Death by Windmill by Jennifer S Alderson Travel Can Be Murder 3 #TuesdayBookBlog

windmill

A Mother’s Day trip to the Netherlands turns deadly when a guest plummets from a windmill. Was it an accident or a murder? For Lana Hansen, the answer will mean freedom or imprisonment for someone close to her…

Wanderlust Tours guide Lana Hansen and her mother, Gillian, haven’t seen eye to eye in over a decade, ever since Lana was wrongly fired from her job as an investigative reporter. So when Lana’s boss invites Gillian to join her upcoming Mother’s Day tour to the Netherlands, Lana is less than pleased.

What could be worse than spending ten days with her estranged mother? Lana is about to find out…

Death by Windmill is the third mystery to be solved by tour guide Lana Hansen, but this time its personal. Lana is just beginning to make up with her estranged mother when another guest on the tour in the Netherlands reveals a secret that could lead Lana herself into committing murder.  The theme is Mothers and Daughters but most of them seem at odds with each other.  While visiting some interesting sites in Amsterdam and the stunning Keukenhof Garden, we meet a number of people linked to the McGruffin company back in Seattle, many, including Lana, having been treated unjustly by its management. As the women are taken from one fascinating location to another, resentment and anger rise to the surface.

After one of their party dies, Lana must discover if it was an accident and who might have wished the victim to die. Her spirits are raised when she meets Alex, the perfect date, but will she be able to see him again? Another fast moving cozy mystery by Jennifer S Alderson which gives the reader a wonderful introduction to a holiday destination.

Alice Teale is Missing by H A Linskey #TuesdayBookBlog #Thriller

Alice

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

I chose this book on the recommendation of  Jill’s Book Cafe

My Review 

DC Beth Winter & DS Lucas Black have a case to solve. They have only just met in a bleak Northumbrian town and they are trying to establish a working relationship, or at least Beth is. The disappearance of a bright, popular 17-year-old doesn’t seem to be causing much concern amongst the other police officers. They think she has run away but Beth and DS Black believe she is either dead or in serious trouble. When pages from her secret journal start being delivered, they learn more but are they being led along the wrong path?

I very much enjoyed reading how Beth dealt with her unfriendly boss and how she gradually began to understand him. They both live alone but are from different generations and backgrounds. What they have in common is the desire to find Alice and solve the case. There are several suspects and an interesting setting in the small town surrounding a large comprehensive school. The concerns of the teenagers and the more selfish approach of some of the adults is typical of any town in Britain. The geography and location of their investigations are clearly described which is necessary for the plot and the events thrilling and unexpected. I shall certainly be looking out for other novels by this author.

Howard

www.howardlinskey.co.uk

Howard Linskey is a best-selling author of crime and historical fiction published in seven countries. His debut novel ‘The Drop’ was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by the Times newspaper and ‘The Damage’ was voted one of its top summer reads. His David Blake series was optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.

Howard writes a series of north-east set, crime fiction novels for Penguin Random House featuring investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton, as well as Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw.

His historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the story of the assassination of Nazi general and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ follows SOE agent Harry Walsh into occupied France.

Originally from the north east of England, Howard now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

Alice Teale is Missing on Amazon UK

Death of a Cuckoo: An Esme Quentin Short Read by Wendy Percival #BookReview #Mystery #AncestryHour

Death of a cuckoo

A letter. A photograph. A devastating truth.

When Gina Vincent receives a letter of condolence from a stranger following her mother’s death, a photograph slipped inside reveals a disturbing truth – everything she’s ever known is based on a lie. Shocked and disorientated, she engages genealogy detective Esme Quentin to help search for answers.

The trail leads to an isolated and abandoned property on the edge of Exmoor, once the home of a strict Victorian institution called The House of Mercy and its enigmatic founder, whose influence seems to linger still in the fabric of the derelict building.

As they dig deeper, Esme realises that the house itself hides a dark and chilling secret, one which must be exposed to unravel the mystery behind Gina’s past.

But someone is intent on keeping the secret hidden. Whatever it takes.

My Review

I really enjoyed the three books Wendy Percival has written about courageous genealogist, Esme Quentin, so I welcomed the chance to read this “short read” where we see Esme through the eyes of a young client, Gina Vincent. After the sudden death of her mother, Gina is sorting through her mail when she discovers shocking news about her own birth.  When an intruder attempts to search her mother’s documents, Gina seeks Esme’s help. The two women visit Gina’s birthplace, a remote empty property on Exmoor, and begin to research its past.

