The Redoubtable Miss Fisher #amreading #BookReview #TVcrime

Miss-Fisher-s-Murder-mysteries

I have recently become a fan of the wonderful Miss Fisher mysteries on TV. Set in Melbourne during the 1920s, the programmes show beautiful architecture and clothes to die for. The plots are reminiscent of Miss Marple or Agatha Raisin so I decided it was time to read one of the many books about this incredible heroine.

Looking for a story I had not seen on television I chose Book 9, Raisins and Almonds.

Raisins & Almonds

Phryne Fisher is a wealthy single woman with a busy household including two adopted daughters, Ebony the cat, Molly the puppy and her staff. Elegantly dressed, at all times, Miss Fisher is a passionate, pleasure loving woman who strives for justice, using her intellect to solve crimes which defeat the police force. She takes in waifs and strays because she remembers poverty in her childhood and her wealth has not made her proud or snobbish.

This mystery centres on the busy Eastern Market, where the victim has been murdered with strychnine, in a book shop belonging to Miss Lee. Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, a less attractive character than he appears in the TV series, immediately arrests Miss Lee as the chief suspect, but Phryne’s help is enlisted by Miss Lee’s Jewish landlord, Mr Abrahams, to find the real culprit. Embarking on an intimate love affair with Mr Abraham’s beautiful young son, Miss Fisher also explores the Jewish community and the dabbling in alchemy by those studying the Kabbalah.

Aided by her reliable assistant, Dot, and handy Jacks of all trades, Bert and Cec, while being consulted unofficially by Inspector Robinson, Phryne makes progress but brings herself and those she loves into danger. The author has thoroughly researched ancient Jewish beliefs as well as the problems of living in an anti-Semitic society.

The author has a witty turn of phrase and has created delightful characters. This mystery is an easy read, with an imaginative plot and a novel setting.

Raisins and Almonds is available at Amazon UK

Kerry

Kerry Greenwood

Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has a degree in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant.

Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on female murderers called Things She Loves: Why women Kill.

The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written thirteen books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them.

Kerry Greenwood has worked as a folk singer, factory hand, director, producer, translator, costume-maker, cook and is currently a solicitor. When she is not writing, she works as a locum solicitor for the Victorian Legal Aid. She is also the unpaid curator of seven thousand books, three cats (Attila, Belladonna and Ashe) and a computer called Apple (which squeaks). She embroiders very well but cannot knit. She has flown planes and leapt out of them (with a parachute) in an attempt to cure her fear of heights (she is now terrified of jumping out of planes but can climb ladders without fear). She can detect second-hand bookshops from blocks away and is often found within them.

For fun Kerry reads science fiction/fantasy and detective stories. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered wizard. When she is not doing any of the above she stares blankly out of the window.

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On a Wing and a Prayer by Helen Carey #FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

ON A WING AND A PRAYER by Helen Carey is a nostalgic and heart-warming novel of south London during the Second World War.  It is the third of Helen Carey’s Lavender Road series, but the only one I have read.

First Line    “So?” Angus McNaughton closed the interview room door, nodded at the military police  corporal waiting outside, then glanced at his assistant as they began to walk away down the long, grey-walled War Office Passage.  “What do you think, Helen?  A possibility?”     

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

October 1941. London has been ravaged by war for two years now and life couldn’t be tougher for those living on Lavender Road. Many loved ones have been lost and sacrifices made, but Lady Helen de Burrel is about to take the biggest risk yet.

Inspired by the courage of her friends on this south London street, Helen volunteers to join the Special Operations Executive and puts her life in jeopardy for the sake of her country. But it’s hard to know who to trust, and when her heart is on the line even love becomes dangerous.

The war has changed everything, but one thing is certain; the women of Lavender Road will rally together, no matter what the future has in store…

Introduce the main character –Helen is courageous, independent and considerate.

Delightful Design

lavender-three

Audience appeal  For those who enjoy reading about twentieth century social history especially the role of women during wartime and also for its humour and romance.

Your favourite line/scene

It was only when she read the word Capotes scrawled on the fallen lid of the box that it dawned on her what the packets must contain.  What the English called French letters.  To her dismay she felt colour flood her cheeks.  She felt she had been standing there for hours when one of the men took pity on her.  Stepping forward from the doorway, he cupped his own hands under hers.

