Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 9)

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 Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg a wonderful story that has transported me to Sweden, through Paris and to America, and I’ve not finished it yet!

Blurb

A heartwarming debut about 96-year-old Doris, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come …
Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny her American grand-niece, and her only relative give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.

When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colourful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War.

Can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, to unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?

The last book I finished was full-on crime fiction in the shape of The Suspect by Fiona Barton. This story will set a chill through anyone who has a child travelling in Thailand but there is a good surprise for fans of the author in a catch-up with some characters we’ve met before. The Suspect will be published on 24 January 2019.

 

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

Blurb

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.
And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . Amazon

Next up I plan to read Murder in the Caribbean by Robert Thorogood in order to get some winter sunshine with the fourth in this delightful series by the creator and writer of the BBC One TV series.

Blurb

DI Richard Poole is hot, bothered and fed up. He’s stuck on the tropical island of Saint-Marie, forced to live in a rickety old shack on a beach, and there isn’t a decent cup of tea to be found anywhere.

When a boat explodes in the harbour, Richard and his team soon realise there’s a new murderer on the loose. But who is it? And why did the killer leave behind a ruby at the scene of the crime?

As the police dig deeper, they uncover secrets that go back decades, and a crime from the past that can never be forgiven.

Worse still, they soon realise this is only the beginning. They’ve got to catch the killer before there’s another death in paradise… Amazon

So that’s my weeks reading travelling across continents  – how far are you travelling?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Death Knocks Twice – Robert Thorogood #Blogtour #bookreview

Crime Fiction
4*s

I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour for the third book in the Death in Paradise series which sees this somewhat buttoned up, yet brilliant detective solve murders on the island of Saint-Marie. This gorgeous Caribbean setting has an unsettling amount of murders all of which can only be solved using lateral thinking. Yes the influence of Agatha Christie’s style of mystery novels looms large and equally as devilish.

This murder investigation is kicked off when a distressed young woman presents herself at the small police station about a prowler at the historic Beaumont coffee plantation where she lives with her parents and two brothers. The team immediately go off to investigate – or some of them do as the imposing Commander whose interests lie far more in line with the PR aspect of policing, than in detection wants whoever is selling boot-leg rum on the island apprehended immediately.

Up at the plantation DI Richard Poole and his worthy side-kick Camille are speaking to the worried Lucy Beaumont about the stalker when they hear two gun-shots. Inside the locked shower room is a body of an unidentified man. There’s no fooling DI Poole who quickly realises this is a murder and not suicide but who would have the audacity to kill a man when the police are nearby? And how did he escape from that locked room?

What follows is an old-fashioned tale with a minimal number of suspects and a fiendishly difficult puzzle to solve with plenty of red-herrings thrown into the mix. And then Death knocks again and another body is discovered in equally baffling circumstances! With no-one being quite what they seem and it quickly becoming clear that the coffee plantation, built up with the use of slaves, is not as prosperous as the family’s standing in the community might suggest DI Poole along with Camille, Fidel and Dwayne use age-old techniques to get to the bottom of the mystery. One of the things that I find really appealing about this series is the need to rely on old-fashioned police work due to the remoteness of Saint-Marie so we have DI Poole reading old FBI books to work out how to read writing on burnt paper and dusting the safe to find fingerprints in order to discover who opened it. DI Poole’s refusal to relax his standards and remove his wool suit in exchange for more suitable clothes for the Caribbean weather, well apart from the time he dons a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, complete with lace up black shoes, to go undercover and the mention of Eton really adds to the feeling that the modern world hasn’t truly reached the little island.

As is traditional the ending sees the suspects gathered together for the big reveal and although I’d worked out some parts, there were still aspects that I simply hadn’t worked out beforehand.

Robert Thorogood provided the scripts for the first five episodes for the BBC TV series Death in Paradise which is firm winter favourite viewing for me, and this original story featuring the original cast was an absolute delight to read.

