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?

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

Death at the Dance Verity Bright 4* #Review A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book @BrightVerity @bookouture #Historical #1920s #cozymystery #MurderMystery #ALadyEleanorSwiftMystery #BookReview

A masked ball, a dead body, a missing diamond necklace and a suspicious silver candlestick? Sounds like a case for Lady Eleanor Swift!

England, 1920. Lady Eleanor Swift, adventurer extraordinaire and reluctant amateur detective, is taking a break from sleuthing. She’s got much bigger problems: Eleanor has two left feet, nothing to wear and she’s expected at the masked ball at the local manor. Her new beau Lance Langham is the host, so she needs to dazzle.

Surrounded by partygoers with painted faces, pirates, priests and enough feathers to drown an ostrich, Eleanor searches for a familiar face. As she follows a familiar pair of long legs up a grand staircase, she’s sure she’s on Lance’s trail. But she opens the door on a dreadful scene: Lance standing over a dead Colonel Puddifoot, brandishing a silver candlestick, the family safe wide open and empty.

Moments later, the police burst in and arrest Lance for murder, diamond theft and a spate of similar burglaries. But Eleanor is convinced her love didn’t do it, and with him locked up in prison, she knows she needs to clear his name.

Something Lance lets slip about his pals convinces Eleanor the answer lies close to home. Accompanied by her faithful sidekick Gladstone the bulldog, she begins with Lance’s friends – a set of fast driving, even faster drinking, high-society types with a taste for mischief. But after they start getting picked off in circumstances that look a lot like murder, Eleanor is in a race against time to clear Lance’s name and avoid another brush with death…

A tremendously fun cozy whodunnit, full of mystery, murder and intrigue!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This cosy mystery is full of vivid imagery it’s characters, conversation and setting all draw the reader into the 1920s, from the first page. Historically authentic characters and an engaging mystery plot make this an enjoyable read.

Events and people, in the wrong place, may seem insignificant, but they might not be. So if you are trying to solve the murder mystery be observant. The story is well-paced and not hampered by the impressive amount of character and historical detail.

This story is the second in the series but reads well as a standalone. Eleanor is a likeable amateur sleuth, and there is a diverse cast of characters that make reading the first book in the series a good idea too.

Despite the murders, this story captures the frivolity of the 1920s. It largely ignores the aftermath of the great war in keeping with the attitude of the bright young things that epitomised the period.

This mystery interlude is irreverent and irresistible a fun way to escape for a few hours.

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

Under the Guise of Death / An Exhibition of Murder – Vivian Conroy 5*#Reviews @VivWrites @canelo_co #AMurderWillFollow #cozymystery #MurderMystery #BookReview #MondayBlogs #MurderMonday

In the City of Masks, deadly secrets are about to be revealed…

While attending a lavish masked ball in Venice, retired Scotland Yard detective Jasper has a shock when, at the midnight demasqué, he spots a woman whose accidental death he investigated in England three years ago.

Even more stunned than Jasper is the woman’s husband, Lord Bantham, who has since remarried, not to mention his new wife who sees her acquired position and wealth slip away. Then there are her old friends who all seem to have known more about the ‘accident’ than they ever let on.

When the resurrected lady is found dead the next morning on one of Venice’s many bridges, the question is: who wanted Lady Bantham to die, again?

The third book in the Murder Will Follow series.

Amazon UK

Former Scotland Yard investigator Jasper is back on the case, this time in the glamorous and cultured city of Vienna.


The opening of an archaeological exhibition brings with it intrigue and evil as a fabled cursed golden death mask lives up to its dark past and death strikes at the exhibition. While digging up pieces of history, these archaeologists have also been burying secrets – deadly ones – and it’s up to Jasper to uncover the truth before the murderer strikes again.
 


With a nosy journalist desperate to breathe life into the rumour that the mask brings bad luck to anyone possessing it, and the police eager to blame a famous cat burglar who recently pulled off a string of daring robberies, Jasper is on his own in bringing the true culprit to light. 

The fourth book in the Murder Will Follow series.

I received copies of these books from Canelo via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

My Thoughts…

Set in atmospheric and dramatic Venice Jasper finds himself embroiled in another murder investigation. The drama takes place at an iconic masked ball closely followed a death.

There are many people with a motive for murder and Jasper painstakingly investigates all of them, in his imitable style. The 1920’s setting is vibrant, and the cast of characters secretive and vividly portrayed. The plot is complex full of misinformation and twists that keep you guessing.

This Agatha Christie-style mystery has all the ingredients glamorous golden age setting, complex characters with realistic motivations for murder and an enigmatic detective who outwits them all.

The latest book, in the murder, will follow series, is set in Vienna at an archaeological exhibition. This is a complex noir mystery, involving a cursed mask and a deeply disturbed mind. There is a menacing feel to this story. Is the mask cursed? Or is this something the murder is perpetuating to cover their crimes?

Jasper is personally involved. He promised to protect the victim who dies this guilt spurs him on to solve the mystery. The vividly described historical setting gives the story an authentic ambience that makes it enjoyable.

A complex mystery eerie ethos and a well-orchestrated investigation make this another success for the enigmatic Jasper.

Read my reviews of A Honeymoon With Death and A Testament To Murder by clicking on the links.

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

A Fatal Truth Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #BlogTour #RyderandLoveday #AFatalTruth

As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
 
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
 
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
 
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…
 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The fifth book in the ‘Ryder and Loveday Mystery’ series, ‘A Fatal Truth’ captures the 1960s perfectly. The mystery is a standalone but to appreciate the partnership between coroner Ryder and police officer Loveday read the previous books in the series.

Loveday’s confidence needs a boost, at the beginning of this story, and she’s apprehensive about working with Ryder again. The story portrays the misogyny prevalent in the 1960s’ police force showing that intelligence and solving crimes aren’t enough for women to succeed.

The story relies on observation and astute detection skills rather than forensics and technology. The clever plot has authentic characters and dialogue. The character development of Loveday is notable and contrasts with Ryder’s ailing health. There is a feeling of the end drawing near for this enigmatic partnership.