#BookReview : The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements @KL_Clements @headlinepg @NetGalley

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Today I have a ghost story set on the eerie Yorkshire Moors.  The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is available in various formats from Amazon UK.  My thanks to NetGalley and Headline Publishing Group for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister or The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

‘Spine-tingling… the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time’ Barbara Erskine

‘Brooding and full of creeping menace’ Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions 

‘Like something from Emily Bronte’s nightmares’ Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

My Thoughts:

Set in the 17th century on the eerie Yorkshire Moors. Meet Mercy, she lives with her father Bartram Booth and Agnes in Scarcross Hall.  They are in the heart of the sheep community and part of a close-knit of herders, shepherds and locals. But when a stranger appears looking for work, is it coincidence that things take on a turn that boarders on creepy maybe even supernatural.

The descriptions given of the contrasts that can be experienced on the moors have been vividly told, they paint a beautiful and bleak image.  She has explored the deeply rooted sense of community. But when uncertainty mixed with fear is in the air then self-preservation is utmost priority, woe betide anyone getting on the wrong side of community spirit. Fear is something that lurks in the minds of some, makes them think of things from the past, it creeps into the heads and when things go missing, noises are heard and items are moved the feeling that something more is going on.

The plot itself is a good suspense filled one, it paints the bleak, rugged and dangerous moors as a backdrop for a more intense feeling.  I was never quite sure who or what was the cause, but by the end I felt quite satisfied that my questions and thoughts had been answered.  Mercy is a hard but likeable character, the epitomizes the strength required to work, a woman in a man’s world, doing a man’s job, just as good as any man as well.  She is a powerful character, and there were times that she did have more of a feminine side.

I thought this was a great read, it has the eerie suspense of evil that chitters away in the background, occasionally raising its head to remind you of its presence. It is atmospheric and has a beautiful description of the moors and surrounding areas.  This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, suspense and in my opinion only a hint of horror.

About the Author:

81NpCsnHasL._SY200_  Katherine Clements is a critically acclaimed historical novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, The Crimson Ribbon, was published in 2014 and her second, The Silvered Heart, in 2015. Both works are set in the seventeenth century and centre on the events and aftermath of English Civil War. Her work has been compared to the likes of Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier. Her third novel, The Coffin Path, will be published in February 2018.

Katherine is editor of Historia, the online magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association, and is a member of the HWA committee. She writes for various blogs and websites and particularly enjoys reviewing historical drama on film and TV. She is based in Manchester where she is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Manchester University, and is working on her next novel.

Visit Katherine online at http://www.katherineclements.co.uk or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx 

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#BookReview: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin : @HodderBooks @NetGalley

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I am sharing “The Wicked Cometh” by Laura Carlin today.  I would like to thank the lovely people at Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me an eARC via NetGalley.  This book is available in various formats with a publication date of 1st February for some formats.

Synopsis:

‘We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort 
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ – The Morning Herald, Tuesday 13 September 1831

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . .

My Thoughts:

Starting in London in 1830, we are introduced to Hester White, told about her life and her reasons for being where she is.  When she is involved in an accident and taken in by the wealthy Brock family she thinks she may be on the  up.  What starts as an amiable situation takes a turn for the worse and we are taken into a deep, dark evilly twisted world set in the murky gloomy depths of London back streets.

This is a historical fiction that from the outset feels right.   The descriptions given build up a vivid picture of the murky, dark slums and back streets of London as well as the lavish and elaborate villas and large country houses of the wealthier London.  The characters have a mix of the flamboyant, the dodgy, rich and poor, honest and just down right nasty.  The plot leads you down deep, dark alleys and along bright well-lit streets as we are gradually taken further into the story and discover the depths some people will go to for the sake of their career and reputation.  I did feel it took me a little while for the book to really grab my attention, but gradually I could feel myself getting caught up in it, some passages were a little long, but the descriptions have been done well.  But this I think is another book where I am greedy to read what happens next, I must be more patient.  I really liked the character descriptions in this story, they were a good mixed bag of traits and memorable little details.

This is a book I would recommend to readers of historical mystery books, set in 1800’s London with two female sleuthing leading ladies uncovering a dark and twisted puzzle. I would like to thank Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for my eARC of this book.  My views are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin left school at 16 to work in retail banking and it was only after leaving her job to write full-time that she discovered her passion for storytelling and exploring pockets of history through fiction. She lives in a book-filled house in beautiful rural Derbyshire with her family (and a very naughty cat). When she’s not writing she enjoys walking in the surrounding Peak District. THE WICKED COMETH is her first novel.