“Donnez-les moi, mademoiselle,” he murmured.  Then as she opened her hands and let the beastly things fall into his, he smiled.  “Ah yes, these should just about see me through the weekend.”

…………………………………………………………………..

One quick glance into his face had rendered her utterly tongue-tied.  She couldn’t look at him again.  The best she could manage was a gruff, “Merci,” as she edged away from him towards the door.

……………………………………………………………………

And then, as he glanced back at her, she knew at once.  It was his eyes.  Behind those dark lashes his gaze was self-possessed and direct.  She had never seen such strength of purpose reflected in someone’s eyes before.  He was clearly quite unfazed that she had seen him pocket some of the contraceptives.  He simply smiled faintly and nodded her a courteous, “Au revoir.”

Find the book on Amazon UK  and  US

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.

#FridayBookShare The Dirigible King’s Daughter by Alys West #BookReview

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

The Dirigible King’s Daughter is the second novel published by Alys West.

First Line    Harriet Hardy took her pistol from her reticule and flipped open the barrel.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

When Harriet Hardy moved to Whitby, newly famous from Mr Stoker’s sensational novel, she thought she’d left her past and her father’s disgrace behind her. But then an amorous Alderman and a mysterious Viscount turn her life upside down and she’s never been more grateful that she doesn’t leave home without her pistol.
But when defending her honour lands her with an attempted murder charge, Harriet’s only option is to turn to the mysterious Viscount for help. Fortunately, he turns out to be not so mysterious after all and, fortified by copious amounts of tea, she sets forth to clear her name.
As the court case looms Harriet fears she’ll forever be tarnished by her father’s scandalous reputation. Can she avoid conviction, and just possibly, find a happy ending? Or will she always be trapped by her past as the daughter of the notorious Dirigible King?

Introduce the main character –Harriet is smart, businesslike and brave

Delightful Design

Dirigible pic

Audience appeal  This book will appeal to a wide audience; those who appreciate historical romance, fans of steampunk and those who like a book about an independent woman.

Your favourite line/scene

“Here she comes!”

From behind the hills the dirigible appeared, coming nose first towards them.  Its silver Duralinum hull several shades lighter than the grey clouds behind it.  Alerted by Charlie’s words, the other passengers gathered around them,staring and pointing.  the airship glided closer, slowly turning until its full size was revealed.  It was huge and Charlie said this was small!  How enormous would be the one which took them down to London?

As I have just finished reading the book, here is my review:-

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Harriet Hardy is an independent woman who is not to be trifled with, but she lives in a steampunk, Edwardian environment where ladies are expected to be proper and to know their place. She has found herself to be the breadwinner and espousing the principles of the Suffragists has not won her many friends. Living in Whitby she has cut herself off from her happy youth in York but now her past is catching up with her, just when she finds herself in greater trouble than ever.

Charlie Davenport is a dashing Dirigible pilot with charm and influence but Harriet has no intention of allowing him to take over her life. She will continue to solve her problems as she always has, with a pistol in her reticule, a brave heart and intelligent wit.

This novel is a tale of romance and peril against the background of the thrilling flights of the dirigibles and escapades on steam-powered omnibuses. It is an easy read and you cannot help wishing Harriet success and happiness against all odds.

alys-west

I started writing when I couldn’t find enough books to read that had all of the elements I loved; fantasy, romance and suspense, although my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have had something to do with it too. Writing steampunk was a natural development from my obsession with tea. How could I not write in a genre where the characters shared my belief that 90% of the world’s wrongs can be solved with a nice cup of tea? It also gave me a great excuse to spend my time looking at Victorian fashions and call it research.

I’m doing a MA in Creative Writing at York St John University and also teach creative writing for Converge, an arts project for people with mental health issues.

When I’m not writing you can find me at folk gigs, doing yoga and attempting to crochet.  I intermittently tweet at @alyswestyork and spend rather too much time on Facebook where you can find me at Alys West Writer.

 

The Black Orchid by Celine Jeanjean

black orchid

The second adventure of the Viper and the Urchin finds these two disparate characters relocated to the warehouse of Cruikshank, engineer to the Marchioness, no longer an assassin and a pickpocket, but officially employed by the Old Girl, as the Marchioness is affectionately called.  But their services have not been required and they are feeling aimless and redundant when at last they are summoned to investigate a mysterious death by exsanguination in the insalubrious Bayog district of the city of Damsport.

