Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 20)

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

My current read is The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan a multi-layered crime fiction novel set in Galway. It is the first in another new series, I have a feeling that 2019 will be the year of crime fiction series at Cleopatra Loves Books.

Blurb

February 1993
On his first week on the job, Garda Cormac Reilly responds to a call at a decrepit country house to find two silent, neglected children waiting for him – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. Their mother lies dead upstairs.

March 2013
Twenty years later, Cormac has left his high-flying career as a detective in Dublin and returned to Galway. As he struggles to navigate the politics of a new police station, Maude and Jack return to haunt him.

What ties a recent suicide to the woman’s death so long ago? And who among his new colleagues can Cormac really trust? Amazon

The last book I finished was They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie this was the second in the audible collection ‘More from Marple’s Casebook’ which is accompanying me on my walks at the moment.

Blurb

A man is shot at in a juvenile reform home – but someone else dies…

Miss Marple senses danger when she visits a friend living in a Victorian mansion which doubles as a rehabilitiation centre for delinquents. Her fears are confirmed when a youth fires a revolver at the administrator, Lewis Serrocold. Neither is injured. But a mysterious visitor, Mr Gilbrandsen, is less fortunate – shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.

Pure coincidence? Miss Marple thinks not, and vows to discover the real reason for Mr Gilbrandsen’s visit. Amazon

Next I intend to read Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson which will be published on 7 March 2019 by Faber & Faber.

Blurb

They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.’

When Hen and Lloyd move into their new house in West Dartford, Mass., they’re relieved to meet, at their first block party, the only other seemingly-childless couple in their neighbourhood, Matthew and Mira Dolamore. Turns out they live in the Dutch Colonial immediately next door.

When they’re invited over for dinner, however, things take a sinister turn when Hen thinks she sees something suspicious in Matthew’s study. Could this charming, mild-mannered College Professor really be hiding a dark secret, one that only Hen, whose been battling her own problems with depression and medication, could know about? Lloyd certainly doesn’t seem to believe her, and so, forced together, Hen and Matthew start to form an unlikely bond. But who, if anyone, is really in danger? NetGalley

What does your reading week look like?

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 13)

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

My current read is Death of a Dancer by Jill McGown, number three in the Lloyd and Hill series. I originally read many of these books many years ago on loan from the library, but was thrilled to find them published for the kindle a few years ago – sadly I only made it to book two then but here I am picking up the thread again after a break.



Blurb

The murder of a deputy headmaster’s wife on the night of the Sesquicentennial Ball at a minor-league boys’ public school brings together the team of Inspector Lloyd and Judy Hill. Diana Hamlyn’s body has been found on the school’s playing field. Death had been caused by the traditional blunt instrument, her clothing was disarrayed, her underclothes missing. It was a particularly disturbing killing.

As Lloyd and Hill begin the harrowing routine of a murder investigation they rapidly learn that the woman had been a nymphomaniac – her conquests many, her fidelities few, the list of suspects for her killing appallingly long. That list includes her husband, her lovers and her colleagues, none with perfect alibis, some ostentatiously lying. Amazon

The last book I finished was The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie although strictly speaking I listened to the book, rather than read it! Miss Marple did it again using the voice of June Whitfield!

Blurb

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets – a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir.

But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note said ‘I can’t go on’. Only Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Was this the work of a poison-pen? Or of a poisoner? Amazon

Next up I think I’ll step away from murder for a moment and read The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis.


Blurb

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…
Read her letter. Remember her story… Amazon

 

What does your reading week look like?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 20)

Well here we are the 20th January and my reading and blogging mojo has remained intact, much to my relief. To celebrate I have a stack of new books to look forward to.

This Week on the Blog

My week started with a review of an audiobook which is set around a true crime TV series; Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea which was both a great structure for listening to and introduced me to a new author via the wonderful book blogging community.

My excerpt post was taken from The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths which will be published by Quercus on 7 February 2019.

This Week in Books featured the authors Alex & Marcus Lewis, Truman Capote and Victoria Helen Stone

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg got a very positive review from this reader for the brilliant portrayal of a life as witnessed with people those she has met along the way. Now all too often the names scored through in ninety-six year old Doris’s address book and the word ‘dead’ written beside them.

On Friday I explained via my review how the fictionalised version of the Forest of Dean worked against my full immersion in A Place to Lie by Rebecca Griffiths even though it is entirely fitting with this very creepy book.

