Two ramblers make a grim discovery in their walk along the Cotsworld Way, just outside the market town of Abbeyford: a severed human foot by the side of the path. Detective Inspector Kate Redman takes on the case, which turns even more bizarre when a second human foot is found a few days later. Is it just a gory prank or does it tie in with the mysterious disappearance of a local girl?
There is a rather gory beginning to this intriguing novella about Detective Inspector Kate Redman’s latest case. Now happily established in a relationship with her former boss Anderton, she is able to concentrate her mind on this strange case as she helps Martin, a new Detective Constable, to become a successful member of her team. Kate’s skill with people enables her to gain evidence from an unstable burglar who has made an horrific discovery, but will the police solve the mystery of the severed human feet? This is a spine-chilling case which encourages me to seek out the next full-length mystery, where more may well be revealed.
Tasteful can be purchased from Amazon UK
Meet Celina Grace and read about another Kate Redman Mystery
A suspicious death, stolen gems and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?
It is winter in 1886. Lucy Lawrence sits in her comfortable home in St John’s Wood with only Horace the cat as a companion. As so often, her husband Charlie is away. Their marriage which started with her elopement from her Yorkshire home has lost the love and excitement of those early days, but Lucy is loyal and hopes one day that they will be blessed by a child. But her world falls apart when a policeman takes her to a mortuary in Soho to identify the body of her husband who has been killed in an accident. There she meets Phineas Stone, a tall distinguished private investigator, who tells the police that Charlie was the lead in his current case.
Soon, despite her misgivings, Lucy is entangled in those enquiries, since Charlie has fallen foul of a dangerous gang of thieves. She wishes to clear his name, but she is unsure whether Mr Stone is her friend or not. When a threatening visitor appears, she decides to return to her estranged family in Yorkshire, but this leads her into even more trouble, and she is forced to turn to Phineas for help.
Lucy Lawrence is an excellent heroine, brave and clever, she is determined to discover the truth about her husband’s part in the case of stolen gems and fraud and with the help of her enterprising maid, she goes under cover and solves the crime. This is the first of a series and I am looking forward to Lucy’s next mystery when she travels to Egypt.
Pam Lecky is an Irish writer of historical fiction with a particular love of the late Victorian era and early 20th century. Awaiting the invention of time travel, she has to be content with writing about these periods instead. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion; was shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; made ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Historical Novel Society; long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award; and chosen as a Discovered Diamond in February 2017. In April 2018, she published a collection of all her short stories, entitled Past Imperfect. With settings as diverse as WW1 era Dublin and a lonely haunted lighthouse, romance, mystery and the supernatural await you. Last month she published the first Lucy Lawson Mystery aptly named No Stone Unturned.
No Stone Unturned is available at Amazon UK
Although I read the three books of Philip Pullmans’ “His Dark Materials” with great enjoyment, there is something about the Sally Lockhart mysteries which appealed to me more, and that is mainly Sally herself.
In the first book The Ruby in the Smoke, Sally is a pretty sixteen year old orphan. Her father has taught her military tactics, to ride like a Cossack and shoot straight with a pistol, but he has drowned in suspicious circumstances in the South China Sea, Finding herself alone but determinedly independent in Victorian London she sets out to discover the truth about her father’s death, but this involves the terrifying mystery of a bloodsoaked jewel. Although the story uses the ideas of a Victorian Penny-Dreadful, Sally is a sensible hard-working girl who believes the best of people and treats others kindly. In the following books, Sally matures into a successful business woman. She experiences romance, tragedy and the turbulent politics of the time. She is very much an underrated heroine in an unusual trilogy of young adult books, not for the faint-hearted.
Some other heroines I chose for my A to Z are perhaps more conventional:
Anne of Green Gables
What Katy did
Maia in Journey to the River Sea
“Bunch Courtney’s hopes for a quiet market-day lunch with her sister are shattered when a Dutch refugee dies a horribly painful death before their eyes. A few days later Bunch receives a letter from her old friend Cecile saying that her father, Professor Benoir, has been murdered in an eerily similar fashion.
Two deaths by poisoning in a single week. Is this a coincidence? Bunch does not believe that any more than Chief Inspector William Wright.
Set against a backdrop of escalating war and the massed internments of 1940, the pair are drawn together in a race to prevent the murderer from striking again.”
In Her Defence is the second investigation by Bunch Courtney and Chief Inspector William Wright in the Sussex countryside. I haven’t read Winter Downs, the first book of this series but the reader is soon up to speed with Bunch’s back story. As a result of an accident, Bunch has had to leave the ATS and has taken over management of the Perringham House estate in her father’s absence. She is aided by a team of Land Girls but since the main house has been requisitioned by the military, she shares the Dower House with her grandmother.
Bunch is happiest when riding her horse, but the constant paperwork required by the government makes estate management really onerous. Thank goodness Cecile, her old school friend from Switzerland, has come to help her with office work. But the death she witnesses at the market and the murder of Cecile’s father drive her back into detective mode despite the protests of the intriguing Chief Inspector Wright. Bunch is a prickly, outspoken young woman who has rejected the amenable personality of Dodo, her sister. There is an atmosphere of fear and unease engendered by rationing and the threat of invasion, while unpleasant attacks on locals with connections to Europe, increase the danger. The mystery behind the murders is cleverly disentangled and it is fascinating to follow the activities of a small village close to the south coast in 1940.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good “Who dunnit,” and also to those interested in the social history of the war years. I was a little confused in the first chapter by meeting several characters who used more than one name (Bunch is really Rose) so I would recommend reading Winter Downs first, but I intend to read that now since I really like Bunch’s character and the context of the mysteries.
