Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2019

20 Books of Summer 2019 #20BooksofSummer


Well once again I am joining Cathy746 with her annual 20 books of summer challenge, a challenge I have met with varying degrees of success (or failure). Normally I choose only physical books from my own shelves but with my lacklustre reading this year I have decided that I need to keep this easy with a wide variety of genres and types to keep me going…

So like Cathy from 3 June until 3 September I will be attempting to read my 20 Books of Summer.

You join in with your own 20 (or 10, or 15!), and link your post with your choices to the Linky on Cathy’s blog so we can all cheer each other on!

So without further ado here are my books:

1. The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton.

NetGalley – eBook – Non-Fiction

Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than thirty years, having started sleuthing on behalf of society’s finest in 1905.

Her exploits grabbed headlines throughout the world but, beneath the public persona, she was forced to hide vital aspects of her own identity in order to thrive in a class-obsessed and male-dominated world. And – as Susannah Stapleton reveals – she was a most unreliable witness to her own life.

Who was Maud? And what was the reality of being a female private detective in the Golden Age of Crime? Interweaving tales from Maud West’s own ‘casebook’ with social history and extensive original research,
Stapleton investigates the stories Maud West told about herself in a quest to uncover the truth. With walk-on parts by Dr Crippen and Dorothy L. Sayers, Parisian gangsters and Continental blackmailers, The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective is both a portrait of a woman ahead of her time and a deliciously salacious glimpse into the underbelly of ‘good society’ during the first half of the twentieth century.

2. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Own Copy – Physical – Crime Fiction

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

 

3. Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

Own Copy – eBook – Crime Fiction – Series

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

 

4. I know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

Own Copy – Audiobook – Psychological Thriller

Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from. But I know exactly who you are. I know what you’ve done. And I am watching you.
When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is – but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

 

5. Victorian Murders by Jan Bondeson

Own Copy – Physical Book – Non-Fiction

This book features fifty-six Victorian cases of murder covered in the sensational weekly penny journal the Illustrated Police News between 1867 and 1900.
Some of them are famous, like the Bravo Mystery of 1876, the Llangibby Massacre of 1878 and the Mrs Pearcey case of 1890; others are little-known, like the Acton Atrocity of 1880, the Ramsgate Mystery of 1893 and the Grafton Street Murder of 1894. Take your ticket for the house of horrors.

 

 

6. Conviction by Denise Mina

NetGalley – eBook – Psychological Thriller

It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.

Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.

This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.

 

7. Saplings by Noel Streatfeild

Own Copy – Physical Book – Classic

Noel Streatfeild is best known as a writer for children, but had not thought of writing for them until persuaded to re-work her first novel as Ballet Shoes; this had sold ten million copies by the time of her death.

Saplings (1945), her tenth book for adults, is also about children: a family with four of them, to whom we are first introduced in all their secure Englishness in the summer of 1939.

‘Her purpose is to take a happy, successful, middle-class pre-war family – and then track in miserable detail the disintegration and devastation which war brought to tens of thousands of such families,’ writes the psychiatrist Dr Jeremy Holmes in his Afterword. Her ‘supreme gift was her ability to see the world from a child’s perspective’ and ‘she shows that children can remain serene in the midst of terrible events as long as they are handled with love and openness.’ She understood that ‘the psychological consequences of separating children from their parents was glossed over in the rush to ensure their physical survival… It is fascinating to watch Streatfeild casually and intuitively anticipate many of the findings of developmental psychology over the past fifty years.’ ‘A study of the disintegration of a middle-class family during the turmoil of the Second World War, and quite shocking’ wrote Sarah Waters in the Guardian. Saplings was a ten-part serial on BBC Radio 4 in 2004.

 

8. Oustide Looking In by Michael Wood

Own Copy – eBook – Crime Fiction – Series

When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.

The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.

The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.

 

9. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Own Copy – Audiobook – Contemporary Fiction

For as long as anyone can remember, Britt-Marie has been an acquired taste. It’s not that she’s judgemental, or fussy, or difficult – she just expects things to be done in a certain way. A cutlery drawer should be arranged in the right order, for example (forks, knives, then spoons). We’re not animals, are we?

But behind the passive-aggressive, socially awkward, absurdly pedantic busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams and a warmer heart than anyone around her realizes.

