Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (September 11)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well we’ve had some rain to remind us that it is now the autumn if the way the night falls so much earlier (seemingly) all of a sudden hadn’t already done so.

Worthy points to mention – Happy Valley will be coming back for a third season despite strong suggestions to the contrary, the bad news is the writer hasn’t even started writing it yet!

What does everyone else think to the changes to the Shelf on NetGalley? – I’m not sure I like having all the books that are over three months listed with a count – it makes me feel bad, and some of these are because they were approved months before publication – it doesn’t help that there are so many on the current tab too. If I didn’t have my trusty excel spreadsheet I’d be very confused.

Last Week on the Blog

My week got off to a great start with a very entertaining author post by Caimh McDonnell, a stand-up comedian who has written a crime novel, A Man With One of Those Faces which I reviewed here.

Wednesday’s post included my upcoming foray into the world of Miss Marple – now I love Poirot but when I first discovered Agatha Christie as a teenager, I didn’t really take to Miss Marple – but when I heard about the Agatha Christie Blogathon organised by Christina Wehner, I’ve decided to give her a second chance – keep your eyes peeled on 17 September to see what I thought.

I also wrote a review of Camilla Grebe’s novel The Ice Beneath Her, a superb psychological thriller set in Stockholm, somewhere I’m visiting quite soon although I do hope I don’t meet anyone quite like the characters in this book.

On Friday I posted about the books I read in the 20 Books of Summer 2016 challenge – I completed 15 and had 1 DNF which considering how busy my summer was, is… ok – I will do better next year!

Yesterday my third review of the week was for a family saga, The Jeweller’s Wife written by the talented Judith Lennox. This book spanned thirty odd years and contained all the jealousy, greed, infidelity etc. that makes these types of books so fascinating. I felt like I was spying on the family through a window.

This Time Last Year…

I read the fourth book by Felicity Young featuring Dr Dody McCleland, who works under the forensic scientist Bernard Spilsbury, The Insanity of Murder.  Not only does this book feature a fascinating mystery, it has plenty of period details from 1913 the year it was set, including contemporary views of the suffragettes.

The Insanity of Murder

Blurb

To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?
Dody and Pike’s investigations lead them to a women’s rest home where patients are not encouraged to read or think and where clandestine treatments and operations are conducted in an unethical and inhumane manner. Together Dody and Pike must uncover such foul play before their secret liaisons become public knowledge – and before Florence becomes the rest home’s next victim. NetGalley

Stacking the Shelves

Oh dear – the TBR is continuing to rise with a rush of books this week.

First up my willpower would last no longer and I purchased a copy of Sarah Ward’s A Deadly Thaw – her first book in the series, In Bitter Chill having been such an outstanding read, this was entirely unsurprising!

a-deadly-thaw

Blurb

Every secret has consequences.

Autumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.

Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . . Amazon

From NetGalley I have The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith which I requested after having been thoroughly entertained by the first in this series, The Jazz Files.

the-kill-fee
Blurb

Do you know who that is Poppy?” asked Delilah.
“I do indeed.”
“So what does it feel like to dance in the arms of an assassin?”

Poppy Denby’s star is on the rise. Now the Arts and Entertainment Editor at The Daily Globe, she covers an exhibition of Russian Art at the Crystal Palace. A shot rings out, leaving a guard injured and an empty pedestal in the place of the largest Faberge Egg in the collection. The egg itself is valuable, but more so are the secrets it contains within – secrets that could threaten major political powers.

Poppy is once again in the middle of a sensational story. Can she solve the mystery before time runs out and disaster strikes? NetGalley

The Kill Fee will be published on 16 September 2016.

I also have a copy of The Two O’clock Boy by fellow book blogger Mark Hill – this is due for publication in ebook format on 22 September, paperback November 2016, and looks to be a hit!

the-two-oclock-boy

Blurb

TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS… ONE BECAME A DETECTIVE… ONE BECAME A KILLER…

One night changed their lives
Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.

Cries in the fire and smoke
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.

A truth both must hide
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth. NetGalley

Little Brown Books kindly sent me a copy of Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody to review ahead of publication of 6 October 2016.

death-at-the-seaside

Blurb

Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.

Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma’s daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the thirty shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma’s current gentleman friend.

Kate can’t help but become involved, and goes to the jeweller’s shop to get some answers. When she makes a horrifying discovery in the back room, it soon becomes clear that her services are needed. Met by a wall of silence by town officials, keen to maintain Whitby’s idyllic façade, it’s up to Kate – ably assisted by Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden – to discover the truth behind Felicity’s disappearance.

And they say nothing happens in August . . . Amazon

And lastly this purchase is all down to fellow blogger Karen at My Reading Corner who kindly pointed me in the direction of A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup – how could I resist poison and Agatha Christie!! This is why I love book blogging, kind people pointing out books I simply must have… TBR, what TBR?

a-is-for-aresnic

Blurb

Fourteen novels. Fourteen poisons. Just because it’s fiction doesn’t mean it’s all made-up …

Agatha Christie revelled in the use of poison to kill off unfortunate victims in her books; indeed, she employed it more than any other murder method, with the poison itself often being a central part of the novel. Her choice of deadly substances was far from random – the characteristics of each often provide vital clues to the discovery of the murderer. With gunshots or stabbings the cause of death is obvious, but this is not the case with poisons. How is it that some compounds prove so deadly, and in such tiny amounts?

Christie’s extensive chemical knowledge provides the backdrop for A is for Arsenic, in which Kathryn Harkup investigates the poisons used by the murderer in fourteen classic Agatha Christie mysteries. It looks at why certain chemicals kill, how they interact with the body, the cases that may have inspired Christie, and the feasibility of obtaining, administering and detecting these poisons, both at the time the novel was written and today. A is for Arsenic is a celebration of the use of science by the undisputed Queen of Crime. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have read 3 books, and gained 5 so the total is now on the ascent again to 176 books!

84 physical books
69 e-books
21 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Insanity of Murder – Felicity Young

Historical Crime 4*s
Historical Crime Fiction
4*s

Set in the early twentieth century this series featuring the fictional character, Dr Dody McCleland, who works under the forensic scientist Bernard Spilsbury. The Insanity of Murder is set in 1913, with war already looming on the horizon and the cause for women to be allowed more say over their own lives, and most importantly to gain the right to vote were reported in the news.

This mystery starts with Dody’s sister Florence setting a bomb at the Necropolis railway station (something that I’d never heard of before) in London. This railway station was built in Waterloo to transport the dead to Kent for burial to ease the overcrowding of London’s cemeteries. Florence is working on behalf of the militant suffragettes as this faction worked hard to bring their cause to the attention of parliament. This method chosen did sound unnecessarily brutal, particularly as unsurprisingly innocent people got caught up in the inevitable blast. Dody is called to help out with checking the dead bodies which due to the nature of the station had to be examined to ensure that their death hadn’t been a result of the station.

Inspector Matthew Pike with whom Dody is having a romantic relationship with, is on the trail to find the perpetrators of the bombing and Dody quickly finds herself anxious to protect her sister from his detection despite the moral dilemma that causes her distress. Dody doesn’t want her sister to be subject to force-feeding (the authority’s response to the suffragette’s hunger strikes) after the nightmares it had caused the first time Florence was imprisoned.

The book gives the reader an excellent depiction of the lives of women in institutions, including asylums at the time which I find fascinating, especially as the author takes a fully rounded view of the time including the contemporary feelings of the time about the suffragettes. Another aspect of this story is the way it illustrates that the class you were born into defined the treatment that you received, in society as well as in institutions, should you be unfortunate enough to end up in one.

As interesting as all this is the story couldn’t exist without the mystery which is cleverly linked to characters impacted by the explosion. There is a missing woman, a suspected suicide and some shady goings on at a ‘rest-home’. With Dody and Florence’s help Pike’s investigation takes a sinister and dangerous turn, although of course the setting of the bomb was kept strictly between the two women.

