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,

Amazon UK

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…

Amazon UK

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.

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, 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.

Amazon UK

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!

Amazon UK

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.

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

Mystery at Apple Tree Cottage (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 2) Clare Chase 4* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #BookReview #EveMallowMystery

Obituary writer and amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is enjoying life in sleepy Saxford St Peter – until a mysterious murder lands right at her door…

It’s spring in Saxford St Peter – time to get back in the garden, listen to the birds, and take gentle strolls in the woods. But for some, it’s the season for murder.

Eve Mallow is relishing the gentle pace of the village until a new arrival stirs everyone up. Ashton Foley is back: a teenage tearaway turned interior designer to the stars. He’s mad, bad and dangerous to know, but charming too – as Eve herself can testify – and every house in Saxford opens its doors to him.

So when he’s found murdered in the woods near his mother’s home, Apple Tree Cottage, there’s no shortage of suspects. A jealous husband? A spurned lover? Or has someone from his past life caught up with him?

The police soon hit on a simple solution, and arrest his mother’s partner Howard. Ashton always hated him, and he bears all the marks of a recent fight. But Ashton’s mother, miles away in New Zealand, is convinced he’s innocent and enlists Eve’s help to prove it.

There’s just one problem. Eve saw Howard sniffing around Apple Tree Cottage on the morning of the murder, and she’s fairly sure he’s guilty, too…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Despite living in London for years American Eve fits effortlessly into the little Sussex coastal village she calls home. Working in the village cafe for her friend Viv and writing obituaries she is enjoying the slower pace of life. The downside is she attracts murder and has a unique talent for solving them. It’s lovely to reacquaint, with characters introduced in book one, but this is a complete mystery and reads as a standalone.

When Ashton returns to the village, reformed and rich, there’s something about him that unsettles Eve. The victim has a chequered past and is a player, the possible suspects are many, including the person the police arrest.

Eve asked to help by Ashton’s mother uses her communication and observation skills to good effect. The plot is fast-paced with subtle twists. The characters are complex and suit the cosy mystery ethos.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Sunshine Over BlueBell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #cozymystery #UpLit #Romance #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview.

A place to make your dreams come true…

Clara King is left in sole charge of a fabulous new clifftop hotel for the summer. The owner has barely left the country when Clara realises that someone is hell-bent on putting the Bluebell Cliff out of business.

It becomes a race against time to hunt down the sneaky saboteur before they succeed in bringing the hotel to its knees.

​Meanwhile, Clara’s family is in crisis following her Grandfather’s affair. 

​With her dream job under threat and her personal life in chaos, Clara discovers when what you love the most is in danger it can bring out the very best in you.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The perfect book to curl up with and escape. A lovely coastal setting, intriguing cozy mystery and gentle romance, beset with conflict. Clara copes with running an inspirational hotel, family dramas at every turn and some sinister goings-on, which threaten the hotel’s reputation.

This story has a beautifully described setting that makes you want to say there. Full of vivid imagery reading this is a pleasure for the senses. Authentically created characters hide problems and secrets. The mystery is well written and gives the story added depth.

Besieged with conflict, somehow the romance triumphs and the ending is uplifting and satisfying.

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of 15 books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Friendship, Romantic Comedy

The Cornish Confetti Agency Daisy James 5* #Review @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Cornwall #Weddings #WeddingPlanner #Events #CozyMystery #Journalist #UpLit #TheCornishConfettiAgency

The first in a new sun-filled series from the author of the Villa Limoncello trilogy.

Welcome to The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When the grand finale of Lexie Harrington’s catwalk show ends with a disastrous twist on the ‘ice bucket challenge’, she knew her highly-strung boss would fire her on the spot. What she wasn’t expecting was to bump into her fiancé cosied up with an attractive blonde in the restaurant opposite their apartment!

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, Lexie flees to her childhood home of St Ives to hold the fort at The Cornish Confetti Agency for her best friend Freya, leader of the yummy mummy network and firm believer in ‘happily ever afters’. Little did she know that delivering a Caribbean-themed wedding in sunny Cornwall would rival the fashion industry for drama, tantrums and mysterious goings on.

