As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The fifth book in the ‘Ryder and Loveday Mystery’ series, ‘A Fatal Truth’ captures the 1960s perfectly. The mystery is a standalone but to appreciate the partnership between coroner Ryder and police officer Loveday read the previous books in the series.
Loveday’s confidence needs a boost, at the beginning of this story, and she’s apprehensive about working with Ryder again. The story portrays the misogyny prevalent in the 1960s’ police force showing that intelligence and solving crimes aren’t enough for women to succeed.
The story relies on observation and astute detection skills rather than forensics and technology. The clever plot has authentic characters and dialogue. The character development of Loveday is notable and contrasts with Ryder’s ailing health. There is a feeling of the end drawing near for this enigmatic partnership.
How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose?
The year is 1905. London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…
Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.
Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s. Read best-selling crime writer Helen Fields’ first explosive historical thriller.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story covers the whole spectrum of English history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Socio-political issues merge with crime fiction to produce a memorable and chilling tale. Sofia Logan is a wife and mother in 1905 when tragedy strikes and the dark doors of the workhouse beckon. A widow, she seeks help from her husband’s former employer with devastating results.
Sofia will do anything for her family but how reliable a protagonist is she? Damaged by her past the story darkens. Sofia struggles with a dangerously immoral employer and her worsening mental health.
The graphically described abuse and violence are hard to read but integral to Sofia’s mindset and story. You empathise with Sofia despite her murderous intent. The characters are believable and coupled with historically authentic settings make this story real and vibrant.
A harrowing but riveting book that is impossible to put down.
An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Her next book, the sixth in the series, ‘Perfect Kill’ is due out on 6 February 2020. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ comes out in May 2020. A further standalone thriller published by HarperColllins will come soon. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children. Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information or at https://www.helenfields.com/
While World War Two rages on around them, the gangs of London are fighting for their turf…
There might be a war on, but that doesn’t stop Georgina Garrett running her business with an iron fist. No one said running the Battersea gang was going to be easy, but her unflinchable nature makes Georgina unstoppable.
With a role that requires a ruthless ability to seek revenge and pay out crippling punishments, Georgina’s enemies are growing in number. With a target on her back, Georgina knows she must do everything to protect her family. But, with the loss of someone closest to her, can Georgina rise up from the ashes or allow a usurper take her crown?
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus -Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Like many books set in WW2, this story is atmospheric and full of historical detail. Georgina Garrett and her gang adapt to wartime Battersea. Georgina engenders mixed feelings in the reader. Her loyalty and willingness to provide for those she takes under her wing is admirable. Conversely, she isn’t afraid of using violence and committing crimes to ensure she protects her own and continues their way of life.
Georgina faces resentment and threats. Her love of her family make her vulnerable, yet this love is what makes her easy to empathise. Authentic, multifaceted characters drive an action and conflict rich plot.
The surprising ending leaves you wondering what next?
Guest post- Sam Michaels -Vixen
Hello, I’m Sam Michaels, author of the Georgina Garrett series of books.
Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to Jane for featuring me on her wonderful blog site. I was thrilled when she invited me to write a guest post about my latest book, Vixen.
As many readers will know, Vixen is the third book in the Georgina Garrett series. It follows Trickster and Rivals. Way back when WW1 broke in Britain, Trickster began with Georgina being born into a life of poverty, living in the slums of Battersea in south west London. Throughout the book, we watched Georgina, or George as she was known then, overcome adversity to grow into a beautiful young woman. But a woman with a fierce and ruthless streak that would bode well for her life in the criminal underworld. She proved herself a force to be reckoned with but it wasn’t easy, especially facing her biggest enemy, the twisted Billy Wilcox.
In Rivals, during the pre-war years of WW2, Georgina really comes into her own as she heads up the criminal gang running Battersea. But as you’d expect, there are many who think they can do a better job than a woman and are ready to bring her down.
Vixen picks up the story at the outbreak of WW2. Georgina exploits any opportunities that come along when a country is at war, but she also has a kind heart and fair morals, offering help when she can to those in need. But in Vixen, there’s more than just London under attack – so is Georgina and she also faces unimaginable heartbreak.
For anyone enjoying this series, you’ll be pleased to know there is more on the way, five books in total. I’m currently writing book 4 and without giving too much away, I can tell you this book is going to see Georgina facing a whole new set of challenges, including fighting for her children. She’ll meet some colourful characters along the way who will take her into a whole new world of criminality, one with bigger gains but bigger risks to boot. And what will become of Georgina’s relationship with David Maynard? You’ll have to wait and see.