I have really taken to the character development of both Dody and Pike which has occurred since the first book, both of whom come across as fully rounded people. The secondary characters provide the perfect backdrop to the mystery with a full-range of characters, some with good intentions, others less so. Some of the characters from this period make an appearance as do some of the events, the death of Emily Dickinson who was killed by Kind George V’s horse at the Derby whilst trying to disturb the race, probably by affixing a flag in the distinctive colours of the Women’s Political and Social Union to the horse’s bridle.

Sadly I haven’t yet got around to reading the second and third book in this series but this is something I am going to rectify without (hopefully) too much further delay because the mixture of historical facts and mystery are not only perfectly combined but incredibly well-balanced. There is never the feeling that the research has been dumped onto the page and in fact some aspects, including those about the necropolis railway station prompted me to do a little fact-finding of my own as it had piqued my interest.

I’d like to thank the publishers HarperCollins Australia who allowed me to have a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. The Insanity of Murder was published on 1 August 2015.

Books in the Dr Dody McCleland Mysteries

The Anatomy of Death
Antidote to Murder
The Scent of Murder
The Insanity of Murder

More about Bernard Spilsbury, Dody’s boss can be read in The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath by Jane Robbins

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 8)

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 comes from The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young the fourth in the Dody McCleland series.

The Insanity of Murder

Blurb

To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?
Dody and Pike’s investigations lead them to a women’s rest home where patients are not encouraged to read or think and where clandestine treatments and operations are conducted in an unethical and inhumane manner. Together Dody and Pike must uncover such foul play before their secret liaisons become public knowledge – and before Florence becomes the rest home’s next victim. NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter One

The Necropolis Railway, railway of the dead. Surely, Florence McCleland thought there was no better place to plant a bomb.
Daphne glanced at the words above the well-lit station arch and snorted ‘Why they need a sign up there, Lord knows. One can smell it for here.’
Was her co-conspirator teasing? Florence inhaled. All she could smell was the usual aroma of the London streets:lingering motorcar exhausts, horse dung, soot, and the pungency of blocked drains from a nearby public convenience. Now an image of malodorous corpses filled her mind, stacked in layers, waiting patiently for their final journey to the country cemetery.

~ ~ ~

This opening paragraph had me finding out more about the Necropolis Railway which ran from Waterloo to Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. Opened in 1854 the railway was used to move as many burials as possible away from the severely overcrowded London cemeteries.

Do you want to know more? Or perhaps you’ve already read this book?
Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (September 2)

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 Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey and totally immersed in the stories past and present.

Letters to the Lost

See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book

I have just finished something entirely different, The Beast of Jersey by Joan Paisnel, my tattered copy came courtesy of my son, Owen, who picked it up on one of his forays into charity shop, knowing that I’m fascinated by true crime he thought I should read this one which happened in Jersey.

The Beast of Jersey

Blurb

Edward Paisnel, a predatory paedophile nicknamed the Beast of Jersey, who was convicted in 1971 for an 11-year reign of terror. Paisnel believed himself to be the reincarnation of Gilles de Rais, and committed his crimes in the bizarre outfit depicted on the cover of this 1972 biography by his wife Joan. Goodreads

Next I am planning on reading The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young. I really enjoyed Doctor Dody McCleland’s introduction in The Anatomy of Death so I’m looking forward to reading, this episode, the fourth in the series.

The Insanity of Murder

Blurb

To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?
Dody and Pike’s investigations lead them to a women’s rest home where patients are not encouraged to read or think and where clandestine treatments and operations are conducted in an unethical and inhumane manner. Together Dody and Pike must uncover such foul play before their secret liaisons become public knowledge – and before Florence becomes the rest home’s next victim. NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (June 27)

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!

I haven’t shown you the recent additions to my shelves for the last couple of week and once again, seeing as I’ve been being good there seems to be quite a few!

From NetGalley I am delighted to have a copy of The Girls by Lisa Jewell, I really love this authors writing style and The House We  Grew Up In is a great example of her work.
The Girls

Blurb

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?
Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible? NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young which features Doctor Dody McCleland. I have the first of this series, An Anatomy of Death on my 20 Books of Summer challenge which I will need to read first.

