Fatal Finds in Nuala (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries Book 4) by Harriet Steel #fridayreads #RBRT

Fatal finds

 

In the latest Inspector de Silva mystery, set in the hill country of 1930s Ceylon, it is monsoon season, so travelling about to investigate a murder is particularly difficult.  Although already feeling unwell, Inspector de Silva is determined to brave the treacherous roads and dangerous criminals to solve the murder of an insignificant local villager.  This leads him to find unusual coins and the possibility of valuable artefacts, but on this occasion, it seems that he is mistaken.

 

In this novel, Shanti’s wife Jane and his boss Archie Clutterbuck take more active participation in the investigation.  Jane and Inspector de Silva have a hair-raising adventure on board a train to Colombo, equal to those of an Agatha Christie novel, while Archie makes the most of his wife’s absence on a cruise to help the Nuala police force, seeking treasure.  There are dastardly villains contributing to the excitement of this drama.

 

The effects of the monsoon weather and the dense, frightening environment are vividly described, in contrast to the de Silva’s calm homelife.  I am surprised that Shanti does not have more interaction with his servants, who are never named.  During the story, Shanti and Jane discuss going on a cruise one day.  Now that would provide a perfect setting for his detective skills.

Fatal Finds in Nuala is available at Amazon UK

To read my review of the first Inspector de Silva mystery Trouble in Nuala

I read this book as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team

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The Likeness by Bill Kirton #RBRT #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Likeness

In this sequel to Bill Kirton’s “The Figurehead,” we meet wood carver, John Grant, once again, showing his strength and resolute character as he heads out of Aberdeen harbour with his fellow oarsmen in the Lifeboat.  Meanwhile, Helen Anderson, frequently in John’s thoughts, is trying to persuade her father to allow her active participation in his business.  Her parents know that she has grown close to John Grant, although he is not her social equal, but she does not follow the normal accepted behaviour of a young woman in 1841.  She is keen to travel on one of her father’s ships, on part of its journey to the colonies, to see how accommodation might be improved.

Imminent separation begins to drive John and Helen apart, as his new project to carve a figurehead for part of a ship on stage, brings him into frequent contact with an actress in the touring company.  The discovery of the original star of the play, dead behind the fishing sheds, has made him determined to solve the possible murder and there are several likely suspects.

The details of the shipping business and the life of a touring group of actors enrich this distinctive historical mystery and misunderstandings in the relationship between Helen and John are solved in an unusual manner, based on their love and respect for each other. A wonderful opportunity to discover the people and hardships of this thriving 19th century port.

The Likeness can be found on Amazon UK   and Amazon US

My review of The Figurehead.

Bill Kirton

Bill Kirton

Bill Kirton was a university lecturer in French before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer. He’s won two 2011 Forward National Literature Awards – ‘The Sparrow Conundrum’ was the overall winner of the Humor category and ‘The Darkness’ was runner up in the Mystery category. ‘The Sparrow Conundrum’ also won the Readers’ Choice Award for satire/humor on the Big Al’s Books and Pals website in 2012. His historical mystery, ‘The Figurehead’, was long-listed for the 2012 Rubery Book Awards.
He’s produced material in many different media. His radio plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His stage plays have been performed in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and the USA and he’s been the visiting artist to the Theatre Department of the University of Rhode Island on four separate occasions. There, he directed stage plays, gave classes on creative writing and theatre, performed in revues and translated three plays by Molière for public performance, one of which won a BCLA prize. Material from his Edinburgh Festival revues was broadcast on the BBC, ITV and French television.
He’s also been a TV presenter and a voice-over artist and his scripts for corporate and educational DVDs and videos have won awards in the UK and USA. He’s been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and the universities of Dundee and St Andrews.
Most of his novels are set in the north east of Scotland. ‘Material Evidence’, ‘Rough Justice’, the award-winning ‘The Darkness’, ‘Shadow Selves’ and ‘Unsafe Acts’ all feature DCI Jack Carston. ‘The Figurehead’ is a historical novel set in Aberdeen in 1840. The award-winning ‘The Sparrow Conundrum’, is a spoof spy/crime novel also set in Scotland. His comic fantasy novella, ‘Alternative Dimension’ satirises online role-playing games.
His short stories have appeared in the Crime Writers’ Association annual anthology in 1999, 2005 and 2006. IN 2010, one was also chosen for the ‘Best British Crime Stories, Vol. 7’ anthology edited by Maxim Jacubowski.

 

 

Imago by Celina Grace #FridayReads #BookReview

Imago

Imago is the third book of the Kate Redman Mystery series featuring a young, female detective, fighting crime and pursuing justice, in the fictional West Country town of Abbeyford.

