Posted in Book Review, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Fatal End Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1963 #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #RyderandLoveday #AFatalEnd

Oxford, 1963
In a backstreet club, people dance the night away to their favourite band. But behind the scenes, there is trouble afoot. An argument is brewing between bandmembers, two possessive girlfriends have plans for their partners, the club manager is creaming off profits – and a tragic accident leaves the lead singer dead.

But was it an accident at all? Coroner Clement Ryder is suspicious, and WPC Trudy Loveday knows there’s only one thing for it. She’s going undercover, deep into the seedy underbelly of Oxford nightlife.

Meanwhile, Clement’s own secret is becoming increasingly difficult to keep hidden, and discovering the singer’s murderer might not be the only shock in store for Trudy…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

There is a sense of finality about this eighth book in the Ryder and Loveday series. Clement Ryder’s Parkinson’s disease is progressing, meaning retiring from his role as the coroner is inevitable. However, WPC Trudy Loveday still doesn’t know, and he hopes they can have the last case together before she does. A suspicious accident at a notorious nightclub raises Clement’s suspicions and manages to convince the local police that further investigation is merited.

The dynamic between Trudy and Clement remains strong and is one of the best things about this series. Vincent, Clement’s son, is also featured, adding an extra frisson to the story, especially for Trudy. The case is complex, and the cast of believably flawed suspects keep the reader guessing. The vibrantly portrayed sense of place and time adds authenticity, and the ending is dramatic and satisfying.

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

Miss Aldridge Regrets Louise Hare 4*#Review @LouRHare @HQStories #murdermystery #histfic #BookReview #BlogTour #London #socialhistory #political #AtlanticCrossing #NewYork #1930s #1936 #crimefiction #historicalcrimefiction #MissAldridgeRegrets

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. 
 
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in the classic age of murder mystery, the Atlantic crossing aboard a luxury liner provides the setting for a locked room mystery. The murder mystery is only one aspect of this multilayered novel that explores the social history of the time evocatively, mainly centring on class, politics, and race.

Lena’s career has not developed despite her obvious talent and tenacity. London in 1936 is rife with prejudice and extreme politics making Lena’s position precarious. An offer of a role in New York comes at the right time. Possibly implicated in a murder leaving town seems the best option for Lena. Life on the luxury liner is not what she imagined as beneath the glamour, danger, deceit, and depravity simmer, waiting to destroy her.

I like how the social-historical issues explored give this story a literary fiction feel. Interwoven with the well-written classical murder mystery, it has depth and originality that resonates.

btrmdn
Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, New Books

Murder at Primrose Cottage Merryn Allingham 5*#Review @MerrynWrites @bookouture #Historical #CrimeFiction #cosycrime #cozymystery #1950s #Cornwall #village #rural #BookReview #Secrets #FloraSteeleMystery #MurderatPrimroseCottage


Join Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, daydreamer and amateur detective – in her quest to solve a brand-new murder mystery.

Cornwall, 1956: When Flora Steele sets off for a peaceful vacation with crime writer Jack Carrington in his little red Austin, the last thing she expects to find is a body at their pretty rental cottage!

Shocked by the discovery, inquisitive Flora joins forces with handsome Jack to find out how the poor man came to such an untimely end in the overgrown orchard of Primrose Cottage. They discover Roger Gifford was a man with plenty of friends and the villagers seem devastated by his sudden death…

So why was he murdered? And who has blood on their hands – his estranged wife Beatrice, his wayward younger brother Lionel, or the suspicious newcomer Mercy Dearlove?

The baffling case gets even more complicated when a second man is found dead and a set of puzzling clues lead them to an intriguing wartime mystery connected to Jack’s estranged father.

As old secrets emerge and Jack receives an unsettling letter, it seems the crime writer is in danger of a fate befitting his fictional characters. Will Flora be able to crack the case and save Jack? Or will this be one murder too many for Flora Steele?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Murder at Primrose Cottage is the third book in the Flora Steele Mystery series, set this time in Cornwall. Flora and Jack are comfortable in each other’s company and are looking forward to their research stay in a Cornish village. Their relationship remains in the friendship zone, but there are hints of a possible romance. Finding a body means that the amateur sleuths led by Flora have to investigate, and the story is full of danger, suspects and twists.

