A stand-alone murder mystery featuring DCI Peter Hatherall.
A young mother brutally stabbed in a busy park in front of her son.
A paperboy shot in an isolated farmhouse twenty-four years previously.
DI Fiona Williams is baffled when her senior officer, DCI Peter Hatherall makes a connection between the two cases.
As details of Hatherall’s involvement in the old case emerge, her loyalty is tested to breaking point and she starts to question his decisions.
When the murdered woman’s son goes missing the time for hesitating is over.
This standalone detective story begins with a tragic event but already we know that cause of this sudden stabbing is another murder 24 years earlier. Readers of the previous Peter Hatherall mysteries will enjoy seeing Peter as a young inexperienced copper and as we read of the mismanaged case in 1994, we begin to see the connection to this new investigation. DI Fiona Williams, who is first on the scene, cannot understand why her boss DCI Hatherall is linking an old case solved in the past, to this event, when there are other leads to follow.
As we read about the movements of the culprit, we also observe the careful detective process. Handicapped by accusations that he is using old resentments to cloud his judgement, Peter tries to convince his friend, Fiona, that the answer lies in a blurred photo kept by the recent victim. Before they can solve the case there are two abductions, while Fiona and Peter deal with major problems in their home lives. The characters of the detectives and the victims are strongly drawn and I became involved in their believable predicaments.
Although a good read on its own I am now tempted to read earlier books from the series to learn more about this likeable detective.
The Paper Boy can be purchased from Amazon UK
It is 1866, the end of a long hot summer in Victorian London, and the inhabitants are seething with discontent. Much of it is aimed at the foreign population living in the city. So when a well-reputed Jewish tailoring business is set aflame, and the body of the owner is discovered inside, Detective Inspector Lachlan Grieg suspects a link to various other attacks being carried out across the city, and to a vicious letter campaign being conducted in the newspapers.
Can he discover who is behind the attacks before more people perish?
Elsewhere, Giovanni Bellini arrives in England to tutor the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Haddon, ex-MP and City financier. But what are Bellini’s links to a dangerous Italian radical living in secret exile in London, and to beautiful Juliana Silverton, engaged to Harry Haddon, the heir to the family fortune?
Romance and racism, murder and mishap share centre stage in this seventh exciting book in the Victorian Detectives series.
Never has a Victorian murder mystery seemed more appropriate for the time of reading. Once again Carol Hedges captures our imagination with her tale of honest policemen, hard-working women and dastardly villains. At a time when Italy and Germany are hotbeds of revolution as they try to build up unified national identities, foreign residents of London are subject to racist attacks by an unknown group. Meanwhile, Juliana Silverton has ensnared her perfect husband and she can look forward to a happy successful marriage provided no scandal is revealed about her or her fiancé, Harry Haddon. But in the house of Harry’s father, Sir Nicholas Haddon, his second wife despairs as her young’s son’s loyalty is lost to a new young Italian tutor.
As the elegant Juliana tries to preserve her future, she is threatened by a jealous friend while Harry finds the bullying he received at Eton, continues into his adult life. They must both summon courage and sang-froid to achieve happiness together. As more innocent people are attacked in the city, thank goodness we can rely on the careful detective work of our old friends Jack Cully and Lachlan Greig.
Intrigue and Infamy recreates the glitter and sparkle of sumptuous 1860s London, contrasting it with deception and secrecy and we are shown how so many people struggled against prejudice, misfortune and cruelty. Another compulsive read!
Intrigue and Infamy can be purchased at Amazon UK
My review of Diamond and Dust Book one of the Victorian Detectives series.
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
This dual time novel appealed to me because it is centred on the abandoned village of Tyneham on Warbarrow Bay in Dorset. In December 1943 all the villagers, including the lord of the manor, had to leave their houses and village to live elsewhere for the duration of the war so that troops could practice for D-day. What they didn’t realise was that they could never return home. Today the ruined village can sometimes be visited, and this is where our 21st century heroine, Melissa meets celebrated historian, Guy Cameron.
