Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (July 23)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well the last time I posted a weekly wrap up was 11 June 2017 and I want to thank all of you for bearing with you through my erratic posting. The brief story is that I went on holiday to Kos where I planned a funeral for Mum, we returned to Jersey following the funeral in the UK. Meanwhile my partner’s father was admitted to hospital in Spain where he lives and subsequently intensive care so I ended up making an unscheduled dash there; happily he is very slowly recovering and I am now home again.

My sunflower went to stay with my daughter & son-in-law in their new home, she moved out of our home the weekend before we departed for Kos and once more I have an empty nest! What we hadn’t considered that it would grow so much that we couldn’t get it in the car to bring it home so I now have visiting rights. The new home has a new addition to the family, Bertie the rescue cat who can be seen here with my fabulous sunflower!

Bertie and the Sunflower

This Week on the Blog

Wednesday featured an author post by Chris Curran entitled Ideas and Where They Come From. Chris Curran’s latest book Her Deadly Secret was published on 21 July 2017.
As you can imagine my reading over the last six weeks or so has been somewhat erratic but I but I have read a fair few books so the week ended with a run of three reviews from my backlog…

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen
Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane by Paul Thomas Murphy a non-fiction book about the historical true crime committed against Jane Coulson in 1871 in Greenwich, London. The author’s expert research uncovers not only the details of the crime but that of the subsequent trial including contemporary news reports. With a conclusion that you may or may not agree with this book paints a vivid picture of the life and times of victim and perpetrator.

You can read my full review here or by clicking on the book cover

Blurb

In April 1871, a constable walking a beat near Greenwich found a girl dying in the mud – her face cruelly slashed and her brains protruding from her skull.

The girl was Maria Jane Clouson, a maid for the respectable Pook family, and who was pregnant at the time of her death. When the blood-spattered clothes of the 20-year-old Edmund Pook, alleged father of the dead girl’s unborn child, were discovered, the matter seemed open and shut. Yet there followed a remarkable legal odyssey full of unexpected twists as the police struggled to build a case.

Paul Thomas Murphy recreated the drama of an extraordinary murder case and conclusively identifies the killer’s true identity. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

So despite not being at home very much at all some books have still managed to find there way into my house – I am sharing a small selection here!

From NetGalley I was lucky enough to be approved for Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict which will be published in January 2018.

Blurb

In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances.  Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie.  Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie’s search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy.

With capturing insight and sunning heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.  NetGalley

I also was delighted with my copy of Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre after being blown away by Blood Wedding which I read last year. Three Days and a Life was published on 13 July 2017.

Blurb

In 1999, in the small provincial town of Beauval, France, twelve-year-old Antoine Courtin accidentally kills a young neighbour boy in the woods near his home. Panicked, he conceals the body and to his relief–and ongoing shame–he is never suspected of any connection to the child’s disappearance.
But the boy’s death continues to haunt him, shaping his life in unseen ways. More than a decade later, Antoine is living in Paris, now a young doctor with a fiancée and a promising future. On a rare trip home to the town he hates and fears, Antoine thoughtlessly sleeps with a beautiful young woman from his past. She shows up pregnant at his doorstep in Paris a few months later, insisting that they marry, but Antoine refuses.

Meanwhile, the newly discovered body of Antoine’s childhood victim means that the case has been reopened, and all of his old fears rush back. Then the young woman’s father threatens Antoine with a paternity test–which would almost certainly match the DNA found on the dead child’s body. Will Antoine finally be forced to confront his crime? And what is he prepared to do to keep his secrets buried in the past? NetGalley

I received a copy of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood earlier this month for my birthday – the present giver cleverly knowing that I haven’t ever got around to reading this book since publication in 2009. As this is going to be a Netflix series soon I can now avoid the shame of confessing I haven’t read it every time someone asks!