I’d like to thank Midas PR and the publishers HQ for providing me with an ARC prior to publication on 27 July 2017 and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

First Published UK: 27 July 2017
Publisher: HQ
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Robert Thorogood
A Meditation on Murder
The Killing of Polly Carter

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 26)

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

At the moment I am reading Little Sister by Isabelle Ashdown ahead of publication of tomorrow!

Blurb


A missing child. A broken mother. A sister who doesn’t remember a thing.

After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns and before long Jess has moved into Emily’s comfortable island home. Life couldn’t be better. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess’s care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart.

Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before? NetGalley

I have recently finished the third book which accompanies the TV series ‘Death in Paradise’ – Death Knocks Twice by Robert Thorogood is a classic locked mystery set on the island of Saint-Marie and will be published tomorrow.



Blurb

Two dead bodies. A family of suspects. One grumpy detective.
Reluctantly stationed on the sweltering Caribbean island of Saint-Marie, Detective Inspector Richard Poole dreams of cold winds, drizzly rain and a pint in his local pub.
Just as he is feeling as fed up as can be, a mysterious vagrant is found dead in the grounds of the historic Beaumont plantation. Immediately assumed to be suicide, DI Poole is not so convinced and determined to prove otherwise. Never mind that the only fingerprints on the murder weapon belong to the victim. Or that the room was locked from the inside.
Before long, death knocks twice and a second body turns up. The hunt is on to solve the case – despite the best efforts of the enigmatic Beaumont family… Amazon

And I thought I may as well go for the hat-trick on publication dates so next I will be reading Shelter by Sarah Franklin which is also going to be published on 27 July 2017.

Blurb

Early spring 1944. Connie Granger has escaped her bombed-out city home, finding refuge in the Women’s Timber Corps. For her, this remote community must now serve a secret purpose.

Seppe, an Italian prisoner of war, is haunted by his memories. In the forest camp, he finds a strange kind of freedom.

Their meeting signals new beginnings. But as they are drawn together, the world outside their forest haven is being torn apart. Old certainties are crumbling, and both must now make a life-defining choice.

What price will they pay for freedom? What will they fight to protect?

A captivating and tender novel about love, hope and how we find solace in the most troubled times. Amazon

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Do you want to?


What are you reading this week? Do share in the comments box below.

Posted in Author Interview

Q & A session with Robert Thorogood

Killing of Polly Carter jacket (email(

I was delighted to be asked to be part of this blog tour and especially pleased to be allowed to ask the creator of Death In Paradise. Robert Thorogood, a few questions.

This series has a very special place in my heart; when Owen returned home at the beginning of this year we instigated a complicated point system for the entire series with awards made for Victim, Perpetrator and method of killing with a sliding scale for how early these were identified. Needless to say it got totally silly with certain people guessing as soon as each episode started, and other’s making schoolboy errors for not having watched the previous week’s trailer closely! I will be watching the fifth series in 2016 without him but with fond memories and of course I will use my best detective skills to ensure I win.

In the meantime there was The Killing of Polly Carter to enjoy where I pitted my wits against this ingenious puzzle – you can read my review here.

 

1. Where did you get the inspiration from for Death in Paradise?

It’s actually a rather sad answer, because I came up with the idea in 2007 after the Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer died under suspicious circumstances in the Caribbean. Following his death, the Met Police in London decided that the local Caribbean coppers weren’t up to running the murder enquiry (Mr Woolmer was a British Citizen) and so they sent out a British Policeman to head up the investigation. As soon as I read that, it was like a lightbulb going off in me head. ‘A British Copper goes to the Caribbean to solve murders…?’

2. You came to success relatively late in life after years of dreaming of writing for television; how close were you to giving up?

I certainly was ‘relatively late’! But it’s a hard question to answer in that I was still selling scripts (to both the BBC, ITV and independent film companies) in the years before I got Death in Paradise greenlit, it’s just that nothing I was writing was getting made. In truth, I think that my ‘career’ at the time (such as it was) was more appropriate for someone in their mid-twenties rather than someone in their mid-thirties, and I know this for sure: without my wife’s support — both emotional and financial—over the years, I’d certainly have had to give up long before… so I’m eternally grateful to her.

