Posted in 20 Books of Summer 2015!, Book Review, Books I have read

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young

20 books of summer logo

Historical Crime Fiction 4*s
Historical Crime Fiction
4*s

Dody McCleland young woman doctor returns home from her studies in Edinburgh where she had come to terms with the fact that in 1910 no surgical posts were open to women. Instead she has trained to become an autopsy surgeon and eager to work with Mr Spilsbury following his triumph in the court-room during the trial of Dr Crippen.

On her return she is met with the news that a close friend of her younger sister Florence has been killed during a suffragette march on Whitehall for Votes for Women. Dody refuses to carry out the autopsy on Lady Catherine Cartwright and the case is handed to another surgeon but questions over who killed her remain and Dody is determined to find the answers.

Meanwhile Police Inspector Pike, who worked on the periphery of the investigation into whether Crippen had killed his wife, is under pressure from above to prove that Lady Catherine didn’t die at the hands of a brutal policeman. Whilst wary of the more militant of the suffragettes he firmly believes that the police should have behaved better at the march and is asking difficult questions. Between them can they solve the murder?

This book transported me back in time to the turn of the twentieth century, the descriptions of the march are vivid as are Florence’s recollection of being force-fed while on hunger strike in prison. The author walks a fine line in expressing the various views held in the population at the time including the fact that most of the militant suffragettes had the money and home comforts that enabled them to spend time plotting their next actions whilst the poorer women in England were already working outside the home just to keep a roof over the heads of their families. I like this style very much as I prefer it when authors allow me to read the book in context of the time it is depicted and make up my own mind. I imagine weaving true facts with fiction is actually very hard and the author admits that the first known female attendant to Spilsbury actually occurred a full decade later in 1920 but Felicity Young has created an immensely readable and authentic feeling novel. The mystery isn’t terribly complex, my main enjoyment was derived from the links to events that I already knew so that I was able to read this book in context.

Dody comes across as a very level-headed young woman although not immune to the lure of romance she isn’t one of the men-hating varieties of women, she clearly worships Bernard Spilsbury and is intensely loyal to her sister Florence despite not agreeing with the latter’s more militant stance. With a desire to do good without being preachy about it, the character is well-developed as is that of Pike’s. Coupled with a well-paced thought out plot, this book has clearly been well-researched, an absolute essential for a historical novel.

I have a copy of The Insanity of Murder which is the fourth book in this series due out later this month which is a bit of a shame as I’m sure I’ll now end up reading the other two books out of sequence.

I’d like to say a special thanks (again) to Margot Kinburg from Confessions of a Mystery Novelist who recommended this book to me after I had read The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath. So glad she did and that I chose this as one of my 20 Books of Summer 2015, highly recommended for lovers of historical crime fiction.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (July 15)

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 I am currently reading Redemption Road by Lisa Ballantyne Redemption Road See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book 20 books of summer logo I have recently finished The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish, one of my 20 Books of 2015! Challenge The Disappearance of Emily Marr Blurb

Arriving on the windswept Ile de R� off the coast of France, Tabby Dewhurst is heartbroken and penniless, unable even to afford a room for the night. Then she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door and, hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the villager to leave and lets herself into the house . . . And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emmie, whose sudden offer of friendship is at odds with her obsession with her own privacy. Soon Tabby begins to form suspicions about Emmie, suspicions that will lead her back to England – and to a scandal with shattering consequences. Amazon

20 books of summer logo Next up I am looking forward to reading The Anatomy of Death by Felicity Young An Anatomy of Death Blurb

At the turn of the twentieth century, London’s political climate is in turmoil, as women fight for the right to vote. Dody McCleland has her own battles to fight. As England’s first female autopsy surgeon, not only must she prove herself, she must prove that murder treats everyone equally… After a heated women’s rights rally turns violent, an innocent suffragette is found murdered. When she examines the body, Dody McCleland is shocked to realize that the victim was a friend of her sister—fueling her determination to uncover the cause of the protestor’s suspicious death. For Dody, gathering clues from a body is often easier than handling the living—especially Chief Detective Inspector Pike. Pike is looking to get to the bottom of this case but has a hard time trusting anyone—including Dody. Determined to earn Pike’s trust and to find the killer, Dody will have to sort through real and imagined secrets. But if she’s not careful, she may end up on her own examination table… Amazon

What are you reading this week? See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2015!