Blurb

Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.’ Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery. Amazon

I was thrilled to receive a copy of the winner of Richard and Judy’s Search for a Bestseller launched by Bonnier Zaffre – Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear was published on 29 June 2017.

Blurb

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW

In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW

In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone? Amazon

And most recently I received a copy of Good Friday by Lynda La Plante which is the third book in the Tennison series, the first having recently shown on TV under the name Prime Suspect which I thoroughly enjoyed. Good Friday will be published on 24 August 2017.

Blurb

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not.

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force? Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read loads of books and it would appear gained even more!! The spreadsheet is out of control but my best guess at the current figures is:

Physical Books – 103
Kindle Books – 59
NetGalley Books – 15
The current total is therefore 177

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

An Act of Silence – Colette McBeth

Psychological Thriller
4*s

Colette McBeth provides us with a nuanced and multi-layered tale in this story which could be plucked from the tabloids.

Linda Moscow is a former Home Secretary who resigned under a black cloud and of course had her disgrace splashed all over the red-tops. Imagine her horror when her son, Gabriel, a stand-up comedian, turns up in her kitchen informing her he is supposed to be presenting himself to the police in a few hours in connection with the death of a woman. Yes, Linda loves her son, can she trust in her son’s innocence? This strand of the novel is one that begs the reader to ask ‘What would I do?’ After all from what she is told Mariela who Gabriel shared the night with has been found dead on the allotment behind his house, for him it appears she was simply another notch on his crowded bedpost, tales of which have kept his face in the public eye ever since he became a famous comic. And then there is the secret that Linda has been nursing over the years.

I loved the way we learn more about each of the characters through their own narration and through other people’s eyes. When wisely used, this is one of my favourite ways for a story to unfold as I firmly believe it is how we learn about each other in ‘real’ life. The time jumps backwards and forwards as different details are revealed stretching way back into the past.

In the background there is the all too familiar story of sexual abuse by those in authority. Relieved of her ministerial duties Linda has joined with a journalist to investigate such abuse of young girls by those in positions of authority and is busy tracking the women down through social media to expose the truth.

Colette McBeth uses the various characters to examine relationships, most prominently in this case one between mother and son and what should be seemingly rock solid bonds can be stretched to the limits. How past experiences of guilt and betrayal colour apparently unrelated conflicts in the future and how interference from others can cast an insidious shadow on the way we view those that we are closest to.

Because of the nature of Linda’s quest to reveal the truth about historic sexual abuse, this is quite a sad book which made it a harder read than many in the psychological thriller genre however the plentiful twists and turns and action scenes meant that the book falls short of being a depressing tale about abuse. In fact by choosing two diametrically opposite characters, the child victim and the politician the author was able to make much wider statements about neither label coming close to summing up an entire person, each having far more layers and depth to them.

An Act of Silence lives up to its title, sometimes it is the unsaid that can cause far more strife than any words spoken aloud.

I’d like to thank Colette McBeth for giving me a copy of An Act of Silence when we met at a Headline blogger event earlier this year, this review is my unbiased thanks for a stunning, involved and intelligent novel that despite somewhat unlikeable characters really got under my skin.

First Published UK: 29 June 2017
Publisher: Wildfire
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Colette McBeth

Precious Thing
The Life I Left Behind

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Not A Sound – Heather Gudenkauf

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

Heather Gudenkauf’s books fit into a mix of genres leading with a strong element of crime fiction, defiantly thrilling whilst ultimately being triumphantly character but let’s don’t forget they also include issues as well as the spark of romance, all of which provides something for everyone without becoming a jack of all trades and master of none.

Amelia Winn is profoundly deaf following a hit and run accident. Cut adrift from the nursing work she loved she hits the bottle much to the fury of her husband David who needs to be able to trust her with his young daughter Nora. We meet her two years after the accident when out on the river with her service dog, Stitch, she finds a body. What happens next is terrifying and mysterious in equal measures.

