Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Historical Crime Fiction

These Lost & Broken Things Helen Fields 5*#Review @Helen_Fields @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Historical #CrimeFiction #SocialHistory #PoliticalHistory #TheseLostandBrokenThings #PsychologicalSuspense #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayThoughts #MondayBlogs

Maiden-Mother-Murderer

How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose?

The year is 1905. London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…

Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.

Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s. Read best-selling crime writer Helen Fields’ first explosive historical thriller.

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

My Thoughts…

This story covers the whole spectrum of English history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Socio-political issues merge with crime fiction to produce a memorable and chilling tale.
Sofia Logan is a wife and mother in 1905 when tragedy strikes and the dark doors of the workhouse beckon. A widow, she seeks help from her husband’s former employer with devastating results.

Sofia will do anything for her family but how reliable a protagonist is she? Damaged by her past the story darkens. Sofia struggles with a dangerously immoral employer and her worsening mental health.

The graphically described abuse and violence are hard to read but integral to Sofia’s mindset and story. You empathise with Sofia despite her murderous intent. The characters are believable and coupled with historically authentic settings make this story real and vibrant.

A harrowing but riveting book that is impossible to put down.

Helen Fields

An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Her next book, the sixth in the series, ‘Perfect Kill’ is due out on 6 February 2020. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ comes out in May 2020. A further standalone thriller published by HarperColllins will come soon. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children. Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information or at https://www.helenfields.com/

Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Guest post, Historical Crime Fiction, saga

Vixen Sam Michaels 5*#Review @SamMichaelsGG @Aria_Fiction #BlogTour #GuestPost #WW2 #GeorginaGarrett #Vixen #HistoricalCrimeFiction #Saga #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview @HoZ_Books

While World War Two rages on around them, the gangs of London are fighting for their turf…

There might be a war on, but that doesn’t stop Georgina Garrett running her business with an iron fist. No one said running the Battersea gang was going to be easy, but her unflinchable nature makes Georgina unstoppable.

With a role that requires a ruthless ability to seek revenge and pay out crippling punishments, Georgina’s enemies are growing in number. With a target on her back, Georgina knows she must do everything to protect her family. But, with the loss of someone closest to her, can Georgina rise up from the ashes or allow a usurper take her crown?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus -Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Like many books set in WW2, this story is atmospheric and full of historical detail. Georgina Garrett and her gang adapt to wartime Battersea. Georgina engenders mixed feelings in the reader. Her loyalty and willingness to provide for those she takes under her wing is admirable. Conversely, she isn’t afraid of using violence and committing crimes to ensure she protects her own and continues their way of life.

Georgina faces resentment and threats. Her love of her family make her vulnerable, yet this love is what makes her easy to empathise. Authentic, multifaceted characters drive an action and conflict rich plot.

The surprising ending leaves you wondering what next?

Guest post- Sam Michaels -Vixen

Hello, I’m Sam Michaels, author of the Georgina Garrett series of books.

Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to Jane for featuring me on her wonderful blog site. I was thrilled when she invited me to write a guest post about my latest book, Vixen.

As many readers will know, Vixen is the third book in the Georgina Garrett series. It follows Trickster and Rivals. Way back when WW1 broke in Britain, Trickster began with Georgina being born into a life of poverty, living in the slums of Battersea in south west London. Throughout the book, we watched Georgina, or George as she was known then, overcome adversity to grow into a beautiful young woman. But a woman with a fierce and ruthless streak that would bode well for her life in the criminal underworld. She proved herself a force to be reckoned with but it wasn’t easy, especially facing her biggest enemy, the twisted Billy Wilcox.

In Rivals, during the pre-war years of WW2, Georgina really comes into her own as she heads up the criminal gang running Battersea. But as you’d expect, there are many who think they can do a better job than a woman and are ready to bring her down.  