I enjoyed the realistically created late 1950s ethos and the well researched Cornish connection with WW2, which gives the story depth and intrinsic interest. The suspense intensifies as the mystery deepens with a climactic ending.

A charming, well-written cosy mystery that is enjoyable and informative to read. I am eagerly anticipating the next book.

Read my review of the Bookshop Murder

Read my review of Murder on the Pier

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

Murder on the Pier Merryn Allingham 5*#Review @MerrynWrites @bookouture #Historical #CrimeFiction #cosycrime #cozymystery #1950s #Sussex #village #rural #BookReview #FloraSteeleMystery #MurderonthePier #KindleUnlimited


Meet Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, daydreamer and amateur detective.

Sussex, 1955: When bookshop owner Flora Steele goes for a walk along the pier she isn’t expecting to spot a young woman’s body in the stormy waters below. And she’s shocked to discover the victim is someone she knows…

Convinced the death was not an accident, Flora persuades attractive local crime writer Jack Carrington to help her find out what really happened to poor Polly Dakers, a popular young woman with a complicated love life, who’d been at the heart of village life in Abbeymead.

Jack is reluctant to get involved in another murder case at first but even he can’t deny that Polly’s fall seems fishy. An argument at a party, a missed hairdresser’s appointment and a red woollen bobble found on the wooden boards where Polly last stood provide a trail of clues…

As they grow closer to solving the puzzling mystery, the unlikely pair stumble upon several surprising secrets about those closest to Polly. A number of potential suspects begin to emerge. But who really disliked Polly enough to kill her? Was it Raymond, her jilted first love? Harry, her latest beau? Or Evelyn, Harry’s jealous estranged wife?

As the investigation brings them closer to the truth, Flora is intent on unmasking the killer – but will her stealthy sleuthing lead her down a dangerous path?

An utterly delightful cosy crime novel set in the fictional Sussex village of Abbeymead. 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Murder on the Pier is book two in the Flora Steele Mystery series, and as I already know the characters and the village, it was even better than book one. It’s a complete story, but the series is lovely and quick to read, so it’s best to start at the beginning.

The story immerses the reader in the place and time. The plot has numerous suspects and a definite sinister ethos culminating in a breathtaking finale. Flora is a complex and engaging amateur sleuth, and her partnership with Jack is believable and exciting.

Read my review of the Bookshop Murder

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

Poison at the Village Show Catherine Coles 4* #Review @catherinecoles @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #PoisonattheVillageShow #cozymystery #historical #crimefiction #cosycrime #1940s #MarthaMillerMystery

With the war finally over the residents of Westleham village are trying to reclaim a sense of normality and the upcoming village show is proving to be a popular event!

Newcomer, Martha Miller, has high hopes for the village show. Since her husband Stan left for work one day and never returned, some of the villagers have treated Martha with suspicion – why would a good man like Stan simply up and leave? Was it something Martha did?

All Martha knows is that she’s hoping that she can win people over and hopefully they’ll buy her delicious homemade plum gin, too and she’ll be able to make ends meet.

But as glasses of Martha’s gin are passed around, disaster strikes. Alice Warren, Chairwoman of the village show slumps to the ground after taking a sip. It’s clear she’s been poisoned!

Martha is shocked, but not surprised when fingers of suspicion once again point her way. Determined to prove her innocence, Martha sets about trying to find the real culprit. But who would kill Alice and why?

Ably helped by the new vicar, Luke Walker, Martha quickly tries to get to the bottom of this mystery. But with the villagers closing ranks, it quickly becomes apparent that the only person with a motive is Martha herself…

Will Luke and Martha discover who is behind the poisoning before it’s too late?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in post world war two rural England, the first Martha Miller mystery has all the ingredients of a compelling cosy mystery. A gossipy village community, a mysterious disappearance, a murder, and a likeable and intelligent amateur sleuth. Martha is already the subject of village conjecture when her husband leaves for work one day and doesn’t return. Some villagers believe she was lacking as a wife, some believe something sinister is afoot, and Martha is the instigator. So the chance to help with the village show an opportunity to enjoy everyday village life after the war is taken eagerly by Martha, but things do not go to plan.

