Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (November 19)

Last Sunday we managed to have a family trip to watch Murder on the Orient Express and although we weren’t completely convinced by some of the attempt to inject some fast-moving action into the story-line, a good time was had by all. Kenneth Branagh’s moustache was especially impressive.

The week finished with my annual visit to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Book Sale with a dear friend. The consequence of helping her find some great books to read is that I have a nice pile of new (second-hand) books.

This Week on the Blog

My first review this week was of The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst, an exciting read which despite the supernatural bent I still enjoyed despite normally avoiding books that bend in that direction.

My excerpt post was for an upcoming read The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans, historical fiction which I hope will make me feel more elegant by default.

My This Week in Books post featured authors Gillian McAllister and Nicci French and a whole heap of others (what is a collection of authors called?) in the CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour which is edited by Martin Edwards.

My second review of the week was for The Scandal by Fredrik Backman, a book that totally won me over despite my doubts at the beginning of the read. I’m was so impressed I know this needs to be in the top ten reads of 2017.

And then I reviewed Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister which has also contributed to the now total confusion of what my best reads of 2017 are going to be – I’ve never had quite so many late contenders!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Out of Bounds by Val McDermid, a story where the past doesn’t merely collide but crashes into the present. With the present part of the story feeling right on the button with a strand that explores the needs of Syrian refugees which was sensitively explored without the need for the author to over state her views on the subject. With an equally enthralling past mystery, or two this was a welcome reminder of just how skilled this author is.

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Blurb


‘There are lots of things that ran in families, but murder wasn’t one of them . . .’

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. With each cold case closed, justice is served. So, finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another case, one that she has no business investigating. And as she pieces together decades-old evidence, Karen discovers the most dangerous kinds of secrets. Secrets that someone is willing to kill for . . . Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Well apart from the Eleven books I picked up at the books sale which include three Reginald Hills, two Agatha Christies, Anne Cleeves, Kate Atkinson & Beryl Bainbidge amongst others, I also have added The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton which will be published in February 2018.

 


Blurb

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath… NetGalley

And Fiction Fan has started her annual awards and given that she awarded The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes her winning entry for the Vintage Crime Fiction/Thriller 2017 award despite having Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate on the list meant I have to try it for myself.

Blurb

The Buntings are an elderly London couple who have fallen on hard times. They take in a lodger with the strange name of Mr. Sleuth, who pays handsomely for their shabby rooms. He seems to be a perfect gentleman but none the less they begin to suspect that he may be the Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer known in the press as ‘The Avenger’. As the number of murders in the city begins to mount, and Mr. Bunting’s teenage daughter from an earlier marriage comes to stay, the couple must decide what to do about the man in their upstairs rooms. An early example of a psychological suspense story and a brilliant evocation of the fog-bound and gaslit streets of late Victorian London, The Lodger is still a wonderfully compelling thriller. Amazon

Finally I have a copy of The Image of You by Adele Parks from Headline Review which will be published in paperback on 22 February 2018 although if you can’t wait it is available for the kindle now.



Blurb

When all you can see is what they want you to see… Can you ever trust someone you meet online?

Anna and Zoe are twins. Identical in appearance, utterly different in personality, they share a bond so close that nothing – or no one – can rip them apart.

Until Anna meets charismatic Nick.

Anna is trusting, romantic and hopeful; she thinks Nick is perfect.

Zoe is daring, dangerous and extreme; she thinks Nick is a liar.

Zoe has seen Anna betrayed by men before. She’ll stop at nothing to discover if Nick is as good as he seems. Amazon

tbr-watch

All of those books mean that despite reading 4 DNF 1, having gained just a few more than that, my TBR now has stands at a total of 180
Physical Books – 108
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books – 17

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 15)

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

I’m currently reading The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards and full of stories from many of my favourite crime writers.

Blurb

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget. Amazon

Having just finished Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister, a remarkable and addictive ‘sliding doors’ psychological thriller.

Blurb

I could run, or I could stay and call him an ambulance. Now it is decision time . . . ‘
It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.
Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.
You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.
You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.
Now What?
Call 999
Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.
OR:
Run

Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.
Which is it to be? Amazon

Next up is Sunday Morning Coming Down which number seven out of what is going to be eight books in the Frieda Klein series by Nicci French

Blurb

Psychotherapist Frieda Klein’s home is her refuge until she returns to find it has become a disturbingly bloody crime scene. Beneath the floorboards the police have found the body of a man she had hired to help protect her.
The killer’s message is all too clear: you’re mine.