 

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#BlogTour : Foul Trade by B.K Duncan : ( @BKDuncanwriter ) : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Foul Trade by BK Duncan.  Published by Bloodhound Books, this is available in many formats.  If you have not read the FREE prequel novella “The Last Post” here is the link to Amazon UK for it >>Link<< I will share my thoughts on The Last Post before Foul Trade.

The Last Post, by BK Duncan

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Synopsis:

It is April 1918. May Keaps is a twenty-year-old ambulance driver stationed at The Front. As if transporting hideously wounded soldiers, sleep deprivation and constant shell bombardment weren’t enough, she becomes unwittingly entangled in the untimely death of a young captain, Tobias Fairfax.

Newly-arrived in Northern France he was found with a discharged pistol by his side; rumours on the battlefield were that it wasn’t an accident and he had taken the coward’s way out, committing suicide.

Whatever the explanation, Tobias left a dangerous legacy that puts May in the line of fire. But she is not the only one with a reason to want to uncover the truth. And in a world where life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye, May might regret her search for answers…The Last Post is the haunting introduction to the May Keaps series.

Thoughts:

In this story we meet for the first time, May Keaps.  She is an ambulance driver on the front, transporting casualties of the war to hospital. For a novella, this book has a big presence.  BK has for me, captured the despair, fear, sombreness and fear of life in the war, with vivid descriptions.

As an introduction to this author and also the character of May Keaps, I cannot find fault.  It was a great read and did its job well, I look forward to the next story.  A full length one.

Foul Trade 

BK Duncan - Foul Trade_cover_high res.jpgSynopsis:

 Looking for a compelling new mystery which will have you hooked?

It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs.

My thoughts:

So it is now march 1920, and again we are reunited with May Louise Keaps, ex ambulance driver and now officer for Poplar Coroners Court.  In this story May is the efficient and resourceful force behind the Coroner, she is the one who makes sure all the paperwork, subpoenas and warrants are dealt with, they are just the basics of her job.  She goes above and beyond the call of duty as she swaps the battlefields for the wharves of London, as she investigates a suspicious death.  She will discover a world of gangs, drugs and dens, gambling and illegal trade.

If you want a book that gives you a descriptive walk through of the London wharves and surrounding area, then this has got to be one you read.  BK has brought some vivid and detailed descriptions that make it feel very realistic with the sights, sounds and also the smells.  There has been obvious research into this period,  I found a great deal of observational content on living conditions, social housing, economics and family struggles, this added a real extra depth.  It was appropriate for the plot, now that I really did enjoy, it took me a couple of chapters to work out where the story was going.  This was all my fault as I did not read the synopsis, I just dived right in after reading The Last Post.  But as I started to pick up the threads of the story, I found it took me along the dark alleys into grim back rooms and among warehouses as the plot progressed.  Along the way there are quite a few characters to get to know, a mixed bunch of rogues, ruffians and gentlemen, you soon work out who is who, but I guarantee you will be wrong in your assumptions of some.

This is a great read that I would have no problem recommending to readers who like historical crime and mystery fiction.  It is well researched and well written.  A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Author:

BK Duncan and Foul Trade

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and management consultancy (specialising in personal and organisational change) she made the switch to full time writer, combining producing her own work with lecturing in creative writing in colleges and academies in Hertfordshire and Cambridge. Her summers are spent on two never-ending tasks – re-pointing the walls of her flint cottage and reclaiming the wilderness of her meadow garden. For relaxation she reads, goes to the theatre, and explores the local countryside but her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

Her proudest moment was when she overcame her fear of deep water to go potholing in the Yorkshire Pennines.

BK Duncan also writes as Ruth Wade. Read her Amazon #1 best-seller A Fatal Rhythm on Kindle.

Follow BK Duncan on her Website  or on Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give a little share.  Better still, go and get both of these wonderful books.