So when Britt-Marie finds herself unemployed, separated from her husband of 20 years, left to fend for herself in the miserable provincial backwater that is Borg – of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it – and somehow tasked with running the local football team, she is a little unprepared. But she will learn that life may have more to offer her that she’s ever realised, and love might be found in the most unexpected of places.

10. 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

Own Copy – eBook – Psychological Thriller

wo girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

11. The Other Mrs Miller by Allison Dickson

NetGalley – eBook – Psychological Thriller

Two women are watching each other.
Phoebe isn’t sure when the car started showing up. At first she put it down to the scandal around her late father, but she’s certain now it’s there for her. What’s interesting about an unhappily married housewife, who barely leaves her house?

Only one knows why.
Every morning, not long before your husband leaves for work, I wait for the blinds beside your front door to twitch. You might think I’m sitting out here waiting to break into your house and add a piece of your life to my collection. Things aren’t quite that simple. It’s not a piece of your life I want.
When a new family move in across the street, it provides Phoebe with a distraction. But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And Phoebe really should be, because she’s just waiting for an opportunity to upend Phoebe’s life…

 

 

12. They Walk Among Us by Benjamin Fitton, Rosanna Fitton

Own Copy – Audiobook – Non-Fiction

A Chilling Casebook of Horrifying Hometown Crimes
How well do you really know your friends?

Neighbours, friends, doctors and colleagues. We see them every day. We trust them implicitly. But what about the British army sergeant who sabotaged his wife’s parachute? Or the lodger who took his landlady on a picnic from which she never returned? From dentists to PAs, these normal-seeming people were quietly wrecking lives, and nobody suspected a thing.

In this first book from the addictive award-winning podcast They Walk Among Us, Benjamin and Rosanna serve up small-town stories in gripping detail. They’ve hooked millions of listeners with their intricate and disturbing cases, and now they dig into ten more tales, to provide an unforgettably sinister true-crime experience, scarily close to home.

It could happen to you.

 

13. Roar by Cecilia Ahern

Borrowed – Physical Book – Short Stories

Have you ever imagined a different life?

Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided? Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern come stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

 

 

14. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

NetGalley – eBook – Psychological Thriller

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.
In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.
They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby?
And where did they go?
Two entangled families.
A house with the darkest of secrets.

 

 

15. The House of Stairs by Barbara Vine

Own Copy (Re read)- Physical Book – Psychological Thriller

Lizzie hasn’t seen her old friend, Bell, for some fourteen years, but when she spots her from a taxi in a London street she jumps out and pursues her despite ‘all the terrible things’ that passed between them. As Lizzie reveals those events, little by little, the women rekindle their friendship, with terrifying results …

 

 

 

16.. The Hireling by L.P. Hartley

Own Copy – Physical Book – Classic

Overcome with grief at her husband’s death, Lady Franklin, an eligible young widow, unburdens herself to Leadbitter – a gallant, hard-bitten ex-soldier who has invested his savings in the car he drives for hire – as he takes her on a series of journeys.

He in turn beguiles her with stories of his non-existent wife and children, drawing her out of her self-absorption and weaving a dream-life with Lady Franklin at its heart. Half-hoping to make his dream come true, Leadbitter takes a bold, not to say reckless, step which costs him dearly, and brings these characters’ tangled story to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion.

 

17. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Own Copy – Audiobook – Contemporary Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

 

18. The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunis

Own Copy – eBook – Historical Fiction

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…

 

19. The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood

NetGalley – eBook – Crime Fiction

Where Romy grew up, if someone died you never spoke of them again.

Now twenty-two, she has recently escaped the toxic confines of the cult she was raised in. But Romy is young, pregnant and completely alone – and if she is to keep herself safe in this new world, she has some important lessons to learn.

Like how there are some people you can trust, and some you must fear. And about who her family really is, and why her mother ran away from them all those years ago.

And that you can’t walk away from a dark past without expecting it to catch up with you…

 

20. The Black Sheep by Sophie McKenzie

Own Copy – Physical Book – Psychological Thriller

Your life is in danger – and the death threats are coming from someone close to you. But who?
Someone in your family is lying to you.

Francesca was widowed a year ago. Since then she has focused on her children, trying to soothe their grief as well as her own. Her husband and father never quite saw eye to eye but no one could have cared more for her in the past year than her close-knit family. Finally, she feels she might be ready to move on with life.

Until she is contacted out of the blue by someone who says he must get information to her. That her husband’s death wasn’t what it seemed. And that her family know more than they say ….

Who can Francesca trust? And what will happen to her if she puts her faith in the wrong person?

