Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 22)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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’m sharing the opening paragraph of Cry for Help by Steve Mosby which has been sitting patiently on my kindle since August 2011!

Blurb

Dave Lewis is a man with a history. Haunted by his brother’s murder when they were children, and scarred by his parents’ grief, he’s built a bitter life denying everything they ever stood for. He spends his time working as a magician, running a cynical magazine that derides his parents. New Age beliefs, and drowning his sorrows over his lost love, Tori. He’s trying to convince himself the past is the past. A promise he made to Tori has got him into trouble before, and Dave’s determined to move on and not let that happen again.

Detective Sam Currie is a man with a past. His failure to prevent his son’s death has ended his marriage and cast a shadow over his life and career. He’s directed his hatred towards the one man he sees as responsible, but he has other priorities right now. A killer is stalking the city, abducting girls and sending texts and emails to their families before he kills them. When Dave Lewis appears to connect both investigations, it’s an opportunity Currie can’t resist… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

There is a prologue to this book but I’ve skipped that for the purpose of this post.

Chapter One

Sunday 7th August

I met Tori by magic two years ago.
It was on an otherwise average night at Edward’s Bar in the city centre. It was one of those places where they don’t serve pints, only bottles, shots or cocktails, all at prices that make you feel you should be somewhere better. There was bar space for about five people, assuming they hunched their shoulders. If you actually wanted to sit with your drink, you had the choice of perching on stools with supermodel legs, or else hunkering down on fat leather settees round shin-high coffee tables. That was if you got in early. Otherwise you had to stand, and ignore the sensation of your shoes slowly sticking to the tiles.

That opening ring any bells with you, sadly it does only too loudly for me!

So what do you think? Would you keep reading

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 15)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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’m sharing the opening paragraph of Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith, after all what is better than a good old fashioned Christmas story in May?

Blurb

Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931. Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer. Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Part I: Christmas Eve

1. Adrian

Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas 1931. The crime was instantaneous and unpremeditated, and the murderer was left staring from the weapon on the table to the dead man in the shadows of the tapestry curtains, not apprehensive, not yet afraid, but incredulous and dumb.

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Oh the season to be merry and all that jazz…. I’m intrigued because as Martin Edwards informs us in the introduction Dorothy Sayers herself considered this a detective novel with ‘less emphasis on clues and more on character’ unusual in 1933 when Portrait of a Murderer was first published.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 1)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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’m sharing the opening paragraph of The Lodgerby Marie Belloc Lowndes which will be my next choice from my Classics Club reading list. This thriller has been filmed five times and was originally published in 1913 so I’m really looking forward to seeing what this one has to offer!

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

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Robert Bunting and Ellen his wife sat before their dully burning, carefully banked-up fire.

The room, especially when it be known that it was part of a house standing in a grimy, if not exactly sordid, London thoroughfare, was exceptionally clean and well cared-for. A casual stranger, more particularly one of a Superior class to their own, on suddenly opening the door of that sitting room, would have thought that Mr and Mrs Bunting presented a very pleasant, cosy picture of comfortable married life. Bunting, who was leaning back in a deep leather armchair, was clean-shaven and dapper, still in appearance what he had been for many years of his life – a self-respecting manservant
On his wife, now sitting up in an uncomfortable straight-backed chair, the marks of past servitude were less apparent; but they were there all the same – in her neat black stuff dress, and in her scrupulously clean, plain collar and cuffs. Mrs Bunting, as a single woman, had been what is known as a useful maid..

So that’s a snapshot of the Buntings, how I’m wonder will the lodger measure up?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 24)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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’m sharing the opening paragraph of Crippen: A Novel by John Boyne which I’m listening to as an audio book. Regular readers of this blog will know I haven’t had a great deal of success with this format in the past, but I’m giving it another go in the hope that I can listen and knit at the same time. So far I’ve listened while walking and it’s going ok but I’m going to practice a little bit before adding anything more complex into the mix!

Blurb

July 1910: The grisly remains of Cora Crippen, music hall singer and wife of Dr Hawley Crippen, are discovered in the cellar of 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden. But the Doctor and his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, have vanished, much to the frustration of Scotland Yard and the outrage of a horrified London.

