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

After the Storm Isabella Muir 4* #Review @SussexMysteries A Giuseppe Bianchi Mystery #HistoricalFiction #Histfic #Crime @rararesources #SussexCrimes #1960s #AftertheStorm

 

When a violent storm blasts England’s south coast, it’s up to retired Italian detective Giuseppe Bianchi to sift through the devastation and piece together the tragic events left behind in the storm’s wake.

Giuseppe Bianchi’s brief visit to Bexhill-on-Sea has become an extended stay. He is loath to return to his home in Rome because of the haunting images that made him leave in the first place.

During his morning walks along the seafront with Beagle, Max, he meets Edward Swain, who becomes Giuseppe’s walking companion. They form a friendship of sorts and find they have a similar outlook on life.

But the devastating events of a single night lead Giuseppe to question the truth about Edward Swain. Teaming up with young journalist, Christina Rossi – his cousin’s daughter – Giuseppe learns about the brutal reality lurking behind the day-to-day life of families in the local community. And as the story unravels Giuseppe is reminded how anger and revenge can lead to the most dreadful of crimes.

After the Storm is the second novel in the Giuseppe Bianchi mystery series – the much awaited sequel to Crossing the Line. Grab your copy today and enjoy the intrigue of traditional English mystery, cleverly combined with a continental twist.

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

My Thoughts…

This is the second book in the Guiseppe Bianchi mysteries set in Bexhill on Sea. The mystery is complete but reading the first book gives the reader insight into the main character, his family and his secrets. The setting in the nineteen sixties is atmospheric and authentic. The gently paced investigation is in keeping with the historical period and encompasses different threads interwoven into the main investigation.

Guiseppe is an enigmatic character, intuitive, likeable and a little mysterious. The investigative partnership with journalist Christina works well. Their different skills complement the other. The family is central to the story and valued by Guiseppe.

If you are looking for a gently paced, well-written mystery, this is worth reading.

Isabella Muir

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.

Her latest novel, After the Storm, is the second novel in a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

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

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

Georgina Garrett has made many enemies, but with every victory she’s only grown stronger. But it only takes one defeat to crumble an empire and is this the one that brings Georgina to her knees?

Sam Michaels returns with her bestselling Georgina Garrett series…

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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…

This is an addictive historical ganglit with the indomitable Georgina Garrett desperate for release from Holloway Prison to reclaim her children and get revenge on her enemies. With WW2 still raging when Georgina returns to Battersea, she has to regroup and diversify to achieve her aims with grit and tenacity, meeting violence with violence.

This is a well-written story with vivid characters and a menacing ethos. It captures the gangland era dynamic and personalities in an intricate plot with unexpected twists.

Guest post- Sam Michaels – Siren

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and thank you to Jane for inviting to me contribute to her fabulous website.

I’m thrilled that Siren is now out in the big wide world and I can’t wait for you to read it! This is the fourth book in the Georgina Garrett series. The first, Trickster, begins on the day that WW1 is declared. And then Rivals is next which is set just before the outbreak of WW2. Vixen and Siren follow Georgina’s life through the turbulent and challenging times of worn-torn Britain.

Although my gangland sagas are fictional, I like the facts to be historically correct so I’ve spent many hours researching the history of these times and read hundreds of personal memories of the Blitz. The things that I’ve learned have been both fascinating and heart-wrenching. Tales of rations, shortages and the blackouts are bad enough but the stories of bombs raining down on cities across the country are horrendous. The Blitz began in September 1940 and for fifty-seven consecutive nights, London was bombarded by the Luftwaffe’s bombs. Over three hundred planes would fly across the city, destroying a third of London and killing and injuring thousands. The accounts of the people whose memories I read makes me wish that I’d asked my grandparents more about their personal experiences of being Londoners living through the war.

But it wasn’t all fear and gloom. One of the overwhelming feelings that I got from my research was the sense of community and coming together that the war seemed to bring. I loved reading about the impressive strength of the British resolve and I found the make do and mend attitude admirable. Also, with the men away fighting the enemy, women found a place in the workforce doing the jobs that men once did. This was a huge shift from the traditional role of the stay-at-home housewife and mother though in most jobs, women weren’t paid the same rate as the men had been. Mothers had to quickly adapt a new way of life. For many, their children had been evacuated to safer homes in the countryside away from the nightly air raid sirens, explosions and fires. Food shortages meant that they had to be inventive with new recipes. Even stockings were hard to come by so ladies might use gravy browning to colour their legs and draw a line up the back to imitate a seam. With homes being destroyed all around them, lives being lost, their husbands and sons in foreign, treacherous lands and sleepless nights in air raid shelters, it does make me wonder how people today would cope if we were thrown into the same situation.