Vixen picks up the story at the outbreak of WW2. Georgina exploits any opportunities that come along when a country is at war, but she also has a kind heart and fair morals, offering help when she can to those in need. But in Vixen, there’s more than just London under attack – so is Georgina and she also faces unimaginable heartbreak.

For anyone enjoying this series, you’ll be pleased to know there is more on the way, five books in total. I’m currently writing book 4 and without giving too much away, I can tell you this book is going to see Georgina facing a whole new set of challenges, including fighting for her children. She’ll meet some colourful characters along the way who will take her into a whole new world of criminality, one with bigger gains but bigger risks to boot. And what will become of Georgina’s relationship with David Maynard? You’ll have to wait and see.

Whilst writing this series, I’ve grown ever so fond of Georgina and I think her audience has too. I even had a comment from a chap who said he’d love to work for her! I believe it’s because we can all relate to aspects of her personality. Granted, she’s a killer, but somehow, the murders she commits or orders feel justified. She’s intensely protective of her loved ones, a worthy trait, and though she has a tough exterior, there’s a vulnerability about her that we see glimpses of now and again. At the end of the day, everything Georgina does is driven by a desire to make life better for those around her. And like many other women, she feels the need to be loved, albeit on her terms.

With book 5 in the pipeline, time will move forward and you’ll discover more about Georgina’s children. As someone recently said to me, ‘Strong women have strong women.’ And that is very true for Georgina Garrett!

Catch up with the series. Read my reviews of Trickster and Rivals

Sam Michaels

Sam Michaels lives in Spain with her family and a plethora of animals. Having been writing for years Trickster is her debut novel.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction

Arrowood and the Thames Corpses Mick Finlay 4* #Review @mickfinlay2 @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalCrimeFiction #Victorian #London

South London, 1896.

William Arrowood, Victorian London’s less salubrious private detective, is paid a visit by Captain Moon, the owner of a pleasure steamer moored on the Thames. He complains that someone has been damaging his boat, putting his business in jeopardy.

Arrowood and his trusty sidekick Barnett suspect professional jealousy, but when a string of skulls is retrieved from the river, it seems like even fouler play is afoot.

It’s up to Arrowood and his trusty sidekick Barnett to solve the case, before any more corpses end up in the watery depths . . .

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

My Thoughts…

A run of the mill case for Arrowood and his assistant takes a sinister turn, leading to many bodies, and connections to a cold case. This is a dark, gritty historical crime thriller, set in Victorian London, which doesn’t shy away from the deprivation and danger. Graphic descriptions portray the setting, and ethos of the time, make it grisly reading but add to the historical authenticity.

Arrowood is enigmatic and not at all glamorous. but his knowledge of psychology sharpens his detective skills. His life is chaotic, but his crime-solving is exemplary. There are touches of humour in this story that lighten the noir quality, and the crime-fighting team, have a good dynamic.

Atmospheric, authentic and absorbing, with a cleverly crafted plot, and a cast of believably flawed historical characters.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Noir, Paranormal, Suspense, Travel

Death In The Sound Rhen Garland 5*#Review #TheVersipellisMysterySeries @RhenWitch #VictorianCrime #BlogTour #Book Review #HistoricalFiction #MurderMystery #Detective @rararesources #DeathInTheSound #RachelsRandomResources

The year is 1900, responding to a desperate plea from an old friend, Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne, accompanied by Veronique the Labrador, travel from England to New Zealand to unravel a new and complex mystery.

For his daughter’s twenty first birthday, Millionaire philanthropist Octavius Damant orchestrates a weekend party aboard the Taniwha, a luxurious paddle steamer moored in the primordial and isolated landscape of Milford Sound.

Several high society guests are invited to their remote home for the celebrations; Sir Wesley Eade, society lawyer and his beautiful but icy mistress Lady Leonora Carlton-Cayce, Dona Carla Riva, a flamboyant Brazilian dancer, and Carolyn Nolloth, O.D’s estranged sister-in-law who has a great love of other people’s money.