 

Rory’s knowledge of the criminal underworld of the Rookery make her indispensable but Longinus occupies his time investigating the unexplained shortage of the black silk he needs urgently for his new elegant suit.  A link between these two events is discovered in The Black Orchid, a newly popular brothel.  Rory and Longinus find themselves in great danger again, not just from their enemy but also from threats to their relationship.  As they become estranged, the future looks grim.

 

Like the first book, The Black Orchid engages readers by the strong, vibrant women who never give up against all odds.  An old relationship between the Marchioness and stunningly beautiful Mizria may be reawakened, Rory seems to be becoming closer to Varanguard, Rafe and Longinus continues to send anonymous poems to Lady Martha, daughter of the Old Girl.

 

Celine Jeanjean has written another thrilling adventure which is hard to put down.  The grubby streets of the city come alive in the fast moving plot and each character has substance and complication.  Alchemy and steam driven vehicles play their part but heroism shines.  In conclusion the scene is set for further adventure involving characters who have come to mean a great deal to their readers.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

The Sans Pareil Mystery by Karen Charlton

Charlton

I read this 19th century detective story without realising that it was the second investigation in Regency London for Detective Lavender and Constable Woods, but this was no handicap.  Although Stephen Lavender is reserved, we slowly learn of his sad past, his new budding romance and his renowned detective abilities.  Assisted by dependable Ned Woods, he is able to cut through the mystery to the dangerous underlying plot, while dealing with his tortuous private life.

 

The other main character, Donᾶ Magdalena, has a troubled past and an insecure future, which aids the plot considerably.  I would have liked the villains to have had more substance and subtlety but the developing drama keeps the reader on the edge of her seat.

 

I enjoyed discovering more about the Bow Street Magistrates and the London theatre in 1810, without feeling that I was being taught.  It is a refreshing change to have a detective story set in this era.  The precarious position of women in a male dominated society is clearly shown while still maintaining the exciting drama and sweet romance.  I shall certainly be seeking out the earlier story of Lavender and Woods.

Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

Palomino Sky Cover LARGE EBOOK

Palomino Sky continues the story of Laura and James who met in Midnight Sky. Now they are looking forward to a happy life together as Laura plans their wedding and tries to set up a new home design company. James wishes to start anew by selling the farm and the equestrian business and looking for another home, but Laura has reservations.

In this book, Laura’s sister, Maggie, gains strength as a character and in practical ways. She is faced with increased problems form her wayward daughter, Jess, but she takes constructive action to help Laura and James as their lives take a tragic turn. Towards the end of the book we lose touch with Laura, but this is because she needs to step back from events, feeling lost herself.

The bleak winter landscape of Snowdonia is beautifully described by the author and the awe inspiring sight of the gathering ponies is starkly contrasted by subsequent events.

“A miraculous sight came out of the mist; a long ribbon of ponies on the skyline cantering, leaping and whinnying to each other across the heather…….They were the colours of bracken and stone, rainclouds and earth.”

As the horses are sold or returned to their owners, the healing hope of the mare, Palomino Sky, whom Laura calls Song and the dependable sturdiness of O’Malley, show a light at the end of the tunnel which might bring James and Laura back onto the path to happiness and give solutions to those affected by the closure of the stables.

This is an emotional story which grips the reader from page one. I really cared about the characters and read late into the night to discover their fate.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Aurelia by Alison Morton

 

Aurelia

Aurelia is the fourth book in Alison Morton’s Roma Nova series. Set in an alternative historical context, the Roman Empire survives as a matriarchal society in a semi-mountainous area north of Italy. This is the only book I have read in this series so far, but it features a different character to those used in earlier volumes and works well as a stand-alone novel.

Written in the first person, Aurelia’s bold personality and brave, active life as a Major in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces engages the reader and promises plenty of action. But she is also a mother and the daughter of the head of one of the 12 ruling families. After Aurelia’s mother is involved in a severe car accident she must give up her military life and assume family and political responsibilities.

But soon Aurelia’s talents are put to use in diplomacy and espionage in the dangerous environment of Berlin, capital of Prussia. Here she encounters an old enemy and a mysterious stranger and she needs her wits about her. From then on the pace of the book is relentless and very exciting. Aurelia is the heroine we would all like to be.

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this storyline but I tried it out of curiosity. This alternative world, familiar to us and yet so different is a unique backdrop to a thriller which would make a wonderful film.