20-books-of-summer-master-image

Cathy at Cathy746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2015 and running until 4 September 2015, and this year I’ve decided to join her. I had already rationed myself from requesting quite so many review copies so the choices I make will be in addition to those that I have obligations to read and review.

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf that I already own with at least half being physical books. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from…

The only drawback with this challenge is I want to experience choosing a book that fits my mood so I have decided to begin by choosing a spread of genre to list the first ten books for my summer reading.

Summer Reading May 29

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Night Watch – Sarah Waters

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young

Letters to the Lost – Iona Grey

The Maul and the Pear Tree – P.D. James & T.A. Critchley

The Disappearance of Emily Marr – Louise Candlish

Every Secret Thing – Emma Cole

Dancing for the Hangman – Martin Edwards

Rutherford Park – Elizabeth Cooke

Under World – Reginald Hill

The Whicharts – Noel Streatfeild

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hastag #20booksofsummer and I will provide (a yet to be decided logo) to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge!

There’s still time to join in and Cathy has also provided a 10 Books of Summer image for those of you who feel aiming for 20 is quite frankly ridiculous. Visit Cathy to get the full details here

So what do you think to my choices? Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or perhaps you think some of these need to be put back on the shelf and forgotten about? All comments welcomed!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (February 6)

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).

No books from NetGalley this week although I do have a couple of finds for you.

I had to snap up the bargain that was A Perfect Match by Jill McGown that has been recently released on kindle. I read all of the Lloyd and Hill series that our library stocked in the early 90s and so couldn’t resist the first in the series (of ten which might mean my TBR grows rapidly) for 59p.

A Perfect Match

Blurb

The news rocked the town. A woman’s body found in a boathouse. And the woman’s last known companion Missing Presumed Fled. To the people of Stansfield it’s an open and shut case.
But Detective Inspector Lloyd – teamed up once more with Sergeant Judy Hill – isn’t so quick to jump to conclusions. To begin with he’s certain of only two things. First, that nothing can stop the reawakening of his tender feelings towards his colleague.
And second: in a murder enquiry you don’t rule out . . . Amazon

I also finally have a copy of An Anatomy of Death by Felicity Young that I’ve coveted ever since reading about it on Margot Kinberg’s blog, The Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. If you haven’t read Margot’s blog before you are missing a treat but she does add so many books to the TBR!
An Anatomy of Death

Blurb

At the turn of the twentieth century, London’s political climate is in turmoil, as women fight for the right to vote. Dody McCleland has her own battles to fight. As England’s first female autopsy surgeon, not only must she prove herself, she must prove that murder treats everyone equally…
After a heated women’s rights rally turns violent, an innocent suffragette is found murdered. When she examines the body, Dody McCleland is shocked to realize that the victim was a friend of her sister—fueling her determination to uncover the cause of the protestor’s suspicious death.
For Dody, gathering clues from a body is often easier than handling the living—especially Chief Detective Inspector Pike. Pike is looking to get to the bottom of this case but has a hard time trusting anyone—including Dody. Determined to earn Pike’s trust and to find the killer, Dody will have to sort through real and imagined secrets. But if she’s not careful, she may end up on her own examination table… Amazon

I also finally have a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie which I have been looking for a copy of for some time.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Blurb

Hercule Poirot has to solve a fiendishly clever murder mystery in this newly adapted full-colour comic strip adventure. Famed for her crime masterpieces, Agatha Christie’s books have become the best-selling in the world, appealing to readers young and old for their ingenious plots and immediately recognizable characters. The stories have also transcended the printed page, become bestselling audiobooks and award-winning films, plays and television series. Now words and pictures combine in an exciting new way of telling these stories — full-colour graphic novels which enhance the original stories and offer a completely new way of enjoying some of the world’s most popular and exciting mysteries. Roger Ackroyd knows too much. He knows that the woman he loves poisoned her brutal first husband. He also suspects that someone has been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, the news has come that she has taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brings Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he can finish reading it, he is stabbed to death! Goodreads

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (May 23)

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!