The atmosphere in this book is ramped up by Amelia’s isolation, not only through her hearing loss but the fact that she has decamped from the marital home to an isolated cabin where she is slowly trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. It is impossible not to feel some sympathy for the poor woman who has cut herself off from her former friends, with only policeman Jake, her brother’s best friend, as a constant in her life. Jake has encouraged her to stop drinking and now she is ready to try to start work again, sadly not as a nurse but she’s applied for an admin job for an oncologist. The two strands build up a real picture of Hannah’s life and I liked the fact that although she had lost the early battles for her true self, she is no victim, she accepts that she could have handled things differently and that the loss of David and Nora in her life is as a direct result of how she acted.

There’s quite a lot going on in this book and I spent the first half or so imagining that the book was going to veer off in a totally different direction than it did but that’s not to say the author cheated the reader, the case was that I thought I knew better! As well as the well-researched hearing loss storyline the author, inspired by her son’s cancer, the strand that takes us into the files that Hannah works on as she updates the surgeon’s records. And of course at the heart of the book is a solid mystery. Who is the murderer and what was their motive?

I raced through this book and enjoyed the variety as well as the strong characters and exceptionally visual descriptions that the author paints for the reader. Although I felt there were a few occasions when the author repeated Hannah’s thoughts to ensure her readers got the point this was nicely balanced by the brilliant action scenes where the author gently reminds us how Hannah’s hearing loss means she has extra obstacles to overcome. With an ending that deliberately doesn’t sew up all the loose ends this book had a real feel of realism to it, which is always a bonus.

I have enjoyed so many of Heather Gudenkauf’s books, each one telling a very different story but all having a solid plot, great pacing and best of all being utterly compelling.

I’d like to thank the publishers HQ for allowing me to read an advance copy of Not A Sound, this review is my unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 30 May 2017
Publisher: HQ
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Books by Heather Gudenkauf
The Weight of Silence (2009)
These Things Hidden (2011)
One Breath Away (2012)
Little Mercies (2014)
Missing Pieces (2016)

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

They All Fall Down – Tammy Cohen

Psychological Thriller
5*s

For those of you who read my blog regularly you’ll already know that I am a huge Tammy Cohen fan and it is only due to unforeseen circumstances that this review wasn’t posted prior to publication of her latest psychological thriller They All Fall Down on 13 July 2017. The good news is that if you want to read this in eBook format it is currently at the exceptionally low price of 99p.

The setting of this latest novel is in a private psychiatric clinic and right from the off there is a feeling that Hannah isn’t there of her own volition, but quite why and what happened before is left in the shadows. This isn’t the only mystery though, two women have died at the small clinic and Hannah is worried that they weren’t the suicides that everyone presumes. The problem is Hannah clearly has problems and she’s not being taken seriously by anyone, least of all her husband Danny who is becoming increasingly frustrated with what he thinks is her continued paranoia.

Once again Tammy Cohen has the pace absolutely nailed down. Now I’m somewhat a connoisseur of psychological thrillers, I know the wily tricks authors play to keep the facts hidden in order to ensure their twists give the maximum punch to the guts, and I confess this knowledge has tarnished the more amateur examples, but in this instance, there were enough clues given so that any twist felt far less artificial. Our main narrator, Hannah, by the very fact of her setting can be considered to be unreliable but we have other narrators including her fabulous mother Corrine. Corrine is so desperate to help her daughter no matter what she has done but she is also a realist who isn’t going to blindly go charging in without testing some of her daughter’s theories, so she turns detective. As always with this author all of the characters are carefully drawn, one where each time we meet them we learn a little bit more, sometimes coming to a different conclusion. This is particularly difficult with some of the issues Hannah’s fellow patients suffer from and I have to confess while racing through the book, I was also just like Hannah trying to leave the confines of the claustrophobic clinic.