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2018

20 Books of Summer 2018! Part 2 #20booksofsummer


On 28 May 2018 I posted my first set of 10 books that I planned to read for this challenge, the idea being that I would post the second selection in mid-July, having read and reviewed the first 10. Dear reader, the plan has gone a little awry!

Anyway I’ve read 9 of my 10 books, reviewed just 4 and have very little reading time so I suspect I won’t finish the second set but here’s what I’m aiming to read.

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

 

Victorian Murders by Jan Bondeson

Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth

My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall 

Flight by Isabel Ashdown

The Lighthouse by P.D. James

The Poisoner by Stephen Bates 

This Is Not a Novel by Jennifer Johnston 

The Big Picture by Douglas Kennedy 

Lady Bette and the Murder of Mr Thynn by Nigel Pickford

Famous Trials I by Harry Hodge

You can check out the master page which will have the full list of 20 books here

There are so many within this selection that I’m eager to read and since time is of the essence I have a feeling that I will start with P.D. James’s book The Lighthouse.

Do you agree? Where would you start?

Wish me luck…

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (July 8)

Well what a week! I celebrated yet another birthday on Monday, they are now coming round all too fast, with a lovely meal but suffice to say workwise this has been a difficult week that has left me chasing my tail, so I apologise for the lack of response to so many comments, but hopefully next week will be better.

The sunflowers are really going for it now with a new flower opening daily, particularly loving the red variety to mix things up!

This Week on the Blog

Well despite my reading time being minimal this week I do still have a stack of books to review but as it was July the first post of the week was my Five of the Best June 2014 to 2018.

My first review was for the first miss for The Classics Club, I didn’t really enjoy Off With His Head by Ngaio Marsh.

This Week in Books featured the authors Gillian McAllister, Cara Hunter and Anna Mazzola.

My review of Sanctum by Denise Mina was well-received and well-timed as although this book was first published in 2002 it was published as an eBook on the day I reviewed it. This was my second review for my 20 Books of Summer 2018 challenge. Yes, lagging a wee bit here!

Next I reviewed a non-fiction Victorian true crime, The Killing of Georgie Moore by Colin Evans, one of my own books knocking another one of the Mount TBR Challenge.

Finishing the week off was my review for a newly published psychological thriller Take Me In by Sabine Durrant, an author I admire for creating tension without pushing the boundaries of reality too far to do so.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading the psychological thriller They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen, an author who always provides satisfying reads.

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

With twists and turns enhanced by the fabulous pace the dialogue which is also absolutely pitch perfect.

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

Stacking the Shelves

I was delighted to receive an email from Steve Robinson, the creator of the genealogist Jefferson Tayte providing me with a copy of the seventh in this wonderful series Letters from the Dead which will be published on 14 August 2018.

Blurb

When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to prove the identity of a black sheep in his client’s family tree, he unwillingly finds himself drawn into a murder investigation with nothing more to go on than a 150-year-old letter and a connection to a legendary ruby that has been missing for generations.
As more letters are mysteriously left for him, Tayte becomes immersed in a centuries-old tale of greed, murder and forbidden love that takes his research from the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to the colour and heat of colonial India.

A dark secret is buried in Jaipur, steeped in treachery and scandal. But why is it having such deadly repercussions in the present? Can Tayte find the ruby and prevent the past from repeating itself before it’s too late?

This is the seventh book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story. NetGalley

As I mentioned it was my birthday and amongst my pile of lovely gifts my daughter gave me a copy of The Truth by Peter James. Although I’ve read all of the Roy Grace series, I haven’t read many of his stand-alone books and I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Blurb

Susan and John Carter are crazy about each other and life is perfect but for one thing – they are on the brink of financial disaster. Surely being a surrogate mother to another man’s child won’t harm such a strong relationship? Especially when the mysterious Mr Sarotzini is offering to save their home and business – everything they’ve worked for.

What seems to be a perfect solution begins to feel like an impossible situation. Susan’s pregnancy is disturbingly painful but no-one will tell her why. It becomes apparent that Sarotzini wields immense power and Susan begins to doubt everything she knows. As she realises the terrifying origin of the dark forces Saratzini controls she is in fear for herself and John but most of all for her unborn baby… Amazon

My brother also sought out a selection of brilliant books and has duly checked they have all been added to the spreadsheet, which for some reason he finds highly amusing. Here are a couple that he has bought me so that he can borrow them when I am done! As his birthday is only nine days after mine,I have duly returned the favour!

