Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Blood Card – Elly Griffiths

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

When Colonel Peter Cartwright, their commander from the war, is found dead with the ace of hearts, the blood card, next to him Max Mephisto and DI Edgar Stephens are summoned to London and put in charge of a secret investigation into his death.

Racing back to his current investigation in Brighton where Edgar is probing the mysterious death of fortune teller Madame Zabini he is soon off on his first aeroplane trip to New York, a fifteen hour journey on the trail of the murderer.

The links to the world of the theatre are really strong in this, the third outing of Stephens and Mephsito and reach back in time. Max and Edgar are tracking down some old-timers from the world of the variety shows which are now beginning to fear their fate with the advent of television. And it is time to be worried with a terrific surge in families buying sets to watch the Queen’s Coronation. Max was unable to take the trip to New York as he has dipped his toe into the world of television and is performing a magic show live for the small screen, a show that will follow the main event of the day. His new agent Joe Passolini has promised that millions will watch Those Were The Days, the greatest variety show to reach into the drawing rooms of the UK.

The two plots, one dealing with deaths of those linked to the theatre and another strand devoted to the gypsy’s who deliver the entertainment on the pier. Stephens and his Sergeants Bob Willis and Emma Holmes are far from convinced that Madame Zabini’s death was suicide, as Bob succinctly put it:

‘You’d think, being psychic, she’d know if someone was going to do her in’

When her son receives a letter asking him to ask Stephens what the Magic Men knew, the operation he was part of with Max during the war, the feeling that something was not quite right just intensifies. The problem is apart from handing over the note the family aren’t terribly forthcoming, having an aversion to the police.

My love of these two crime fighters hasn’t abated one little bit and this proved to be a fun read, all deaths happen ‘off-page’ to cause minimum distress to the reader. The plot has an old-fashioned feel to it, matching the time period perfectly, consisting of cryptic crossword puzzles and a network of characters where even the most shadowy, could be kindly be described as ‘misunderstood’ That’s not to imply there isn’t any action, there is, and the descriptions are brilliant. The portrayal of the build up and ultimately to the day of the coronation itself, one full of excitement as the new Elizabethan age dawned was fantastic I felt I was right there with the people who partied despite the rationing, which was still in place, and shows went on to please the new audience in front of their televisions.

Elly Griffiths manages to sneak plenty of historical facts into this engaging and evocative mystery of an era that doesn’t get as much exposure as the preceding decades. She effortlessly transports us to the time and I’m delighted that her female characters are so strong despite being true to their time. For those who have read the previous books, it is an absolute delight to see the character progression, the bonds that have been forged in times of adversity lending a depth to such a fun read. So it isn’t only long live the Queen but long live Max Mephisto and DI Edgar Stephens!

I was delighted to receive an advance review copy of this book ahead of publication next week and this review is my thanks to the publishers Quercus Books, and of course the fabulous Elly Griffiths.

Published UK: 3 November 2016
Publisher: Quercus Books
No of Pages: 382
Genre: Historical Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Max Mephisto & DI Edgar Stephens Series

The Zig-Zag Girl
Smoke and Mirrors

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (October 19)

This Week In Books

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’ve just started reading The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths, the third in the DI Stephens and Max Mephisto series.

the-blood-card

Blurb

On the eve of the Queen’s coronation, DI Stephens and Max Mephisto uncover an anarchist plot and a ticking bomb at the same time as solving the murder of a man close to them – from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries.
Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.
Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . .NetGalley

I’ve recently finished the fifth book in the DI Kim Stone series. Blood Lines by Angela Marsons. Another cracking good read from this author!

blood-lines

See yesterday’s post for an excerpt and the synopsis

Next up will be Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan which is due for paperback release on 3 November 2016

Cut to the Bone

Blurb

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she’s missing. She’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video’s uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.

Who better to head up the investigation than the Met’s rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She’s leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It’s time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Superintendent Zain Harris – poster boy for multiracial policing and the team’s newest member – has his own unique contribution to make.

But can Kate wholly trust him and when he’s around, can she trust herself? Ruby’s millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares. And the videos keep coming . . . NetGalley

Have you read any of these? Do you want to?
Let me know what you are reading this week by adding your comments or leaving your link below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (October 2)

Weekly Wrap Up

A brief post today as I came down with a nasty bug which has meant not only impacted my posts; just one review of Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, but also my reading. Dear readers will appreciate this was no normal chest infection, it must have been serious if I was unable to read!!

My weekly posts for Tuesday and Wednesday were already scheduled and went out without me but I did manage to support blogging buddy Lipsyy from Lipsyy  Lost and Found for her inspirational event for Horror October this year – she’s organised some writers to come up with a story based on our ideas – hope over to yesterday’s post, or Lipsyy’s blog to vote!

 

This Time Last Year….

I was reading Boxes by Pascal Garnier, the first dark and disturbing novella I read by this man who reminds me a little of Roald Dahl with his acute observations with sinister undertones.

Boxes

Blurb

He was the sole survivor of the natural disaster that at one time or another strikes us all, known as ‘moving house’. Brice and Emma had bought their new home in the countryside together. And then she disappeared.

Stacking the Shelves

So even though I’ve been in my sick-bed the books have continued to roll in – amazing!

I ordered myself the The Man Booker shortlisted book His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

his-bloody-project

Blurb

The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear.
His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary. Amazon

And because I can’t ever just order one book I decided my stock of books about poisoning wasn’t nearly huge enough I also have a copy of Poison Panic by Helen Barrell.

poison-panic

Blurb

For a few years in the 1840s, Essex was notorious in the minds of Victorians as a place where women stalked the winding country lanes looking for their next victim to poison with arsenic. It’s a terrible image – and also one that doesn’t seem to have much basis in truth – but this was a time of great anxiety.
The 1840s were also known as the ‘hungry ’40s’, when crop failures pushed up food prices and there was popular unrest across Europe. The decade culminated in a cholera epidemic in which tens of thousands of people in the British Isles died. It is perhaps no surprise that people living through that troubled decade were captivated by the stories of the ‘poisoners’: that death was down to ‘white powder’ and the evil intentions of the human heart.
Sarah Chesham, Mary May and Hannah Southgate are the protagonists of this tale of how rural Essex, in a country saturated with arsenic, was touched by the tumultuous 1840s. Amazon

From NetGalley I was approved for The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths as I’m a big fan of this series featuring Stephens & Mesphito with their historical mysteries.

the-blood-card

Blurb

On the eve of the Queen’s coronation, DI Stephens and Max Mephisto uncover an anarchist plot and a ticking bomb at the same time as solving the murder of a man close to them – from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries.
Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.

Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . . NetGalley

I also was lucky enough to win a copy of The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards from Abbie at Bloomin’ Brilliant Books, a blog full of reviews of just the kind of books I love, in fact, they are Bloomin’ Brilliant so if you haven’t already done so!

the-devils-work

Blurb

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.
What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.
As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have only read 3 books, and gained 4 and so my TBR now totals 181 books!

92 physical books
69 e-books
20 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?