3. The Killing of Polly Carter is the second in a three book deal with MIRA, how does writing a book compare to writing for television? Which do you prefer?

There are huge differences between writing a book and writing a TV episode. The main one is that when you’re working in TV, it’s very much a team effort, whereas when you’re writing a book you are on your own for months at a time. Which is both liberating and terrifying. What’s more, when you’re coming up with a TV script, you’re very much tied to what we can afford to film, who we can manage to cast — all the ‘real world’ problems that coming with shooting a script in the real world. Whereas the joy of a novel is that you only have to write a sentence and you can conjure anything into existence. (For example, the idea for the murder in Polly Carter was one I’d had for some time, but we couldn’t work out how we could film the necessary cliffs and bay at the heart of the story seeing as there no such cliffs or bay on the island of Guadeloupe where we film the series).
And finally, the real joy of a novel is that it allows the author access to his or her character’s internal thoughts, and this has been the single most enjoyable upside of writing a novel rather than a TV script: in a novel I can explore Richard’s grumpy take on the world in far greater detail.

4. The Killing of Polly Carter features a formerly successful model, did you take inspiration from anyone real? If so are you prepared to tell us who or perhaps give us a cryptic clue?

Ha ha! I wouldn’t really like to say who I based it on — although there’s certainly elements of Kate Moss at her most nihilistic kicking around in there. In truth, I chose to set this book in the world of modelling because I needed the victim to be famous, rich, unstable, and now fed up with life. So that’s the real reason why I made the victim a supermodel. It felt like the sort of character who’d get into the sorts of mess I needed her to get into to help me ‘sell’ the story.

5. In The Killing of Polly Carter I thought I’d cracked it early on only to find I was on totally the wrong track; how long do you spend working out a credible mystery with plenty of red herrings?

It’s so lovely to hear that your theory about who the killer was incorrect. That’s after all what I’m hoping to achieve when I write the book! As to how long it takes to create a story with all the necessary twists, turns, reveals and surprises…?! Well, it takes months and months of plotting and thinking and writing. Just hundreds (and thousands?) of hours of work. For this book, I didn’t even start writing the first sentence until I had a fully-detailed synopsis of every single moment that had to happen… which ended up being a 45-page document! It is tough plotting a murder mystery novel, but very satisfying once it’s done.

6. What I love about Death in Paradise and the two books you’ve written featuring Richard Poole on the Caribbean island of Saint-Marie is the traditional feel to the mysteries. I’ve read that you are a fan of Agatha Christie and wondered which of her novels is your favourite, and why?

I am a MASSIVE fan of Agatha Christie, and I’m sure that my list of favourite novels is very similar to anyone else’s: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd of course; and Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None. But the truth is that there’s no such thing as a bad Agatha Christie novel. Even in the ‘less good’ books, there’s always something that is startlingly impressive. For example, I re-read the Tommy and Tuppence ‘N or M’ last year. It’s an enjoyable but patchy read, but there’s one glorious misdirection in it (when a passing beggar woman steals a baby) that is pure murder mystery genius… and no-one else could have come up with it apart from Agatha.

7. Richard Poole often gets his flashes of inspiration from the most unlikely of sources, one lightbulb moment in The Killing of Polly Carter was particularly brilliant and obscure, which points to a writer with a wealth of knowledge about all sorts of interesting subjects. Do you start with the solution and work in the clues afterwards? Or do you have some facts that you want inserted and build the solution around them?

I think I know what you’re referring to when you say that there’s an obscure source in the book! (And yes, it is very obscure, isn’t it?). But this is such a lovely question, thank you for asking it, and the answer is simple, really: for the last 5-6 years I’ve been working full time as a murder mystery writer, so I’m always bumping into odd bits of information or forensic breakthroughs or etc. etc. online that I think might be useful in an episode one day. So, whenever I find anything interesting, I make a note of it, and then, before I start writing a book or an episode, I go to my scrapbook of hundreds of half-thoughts, clues and oddities and see what I can weave into the story. So yes, I come up with the ‘fun’ bits first and then, if I can make it work in the story it goes in… otherwise it stays in my scrapbook waiting to be used for another day.