Victorian Murders by Jan Bondeson is clearly for both of us…

Blurb

This book features fifty-six Victorian cases of murder covered in the sensational weekly penny journal the Illustrated Police News between 1867 and 1900.
Some of them are famous, like the Bravo Mystery of 1876, the Llangibby Massacre of 1878 and the Mrs Pearcey case of 1890; others are little-known, like the Acton Atrocity of 1880, the Ramsgate Mystery of 1893 and the Grafton Street Murder of 1894. Take your ticket for the house of horrors. Amazon

As is the wonderfully titled Lady Bette and the Murder of Mr Thynn by Nigel Pickford.



Blurb

Lady Bette, the 14-year-old heiress to the vast Northumberland estates, becomes the victim of a plot by her grandmother, the Countess Howard, to marry her to the dissolute fortune-hunter Thomas Thynn, a man three times her age with an evil reputation. Revolted by her new husband, Lady Bette flees to Holland. Within weeks, Thynn is gunned down in the street by three hired assassins.

Who is behind the contract killing? Is it the Swedish Count Coningsmark, young and glamorous with blond hair down to his waist? Or is it a political assassination as the anti-Catholic press maintains? Thynn was, after all, a key player in the Protestant faction to exclude the Catholic James, Duke of York, as his brother Charles II’s successor.

Nigel Pickford creates a world of tension and insecurity, of constant plotting and counter-plotting and of rabid anti-Catholicism, where massive street demonstrations and public Papal burnings are weekly events. The action moves from the great landed estates of Syon and Petworth to the cheap taverns and brothels of London, and finally to Newgate and the gallows – the sporting spectacle of the day. In the process, the book gives us a vivid and deeply researched portrait of Restoration society. Amazon

What have you found to read this week? Do share!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read only 2 books and I have gained 7 so the TBR is on the way up again with 172!
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 41
NetGalley Books –19
Audio Books –1

As three of this weeks reviews were of my own books I’ve added another 3 tokens so I’m 2 books in credit, having bought no new books.

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

The Ripper of Waterloo Road – Jan Bondeson #20booksofsummer

Non-Fiction
4*s


In 1838 a high-class prostitute, Eliza Grimwood, took a French-speaking gentleman home to her shared lodgings. The following morning Eliza was found with her throat cut and her abdomen slashed. Her fellow housemates, who included her boyfriend William Hubbard had not heard a sound except a single yap from her pet dog.

Jon Bondeson is a crime historian with more than twenty books to his name and he starts by setting the stage, describing London at the early time of Queen Victoria’s reign. He gives special attention to the Waterloo Bridge and the perception of prostitute demonstrating the prurient interest from the public and the different classes of ‘working women.’ We also get a whistle-stop tour of the most notable murder of the time including the Ratcliffe murder and that of Hannah Brown by James Greenacre and Sarah Gale. This is a book packed full of information with references to sources and lots of pictures of the subjects and not confined to those in the penny dreadfuls of the time. In fact the illustrations that are present on many of the pages bring to life the points the author is making with perfect placement, something I much prefer to those books that confine these to the centre pages.


As Eliza and the mysterious French speaker had arranged to meet at The Strand we are treated to some of the plays that may have been showing on that fateful night of Friday 26 May 1838, sadly it is not possible to know what was on the bill of this small but packed theatre that night. Eliza and her ‘guest’ alighted a Hansom cab which took them back to Waterloo Road but who the man was has never quite been established.

Inspector Charles Frederick Field was called to the scene, a former actor he had been one of the first officers of the New Police when it formed in 1829. Jon Bondeson takes a pause to enlighten his readers to other crimes that this, probably the best-known Policeman in London encountered over the course of his career. There is no doubt that life in the force at that time was hard but the crime were not investigated in quite the isolation as I perhaps thought. First came the inquest.

 

Waterloo Road – 3 June 1838

In true melodramatic fashion the inquest was given the run-around by local characters either not giving the information they held or alternatively throwing suspicion in all direction so that even the most trivial of facts became obscured. All of which kept the news flowing with Charles Dickens taking such a keen interest Nancy of Oliver Twist fame is believed to have been inspired by poor Eliza Grimwood.