Having read two other books in this series (though not in the right order!) I knew I would enjoy meeting this hard-working, compassionate policewoman again.  This time Kate, her friend Detective Sergeant Mark Olbeck and her boss, Detective Chief Inspector Anderton have to solve the murder of a young prostitute, stabbed with a steak knife, and soon they begin to wonder if the crime has been committed by a serial killer.

As Mark settles down in domestic harmony with his partner, Kate begins to realise how lonely she is, but she tries to keep to herself the growing feelings she has for her boss.  Meanwhile she is trying to build up her fitness to participate in a half marathon and at the same time, deal with the hostility of Jerry, an older police constable who resents her.

This book is filled with tension and thrilling episodes.  We read the murderer’s diary, looking for clues and motive.  The reason for the title of this novel is intriguing.  The plot builds up to an exciting climax, as Kate thinks she has identified the killer and there is an exciting final twist to the story which will keep you on the edge of your seat.

You can purchase Imago on Amazon UK

or on Amazon US

Celina Grace

Celina Grace

I tried to get traditionally published as a writer for a long time. A loooooooong time. I make it fifteen years and counting….

I’ve also been writing for as long as I can really remember. I wrote my first story, The Blue Ruby, when I was about seven. Throughout college and university, I experimented with screenplays and scripts (I was studying Film and English at the time at the University of East Anglia), as well as other more short stories. In my twenties, I started my first novel, finished it, then my second, then my third. In my thirties, I was slightly side-tracked by the birth of my son but, leaving aside that trifling distraction, managed to write my fourth..

I didn’t bother trying to get the first novel published as I saw it as more of a practise run at this business of being an author. With the second, I entered the 2004 Lit Idol competition and got to third place. That was my ticket to publication, I thought, surely? Hah! Just the first in a long line of disappointments, of which every writer must be familiar… hopes built up to then be smacked down again. I had an agent approach me after the competition and on their encouragement, I finished, edited and polished the manuscript, sent it off to them with happy hopes – to be told months later that they didn’t think it was quite right for them..

Gutted, but enthusiasm relatively undimmed, I started on a new novel, inspired in part by the dramatic events of 2005 – the London bombings. I also wrote a short story at the same time on the same subject – it was on my mind a lot that summer (unsurprisingly. Freedom Fighter is the story – available on Amazon as part of A Blessing From The Obeah Man short story collection). This novel The House on Fever Street was shortlisted for the 2006 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. Aha, I thought, a fairly prestigious and industry recognised award. This will get me published. Did it? Did it buggery!

The House on Fever Street was also longlisted in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award of that year, which garnered me some nice reviews and a much needed ego boost but didn’t advance my career as a published author much further..

So what next for our doughty heroine? She ups and writes her fourth novel, gains an agent and thinks now, now I have finally made it as a published author! And she waits. And waits. And waits some more. And then waits a bit more. And a bit more. Finally, for variety, she waits a bit more..

So, after two years of waiting, reading about self-publishing on Amazon and other platforms, I believe a phrase that ends in ‘…for a game of soldiers’ passed my lips and I decide to publish myself. So I did. I think I made about £10 in my first month of publishing. Fast forward three years and here I am, a full time indie author, a Top 100 UK Amazon bestseller, having reached half a million readers. Couldn’t be happier!

Celina Grace

Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel #bookreview

nuala

Trouble in Nuala is the first in a series of investigations by Inspector Shanti de Silva in colonial Ceylon.  Although a Sri Lankan himself, Shanti is married to Jane, an Englishwoman whom he had met after she came to the island as a governess.  They mix in the “best” social circles of Nuala, up in the hills far from the busy city of Colombo.  An experienced policeman, he may feel frustrated by his junior police officers and by the patronising attitude of Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent, but he is determined to investigate all cases without preference.

Although mainly concerned with minor offences such as neglected horses running wild, the sudden death of a bombastic, unpopular tea planter strikes de Silva as being suspicious, so he quietly makes inquiries into all the circumstances.  The lonely widow and the planter’s stepson were not happy, the plantation was making a loss and a young lawyer had recently accused the planter of mistreating his workers.

Interspersed with the gradual investigation is a delightful description of the beauty of Sri Lanka and of the pretentious social life of the British community living there in the 1930s.  Shanti and Jane have a respectful relationship based on love and consideration, so he willingly eats cucumber sandwiches when he would much prefer a spicier snack.

This gentle, intelligent policemen could well become renowned for his careful and thoughtful approach to crime in an enthralling environment.  A very enjoyable and relaxing book to read.  I look forward to his next investigation.

You can find Trouble in Nuala here

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT

Trust me

I always enjoy character driven novels, but a book with a compelling plot is appealing. In Trust Me I Lie we have both. Ben Taylor is a policeman with a heart, a Detective Inspector who acts like a Knight in shining armour, but Milla Graham is a more complex person. She admits to being a liar, frequently breaks the law but has great charisma and charm. Her determination to solve a crime, which took place 18 years earlier when she was 6, takes Ben to the brink of losing his career and endangers both their lives.

