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

Killing The Story Joan Livingston 4*#Review @joanlivingston @darkstrokedark The Isabel Long Mystery Series @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #coldcase #BookReview #BlogTour #KillingTheStory

An accidental death that was no accident…

For the record, Estelle Crane, the gutsy editor of The Observer newspaper, died after a hard fall on ice. But years later, her son discovers a cryptic note hinting her death might not have been an accident after all.

Was Estelle pursuing a big story that put her life in danger?

That’s what Isabel Long — along with her 93-year-old mother, Maria, her ‘Watson’ — agrees to investigate in Dillard, a town whose best days are in the past.

A former journalist, Isabel follows leads and interviews sources, new and familiar. She quickly finds a formidable threat in Police Chief James Hawthorne, who makes it clear Isabel is not welcome in his town — and who warns her against poking her nose into Estelle’s death.

Of course, that’s after Isabel has discovered the chief’s questionable policing and a troubled history with Estelle that goes way back.

Killing the story means dropping it because there aren’t enough facts to back it up. But Isabel won’t make that mistake. She’ll see this one through to the very end.

Can she uncover the plot that led to Estelle’s murder?

Killing the Story is the fourth in the popular Isabel Long Mystery Series. 

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

My Thoughts…

Even though this is the fourth book, in the Isabel Long Mystery series it’s the first I’ve read, and there’s sufficient backstory for this to read as a standalone. Isabel, a former journalist, specialises in solving cold cases, in the area of North Massachusetts where she lives. Her fourth case concerns a former Editor of a small-town paper.

The characters are quirky, and the small-town dynamic is believable. The plot has twists and false leads. The investigative team comprises Isabel and her mother, and these two give the story a unique perspective.

If you enjoy cosy and murder mystery this unusual, and original series should appeal to you.

Jaon Livingstone

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Killing the Story, published by Darkstroke Books, is the fourth in her Isabel Long Mystery Series, featuring a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. solving cold cases in rural New England.

She draws upon her own experience as a longtime journalist in Massachusetts and New Mexico to create Isabel Long, a sassy, savvy widow who uses the skills she acquired in the business to solve what appears to be impossible cases. She also relies on her deep knowledge of rural Western Massachusetts, where she lives, to create realistic characters and settings — from country bars (where Isabel works part-time) to a general store’s backroom where gossipy old men meet.

She credits her mother, Algerina — the inspiration for Maria, Isabel Long’s ‘Watson’ — for instilling in her a love of reading and the power of the written word.

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

Who Killed Patrick? Syl Water 4*#Review @waters_syl @rararesources #cozymystery #CrimeFiction #MondayBlogs #WhoKilledPatrick

Sun, sea and… murder in Fuerteventura!

Boring. Going nowhere. That was Tarah’s life in the UK, before she moved to Fuerteventura to start a new adventure. But things came unstuck quicker than she’d planned. A dead guest on the holiday complex she manages threatens to pull apart her hoped-for dream life.

If she wants to keep her job and save the reputation of the business, she’s got to find out what happened to Patrick. Did he die of natural causes – or was he murdered?

Tarah’s pet guinea pig, Mr Bob, has a knack for sniffing out trouble and he suspects foul play. The mission is on: Who Killed Patrick?

With the assistance of Mr Bob and Diego, a local plumber, Tarah turns amateur sleuth to find out the truth.

Can Tarah and Mr Bob find the murderer before it’s too late? Will they be able to save the business and protect their blissful new life?

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

My Thoughts…

An engaging amateur sleuth, lovely holiday setting and a cute but intelligent sidekick make this a great cosy mystery. It’s quirky, especially the investigation team but with a well-thought mystery.

There’s a good dynamic with her friends in Fuerteventura, especially Diego the local plumber and fellow sleuth. I always enjoyed the ‘Cat Who Mysteries’, and the uncanny sense Koko and Yum Yum had for crime detection. Mr Bob has similar intuitiveness, and this promises to be an intriguing series.

Most people know crazy cat ladies are a ‘thing’, but I’m a proud crazy guinea pig lady! I love fun in the sun and plenty of cocktails. My happy place is flip flops. I write stories to keep me company – my characters ensure I’m never lonely and always smiling (when I’m not tearing my hair out!)

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

Murder Ahoy! Fiona Leitch 5*#Review @fkleitch #Cozymystery #murdermystery #cruiseship #humour #crimefiction #MurderAhoy @rararesources #ABellaTysonMystery #BlogTour #BookReview

Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world – the Big Apple.

She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up – as well as fake not-really-dead bodies – Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.

Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?

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

My Thoughts…

I always enjoy a good murder mystery, and this is one that captures my imagination. Bella Tyson is a successful crime writer hired to host a murder mystery event on a first-class cruise ship from England to New York. Things do not work out as envisaged, and she embroiled in a real murder mystery as the main suspect.

This story fits well into the cosy mystery genre with vibrant but believable characters, all of whom could be guilty of murder. There are clues along the way as Bella tries to identify the real murderer and clear her name before they reach New York.

Bella is a lovely character with a witty sense of humour that lightens the darkness of the plot and her current situation. Sensory imagery, engages the reader in the plot and setting, on a luxurious cruise ship. The ending ties everything up in a satisfying way.

I like the informal writing style in the first person letting the reader share Bella’s emotions and investigative thoughts. It allows the reader insight into the amateur sleuth’s mind, making it an immersive experience, and a great escapist read.

Fiona Leitch

Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.

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

Death Remembered K.E.Coburn 4*#Review #ASleuthingClubMystery @KeCoburn @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #1950s #VillageLife #historical #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

Summer 1952.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

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

My Thoughts…

This 1950s village is the perfect setting for a naive but intelligent amateur sleuth and a slew of nasty letters and murder. Charity, the vicar’s daughter is desperate to leave the quiet village where she lives, nothing ever happens. The highlight of her week is the sleuthing club where they discuss crime fiction. Then her lovely father received a poison pen letter, and she decides to find out who has sent them.

Murder makes the investigation a police matter. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Charity has a tense relationship with the police detective that you suspect may improve with acquaintance and results. Full of clues, false leads and suspects this engaging story reflects the characters, society and village life in the 1950s well.

This first book is an entertaining and promising start to the Sleuthing Club series.

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on social media

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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!

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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, Family Drama, Murder Mystery

Murder At Enderley Hall Helena Dixon 5*#Review #AMissUnderhayMystery @NellDixon @bookouture #cozymystery #MurderMystery #1930s

An escape to the country… ends in death.

Summer 1933. Fresh from the discovery that she has family living nearby, Kitty Underhay has packed her carpet bag, commandeered a chambermaid and set off on a visit to stately Enderley Hall. She’s looking forward to getting to know her relatives, as well as the assembled group of house guests. But when elderly Nanny Thoms is found dead at the bottom of the stairs after papers of national importance are stolen, Kitty quickly learns that Muffy the dog’s muddy paws on her hemline are the least of her problems.

Calling on ex-army captain Matthew Bryant for assistance, Kitty begins to puzzle out the mystery. And when more shocking murders follow, the stakes are raised for the daring duo as never before. Which of the guests stand to gain from the theft of the documents? And which, as the week progresses, stand to lose their lives?

A charming cozy historical murder mystery that fans of Agatha Christie,

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

My Thoughts…

The second book in the Miss Underhay mysteries lives up to the promise of Murder At The Dolphin Hotel. Kitty accepts an invitation to stay with her newly discovered family not sure if she’ll fit into their upper-class society.

The upstairs-downstairs ethos adds ambience to the historical setting with the sharp class divide evident to Kitty. Theft leads to a suspicious death, and Kitty calls her partner Matthew to help the police investigate. Kitty’s overt role in the investigation is subservient in keeping with the era, but her intelligence and perception make her the star player.

Kitty stumbles upon further clues to her mother’s disapperance with dangerous consequences. Courageous and a little foolhardy, she takes risks to solve the case.

Kitty is an engaging amateur sleuth in a historically authentic murder mystery.

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

Murder On The Downs Julie Wassmer 5* #Review Whitstable Pearl Mystery @JulieWassmer @LittleBrownUK @RandomTTours #BlogTour #Book Review #MurderOnTheDowns #RandomThingsTours #TuesdayMorning #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayMotivation

A controversial new property development is planned in Whitstable which will encroach upon the green open space of the downs, to the dismay of Whitstable residents who view this as the thin end of the wedge with regard to local wildlife conservation.

A campaign springs into life, spearheaded by a friend of Pearl’s family, Martha Laker. A committed environmentalist, Martha is no stranger to controversy herself. She has also managed to divide opinion across town, with the locals viewing her as their fearless champion while establishment figures seeing only an interfering agitator.

Tensions escalate between the developers and Whitstable residents, straining Pearl’s close relationship with London-born police officer, DCI Mike McGuire, who harbours concerns that the local campaign will spiral out of control. Pearl’s loyalties are torn, but the protest duly goes ahead – and newspaper headlines claim a moral victory for the residents in this David and Goliath battle.

