#Review By Lou of Marple By #AgathaChristie; #NaomiAlderman; #LeighBardugo; #AlyssaCole; @lucyfoleytweets; @ellygriffiths; #NatalieHaynes ; @JeanKwok; @valmcdermid; #KarenM.McManus; #DredaSayMitchell; @katemosse; @RuthWareWriter #Marple @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK

Marple
By Agatha Christie; Naomi Alderman;
Leigh Bardugo; Alyssa Cole; Lucy Foley;
Elly Griffiths; Natalie Haynes; Jean Kwok; Val McDermid; Karen M. McManus; Dreda Say Mitchell; Kate Mosse; Ruth Ware

 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been given the wonderful opportunity to read and review Marple, thanks to Harper Fiction/Harper Collins. I myself have read all of the Miss Marple (and Poirot) books and watched many on tv in their many incarnations too.


Blurb


A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.

This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.
· Naomi Alderman
· Leigh Bardugo
· Alyssa Cole
· Lucy Foley
· Elly Griffiths
· Natalie Haynes
· Jean Kwok
· Val McDermid
· Karen M. McManus
· Dreda Say Mitchell
· Kate Mosse
· Ruth Ware

Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.

Review

Miss Marple, at first glance, just some old nosy, but endearing woman in St. Mary’s Meed. In reality, she is a warm, astute woman who isn’t anything to do with the police as such, but gets involved in solving all sorts of crimes and delivering her findings to the often unamused police who put up with her; after all, she is always right and knows how to track down the clues and gets the results.

Agatha Christie created around 25 stories surrounding her character – Miss Marple, all complete within themselves and can often be seen within collections or as solo books. They have also been created into tv dramas by at least 5 different actors playing her at various times. She is the ultimate “Queen of Crime!” A title that was bestowed upon her some time ago and is still true today. She has become the benchmark for cosy crime and the author, many of her contemporaries have also clearly studied, admired and been inspired by. The authors involved have all created their own novels and characters within their own right before this book emerged.

Each author, even though they have their original ideas, seems to have respect for Agatha Christie and Miss Marple. This nicely comes through when reading each story. I was excited to receive this book, but also had an air of trepidation as anyone might when other people write with such a well-known character, but that quickly fell away. Each author has their own spin on things, but each has got the essence of Agatha Christie’s writing down rather well. They have captured the personality of Miss Marple and her quirks and created contemporary, twisty crimes to solve. They’ve managed to retain that immersive quality of trying to guess whodunnit that each Christie story has.

It is a good book for people who either have a love of Miss Marple or to introduce and inspire people to read this and then delve into the original stories.

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#Review by Lou of The Cruise By Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #TheCruise #BlogTour #HolidayRead #ChristmasRead

The Cruise
By Catherine Cooper

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for Catherine Cooper’s latest mystery thriller – The Cruise, thanks to Random T. Tours and Harper Collins. Join a deadly glamorous trip of a lifetime and follow the passengers to discover the culprit. It’s a great murder mystery as we approach the festive season of Christmas and New Year. Discover the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, everyone on board becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished?

Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Review

Immanis is is highly glamorous and very large cruise ship captained by Leo. It oozes glamour and the height of sophistication from the start. Just the amount of bars and restaurants are enough to make me gasp! It is a joy to read of such sumptuous surroundings. The cruise ship is so huge, on one hand you’d think it would be hard for someone to go completely missing, with people knowing traveller’s names, and yet on the other hand, so easy as people go about their new year holiday in the Caribbean and because there are so many and it’s so huge. Lola, one of the crew mysteriously goes missing. Superintendent Bailey and Bill are on the case to discover what happened to her, using all the technology they have at their disposal and by conducting the necessary interviews.
There’s also a lot of speculation surrounding her disappearance amongst the crew. It’s also interesting to read about things from the ship’s doctor’s point of view.

The mystery also takes readers to Inverness, a city in the north of Scotland. The book also whisks readers back to 2013, Catford in London. Then the timeline moves again to 2016, a very interesting year and when more of the story comes together, so it’s worth sticking with. It’s intriguing and it intensifies as the story goes on. Between the past and present, it all becomes rather twisty with an unexpected ending.

