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.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery

Dressed to Kill Kathleen Delaney 4* #Review #AMaryMcGillCanineMysteryBook @severnhouse @kdkoppang #CozyMystery #USA #AmateurSleuth #SmallTown #BookReview

Mary McGill and her cocker spaniel Millie get the fright of their lives on Halloween when they hear gunshots coming from the bank and the robber, dressed in a clown costume, points his gun at them before fleeing the scene. Mary is horrified when she discovers Police Chief Dan Dunham has been shot in the shoulder and a woman has been killed. Why would the clown shoot an ordinary citizen?
Mary soon learns that the victim is Victoria Witherspoon, a local woman who owned a sewing shop and must have recognised the clown costume – because she made it herself. With Dan in hospital and unable to investigate, can Mary and Millie unmask the savage killer clown before he strikes again? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts

An engaging cozy mystery, set in a small town. This is the fourth book in the series, but the mystery is standalone. Mary McGill and her dog are amateur sleuths with a notable success rate, there are plenty of small-town values and ethos in this story, which will appeal to those who like this genre. The mystery is well-written, with plenty of suspects, and false leads, and all the loose ends are neatly tied up at the story’s conclusion.

Mary is a likeable detective, who uses her local contacts and knowledge to solve the crimes. The animals are important characters and give this story, a wider appeal.

If you enjoy North American small town cozy mystery, this is a perfect read.

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

The Case of the Reincarnated Client Tarquin Hall 4*Review @severnhouse @tarquinhall #VishPuri #India #Detective @rararesources #cozymystery #MurderMystery #BlogTour #BookReview #RachelsRandomResources

#TheCaseoftheReincarnatedClient

When a young woman comes forward saying she’s the reincarnation of Riya Kaur, a wife and mother who vanished during the bloody 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Puri is dismissive. He’s busy enough dealing with an irate matrimonial client whose daughter is complaining about her groom’s thunderous snoring.  Puri’s indomitable Mummy-ji, however, is adamant the client is genuine. How else could she so accurately describe under hypnosis Riya Kaur’s life and final hours?

Driven by a sense of duty – the original case was his late father’s – Puri manages to acquire the police file only to find that someone powerful has orchestrated a cover-up. Forced into an alliance with his mother that tests his beliefs and high blood pressure as never before, it’s only by delving into the past the help of his reincarnated client that Puri can hope to unlock the truth.

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#TheCaseoftheReincarnatedClient #BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

A charming cozy mystery, set in India, with a charismatic detective, whose life is constantly invaded by his Mummy-ji, who knows her son well. She is happy to manipulate him for her ends. A clever woman, observant, well-connected and a natural investigator, she is effectively a silent partner in the private detective firm.

Indian customs and society are integral to the story, and historic events are also included, which add interest to the plot. The cast of characters is eclectic and enigmatic and gives this story its quirky appeal. There are several cases to be investigated, but it is the one Puri wants to ignore that proves the most absorbing and challenging.

This is the fifth book in the series, but it is possible to read as a standalone, as I did. However, series like these are always worth reading from the beginning.

At times humorous and often poignant, this is a well-written mystery with a memorable detective, a diverse set of cases and a distinctive cultural ethos.

Tarquin Hall
Image Credit -: Tom Pietrasik

Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has previously lived in the USA, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Turkey. He now divides his time between the UK and India and is married to BBC reporter and presenter Anu Anand. He is the author of four previous Vish Puri mysteries and The Delhi Detective’s Handbook. Twitter.

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

Died and Gone to Devon T. P. Fielden 4*#Review @HQStories @TPFielden1 #BlogTour #MissDimontMystery #MurderMystery #CozyMystery #DiedandGonetoDevon #BookReview

#DiedandGonetoDevon

X marks the spot for murder…

In the seaside town of Temple Regis, seagulls are wheeling overhead and the holidays are getting close. And then the body of political candidate Odile Clifford is discovered on the balcony of the lighthouse.

Fearless Riviera Express reporter Judy Dimont goes in search of the killer – but who is it? And where will they strike next?

What’s more, Judy’s position as chief reporter is under threat when her editor takes on hot-shot journalist David Renishaw, whose work is just too good to be true.

Life is busier than ever for Devon’s most famous detective. Can Judy solve the mystery – and protect her position as Temple Regis’s best reporter – before the murderer strikes again?

Amazon UK

#HQBloggers

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

My Thoughts…

The retro 1950s ethos of this story intrigued me, so even though I have not read the earlier books in the series I decided to go for it.

The pacing is slow and the plot complex. The characters are in keeping with the time, and have lots of idiosyncracies that make the setting more realistic.

The team dynamics are difficult to grasp reading this far into the series,but the murder mystery is complete.

Miss Dimont is a reporter and amateur sleuth, with a mysterious background. She is astute and has a keen sense of humour.

The Devon setting and the name of the newspaper she works for make the inspiration for the series easy to guess. The fifties was a heyday for this part of Devon.

The visual writing style makes it easy for the reader to imagine the scenes, and adds to the atmospheric plot.