When those closest to Frieda begin to be targeted, the picture becomes more skewed: the patterns unclear.
Unless Frieda can find and stop whoever is threatening her friends and family, her love and loyalty could come at a truly fatal cost . . . Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 14)

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.

This week my excerpts come from a book that has languished unread for far too long having been purchased way back in January 2014! The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans is a historical tale which promises delightful gowns, so seems to fit with my recent visit to Bath’s fashion museum.

Blurb

Alix Gower has a dream: to join the ranks of Coco Chanel to become a designer in the high-stakes world of Parisian haute couture. But Alix also has a secret: she supports her family by stealing designs to create bootlegs for the foreign market. A hidden sketchbook and two minutes inside Hermès is all she needs to create a perfect replica, to be whisked off to production in New York.

Then Alix is given her big break – a chance to finally realize her dream in one of the most prominent Parisian fashion houses – but at the price of copying the breakthrough Spring Collection.

Knowing this could be her only opportunity, Alix accepts the arrangement. But when a mystery from her past resurfaces and a chance meeting has her falling into the arms of a handsome English war reporter, Alix learns that the slightest misstep – or misplaced trust – could be all it takes for her life to begin falling apart at the seams. Goodreads

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Prologue

Alsace, Eastern France, 1903

The double crash that echoed through the timber-framed house killed one man and damned another. The first blow was metal against skull The second was the crack of the victim’s head against the corner of the stove.

Chapter One

Paris, 1937

Mathilda’s daughter emerged from the Continental Telephone Exchange wearing an ivy-green suit, the severity of which contrasted with her youth.
A tilted trilby and shoes of black glacé leather suggested a young lady of means, as did silk stockings accentuating slim calves and ankles. She carried a black handbag and wore matching gloves. As she went down Rue du Louvre at a fast clip, admiring looks met her – and more than one smile of invitation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m always torn when putting these posts together when they have a prologue about where to start but as this one has such an intriguing first sentence I decided to give you a taster before the delicious clothes descriptions – how fancy do black glacé leather shoes sound?

So what do you think? Would you keep reading or perhaps you’ve already read this one? Do share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (November 12)

Last weekend I met up with my very best friend in Bath and we spent a long weekend talking, visiting the Roman Baths, drinking gin, some more talking, a bit of shopping and visiting the Fashion Museum in this beautiful city.

Fashion Museum Bath

As you can see I completely looked the part!

This Week on the Blog

My excerpt post this week was from Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister which promises to explore a moral dilemma.

I completed my third TBR Book Tag whereby I spill all the beans on my ability to keep the beast under some sort of control. Since 2015 the change has been a massive decline of three books!

I’ve had a fantastic run of books lately and the week is rounded off with three five star reads.

First up was my review for Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate originally published in 1940 this was a story in three parts which felt far less dated than I expected.

Then came my review of Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre which drew me in tight and didn’t let me go, yes this is a tale that will be remembered for some time to come.

The hat trick was rounded off with my review for Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite which accompanied me on my journey to Bath and made the train carriage with no air conditioning far less bothersome than it might otherwise have been!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading the magnificent In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings, which was  one of those stories that has not let  me go! From the off it filled me with unease and reminded me what the original psychological thrillers felt like as I followed Bella in her quest to find out the truth following a bombshell revelation that indicated that her whole life might have been a lie. With brilliantly drawn characters this book in one amazing setting, it was a sheer delight to read.

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

Blurb

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence.

Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.

Stacking the Shelves

Skoobs Book Stall – Bath Indoor Market

I went to Bath years ago and my abiding memory was of the fantastic second-hand book stall where I bought a number of Barbara Vine books in the indoor market. Well, surprise, surprise it is still there and purely as a mark of nostalgia I felt it was only polite to peruse it’s offerings all these years later – bearing in mind other shopping had used up the very limited space on my carry-on bag for the flight home. I would like to point out that I suggested a number of great books to other browsers to make up for my own lack of space, before I finally and reluctantly left the stall.

 

I found a copy of The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie , it’s a private challenge of mine to only buy her books second-hand and in good condition – the one I found was in practically perfect condition which it would have been downright rude to leave on the stack.