#BookReview By Lou of A Spoonful of Murder By J.M. Hall #JMHall @AvonBooksUK @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction #Mystery #BookRecommendation

A Spoonful of Murder
By J.M. Hall

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Spoonful of Murder is an engrossing, enjoyable cosy crime with an edge, full of former teachers who have started a coffee club, who become unlikely sleuths. Readers are in for a treat! Take a look at the blurb and my review. Thanks so much to Avon Books for gifting me this in a “care package” at the online Avon Books Showcase in 2021, I was kindly invited to and thoroughly enjoyed seeing what was coming in 2022.

A Spoonful of Murder

Blurb

Retirement can be murder…

A Spoonful of Murder 1Every Thursday, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But one fateful week, as they are catching up with a slice of cake, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy.

By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.

The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become involved in a murder.

But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…

Sit down with a cup of tea, a slice of cake and this perfectly witty, page-turning cosy crime novel. 

Review

There is something in the air about Thursdays. It is becoming an increasingly dangerous day as the years pass by. I am now thinking I perhaps had better watch my back on Thursdays, you just never know what might occur or whether you might end the day dead or alive or involved in trying to solve a murder! First came The Thursday Murder Club and now comes a group of retired teachers in a Spoonful of Murder, and here is where any similarity (except genre of course, ceases and it comes into its own and is also a very enjoyable to read. It’s mysterious and humorous throughout its twisty and entertaining plot.

The retired teachers are an interesting bunch of characters that the more you delve in, the more you want to know about them. There is Liz, who likes David Essex and takes care of her grandson when she picks him up on Fridays Thelma who does a stint in a charity shop and Pat who does shopping on Fridays, meet every Thursday at Thirsk Garden Centre, Yorkshire, for coffee and cake as they set up a Coffee Club. There would be Monday and Tuesday free, but there’s a funny reason that seems perfectly justifiable as to why not those days… The idea of a coffee club sounds great! It is all innocent enough as they sit around talking about life and their former school, giving insights into their personalities and what they do the other days of the week as they do so. Then there is Topsy, who they go to visit, who sadly isn’t keeping so well and there are health and there are financial troubles and large sums exiting her account… and then, she is dead. Unintentionally the retired teachers are caught up in this to discover the murderer. There is also Topsy’s daughter, who Thelma almost witheringly rips through for what she was doing before her mum died and about care, or lack of. There are some poignant moments, dilemmas as well as secrets and deceptions. These unintentional sleuths probe and investigate what happened to a woman they once knew.

As the mystery continues, this becomes increasingly engrossing and enjoyable. You get to know everyone fairly fast. This, I feel, may be the beginning of what will hopefully become a series about the retired teachers and the murders they get involved in solving. It’s cosy crime with an edge to it with its insalubrious characters. It has clues abound that you will want to follow throughout to keep guessing who the killer is, through the light humour and warmth that is also sprinkled in the book. A Spoonful of Murder is good for cosying up with a cup of coffee and easing yourself into a book for an afternoon or two.

 

#Review Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery by Rosalie Knecht @rosalieknecht @verve_books @holliemcdevitt @OldCastleBooks #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #FemaleSpyBook

Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery
By Rosalie Knecht

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This series is getting better. It started with Who Is Vera Kelly? Now she is back with Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery. It is a fun, easy-going spy story, asy to get into and stay with and soak up that film noir atmosphere it creates some of within its entertaining plot.

Thanks to Hollie McDevitt for inviting me to review Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery and for sending me a copy of the book.

Vera Kelly is not a mystery

Blurb

Recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine Vera Kelly finds herself travelling from Brooklyn to a sprawling
countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator. When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective. Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark
memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape.
Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the
Caribbean. Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar.
In this exciting second instalment of the ‘splendid genre-pushing’ (People) Vera Kelly series, Rosalie Knecht
challenges and deepens the Vera we love: a woman of sparkling wit, deep moral fibre, and martini-dry humour who knows how to follow a case even as she struggles to follow her heart.