But O.D is the subject of persecution; a series of anonymous letters accuse him of past crimes and threaten the life of his daughter unless he gives in to their creator’s poisonous demands.

Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne discover the odds stacked against them when an unforeseen murder is committed, and they find themselves trapped aboard the Taniwha with a killer who will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve their ends.

As the body count rises, they must unravel the clues and piece together a devilish jigsaw that includes blackmail, extortion, desire, and the reappearance of the fabulous Larkspur Diamond, a gemstone with a past as murky and blood soaked as that of the relentless killer on board.

Set in the late Victorian era, with a touch of the odd, and a twist of the macabre, “Death in the Sound” continues the crime solving, paranormal escapades of Elliott Caine, Giselle Du’Lac, and Abernathy Thorne.

Book One, “A Portrait of Death” was released in 2018.

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

My Thoughts…

Book two, of the Versipellis Mysteries series, set predominantly in New Zealand is a late-Victorian murder mystery, with a supernatural twist. There are two prologues, one detailing a gruesome murder, the second, introducing a dark, evil supernatural element.

With a plan of the boat, at the beginning of the book, it reminds me of a Cluedo board. This murder mystery is a dark interpretation of the popular game with a paranormal twist.

The diverse investigating team, is well described, so it can be read as a standalone, but it’s so good, you’ll want to read them both.

Engaging action and lots of characters produce an absorbing, addictive story, with lots of false clues and plot twists. The writing is clear, using vivid imagery to describe the characters and setting.

Vibrant characters and dark deeds combine to produce a creepy, cleverly plotted murder mystery with exciting originality.

Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.

She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.

“I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy.”

“A Portrait of Death” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series. “A Portrait of Death” was released in 2018.

“Death in the Sound” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the second book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange 4*#Review Sue Lawrence @SueHLawrence @SarabandBooks @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #HistoricalFiction #crime #historicalevent

Edinburgh, January 1732: It’s Lady Grange’s funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she’d shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She’s been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death – her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity – or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings or simply to `replace’ a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she’s removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic – to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language – somewhere she can never be found. This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband’s unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace.

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

My Thoughts…

Lady Grange was an actual historical figure, and what happened to her is a matter of record. Nothing is known from Lady Grange’s point of view. This fictional story is an interpretation of, what her feelings may have been, and how those closest to her perceived her, and what happened to her.

The position of women in the eighteenth century is explored. Women’s rights were non-existent and they were effectively invisible. History reports Lady Grange as unbalanced, alcoholic and violent. The story doesn’t shy away from this but does put it into a believable perspective. Importantly, it attempts to switch the emphasis onto the actions of her husband, his abuse of her and his power.

The story is character-driven and told from key points of view. The strength of Lady Grange comes across in this story, and her willingness to share skills with the people she is left with, even with language barriers. The story focuses on a little known historical event, from a human point of view and delivers a great story with well researched historic detail and vibrant characters.

As well as writing popular historical thrillers, including Down to the Sea, Sue Lawrence is a leading cookery writer. After winning BBC’s MasterChef in 1991, she became a regular contributor to the Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday and other leading magazines. Raised in Dundee, she now lives in Edinburgh. She has won two Guild of Food Writers Awards.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery

The Mitford Scandal – Jessica Fellowes 5* #Review @jessicafellowes @BooksSphere @LittleBrownUK #BetweenTheWars #TheGoldenAge #MurderMystery #HistoricalFiction #TheMitfordMurders #Scandal #Political #Romance #Arts

#TheMitfordScandal

This wonderful new book in the bestselling The Mitford Murders series sees the Mitford sisters at a time of scandalous affairs, political upheaval and murder.

The newly married and most beautiful of the Mitford sisters, Diana, hot-steps around Europe with her husband and fortune heir Bryan Guinness, accompanied by maid Louisa Cannon, as well as some of the most famous and glamorous luminaries of the era.