The story explores painful episodes from our recent past and I was on the edge of my seat as each woman risked danger. The family history investigation particularly interests me but there is plenty of mystery and adventure for the enjoyment of any reader.

In addition, I also read a free short read from Wendy’s website

https://www.wendypercival.co.uk/legacy-of-guilt-sign-up

Legacy of Guilt takes us back to the time when Esme returned to live in Shropshire and considered becoming a genealogical investigator.  Unexpectedly bumping into her long-lost cousin Joanna, she is determined to help restore her to her inheritance. Discovering a family connection to the sudden death of a young woman in 1835, the two women draw the attention of an unsavoury character who threatens them.  Another great read!

My review of The Indelible Stain by Wendy Percival and The Malice of Angels

 

 

Taken in Nuala (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries #8) By Harriet Steel #NewRelease #BookReview

Taken in Nuala

When an American millionaire and his glamorous daughter visit Nuala, the splendour they bring to the town’s high society is soon tragically tarnished by a vicious crime.

With many avenues of inquiry to follow, including the involvement of a mysterious fortune teller, Inspector de Silva will need all his resources to unravel the evidence and avert further disaster.

A gripping mystery with lots of twists and turns set in the colourful and fascinating world of 1930s Ceylon.

My Review

There is a slight air of menace in this volume of the investigations of Inspector Shanti de Silva in the delightful hill town of Nuala. There are still sophisticated gatherings at the sumptuous home of Assistant Governor Archie Clutterbuck and his wife Florence, but the talk is of a gathering storm in Britain, hoping for “Peace in our time.” However, people are excited to meet wealthy world travellers Walter and Grace Tankerton and their sullen daughter Phoebe. Even more interesting is the American millionaire, Hank O’Halloran and his vivacious daughter Marie. Such conspicuous wealth attracts unwelcome attention, so Tankerton has employed an ex-military man, Patterson to guard his daughter, Phoebe.

Soon an audacious kidnapping occurs and while Shanti and his men investigate, an unpopular local man is found dead. Is there a link to a clairvoyant visited by Phoebe and Marie?  The police spend long hours watching for the kidnappers and begin to suspect one of the staff employed by Tankerton or O’Halloran. Meanwhile there seems to be a mysterious animal skulking in Shanti’s garden.

The plot of this mystery is complex and puzzling, set against the happy married life of Shanti and his English wife, Jane in the idyllic pre-war setting of Ceylon under British Colonial rule. I always enjoy these detective stories, but this volume is particularly engaging.

Taken In Nuala on Amazon UK

My review of Trouble in Nuala the first book in this series

The Vermeer Deception : An Art Mystery (Zelda Richardson Mystery Series Book 4) by Jennifer S Alderson #BookReview

An art historian finds – then loses – a portrait by Johannes Vermeer in this thrilling art mystery set in Munich, Heidelberg, and Amsterdam.

Vermeer

Zelda is finding her job as assistant to Art Investigator Vincent de Graaf rather boring, but while Vincent is in Croatia, she finds a clue to a Vermeer painting, stolen by the Nazis during the war. However, she must devote her time to her parents who have finally flown over from the States to visit her in Amsterdam. After a week, the family travel to Munich with Zoe’s boyfriend, Jacob, for more sightseeing. Finding herself in the street where she believes the missing painting might be, she can’t resist calling in. Here she meets Kurt Weber, the son of a wartime looter, now intending to return some of the paintings before he dies of terminal cancer.  But he is part of a network of descendants of the original Mühlmann Network and the other members have no intention of allowing him to betray them.

Zelda is stuck between the increasing anger of her mother and the evil intent of art dealers Max and Brigitte. When Kurt is found dead and there is no sign of the Vermeer painting, neither Vincent nor the police will believe there has been foul play.

The story gives us a guided tour of the Windmills of Zaanse Schans, the city of Munich and the castle in Heidelberg. The story behind the plot is based in truth and we can understand why Zelda is so anxious to solve the mystery. Bravely venturing into danger causes a rift between Zelda and her boyfriend but we are rooting for her success.  I was surprised by events in the final chapter and hope more will be revealed in a subsequent volume of Zelda’s adventures.

The Vermeer Deception is available on Amazon UK

My review of Marked for Revenge the previous Zelda Richardson Mystery

The Book Of Souls (Inspector Mclean #2) by James Oswald #BookReview

The Book of Souls

Every year for ten years, a young woman’s body was found in Edinburgh at Christmas time: naked, throat slit, body washed clean. The final victim, Kirsty Summers, was Detective Constable Tony McLean’s fiancée. But the Christmas Killer made a mistake. In a cellar under a shop, McLean found a torture chamber and put an end to the brutal killing spree.