8. Where do you do your writing? I imagine you in front of a big picture of a Caribbean beach with perhaps a toy iguana for company? Am I close?

Ha ha! The tragic truth is that I write in a tiny shed in the garden that’s half full of lawnmowers, old camping equipment and broken furniture. So, the only view I have is of the pine cladding I put on the walls in front of me. And the only window I have is a tiny little strip of Perspex that I can’t see through because it’s directly behind me. In fact, when I’m sitting in my chair at my desk, I can touch all four walls of my (half-an-) office… and yet I’ve come to love it over the years. I think that writers should never get ideas above their station, and it’s very hard to do that when you don’t even have a whole shed to work in!
In fact, here’s a panorama photo of ‘my’ side of the shed taken from one of the corners. You can see the little window that’s behind me (with green curtains bought from a charity shop), the lovely self-built pine cladding on the walls with all my various notes stuck to it (and my Series 1 framed poster)…. And the red thermal curtain I hung to keep the heat in (and to stop me seeing the lawnmower and junk that’s in the other half of the shed).

Shed view

9. What book would you recommend to me? And why?
Oh gosh, I don’t know! Looking through your website, you read wider and better than I do, so can I please ask you the same question? What book would you recommend?

Well that was a bit of a cheat but… well I’m always up for a book recommendation and the latest book on my book pushing mission is a debut novel that is much darker than yours but also extremely well plotted – the book I recommend is The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minnett – to find out more, read my review!

Thank you Robert Thorogood for answering my questions – The Killing of Polly Carter is published by MIRA on the 3 December 2015 – don’t miss out!

Posted in Books I have read, Uncategorized

The Killing of Polly Carter – Robert Thorogood

Killing of Polly Carter jacket (email(
Crime Fiction
5*s

I am a huge fan of the TV series Death in Paradise so was thrilled when I was offered the first in a series of a three book deal the creator signed with MIRA books earlier this year. Having loved reading a totally new story featuring the English Detective Richard Poole on the Caribbean Island of Saint-Mare in A Meditation On Murder, I was delighted to be offered a copy of The Killing of Polly Carter to review.

In this story Richard Poole is summoned to the scene of an apparent suicide whilst simultaneously agitating the imminent arrival of his mother to the island. Richard soon determines that the famous model, Polly Carter, couldn’t possibly have committed suicide and sets about investigating her murder. With her twin sister Claire, the sister’s nurse, the agent and the writer all seem to have solid alibis for the time in question, indeed Claire was in the island at the time the model crashed over the cliff to her death seemingly blaming Claire for her death, the team are going to have to work hard!

There is a real feel of the more traditional mystery in these books, with very little focus concentrated on blood and gore or even up to date forensics (most of this has to be sent off island for analysis) so the detectives have to be ‘real detectives’ As always in both the TV series and the novels there are a whole shoal full of red-herrings and if that wasn’t enough the solving of some of the clues depends on the reader knowing some obscure facts but I personally award myself points for identifying which objects are likely to be critical. The relationships between the buttoned-up Richard Poole and the young vivacious Camille, the eager Fidel and the lazy but well-connected Dwayne are brilliantly portrayed with the odd one-liner painting the picture really effectively.

With the victim in this case a model of International fame and one who seems absolutely typical of the profession based on the clichés that we are frequently fed by the media, the reader can turn their attention to the solving of the puzzle – or puzzles as one piece of information often opens up a whole host of different questions. Sadly as is so often the case, I really thought I’d cracked this one fairly early on, I had a number of clues solved and a convincing theory to back it up, only for another pesky piece of information ruining everything for me. As is so often the case, I had to wait with the suspects as they gathered together at the end for Richard Poole to reveal the who, how and why to me.

Any lover of mystery novels could do far worse than to pick up one of these books, especially at this time of year, after all a murder in the Caribbean is far more appealing when the wind rain and ever-potential snow warnings are blaring out at us on an hourly basis.