Finding herself the subject of villagers’ insinuations once again, Martha sets out to find out who wanted to kill the head of the Village show committee and why? Helped by her sister and the attractive, kind new vicar, the mystery unfolds with numerous suspects.

In a character-driven mystery, the reader gets to know Martha and her friends, and they are likeable and relatable characters. The investigation into the murder is engaging, and the broader puzzle of Martha’s husband’s disappearance draws the reader into Martha’s world.

The well-described postwar rural setting makes it easy to visualise the characters and the village. This book is a promising start to the Martha Miller Mystery series.

Catherine Coles

The daughter of a military father, Catherine was born in Germany and lived most of the first 14 years of her life abroad. She spent her school years devouring everything her school library had to offer! Catherine writes cosy mysteries that take place in the English countryside. Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie mysteries are set in 1920s North Yorkshire. Catherine lives in northeast England with her two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!

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

The Bookshop Murder Merryn Allingham 4*#Review @MerrynWrites @bookouture #Historical #CrimeFiction #cosycrime #cozymystery #1950s #Sussex #village #rural #BookReview #TheBookshopMurder #FloraSteeleMystery #KindleUnlimited

Bookshop owner Flora Steele escapes the sleepy English village of Abbeymead through the adventures in the stories she sells. Until one morning, everything changes when she discovers a body amongst her own bookshelves…

The young man with the shock of white-blond hair lay spread-eagled on the floor, surrounded by fallen books. His hand reached out to the scattered pages, as though he was trying to tell her something.

But who is he? How did he come to be killed in Flora’s ordinary little bookshop? Flora finds out he was staying at the Priory Hotel, and when the gardener suddenly dies in its beautiful grounds only a few days later, she is certain that something untoward is happening in her quiet village by the sea.

But are the two deaths connected? And is someone at the hotel responsible – the nervous cook, the money-obsessed receptionist, or the formidable manageress?

Determined to save her beloved bookshop’s reputation and solve the murder mystery, Flora enlists the help of handsome and brooding Jack Carrington: crime writer, recluse and her most reliable customer.

As the unlikely duo set about investigating the baffling case, guilty faces greet them at every door. And they soon realise there’s more than one person hiding secrets in Abbeymead…

The start of a brand-new murder mystery series featuring bookshop owner Flora Steele and crime writer Jack Carrington.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

The Bookshop Murder is the first book in the Flora Steele mysteries, set in a Sussex village in 1955. Flora inherited the bookshop and her cottage from Aunt Violet, recently deceased and an important influence on Flora’s young life.

I like how the story draws the reader into the world of 1955 Sussex village life. The village’s characters introduced through Flora’s viewpoint believably create a sense of gossipy community. The mystery has numerous suspects and twists, and the anticipation builds to a satisfyingly suspenseful ending.

The reader gets to know Flora, Jack, and all the villagers in the course of the story, and the connection between Flora and Jack is noteworthy. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Detective, Historical Crime Fiction, New Books, Noir, Thriller

The Heretic Liam McIlvanney 5* #Review @LiamMcIlvanney @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #BookReview #TheHeretic #DuncanMcCormack #CrimeFiction #ScottishCrime #1975 #HistoricalFiction

Glasgow 1975

A deadly fire
An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. 
Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping.

A brutal murder
Five years ago he was walking on water as the cop who tracked down a notorious serial killer.  But he made powerful enemies and when a mutilated body is found in a Tradeston slum,
McCormack is assigned a case that no one wants. The dead man is wearing a masonic ring, though, and Duncan realizes the victim is not the down-and-out his boss had first assumed.