Blurb

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.
Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans… Amazon

I also picked up a copy of The Dry by Jane Harper as it became clear from all the wonderful reviews I have read that this is a book I need!

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime. Amazon

From NetGalley I have a copy of Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon which will be published on 11 January 2018. Although it should be noted that although I don’t have a copy yet, I also want to read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by the same author.

Blurb

There are three things you should know about Elsie.

The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:

1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo. Amazon

I also have a copy of True Stories by Helen Garner, a non-fiction book that sounds perfect for dipping in and out of, her book The House of Grief being one of my favourite non-fiction reads of all time.

Blurb

Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.

Garner looks at the world with a shrewd and sympathetic eye. Her non-fiction is always passionate and compelling. True Stories is an extraordinary book, spanning fifty years of work, by one of Australia’s great writers. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 7 books and gained just 4 so my TBR now has a total of 170
Physical Books – 97
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books – 18

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 7)

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.

This week my opener comes from Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister that I chose because earlier this year I enjoyed Everything But The Truth by the same author. I enjoyed it so much that this book has a place on my header. I am hoping to be confronted with another devilish moral dilemma to wrestle with in this, her second book.

Blurb

‘I could run, or I could stay and call him an ambulance. Now it is decision time . . . ‘
It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.
Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.
You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.
You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.

Now What?
Call 999

Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.
OR:
Run

Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.
Which is it to be?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

It starts with a selfie. He is a random; we are not even sure of his name. We are always meeting them whenever we go out. Laura says it’s because I look friendly. I think it’s because I am always daydreaming, making up lies for people as I stare at them, and they think I’m inviting them over for a chat.
In the frame of his phone screen – camera facing forwards, to us – his teeth are white and slightly crooked, his nose hooked.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Contemporary books are always best when they reflect modern life, and what is more ubiquitous than the good old selfie?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 1)

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

I have just started reading Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre which was published in July of this year. This is one of my outstanding NetGalley reads from back in the summer when life went awry.

Blurb

Antoine is twelve years old. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in Beauval, a small, backwater town surrounded by forests, where everyone knows everyone’s business, and nothing much ever happens. But in the last days of 1999, a series of events unfolds, culminating in the shocking vanishing without trace of a young child. The adults of the town are at a loss to explain the disappearance, but for Antoine, it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog. From that one brutal act, his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s six year old son are bound forever.

In the years following Rémi’s disappearance, Antoine wrestles with the role his actions played. As a seemingly inescapable net begins to tighten, breaking free from the suffocating environs of Beauval becomes a gnawing obsession. But how far does he have to run, and how long will it take before his past catches up with him again? Amazon

My previous read was also a NetGalley outstanding read, The Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate which has been republished as one of The British Library Classics, having first been published in 1940.

Blurb

A woman is on trial for her life, accused of murder. The twelve members of the jury each carry their own secret burden of guilt and prejudice which could affect the outcome. In this extraordinary crime novel, we follow the trial through the eyes of the jurors as they hear the evidence and try to reach a unanimous verdict. Will they find the defendant guilty, or not guilty? And will the jurors’ decision be the correct one? Since its first publication in 1940, Verdict of Twelve has been widely hailed as a classic of British crime writing. This edition offers a new generation of readers the chance to find out why so many leading commentators have admired the novel for so long. Amazon

Next up is one of my own books, I am going away so need something reliable for the journey and I’ve read wonderful reviews of Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite which has recently been treated to a brand new cover.

Blurb

ADAM WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE LAURA HAPPY. EVEN IF IT KILLS HER.

After a devastating car crash wipes out her family, Laura struggles to get her life together. Grieving, she becomes forgetful. She doesn’t remember how money got into her purse, or buying that pint of milk…

Adam is the perfect boyfriend. He cooks meals. He does the housework. He looks after Laura’s every need. He knows everything about her.

But Laura has never met Adam. And she knows nothing about him.

What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? How did he become warped from a sensitive boy who adored the fairy tales his gran read to him? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends? Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 31)

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.

This week my opener comes from The Scandal by Fredrik Backman which was published in the US as Beartown.

Blurb

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. A bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

With the town’s future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.
Which side would you be on? Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


1

Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.
This is the story of how we got there.

2

Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang.