In Siren, the book opens with Georgina behind bars in Holloway prison. During my research, I was shocked and horrified to discover some of the facts about prison life for women at this time. And not just women. Holloway Prison also held German-Jewish refugee children incarcerated with their mothers. It was a time of deep suspicion of anyone German which was transposed onto the German-Jews who came to Britain when fleeing death from Hitler. I was equally shocked to find out that Sir Oswald Mosely, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, was also held prisoner at Holloway. Under Winston Churchill’s orders, Mosely was detained with his wife, Diana, in a house within the grounds of the prison. They even had women prisoners to wait on them and they were allowed to order deliveries from Harrods!

So when you read my books, you’ll find bits of background information weaved throughout  which are fact, not fiction. For instance, the meagre breakfasts in the prison, the continual bombing of London, the firewomen on motorbikes… all these things and many more are true stories.

I really hope that you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them! And, by the way, this isn’t the last that you’ll hear of Georgina… I’m halfway through writing the fifth book in the series.

Love, Sam xxx

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

Sam Michaels

Sam Michaels lives in Spain with her family and plethora of animals. Having been writing for years Siren is the fourth book in Georgina Garrett historical crime saga.

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

To the Dark Chris Nickson 4*#Review A Simon Westow Mystery @ChrisNickson2 @SevernHouse #TotheDark #historical #crimefiction #mystery @RandomTTours

Winter is about to take a chilling twist…

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This historical crime mystery is atmospheric, menacing and realistic. It brings the crime-filled streets of nineteenth-century Leeds vividly to life. The third book in the series it provides adequate character backstory and relationship dynamics to make it readable as a standalone. The characters are shady even the protagonists have pasts and secrets. The story has many twists.

Seamlessly woven historical details immerse the reader in the place and time of this enjoyable story.

Chris Nickson

Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’

Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Travel

The Forger and the Thief Kirsten McKenzie 4* #Review @Kiwimrsmac @rararesources #mystery #crimefiction #Florence #Art #psychological #suspense #TheForgerandtheThief #BlogTour #BookReview

FIVE STRANGERS IN FLORENCE, EACH WITH A DANGEROUS SECRET. AND AN APOCALYPTIC FLOOD THREATENING TO REVEAL EVERYTHING.

A wife on the run, a student searching for stolen art, a cleaner who has lined more than his pockets, a policeman whose career is almost over, and a guest who should never have received a wedding invite. Five strangers, entangled in the forger’s wicked web, amidst Florence’s devastating flood of November 1966.

In a race against time, and desperate to save themselves and all they hold dear, will their secrets prove more treacherous than the ominous floodwaters swallowing the historic city?

Dive into a world of lies and deceit, where nothing is as it seems on the surface…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is something a little different for readers weary of predictability.

Five seemingly unconnected individuals converge on Florence just before an epic flood in 1966. The river, given a complex character in this historical crime mystery, provides a dramatic and unpredictable ethos for this strange story to play out.

Each character has their own chapter, and the individual stories reveal their past and motivations for being in Florence. All have secrets and a sinister force is controlling their destiny like puppeteer manipulates marionettes.

This is a detailed story which has intrinsic interest and provides a tableau for the characters to fulfil their destiny whilst the impending doom of the flood hangs over them unnoticed but menacing.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary which at times defies belief this is for you.

Kirsten McKenzie

A full time author, Kirsten is a former customs officer and antiques dealer, and who has also dabbled in film and television.

Her historical time-slip series – The Old Curiosity Shop Series, has been described as ‘Time Travellers Wife meets Far Pavilions’, and ‘Antiques Roadshow gone viral’.

Kirsten released her bestselling gothic horror novel Painted in 2017, with her medical thriller – Doctor Perry, following in 2018.

Her latest thriller – The Forger and the Thief, is set in 1966 Florence, Italy, amidst the devastating floods. Kirsten lives in New Zealand with her husband, her daughters, two rescue cats.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Blind Pool Vicki Goldie 4* #Review @vicki_goldie @VictorinaPress @RandomTTours #TheChartersMysteries #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #FamilyDrama #HistoricalCrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #Paperback #Mystery

This series follows amateur sleuths Major Alasdair Charters and the Honourable Melissa Charters as they inadvertently muddle their way through many investigations but always arrive at the truth. Alasdair was blinded in the First World War and uses his special skills
to gain ‘insight’ into the crimes. The Honourable Melissa, who likes to think she is a socialist, has a large family and set of friends who always seem to run into problems. The books are set both in England and abroad.

