In the seaside town of Temple Regis, seagulls are wheeling overhead and the holidays are getting close. And then the body of political candidate Odile Clifford is discovered on the balcony of the lighthouse.
Fearless Riviera Express reporter Judy Dimont goes in search of the killer – but who is it? And where will they strike next?
What’s more, Judy’s position as chief reporter is under threat when her editor takes on hot-shot journalist David Renishaw, whose work is just too good to be true.
Life is busier than ever for Devon’s most famous detective. Can Judy solve the mystery – and protect her position as Temple Regis’s best reporter – before the murderer strikes again?
THE WEEKEND TURN MURDEROUS Monica Noble and her husband Graham, the local vicar, are invited to participate in a high-flying church conference being held at a swanky manor-house hotel in their village. At the Saturday night dinner, the ambitious female cleric Celia Gordon tragically dies, seemingly of a peanut allergy. But when Chief Superintendent Jason Dury arrives on the scene he quickly discovers that it’s a case of murder. And Monica’s husband is the prime suspect. Other suspects include an eminent bishop, an archdeacon viciously opposed to female clergy, and his wife, the curator of a local museum, who is definitely up to something. But if Monica is to find out who killed Celia, and free her husband from suspicion, she must grapple with a very ruthless — and increasingly desperate — killer, putting herself and those around her in mortal danger. This is the third of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with great characters and baffling crimes which will keep you gripped till the final page.
MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.
I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Another chapter in Monica Noble’s amateur detective investigations. This one is a little different to the previous two; It takes time to set the scene, with a long prologue, it soon draws in a cast of characters attending a conference for clerics at a manor- house hotel close to Graham Noble’s parish.
There is much back-biting among the clerics, many of whom are ambitious, female clerics also feature and these are the subject of some male derision because of the status they have achieved. This story deals with the ongoing battle of women in the church, and echos the battles of women everywhere to further their careers. The victim appears to be the subject of many people’s dislike, and her previous relationship with Graham Noble, bring him and Monica right into the centre of this murder mystery.
Monica and detective Jason’s relationship is an interesting dimension to this story, and it seems they may be on opposite sides for the first time since they met. Sub-plots give unlikely individuals possible motives for murder, besides, those who have a more obvious motive.
The story picks up pace in the final half and ends fittingly for this type of murder mystery.An enjoyable way to spend a Winter’s afternoon.
Frances Black leaves her domestic worries behind and travels to Devon to solve a family mystery featuring a suspicious death and a missing diamond.
1930. Frances Black is worried – divorce proceedings are underway and her solicitor has learnt of a spiteful letter sent to the court claiming that there is more to her friendship with her sleuthing partner, Tom Dod than meets the eye.
Fran takes Tom’s advice to get away, travelling down to Devon to help the Edgertons with their family mystery. After meeting the charismatic Eddie Edgerton and arriving at their residence, Sunnyside House, Fran soon learns that Eddie’s grandfather, Frederick Edgerton, died in mysterious circumstances when his wheelchair went off a cliff. Was it really an accident? And what happened to Frederick’s precious diamond which went missing at the time of his death? As Fran investigates, she uncovers family scandal, skulduggery and revenge, but can she solve the mystery of the missing diamond?
I received a copy of this book from Severn House via NetGalley in return for an honest review
This is the third book in the Black and Dod mystery series, and the first I’ve read. This book reads as a standalone, The mystery is solved within the pages of this story, but I did feel I was missing out on the connection between the two main characters.
This story puts one half of the sleuthing duo at the helm. Frances heads to Devon, to avoid jeopardising her long-awaited and much-needed divorce and becomes a temporary house guest at a lovely country house in Devon. The 1930s setting and the upper-class elegance puts you in mind of Agatha Christie’s novels.
The family are mostly charming, and Fran finds she is the subject of one family member’s admiration. The mystery is two-fold, auspiciously she is invited to solve the riddle of the missing diamond, but a recent death occurred at the same time and she questions whether the two are connected.
I found the pacing a little slow, but the mystery is clever, and there is darkness hiding beneath the household’s lighthearted ethos, which gives the story depth. If possible read the series in order, and you will become familiar with the writing style and pace.