It’s a Friday in early March in Beartown and nothing has happened yet. Everyone is waiting. Tomorrow, the Beartown Ice Hockey Club’s junior team is playing in the semi-final of the biggest youth tournament in the country. How important can something like that be? In most places, not so important, of course. But Beartown isn’t most places.

Bang. Bang Bang-bang-bang.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

I’m very fond of small-town settings in books although I have to admit shootings are one of my least favourite methods of killing so I’m looking forward to seeing how this one works out for me.

I included the first paragraph of the second chapter as the synopsis for the book starts with the first and I wanted to give you all a little more.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (October 29)

Last month I was honoured to take part in the Ngaio Marsh Awards blog tour to celebrate the finalists in the eighth annual Ngaio Marsh Awards, for excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery and thriller writing for which I reviewed the engaging non-fiction true crime book: The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie by David Hastings.

First-time crime writers Fiona Sussman, Finn Bell, and Michael Bennett swept the spoils at the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards in Christchurch on Saturday night.

Fiona Sussman is the first female author to win the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE (Allison & Busby) is her second novel but the first foray into crime storytelling for the former GP who grew up in Apartheid South Africa. It explores the ongoing impact of a brutal home invasion on both victim and perpetrator. “Laden with empathy and insight,” said the international judging panel. “A challenging, emotional read, harrowing yet touching, this is brave and sophisticated storytelling.”

Self-published e-book author Finn Bell won Best First Novel for DEAD LEMONS and was a finalist for Best Crime Novel for PANCAKE MONEY. His debut explores themes of addiction, loss, and recovery as a wheelchair-bound man contemplating suicide decamps to a remote cottage in Southland, only to be obsessively drawn into a dangerous search for a father and daughter who went missing years before.

Experienced filmmaker Michael Bennett (Te Arawa) won the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Non Fiction for IN DARK PLACES (Paul Little Books), the astonishing tale of how teenage car thief Teina Pora spent decades in prison for the brutal murder of Susan Burdett, and the remarkable fight to free him. The international judging panel called it “a scintillating, expertly balanced account of one of the most grievous miscarriages of justice in New Zealand history”.

This Week on the Blog

My week kicked off with my review of William Boyd’s short story collection; The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth, probably one of the few books in this format that I have wholeheartedly enjoyed.

My excerpt post for Three Days and A Life by Pierre Lemaitre got a mixed reaction in the comments section, I’m going to be reading this one soon…

This Week in Books featured the authors Nina Bawden (more of her later), RC Bridgestock and Elly Griffiths 

RC Bridgestock appeared on Cleopatra Loves Books on Thursday when one half of this writing duo, Carol, joined me to share her favourite childhood books as part of the blog tour for When A Killer Strikes. There were so many familiar titles on this list and Carol’s love of the children’s library where she fell in love with the tatty books shines through

On Friday I reviewed the winning book of The Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition 2016 – Caz Frear deservedly walked away with the prize with her novel Sweet Little Dreams which is up there with my favourite crime reads of 2017.

I ended the week with my review of Nina Bawden’s book The Solitary Child a book that was full of foreboding and I tagged ‘incredibly enjoyable in a miserable sort of way’  Apart from the plot itself it was equally interesting to see the contemporary opinions in the late 1950s, I won’t go into details but there are parts that wouldn’t pass the PC police today.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Museum of You by Carys Bray which I adored, surprisingly because this isn’t my normal type of reading matter at all.  Twelve year old Clover Quinn never knew her mother and has just one blurry photo taken with her as a baby.  After a trip to Liverpool’s Maritime Museum and  having a conversation with one of the curators, she decided that she is going to sort through all her Mum’s belongings and find out all about her. Then she is going to display her findings in the second bedroom, complete with cards explaining each item in the display. This could have been a slushy story, but Carys Bray kept the tone just right and it is funny and heart-warming without descending into mush.

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

Blurb

Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories.

Darren has done his best. He’s studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least – to be happy.

What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.

But what you find depends on what you’re searching for. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

So having managed to negotiate the change to the new jurisdiction NetGalley I’m pleased to say all my unread books are still sat nicely on my shelf, including the latest addition, Turning For Home by Barney Norris. I loved his previous book of interlinked stories, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain so I’m looking forward to seeing what this one has to offer – it will be published in the UK on 11 January 2017.

Blurb

‘Wasn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People lived in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they had for them. Everyone needed their stories, the other side of the ribbon of their lives, the real life and the dream, the statement and the meaning, all of them a tape’s breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.’

