Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Dark Angel – Elly Griffiths

Crime Fiction
5*s

Well I just love this series with the balance between the look at old bones, and often new ones too, with the ongoing drama in Ruth Galloway’s own life along with that of DCI Harry Nelson and the rest of his team.

In The Dark Angel rather than Ruth’s boss Phil taking to the television we have an Italian archaeologist who is about to reveal some Roman bones to the audience when something interrupts filming. Desperate to provide some authenticity to his dig and tempt the TV crew back, Dr Angelo Morelli invites Ruth to Italy to lend a helping hand. Ruth is in a bit of a rut, her mother died recently and there has been some other unwelcome news in her personal life and anyway Kate could do with a holiday so she decides that Italy is the perfect answer. Inviting her friend Shona and her son Louis the party board the plane for Italy and Angelo’s apartment in a hilltop village.

Meanwhile in Norfolk Nelson is warned that a man jailed for a heinous crime ten years previously has been released. Mickey Webb made some wild threats at the time he was jailed aimed at Nelson but it seems that he has come out of prison a reformed character and one who has found religion, and a good woman to boot.

Italy has plenty of history and of course although Ruth is there to look at some Roman bones the party have hardly made themselves at home before they are informed that they are staying in the home of a former hero of the Second World War when Italy was occupied. And this is exactly why I love this series, no matter the crime, and there are I’m pleased to report, there is one, there is so much detail to enjoy on the periphery to the storyline all told in such a ‘chatty’ manner it is listening to a friend. That combined with catching up with the latest escapades which entertain me enormously while bones are tested, theories are expounded and suspects questioned.

With events happening in two different countries, both personal and criminal, the action moves quite swiftly despite the somewhat more relaxed holiday feeling to brighten the darker moments in Italy.

Elly Griffiths has compiled a great character in Ruth. She is intelligent without being condescending, worried about her appearance but also not overly envious of those with looks. She has turned into a pragmatic single mother to Kate and yet she is no angel – the asides when Louis breaks glass after glass in the apartment provides a wry smile from anyone who has ever had to spend an extended amount of time with a child that doesn’t behave like your own. She has moments of fierce introspection and yet she is obviously a capable and inspirational forensic archaeologist – someone I’m sure would fascinate me if she was a real live breathing person.

This is a series where you should start at the beginning as the story arc becomes more and more integral to the enjoyment of the books as the series goes on and to be honest the ‘non-crime’ sections are a bigger proportion in this episode than the previous books but if you are already a fan, you are in for a real treat.

Dr Ruth Galloway Books in order

The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea’s End
A Room Full of Bones
Dying Fall
The Outcast Dead
The Ghost Fields
The Woman in Blue
The Chalk Pit

 

First Published UK: 8 February 2018
Publisher: Quercus
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 16)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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 extract today is from The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths a book that will be published on 5 February 2018 and the tenth in the Dr Ruth Galloway series of which I am a big fan.

Blurb

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

This book has a prologue which I will give a taster of before moving to Chapter One.

PROLOGUE

‘This grave has lain undisturbed for over two thousand years.’ Professor Angelo Morelli speaks directly to the camera. The countryside has been the scene of invasion and battle from the Neolithic times until the Second World War, when the German troops fought Italian partisans in the Liri Valley. In all that time, this body has lain under the earth. Now, we are going to exhume it.’

CHAPTER 1

The confetti is still blowing in the street. Ruth watches as Clough and Cassandra get into the white Rolls-Royce – Cassandra laughing as she shakes the pink and yellow hearts from her hair – and drive away.
They’re an unlikely pair, no-nonsense policeman DS Dave Clough and beautiful actress and daughter of local aristocrats Cassandra Blackstock – but they met in the course of work and fell in love. And to prove it, they are getting married. Bully for them, thinks Ruth, although that sounds bitter even to her own ears.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well talk about wildly different pictures being painted from prologue to chapter one here – although it’s good to have a bit about Clough before the adventure switches from Norfolk to Rome.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 17)

This Week on the Blog

Well the final wrap up from me before Christmas so I am going to start this post by wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas, I do hope Santa is kind to you all and brings you lots of lovely books.

This Week on the Blog

The week started with a review of Melanie McGrath’s Give Me the Child in which I made some commentators snigger with my attitude towards one of the characters.

I also posted a review on Tuesday, this time I had been waiting patiently for my stop on the blog tour for G.J. Minett’s Anything for Her. All three of this author’s books have now gained the full five stars from me.

This Week in Books featured the authors Emma Donoghue, Christine Poulson and Maggie James

On Thursday I posted a Christmas Thank You to NetGalley where I featured a tiny fraction of the brilliant books I’ve read through this fantastic resource.

My third review of the week was for The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans, a historical story set in the world of haute couture in Paris in the 1930s.