In Her Defence on Amazon UK
Jan was born in Sussex, currently living in North Staffordshire. In addition to being a writer she is also a Reiki Master Teacher and Meditational Healer. Jan is available for interviews and appearances.
Jan’s blog page: https://janedwardsblog.wordpress.com/
Inspector de Silva and Jane embark on a cruise to Egypt to visit the pyramids, excited at the prospect of two weeks of sun, sea and relaxation. With Nuala, and de Silva’s duties as a police officer, far behind them, what can possibly spoil their plans? Then a writer is found dead in his cabin, suffocated by newspaper thrust down his throat. Once again, de Silva must swing into action.
I always look forward to a new book about the investigations of Inspector de Silva and his English wife, Jane, but this time they have left their house and garden in Ceylon to take a holiday cruise to Egypt. Having made the same voyage through the Suez canal in reverse back in the 1960s I was intrigued to read of their experiences.
The captive population of a ship at sea is ideal for a crime mystery and there are plenty of potential candidates for the murderer in this novel. There are arrogant wealthy women, a mismatched pair recently engaged, an unhappily married couple, a flamboyant singer and a badly scarred vicar, all hiding secrets. Jane de Silva is a more active participant in this investigation, giving us a more intimate picture of her close relationship with her husband who is in great danger during the book’s thrilling conclusion. This 6th volume could easily be read as a standalone or an introduction to this delightful mystery series.
Passage from Nuala on Amazon UK
My review of the first book in the series, Trouble in Nuala
“The shadow of a massive rock rose up ahead of him, and he felt his way around it to the leeward side where he was briefly out of the wind. He pressed himself back against the sheer face of this giant slab and stood there gasping for breath. He had never in his life felt so small, or so vulnerable. The scale and scope of the land and the power of the elements, dwarfed him into insignificance.
He found himself shivering now with the cold, teeth chattering. To stop would be fatal. He had to find shelter. As he turned again to face the black uncertainty that lay ahead of him, the sky lit up in a series of lightning flashes that cast their ghostly effulgence across the valley that fell away beneath him. It was startling and bleak in this unforgiving light, a landscape so alien and primordial that it would not have been out of place on the moon.”
This final book of the Lewis Trilogy finds ex policeman, Finn MacLeod starting work as a security officer on a large estate on the Isle of Lewis. Looking out for poachers seems an odd choice for him, especially as one of the poachers is his old friend, Whistler. When he and Whistler discover a plane at the bottom of a drained loch the author takes us back to the disappearance of Roddy, star of a Celtic pop group, 17 years earlier. Both Fin and Whistler were teenage friends of Roddy and the other members of the group and that time is returning to haunt them.
After reading the earlier books in the trilogy I thought I knew everything about Fin’s youth but suddenly we meet several more old friends and many life-changing experiences not mentioned before. The technique of moving from present to past and back again seems overworked and slightly annoying in this book and revealing the lies and secrets is a very slow process. There is however far more action especially in the last few chapters but I wished Fin and Marsaili would sit down to talk about their future.
As I have begun to expect from Peter May the descriptive passages are spell-binding and the characterisation of young Anna Bhaeg, Whistler’s estranged daughter, is superb. Crime and coming of age are intermingled in this story but like Inspector Gunn I feel frustrated by Fin. There could be 4th book one day!
The Chess Men on Amazon UK
My Reviews of The Black House and The Lewis Man
AN INGENIOUS CRIME THRILLER ABOUT MEMORY AND MURDER.
A MAN WITH NO NAME
An unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog; the only clue to its identity being a DNA sibling match to a local farmer.
A MAN WITH NO MEMORY
But this islander, Tormod Macdonald – now an elderly man suffering from dementia – has always claimed to be an only child.
A MAN WITH NO CHOICE
When Tormod’s family approach Fin Macleod for help, Fin feels duty-bound to solve the mystery.
This second volume in the Lewis Chronicle can easily be read in isolation. We soon become well acquainted with Fin MacLeod who after personal tragedy has left his job as an Edinburgh police Inspector to return to his birthplace on the Isle of Lewis. Sleeping in a tent is not ideal in an inclement climate, but Fin intends to restore his old family home while building a relationship with the teenage son, Fionnlagh, whom he only discovered 9 months earlier. Meanwhile the local police have unearthed a “peat man” hidden in the bog which may not be as ancient as it appears.
What makes this story unique, is that we can enter the mind of Fionnlagh’s grandfather, Tormod MacDonald, as he rapidly descends into the fog of dementia. Thus, he is our unreliable witness to events many years earlier. He takes us into the realm of Catholic orphans in the 1940s and 50s. In a less formal way than the British Home Children sent to Canada and Australia, these boys and girls were labelled and put on ferries to the Hebrides where they would live and work for subsistence farmers.
Fin investigates Tormod’s background in an attempt to discover the link between him and the body in the peat bog. He travels south giving the reader superb descriptions of the scenery and geography of the islands and with a touch of serendipity makes the link, but in so doing he brings danger to his extended family. There is drama, pathos and a real understanding of complex family structures. Another superb book by Peter May.
The Lewis Man on Amazon UK