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Outremer by D.N.Carter : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 #BookReview #Blogtour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Outremer” by D.N.Carter.  This book is available in hardback, paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

My Thoughts:

This is a huge book, not just in length, but also in detail, content, description, plot and research.  The research alone that has gone into this book is in itself vast.  If you want a book that takes you through the history of the Knights Templar and the events of the high middle ages then this is a must read.  Also included is a vast array of things relevant to the time and their connections through history, and includes Christianity, Muslims, Islam, Egyptology, symbolism, paganism, Arthurian Legend, folklore and astrology, this list only just scratches the surface. It is the first in a planned series of four books, and feels to be just the tip of the iceberg.  I am so excited about this upcoming series after reading this first instalment.

All of the above and more have been cleverly wrapped around the love story of Paul from a Christian family and Alisha from a Muslim one.  In theory these two families should be enemies,at the time of crusades when Muslim and Christian are at war.  But this is not the case, the families have been friends for many years, and respected by some of the highest ranking Grand Masters, but why is this information not available to all, and known only by a select few.   Paul and Alisha’s story is one that is destined to be. But one that some would like to wipe out, to stop and erase the bloodline. While we learn this story as it happens, we also meet an old man, he has a story and tells it at the local inn to a mixed background audience.  He tells the story of Paul and Alisha, but it is after it has happened, a few years later in fact.  The audience initially believe he is telling a tall tale, but there are things for some of the audience that ring true, and as he tells his tale he fills in the history.  Not just of the families but of all things from all ages and many countries, he has details of dates, people, places, events, and then religions, legends, myths and facts.  He has detailed documents to prove the information he gives.

I could write so much about this book, there is so much information in it, from various sources and backgrounds.  It is almost like reading a history lesson as it happens.  The descriptions for the settings and the people have been really well done.  I really like the way the two stories complement each other.  One as it happens, the other in the future. There are many characters in this story, the major players quickly become identifiable, and after a few appearances so do the smaller re-occurring players.

The historical content in this is huge, at times I did find myself overwhelmed by it, and at times I got confused by my lack of understanding.  But to be honest, the parts I found confusing didn’t take anything away from the story or my enjoyment of it. There are some very interesting elements in this, some of which have previously been brought up in Dan Brown books, there is a reference to his work in the bibliography, and not all of the theories in Brown’s books I understood either and yet still loved them.

So if you want a serious book about the high middle ages, and are ready for an amazing journey, then this is the book for you.  I would definitely recommend this to readers of Historical Fiction, readers of History and mention that it contains some historical romance.  It is a well researched, well presented and a real epic of a book.  I eagerly await the next instalment.

About the Author:

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.                    Visit the author – Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (9 May 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525257
  • Amazon UK

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

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Many thanks for reading my post.  If you like it, please give it a share. Better still, go and buy this book.

 

#BookReview : The Little Village Christmas by @SueMoorcroft : pub by @AvonBooksUK #FestiveReads

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“The Little Village Christmas” by Sue Moorcroft.  Published by Avon Books UK and is available in paperback, eBook and audio.  I do actually recommend buying the paperback book, it is sparkly, and shiny and has glitter that stays on the book and not on your face ! (Apologies, a very girly moment there, girly moments are a rarity for me !!)  I read this book on the recommendation of A Love of Books  Facebook Group for their monthly Book Night pick.

Book Details: 

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (2 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000826001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008260019
  • Amazon UK link

Synopsis:

Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.

After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.

But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.

However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…

Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

My Thoughts:

The village has come together with money to restore the old village pub but as a Community Cafe.  But after all the money is stolen along with almost all of the period features the chance of being able to transform the old pub looks lost.  But not so, there are some who are not willing to just give up, instead a stubborn determination takes over and they want the project to remain on track.  Ben is a newcomer to the village, but has a family connection to the village, he offers help to Alexia, the project manager, an old adversary has a change of heart and there are those who want to distance themselves from the negativity of the theft.

I really enjoyed this book, it is a light hearted and humorous at times read, with a warm cosy feel to it.  I found some of the local community references very believable, living in a village myself.  I found that I could mirror some of Sue’s characters with some of our own locals, though I would never say which ones.  This added that little bit extra special something for me, the believe-ability of the community was great.  Even though there is quite a limited cast for the village.  This is where we learn more of Alexia and her role in the village and what her dreams are.  Ben’s story is also included and also his connection to the village.

Even though this is a story with a Christmas element in it, it is not a mistletoe, baubles, fairy lights,  twinkly jumper wearing book.  It takes place on the run up to Christmas, but with all the busy-ness of the characters in this book, they don’t have the time to thinks about it too much.

