Portley Ridge to win for the fifteenth successive year.

So when a mysterious group of guerrilla gardeners suddenly carpet bomb Mortiforde with a series of stunning floral delights one night, a chain reaction of floral retaliation ensues.

Can Aldermaston survive long enough to uncover who is trying to kill him, and why? And can he get his wife’s greenhouse built in time?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

With its distinctive characters and quirky humour, this cosy mystery is absorbing and addictive.

The amateur detective is likeable with a kind and intelligent personality that shines through. Exuberant characters remain credible, and the plot is full of suspects and twists that keep the reader guessing. It’s a quintessential English cosy mystery despite being set on the Welsh borders and will appeal to anyone who enjoys a laugh whilst trying to work out whodunnit?

I look forward to reading more in this original series.

Simon Whaley

Simon Whaley is an author, writer and photographer who lives in the hilly bit of Shropshire. Blooming Murder is the first in his Marquess of Mortiforde Mysteries, set in the idyllic Welsh Borders – a place many people struggle to locate on a map (including by some of those who live here). He’s written several non-fiction books, many of which contain his humorous take on the world, including the bestselling One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human and two editions in the hugely popular Bluffer’s Guide series (The Bluffer’s Guide to Dogs and The Bluffer’s Guide to Hiking). His short stories have appeared in ‘Take A Break, Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special, The Weekly News and The People’s Friend. Meanwhile, his magazine articles have delighted readers in a variety of publications including BBC Countryfile, The People’s Friend, Coast, The Simple Things and Country Walking.

Simon lives in Shropshire (which just happens to be a Welsh Border county) and, when he gets stuck with his writing, he tramps the Shropshire hills looking for inspiration and something to photograph. Some of his photographs appear on the national and regional BBC weather broadcasts under his BBC WeatherWatcher nickname of Snapper Simon. (For those of you who don’t know, they get a lot of weather in Shropshire.)

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