If you can read the series from the beginning it will be more enjoyable. If not immerse yourself in the historic ambience and enjoy the clever, coastal cozy mystery.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery

The Manor House Murder Faith Martin 5*#Review @FaithMartin_Nov @JoffeBooks #MurderMystery #CozyMystery #MonicaNoble #BookReview

THE WEEKEND TURN MURDEROUS Monica Noble and her husband Graham, the local vicar, are invited to participate in a high-flying church conference being held at a swanky manor-house hotel in their village. At the Saturday night dinner, the ambitious female cleric Celia Gordon tragically dies, seemingly of a peanut allergy. But when Chief Superintendent Jason Dury arrives on the scene he quickly discovers that it’s a case of murder. And Monica’s husband is the prime suspect. Other suspects include an eminent bishop, an archdeacon viciously opposed to female clergy, and his wife, the curator of a local museum, who is definitely up to something. But if Monica is to find out who killed Celia, and free her husband from suspicion, she must grapple with a very ruthless — and increasingly desperate — killer, putting herself and those around her in mortal danger. This is the third of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with great characters and baffling crimes which will keep you gripped till the final page.

MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Another chapter in Monica Noble’s amateur detective investigations. This one is a little different to the previous two; It takes time to set the scene, with a long prologue, it soon draws in a cast of characters attending a conference for clerics at a manor- house hotel close to Graham Noble’s parish.

There is much back-biting among the clerics, many of whom are ambitious, female clerics also feature and these are the subject of some male derision because of the status they have achieved. This story deals with the ongoing battle of women in the church, and echos the battles of women everywhere to further their careers. The victim appears to be the subject of many people’s dislike, and her previous relationship with Graham Noble, bring him and Monica right into the centre of this murder mystery.

Monica and detective Jason’s relationship is an interesting dimension to this story, and it seems they may be on opposite sides for the first time since they met. Sub-plots give unlikely individuals possible motives for murder, besides, those who have a more obvious motive.

The story picks up pace in the final half and ends fittingly for this type of murder mystery. An enjoyable way to spend a Winter’s afternoon.

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

The Missing Diamond Murder Diane Janes 3*#Review #ABlackandDodMystery @severnhouse #DianeJanes #MurderMystery #CozyMystery #HistoricalFiction #CrimeFiction

#TheMissingDiamondMurder

Frances Black leaves her domestic worries behind and travels to Devon to solve a family mystery featuring a suspicious death and a missing diamond.

1930. Frances Black is worried – divorce proceedings are underway and her solicitor has learnt of a spiteful letter sent to the court claiming that there is more to her friendship with her sleuthing partner, Tom Dod than meets the eye.

Fran takes Tom’s advice to get away, travelling down to Devon to help the Edgertons with their family mystery. After meeting the charismatic Eddie Edgerton and arriving at their residence, Sunnyside House, Fran soon learns that Eddie’s grandfather, Frederick Edgerton, died in mysterious circumstances when his wheelchair went off a cliff. Was it really an accident? And what happened to Frederick’s precious diamond which went missing at the time of his death? As Fran investigates, she uncovers family scandal, skulduggery and revenge, but can she solve the mystery of the missing diamond?

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

My Thoughts…

This is the third book in the Black and Dod mystery series, and the first I’ve read. This book reads as a standalone, The mystery is solved within the pages of this story, but I did feel I was missing out on the connection between the two main characters.

This story puts one half of the sleuthing duo at the helm. Frances heads to Devon, to avoid jeopardising her long-awaited and much-needed divorce and becomes a temporary house guest at a lovely country house in Devon. The 1930s setting and the upper-class elegance puts you in mind of Agatha Christie’s novels.

The family are mostly charming, and Fran finds she is the subject of one family member’s admiration. The mystery is two-fold, auspiciously she is invited to solve the riddle of the missing diamond, but a recent death occurred at the same time and she questions whether the two are connected.

I found the pacing a little slow, but the mystery is clever, and there is darkness hiding beneath the household’s lighthearted ethos, which gives the story depth. If possible read the series in order, and you will become familiar with the writing style and pace.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery

The Flower Show Murder Faith Martin 5*#Review @JoffeBooks @Faith Martin_Nov #murdermystery #MonicaNobleMystery #VicarsWife #The Cotswolds #The FlowerShowMurder #cozymystery

#TheFlowerShowMurder

SMELL THE ROSES AND DIE!

Monica Noble is thrilled to be asked to judge a neighbouring village’s flower show, even if she can’t tell a begonia from an azalea! Her fellow judge Vicar James Davies inhales deeply from a large bloom and drops dead in the tent. At first, everyone thinks he’s had a heart attack, but the doctor on hand is suspicious and calls in the police. A second murder quickly follows, this time of one of the main suspects. Monica must help the Chief Inspector Jason Dury to solve the two murders and find the killer —fast before anyone else pays the ultimate price.

This is the second of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with great characters and baffling crimes which will keep you gripped till the final page

MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is, until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.

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

My Thoughts…

Like all good murder mystery, this begins with the introduction of numerous characters, possible reasons for them to dislike each other, and careful setting of the murder scene. It is part of the charm of this genre, and the Monica Noble mystery series does this so well.

The setting at a village flower shower is atmospheric and true to life, the sense of community, gossiping and rivalry are perfect, as the reader tries to work out who is going to be the victim. This story has a good twist at an early stage, and the reader immediately has to pursue two strands of investigation.

The familiar set of regular characters are beautifully written, Graham, the kind, handsome vicar, who dotes on his younger, loving wife Monica, Carol Anne the rebellious teenager, who always has an angle, or a new project, but is pleasantly naive, and still in need of her mother’s guidance. Then there is the enigmatic DCI Jason Dury, who dislikes the inconvenient chemistry between the well-like vicar’s wife and himself. The frisson of desire simmers under the surface, there but barely acknowledged.

The murder has a techno criminal aspect, and many suspects, and motives, it makes pleasurable reading and challenging investigating for lovers of whodunnit mystery. The characters and setting are vividly portrayed and easy to visualise, this would make a wonderful TV show.

Another engaging adventure for the Vicar and his clever wife.