The Insanity of Murder

Blurb

To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?
Dody and Pike’s investigations lead them to a women’s rest home where patients are not encouraged to read or think and where clandestine treatments and operations are conducted in an unethical and inhumane manner. Together Dody and Pike must uncover such foul play before their secret liaisons become public knowledge – and before Florence becomes the rest home’s next victim. NetGalley

I am also lucky enough to have a copy of The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly who wrote the stunning Just What Kind of Mother Are You? and Keep Your Friends Close.

The Mistake I Made

Blurb

We all think we know who we are.
What we’re capable of.

Roz is a single mother, a physiotherapist, a sister, a friend. She’s also desperate.
Her business has gone under, she’s crippled by debt and she’s just had to explain to her son why someone’s taken all their furniture away.
But now a stranger has made her an offer. For one night with her, he’ll pay enough to bring her back from the edge.
Roz has a choice to make.

Lastly I have a copy of Preserve The Dead by Brian McGilloway

Preserve The Dead

Blurb

Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is visiting her father, a patient in a secure unit in Gransha Hospital on the banks of the River Foyle. He’s been hurt badly in an altercation with another patient, and Lucy is shocked to discover him chained to the bed for safety. But she barely has time to take it all in, before an orderly raises the alarm – a body has been spotted floating in the river below…
The body of an elderly man in a grey suit is hauled ashore: he is cold dead. He has been dead for several days. In fact a closer examination reveals that he has already been embalmed. A full scale investigation is launched – could this really be the suicide they at first assumed, or is this some kind of sick joke?
Troubled and exhausted, Lucy goes back to her father’s shell of a house to get some sleep; but there’ll be no rest for her tonight. She’s barely in the front door when a neighbour knocks, in total distress – his wife’s sister has turned up badly beaten. Can she help? NetGalley

I also have added a few books to my own physical bookshelf starting with Capital Crimes: London Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards following this enticing review from Fiction Fan

Capital Crimes London Mysteries

Blurb

With its fascinating mix of people – rich and poor, British and foreign, worthy and suspicious – London is a city where anything can happen. The possibilities for criminals and for the crime writer are endless. London has been home to many of fiction’s finest detectives, and the setting for mystery novels and short stories of the highest quality. Capital Crimes is an eclectic collection of London-based crime stories, blending the familiar with the unexpected in a way that reflects the personality of the city.
Alongside classics by Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley and Thomas Burke are excellent and unusual stories by authors who are far less well known. The stories give a flavour of how writers have tackled crime in London over the span of more than half a century. Their contributions range from an early serial-killer thriller set on the London Underground and horrific vignettes to cerebral whodunits.
What they have in common is an atmospheric London setting, and enduring value as entertainment. Each story is introduced by the editor, Martin Edwards, who sheds light on the authors’ lives and the background to their writing. Amazon

Following my post looking at the books on my shelves that look at Women’s Lives I received many great recommendations and chose to start with this one from twitter buddy Poppy @poppypeacock; Nobody’s Child by Kate Adie

Nobody's Child

Blurb

What’s your name? Where were you born? What is your date of birth?
Simple questions that we are asked throughout our life – but what if you didn’t know the answers? Kate Adie uncovers the extraordinary, moving and inspiring stories of just such children – without mother or father, any knowledge of who they might be, or even a name to call their own.
With a curiosity inspired by her own circumstances as an adopted child, Kate shows how the most remarkable adults have survived the experience of abandonment.
From every perspective Kate Adie brings us a personal, moving and fascinating insight into the very toughest of childhood experiences – and shows what makes us who we really are. Amazon

My final addition has been on my radar for a while from a number of mentions around the blogosphere but this brilliant review by Guy Savage meant that I simply had to add This House of Grief by Helen Garner to my bookshelf.

This House of Grief

Blurb

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven, and two, drowned. Was this an act of deliberate revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner’s obsession. She was in the courtroom every day of Farquharson’s trial and subsequent retrial, along with countless journalists and the families of both the accused and his former wife.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. At its core is a search for truth that takes author and reader through complex psychological terrain. Garner exposes, with great compassion, that truth and justice are as complex as human frailty and morality. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below