Of course a true-crime begs to be solved even all these years later and with the help of Inspector Field’s diary, which is perfectly preserved, along with newspaper articles and other contemporary offerings, Jon Bondeson is sure he has found the culprit and it seems to me that he provides a very compelling argument for his case. Of course as in the case with all these types of crime, despite even the most in-depth, and the author studied this crime over a decade prior to this book being written, can’t ever give us a conclusive answer and sadly no court of law will pronounce its judgement.

For lovers of Victorian true crime The Ripper of Waterloo Road gives a comprehensive examination not only of the crimes committed but wider commentary on the life and times without allowing itself to get into too wide a discourse which would make the book far too unwieldy.

The Ripper of Waterloo Road was my twelfth read in my 20 Books of Summer 2017 Challenge.

First Published UK: 13 January 2017
Publisher: The History Press
No of Pages: 288
Genre: Non-Fiction – True Crime
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017

20 Books of Summer 2017 – Part 2 #20booksofsummer

Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2017 and running until 3 September 2017, and once again I’ve decided to join her.

My aim this year was to read all twenty books in the allotted time span but the plan has been somewhat disrupted, however despite only posting reviews for books 1 – 5 of the challenge (you can see the original list the master page here) I have actually finished reading the first set of 10 with reviews to follow,  and so it’s time to choose the next set in the hope I will magically get these read before the cut-off date!

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Ripper of Waterloo Road by Jan Bondeson

The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe

Dear Mr M by Herman Koch

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Stranger in the House by Julie Summers

Before the Poison by Peter Robinson

The Summer House by Santa Montefiore

The Judges Wife by Ann O’Loughlin

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie

My original second list looked a wee bit on the bleak side so I chose some cheerier books to break it up but never fear there is plenty of murder to get me through August!


I will continue to tweet my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have a big pile of books to read!

Any of these take your fancy?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 22)

Weekly Wrap Up

This Week on the Blog

Well after my poor reviewing total last week I’ve managed to post four reviews over the last seven days which means I’m now nearly up to date, well apart from those reviews that are being kept back for various reasons…

On Monday I proudly posted my second five star review of the year for The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott which is my favourite of this accomplished series so far. Set in a building renovated from an old Workhouse when teenage Scarlett hears crying she is compelled to investigate…

My excerpt for my Tuesday post was from Julia Crouch’s latest novel, Her Husband’s Lover .

On Wednesday my This Week in Books post proclaimed that I was reading my third of my own books for the Mount TBR challenge, Martin Edwards’  The Cipher Garden which means that I’m bang on target. I’m also thoroughly enjoying choosing from my TBR depending on my mood at the time, it is refreshing.

Next was the Blog Tour for Relativity by Antonia Hayes which used physics metaphors in a surprisingly appealing novel about a young boy who had suffered a brain injury.

Friday had me reviewing the first of those Mount TBR books, Redemption (aka The Murder at the Vicarage) by Jill McGown, the second in the Lloyd and Hill series, one that I loved when they were newly published in the 80s to the early 2000s.

My fourth review for the week was Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton which will be published in March – a cleverly layered novel with a darkness at its heart.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading the amazing Burial Rites by Hannah Kent which I loved and read with anguish as the young Agnes Magnúsdóttir met her fate despite my desperate willing that history could be altered to give her a better ending. I don’t think I will ever forget the power of this book, so if like me, you left this one languishing on the TBR, dig it out!
You can read my full review here

Buriel Rites

Blurb

Northern Iceland, 1829.
A woman condemned to death for murdering her lover.
A family forced to take her in.
A priest tasked with absolving her.
But all is not as it seems, and time is running out:
winter is coming, and with it the execution date.
Only she can know the truth. This is Agnes’s story. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

Having laughed over and loved Jane Fallon’s Getting Rid of Matthew and Got You Back reads of a few years back, I didn’t take to her next couple of books, but then around the blogosphere were reviews for her latest book My Sweet Revenge and I couldn’t resist requesting this one from NetGalley. Not big and not clever as the review slots are fully booked for the first quarter of the year… but I don’t read much ‘lighter’ fiction so this one is for emergencies!

my-sweet-revenge

Blurb

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me. Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’. I want it to hurt.
Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair. She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever. Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it? NetGalley

I was sent a copy of The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett by the lovely publishers Penguin Random House, sadly I will upset many of you as I only recently read The Chemistry of Death which is book one in the David Hunter series, and this is… book five! Despite what Amazon is showing the kindle version will be published on

the-restless-dead

Blurb

It was on a Friday evening that forensics consultant Dr David Hunter took the call: a Detective Inspector Lundy from the Essex force. Just up the coast from Mersea Island, near a place called Backwaters, a badly decomposed body has been found and the local police would welcome Hunter’s help with the recovery and identification . . .