If twists and turns enhanced by the fabulous pace aren’t enough to tempt you to read this, I must also mention the dialogue which is absolutely pitch perfect. With so many of the interactions between the characters betraying something which is key to the storyline, particularly those between the doctors and patients – those group meetings rang so true and at times the words on the page cut deep and I winced as the subjects battled both internal and external demons.

One of my issues with some books in this genre is the reliance on twists which is now the selling point rather than the original notion which was to explore the psyche, to my delight They All Fall Down manages both, we have the time to reflect on actions of the characters, and how their emotions can lead to them acting in the way that they do, but we also have some brilliant twists which in this case weren’t the ones I was expecting at all.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Black Swan who kindly sent me an ARC of They All Fall Down, and to Tammy Cohen for writing this brilliant novel.

First Published UK: 13 July 2017
Publisher: Black Swan
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Books By Tammy Cohen – aka Tamar Cohen

The Mistress’s Revenge (2011)
The War of the Wives (2012)
Someone Else’s Wedding (2013)
The Broken (2014)
Dying For Christmas (2014)
First One Missing (2015)
When She Was Bad (2016)

Writing Historical Fiction as Rachel Rhys

A Dangerous Crossing (2017)

Posted in Blog Tour

#GuestPost: Ideas And Where They Come From by Chris Curran

 

 

Today I am delighted to be joined by crime fiction writer Chris Curran.

Chris has just written her third novel ‘Her Deadly Secret’ which will be released by Killer Reads (Harper Collins imprint) as an eBook on July 21st 2017 and paperback in August.

Chris kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts on crime fiction writing which I hope you will agree, make for fascinating reading.

Ideas And Where They Come From

I’m often asked where I get my story ideas. And it’s something I also ask myself when I’m between novels! The most obvious answer is that they can come from anywhere. News reports or articles, conversations, overheard comments, an intriguing photo, an atmospheric place – anything can spark the thought: I could use this in a story.

I write standalone crime and for me the starting point is always the main character. I ask myself: what is the most terrible thing that could happen to this person? This leads on to: what might make it even worse? In my first book, Mindsight, the main character, Clare, is a mother and losing a child is the nightmare of any parent. So that answers my first question. But for Clare the horror is intensified many times over because she believes she was responsible for her child’s death. In my second novel, Her Turn To Cry, the protagonist is a young girl who fears that her mother was murdered. And her nightmare is compounded when she begins to suspect that her own much-loved father was the killer.

In my books I explore how a crime, particularly a murder, damages all of those involved. So my novels feature characters dealing with the aftermath of a crime they are intimately connected with and trying to find what really happened. They are not detectives and, as amateurs, they don’t solve the crime so much as blunder their way to the truth (and as I develop the story it sometimes feels as if I am blundering along with them!).

My murderers are ordinary people who have committed the ultimate crime almost by accident and my protagonists often uncover things they would rather not know about those closest to them, or even about themselves. As I write I am discovering many of these details too.

Memory is something else that fascinates me and it’s been an important element in all my books so far. In each of my novels the past comes back to haunt the characters and to threaten the lives they have tried to rebuild. In Mindsight the protagonist has partial amnesia and in the following books the major characters also have a dodgy recall of crucial events. They can’t trust their own recollections and readers are advised not to trust them either! This is particularly true of my latest novel, Her Deadly Secret, where two families have been built on lies from years before.

There are times when I envy the authors of series. They already have some major elements in place, a ready-made set of characters and a regular setting. But I still prefer to write standalones because I like the freedom they give me to explore different times, locations and ways of life. The pharmaceutical industry, the music halls of the 1950s, the clubs frequented by the stars of swinging London, a semi-religious commune in the heart of Wiltshire and a little park in Chelsea with gravestones propped against its walls are just some places that have featured in my books so far.

And each one of them has been included because something sparked the thought: I can use this!

 

Bio

Chris Curran lives in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex. Her first two psychological thrillers, Mindsight and Her Turn To Cry, were both Amazon bestsellers. She also writes short stories one of which was recently shortlisted for the 2017 CWA Margery Allingham award. Her latest novel, Her Deadly Secret, is published as an eBook on July 21st 2017 and a paperback in August.