I finished the week by determinedly ignoring the political news of the week and concentrated on a post about bookshelves as a response to Marie Kondo’s alleged assertion that 30 books is the maximum any house should hold.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward and I was exceptionally lucky to be able to read it in its home setting in the Peak District while on a weekend break in Leek.

A Patient Fury is the third in the series featuring DC Childs and it is a solid police procedural but in addition Sarah Ward gives us a plot that is both credible and yet audacious. The lines of enquiry are followed but there is more beneath the surface than trying to find the answer to the three main questions: means, motive and opportunity; the lid is also lifted on family life, the parts that we often don’t want to acknowledge.

The writing is both clear and compelling. As the author has allowed one of her detectives to move to another Police Authority it has allowed a new character to step into the team mixing up the dynamics most satisfactorily and will hopefully allow the series to continue to grow and delight for many more books yet.

If you haven’t read this series and you love well-written crime fiction, I suggest you add them all to your bookshelf.

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



Blurb

When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.
What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.

Stacking the Shelves

As I said earlier there have been more additions to the bookshelves in their various forms this week and I have some older acquisitions still to share. It therefore seems sensible to split them between formats again this week.

From NetGalley I am delighted to have received a copy of My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates who is one of those authors whose books I either love or occasionally hate. In other words someone whose novels provoke strong emotions! This book isn’t due to be published until 6 June 2019 though.

Blurb

A brilliant and thought-provoking novel about family, loyalty and betrayal

Once I’d been Daddy’s favourite. Before something terrible happened.

Violet Rue is the baby of the seven Kerrigan children and adores her big brothers. What’s more, she knows that a family protects its own. To go outside the family – to betray the family – is unforgiveable. So when she overhears a conversation not meant for her ears and discovers that her brothers have committed a heinous crime, she is torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of justice. The decision she takes will change her life for ever.

Exploring racism, misogyny, community, family, loyalty, sexuality and identity, this is a dark story with a tense and propulsive atmosphere – Joyce Carol Oates at her very best. NetGalley

For my kindle I have purchased a copy of For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood.

This is a police procedural set in the UK and recommended by a Canadian Blogger. this was the winner in her survey on which UK Police Procedural series she should start first and is now endorsed by one of my most trusted book bloggers Fictionphile. If you haven’t visited her blog and been wowed by her Cover Love, I really do urge you to hop on over and pay her a visit. I can guarantee you will get a warm welcome.

Blurb

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness.

The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.

Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more… Amazon

My audio selection is More from Marple’s Casebook by Agatha Christie this Radio 4 dramatisation of seven of the Miss Marple stories was chosen shortly before the demise of the leading lady June Whitfield.

Blurb

June Whitfield stars as Miss Marple in seven suspenseful full-cast radio dramatisation

These BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations, based on four novels and three short stories by Agatha Christie, showcase seven of Miss Marple’s most ingenious mysteries.

The Moving Finger, They Do It With Mirrors, Nemesis and Sleeping Murder dramatised by Michael Bakewell and directed by Enyd Williams

Tape-Measure Murder, The Case of the Perfect Maid and Sanctuary dramatised by Joy Wilkinson and directed by Gemma Jenkins. Amazon

I was hugely lucky to receive some physical books as gifts for Christmas and one that I am very eager to read is Peter Swanson’s All the Beautiful Lies, given that his previous books delighted me the synopsis for this one sounds equally appealing.


Blurb

On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his step-mother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father.

But who really is Alice, his father’s much younger second wife? In a brilliant split narrative, Peter Swanson teases out the stories and damage that lie in her past. And as her story entwines with Harry’s in the present, things grow increasingly dark and threatening – will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings? Amazon

tbr-watchI haven’t cleared any books out of the TBR this week except for the 3 I have read.

With a few acquisitions the total this week is 174

Physical Books – 115
Kindle Books – 35
NetGalley Books –20
Audio Books –5

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 21)

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

My current read is The Lie of You by Jane Lythell which has been on my kindle waiting to be read since 2014!



Blurb

One woman’s fear is a another woman’s weapon…

”When I look back on my relationship with Kathy I marvel at how naive she was, how little she knew.
But then, she always thought she had everything: the job; the baby; the friends; and him. She thought she was safe. She thought that nothing could touch her perfect world.
She should never have trusted me.”

A woman sets out to destroy a female colleague in this chilling psychological thriller. Amazon

The last book I finished was Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea listened to in audio format. a fascinating mystery presented as a true crime documentary – very clever!


Blurb

The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life. Amazon

Next I plan on reading The Clocks by Agatha Christie, still struggling with far too much work I need to keep chipping away at the classics club list without having to invest too much time in a chunkster!