Across the Channel in Antwerp, the SS Montrose sets sail on its two week voyage to Canada. Amongst its passengers are the overbearing Antonia Drake and her daughter Victoria, who is hell-bent on romance, the enigmatic Mathieu Zela and the modest Martha Hayes. Also on board are the unassuming Mr John Robinson and his seventeen-year-old son Edmund. But all is not as it seems… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

The Melrose

Antwerp: Wednesday, 20 July 1910

SHE WAS OVER 575 feet in length, with a beam almost an eighth of that size. She weighed approximately 16,500 tons and had a capacity of over eighteen hundred passengers, although today she was only three-quarters full. Stately and impressive, her hull and paintwork gleaming in the July sun, she seemed almost impatient to depart, her chimneys piping steam cautiously as the Scheldt river crashed noisily against her side. She was the SS Montrose, part of the Canadian Pacific fleet of passenger ships, and she was preparing to set sail from the Port of Antwerp in Belgium for the city of Quebec in Canada, some three thousand miles away.

I think you will agree this is a striking description of the SS Montrose but of course we want to meet the infamous Dr Crippen.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 17)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

I’m featuring one of my upcoming reads from my own bookshelf this week; Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell, the author of one my favourite reads of 2017, The Other Typist.



Blurb

‘Back in those days My Old Man was king of what they called the three-martini lunch. This meant that in dimly lit steakhouses all over Manhattan my father made bold, impetuous deals over gin and oysters. That was how it was done.’

Cliff Nelson, the privileged son of a New York publishing house editor, is slumming it around Greenwich village in 1958, enjoying the booze, drugs and the idea that he’s the next Kerouac.

Fresh-faced Eden Katz arrives in New York with the ultimate ambition to become an editor, but she’s shocked at the stumbling blocks she encounters.

Miles Tillman, a black publishing house messenger boy, is an aspiring writer who feels he straddles various worlds and belongs to none.

Their choices, concealments and betrayals ripple outwards leaving none of them unchanged. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1
CLIFF

Greenwich Village in ’58 was a madman’s paradise. In those days a bunch of us went around together drinking too much coffee and smoking too much cannabis and talking all the time about poetry and Nietzsche and bebop. I had been running around with the same guys I knew from Columbia – give or take a coloured jazz musician here or a benny addict there – and together we would get good and stoned and ride the subway down to Washington Square I guess you could say I liked my Columbia buddies all right. They were swell enough guys but, when you really got down to it, they were a pack of poser wannabe-poets in tweed and I knew it was only a matter of time before I outgrew them.

Well I’m not too sure what to make of Cliff from that short excerpt but I can’t wait to find out what happens when he outgrows his buddies!

Would you keep reading? Or perhaps you’ve already read this one, after all it was published in 2016

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 10)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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 chosen a book that I’m looking forward to reading – The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet will be published on 3 May 2018.

Blurb

‘No one lives this way unless they want to hide something.’

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.

On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.

But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget . . . Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Away

Caroline, May 2015

When we turn into the street, my first thought is that the houses around here all look the same. Neat, whitewashed rectangles with boxy little windows and flatly sloping roofs. They almost all have window boxes, too – lined up along the lower sills and filled uniformly with white-and-purple pansies, like they are subject to some sort of dress code. There must be around thirty of these houses, all prettily popped off the production line.

A fairly innocuous opening, and we’ve all been in places like that but I really want to know what happens when Caroline turns the key.

What about you? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 3)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

I thought I’d go with an older book this time, one of my classic crime fiction reads for The Classic Club which was first published in 1946. The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin was written at a different time with different needs, but lets see how different the opening page is…

Blurb

Richard Cadogan, poet and would-be bon vivant, arrives for what he thinks will be a relaxing holiday in the city of dreaming spires. Late one night, however, he discovers the dead body of an elderly woman lying in a toyshop and is coshed on the head. When he comes to, he finds that the toyshop has disappeared and been replaced with a grocery store. The police are understandably sceptical of this tale but Richard’s former schoolmate, Gervase Fen (Oxford professor and amateur detective), knows that truth is stranger than fiction (in fiction, at least). Soon the intrepid duo are careening around town in hot pursuit of clues but just when they think they understand what has happened, the disappearing-toyshop mystery takes a sharp turn…

Erudite, eccentric and entirely delightful – Before Morse, Oxford’s murders were solved by Gervase Fen, the most unpredictable detective in classic crime fiction. Amazon

 

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Well first it starts with a map, ok, a fairly rudimentary one but I can’t resist a map!

