It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . .
BODIES FOUND UNDER PATIO
When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body – two bodies, in fact.
Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years. Nothing Saffy need worry herself over. Until the police launch a murder investigation and ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner – her grandmother, Rose.
Rose is in a care home and Alzheimer’s means her memory is increasingly confused. She can’t help the police but it is clear she remembers something.
A KILLER AT LARGE?
As Rose’s fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched.
What happened thirty years ago?
Why did no one miss the victims?
What part did her grandmother play?
And is Saffy now in danger?
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Atmospheric, chilling and poignant, this psychological suspense is a page-turning read. It’s a family drama spanning three generations with timeslips back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time I lived through.
The main protagonists are flawed and relatable, making the menacing events and revelations resonate. The twists are impactful with some, easier to work out than others. The balance of pacing and the gradual revealing of the lies and secrets keeps the reader absorbed until the end.
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.
But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK-Viking via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a fun but insightful character-driven cosy mystery.
Wonderfully eccentric characters, all have illustrious pasts, investigative and observational skills and a desire for justice. The twisty mystery has numerous suspects and misinformation holding the readers’ interest. Whilst aspects of this story seem unlikely that doesn’t deter from the well-crafted plot and the authentic characterisation that defines it.
There’s recognisable English humour blended with emotion making makes the characters easy to empathise and relatable. The vivid sensory imagery makes the characters and setting come to life.
All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules. Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.
But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories: an author, hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.
But as she reads, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are things in the stories that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder, one that’s remained unsolved for thirty years.
If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary. But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Eight Detectives has stories within a story, a mathematical rather than emotional interpretation of murder mystery and an increasingly menacing atmosphere between the reclusive author and the inquiring editor. Rather like a treasure map, the short stories provide snippets of information for another as yet untold one.
Classically written, relatable murder mysteries engage the reader. The plot twists unexpectedly into a surprisingly contemporary murder mystery with psychological suspense. This is a book for the observant, are the protagonists reliable?
Eight Detectives is an absorbing and addictive read. It would make a great party game.
TWO WRITERS, ONE HOLIDAY. A ROMCOM WAITING TO HAPPEN…
January is a hopeless romantic who narrates her life like she’s the lead in a blockbuster movie.
Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
But January and Gus have more in common than you’d think:
They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
And they need to write bestsellers before summer ends.
The result? A bet to swap genres and see who gets published first.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…
Set over one sizzling summer, Beach Read is a witty love story that will make you laugh a lot, cry a little and fall head over heels.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
What’s your definition of a perfect beach read? Addictive, emotional, humorous and romantic? This story is all of these things with an intelligent pacy plot and believable, relatable characters.
January and Gus are successful writers, they met at college but were not friends, now they are both experiencing difficulty writing their next book. January is grieving her father’s death and the revelations that followed. Gus carries emotional damage from his childhood. Their first encounter is humorous but bordering on disastrous, but things improve, and they make a bet to write in each other’s genre with life-changing results.
The story explores genre and prejudices about female writers. It’s also an emotional journey of self-discovery for our couple with angst, fun, romance and tears.
The perfect beach read.
Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan home has been upturned by the arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she provides shelter, medical aid and any help she can, keeping her efforts secret from husband Lorenzo – who is also passing information to the Allies.
When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Practical, no-nonsense Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a young partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep.
Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis.
Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK -Viking Books UK in return for an honest review.
An aspect of WW2 history that I’ve not read about before this novel captures the menace of an occupying power and the camaraderie of the villagers. The story focuses on a small village in Tuscany, and its Contessa Sofia. It’s a story of courage, danger and friendship as the Italians fight against the Fascist stranglehold of their country.
The story focuses on the women Sofia the Contessa, Maxine an allied spy and Carla and Anna, who work at the Castello. Their friendship sustains them through terrible times and makes this story memorable and motivational. Vivid, sensual imagery and well-researched, historical detail bring the historical setting to life. The characters are authentic and relatable from the vibrance of the Italian women to the menace of the SS Officers.
This is an emotional story exploring the horrors of war and the human cost. Humorous touches and romance balance the poignancy, making it addictive reading.
‘Captain Hunt has been involved a serious incident.’
This call changes everything for Lauren Cusack. Her relationship with impossibly handsome aristocrat Alexander Hunt has been turbulent, passionate, and addictive, and now she rushes to his side knowing she will inevitably be sucked back into his world.
And sure enough, Alexander remains an intoxicating cocktail Lauren cannot resist and despite everything she finds herself happier than ever.
As Lauren’s final term at Wyckham College races by, she is offered the perfect job back in Washington. With Alexander tied to his Estate, the fragility of their romance hits home.
The traumatic climax of ‘The Second Time I Saw You’ continues in ‘Third Time Lucky’ with a dramatic, emotional beginning. Alexander’s hold over Lauren continues even though they are estranged. Lauren’s reactions and the way she stands by Alexander and Emma, his younger sister shows a level of maturity she didn’t possess when she first came to Oxford. The addictive quality of Alexander and Lauren’s erotic attraction is apparent in these early chapters. Later in the story, Lauren realises their time together may be finite as their real destinies are geographically and personally worlds apart. The question left unasked is do they love each other enough to compromise?
The physical side of their relationship deepens but the trust evident in the steamy love scenes does not seem to transfer to their wider lives. Secrets and subtle interference from Lauren’s parents and the malicious Valentina continue to muddy the already cloudy waters of their relationship.
Life at Oxford as the finals approach mitigates the introspection and intensity of Alexander and Lauren. The attention to detail is great and allows you to experience the fun, idiosyncrasies and traditions of Oxford University.
Perfectly scripted final scenes show a newly independent Lauren who lives life on her own terms but does Alexander fit into her new life? There is definite scope for book number 4.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Third Time Lucky by Pippa Croft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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