Blurb

As instructed, stenographer Sheila Webb let herself into the house at 19 Wilbraham Crescent. It was then that she made a grisly discovery: the body of a man sprawled across the living room floor. Goodreads

So that’s my weeks reading sorted – what does yours look like?

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (September 2014 to September 2018)


5 Star Reads

In 2015 to celebrate reviewing for five years I started a series entitled Five of the Best where I chose my favourite five star reads which I’d read in that month. I will be celebrating Five years of blogging later this year and so I decided it was time to repeat the series.

One of the fascinating things I find looking back over these posts is some months seem to have far more varied types of reads than others – I’m beginning to suspect September has that whiff of ‘back to school’ about it with an urge to broaden my horizons being evident.

You can read my original review of the book featured by clicking on the book cover.

In September 2014 though it was very much an old favourite which is the winner. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie had me caught up in what may have been express travel in the 1930s when the book was written but seemed to be anything but to a modern reader. I loved the range of characters, the level of research undertaken by Agatha Christie to make sure the details were correct, as well as pitting my inferior little grey cells against Hercule Poirot’s vastly superior ones.

The plot is ingenious, and I can only imagine how it was received as this book doesn’t really meet the conventions of crime fiction for the time it was written. With a cracking pace alongside a despised victim the pleasure was all about seeking to fit the clues together into a fitting scenario. The ending has to be one of the best ever with all the travellers called to the fine dining car as Poirot outlines two possibilities of what could conceivably explain what happened in carriage number 2. I can’t imagine a more perfect finale.

Blurb

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
With tension mounting, detective Hercule Poirot comes up with not one, but two solutions to the crime. Amazon

In September 2015 I was blown away by The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, a fabulous historical novel of the like that could only have come from the pen of this incredibly talented author.

Set in the 1940s this book tells a story in reverse starting with 1947, travelling back to 1943 before ending at the beginning with 1941.

Knowing the ending, or at least part of it, before you get to the beginning of a story lent this book a peculiar feeling of poignancy, as well as inevitably giving the reader a few ‘ahh’ moments as the actions of our main characters begin to make a little more sense once we know what had happened in the past. This way of revealing the story also meant that I wanted to go back to the beginning, willing the 1947 part to go just that little bit further, to give me some sense of completeness to the character’s lives that hold the promise of a future never to be told.

This was simply superb and reading my original review makes me want to pick up the story again while still hoping that the ending/beginning will somehow reveal something different…

Blurb

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller.

This is the story of four Londoners – three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching . . . Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret . . . Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover . . . Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances . . .

Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement. Amazon

September 2016’s entry is a psychological thriller; Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst. I love it when friendship is the basis of this sub-genre as these are often more complex than any romance.

In Before I Let You In there are three friends, Karen a psychiatrist, Eleanor a mother to a young child with relationship problems and Bea a single woman whose problems stem from the past. And then Jessica walks in for an appointment with Karen and seems to know all about Eleanor!

The plotting was superb, and despite me having an inkling where the fishy smell was strongest, there was plenty to ponder over, actions to be contemplated and of course trying to fix the pieces of the puzzle into a whole picture. If you enjoy a psychological thriller which features realistic characters and a strong storyline, you should definitely consider reading this one.

Blurb

Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.

It’s her job, as a psychiatrist – and it’s always been her role as a friend.

But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.

But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.

And Karen is starting to wonder if she should have let her in . . . Amazon

2017 saw me wowed by another historical fiction, this time The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis.

Margaret Penny returns to Edinburgh after some thirty years away and returns to her mother’s home. She is not given a warm welcome, or even a proper bed but given that she feels she has no choice except to leave London, she has to take the scant comfort on offer. Margaret takes up a job offer to locate the family of the recently deceased to save the local council spending money on their funerals.

One of Margaret’s first jobs is to sift through the belongings in one flat of an elderly woman. With a beautiful green dress seeming out of odds with the rest of the detritus of a life the hunt begins.

This is a book full of themes which while at times quite a dark tale flicking backwards between the 1930s and the present day from London to snowy Edinburgh as well as moving between one claustrophobic household to another; I loved every minute of it.



Blurb

Somehow she’d always known that she would end like this. In a small square room, in a small square flat. In a small square box, perhaps. Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside. And a name . . .

An old lady dies alone and unheeded in a cold Edinburgh flat on a snowy Christmas night. A faded emerald dress hangs in her wardrobe; a spilt glass of whisky pools on the floor.

A few days later a middle-aged woman arrives back in the city she thought she’d left behind, her future uncertain, her past in tatters.