Because they would like it to be that of Leo Villiers, the 31 year-old son of a prominent local family who went missing weeks ago, and they are under pressure to close the case. Villiers was supposed to have been having an affair with a married woman, Emma Derby. She too is missing, and the belief is that the young man disposed of his lover, and then killed himself. If only it was so straightforward.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity of the remains. The hands and feet are missing, the face no longer recognisable. Then further remains are found – and suddenly these remote wetlands are giving up yet more grisly secrets. As Hunter is slowly but surely drawn into a toxic mire of family secrets and resentments, local lies and deception, he finds himself unable, or perhaps unwilling, to escape even though he knows that the real threat comes from the living, not the dead. Amazon

And lastly I have bought one of the books from my wishlist with my Christmas Amazon Voucher: The Ripper of Waterloo Road: The Murder of Eliza Grimwood in 1838 by Jan Bondeson was published on 13 January 2017 and has finally winged its way to the Channel Islands – a sneaky peak inside tells me I’m really going to love this piece of non-fiction Victorian crime.

the-ripper-of-waterloo-road-png

Blurb

When Jack the Ripper first terrorized the streets of London, the Daily Telegraph reported that his crimes were as ghastly as those committed by Eliza Grimwood’s murderer.
Grimwood’s is arguably the most infamous and brutal of all 19th-century murders. She was a high-class prostitute, and on 26 May 1838 she brought a client back home with her. The morning after, she was found with her throat cut and her abdomen viciously ‘ripped’. The client was nowhere to be seen.
The convoluted murder investigation, with suspects ranging from an alcoholic bricklayer to a royal duke, was followed by the Londoners with great interest, including Charles Dickens, who based Nancy’s death in Oliver Twist on Grimwood’s. Indeed, there was much dismay when the murder remained unsolved.
Jan Bondeson links this murder with a series of other opportunist early Victorian slayings, and, in putting forward a credible new suspect, concludes that the Ripper of Waterloo Road was, in fact, a serial killer. Amazon

And finally my Put A Book on the Map project has been steaming ahead behind the scenes. One of the spots has been filled with the pairing of the lovely author Alison Baillie with supportive blogger Joanne from Portebello Book Blog to put her book Sewing The Shadows Together which is partially set in Portebello, a coastal suburb of Edinburgh.

I had Alison’s book on the wishlist and despite the fact that this project wasn’t designed to add even more books to the TBR, when I was preparing my spreadsheet and looking at the synopsis, reviews around the blog etc, I simply couldn’t resist any longer.

sewing-the-shadows-together

Blurb

Can you ever get over the death of your sister? Or of your best friend?

More than 30 years after 13-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah.

“Shona had been gone for so long but the memories still came unexpectedly, sometimes like a video from the past, sometimes distorted dreams, but she was always there.”

When modern DNA evidence shows that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona? Sarah and Tom are caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and suspicions fall on family and friends. The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears. Dark secrets from the past are uncovered, and there is another death, before the identity of the real killer is finally revealed…

Set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, Sewing the Shadows Together is a thoroughly modern murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Filled with characters who could easily be friends, family or people we work with, it asks the question:

Do we ever really know the people closest to us? Amazon

What have you found to read this week – do share!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read just 2 books but gained a grand total of 4 new ones making the grand total of 189

Physical Books – 107
Kindle Books – 69
NetGalley Books – 13

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 31)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Well… I have lots more finds this week to add to my TBR so I have decided that I will need to invoke a resolution for February and stop acquiring new books at a faster rate than I can read them (that should leave a little room for manoeuvre)

First up this week is  The Lady kindly sent to me, and signed, by the author Judy Higgins after I commented on her interview celebrating her debut novel  BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

The Lady

Blurb

South Georgia, 1956.
When sixteen-year-old Quincy Bruce goes to live with her Aunt Addy, she has no idea that what happened thirteen years earlier in wartime London can destroy her future. Her parents have gone to Africa as missionaries, leaving Quincy with her free-spirited and lively aunt, a war widow, and the only person who supports Quincy’s ambition to become a musician. When another aunt accuses Addy of having been the inspiration for the adulterous woman in Nathan Waterstone’s infamous wartime novel, The Lady, Quincy vows to prove her wrong. As Quincy settles into her new life with Addy, she sets about unraveling the secrets of Addy’s life, and of Nathan’s, in an effort to discover the true identity of the Lady. When she makes a discovery of a different type, Quincy’s dreams of becoming a pianist come crashing down.