Twelve years later, and a fellow prisoner has just murdered the incarcerated Christmas Killer. But with the arrival of the festive season comes a body. A young woman: naked, washed, her throat cut.

Is this a copycat killer? Was the wrong man behind bars all this time? Or is there a more sinister, frightening explanation?

McLean must revisit the most disturbing case of his life and discover what he missed before the killer strikes again . . .

In this second book of the series we learn all the details of Tony McLean’s backstory.  Now we understand why he lives for his work and hasn’t had a relationship for 10 years.  Maybe now Anderson, the man who murdered his fiancé, has died, Tony can begin to live again.  Should he rekindle the spark he felt for forensic scientist, Emma? But happiness is not for him, the murders of young women have started again, and this time they follow each other in rapid succession. Had they jailed the wrong man or did the book about Anderson provoke a copy-cat?

Tony is determined to put work first, but when his home burns down he feels like giving up. Spunky Emma is no doormat, but she gives Tony a chance and despite the efforts of bullying DCI Duguid, McLean investigates every possibility, trying to prevent the death of any more young women. The story comes to a terrifying final chapter. Some of the plot was predictable but there is also mystery and intrigue. Another compelling read.

The Book of Souls on Amazon UK

James Oswald

James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. Set in an Edinburgh not so different to the one we all know, Detective Inspector Tony McLean is the unlucky policeman who can see beneath the surface of ordinary criminal life to the dark, menacing evil that lurks beneath.

He has also introduced the world to Detective Constable Constance ‘Con’ Fairchild, whose first outing was in the acclaimed No Time To Cry.

As J D Oswald, James has also written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men.

Natural Causes by James Oswald #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

Natural Causes

A devastating serial killer. A chilling cold case. Only DI Tony McLean realises the connection . . .

I chose the first book in this series about DI Tony McLean after reading Rosie Amber’s review of the 10th book about this reliable, maverick policeman.  Set in Edinburgh we view the underbelly of the city as well as the rich and powerful. From the beginning we are faced with the first of a number of gruesome murders where the victims are elderly men of substance. The investigation is “lead” by the ill-tempered DCI Duguid but the Chief Superintendent wants Tony to be an important part of the team. However, he is soon diverted by the discovery of the body of a young girl, concealed behind the wall of an old house, currently being converted. The ritual killing has taken place many years earlier, but McLean is determined to solve her murder.

Tony is a likeable character with a backstory.  Concerned about his grandmother who is lying unconscious in hospital, he has little time for a private life and his determined approach to solving cases rarely includes modern methods.  His good relationship with people like Grumpy Bob, his detective sergeant and Angus, the pathologist help him to discover fresh evidence and Tony also begins to attract the attention of two young women.

There is another dimension to this story in the sense of diabolic evil which MacLean feels lies behind the murders yet there are also burglaries to be solved, unconnected to the more serious crimes.  Many of the threads come together in parallel to developments in Tony’s personal life.  I have already started to read book 2!

Natural Causes on Amazon UK

J Oswald

Different Class by Joanne Harris #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller

Different Class

I chose this book because I had enjoyed Gentlemen and Players many years ago and this sequel takes place a year later in the same location, St Oswald’s Grammar School. Roy Straitley, an old-fashioned Latin Master is teaching his 35th year at the school and he has no desire for any other life.  Nicknamed Quaz (Quasimodo) because of his resemblance to a gargoyle based in a classroom in the bell tower, his intellectual, laissez-faire approach and loyalty to a group of boys he calls his “Brodie  Boys,” has caused boys and staff to be divided between those who detest him and those who have genuine respect and affection for him.

Although current events take place in 2005, alternate chapters take us back to 1981 when a group of 3 boys who join Straitley’s class, fail to fit in.  Of the three, it is Johnny Harrington whom he most disliked. It is therefor a shock that the new Super Head brought in to sort out the school is the same Harrington.  Reading a secret diary written by one of the boys in 1981 we gradually discover horrific events which took place.

Despite the serious nature of the plot there is also delightful humour.  Having taught in a school from the 1980s till this century I empathise with Straitley’s resistance to the new ways of emails and “health and safety”.  He defines his teaching style as “benevolent neglect” and on the whole his pupils respond by acting responsibly.  However the past catches up in appalling consequences and only wit and comradeship can avoid disaster for the school, its staff and its pupils.