The Killing of Polly Carter will be published on 3 December 2015 and I’m greatly honoured that Robert Thorogood, the author, has agreed to answer some of my questions about his writing tomorrow so please pop back and see what he has to say.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (November 18)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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

At the moment I am reading Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín, a book that has been on my TBR for far too long. It is in fact over a year since I read Fiction Fan’s review of this book!

Nora Webster

Blurb

It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them.
Colm Tóibín’s Nora is a character as resonant as Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary and Nora Webster is a novel that illuminates our own lives in a way that is rare in literature. Its humanity and compassion forge an unforgettable reading experience. NetGalley

I have recently finished the very enjoyable The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood.

The Killing of Polly Carter

You can read the synopsis and an excerpt of this one in yesterday’s post

Next up I’m catching up on the Nicci French days of the week series with Friday On My Mind

Friday on my Mind

Blurb

When a bloated corpse is found floating in the River Thames the police can at least sure that identifying the victim will be straightforward. Around the dead man’s wrist is a hospital band. On it are the words Dr F. Klein.
But psychotherapist Frieda Klein is very much alive. And, after evidence linking her to the murder is discovered, she becomes the prime suspect.
Unable to convince the police of her innocence, Frieda is forced to make a bold decision in order to piece together the terrible truth before it’s too late either for her or for those she loves. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Do share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 17)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood

The Killing of Polly Carter

Blurb

When famous supermodel Polly Carter is found dead at the bottom of a cliff all signs point to suicide, but as the evidence continues to mount DI Richard Poole declares it to be a murder. Now, with a houseful of suspects Richard has to narrow the field and discover who the murderer is before it’s too late. At the same time his mother is arriving from England and throwing his whole perfectly ordered life into turmoil. Not only does she want to be involved in island life, but all signs are beginning to point to not all being right in Richard’s own family…something he cannot help but attempt to fix.NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Prologue

Detective Inspector Richard Poole sat on the verandah of his beachside shack looking up at the cloudless Caribbean sky in inarticulate outrage.

A passing parrot had just crapped in his cup of tea. It didn’t seem possible, but Richard had watched the little bugger fly in over the sea and defecate in mid-air, the little ball of released guano flying in a perfect parabola only to land in his English Breakfast Tea with an accuracy, Richard realised, that Barnes Wallis could only have dreamed of.

Chapter 1

Richard Poole’s dark secret was that his mother Jennifer was about to arrive on the island. Why on earth she’d chosen to visit on her own, Richard had no idea, but he also had no idea how he was going to get through two wees of keeping her company, and that seemed the more pressing problem.

Please note that these excerpts are taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more?

If you have an opening to share, please leave your link in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (October 11)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

As I’m off to Bath a city chosen for a short-break, the location chosen in no small way because I’ve been longing to visit Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights ever since some other lucky blogger featured this shop. Fortunately my friend also likes books!

mr-bs-emporium3

With this in mind, because I will possibly purchase a book or two during this visit I have just a couple of finds for you this week.

The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood, is written by the writer of the TV series, Death In Paradise. The first in this series, A Meditation on Murder, was very well-received by this reader.

The Killing of Polly Carter

Blurb

When famous supermodel Polly Carter is found dead at the bottom of a cliff all signs point to suicide, but as the evidence continues to mount DI Richard Poole declares it to be a murder. Now, with a houseful of suspects Richard has to narrow the field and discover who the murderer is before it’s too late. At the same time his mother is arriving from England and throwing his whole perfectly ordered life into turmoil. Not only does she want to be involved in island life, but all signs are beginning to point to not all being right in Richard’s own family…something he cannot help but attempt to fix. NetGalley

The Killing of Polly Carter will be published on 3 December 2015.

I also have a copy of My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, a book that has me intrigued although it is quite different to my usual reading choices, this will be published in February 2016.

My Name is Lucy Barton
Blurb

An exquisite story of mothers and daughters from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, one of America’s finest writers shows how a simple hospital visit illuminates the most tender relationship of all-the one between mother and daughter. NetGalley

I also picked up a copy of Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight having been so impressed with the author’s second novel Where They Found Her.