Website ~ https://chriscurranauthor.com/

Twitter ~ @Christi_Curran 

 

 

 

Book Details

A FAMILY BUILT ON LIES…
A dark and twisty psychological thriller, in which a young girl is abducted and her family is confronted with a horror from deep in their past.
A young girl has been taken. Abducted, never to be seen again.
Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.
Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.
This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything…

Pre-Order HERE

Posted in Blog Tour

Thriller writing – why Isolation is essential by Sophie Jonas-Hill Nemesister #Blogtour

 

 

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Nemesister and especially thrilled that Sophie agreed to write a piece especially for my blog, one that I hope you find as fascinating as I have. So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Sophie.

Thriller writing – why Isolation is essential  

At some point, every thriller writer will need to isolate their protagonist. The reasons for this are two fold – an isolated person has no one to ask for help and so has to fall back on their own devices and b) otherwise the book will probably end too quickly. As social animals, one of this things we fear most of is being alone, especially when we’re in trouble. For most of us being alone is unsettling at best, terrifying at worst, and people who crave isolation and separation are viewed with a mix of awe and distrust. As a writer, you have to think where your character might have to go to end up alone, and how sensibly they’re able to get there without it looking like a massively clumsy plot-device.

“Why goodness me,’ said John, ‘I never thought I’d actually win the all expenses paid solo trip to the Canadian Rockies, without an escort or working phone, but now I have I can’t wait to get there, even though my psychotic ex-girlfriend and ace mountaineer is still stalking me – ‘ yeah, you have to be a bit more subtle than that!

Mobile phones might be seen as a curse when trying to isolate your protagonist, but they’re actually a blessing – we’re so used to them, that when they don’t work we’re all the more vulnerable simple because we don’t make other provisions and so panic. In the old day of Nokia, they would last for days without a re-charge, which meant looking at more permanent ways to disable them – ‘Oh no,’ said John, ‘That elephant has just sat on my Nokia, I should never have left it there!’ but now, thanks to the myriad of functions on a smart phone, they only have to be a few hours from a charger and a few miles from a phone mast, and they’ve cut you off as completely as a blizzard in the olden days. I have a part in a current work in progress, where my main character finds her phone has died and, like so many of us, as she’s never bothered with a landline, as who uses them these days? – she’s suddenly as alone in a London flat over a desolate garage as she might be in a distant forest.

Once your main character is alone, they become dependant on your their own resources, which gives the reader a chance to see what they’re really made of. It’s then that you really need to know your characters, better than they know each other, so that the surprises they pull ring true. This joke encapsulates it perfectly – two friends meet a bear in the woods; one stands still in shock, the other begins to frantically change into his running shoes.

‘You can’t out run a bear!’ the first friend says desperately.
‘I know, but I can out run you,’ says the second

This is very much encapsulates the point – you might find that although your main character sounds vulnerable on paper, when it comes to it they may well be as ruthless as any criminal, and as a writer, you need to know why and what that means. Some of the best thriller writing is when the hunted becomes the hunter.

Isolation doesn’t have to be geographical; often psychological isolation is the most powerful, and the sort we fear the most as it can happen in our own heads without needing an exotic location or plot devices. You can be isolated in a crowd, if the crowd is against you – think of ‘Invasion of the body snatchers’ where the ‘free’ humans have to walk through a crowd of possessed ones and not give themselves away, knowing a single slip up and everyone will turn against them. If your character is being framed for a crime they didn’t commit, they cannot risk calling the police, or if they’ve been mis-treated by them in the past they may simply not trust them. In so many thrillers, the plot would fall apart in an heartbeat if the main character dialled 999, so you have to have a rock solid reason for them not to do so – which again comes right back to who they are, or character. Most regular people if approached by an enemy, or chased by gangsters, would go for help from those around them, so you need to know why your character will not or cannot do that. I am often to be found shouting at psychological thrillers ‘ring the police – ring the police!’ because the author hasn’t convinced me that this isn’t a sensible option, even if it might have more consequences than just a lengthy explanation, and yet it can be such a simple thing to get right. If you know your character, if you really understand them, you should know why they can’t ring the police, and that should inform everything they do.