Monica Noble is thrilled to be asked to judge a neighbouring village’s flower show, even if she can’t tell a begonia from an azalea! Her fellow judge Vicar James Davies inhales deeply from a large bloom and drops dead in the tent. At first, everyone thinks he’s had a heart attack, but the doctor on hand is suspicious and calls in the police. A second murder quickly follows, this time of one of the main suspects. Monica must help the Chief Inspector Jason Dury to solve the two murders and find the killer —fast before anyone else pays the ultimate price.
This is the second of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with great characters and baffling crimes which will keep you gripped till the final page
MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is, until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.
I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Like all good murder mystery, this begins with the introduction of numerous characters, possible reasons for them to dislike each other, and careful setting of the murder scene. It is part of the charm of this genre, and the Monica Noble mystery series does this so well.
The setting at a village flower shower is atmospheric and true to life, the sense of community, gossiping and rivalry are perfect, as the reader tries to work out who is going to be the victim. This story has a good twist at an early stage, and the reader immediately has to pursue two strands of investigation.
The familiar set of regular characters are beautifully written, Graham, the kind, handsome vicar, who dotes on his younger, loving wife Monica, Carol Anne the rebellious teenager, who always has an angle, or a new project, but is pleasantly naive, and still in need of her mother’s guidance. Then there is the enigmatic DCI Jason Dury, who dislikes the inconvenient chemistry between the well-like vicar’s wife and himself. The frisson of desire simmers under the surface, there but barely acknowledged.
The murder has a techno criminal aspect, and many suspects, and motives, it makes pleasurable reading and challenging investigating for lovers of whodunnit mystery.The characters and setting are vividly portrayed and easy to visualise, this would make a wonderful TV show.
Another engaging adventure for the Vicar and his clever wife.
In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…
Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.
When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.
If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has all the ingredients for a perfect escape. Cozy mystery, with a touch of magic, and vividly created characters and setting. Set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, the loch has a mystical significance, well understood by psychic Temerity, and her herbalist sister Tilda. Temerity’s gift manifested when her first love died tragically at the Loch, something she feels inherently guilty for. Both women feel tied to the small town and they are intrinsic to its wellbeing.
The villagers accept the women, although gossip has it that they are witches, with their two seemingly lazy cats and an opinionated parrot. Temerity’s give for psychometry, has proved useful to the police in the past, but the new officer in the town isn’t convinced. Maybe he’s worried about his secrets?
There is so much in this first book to absorb the reader and capture their interest. The setting is authentic and described so well that you can visualise it. The mystical ethos, and legend that surrounds it add to its appeal. The protagonists are complex characters full of flaws and hidden layers. Some of which, are revealed in this book. Some are hinted at, to be revealed later in the series? The small-town dynamic works, the sense of community and gossip is evident. The cast of characters colourful and mostly easy to like.
The magical, witchy element is the icing on the cake, not too far-fetched, but outer-worldly enough to appeal. The cozy mystery is cleverly plotted, with lots of suspects, a dastardly murder, and plenty of clues and misinformation, to engage those who enjoy this.
A brilliant start to what promises to be an enchanting series, with wide appeal because we all need a little magic in our lives.
A rookie cop, a dash of mysterious death, and a heap of suspicion – as the heat rises, lethal tensions boil over in the Pyrenees.
Unappreciated, unnoticed, and passed over for promotion, thirty-year-old Danielle’s fledgling career in law enforcement is going nowhere – until the unexpected death of a hated Englishman turns her small town upside down.
Set in the idyllic south of France, Palm Trees in the Pyrenees is the first whodunit novel in Elly Grant’s thrilling murder mystery series. Against a background of prejudice, jealousy, and greed, Danielle pieces together the sparse clues of a fractured homicide. But will she find enough evidence to solve the case – and get the recognition she deserves?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Superficially, this story, the first book in the ‘Death In The Pyrenees’ series, seems like a cozy mystery, set in the South of France. It does have many of the attributes of a cozy read; multiple suspects, a dramatic murder, a small, close knit quirky community, but as the story progresses, the reader appreciates that the story is more than this.