This is a really enjoyable, cosy, snuggly on a sofa, big cushion hot chocolate read.  Get comfortable for this, I read it virtually in one sitting, if things like going to work hadn’t got in the way. I would have done.  I definitely recommend this to readers of feel good, warm, light-hearted, crime and mystery books, with a sprinkle of romance to top it off nicely.  I am going to admit to being aware of this author, but (whispers…) not reading any of her books, this is absolutely going to change. A great introduction to this authors works, in my opinion. Now off to order a couple more of her books 🙂

About the Author:

B14P3XHiAvS._SY200_Best-selling author Sue Moorcroft writes women’s contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes. Her last book, The Christmas Promise, was published by Avon Books UK. It reached #1 in the UK Kindle chart and did well in mass market paperback both in the UK and in Germany (WinterZauberKüsse). Her new book, Just for the Holidays, is already a best-seller in several categories.

Sue has won the Best Romantic Read Award, been nominated for a RoNA and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. She also writes short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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#GuestPost by @PeterFBartram author of “Crampton of the Chronicle” mystery series.

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It is my great pleasure to welcome Peter Bartram to Me and My Books today. Author of the “Crampton of the Chronicle” series.  I read “The Morning, Noon and Night Trilogy” earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed.  Peter now has another book called “Front Page Murder” out in paperback and also eBook.

So read on for Peter’s guest post on Ruth Ellis……

THE WOMAN WHO CAUSED THE DEATH OF HANGING

By Peter Bartram

Ruth Ellis could have become a film starlet. Instead, she ended up dangling from the end of rope in Holloway Prison, London – the last woman to be hanged in England.

Ellis had been working as a nightclub hostess when she landed the part of a beauty queen contestant in the 1951 film Lady Godiva Rides Again. (It was released in the United States as Bikini Baby.) It starred some well-known British actors of the time, including Diana Dors, Stanley Holloway, Kay Kendall and Dora Bryan.

In later years, Dora lived in Brighton, where my Crampton of the Chronicle crime mysteries are set. When I travelled back and forth to London in my work as a journalist I would occasionally see her in the train’s buffet car. She invariably had a fag hanging out of the corner of her mouth and was ordering another whisky. A great character.

But we were talking about Ruth Ellis. She used a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver to pump five shots into her sometime lover racing driver David Blakely. It was what the French would call a crime passionnel. Blakely made her pregnant twice. She aborted the first child – illegal in Britain at the time – and lost the second after he’d punched her in the stomach during one of their regular rows.

At her trial, Ruth was found guilty and sentenced to hang. There had been a growing campaign in Britain to abolish the death penalty for several years, but after Ruth was hung on 13 July 1955 the clamour increased in volume. Bill Connor who wrote his Daily Mirror column under the pen-name Cassandra thundered: “The one thing that brings stature and dignity to mankind and raises us above the beasts of the field will have been denied her – pity and the hope of ultimate redemption.”

And Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe detective novels had already conquered the world, wrote from his then British home to the London Evening Standard to complain about “the mediaeval savagery of the law”. But it was another 10 years before hanging was finally ended in England.

So Ruth Ellis never became a starlet. But she lit one of the flames which led to the abolition of the death penalty in England. When I was researching Front Page Murder, I spent many hours looking at how hanging was carried out. It was a gruesome business – especially for women who were forced to wear thickly padded calico knickers.

But for the crime writer, hanging had the potential to add an extra frisson of tension to a murder story. After all, the penalty is irreversible. So if the accused is really innocent of the crime, there is not much time to assemble the evidence to prove it.

That is the premise behind the story in Front Page Murder. And to add some extra seasonal colour, it all takes place in the 10 days leading up to Christmas 1963.

A year later, hanging had been ended in Britain for ever. But several years too late to save Ruth Ellis.


ABOUT THE BOOK…

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FRONT PAGE MURDER

A Crampton of the Chronicle mystery

It’s December 1963 and Archie Flowerdew is sitting in a cell at Wandsworth Prison waiting to be hanged. On Christmas Eve. It’s not exactly how he planned to spend the festive season. But, then, Archie was found guilty of murdering fellow comic postcard artist Percy Despart.

It seems there’s nothing that can stop Archie’s neck being wrung like a turkey’s. Except that his niece Tammy is convinced Archie is innocent. She’s determined he will sit down on Christmas Day to tuck into the plum pudding. She persuades Brighton Evening Chronicle crime reporter Colin Crampton to take up the case.