So when it comes down to it, like with all good writing, the best kind of Thrillers thrive on the same thing as any writing – know your characters. From character comes plot, from plot comes the novel, and it’s the flaws, weaknesses and fears of your characters which will make the novel memorable.
And lets hope smart phone batteries don’t get better!

Thank you so much Sophie for visiting Cleopatra Loves Books and thank you all for reading, don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Nemesister Blog Tour

 

Blurb

An American Gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana.

It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself? Amazon

 

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Bones and Silence – Reginald Hill #20booksofsummer

Crime Fiction
5*s

I simply adore this series, it takes a true writer to pen an entire collection where each book has a different feel and yet stays absolutely committed to the chief protagonists: Dalziel. Pascoe, Wield and Ellie whilst coming up with different types of scenarios as a stage for them to play on.

The stage in Bones and Silence is a literal one with the talented, determined and beautiful Eileen Cheung putting on a community medieval play The Mystery which is planned for the May Bank Holiday weekend. Her aim is to cast Dalziel to play God, riding atop a truck through the town – sheer brilliance!

Of course it isn’t all play-acting as the book opens with Dalziel witnessing something, but what did he really see through his window? The end result is a woman is dead and Dalziel is convinced that he saw two men, a woman and a revolver. In the time it takes for Dalziel to sprint to the house, the woman is dead and her lover and her husband both insist that she shot herself. Dalziel doesn’t believe a word of it!

Meanwhile Peter Pascoe who is still recovering from serious injuries inflicted during the previous book takes a more circumspect view and is somewhat less than convinced of Dalziel’s certainty.

Of course one potential murder and a play is not enough for Reginald Hill so we have some sub-plots to involve ourselves in, including some cryptic letters written anonymously to Dalziel which Pascoe investigates. All of this gives the reader many opportunities to witness the acerbic wit of Dalziel, the more introspective Pascoe and I’m glad to say Wield gets a decent part to play in this book. And of course inbetween the police action Eileen Cheung is cracking her whip with rehearsals and cutting through Dalziel’s expected reticence to knuckling down to put on a play that the entire community of Yorkshiremen and women can enjoy.

Ellie is a little less bolshie in this book following a serious lack of judgement that put others in danger in the previous episode but fortunately this being book eleven, I know she gets her spark back later on in the series. One of the great delights of this book is that although Reginald Hill has created some wonderful characters he allows different aspects of their nature to ebb and flow. We think of Dalziel as being charmless and dogmatic but at times he is capable of great empathy which turns him from a caricature into a fully rounded man, each of the other main protagonists are given the same treatment. This top-notch characterisation along with the, just the right side of genius in solving the crime in Bones and Silence, just served to underline what an absolute treat these books are.

If you haven’t read this book, and personally I think each book can be read as a standalone although to fully appreciate the depth they definitely work better once you’ve read more than one, have a hanky ready for the ending – I will say no more.

Bones and Silence was my fifth read of my 20 Books of Summer  Challenge 2017

First Published UK: 1990
Publisher: HarperCollin
No of Pages: 528
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read

The Doctor’s Wife is Dead – Andrew Tierney #20booksofsummer

Historical True Crime
4*s

On 1 May 1849 Ellen Langley dies in Nengh, County Tipperary the local women gather and stone the house she was living in. Meanwhile Doctor Langley tried to go about the business of removing Ellen’s body from the house; he did, she spent two days in the garden.