Written in the third person, Trust Me I Lie tells the story partly from Ben’s point of view and partly from Milla’s, interspersed with a narration of events 18 years before, gradually revealing what happened; but look out for the red herrings. A mansion had burned down killing the children of a family where their mother has been stabbed to death. Now a young woman connected to the family has been found murdered in the abandoned mansion and Ben must solve both cases without incriminating Milla in the latest crime.

The theme of fairy tales, especially Alice in Wonderland, is wound effectively into the book adding an extra dimension. I felt the motivation of DI Lydia Cavill needed a little more explanation but I was particularly fond of Detective Sergeant Harriet March who deserves a story of her own. With a light touch, Louise Marley has involved the reader with the hopes and fears of the main characters and produced a mystery story packed full of twists and turns and a touch of romance.

Louise Marley

Louise Marley writes romantic comedy and romantic suspense, and sometimes she mixes the two. She lives in Wales, surrounded by fields of sheep, and has a beautiful view of Snowdon from her study window.

Her first published novel was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which was a finalist in Poolbeg’s Write a Bestseller competition. She has also written articles for the Irish press and short stories for women’s magazines such as Take a Break and My Weekly. Previously, Louise worked as a civilian administrative officer for the police.

Louise’s books have spent a total of 7 months in the Amazon top 100 (UK). Three of her books have been #1 bestsellers in romantic suspense, and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was #1 in romance.

In addition to her own books, Louise contributes to the hugely popular Sunlounger anthologies. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Society of Authors and a group of bestselling authors known as Novelistas Ink.

Website: http://www.louisemarley.co.uk/
Blog: http://www.louisemarleywrites.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: @LouiseMarley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouiseMarley

Be careful, there is another author with EXACTLY the same name!

Siren by Celina Grace #bookreview

Siren

Siren is the newly published 9th book in the Kate Redman Mystery series, written by Celina Grace, and is only the second I have read, but that doesn’t matter a jot. On the first page of Chapter One we soon get to know Detective Sergeant Kate Redman and learn about her friendship with Detective Inspector Mark Olbeck, who is in the early stages of adopting a child with his partner Jeff. Kate is prepared to work long hours, as her boyfriend, Tin, is in New York and she hasn’t seen him for three months.

The prologue has introduced an intriguing murder scene and soon Kate and Mark are summoned there by their boss, Detective Chief Inspector Anderton. Kate is surprised, when Anderton asks her to accompany him to interview the victim’s wife. It is soon evident that Simon Farraday, who has been murdered, had antagonised many people and liked to indulge in sexual fantasies. As the complex plot unwinds, Kate finds herself drawn to Anderton, although she is about to visit Tin in New York.

The balance between determining who might be the murderer and Kate’s dilemma about leaving her home and job to settle in New York, keep the reader guessing and you can’t help empathising with Kate’s problems. The unpleasant smell and sight of the murder scene is as vividly described as the beautiful garden of the Farraday home and the characters’ emotions are realistic. A great read, which certainly makes me want to seek out Kate’s earlier cases.

 

Madam Tulip by David Ahern

Madam Tulip

Derry O’Donnell is a fully qualified, out of work actress who lives in Dublin.  Her father, Jacko, is a charming artist, fond of gambling, while her mother, Vanessa, is an assertive, successful Gallery owner in New York.

 

Derry’s friend, Bella, suggests that Derry uses her psychic talents, as the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son, to create the persona of a mystic called Madam Tulip.  After meeting a friend of Jacko at a race course, Derry is persuaded by supermodel Marlene O’Mara to give Madam Tulip her first performance, giving consultations and predictions to clients at a Charity Bash taking place in a castle, the following weekend.  Among the guests are Mojo, a rapper from London and his partner Sony a Dee, an American R n B singer.

 

Derry finds Bruce, an old friend and also a “resting” actor, working at the castle.  In addition, he is an ex US navy SEAL with special skills which she will soon need to rely on.  Mojo is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Bella is arrested.  When it looks as though Derry might also be framed for murder, she decides to find the real culprit, but she is hindered by the lack of co-operation of her old flame, Fitz, an aristocratic policeman from London, who is working incognito.

 

Derry is a brave, likeable heroine, who inspires loyalty from her friends.  She relishes danger, although unsure of the advantage of her ability to sense people’s secrets and predict consequences.  The second half of the novel is full of drama and adventure.  It is clear that Derry or Madam Tulip could continue with other thrilling investigations since you can trust her and enjoy her sardonic humour.

 

This story fits into the “cozy mystery” genre but there is also a touch of Irish feyness which reminds me of the books of David’s namesake, Cecelia Ahern.  A most enjoyable read.

Rosie's Book Review team 1