So this week somehow I have just one new find from NetGalley which is The Secret Place by Tana French, the fifth in The Dublin Murder Squad series (and I’ve read the previous four)

The Secret Place
Blurb

The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago.
The caption says, ‘I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM’.
Detective Stephen Moran hasn’t seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she’s sixteen and she’s shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.
Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys’ school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, in the Secret Place – the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously – Holly found the card.
Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. But to get it solved, he will have to work with Detective Antoinette Conway – tough, prickly, an outsider, everything Stephen doesn’t want in a partner. And he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets, even as he starts to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn’t want to hear. NetGalley

I have added Out of the Silence by Wendy James to the TBR after coming across a reference to this on Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… if you haven’t come across this blog and you love crime fiction you really should take a visit.  Margot Kinberg  has a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to answer questions if your recall isn’t up to her high standards!

Out of the Silence

Blurb

I have a baby, two shillings, no reputation and nowhere to go, but even so I cannot imagine what far worse might be.
Out of the Silence is a stunning debut novel about three women from very different worlds: Maggie Heffernan, a spirited working-class country girl; Elizabeth Hamilton, whose own disappointment in love has served only to strengthen her humanity; and the remarkable Vida Goldstein, the suffragist who was to become the first woman to stand for Parliament.
When Maggie’s life descends into darkness after a terrible betrayal, the three women’s lives collide. Around this tragedy Wendy James has constructed a masterfully drawn and gripping fiction. Based on a true story, it unfolds at the dawn of the twentieth century against the compelling backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement and a world on the brink of enormous change.
The novel powerfully evokes the plight of women in the early 1900s – not least their limited options, whatever their class and education. However, at its heart this is a story of love – of love gone wrong; of its compromises and disappointments; but ultimately of its extraordinary transformative power. Amazon

A favourite contributor to my very large TBR is FictionFan who did it again with a compelling review of Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton which has now been added to the pile.

Ethan Frome

Read FictionFan’s review here

On Book’d Out I came across a feature about the writer Felicity Young who has written a series of books about a female autopsy surgeon Dr Dody McCleland in The Anatomy of Death (in Australia The Dissection of Murder)

An Anatomy of Death

Blurb

At the turn of the twentieth century, London’s political climate is in turmoil, as women fight for the right to vote. Dody McCleland has her own battles to fight. As England’s first female autopsy surgeon, not only must she prove herself, she must prove that murder treats everyone equally…
After a heated women’s rights rally turns violent, an innocent suffragette is found murdered. When she examines the body, Dody McCleland is shocked to realize that the victim was a friend of her sister—fueling her determination to uncover the cause of the protestor’s suspicious death.
For Dody, gathering clues from a body is often easier than handling the living—especially Chief Detective Inspector Pike. Pike is looking to get to the bottom of this case but has a hard time trusting anyone—including Dody. Determined to earn Pike’s trust and to find the killer, Dody will have to sort through real and imagined secrets. But if she’s not careful, she may end up on her own examination table… Goodreads

Read the feature about Felicity Young from Book’d Out here

I just need to add a non-book item, well nearly… after a conversation on Twitter with one of my favourite authorsErin Kelly, I was persuaded to buy the box-set of Barbara Vine DVDs comprising of; Gallowglass, A Dark Adapted Eye and A Fatal Inversion which were on the BBC in the early 1990’s. Finding myself with a weekend to myself I really enjoyed watching the first two.  Along with this purchase I came across the box-set of five Minette Walters DVDs too, which were also filmed for the BBC, so I have plenty more spare hours to fill with two of my favourite authors on the small screen.

Minette WaltersBarbara Vine

Amazon UK