But murder soon follows, and with it, a darkness grows in Diana’s heart…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books UK – Sphere via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is book three in ‘The Mitford Murders’, series and the first one I have read. I had no trouble accustoming myself to the era and the characters and found it an engaging read. An intelligent mix of historical characters with a believable fictional story, spiced up with historical facts, to make it read authentically.

The hedonist, volatile ethos of England between the two world wars is captured perfectly. The reverence of artists, in all forms, is evident. The mix of old and new money, alongside the bohemian stars of this historical period, provides the quintessential setting for crime, romance and scandal.

The story unfolds through Louisa’s point of view, she knows the Mitford family well, and currently works as a lady’s maid for Diana Mitford. An amateur sleuth, she soon realises that some of the incidents she witnesses are more sinister than they superficially appear.

As the story progresses over a realistic period, the suspense builds, and there are also menacing moments, where Louisa faces dangers head-on. Louisa is ambitious, but like many women of her class, finds fulfilling her full potential almost impossible, hampered by not only her gender but also her social standing.

The fallout of the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the subsequent economic depression, allows extreme political views to gain momentum both in England and Europe. The story reflects this well, and this adds another sinister element to the story.

The conclusion to the murder mystery ties up the clues in a satisfying way. Leaving, the reader waiting eagerly to see what will happen to the Mitfords next.

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

Murder at the Dolphin Hotel Helena Dixon 5*#Review #AMissUnderhayMystery @NellDixon @bookouture #cozymystery #MurderMystery #Devon #Dartmouth #1930s #MurderattheDolphinHotel #MondayBlogs

A room with a view… to murder

June 1933. Independent young Kitty Underhay has been left in charge of her family’s hotel, The Dolphin, on the tranquil English coast. She’s expecting her days at the bustling resort to be filled with comfortable chatter with chambermaids as they polish the mahogany desks and glittering candelabras of the elegant foyer. Everything must be perfect for the arrival of a glamorous jazz singer from Chicago and a masked ball that will be the cultural highlight of the season.

But when several rooms are broken into and searched, including Kitty’s own, she quickly realises that something out of the ordinary is afoot at the hotel. Soon rumours are flying in the cozy town that someone is on the hunt for a stolen ruby. A ruby that Kitty’s mother may well have possessed when she herself went missing during the Great War. And when the break-ins are followed by a series of attacks and murders, including of the town’s former mayoress, it seems the perpetrator will stop at nothing to find it.

Aided by ex-army captain Matthew Bryant, the Dolphin’s new security officer, Kitty is determined to decipher this mystery and preserve not only the reputation of her hotel but also the lives of her guests. Is there a cold-blooded killer under her own roof? And what connects the missing jewel to the mystery from Kitty’s own past?

A classic page-turning murder mystery! 

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

My Thoughts…

This murder mystery has a lovely sense of place and time. Dartmouth, Devon is a picturesque setting, and particularly atmospheric during the post-war period. The hotel is well described and easy to visualise, as are the cast of characters. The connection with Kitty’s past that this first mystery, in the series has, gives the story added depth and draws the reader into Kitty’s world.

Kitty is a complex, courageous character, who is easy to like. Her intelligence tempered by an innate naivety makes her the perfect heroine for this type of historical cozy mystery. Matt her partner in amateur sleuthing, has a complex and poignant past, which makes him an enigmatic puzzle, Kitty is eager to solve.

The mystery unwinds with many twists, suspects and murders. The relationship between Kitty and Matt strengthens, in part due to proximity and mutual neediness. You want them to overcome their emotional barriers and let their relationship develop.

The suspense develops well as the story progresses reaching a crescendo when Kitty’s natural curiosity leads her into danger. The ending is exciting and in keeping with the historical period. Part of the mystery remains unsolved, presumably to be revealed as the series progresses.

An easy to read a historical murder mystery, written in a cozy mystery style, which immerses you in the 1930s Devon, with authentic, complex characters and an engaging plot.