She soon finds herself a job at the Office for Lost People, tracking down the families of those who have died neglected and alone.

But what Margaret Penny cannot yet know, is just how entangled her own life will become in the death of one lonely stranger . . . Amazon

There was a clear winner for this year’s entry for the five star award and that was The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward. I’m not sure how this author keeps producing crime fiction set in Derby of such high quality but, this number four in the DC Connie Childs series, is even better than those which preceded it.

With the tale split between the past in 1957 and an equally evocative present, the mystery has its heart in an old railway tunnel near Bampton. A girl went into the tunnel never to reappear and it seems that now someone wants to be certain that the secrets from the past stay firmly hidden.

One of my favourite aspects is that all the characters are great, they are all genuine people, police as we like to imagine our local police force to be; caring and diligent with an absolute drive to get to the truth. And boy do they show their tenacity in this novel.

Blurb

The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home. Amazon

Five of the Best 2018

January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2018

The A.B.C. Murders – Agatha Christie

Classic Crime Fiction
5*s

Hercule Poirot in this, the thirteenth book written about him by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, is according to our dear friend Captain Hastings, a wee bit bored with no juicy crimes to solve. How fortunate then that he should receive an anonymous letter from someone signing themselves A.B.C.

I can’t say any more about this book without commenting on the then relatively unused style of alternating between a first person narrative by Captain Hastings and third person narrative provided by the same Captain Hastings but pertaining to be from another character. Needless to say we are now used to our author’s playing games with viewpoints but back in 1936 when the book was first published it was quite unexpected, but apparently well received.

Of course despite Hasting’s speculation that the event foretold in Andover may well be a burglary, Poirot is sure it will be murder, and of course he is right. Mrs Alice Ascher is killed in her ‘cheap’ tobacco and paper shop and left on the counter is a copy of the ABC railway timetable.

One of the things that has most enchanted me re-reading these novels is the very thing that passed me by when I first discovered them as a child. Whilst the murder mystery itself easily stands the test of time there is something about the everyday items and attitudes that surface now and again which instantly makes you realise this was first read, possibly by my grandparents when they were far younger than I am now! I mean you barely hear about maps nowadays let alone a book of railway timetables that people actually went and purchased! Although apparently my internet research indicates that there was a reprint done in 2010 named abc Guide for railway enthusiasts.

After Mrs Ascher’s death Inspector Crome, aware of the anonymous letter which saves the drunken errant husband of the deceased woman from suspicion, is condescending towards Poirot but he manfully rises above it, resplendent with his dyed hair and full moustache. Soon Poirot gets another letter indicating that the next murder will happen in Bexhill and challenging Poirot to solve the case. It’s fair to say the police don’t have a clue and nor does it seem that Poirot has much idea which direction to proceed except to chase around the country by train to the destinations given in the letters, but he has the victim’s family and friends to keep him busy while he waits…

A little later in the book it is commented on that each of the victims, I don’t think I’m giving much away to say we got passed the letter C, had their own little drama going on that would make for a good story, and it’s true. One of the delights is the varied age and disposition of the victims and their families which almost defies the long-held belief that Agatha Christie isn’t great at developing her characters as she certainly packs enough into this little book to satisfy this reader. A particular mention has to be given to  the wonderful Doctor Thomson who is intent on profiling the killer – again who knew that such methods were around in the 1930s?

Of course with the crimes happening up and down the country although always in places where a traveller has a convenient railway station to alight and depart from, the traditional gathering in the drawing-room to reveal the killer isn’t quite possible, but fear not, Hercule Poirot and his little grey cells does not disappoint in the dénouement.

So this book having been purchased in Bath in November 2017 is the first entry on my Mount TBR Challenge 2018 and earns me one-third of a book token.

 

 

First Published UK: 1936
Publisher: HarperCollins
No of Pages: 331
Genre: Crime Fiction – Classic
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 3)

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 the latest novel by Peter May, I’ll Keep You Safe, which like the Lewis Trilogy is set in part on the Outer Hebrides and will be published on 11 January 2018.

Blurb

WHATEVER HAPPENS
Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.
I’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU
Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.
I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT
As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs. Amazon

The last book I finished was the thirteenth in the Hercule Poirot series; The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie in keeping with my vow to read more of my own books in 2018.

Blurb

Agatha Christie’s world-famous serial killer mystery.

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

Next, I will be reading Turning for Home by Barney Norris, which after the pleasure of Five River Met on a Wooded Plain, I’m really looking forward to.