Whilst writing this series, I’ve grown ever so fond of Georgina and I think her audience has too. I even had a comment from a chap who said he’d love to work for her! I believe it’s because we can all relate to aspects of her personality. Granted, she’s a killer, but somehow, the murders she commits or orders feel justified. She’s intensely protective of her loved ones, a worthy trait, and though she has a tough exterior, there’s a vulnerability about her that we see glimpses of now and again. At the end of the day, everything Georgina does is driven by a desire to make life better for those around her. And like many other women, she feels the need to be loved, albeit on her terms.
With book 5 in the pipeline, time will move forward and you’ll discover more about Georgina’s children. As someone recently said to me, ‘Strong women have strong women.’ And that is very true for Georgina Garrett!
William Arrowood, Victorian London’s less salubrious private detective, is paid a visit by Captain Moon, the owner of a pleasure steamer moored on the Thames. He complains that someone has been damaging his boat, putting his business in jeopardy.
Arrowood and his trusty sidekick Barnett suspect professional jealousy, but when a string of skulls is retrieved from the river, it seems like even fouler play is afoot.
It’s up to Arrowood and his trusty sidekick Barnett to solve the case, before any more corpses end up in the watery depths . . .
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
A run of the mill case for Arrowood and his assistant takes a sinister turn, leading to many bodies, and connections to a cold case. This is a dark, gritty historical crime thriller, set in Victorian London, which doesn’t shy away from the deprivation and danger. Graphic descriptions portray the setting, and ethos of the time, make it grisly reading but add to the historical authenticity.
Arrowood is enigmatic and not at all glamorous. but his knowledge of psychology sharpens his detective skills. His life is chaotic, but his crime-solving is exemplary. There are touches of humour in this story that lighten the noir quality, and the crime-fighting team, have a good dynamic.
Atmospheric, authentic and absorbing, with a cleverly crafted plot, and a cast of believably flawed historical characters.
Edinburgh, January 1732: It’s Lady Grange’s funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she’d shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She’s been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death – her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity – or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings or simply to `replace’ a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she’s removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic – to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language – somewhere she can never be found. This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband’s unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Lady Grange was an actual historical figure, and what happened to her is a matter of record. Nothing is known from Lady Grange’s point of view. This fictional story is an interpretation of, what her feelings may have been, and how those closest to her perceived her, and what happened to her.
The position of women in the eighteenth century is explored. Women’s rights were non-existent and they were effectively invisible. History reports Lady Grange as unbalanced, alcoholic and violent. The story doesn’t shy away from this but does put it into a believable perspective. Importantly, it attempts to switch the emphasis onto the actions of her husband, his abuse of her and his power.
The story is character-driven and told from key points of view. The strength of Lady Grange comes across in this story, and her willingness to share skills with the people she is left with, even with language barriers. The story focuses on a little known historical event, from a human point of view and delivers a great story with well researched historic detail and vibrant characters.
As well as writing popular historical thrillers, including Down to the Sea, Sue Lawrence is a leading cookery writer. After winning BBC’s MasterChef in 1991, she became a regular contributor to the Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday and other leading magazines. Raised in Dundee, she now lives in Edinburgh. She has won two Guild of Food Writers Awards.
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.
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.
A tragic accident at the opera – or the murder of someone keeping dangerous secrets?
While watching the opera at La Fenice, Nancy Tremayneis shocked to see a woman fall to her death. But how did this tragedy occur?
Newlywed Nancy is accompanying her art professor husband, Leo, on a work trip. As she explores Italy’s beautiful city on the water, she is increasingly compelled to uncover the mysterious circumstances surrounding the woman’s death. Leo is adamant it was an accident but his assistant, Archie, reluctantly helps Nancy despite his seeming coldness to her. Nancy’s determination to reveal the facts puts her in harm’s way more than once. As she learns more about Venice’s secrets she realises she may be forced to make a choice – the truth, or her life?
An engaging and atmospheric historical crime novel.
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An atmospheric vividly described murder mystery set in Venice Italy, with a courageous heroine, with a past, and a dark web of danger and deceit. Set in the mid-1950s, this story has a glamorous aura, associated with the period, and the iconic Italian setting.
The mystery is true to the British murder mystery style, with a cast of complex characters with hidden pasts, and secrets. The mystery, which begins with a tragic event, leads Nancy on a dark and sometimes life-threatening exploration to find the truth.
She goes against the wishes of her seeming beguine, but controlling new husband, and forms an unexpected alliance. Archie is reluctant to help but feels honour bound to.