A catastrophic explosion
As McCormack looks into both crimes, the investigations are disrupted by a shocking event. 
A bomb rips through a pub packed with people – and a cop is killed in the blast.  The cases are stacking up and with one of his own unit now dead, McCormack is in the firing line.

But he’s starting to see a thread – one that connects all three attacks…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric, disturbing crime thriller. I like the menacing ethos created by the author, where anything could happen. Vibrant characters draw the reader into their world through excellent characterisations, and it’s a frightening place to be. The setting is vividly described and intrinsic to the plot. The sense of forbidding and hopelessness keeps the reader engaged throughout.

Read my review of The Quaker

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Detective, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Fatal Crossing Tom Hindle 4*#Review @tomhindle3 @centurybooksuk @penguinukbooks #MurderMystery #AFatalCrossing #BookReview #historicalcrimefiction #1920s

November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail from Southampton carrying 2,000 passengers and crew on a week-long voyage to New York.

When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, ship’s officer Timothy Birch is ready to declare it a tragic accident. But James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.

Birch agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner . . . and the dead man.

With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple’s purpose onboard the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch’s search for the culprit is fraught with danger.

And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst. . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric murder mystery set on a transatlantic voyage in 1924 with a complex plot and numerous suspects. Two detectives, Temple from Scotland Yard, travelling on the ship, and a ship’s officer Birch conscripted to help with the investigation reluctantly work together to solve the murder before the ship docks in New York.

There are many suspects and twists with complex and vibrant characters.

Immersive and rich in characterisation and historical detail, this is the perfect read for classic style mystery lovers.

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

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

New Year’s Eve, 1962

As a snowstorm rages outside, Oxford high society gathers to ring in the new year at the city’s most exclusive party. This is a soiree no one will forget… not least because a guest is found dead in his car the next morning.

It seems the young man tragically froze to death overnight after crashing into a snowdrift – but when WPC Trudy Loveday and coroner Clement Ryder are called in to investigate, they discover a tangled web of secrets that plainly points to murder.

With everyone telling different stories about that fateful night, only one thing is clear: several people had reason to want the victim dead.

And if Trudy and Clement don’t find the cracks in each lie, the killer will get away with the perfect crime…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This series has an excellent sense of place and time, with a vibrant 1960s Oxford setting. A suspicious death after a glamorous New Years Eve party looks like a tragic accident, but when Trudy and Clement investigate, murder seems likely. This investigation in this story is complete, so it reads well as a standalone. However, to grasp the nuances of Ryder and Loveday’s partnership, I recommend reading all books in the series.

Misogyny still prevails amongst Loveday’s colleagues, but her obvious detective skills win her support from some. Deduction and observation skills were paramount in an era without forensics and technology.

The sensory imagery used and vivid descriptions reflect 1962s extreme winter weather and are central to the story. This is an engaging classic style murder mystery with relatable characters and a believably written cast of suspects.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Historical Crime Fiction, New Books, saga

Raven Sam Michaels 5*#Review @SamMichaelsGG @AriesFiction #GeorginaGarrett #Raven #ganglit #HistoricalCrimeFiction #Saga #CrimeFiction #BookReview @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction

She’s out of retirement – and out for revenge

When Georgina Garrett wakes in the night to find intruders in her house, she knows she must do everything she can to keep her children safe.

But just when she thinks the ordeal is over, she realises something is terribly wrong. She arrives at her crime-lord husband David Maynard’s London house to find a bloodbath. Six of David’s best men lie dead and he is nowhere to be found.

Georgina may have walked away from the game but she’s still the best player on the street. Now, she will stop at nothing to get her husband back and to make whoever took him pay for ever daring to set foot in her town.

Amazon UK 

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus -Aries via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Georgina’s most attractive quality is her love of family, but someone in the criminal world is using this against her, and she is determined to seek vengeance. This is fast-paced ganglit has vibrant characters and violent scenes. The perfect read if you like gritty gangland fiction with authentic settings, believable characters and events.

Read my reviews of Trickster Rivals Vixen Siren

Sam Michaels

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

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