Having a husband who is blind, author Vicki Goldie likes to explore perceptions about this disability and push the boundaries.

In 1923 flushed with the success of their last sleuthing escapade Major Alasdair Charters, a blind WW1 veteran and former intelligence officer and his aristocrat wife The Honourable Melissa, accept an invitation to a country house party on Somerset Levels in Winter.

There they find a dysfunctional family all living in a huge old house on a hill. Overnight the storm brings with it the floodwaters and the house becomes surrounded and cut off from rescue just as a murderer begins to stalk the residents. An exciting murder mystery in the Golden Age tradition. Will our sleuths discover hidden secrets and unmask the murderer before anyone else is killed?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is such an atmospheric story full of historically authentic characters and period detail. The husband and wife amateur sleuth team is not a new concept, but as Alasdair cannot see at all, due to an incident during WW1, this gives the story a unique perspective. This is the second book in The Charters’Mysteries but reads perfectly as a standalone. There is sufficient backstory on the amateur sleuths to show why they make the perfect investigators.

Set at a house party in 1923 this is a Golden Age murder mystery which has a claustrophobic setting, lots of suspects and a murderer in their midst. This story is a sensory delight, as Alasdair perceives things often ignored by sighted people, and Melissa becomes his eyes. The plot is well-written and the investigation thorough and immersive. The reader feels part of the story, and this makes finding the antagonist both addictive and realistic. Believably crafted characters, many hard to like, all have secrets. The short chapters make this a fast-paced read, and allow easy to follow changes of character and scene.

Blind Pool is an engaging historical murder mystery with originally crafted amateur sleuths that make me want to read the first book in the series.

Vicki Goldie

Vicki lives in Poole Dorset with her blind physiotherapist husband. She has a lifelong fascination with the Art Deco period and with books of
the Golden Age of Crime. This led her to envision a series featuring a blind detective set in the 1920s.

Blind Pool is the second in the series.

She is a co-pioneer for a reading charity Read Easy Bournemouth and volunteers at The Russell Cotes
Museum in Bournemouth.

She is currently writing book three in the series Blind Haven set in Bournemouth

Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Historical Crime Fiction

Siren Sam Michaels #CoverReveal @SamMichaelsGG @Aria-Fiction @HoZ_Books #GeorginaGarrett #ganglit #HistFic #CrimeFiction #Siren

Georgina Garrett has made many enemies, but with every victory she’s only grown stronger. But it only takes one defeat to crumble an empire and is this the one that brings Georgina to her knees?

Sam Michaels returns with her bestselling Georgina Garrett series…

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Sam Michaels

Sam Michaels lives in Spain with her family and plethora of animals. Having been writing for years Siren is the fourth book in Georgina Garrett historical crime saga.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Crime Fiction

Ravishment James Walker 4*#Review The diaries of Lady Jane Tremayne #JamesWalker #TheConradPress @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalCrimeFiction #Ravishment #MondayBlogs

A 17th-century whodunnit – It’s 1653 and Lady Jane Tremayne has inherited the estate of her late husband.
When a young woman is raped, as Lady of the Manor, Jane decides to investigate, assisted by her closest friend, Lady Olivia Courtney. Then the stakes are raised when the rapist strikes again.
More than just a whodunnit, this is an absorbing tale of a brave woman living in dangerous and unique times.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Ravishment is the first in a series of historical whodunnits set in 17th Century England. Widow and landowner Lady Jane Tremayne becomes an amateur sleuth determined to find the man who ravished the daughter of one of her tenants.

The first person viewpoint gives the reader a unique insight into the 17th-century world. The well-described historical setting, political climate and society, conventions, coupled with, an inclusive writing style makes the reader part of the story.

The plot is fast-paced and suspenseful with a sense of political unrest and underlying danger for Lady Jane as she risks the wrath of the Parliamentarians in her quest for justice and the truth.

This is something a little different for readers who enjoy a whodunnit with a historical setting.

james Walker

Retired lawyer, and still active charity worker, living in Kent,with a keen interest in European history, who’s published six novels including Aliza, my love and Ravishment

My first book, Ellen’s Gold is a historical drama set in the early nineteenth century. This was followed by My Enemy, my love set in the First World War and I think he was George, a drama also set in that era. I then published Shamila, a story of  forbidden love between a Moslem and a non-Moslem, set in the near future, before in the last year publishing Ravishment, which is whodunnit, set in 17th century England. Finally, this was followed by Aliza, my love, which is set in Nazi Germany.