Reconstructing Amelia

Blurb

Single mother and lawyer Kate Baron is in the meeting of her career when she is interrupted by a telephone call. Her daughter Amelia has just been suspended from her exclusive prep school. When Kate eventually arrives at Grace Hall an hour later, she is greeted by the news that no mother ever wants to hear. A grieving Kate can’t accept that her daughter would kill herself. But she soon discovers she didn’t know Amelia quite as well as she thought. Who are the friends she kept, what are the secrets she hid? And so begins an investigation which takes her deep into Amelia’s private world – and into the mind of a troubled young girl. Then Kate receives an anonymous text: AMELIA DIDN’T JUMP. Is someone toying with her or has she been right all along? To find the truth about her daughter, Kate must now face a darker reality than she could ever have imagined. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Books I have read

A Meditation On Murder – Robert Thorogood

Mystery 4*'s
Mystery
4*’s

When the publishers Harlequin asked me if I’d like a copy of A Meditation On Murder I nearly bit their hands off, I have watched the television series, Death In Paradise, from the beginning seduced by the echoes of Agatha Christie’s construction of a mystery coupled with the beautiful setting on the Caribbean island of Saint Marie. In fact my partner and I have an ongoing competition not only to guess the murderer in each episode, but to construct the reasons why, with very valuable points at stake. I was therefore thrilled to have the chance to read this book an episode based on the series, but not seen on TV (so I’m unable to use this for points) and written by Robert Thorogood, the creator of the BBC One TV series.

A Meditation on Murder is in the format of a classic ‘locked room’ mystery with the victim meeting his end in a room constructed of paper in the grounds of a hotel which contained five guests and the Spiritual Leader, Aslan Kennedy, the husband of the owner of exclusive retreat. Having been relaxing with headphones and eye-masks the murder was only discovered when the apparent murderer starts screaming. This fiendishly difficult puzzle is made more complex as the chapters progress where ever more apparent motives are raised, only to be dashed by even fewer opportunities for execution. The book recaps the evidence in the form of Richard Poole’s evidence board so the reader can make sure they haven’t missed any points along the way.

I thought I had the murderer sussed at one point, quite proud of myself I read on with the clues working in favour of my hypothesis I was certain that for once I had it all worked out, that was until the same scenario was presented to Richard Poole and I read the words:

Richard let this unlikely scenario hang in the air a moment.
“So thank you, Fidel, for your theory,– just for the record…   And nor could X be our killer, either”

So once again I completely failed to spot the murderer despite the liberal scattering of clues that had presented themselves to Richard Poole’s eagle eyes, masked as they were with the obligatory red herrings along the way.

I’ll be honest it is difficult to be objective about the characterisation in this book because I’m unsure how much of my prior knowledge I used while reading, but suffice to say Richard Poole a detective dispatched from Croyden to police the island was instantly recognisable, as was the rest of the team. Richard Poole is a man who is pedantic, hates the sand, the heat and the lizard that shares his shack but for these very reasons, he is the man to lead an investigation with his rigour around the minutest detail.

This was a really enjoyable read especially, but not exclusively, for fans of Death In Paradise which is back on our screens on Thursday 8 January 2015. A Meditation on Murder is published today, 1 January 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (October 24)

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

This week I was thrilled to receive a copy of A Meditation On Murder by Robert Thorogood, the creator of the BBC One TV series Death in Paradise which I love as much for the beautiful scenery as the clever murder mysteries. The author read his first Agatha Christie aged ten and has been in love with the murder mystery genre ever since.