And then the book starts, straight into an action scene.

 

1, The Episode of the Prowling Poet 

Richard Cadogan raised his revolver, took careful aim and pulled the trigger. The explosion rent the small garden, and like the widening circles which surrounded a pebble dropped into the water, created alarms and disturbances of diminishing intensity throughout the suburb of St John’s Wood. From the sooty trees, their leaves brown and gold in the autumn sunlight, rose flights of startled birds. In the distance a dog began to howl. Richard Cadogan went up to the target and inspected it in a dispirited sort of way. It bore no mark of any kind.

‘I missed it,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘Extraordinary.’

 

But perhaps not as different as you might imagine?

Would you keep reading? Hint – I did, and my review will be posted soon!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (March 13)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

On 22 March 2018 Rachel Hore’s new book Last Letter Home will be published by Simon & Schuster. I do enjoy this author’s historical novels having first found her by reading The Glass Painter’s Daughter which was published way back in 2009.

Blurb

On holiday with friends, young historian Briony Wood becomes fascinated with a wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather had been a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area. Handed a bundle of letters that were found after the war, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey.

In 1939, Sarah returns with her mother and sister from India, in mourning, to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary in the local manor house, Westbury Hall. With the outbreak of war, conflicts of loyalty in Westbury deepen.

When, 70 years later, Briony begins to uncover Sarah and Paul’s story, she encounters resentments and secrets still tightly guarded. What happened long ago in the villa in the shadow of Vesuvius, she suspects, still has the power to give terrible pain … Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

One

They call it a storm and after days of it she felt storm-tossed clinging to the wreckage of her life each new attack dashing against her with a force that left her bruised and gasping. She might have borne it if it had simply been words, painful, devastating words though they were, words that cruelly shredded her self-worth, her professional reputation, her trust in her own judgement, her identity as a woman, but it was more than that; her sense of safety was threatened.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (March 6)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

It’s been a while since I’ve featured crime fiction in this meme and today I’ve decided to see how one of the classic crime writers chose to open their novel.

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin was published in 1946 and was nominated by P.D. James as one of her five “most riveting crime novels.” Another fan is Val McDermid said of the novel “”A classic crime novel with a surreal streak… It’s a clever, energetic romp, written with wit.”



Blurb

Richard Cadogan, poet and would-be bon vivant, arrives for what he thinks will be a relaxing holiday in the city of dreaming spires. Late one night, however, he discovers the dead body of an elderly woman lying in a toyshop and is coshed on the head. When he comes to, he finds that the toyshop has disappeared and been replaced with a grocery store.

The police are understandably sceptical of this tale but Richard’s former schoolmate, Gervase Fen (Oxford professor and amateur detective), knows that truth is stranger than fiction (in fiction, at least). Soon the intrepid duo are careening around town in hot pursuit of clues but just when they think they understand what has happened, the disappearing-toyshop mystery takes a sharp turn… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Richard Cadogan raised his revolver, took careful aim and pulled the trigger. The explosion rent the small garden and, like the widening circles which surround a pebble dropped into the water, created alarms and disturbances of diminishing intensity throughout the suburbs of St. John’s Wood. From the sooty trees, their leaes brown and gold in the autumn sunlight, rose flights of startled birds. In the distance a dog began to howl. Richard Cadogan went up to the target and inspected it in a dispirited sort of way. It bore no mark of any kind.

‘I missed it,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘Extraordinary.’

Well I want to know more, how about you? What do you think?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 27)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

In 2016 I read a novel that stole a piece of my heart; My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal so imagine my excitement to hear that this talented author has a new book, The Trick To Time out on 22 March 2018.

Blurb

Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage – before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.

Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again? Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Five o’clock, Monday morning, there’s a purple light far out to sea. When they pulled down the old wreck of a factory between Mona’s building and the next, they gave her the gift of a view, and because she’s three floors up, if she leans against the window at an angle, now she can just see over the chalets and beach huts to the dawn-bruised clouds and the rosy hue of early morning sun. She makes toast and a cup of tea. The third night of not sleeping.

I love the opening, I can see Mona at her window and I both long and dread to find out why she has not slept for three nights.

This opener comes from a proof copy

What do you think, would you like to read on?