Review

Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery is the second in this P.I. series. It’s a bad day when you lose your job in the CIA and girlfriend in a single day, but this is what happened to Vera and so she joined a Private Investigator business. Vera Kelly is essentially a female detective series that has a bit of that 1960’s film noir feel to it, which is all encompassing and can almost be breathed in as if that were possible. There are some of the uphill struggles to be recognised as a strong contender in detective work and yet she gives as good as she gets to prove herself and to get the job done in, sometimes a lively manner.

There is a child who was taken away by the state welfare system because of the death of his gran and this propmts a search to find out what happened to him. From Brooklyn to Dominican Republic and back to New York, she must travel if she is to resolve the case. Amongst this is also the personal life of Vera that creeps in and it isn’t always plain-sailing and she does at times show her softer side as her unfortunate failed love-life affects her here and there.

Pages glide by when reading this series as it is so succinct and is mysterious enough to want to know what happened to the 14 year old boy. The writing is also atmospheric and the details add to this and feel right for this genre. The humour carries it a long too, even though it is as dry as it gets. It’s a gem of a read that can be “got into” very quickly and I read it in one sitting.

The book is all set up and ready to go for Book Clubs. It has a few insightful questions that groups can discuss and debate to do with the book, the era it is set in and more…

Vera Kelly is not a Mystery - BLOG TOUR POSTER

#BookReview by #Lou of Murderous Passions by B.R. Statham @brstateham @HenryRoiPR #CrimeFiction

Murderous Passions
By B.R. Statham
Rated: 4 stars ****

Sinister and intrigue between the pages of Murderous Passions.

Thank you to Henry Roi for contacting me to review Murderous Passions on-be-half of his represented author – B.R. Statham.
Read on for the blurb, review and link.

Blurb

Two cops. Four homicides. One case involves a college professor and six thousand suspects. The second involves a dead farm girl, a dead gigolo, and a grieving housewife. The third is a jewel thief who likes to play with big caliber guns. The fourth involves a drug-crazed hoodlum with a killer’s desire to challenge the world. It is just another working day for Detective Sergeants Turner Hahn and Frank Morales.

Murderous Passions

 

Review

A tinkle on the piano may never seem as innocent again. Strike up the music and take away a piano string from the note of C and the author presents it as, not a thing of beauty for music to be made, but a very murderous instrument for garroting. It all gets very messy and macabre for someone known to Anderson University. Frank Morales and a couple of “on the beat” officers Alonzo Gonzales and Tubby Charles are on the case to such a murder, which is gruesomely described at the beginning of the book. The book then turns to the classic whodunnit mystery as it weaves through university-life within the Science faculty, focusing, especially on the professors within the Chemistry and Physics departments. The faculty was somewhat surprising as I had automatically assumed it would be within a music department, but as it isn’t so obvious, it adds to the intrigue.

It all happened in the science department of the university and there are a good few candidates of who could have committed such a murder or may know something within the department. It’s all pretty well described in a sometimes sinister way as the plot takes readers to a plethora of characters who are questioned. The university is also worried about the publicity the case could get and in-turn, its reputation, which could be in question over other serious misadventures within the very faculty that is under investigation for the murder.

Certain aspects feel a little overly described, but mostly it plunges readers deeper into the life of the characters and the mystery and sails by at a decent pace as you play detective, trying to work out what the motive really is and who committed such a murder as theories the police put together are torn apart here and there at the seams and holes appear, adding to some twists and turns.

There’s a political bent to this book about gang crimes and policing. The book certainly packs a lot in and shows certain parts of modern times and what’s happening on the streets.

Murder is twisted, but this one seems more so as more questions to do with how the victim was killed and more, are thrown out there for the police to work out. It’s interesting to read about the police pondering over different suspects and who may have motive.

The book keeps you guessing as motives and behaviours present themselves, one suspect at a time until quite a twist, that has a tone and turn of phrase, that may well leave readers with a shudder about at least one of them.

The last paragraph, both within the context of the book and outwith context of the book is both profound and thought-provoking.