The subsequent relationship between Nancy and Archie is interesting, but not concluded.The backstory of Nancy and Leo’s marriage is also revealed as the story progresses. All of the main protagonists are diverse and engaging, as are the situations and settings Nancy is drawn into, in her quest for the truth.
The ending ties up the strands of the mystery well. A complex, historically true murder mystery, set in a wonderfully glamorous, yet sinister Venice.
Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?
In 1841, at the height of the
industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns
from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force,
rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist
While Josiah was abroad, five men
died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or
did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As
Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of
Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the
Now Josiah must race against time
to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more
people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member
of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from
Can Josiah put together the
pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the
Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A curious mix of the historical fiction and murder mystery genres. The story is rich in historical detail and has a well-plotted murder mystery. The suspects are plentiful and the murders are vividly written. Josiah is a complex detective, who is ambitious, with secrets of his own.
The setting of the story in Victorian England, in an industrial setting, is of intrinsic interest, and the focus on a radical religious group explores, prejudice, religion and the communities that evolved, in the wake of the industrial revolution.
Its originality is appealing and it will suit those who appreciate historical fiction with a contemporary dash of a murder mystery.
His latest novel, Children of Fire,
is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial
revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and
is published by The Book Guild Ltd.
Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of
England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well
as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as
the City of Manchester.
women at opposite ends of the social scale, both brutally murdered.
Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is surprised when his old rival
John Townsend requests his help to investigate the murder of Louise Parmeter, a
beautiful writer who once shared the bed of the Prince of Wales. Her jewellery
is missing, savagely torn from her body. Her memoirs, which threaten to expose
the indiscretions of the great and the good, are also
Frustrated by the chief magistrate’s demand that he drop the investigation into the death of the unknown beggar woman, found savagely raped and beaten and left to die in the outhouse of a Holborn tavern, Dan is determined to get to the bottom of both murders. But as his enquiries take him into both the richest and the foulest places in London, and Townsend’s real reason for requesting his help gradually becomes clear, Dan is forced t face a shocking new reality when the people he loves are targeted by a shadowy and merciless adversary.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The third book in the Dan Foster Mystery series reads well as a standalone, but to fully appreciate Dan’ previous life, I presume reading the first two books in the series would be best.
Two murders, both women who died brutally. One lived on the fringes of the gentry, the other in abject poverty. Yet both were victims, and ultimately in death, they were the same.
Dan is channelled into investigating the murder of the ex-mistress of the Prince of Wales but wants justice for the poorer woman too. A third mystery has personal significance for Dan. The plot is complex, but well-paced and the three mysteries keep the reader interested and intrigued.
The Georgian era is the perfect setting for crime fiction. The disparity between the wealthy and poor is marked, and both classes, prey on the other, in many criminal ways. The historical details and detection skills, show intricate care and give the reader a sense of time and place, which is essential for good historical crime fiction.
An absorbing walk on the dark side of Georgian London, with a likeable detective and heinous crimes. Whilst exploring the social class divide and the low status of women in the 18th century.
Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA
in English Literature (with Distinction) with the Open University in 2007,
specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical
novel, To The Fair Land, in 2012, an
eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.
Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016 and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, was published in 2017 and was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction, was published in 2019. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was trade published by SBooks.
2013, Lucienne published The Bristol
Suffragettes, a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west
country. In 2017 she published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the
Women’s Suffrage Campaign.
to other publications include:-
So Militant Browne’ in Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and
Letchworth (Stevenage Museum, 2019)
Lidiard’ in The
Women Who Built Bristol, Jane Duffus (Tangent Books, 2018)
Tommies and the Vote’ in Bristol and the First World War: The Great Reading
Adventure 2014 (Bristol Cultural Development Partnership/Bristol Festival
of Ideas, 2014)
interviews and reviews in various publications including Bristol Times,
Clifton Life, The Local Historian, Historical Novels Review (Historical
Novel Society), Nonesuch, Bristol 24/7, Bristol History
Lucienne has appeared on television and radio in connection with her fiction and non-fiction work. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about the women’s suffrage movement. She also gives talks and runs workshops on historical fiction for literary festivals, Women’s Institutes, local history societies, and other organisations. She has been a radio presenter on BCfm and a course tutor.
2018 she was instrumental in devising and delivering Votes for Women 100,
a programme of commemorative events by the West of England and South Wales
Women’s History Network in partnership with Bristol M Shed and others. She also
campaigned and raised funds for a Blue Plaque for the Bristol and West of
England Women’s Suffrage Society.
She is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network and is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Society of Authors, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
She is currently working on the fourth full-length Dan Foster Mystery and a biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Browne.
was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.
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?
I received a copy of this book from Severn House via NetGalley in return for an honest review
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.