A Meditation on Murder

Blurb

Aslan Kennedy has an idyllic life: Leader of a Spiritual Retreat for wealthy holidaymakers on one of the Caribbean’s most unspoilt islands, Saint Marie.
Until he’s murdered, that is. The case seems open and shut: when Aslan was killed he was inside a locked room with only five other people, one of whom has already confessed to the murder.
Detective Inspector Richard Poole is hot, bothered, and fed up with talking to witnesses who’d rather discuss his ‘aura’ than their whereabouts at the time of the murder. But he also knows that the facts of the case don’t quite stack up. In fact, he’s convinced that the person who’s just confessed to the murder is the one person who couldn’t have done it. Determined to track down the real killer, DI Poole is soon on the trail, and no stone will be left unturned. Goodreads

The annual Guide Dogs for the Blind big book sale was on last weekend, not to be confused with the smaller fundraiser for Hardback books or even the fundraiser for the paperback books which I’ve also visited this year. After allegedly choosing too many books at the last sale I was incredibly restrained and only picked a few books this time…

JGDFB book Sale

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker that I read many moons ago…

The Colour Purple

Blurb

Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life. Goodreads

Atonement by Ian McEwan which is one of my favourite books of all time but appears to have grown a pair of legs and moved across the water to England with my daughter and never returned.

Atonement

Blurb

Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.
On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece. Goodreads

Those two clearly don’t count as they are simply replacements for lost books!

So the counting only begins here with  a copy of A Capital Crime by Laura Wilson

A Capital Crime
Blurb

It is winter, 1950 in a dingy part of London. John Davies confesses to strangling his wife and baby daughter, and for DI Ted Stratton of West End Central, it promises to be a straightforward case. When Davies recants, blaming respectable neighbour Norman Backhouse for the crimes, nobody, including Stratton, sees any reason to believe him. Davies is convicted and hanged, but later, after a series of gruesome discoveries, Stratton begins to suspect that there has been a terrible miscarriage of justice.
Her marriage in tatters, ex-MI5 agent Diana Calthrop is determined to start a new life, but, despite a promising beginning, she soon finds herself in trouble both financially and emotionally. And with a seemingly unstoppable killer of women on the loose, she is very vulnerable indeed. Amazon

Having been seduced by the mentions of Phryne Fisher on Confessions of a Mystery Novelist blog which if you haven’t visited yet, you really must. Margot Kinberg dreams up titles linked to songs and then uses this subject to write a post that discusses a number of books. Absolutely ingenious. Anyway I’d not read any books featuring Phryne Fisher so I pounced upon a copy of Urn Burial (the 8th in the series) by Kerry Greenwood.

Urn Burial

Blurb

The redoubtable Phryne Fisher is holidaying at Cave House, a Gothic mansion in the heart of Australias Victorian mountain country. But the peaceful surroundings mask danger. Her host is receiving death threats, lethal traps are set without explanation, and the parlour maid is found strangled to death. What with the reappearance of mysterious funerary urns, a pair of young lovers, an extremely eccentric swagman, an angry outcast heir, and the luscious Lin Chung, Phrynes attention has definitely been caught. Her search for answers takes her deep into the dungeons of the house and into the limestone Buchan caves. What will she find this time? Goodreads

And I found some more Agatha Christie novels starting with her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Blurb

Captain Hastings, wounded at the Front, is recuperating at Styles Court in Essex. The house belongs to the Inglethorpe family, friends from his childhood. When Emily Inglethorpe is found poisoned, it is fortunate for Hastings that he bumps into his old friend Hercule Poirot, who can help to solve this horrible murder. When the evidence seems to point to one particular family member it is up to Poirot, through his methodical investigation, to prove the real murderer is someone else entirely. Amazon

Murder on the Links, the second Poirot novel.

Murder on the Links

Blurb

On a French golf course, a millionaire is found stabbed in the back…
An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.
But why is the dead man wearing his son’s overcoat? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse… Amazon

 

and finally I have found a Tommy and Tuppence novel in deference to my blogging friend Fiction Fan, another blog full of excellent and honest reviews on a wide range of subjects, who has urged me to try one.

The Secret Adversary

The Secret Adversary

Blurb

Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme – Young Adventurers Ltd. Their advertisement says they are ‘willing to do anything, go anywhere’. But their first assignment, for the sinister Mr Whittington means Tuppence Beresford poses as an American-but she and Tommy will have to play detective when her fake identity results in a real threat to her life. Goodreads

So I think I did really well this week and my £8 went towards to the total of £19,656.05 which was raised.

What have you found to read this week?