The bullying, malicious gossip and prejudice, Danielle the town’s solitary police presence uncovers ,gives this story a strong noir element. Corruption, drugs and vice, are all themes alluded to, in this story, which is a hybrid between a murder mystery and a police procedural.
Written in the first person, from Danielle’s point of view, her compassion, dedication and naivety, help the reader to see what lies beneath, the friendly, safe ethos, the town projects. She is easy to like, and gives this story a unique perspective that engages the reader from the first page. There is a retro feeling to this story, where even though the problems are contemporary, the community and personal beliefs and motivations are not.
The plot is pacy, and the characters full of surprises. The mystery keeps most of its secrets until the final stages and the ending is well executed. An original murder mystery which keeps you reading happily until the last page.
Guest Post – Elly Grant – Palm Trees In The Pyrenees
When I first arrived in this region of the Eastern Pyrenees
I was mesmerised. I had never seen an area that moved me so much. The mountains
were magnificent, tree covered rocks with an impossible number of shades of
green and dotted about them were luminous patches of bright yellow Mimosa
giving the effect of a patchwork quilt. The sky was a deep turquoise and the
lack of pollution meant everything seemed clean and fresh as if the scene had
been newly painted. It was hard to believe that what I was seeing was real and
not just some beautiful dream I would wake from. Indeed, I was so enthralled, I
was frightened to leave the place, in case, ‘Brigadoon’ style, it would
disappear, not to be seen again for 100 years. Consequently, together with my
husband, Zach Abrams, and within a few days, we managed to locate and buy a
small, low-priced property to enjoy as a holiday home. After that, it took only
days before I had the idea of writing ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’. As I walked
through the small town or sat sipping wine in the sunshine outside one of the several
cafes or bars, the story almost seemed to write itself. As I imagine is the
case in any small town, there was much that was different from anything I’d
experienced before. I observed the quirky way of life enjoyed by its
inhabitants, and the many, sometimes unusual, local events. Who would have
guessed that an artichoke festival would be so well attended? Not me, for sure.
Then there were the family feuds, the jealousies, the prejudices, the slight
mistrust of strangers. I sipped wine or drank coffee as my victims walked by,
totally unaware that I was about to kill them on paper.
Being a small town nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it came as no surprise to me that nobody seemed to speak English, and, having only a few words of French, meant that I had to learn the language quickly if I wanted to interact with local people. Consequently, the first people I had conversations with were the handful of ex-pats who lived in the area. But gradually, and with much effort on my part to integrate, I am now accepted as of the town, no longer merely a tourist, but not quite a local. Quite surprisingly, more and more of the locals will now speak to me in English if I have difficulty communicating in French. It seems that many of them do have the ability to converse in another language but choose not to do so with tourists. After all, they reason, it is the tourists who are the visitors and therefore it is they who should make the effort. The locals are not unfriendly, quite the reverse in fact; it is simply a matter of respect. And, as I’ve discovered, once you do gain their trust, they will go to great lengths to help or assist you.
After ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’ was published, the
subsequent books of the series seemed to pour out of me. I felt I couldn’t
write them quickly enough. There was so much going on in my little town, so
many things to observe that writing was a joy. I suppose that may seem rather
strange considering I mostly write about crime, and not just any crime, but death
and murder, in fact. But I do feel that this series is not all doom and gloom.
My publisher calls these books ‘cosy crime’. I still kill people, but hopefully
there is enough charm in the story telling so as not to cause my readers
Hi, my name is Elly Grant
and I like to kill people. I use a variety of methods. Some I drop from a great
height, others I drown, but I’ve nothing against suffocation, poisoning or
simply battering a person to death. As long as it grabs my reader’s attention,
I’ve written several novels and short stories. My first novel, ‘Palm Trees in
the Pyrenees’ is set in a small town in France. It is the first book of my
‘Death in the Pyrenees series and they are all published by Creativia. The
others in the series are, ‘Grass Grows in the Pyrenees’, ’Red Light in the
Pyrenees’, ’Dead End in the Pyrenees’, ‘Deadly Degrees in the Pyrenees’ and
‘Hanging Around in the Pyrenees’. Creativia has also published my grittier
crime novels set in Glasgow, ‘The Unravelling of Thomas Malone’ and ‘The Coming
of the Lord’ as well as my thriller, ‘Death at Presley Park’. Also published are my Romance ‘Never Ever
Leave Me, as well as a collaboration on the quirky black comedy ‘But Billy
Can’t Fly’ and short stories called ‘Twists and Turns’.