My final review of the week was for His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James which had also lingered on the TBR for quite some time.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer, a book that I confess that I would never have picked up on the basis of the cover, but fortunately I have a whole selection of brilliant book bloggers to make sure I don’t choose my books on misconceptions but on the basis of your reviews. This was a fabulous, if somewhat horrific read (again that cover doesn’t even begin to hint at the darkness within its pages) about a woman whose husband is dead, a mother who mourns him and their story of the past and the present. More than that I really can’t say but after nearly a year of me badgering one friend who I thought would recognise some of the character types, she finally read it and sent me a huge thank you for the recommendation.

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

Blurb

Your husband took his own life. Tell the truth and destroy what’s left of your family. Or keep a secret that will tear you apart. What would you do?

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost… shouldn’t she? Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Now I didn’t expect to have any ‘brand new’ books to share with you this week, but I was wrong – I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of Elly Griffiths‘ latest book in the Ruth Galloway series, The Dark Angel. This, the tenth book in the series will be published on 8 February 2018.

Blurb

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect. NetGalley

I have also been following the blog tour for Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster which tells the story of Madeline Smith accused of poisoning her lover Pierre L’Angelier who’d moved from Jersey to Glasgow in the 1850s. Now I know this story having read some other books on the subject but who am I to resist another? Especially as it is on special offer during the blog tour.

Blurb

Blackmail, Sex and Lies is a story of deception, scandal, and fractured traditional Victorian social values. It is the tale of Madeleine Hamilton Smith, a naïve, young woman caught up in a whirlwind romance with an older man, Pierre Emile L’Angelier. However, both lovers have personality flaws that result in poor choices, ultimately leading to a tragic end. For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith was guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857. It explores the disastrous romance between the vivacious socialite and her working class lover. After a two-year torrid and forbidden relationship with L’Angelier, continuing against her parents’ wishes, the situation changes dramatically when William Minnoch enters the scene. Minnoch is handsome, rich, and of her social class. Everything L’Angelier is not. Insane jealous rages and threats of blackmail are suddenly silenced by an untimely death.

Written in British English, in the creative nonfiction style, this Scottish Noir will be enjoyed by those who enjoy Victorian murder mysteries, unsolved crimes, or fictionalised accounts of true crime. Amazon

And while I was perusing this book I thought it wise to check out the author’s first book, Who Killed Little Johnny Gill? Another Victorian true crime, so I bought that one too!

Blurb

Johnny Gill, a young seven-year-old from Bradford, comes from the poor end of town. Despite being poor, his family are tight-knit, loving and well-respected within their community. One foggy morning, just a few days after Christmas, Johnny’s mother sees her son off from the front door as he climbs into the milk wagon of William Barrett. As Mary Ann Gill waves goodbye to her eldest son that morning, she has no idea that this will be the last time she will see him. Johnny doesn’t come home for his lunch and his mother starts to worry about him. The family search frantically for him for three days and nights. They search Manningham, and wider Bradford until someone finds him early on the Saturday morning, just meters from their home.

His little body has been hacked up, drained of blood, thoroughly washed, his organs displaced and his intestines are draped around his neck eerily similar to the murders that have been happening in London done by Jack the Ripper. Several letters were sent by Jack stating that he would murder a little boy soon. After the murder another letter was sent stating that he had been up to Bradford. However, was this murder committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper? There are other clues involving Masonic rituals found in a local house at the same time of Johnny’s death that point to the possibility that it was. And yet, William Barrett was the last one to see Johnny. The modus operandi could well be a copy-cat murder. In addition, William Barrett isn’t saying much.

“Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?” is a fictionalised account of the true murder of a young boy in Bradford, England that is still considered today to be one of the worst British murders in England, despite the fact that it occurred in 1888 of Victorian Times. After the author presents the facts of this fascination English crime fiction novel, will you think William Barrett is innocent? Well, you will have to read the book to find out for yourself. Amazon

Lastly I have a copy of Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure, a memoir written by the secretary to the Home Office’s chief forensic pathologist during the Second World War.

Blurb

It is 1941. While the ‘war of chaos’ rages in the skies above London, an unending fight against violence, murder and the criminal underworld continues on the streets below.

One ordinary day, in an ordinary courtroom, forensic pathologist Dr Keith Simpson asks a keen young journalist to be his secretary. Although the ‘horrors of secretarial work’ don’t appeal to Molly Lefebure, she’s intrigued to find out exactly what goes on behind a mortuary door.

Capable and curious, ‘Miss Molly’ quickly becomes indispensible to Dr Simpson as he meticulously pursues the truth. Accompanying him from sombre morgues to London’s most gruesome crime scenes, Molly observes and assists as he uncovers the dark secrets that all murder victims keep.

With a sharp sense of humour and a rebellious spirit, Molly tells her own remarkable true story here with warmth and wit, painting a vivid portrait of wartime London. Amazon

I think that little lot should set me up for some fantastic reading in 2018 – what do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 3 books and appear to have gained 3 so my TBR is holding steady at 186

Physical Books – 108
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books –22