 

Blurb


‘Isn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People live in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they have for them. The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only 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. Amazon

What does your reading week look like? Have you read any of my choices? Are you planning to?

Please leave your comments in the 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 #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2017

Murder is Easy – Agatha Christie #20booksofsummer

Crime Fiction
5*s

Murder is Easy was first published in 1939 with the opening scenes set on a train where a retired police officer, Luke Fitzwilliam hears a fantastical tale of a village where a murderer is reducing the population. To be honest Luke Fitzwilliam, in this day and age would probably have studiously avoided Lavinia Pinkerton’s eye and never heard the story of how she was going up to report her suspicions to the detectives at Scotland Yard. But these were different times and Luke Fitzwilliam is reminded of his own spinster aunts and sits and listens to the list of names which includes the next intended victim, Dr Humbleby, never letting the scoff in his head mar what I imagine to be his kindly features.

Imagine his surprise when reading the obituaries a few days later he sees that his travelling companion was knocked down by a car soon after they parted company – of course these days the spinster aunt would have to depend on kindly friends or relations to spread the news of her demise on social media. Not only that. Dr Humbleby reported as to having died of septicaemia. Our esteemed retired detective was a little bit bored now that he’s retired and a plan is made. He will stay at the home of a friend’s sister and pretend to be writing a book about witches and superstitions of the area. Hard to pull off successfully today as a quick google search would blow his cover to smithereens, but possible, after all who would look unless they were worried about their dastardly deeds being discovered?

Once in the town he is delighted by his pretend cousin Bridget Conway who is engaged to the frightfully rich Gordon Whitfield and as the house is large and not being the only servant, she shares his home in Wychwood under Ashe still acting as his secretary until they are married. It doesn’t take Luke long to find quite an impressive list of key suspects using the second spinster to have a leading role, Honoria Waynflete, who is both observant and knowledgeable and Luke suspects she already has a suspicion about the identity of this serial killer who uses a different method of murder for all his victims. Not for this killer the outright violence of a knife or a gun, no, young tear away Tommy Pierce fell from a library window whilst engaged to clean it and the servant Amy Gibbs swallowed hat paint instead of cough medicine in the night and was discovered in the morning when she wasn’t up and about laying fires and preparing breakfast.

Agatha Christie’s novels really do recreate an era that has long passed and although the mysteries are ingenious I can’t help but feel it is something of the nostalgia for something that has been lost forever that makes her books quite so appealing and it’s in the details that this is underlined. Who would honestly believe that a retired detective could pop up in a village, have his suspects, and there are quite a few, talk to him, often at length without his cover being blown. Meanwhile we have a young woman debating marriage to a man she doesn’t love to gain security seeing it as swapping one job for another – secretary or wife – as Bridget says it’s the same job description, but being the wife pays better.

I thoroughly enjoyed Murder is Easy although I confess I was a little worried because I do have a penchant for a certain Belgium and his little grey cells but without his pronunciations to make me giggle like a schoolgirl, I could really work hard at solving the puzzle and find the killer. It didn’t work, I failed miserably!

Murder is Easy /em> was my thirteenth read in my 20 Books of Summer 2017 Challenge.

First Published UK: 1939
Publisher:Harper Collins
No of Pages: 273
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 2)

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 The House by Simon Lelic which will be published on 17 August 2017.

Blurb

Whose story do YOU believe?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.

THIS STORY IS THEIR CHANCE…
TO PROVE THEY’RE INNOCENT.
OR TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Amazon

I have just finished Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie which was my thirteenth read for 20 Books of Summer 2017  (yes, for those of you keeping up, this is just how far I am with my review writing!!)

Blurb

Luke Fitzwilliam could not believe Miss Pinkerton’s wild allegation that a multiple murderer was at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood – or her speculation that the local doctor was next in line.

But within hours, Miss Pinkerton had been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Mere coincidence? Luke was inclined to think so – until he read in The Times of the unexpected demise of Dr Humbleby… Amazon

Up next is Before the Poison by Peter Robison from my 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Blurb

After years of Hollywood success composer Chris Lowndes wanted only one thing: to take his beloved wife home to the Yorkshire Dales.
But Laura is gone, and Chris is on his own.
He welcomes the isolation of Kilnsgate House, and the beauty of the dale. And it doesn’t surprise him that a man died there, sixty years ago.
That his wife was convicted of murder.
That something is pulling him deeper and deeper into the story of Grace Elizabeth Fox, who was hanged by the neck until she was dead . . . Amazon

So that’s my reading week – What are you reading? Do share in the comments box below