Social Media Link

Twitter: @brstateham

 

The Geometry of Holding Hands By Alexander McCall Smith @McCallSmith #IsabelleDalhousie #Fiction #NewBook

The Geometry of Holding Hands
By Alexander McCall Smith
Rated: 5 stars *****

Part of the Dalhousie series, set in Edinburgh, The Geometry of Holding Hands is rather sweet in the love portrayed in the relationship between Isabelle and Jamie, her husband. The Geometry of Hands is explained at the end, but throughout the book it shows the largeness and complexities of life as well as a kindness for others.
I thank
Read on to find the blurb and full review.

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Blurb

Isabel finds herself entangled in some tricky familial and financial situations that will require all of her kindness, charm, and philosophical expertise to navigate.

Just when Isabel and Jamie finally seem to have some time to connect and unwind, a wealthy Edinburgh resident reaches out to Isabel with an unusual request—he would like her to become the executor of his large Highland estate. Though Isabel initially demurs, he presses on. He has only a short time to live, and, without any direct heirs, is struggling to determine which of his three cousins would be the best caretaker. Should it go to the bohemian artist, the savvy city property developer, or the quiet, unassuming bachelor?

As if this weren’t enough to keep Isabel occupied, she’s also spending more time helping her niece Cat at the deli. Cat, perennially unlucky in love, seems to have finally found her match in the leonine Leo. But Isabel is beginning to suspect that Leo might be interested in more than Cat’s charms, namely her access to the family trust. Isabel will need to rely upon remarkable reserves of intelligence and compassion in order to give all parties exactly what they want and deserve—no more, and no less.

Review

The Geometry of Holding Hands is the latest charming book in the Philosophy Club/Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith.

Isabelle, her husband Jamie and young son – Magnus create a charming family and possess some natural wit. It’s also as intelligent and philosophical as ever as they contemplate the poet Wilfred Owen. There is also some contemplation over money matters and their employment too, with Jamie earning a bit from being a musician/music teacher and Isabelle being the editor of the Review, dealing with many authors. All the sudden angst and wondering if they really deserve the nice things in life, begins with them going to a fancy restaurant – Casa Trimalchio. Alexander McCall Smith captures this part of the “human condition” very well and so naturally for his characters. Even though they clearly have money to do the nice treats in life, these characters are always ones that are relatable, whatever your standing in society is and are easy to feel compassion for. This is testament to the writing and thought that goes into it.

There is plenty for readers to contemplate in this book and ponder over, such as the army and also letting people live however they see fit. It’s all done in a philosophical, gentle way.

Casa Trimalchio is an Italian restaurant in Edinburgh where everyone with a “name” for themselves, seems to go and you never know who you may be sitting in the company of, including people caught up or have caused quite a scandal.

Balancing home-life, the job at the Review and Cat’s needs becomes more complex for Isabelle. When Cat and Leo’s lives become even more entangled it strains things even more complicated and then there’s Eddie in the equation too. Isabelle begins to wonder about where boundaries should be drawn without upsetting anyone.

Isabelle and Cat both have a trust that has helped Cat set up her delicatessen, whom she helps out at times of necessity, whether she really has the time to or not. I like that level of kindness that is displayed within her character. It’s a lovely sounding deli with its charcuterie etc, where she encounters Iain Melrose whom she saw in the restaurant. He’s impressed by things she did and said in the restaurant as she shown some integrity and morals and also a sign of a certain courage and strength of character. Isabelle is a character that is so well-developed in a positive, caring way which is enjoyable to read. Iain Melrose is an interesting character to explore and lived quite a life and it is explained why he is looking for someone who seems right to become executer of the estate. The estate he describes has quite a history to it. McCall Smith ensures that readers really can understand the nature of an event or circumstance and the characters presented within them in good detail, without over-doing it. He treads this fine-line well and keeps a relaxed pace. The fact that characters don’t have a continuous strict linear line from one philosophical thought or event to the next keeps the flow feeling natural and smooth. There is also a strong thread of plotline maintained throughout it.