Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Woman in Blue – Elly Griffiths

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

This is one of those series I read because I love the characters which is just as well because there is an awful lot going on for Ruth, Nelson, Tim, Clough and Cathbad in this, their eighth outing. Fortunately, there is a pretty good mystery too.

A young woman from a private hospital, one of those that is for recovery of addiction, is found murdered in Walsingham, she was wearing just her nightgown and her blue dressing gown, in fact Cathbad had seen her earlier that night mistaking her for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The theme of the Madonna runs through this book with Walsingham being a place of pilgrimage and soon after the story starts, the location of a conference for woman clergy, Hilary is attending the conference and being an old university friend of Ruth asks her to meet her in the village, she has something important that she needs Ruth’s advice on. Sadly it isn’t any old bones which are absent from this episode so Ruth’s part in the murder investigation is firmly on the periphery but that doesn’t stop her gathering some useful information!

With another murder, the team are kept busy investigating the pasts of the good and the great of the visitors to Walsingham, although with turmoil in their private lives they are forced to prioritise one over the other more than once.

As always in this series, there is a past and present connection and with Elly Griffiths choosing religion there was a lot of references to Catholicism and in particular the Virgin Mary and the present day struggle of women working in the clergy against the long held beliefs that this is sacrilege, and I found this far more interesting than I might have thought – the author does have a great way with words, which means that I was able to follow the references without it ever feeling like a Religious Education lesson. With the real action occurring at Easter, Ruth a devout atheist ends up attending some of the events being held in Walsingham complete with souvenir artefacts.
There are the obligatory red herrings so although I didn’t get the culprit, I did work out the link between the victims but if I’m honest I wasn’t entirely convinced by the motive but somehow because I feel such affection for the characters that in no way reduced my enjoyment of the novel as a whole. For that reason if you haven’t read the rest of the series, this is not the place to start, this is one series where it is definitely best to begin at the beginning.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Quercus books for my review copy which I’ve read prior to publication on 4 February 2016.

Ruth Galloway Books

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 27)

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

My current read is The Promise by Alison Bruce, the sixth in the DC Goodhew series which will be published on 4 February 2016.

The Promise

Blurb

In a single night, Kyle Davidson’s life is derailed. His relationship is over, he is denied access to his young son and everything important to him is at risk.
His thoughts stumble between fear and revenge. Kyle Davidson has a choice to make.
Meanwhile, after the tragic end to a previous case, DC Gary Goodhew finds himself questioning his reasons for returning to work until the badly beaten body of a homeless man is found on Market Hill. Having known the homeless man for several years Goodhew feels compelled to be part of the investigation – but routine lines of enquiry soon take a dark and unexpected turn.
Suddenly the Cambridge back streets hold deadly secrets for Goodhew and the only person who has the answers is planning one final, desperate act. NetGalley

I have recently finished the latest in the Ruth Galloway series; The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

The Woman in Blue

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

Next up I have The Ex by Alafair Burke, a new to me author whose synopsis was just too tempting to resist.

The Ex

Blurb

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene since the shooting of his wife by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman who eerily but thrillingly echoes his past. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a “Missed Moment” item online and days later, a woman responds…
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she gets the phone call informing her that her former fiancée, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him – and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, and the hurt she caused him, but as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him? NetGalley

The Ex will be published on 4 February 2016

So that’s my choices. What do you all have to read at the moment? Do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 26)

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.

This week the opener comes from The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths, the eighth in the Ruth Galloway series.

The Woman in Blue

Blurb

When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad’s vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital.
Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest.
As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again… Amazon

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PROLOGUE

19th February 2014

Cathbad and the cat look at each other. They have been drawing up the battle-lines all day and this is their Waterloo. The cat has the advantage: this is his home and he knows the terrain. But Cathbad has his druidical powers and what he believes is a modest gift with animals, a legacy from his Irish mother who used to talk to seagulls (and receive messages back.)

CHAPTER 1
DCI Harry Nelson hears the news as he is driving to work. ‘Woman’s body found in a ditch outside Walsingham. SCU request attend.’ As he does a handbrake turn in the road, he is conscious of a range of conflicting emotions He’s sorry that someone is dead, of course he is, but he can’t help feeling something else, a slight frisson of excitement, and a relief that he’s been spared that morning’s meeting with Superintendent Gerald Whitcliffe and their discussion of the previous month’s targets.

Please note these excerpts come from a proof copy

So what do you think? 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 (December 19)

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.

Mindful of the TBR, and you can see quite how bad this is in this post, I have only added a few quite a few books to my pile in the last two weeks but I think they are good ones, what do you think?

From the publisher MIRA I have a copy of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris which will be published on 11 February 2016

Behind Closed Doors

Blurb

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie. Goodreads

Then I saw that two of the Lake District Mysteries written by Martin Edwards were on special offer on the kindle. Having vowed to read more by this talented author after enjoying Dancing for the Hangman plus a very enticing review of his latest, The Dungeon House by Fiction Fan’s blog and a short story in An Anthology of Murder I would have been silly to ignore this – the first The Coffin Trail wasn’t on offer but I need to start at the beginning so I have this one…

The Coffin Trail

Blurb

Oxford historian Daniel Kind and his partner Miranda both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy a cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District. But though they hope to live the dream, the past soon catches up with them. Goodreads

and… The Cipher Garden (Lake District Mysteries #2)

The Cipher Garden

Blurb

Warren Howe is surprised by a hooded visitor whilst working in a garden in Old Sawrey. Soon he is dead – murdered with his own scythe. As the years pass, the culprit has yet to be found. However, after an anonymous tip-off, DCI Hannah Scarlett is soon on the case. Then there is yet another horrifying death.

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths, book eight in the Ruth Galloway series; The Woman in Blue will be published on 4 February 2016.

The Woman in Blue

Blurb

Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway returns in a new thrilling mystery from the best-selling Elly Griffiths.
The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation.
When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad’s vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital.
Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest.
As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again… NetGalley

Back in 2012 I read Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce and she was put on my ‘must read more of’ list and indeed I have one book on the TBR but then I saw The Promise which is to be published on 4 February 2016 (I now have three books to be reviewed before this date!)

The Promise

Blurb

In a single night, Kyle Davidson’s life is derailed. His relationship is over, he is denied access to his young son and everything important to him is at risk.
His thoughts stumble between fear and revenge. Kyle Davidson has a choice to make.
Meanwhile, after the tragic end to a previous case, DC Gary Goodhew finds himself questioning his reasons for returning to work until the badly beaten body of a homeless man is found on Market Hill. Having known the homeless man for several years Goodhew feels compelled to be part of the investigation – but routine lines of enquiry soon take a dark and unexpected turn.
Suddenly the Cambridge back streets hold deadly secrets for Goodhew and the only person who has the answers is planning one final, desperate act. NetGalley

And I’ve left the best to last – I have a copy of Coffin Road by Peter May. I absolutely adored the Lewis Trilogy so am so looking forward to this one which was sent to me by Midas PR.

Coffin Road

Blurb

A man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris. He cannot remember who he is. He is physically shaken, borderline hypothermic, and overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named The Coffin Road. He does not know where this search will take him.
A detective from across the border in Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt. DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore. Though, having grown used to a quiet and predictable routine, he does not know whether he has what it takes to uncover how and why.
A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father. Two years on from the pioneering scientist’s disappearance, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her, regardless of the extreme pressure placed on him by his research. She does not know his secret. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 5 books, and gained 6, leading to a grand total of 171 books!
83 physical books
72 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?