Eileen is a wonderful fellow blogger, we have had off-line conversations about where we live, have visited etc. and has a wide range of authors visiting her blog. This book particularly caught my attention because of the historical mystery.
The author Judy Higgins gave some really good answers to Eileen’s questions which gives more of a hint about some of the themes in this book so I am really looking forward to seeing what this book has in store for poor Quincy.

I treated myself (yes I know!) to The Liar’s Diary by Patry Francis which was published in 2007, so this is a real book too!  I have a little confession in that I have been campaigning for a new bookcase for some time and piling up real books serves two purposes – the good news is we went and looked in the furniture shop last week….

The Liar's Diary

Blurb

A seductive psychological thriller about a woman facing the dark truths at the heart of her family Jeanne Cross’s contented suburban life gets a jolt of energy from the arrival of Ali Mather, the stunning new music teacher at the local high school. With a magnetic personality and looks to match, Ali draws attention from all quarters, including Jeanne’s husband and son. Nonetheless, Jeanne and Ali develop a deep friendship based on their mutual vulnerabilities and long-held secrets that Ali has been recording in her diary. The diary also holds a key to something darker: Ali’s suspicion that someone has been entering her house when she is not at home. Soon their friendship will be shattered by violence-and Jeanne will find herself facing impossible choices in order to protect the people she loves Goodreads

In addition FictionFan wrote another great review, this one is for The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths which not only features a fictional baby farmer but her body was found at Norwich Castle which I visited soon after my son started university there!

Another aside, Norwich Castle is the place to go for the most random collection of teapots you are ever likely to encounter, they have over 3,000 teapots there!

Back to the book I went and looked at Quercus the publishers on NetGalley and bagged myself a copy.  This wasn’t sensible as I haven’t read all of the series so I am now going to read out of sequence too!

The Outcast Dead

I suggest you read FictionFan’s review

Blurb

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the  grounds of Norwich Castle, a forbidding edifice that was once a prison.
She believes the body may be that of infamous Victorian murderess Jemima  Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged in  1867 for the murder of five children in her care.
DCI Harry Nelson  has no time for long-dead killers. Immersed in the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s  convinced that a family member is responsible, though others on his team think differently.
Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction  be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case,  and back towards Nelson. NetGalley

And finally to my favourite of this week! I spotted a piece on this book in the Mail Online (I do like to read the comments posted but rarely do you find articles about books) Murder Houses of London by Jan Bondeson which will look perfect next to my A Very British Murder and Silent Witnesses books don’t you think?

Murder Houses of London
Blurb

In that stately Fitzrovia house, the butler was murdered by a disgruntled pantry-boy; in that one, a king s housekeeper lost her life. In that Kensington flat, a demented playboy murdered a prostitute for kicks; in that Gloucester Road basement, Acid Bath Haigh was busy digesting the bodies of his victims. In those two elegant Chelsea houses, located in peaceful garden squares, a clergyman and his housekeeper were brutally done to death in 1870. In that peaceful little house, not far from Camden Road Station, a woman murdered her rival, dismembered the body, and disposed of it using an old-fashioned perambulator. In that peaceful pub near the Thames, the landlady was murdered in 1920, and the killer was never found. In one Islington house, George Joseph Smith disposed of one of his Brides in the Bath; in another, Annie Walters, the notorious baby-farmer, was plying her deadly trade; in a third, a brilliant playwright was brutally murdered by his homosexual lover. This book deals with Central London s architecture of capital crime: houses inside which celebrated murders have been committed. Pursue Lord Lucan as he escapes from his elegant Belgravia house, leaving the dead nanny in the basement; prowl the Soho streets once haunted by an elusive serial killer; and follow in the murderous footsteps of the Blackout Ripper and the serial killer Patrick Mackay. And read about London s many forgotten murders, where only the murder houses remain to tell a tale. Goodreads

This was a gift from my OH who after seeing my tweet, treated me (a bit of a tongue twister there) and it arrived today. Looking at the introduction this is the first of two planned volumes, covering seven areas of London. It has some wonderful pictures from the contemporary media as well as pictures of the houses still standing where these historical murders took place. This is another book that features a baby-farmer too!

What have you all found this week?