Different Class on Amazon UK

 

The Moth Catcher (Vera Stanhope 7) by Ann Cleeves #BookReview

As though to a flame, they were drawn to their deaths

Moth

This case was different from anything Vera had ever worked before. Two bodies, connected but not lying together. And nothing made her feel as alive as murder.

Life seems perfect in Valley Farm, a quiet community in Northumberland. Then a shocking discovery shatters the silence. The owners of a big country house have employed a house-sitter, a young ecologist named Patrick, to look after the place while they’re away. But Patrick is found dead by the side of the lane into the valley – a beautiful, lonely place to die.

DI Vera Stanhope arrives on the scene, with her detectives Holly and Joe. When they look round the attic of the big house – where Patrick has a flat – she finds the body of a second man. All the two victims have in common is a fascination with moths – catching these beautiful, rare creatures.

The three couples who live in the Valley Farm development have secrets too: Annie and Sam’s daughter is due to be released from prison any day; Nigel watches, silently, every day, from his window. As Vera is drawn into the claustrophobic world of this increasingly strange community, she realizes that there may be deadly secrets trapped here.

This is the second book about Vera Stanhope I have read and luckily, I don’t remember viewing the story on TV.  The contrast between the beauty of this idyllic Northumbrian valley and the idle lives of the “retired hedonists club” who live in the impressive newly built houses is not lost on Vera.  How could such boring individuals have any connection to the murders which have occurred at Valley Farm? And can there be a connection to Lizzie, a troubled young woman who is about to be released from prison?

As I would expect from a book by Ann Cleeves, this novel studies the human psyche.  Vera’s reliable deputy, Joe is surprised when she selects newcomer Holly to take an active part in the investigation.   The two women have nothing in common, but Vera is trying to give Holly the chance to prove herself.  Like her boss, Holly lives alone but her accommodation is pristine and orderly and she lacks Vera’s ability to coax people into revealing information.  Meanwhile Annie and Sam wait fearfully for the release of their daughter, Lizzie, from prison, anxious that their neighbours might be disturbed by the news.

The connection between the victims seems impossible to fathom but gradually clues are revealed and finally Vera and Holly identify the murderer when it is almost too late.  A very satisfying conclusion.

My review of Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves

 

 

The Lost Ancestor (The Forensic Genealogist series Book 2) by Nathan Dylan Goodwin #TuesdayBookBlog

Lost Ancestor

As usual I seem to be reading this series of mysteries in the wrong order but in The Lost Ancestor we quickly come to know the character of Morton Farrier, a clever forensic genealogist and his circumstances, living happily with his fiancé, Juliette in an old cottage in the centre of Rye.  Written in the third person, the houses and villages visited by Morton are vividly described and his research is familiar to anyone following their family tree.

On this occasion, Morton’s client is a terminally ill man anxious to discover what had happened to his grandmother’s twin sister.  In 1911, Mary Mercer, a lively, spirited girl had taken a job as a housemaid in the stately home of Lord Rothebone, for which she was totally unsuited. A few months later she disappeared, and no records of her whereabouts were found.  However, in 1962 a message was written by Mary and left with a rose on her sister’s grave.

Morton is intrigued and works hard on the investigation, but other members of Mary’s family seem reluctant to help. The present-day heirs of Lord Rothebone at Blackfriars House seem more co-operative but there is soon evidence that Morton’s life is under threat if he carries on with the case.

This is an exciting, intriguing story told in dual time and I became involved in Mary’s happiness and tragedy as well as anxious for the safety of Morton and Juliette.  A great read for the Christmas break.

The Lost Ancestor on Amazon UK

Nathan Dylan Goodwin

N D Goodwin

Born in the famed battle town of Hastings, England, Nathan Dylan Goodwin has always had a passion for writing in one form or another. Having gained a 2:1 degree in Radio, Film and Television studies, Nathan went on to gain a Masters degree in Creative Writing, from Canterbury Christ Church University.

Nathan started his writing career with non-fiction, his first book ‘Hastings at War’ being published in May 2005. This was followed by three further local history books pertaining to the area around his home town of Hastings. His first forays into fiction writing culminated in the publication in 2013 of ‘Hiding the Past’ – a genealogical crime mystery novel.

In his very early forties, Nathan enjoys running, skiing, reading, genealogy, writing and time with his husband and son. That about sums it up!