As I live much of the year in a small French town in the Eastern Pyrenees, I
get inspiration from the way of life and the colourful characters I come
across. I don’t have to search very hard to find things to write about and
living in the most prolific wine producing region in France makes the task so
much more delightful.
When I first arrived in this region I was lulled by the gentle pace of life,
the friendliness of the people and the simple charm of the place. But dig below
the surface and, like people and places the world over, the truth begins to
emerge. Petty squabbles, prejudice, jealousy and greed are all there waiting to
be discovered. Oh, and what joy in that discovery. So, as I sit in a café, or
stroll by the riverside, or walk high into the mountains in the sunshine, I
greet everyone I meet with a smile and a ‘Bonjour’ and, being a friendly place,
they return the greeting. I people-watch as I sip my wine or when I go to buy
my baguette. I discover quirkiness and quaintness around every corner. I try to
imagine whether the subjects of my scrutiny are nice or nasty and, once I’ve
decided, some of those unsuspecting people, a very select few, I kill.
Perhaps you will visit my town one day. Perhaps you will sit near me in a café
or return my smile as I walk past you in the street. Perhaps you will hold my
interest for a while, and maybe, just maybe, you will be my next victim. But
don’t concern yourself too much, because, at least for the time being, I always
manage to confine my murderous ways to paper.
Read books from the ‘Death in the Pyrenees’ series, enter my small French town
and meet some of the people who live there —– and die there.
Alternatively read about life on some of the hardened streets of Glasgow or for
something different try my other books and short stories.
In a town full of secrets, the truth won’t stay buried…
When a girl’s body is discovered in a park in the sleepy Massachusetts town of Oakhurst, local detective Jo is shocked to the core. Because the girl is the second innocent victim to turn up dead in three days. And just like the first, a tarot card has been left by the body. The meaning of the card: betrayal.
After uncovering a series of threatening messages targeting the girl, a student at the university, and the first victim, her teacher, Jo thinks she’s locked the killer in her cross-hairs. The primary suspect is a volatile ex-military student with an axe to grind for failing grades, and the frightened town is out for his blood. But the next day, a much-loved member of the community is found dead in her home, a tarot card in her mail. There’s no clear motive to link her death to the others, and the message on the card this time is even stranger: domestic bliss.
With a fourth body and card appearing the following day, Jo knows she’s running out of time to crack the code and bring the killer to justice. And the pressure only gets worse with heart-breaking news about Jo’s father forcing her to choose between helping her family heal or the victims’ families get justice. Can Jo find the twisted murderer sending the town into a panic before another life is lost? Or this time, will the dangerous killer find her first?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set in Massachusetts USA, this is a well-paced police procedural , featuring Detective Josette Fournier and her partner Bob Arnett. The second in the series, it reads perfectly as a standalone,with sufficient back story on the main protagonist, cleverly interwoven into the story as a subplot. Jo is a committed, career woman, with a tragic past that makes the job her life. She doesn’t have relationships, only occasional lovers, and the reasons for this become clearer as the story progresses. She has a tense relationship with her younger sister that is forced into focus, when their father has health issues. This causes her additional problems, as she is the middle of a murder case.
The noir murder mystery is told from the detective’s point of view, and also the antagonist’s. Even with this additional view point, because of the numerous suspects, it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit. The police procedural element of the story is authentic. The murders are shocking, but not unduly, there is just enough detail to illustrate how driven the murderer is.
Jo Fournier is a good character, she is complex, and her emotional damage makes her interesting, and easy to empathise. The mystery is well-plotted with lots of suspects, and clues, I did solve part, but not all of the mystery, which engages the reader. The characters are believable and easy to imagine, and I look forward to reading their next case.