But Colin has problems of his own. First, that good turn he did to help out Chronicle sub-editor Barry Hobhouse has come back to bite him on the bum. Then Beatrice “the Widow” Gribble, Colin’s trouble-prone landlady, needs him to sort out her latest faux pas – she’s accidentally sent a Christmas card to her local butcher suggesting she’s available for hot sex. And that’s before Brighton cops clap Colin and girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith in jail on the charge of harbouring a fugitive from justice.

And, anyway, the more Colin investigates Archie’s case, the more it looks like he is guilty… Pick up the third full-length novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle mystery series to get you in the mood for a murderous Christmas!

Front Page Murder e-book is on special offer until the end of December for 99p/99c

For readers who want to start the series at the beginning, there’s a deal which includes Headline Murder, Stop Press Murder and Front Page Murder in e-book formats for £4.97/$4.97. This offer also closes on 31 December.

Front Page Murder on : Amazon US

Front Page Murder on : Amazon UK

Crampton of the Chronicle 3-book series on Amazon US

Crampton of the Chronicle 3-book series on Amazon UK


81jVrJSTqkL._SY200_ ABOUT THE AUTHOR…Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series, which features Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the 1960s fictional newspaper the Brighton Evening Chronicle. Peter began his career as a reporter on a real-life local newspaper not far from Brighton. Then he worked as a journalist and newspaper editor in London before becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and Buckingham Palace. Peter’s “Swinging Sixties” murder mysteries combine clue-solving with comedy – the laughs are never far from the action. Other books in the series, which has already logged more than 100 5-star reviews on Amazon, include Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder.

You can also see my thoughts here for Crampton of The Chronicle a 3-book series.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.

Better still go and buy the books!

 

#BookReview The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd #AskPenguin @PenguinUKBooks

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Penguin Uk have an #AskPenguin tag.  Give them some ideas about the sort of book you would like to read, they will respond with their book choice.  I had asked for a Victorian mystery and their suggestion was “The Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd. So I bought it and gave it a go.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (24 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784708208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784708207
  • Amazon Link
  • Other Formats available.

Synopsis:

London, 1880. A series of gruesome murders attributed to the mysterious ‘Limehouse Golem’ strikes fear into the heart of the capital. Inspector John Kildare must track down this brutal serial killer in the damp, dark alleyways of riverside London. But how does Dan Leno, music hall star extraordinaire, find himself implicated in this crime spree, and what does Elizabeth Cree, on trial for the murder of her husband, have to hide?

Peter Ackroyd brings Victorian London to life in all its guts and glory, as we travel from the glamour of the music hall to the slums of the East End, meeting George Gissing and Karl Marx along the way.

My Thoughts:

Set in London, in the 1880’s.  London is gripped by gruesome murders and the bodies are being found dismembered, the police have no idea who the murderer is.  Alongside the murders, is the story of Lizzie, later to become Mrs Elizabeth Cree.  When we first meet her it is as she is having the noose placed around her neck having been found guilty of a crime. From this point on we learn more about Lizzie’s life, her love and involvement in music halls and the characters she meets, as well as famous names of the time.

Peter Ackroyd has captures the dark and sinister aspects very well and made them quite believable.  He has built up a picture of what you would expect of Victorian London, dark, atmospheric and suspenseful.  I did at times feel that some of the descriptive passages were a little long at times, but not so much to detract from the story.  It is told in quick chapters that flit from the perspectives of Lizzie , the murder, and also diary entries, keeping the whole story moving along at a good pace.

This is a book I enjoyed and would recommend to readers who like Gothic Fiction, Historical and Literary Fiction.

The book was originally titled “Dan Leno & The Limehouse Golem”.  It has also been made into a film, and has a release date on DVD / Blu-ray of 26th December.  Amazon link HERE.

About the Author:

21ky5BEoSYL._UX250_   Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Dickens, Blake and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

 

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#BlogBlitz : Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by @Helenography with @rararesources

secrets and fries cover

I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for “Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner” by Helen Cox. This book is available to purchase now an is in eBook format.  Blog Tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

Synopsis:

What brings Bonnie Brooks to The Starlight Diner? And why is she on the run?

As the front-woman in a band, Bonnie is used to being in the spotlight, but now she must hide in the shadows.