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

Eight Detectives Alex Pavesi 5*#Review @pavesi_alex @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #GoldenAge #BookReview #PublicationDay #EightDetectives #ThursdayThoughts

All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules. Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories: an author, hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.

But as she reads, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are things in the stories that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder, one that’s remained unsolved for thirty years.

If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary. But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .

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

My Thoughts…

Eight Detectives has stories within a story, a mathematical rather than emotional interpretation of murder mystery and an increasingly menacing atmosphere between the reclusive author and the inquiring editor. Rather like a treasure map, the short stories provide snippets of information for another as yet untold one.

Classically written, relatable murder mysteries engage the reader. The plot twists unexpectedly into a surprisingly contemporary murder mystery with psychological suspense. This is a book for the observant, are the protagonists reliable?

Eight Detectives is an absorbing and addictive read. It would make a great party game.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Crime Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland 5*#Review @22_ireland @BirlinnBooks @lovebooksgroup #SightUnseen #lovebookstours

1648. Alie Gowdie marries Richard Webster during a turbulent time in Scotland’s history. Charles I is about to lose his head, and little does Alie know that she too will meet a grisly end within the year.

2019. Sarah Sutherland is struggling to cope with the demands of her day job, caring for her elderly father and keeping tabs on her backpacking daughter. She wanted to be an archaeologist, but now in her forties, she is divorced, alone, and there seems to be no respite, no glimmer of excitement on the horizon. However, she does have a special affinity with the Kilgour Witch, Alie Gowdie, who lived in Sarah’s cottage until her execution in 1648, and Sarah likes nothing better than to retreat into a world of sorcery, spells and religious fanaticism. Her stories delight tourists as she leads them along the cobbled streets of her home town, but what really lies behind the tale of Alie Gowdie, the Kilgour Witch? Can Sarah uncover the truth in order to right a centuries-old wrong? And what else might modern-day Kilgour be hiding, just out of sight?

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

My Thoughts…

The originality is refreshing, and the story itself surprising. It’s not the plot I imagined, but Sarah Sutherland is a complex character with relatable flaws and innate intelligence. Family drama and historical crime are at the centre of this story which has unforeseen twists and dashes of the paranormal and romance.

The supporting characters are authentic and give the story depth. John, her father and Grant are good characters and their relationship with Sarah, complex. They show different facets of Sarah’s character. There is a mystery and suspense as Sarah tries to find out what happened to the women who lived in her house. She uncovers more than one historical crime and criminal elements close to home too.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Sandra Ireland was awarded a Carnegie-Cameron scholarship to study for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee, graduating with a distinction in 2014. Her work has appeared in various publications and women’s magazines. She is the author of Beneath the Skin (2016), Bone Deep (2018) and The Unmaking of Ellie Rook (2019). She lives in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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

Blackwatertown Paul Waters 4*#Review @PaulWaters99 @Unbound_Digital @RandomTTours #noircrime #CrimeFiction #NorthernIreland #Ireland #1950s #Historical #BlogTour #BookReview #Blackwatertown

When maverick police sergeant Jolly Macken is banished to the sleepy 1950s Irish border village of Blackwatertown, he vows to find the killer of his brother – even if the murderer is inside the police.

But a lot can happen in a week. Over seven days Macken falls in love, uncovers dark family secrets, accidentally starts a war and is hailed a hero and branded a traitor. When Blackwatertown explodes into violence, who can he trust?

And is betrayal the only way to survive?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The attitudes, traditions and violence of 1950s Ireland are all reflected in the first chapter of this thriller. What follows is an impactful and pacy exploration of Jolly Macken’s posting in Blackwatertown, a small border town in Ireland.

This historical noir crime novel immerses the reader in the Irish ‘troubles’. Interwoven into this adrenaline-fueled, poignant thriller are the sectarianism, split families, and the culture of silence. Humour lightens this often dark story.

Macken is an enigmatic, but relatable character. His flaws make him believable, and he earns the reader’s empathy.

Paul Waters is an award-winning BBC producer and co-presenter of the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, shortlisted for 2020 Books Podcast of the Year. Paul grew up in Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ and went on to report and produce for BBC TV and radio.

His claim to fame is making Pelé his dinner. Paul has covered US politics, created a G8 Summit in a South African township, gone undercover in Zimbabwe, conducted football crowds, reported from Swiss drug shooting-up rooms, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba and produced the World Service’s first live coverage of the 9/11 attacks on America.

He also taught in Poland, drove a cab in England, busked in Wales, was a night
club cook in New York, designed computer systems in Dublin, presented
podcasts for Germans and organised music festivals for beer drinkers. He lives
in Buckinghamshire and has two children.

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