But the victory is short lived when Pearl discovers a dead body on the downs…

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

My Thoughts…

How have I missed this series? It has complex characters that bring the story to life and an authentic coastal setting. The murder mystery plot has many suspects and twists and a contemporary edge to it.

Pearl is a restauranter and private investigator who lives in Whitstable in Kent. Her relationship with McGuire, a Detective Chief Inspector, is challenging but rewarding. The family dynamics are believable, and there’s a host of supporting characters, who bring the story to life.

The author’s use of sensual imagery makes the characters, location and story easy to imagine and the story enjoyable.

This is another series that I will be seeking out.

Julie Wassmer

“Julie Wassmer was born in the East End of London, studied at Kingston University and had a variety of different jobs before she finally settled down to become a professional television drama writer.

She worked on several TV series, including ITV’s London’s Burning, C5’s Family Affairs and the popular BBC soap, EastEnders, which she wrote for almost 20 years.

In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True. The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year.

In 2015, Julie’s debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by award-winning publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. Six other books have since followed in the series with more on the way, and the television rights to the series have been optioned by the TV production company, Buccaneer, the makers of Marcella, starring Anna Friel.

Julie moved to Whitstable twenty years ago where she shares a home with her husband, Kas, and three cats, Charlie, Lily and Maisie. She also spends a great deal of time campaigning on environmental issues.

Murder on the Downs is the seventh book in the Whitstable Pearl Mystery series.

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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.

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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, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery

A Village Murder Frances Evesham 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @FrancesEvesham #AHamHillMurderMystery @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #villagelife #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #AVillageMurder #BookReview #Somerset #RachelsRandomResources #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayMotivation

An English village can be deadly, when your past catches up with you…


In the beautiful rural Somerset village of Lower Hembrow, crammed full with English eccentrics, something is amiss…

Landscape gardener Imogen Bishop has spent the last thirty years trying to forget one fateful school night but when her estranged husband Greg Bishop is found dead in the grounds of her fathers Georgian hotel, danger threatens to overwhelm her.

Retired police officer Adam Hennessey, hoping for a peaceful life running his traditional Somerset country pub, finds himself drawn into the unfolding drama in the hotel across the road.

Imogen, Adam and Harley the stray dog form an unlikely partnership as they try to untangle a knot of secrets, solve a murder mystery, and bring a killer to justice.

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

My Thoughts…

I have to admit that cosy and murder mystery is my ultimate escapist read. This first book in ‘A Ham Hill Murder Mystery has an engaging village ethos, authentic characters and an intriguing murder mystery plot.

The mystery plot is layered and full of twists. The main protagonists are relatable and easy to like. The dog is the star of the show for me. The dynamic between Adam and Imogen is believable and promises to be a gripping series.

The rural setting contains all the recognisable village nuances. The people are equal parts nosy and supportive.

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. Boldwood plan to republish the complete series with the next new instalment due in Autumn 2020.  Frances is also starting a new cosy crime series set in rural Herefordshire with thefirst title being published in June 2020.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Friendship

Black Rock Manor Shaun Baines 4*#Review @Littlehavenfarm #CozyMystery #Northumberland #AHollyFleetMystery #BookReview #WeekendReads #BlackRockManor

When Holly Fleet returns to her home village of Little Belton, she expects it to be there.

Arcadia Leisure, a corporation led by an eccentric outsider, buys Black Rock Manor and wants to build a theme park in the heart of Northumberland’s countryside. Houses will be demolished and livelihoods will be lost.

Holly’s cottage may be rundown, but she doesn’t want it to be replaced by a log flume.

A local resident protests and goes missing. Another resident is attacked. While Little Belton holds its breath, frightened to see who might be next, Holly decides to defend her home.

Enlisting the help of Callum Acres, a handsome, young gamekeeper, Holly investigates Arcadia Leisure and discovers secrets the village would like to keep quiet.

If Little Belton is to survive, its residents must work together before Holly’s fresh start becomes a dead end.

Black Rock Manor is the first mystery in the Holly Fleet series. If you like surprising stories, a fast pace and lovable characters, you’ll enjoy the twists and turns of this People’s Book Prize listed author.

Explore the mysterious world of Black Rock Manor today!

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

My Thoughts…

This is a cosy mystery novel with contemporary themes, relatable characters and a lovely Northumberland setting. Holly returns to Northumberland with financial and marriage problems to find her home village is also struggling to survive. It has a complex, engaging plot which keeps you guessing and an unexpected ending.