Bonnie only has one person who she can turn to: her friend Esther Knight, who waitresses at the Fifties-themed diner. There, retro songs play on the jukebox as fries and sundaes are served to satisfied customers. But where has Esther gone?

Alone in New York City, Bonnie breaks down in front of arrogant news reporter, and diner regular, Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy offers to help her. Can she trust him?

When the kindly owner of the Starlight Diner offers Bonnie work, and she meets charming security officer Nick Moloney, she dares to hope that her luck has changed. Is there a blossoming romance on the cards? And can Bonnie rebuild her life with the help of her Starlight Diner friends?

My Thoughts:

Meet Bonnie, just arrived in New York to find her friendand ex work colleague Esther.  Bonnie has very little money, only a few belongings, is cold, hungry, alone and scared.  When she arrives at the diner Bonnie is told that Esther is away with her boyfriend and due back the next day.  This is the final straw for Bonnie’s emotions and she breaks down, luckily for her the is Jimmy, a cautious, wary big hearted customer of the diner and also Mona who helps keep an eye on her.

Now I like a good prologue, the one for this book is short, sweet and beautifully sums up what the essence of The Starlight Diner.  I admit those few paragraphs did it for me, I was hooked.  The story that follows is deliciously yummy.  The main protagonist is Bonnie Brooks, a woman with issues, she is a disappointment to her family, who tell her so on a regular basis.  With this attitude towards her, she doesn’t keep in touch with them, but it has an effect on how she sees herself in the world, a feeling of not fitting in, not conforming to the norm or knowing her own self, is it any wonder she has been a drifter.  Good things happen at the diner with good people, Esther and Jack, then Angela, Mona, Bernie and then Jimmy as well as a few others, they provide an interesting cast for a book with a heart.

As the story unfolds the story of Bonnie we learn why she arrived in New York from Atlantic City, the why, who’s and where’s are all filled in.  There is suspense, tensions, thrills and a plot that kept me intrigued and turning pages, it’s a story that has been well written and has humour as well as crime, mystery and a dash of romance.

This is a book I would recommend to readers of cosy crime, mystery, romance.  I really enjoyed this book, it is the second in the series and reads really well as a stand alone.

I would like to take the time to thank Rachel at Rachel Random Resources  for the opportunity to be part of this tour. Also to wish Helen Cox all the very best with this great book.

About the Author:

Secrets and Fries - Helen Cox.JPG  Helen Cox is a book-devouring, photo-taking, film-obsessed novelist. If forced to choose one, Helen’s Mastermind specialism would be Grease 2. To this day, she still adheres to the Pink Lady pledge and when somebody asks her if she is a god she says ‘yes.’

After completing her MA in creative writing at the University of York St. John Helen found work writing for a range of magazines, websites and blogs as well as writing news and features for TV and radio. She has written three non-fiction books and founded independent film publication: New Empress Magazine. She currently lives in York and writes novels.

Follow Helen on Facebook  Twitter   Instagram

Author Giveaway

Secrets and Fries - Giveaway Prize  Win a signed proof copy of book 1 – Milkshakes and Heartbreaks – Open Internationally.

Sign up to Helen Cox’s mailing list before 1st December in order to be in with a chance of winning –

https://helencoxauthor.wordpress.com/send-me-a-free-book-to-read/

As a thank you to signing up to the mailing list you will receive three short stories too.

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 976 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Maze (16 Dec. 2016)
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

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Better still, go and buy the book.

#BlogTour : Illusion by @StephanieElmas with @EndeavourPress #BookReview

Illusion blog tour promo

“Illusion” by Stephanie Elmas is available as a paperback and also eBook.  Published by Endeavour Press.

Synopsis:

London, 1873.

Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck.

Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.

Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.

Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.

During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love.

Will he and Walter come to her rescue?

Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst.

Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara.

That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life.

With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…

Filled with mystery, magic and larger than life characters, Illusion will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

My Thoughts:

Set in London 1873 with Tom Winter as he catches up with old friend Walter Balanchine and his stowaway Kayan.  Walter has been away travelling in The East learning healing and magic.  Walter is asked to perform magic at a birthday party and that is where Tom first sets eyes on Tamara.  She is there with her mother and a man presumed to be her father, but is actually Cecil Hearst, her soon to be husband.  As the story progresses a picture is built up that delves into the lives and histories of the main cast of characters, a world of mystery, suspense and intrigue.