Who is responsible for dousing the bridesmaid’s dress with tomato ketchup? Or hiding the bride’s beloved Jimmy Choos? Or attaching googly eyes to everything in sight?

The perfect Cornish wedding? Is there such a thing for The Cornish Confetti Agency?

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

My Thoughts…

There’s a little bit of everything in this lovely uplit romantic comedy. Lexie is not having the best of times. Her career is imploding, and her love life is following, so she runs back to Cornwall, to regroup.

The Cornish Confetti Agency seems to be the lifeline she needs, Weddings are happy occasions so arranging them should be too? Unfortunately not, and what follows is a lovely story full of impending disaster, laughter and a slow, sizzling romance.

The plot has a cozy mystery vibe, as Lexie and the hot local journalist try to find out the source of the problems affecting the agency. The romance is gentle, but they are so well suited, you want them to take a chance.

Written in an easy to read style, full of visual imagery, it’s a sensual feast in addition to a lovely rom-com read, perfect escapism.

Daisy James

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter or on Instagram.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Death in Smoke Barbara Elle 3* #Review @barbaraelleauth #TheCapeMysteries @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours #Mystery #MurderMystery #cozymystery #psychological #Suspense #BookReview #BlogTour #WednesdayMotivation

She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snowbank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?

Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart. 

As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test. 

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder. 

She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.

Amazon UK

Goodreads

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

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

My Thoughts…

All the attributes of a murder mystery with the added dimension of psychological insight into the main protagonist. This story has a dramatic setting, eclectic characters, dry humour, and grisly murders. Leila, an artist, and amateur sleuth is a complex, relatable character.

Interesting twists enliven a simple, gently paced plot characterised by conflict and danger. This story is a fusion of cozy murder mystery and psychological suspense, character-driven, with a good sense of place and time.

Barbara Elle

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories. 

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

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

Burying Bad News Paula Williams 4* #Review #Much Winchmoor Mysteries @PaulaWilliams44 @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #cozymystery #MurderMystery #VillageLife #Somerset

One severed head, two warring neighbours – and a cold-blooded killer stalks Much Winchmoor. There’s the murder made to look like a tragic accident, and a missing husband. Could he be victim number two?

The tiny Somerset village is fast gaining a reputation as the murder capital of the West Country, and once again, reporter/barmaid/dog walker Kat Latcham finds herself reluctantly dragged into the investigation.

Things are looking bad for Ed Fuller, the husband of one of Kat’s oldest friends. Kat’s convinced he’s innocent – but she’s been wrong before.

Has Kat come across her biggest challenge yet?

Fans of Janet Evanovich could well enjoy this “funky, modern day nosey detective” transported to the English countryside. The third Much Winchmoor mystery is, as always, spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Much Winchmoor, is a quirky, country village in Somerset. It’s full of eccentric, gossipy characters, and more murders than you would expect in such a sleepy village. This is the third in the series, but there is sufficient narrative on the inhabitants, for it to be enjoyed as a standalone read.

The characters are relatable. The picturesque setting at odds with the heinous crimes. The insights into village life are astute and accurate. The plot has a multitude of suspects and false leads and an intelligent, likeable and an unlikely amateur sleuth. This is a winning mix, for an English murder mystery, and it works well here.

Paula Williams

Paula Williams is living her dream.  She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her various plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it and she has sold over 400 short stories and serials both in the UK and overseas.

Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, UK, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  She still writes for magazines but now writes novels as well.  She is currently writing the Much Winchmoor series of murder mysteries, set in a village not unlike the one she lives in –  although as far as she knows, none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies.

A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature  a murder or two, and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.

She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum.  And she blogs about her books, other people’s books and, quite often, Dalmatians at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com. 

She gives talks on writing at writing festivals and to organised groups and has appeared several times of local radio.  In fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.

But, as with all dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.

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