Every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins – it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all. NetGalley

I also have bought a copy of The English Daughter by Maggie Wadey after being drawn to this non-fiction read after seeing a post on one of your lovely blogs – sadly I can’t remember whose. If it was you ‘thank you’

Blurb

As a child I was aware of my mother being different from my father and his family, and that her difference was somehow connected with her being Irish, but I knew almost nothing of her youth and upbringing. In the year or so before she died, she did begin to talk to me about her past. The first sequence of the book is based on those childhood memories. Only after my mother’s death do I go to Tipperary and there I begin to discover another story, the life she never told me about. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained just 2 so my TBR now has a total of 173
Physical Books – 96
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books – 21

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (October 25)

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

I am currently reading When A Killer Strikes by RC Bridgestock the eighth in the DI Dylan series, written by two former employees of the police service. This book was published just last week on 19 October 2017.

Blurb

“Boss, we’ve got a body”.
Detective Sergeant Vicky Hardacre, greets him at the scene, but what awaits them behind the blood red door of Colonial House is undoubtedly a murder. The approach identifies several prime suspects. But who is telling the truth; and who is lying?
Before the killer can be caught, another body is discovered, this time in a putrefying mixture of mud and slime, lain among the remnants of decaying food within a waste-bin shelter. Now it’s the task of the man in charge to make the call.
Are the two murders connected?
There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by working long hours, within strict budgets, and the usual pressure from above to obtain quick results.
However, Dylan is distracted by personal matters, with Jen being keen to seal the deal on a renovation project. He suggests they delay finalising the purchase; until he discovers the significance of the house, and that it’s about to be demolished.
In his absence, Jen’s pleas for help from his estranged siblings are answered, resulting in hidden secrets coming to light, as Dylan continues, through a twisting and turning plot, to ensure justice is done in respect of the murder victims, whose bright hopes for the future were cruelly snatched away. Amazon

This follows on from The Solitary Child by Nina Bawden which I have to say I found incredibly enjoyable in a miserable sort of way!

Blurb

The Solitary Child is a story of violent death and suspicion. Harriet becomes engaged to James Random, a gentleman farmer, monied but unpretentious. But his first wife, Eva, had died in what were called ‘unforgettable circumstances’; James was charged with murdering her and was acquitted. Breaking the news to her mother of her engagement was Harriet’s first ordeal: facing Maggie, the solitary child who was James’ and Eva’s daughter was more complex. Suspicions are not always cleared away by a verdict of ‘not guilty’. Here the suspicion which Harriet found surrounding her new home was so oppressive it distorted the relationships of the people involved into a nightmare climax. Amazon

Next I am planning to read The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths, the fourth book in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series.

Blurb

What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Read the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto and find out.

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ investigation into the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred… Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 24)

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.

This week I’ve decided to share the opening of a book I will be reading soon Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre which was published in July 2017.



Blurb

Antoine is twelve years old. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in Beauval, a small, backwater town surrounded by forests, where everyone knows everyone’s business, and nothing much ever happens. But in the last days of 1999, a series of events unfolds, culminating in the shocking vanishing without trace of a young child. The adults of the town are at a loss to explain the disappearance, but for Antoine, it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog. From that one brutal act, his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s six year old son are bound forever.

In the years following Rémi’s disappearance, Antoine wrestles with the role his actions played. As a seemingly inescapable net begins to tighten, breaking free from the suffocating environs of Beauval becomes a gnawing obsession. But how far does he have to run, and how long will it take before his past catches up with him again? Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1999

1

In late December 1999, an alarming series of tragic events struck Beuval, the most important of which, it seemed, was the disappearance of little Rémi Desmedt. In this region of lush, dense woodland that moved to its slow, ineluctable rhythms, the sudden disappearance of the child was met by stunned shock and was considered by many of the residence as a harbinger of catastrophes to come.
For Antoine, who was at the centre of the tragedy, it all began with the death of the dog Ulysses. Do not trouble to ask why its owner, Monsieur Desmedt, gave this scrawny, long-legged white-and-tan mongrel the name of a Greek hero, it will be one more mystery in this story.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well the author wastes no time in ploughing into the facts around the story so that second paragraph about the dog comes almost as a bit of a relief as we ponder on a dog’s name rather than the disappearance of Rémi Desmedt.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?