Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

A Double Life – Flynn Berry

Crime Fiction

It is no secret that I am incredibly fond of books that use true crime as a starting point for a fictional account and so I simply had to read Flynn Berry’s second book which is loosely based upon Lord Lucan, the man who killed his nanny and then disappeared in 1974.

Claire Alden was eight years old when one night she was woken by some noise and found her beloved nanny, a young woman by the name of Emma covered in blood on the kitchen floor. Some time later she was scooped up and removed from the house. Her mother was in hospital and she was sent to stay with one of her friends with her young baby brother Robbie while she recovered. Her realisation that her father was suspected of the murder was slow but the effects it had bred an obsession that has lasted a lifetime.

In the present day Claire is a doctor. A caring woman who every now and again gives us a run-down of the ailments she’s treated that day. But she has a secret, her name isn’t Claire and she’s been in hiding for so very long whilst also watching, trying to find out what happened to her father. What sparks the latest flurry of obsession is that the police have been in touch, there has been a sighting and once again Claire lets herself believe that this might be the one, they actually might find him.
This is a dark book, full of foreboding as to what might be waiting for Claire. She looks back to their days in Belgravia followed by flight from the media and prying eyes to Scotland. What makes it all so much worse is her father’s friends seem to be working to a different reality. One where Claire’s mother had set him up for the murder, and that she’s an unfit mother.

Alongside the main theme is that of friendship, particularly that forged at a typically English public school with its societies where bonds are formed to last a lifetime no matter what. James and Rose were two of her parent’s best friends and so they are one of the subjects who Claire has tracked over the years. She’s followed them to work, she checks them out online and she wants to get inside their house and lives to find out what they know. There is a resentment that the life of privilege has not only protected her father but those friends who she suspects know more than they’ve ever let on.

Claire might be a highly functioning member of society but her younger brother has fared less well although he has no memory of their father it has marred his life too. These two damaged souls give the reader the chance to think about the often forgotten victims of crime. The children of murderers often overlooked and yet in this case they have grown up under a dark shadow indeed.

I was taken with the dual time line that works forward through the days from before the murder alongside Claire’s search for the truth. The tension is constant and the ending explosive.

I’d like to thank the publishers Orion for allowing me to read an advance review copy of A Double Life, a fascinating read that has already had me seeking out a copy of Flynn Berry’s debut novel Under the Harrow, winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 2017.

First Published UK: 31 July 2018
Publisher: Orion
No of Pages: 288
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US


Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (August 5)

After my less than sterling reading performance in recent weeks I finally got back into the swing of things again with 4 books read! Yay. In addition I have been hooked (belatedly) on the Netflix series The Staircase which although clearly not an unbiased account of a murder trial in the US, makes for riveting watching.

This Week on the Blog

A busy week on the blog with my reviews of books I read back in June still being written and posted – I really do need to get on top of these – with this in mind the week started with a review for Child’s Play by Reginald Hill, the 9th in the Dalziel and Pascoe series.

My excerpt post came from a genealogical mystery series; Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson.

Then it was 1 August (already!) and time for my Five of the Best featuring my reviews written in July from 2014 to 2018.

Thursday was publication day of the eBook of Little Liar by Lisa Ballantyne and I timed my review to coincide with this date.

The result of the Classic Club Spin #18 was number 9 so Friday’s post shared my pre-reading thoughts on The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The second of my backlogged reviews, Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge was shared yesterday.

And finally, earlier this morning I was part of the Blog Tour for the Ngaio Marsh Awards 2018. Sadly I didn’t manage to read a book this year so I was even more delighted to be included.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, one of his standalone mystery stories featuring a fictional murder trial set in 1950s Yorkshire in England. This story comes to the attention of Chris Lowndes a composer for films who has bought the house which was the scene of the murder on 1 January 1953  of Dr Ernest Fox.

This fictionalised account of a murder trial in the 1950s hit just the right note with the details about the key players really coming alive, it was hard to believe that all this was fictional perhaps because the author had clearly done his research so the details were spot on with key references such as Albert Pierrepoint, the most famous of hangmen, adding hooks to hang the case on.  

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


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

Stacking the Shelves

My final book token spent means that I now own a copy of a book that had been on my wishlist for quite some time. A non-fiction book Family Secrets by Derek Malcolm.


‘Some people’s secrets should never be told. The secret, though, that surrounded my parents’ unhappy life together, was divulged to me by accident . . .’

Hidden under some papers in his father’s bureau, the sixteen-year-old Derek Malcolm finds a book by the famous criminologist Edgar Lustgarten called The Judges and the Damned. Browsing through the Contents pages Derek reads, ‘Mr Justice McCardie tries Lieutenant Malcolm – page 33.’ But there is no page 33. The whole chapter has been ripped out of the book.

Slowly but surely, the shocking truth emerges: that Derek’s father, shot his wife’s lover and was acquitted at a famous trial at the Old Bailey. The trial was unique in British legal history as the first case of a crime passione, where a guilty man is set free, on the grounds of self-defence. Husband and wife lived together unhappily ever after, raising Derek in their wake.

Then, in a dramatic twist, following his father’s death, Derek receives an open postcard from his Aunt Phyllis, informing him that his real father is the Italian Ambassador to London . . .

By turns laconic and affectionate, Derek Malcolm has written a richly evocative memoir of a family sinking into hopeless disrepair. Amazon

From NetGalley I have a couple of very exciting looking books.

A Double Life by Flynn Berry is already available in eBook format and will be published on 9 August 2018 in physical format.


Some wounds need more than time. They crave revenge.

Claire’s father is a privileged man: handsome, brilliant, the product of an aristocratic lineage and an expensive education, surrounded by a group of devoted friends who would do anything for him.

But when he becomes the prime suspect in a horrific attack on Claire’s mother – an outsider who married into the elite ranks of society and dared escape her gilded cage – fate and privilege collide, and a scandal erupts.

Claire’s father disappears overnight, his car abandoned, blood on the front seat.

Thirty years after that hellish night, Claire is obsessed with uncovering the truth, and she knows that the answer is held behind the closed doors of beautiful townhouses and country estates, safeguarded by the same friends who all those years before had answered the call to protect one of their own.

Because they know where Claire’s father is.

They helped him escape.

And it’s time their pristine lives met her fury. Amazon

I was also lucky enough to receive a copy of The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst which will be published on 6 September 2018 in eBook format and in November as a physical copy.


On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.

What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all… Amazon

What have you found to read this week?


Since I managed to read 4 books this week and only acquire 3 the total is dropping like a stone back to 170!
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 41
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –1


I have added 2 reviews of my own books this week so even though I spent 1 token last week I  1 book token in credit!