Melissa’s relationship with her uncaring boyfriend, Liam is breaking down, so helping Guy to investigate the disappearance of Lady Veronica after she left Tyneham in the 1940s is a welcome distraction. The two learn that Anna, Guy’s grandmother was lady’s maid to Veronica, but she is reluctant to tell them very much of her past. Alongside this thread we enter Lady Veronica’s unhappy life with her unpleasant husband Sir Albert. Both stories include tension and misunderstanding, and you can’t help rooting for both Melissa and Veronica. This first novel by Lorna Cook promises more intriguing books to follow.
Lorna Cook writes dual-timeline stories that blend secrets of the past with the present.
She lives by the sea with her husband, two small daughters and a demanding dog called Socks.
The Forgotten Village can be found on Amazon UK
Of all the exotic Eastern settings in colonial times selected by Dinah Jefferies for her books, Ceylon in the 1930s is perhaps the most beautiful. Here we meet Louisa Reeve, living in a pleasant house with a handsome husband and her father living nearby. Having grown up on the island, she is happy to cycle round the 300 year old walled town of Galle, talking to the locals or to play with her three beautiful dogs but there is great sadness in her life; her daughter Julia was stillborn, and she has suffered two miscarriages. Husband, Elliot, is frequently away on business or out sailing and as a reader I instantly mistrusted him. Soon tragedy strikes and we learn of Elliot’s treachery. In contrast to the detailed description of the tropical landscape; the colourful hibiscus plants, the perfumed frangipani trees, the aroma of cinnamon bark, the cool waves of the Indian ocean, we also read of Louisa’s struggle to cope with suspicious men demanding money, an unkind mother-in-law and a revelation that causes her to doubt whether Elliot really loved her.
In order to survive, Louisa plans to open an emporium in an old print house and she approaches Leo McNairn, owner of a cinnamon plantation to offer a contract exporting his crop through her spice agency in Colombo. She finds Leo, a strong but rather sad man, unsettling, and she feels sure he knew more about her husband’s past. Circumstances throw them together, but an orphaned boy may separate them.
Many previous fans of Dinah Jefferies’ books seem disappointed by this novel, but I particularly enjoyed it, perhaps because I could identify with the lonely but independent, Louisa and the stories of other characters added interest and context to her tale.
The Sapphire Widow is available to purchase on Amazon UK
My review of The Missing Sister by Dinah Jefferies
On a foggy night in 1914, the ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank en route between Canada and England. The disaster saw a loss of life comparable to the Titanic and the Lusitania, and yet her tragedy has been forgotten.
When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is shown a locket belonging to one of the Empress’s victims, a British admiral’s daughter named Alice Stilwell, he must travel to England to understand the course of events that led to her death.
Tayte is expert in tracking killers across centuries. In The Lost Empress, his unique talents draw him to one of the greatest tragedies in maritime history as he unravels the truth behind Alice’s death amidst a backdrop of pre-WWI espionage.
This is the fourth book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
Once again I have returned to read about professional genealogist, Jefferson Tate or JT as he likes to be called. Hailing from the States he frequently finds his investigations take him to England, even though he hates flying. He is a very human character, who loves chocolate, has few social skills but is prepared to put himself in danger, in order to solve the mysteries which his clients present him with.
The Lost Empress is a dual time novel, leading up to the tragic sinking of the ocean liner. We join young mother and Admiral’s daughter Alice Sitwell who is driven to engaging in espionage against her country, to protect her husband and young children. The more she tries to extricate herself, the tighter the noose tightens and we wonder whether Jefferson will solve the mystery of her death or disappearance.
Both Alice and JT are at risk of losing their lives but both act bravely if rather foolishly. This is a particularly thrilling episode of this series which I seem to be reading in random order but that has not spoilt my enjoyment due to the clear characterisation. A novel which will entertain those who enjoy family history, thrillers or historical novels.
The Lost Empress is available on Amazon UK
My review of Steve Robinson’s Letters from the Dead