The characters of this story cover a good array of different traits, personalities and social backgrounds, rich, poor, feeble, heroic, manipulative and downright loathsome and evil.  You will soon work out which character fits with which trait, who you will want to cheer on and who you will despise.  Each has a very memorable personality making them easy to remember as the plot is explored.  The plot itself is deeply twisted with an air of tension and suspense, taking the reader through many subplots.  The story expresses the atmosphere of the era very well with some wonderful descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells.

I would recommend this book to readers of period fiction, mystery,that oozes atmosphere, suspense, mystery and intrigue.

About the Author:

Stephanie ElmasStephanie Elmas was born in Hong Kong to an English father and Czech mother but spent most of her childhood in Bristol, England UK. She studied English at university in London. She has worked as a head hunter, taught English in Japan and returned to university to complete a Masters in Victorian fiction. It was here that she developed her interest in the dark dangerous world of Victorian sensation writing. Stephanie now lives in a chaotic house in Surrey, England UK, with her husband and three highly energetic but wonderful children.

Author Links: Website  Twitter

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (2 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1549655175
  • ISBN-13: 978-1549655173
  • Amazon UK

Links for Endeavour

Website: www.endeavourpress.com

Twitter: @EndeavourPress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourPress/

Instagram: @endeavour_press

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share.

Better still, go and buy the book.

#BookReview : Mr Campions Abdication by Mike Ripley : published by @severnhouse from@NetGalley

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“Mr Campions Abdication” by Mike Ripley and published by Severn House Publishing.

It is available as a hardback or an eBook.

Synopsis:

So where exactly did Albert Campion stand on the Abdication?’ ‘Behind the throne, slightly to the left?’ suggested Commander Charles Luke.

Margery Allingham’s Mr Campion finds himself masquerading as technical advisor to a very suspicious but glamorous Italian film producer and her crew hunting for buried treasure that never was in the Suffolk village of Heronhoe near Pontisbright which used to host trysts between Edward VIII and Mrs Wallis Simpson.

‘When it came to the Abdication Crisis in ’36 those dirty week-ends in Heronhoe were quickly forgotten, except not by the Prince. The story goes – that when he married Mrs Simpson, in 1937 that would be, he actually sent a valuable thank you gift to Heronhoe. That was what became known as the Abdication Treasure although there’s no record of anything going to Heronhoe Hall, or of anybody ever receiving anything from the Duke of Windsor and nobody anywhere claims to have actually seen anything resembling treasure.’

‘So how is Albert Campion involved? You said the treasure doesn’t exist.’

‘It doesn’t,’ Lord Breeze said firmly, ‘and I have been instructed to tell you to tell Campion, that unless he wants to risk embarrassing Buckingham Palace, he’d better lay off. There’s no such thing as the Abdication Treasure, so there’s nothing to find and Campion had better make sure he doesn’t find it!’

My Thoughts:

Set in the 1970’s, Albert Campion has turned TV producer with an Italian filming company.  The film is to be about Edward and Mrs Simpson and their time at Heronhoe Hall.  The hall is the site of a historical dig, at the time it was hoped to be par with the famous dig at Sutton Hoo, but unfortunately it did not produce significant finds.  But there was a rumour that Edward had left a treasure at Heronhoe, it was known as the “Abication Treasure”.  A mystery, as no one knows who received it or if it was recieved at all. But Campion, with help of friends, family and archaeologists start sleuthing to discover the truth.

I really loved the way this book started and it had me hooked for a number of chapters, but I found that by the time I got to the middle the story started to become a little repetitive. With the same questions being asked of different people but receiving pretty much the same answers.  It felt to me, a little too padded out in the middle, but then towards the ends few chapters, it picked up again.

There are a lot of things about this book I enjoyed.  There is a lot of historical references, the characters are great, a real mixed bunch from varied backgrounds.  The plot was intriguing and at the start I really enjoyed it, and also the end, but as I have mentioned the middle section just didn’t quite do it for me. I also found that I kept forgetting the decade this was set in, and had to remind myself that it was the 70’s.

This is a book that had potential for me to love, but just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  I would recommend to readers of historical crime, thriller, mystery.  I do actually look forward to reading more by this author.

I wish to thank Severn House Publishing and NetGalley for my eARC of this book.  My views expressed here are unbiased and my own.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (10 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727887351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727887351
  • Purchase link to Amazon UK

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