Passage from Nuala By Harriet Steel (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries Book 6) #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT

Passage

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

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Primary Sources from the 20th century: Reviews of “Notes on Voyage” and “Zeppelin Letters” by David Ransom

David Ransom is an amateur historian with specialist interests which have drawn him towards fascinating sources.  These two books reveal a diary and the letters of people who were alive in interesting times.

notes-on-voyage

Notes on Voyage is the diary of John Lynn and his family as they travel to Australia in 1911 to start a new life.  David Ransom has put the diary in its historical context and gives us information about the Lynn family, but it is John Lynn’s voice who speaks to us through his adventure.

The long voyage round South Africa, not stopping until they first reached Australia, must have been very wearing.  I have made this voyage myself, but with stops en route to relieve the monotony.  But the passengers and crew came up with many ideas to occupy themselves such as chess, music and football.  They watched flying fish and battleships and on the hottest nights slept on deck or indulged in pillow fights.  They endured a frightening hurricane and a mutiny by some of the crew.

This book is an opportunity to share the experiences of a hopeful and likeable family as they bravely set out over a hundred years ago.

zeppelin

Zeppelin Letters takes us to the Home Front during World War One, as we share the experiences of Londoners of the time, through the letters they wrote. We read of the horror and fear when the Zeppelins, and later planes, came to bomb the city and gain understanding of the difficulties people had, finding food and going about their everyday lives. I was surprised to discover how much disruptive and fatal bombing there was during a war when there were no air-raid shelters.

 
The letter writers were Maud Norris, George Vernon Hatch and Irene Magraw. Maud wrote to her brother, who was in New Zealand; George Hatch worked in an office during the day and volunteered at a searchlight station for the Civil Defence; Irene, who was married to a clergyman, wrote chatty letters to her mother.

 
Irene’s letters, including details about her little dog, Smut, and baby Betty are the liveliest to read, but the combination of different viewpoints alongside official reports give a vivid picture of the dramatic events from 1915 to 1917. This is a must read for anyone interested in social history and particularly of wartime London. I very much enjoyed it.

Notes on Voyage can be found here and  Zeppelin Letters is also available at Amazon UK

David Ransom

ransom

David Ransom was born in Brighton, UK. He served an apprenticeship as a compositor in the days of hot metal printing, trained as a Monotype keyboard operator, and eventually moved on to Apple computers and magazine design.

He has always had a fascination with history and has a varied collection of miscellaneous items related to Pitcairn Island, the New Zealand Shipping Company, and the history of photography. Occasionally some of these areas come together, and it is as a result of these fortunate links that he aims to produce books for the Kindle.

His next book will cover the New Zealand Shipping Company’s “Remuera” and its connection with Pitcairn Island.

Friday Five Challenge

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

To join in read the rules at the bottom.

This week I tried searching for books using the keyword Mystery.  It gave disappointing results including bizarrely Cross Stitch Patterns for Starters!

So I tried again using the word  Sea.  This time a more interesting, if rather predictable selection appeared.  None appealed until I spotted this cover

Seasick

Once I started to read the blurb I realised this book was outside my comfort zone.  Seasick by Iain Robb Wright is described as a novel of horror and suspense.  

Jack is about to board The Spirit of Kirkpatrick, a cruise liner built for relaxation and fun. Pretty soon, however, Jack is going to realize that a little fun in the sun is the last thing he’s going to get. There’s a virus onboard and it’s turning people insane.

So far so good but…

It won’t be long before the entire ship is overrun with blood and death — and there is nowhere to escape in the middle of the sea. Nowhere to run.

To add to the intrigue there’s an element of groundhog day and zombies!

There are eighty five 4 and 5 star reviews and 14 with 3,2 or 1 star.  One reviewer comments,

There’s all the classic ingredients of a terrific horror novel; we have copious amounts of blood-shed in gory, living colour and colourful, complex characters who never turn out to be quite what they seem and a fantastic ending which the reader will never see coming. 

Another says,

A few grammatical and spelling errors, and the last few chapters could certainly do with being re-edited – there is no plural ‘women’ in the book – each time it says ‘woman’ and this gets irritating.  We don’t find enough out about the virus and what caused/created/released it, or why, only assumptions. I figured out how the story was going to have to end, although I was secretly hoping for a different way

I think many people would really enjoy this book but I’m afraid the copious amounts of bloodshed mean that I will PASS

Now a recap on a book I looked at two weeks ago and decided to BUY

Snapped

Written several years ago it is a relaxing holiday read with a murder mystery to solve. Artist/photographer Rose Tremain is an intrepid investigator living in a beautiful setting. The other characters were unconvincing and time changes within chapters confusing, but I would read another of Rose’s adventures if I could borrow it from the Library.

So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

For other Friday Five Choices 

Cathy has chosen a book set in 1953

 https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/friday-five-challenge-5/

Rosie is baking with Paul Hollywood!

https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/would-you-buy-or-pass-fridayfivechallenge-how-to-bake-by-paulhollywood/

Shelley has found a mystery story about an abandoned baby

http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/2015/07/31/buy-or-pass-an-anniversary-post-for-the-fridayfivechallenge/

Terry has found a family saga set in wartime Poland

http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/would-you-buy-or-pass-10.html?spref=tw