This is the account of one woman’s life, a fairly indistinct figure and her sad demise and one that serves as a commentary on how women were both viewed and treated at this time, with a focus on the laws in Ireland at the time. It is clear, for whatever reason, Ellen Langley had been cast aside by her husband and in 1849 that put her in a very precarious position indeed.

This was an interesting read although the explanation of the convoluted family relations slowed pace of the book with mini-biographies of countless kith and kin, fortunately there are some family trees at the start of the book to assist the reader.

Following these early explanations we then move onto the part of the book which was far more interesting, the inquest where Doctor Langley seems at pains to exonerate himself from the faintest whiff of suspicion of wrongdoing. As a Protestant man of social standing, a man who had attended inquests as an expert witness at previous murder trials (there was far more serious crime in County Tipperary at this time than I’d imagined) it is possible that the Doctor was just pre-empting any rumours, after all the fact that his marriage to Ellen had not been happy in the last few months was no secret. Or his efforts to appear innocent were those of a man who was trying to disguise his guilt?

One of the things that always strikes me about historical true crime is how much faster the wheels of justice tended to move in those days. Archaeologist Andrew Tierney has certainly dug deep to find the documents that detail the court proceedings and has resisted what surely must have been a big temptation to flesh Ellen out with more details than are actually available. As a result she remains a shadowy being which made me feel all the more compassionate for this woman who represents so many of her time.

You can’t have a historical account in Ireland without links the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants and while this doesn’t overshadow the court case it is useful to have the context, if only to gain an understanding of social standing. Alongside that, Ellen died during the potato famine and the author paints a desperate picture of the effect this had on the local population, the contrast between the rich and the poor being readily apparent.

This is a worthy addition to my historical true crime collection and the arrogance and lack of compassion from some players in the court room, all men of course, women were not allowed at this time, was so blatant it defied belief at times, but there is a lot to keep the reader’s attention. And then we get to the ending, court case over, The Doctor’s Wife is Dead leaves us with a surprise discovery which left me shocked.

The Doctor’s Wife is Dead was my fourth read of my 20 Books of Summer  Challenge 2017

First Published UK: 23 February 2017
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 282
Genre: True Crime – Historical
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 5)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

A mixed bag from me this week as I try to keep up with the 20 Books of Summer 2017 challenge, review all those books I’ve requested from NetGalley and that have popped through my letterbox during my absence….

At the moment I am reading An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth, a gripping psychological thriller which was published on 29 June 2017.



Blurb

These are the facts I collect.

My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.

Mariela is dead.

Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning

Linda Moscow loves her son; it’s her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she’s not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?
She’s done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her. Amazon

The last book I finished was The Island by Victoria Hislop set on the beautiful island of Crete and focussed on the leper colony Spinalonga.

Blurb

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip… Amazon

Next up is Tammy Cohen’s latest book, They All Fall Down which will be published on 13 July 2017 and a book I’ve been hotly anticipating ever since I heard about its existence.

Blurb

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again? Amazon

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Do you want to?
What are you reading this week? Do share in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (July 4)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My first paragraph this week comes from An Act Of Silence by Colette McBeth which was published on 29 June 2017.

Blurb


These are the facts I collect.

My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.

Mariela is dead.

Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning
Linda Moscow loves her son; it’s her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she’s not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?
She’s done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her.
Now, the past is catching up with them. As old secrets resurface, Lind is faced with another impossible choice. Only this time, it’s her life on the line… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


Monday, 17 November 2014

Linda
Say yes.
One word, all he wants to hear.
Yes, I believe you. Yes, I will help you.
That look of his, brimful of need, stirs in me the biological instinct to protect, make safe, put things right.
I am hardwired to give him what he wants. That is love, I suppose.
But here’s a thought: what if I had resisted, left him to deal with his own mistakes, learn his lessons the hard way; would he be the same man, sitting here recounting this story?
The truth is I’ll never know.
We are where we are.

Well I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started but what do you think? Would you keep reading?