I’m sharing my review for brand new cosy crime A Date to Die For by E.V Hunter #cosycrime

Here’s the blurb

The start of brand-new Cozy Crime series! Welcome to Hopgood Hall.

An unlikely duo…

When investigative journalist, Alexi Ellis, falls victim to cutbacks, she and Cosmo, her anti-social feral cat, head for beautiful Hopgood Hall, where they plan to lick their wounds in the boutique hotel run by her old friends, Cheryl and Drew Hopgood.

A missing woman…

But when she arrives Alexi discovers Cheryl and Drew both distraught. Their close friend, Natalie Parker, who recently settled in the area, has gone missing. Alexi’s sure the woman has just taken a trip somewhere, but she still has a nose for a story and agrees to look into it.

A case to solve!

So too does ex-Met Police detective turned private eye, Jack Maddox. Natalie Parker had been using his sister’s online dating agency and Jack needs to find her before his sister’s business is ruined.

Reluctantly, Alexi, Jack – and Cosmo! – join forces to find out what happened to Natalie. But soon they discover secrets that someone desperately wants to make sure are never revealed!

Purchase Link

https://amzn.to/3HiFHso

My Review

A Date to Die For by E V Hunter is a fast-paced, modern-day cosy mystery.

The two main characters, well three if we include our side-kick, Cosmo, the cat, are well-sketched. Alexi has run away from her old life in the city to her friends in the country. Jack already has a new life in the country. They’re both city bods, suddenly faced with the world of equestrian shenanigans; one a journalist and one an ex-police officer working as a private investigator. And Cosmo, is well, Cosmo. He’s an unusual cat who likes to travel and has no problem being on a leash.

The author has such an engaging writing style. I actually couldn’t believe how quickly I read the pages, the mystery burbling away as the point of view switches between the two main characters so that the reader gets to know them and begins to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of Natalie, the woman who ran a local flower delivery company, but who hasn’t been seen for days.

Events take a slightly darker turn as the story progresses. The mystery itself is well-developed, and while there is one particular scene that might have every reader shouting, ‘No, don’t do that,’ I found the resolution to be satisfying and twisty enough that I’d never have guessed it.

A twisty, tightly-plotted cosy mystery, with a fabulous writing style. Very enjoyable.

Meet the Author

E.V. Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and revenge thrillers as Evie Hunter. She is now redirecting her talents to produce cosy murder mysteries. For the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.

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(This post contains an Amazon affililate link)

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Isabella Muir and her new novel, A Notable Omission, to the blog with a fab post about historical research #blogtour

A Notable Omission is the seventh novel from Isabella Muir – all of them set during the 1960s and 1970s.  Here Isabella Muir provides some insight into one particular resource that helped her set the story in this particular historical period…

Having fun with historical research

Online research is fun, of course, but right now I’m saying thank goodness for libraries!  With all my novels being set during those iconic decades of the 1960s and 1970s I’ve built up a broad range of resources to support my research into all things ‘sixties’. And along the way, in my local library, I tracked down a fascinating book.  The Neophiliacs was written by Christopher Booker and published in 1969.  It turns out that it is now out of print and Amazon are asking over £100 for a copy!  So, you can imagine my delight when my wonderful library managed to retrieve a copy from their ‘rare and out-of-print’ books.

Wanting to find out more about Christopher Booker, I did what many do nowadays in these times of instant ‘information’ – I Googled him.  I discovered that back in 1961 he became the founder and one of the early editors of the satirical magazine Private Eye.  He was the first jazz critic for the Sunday and Daily Telegraph and continued as a weekly columnist for the Telegraph right up to 2019, when he finally retired at the age of 81.  As well as The Neophiliacs Booker has written a number of books studying British society, as well as commenting on wider issues, such as the European Union.  Some of his views regarding climate change, health issues, such as the dangers of asbestos and cigarettes, have been controversial; he would appear to be someone who is not afraid to say what he thinks, even if it means going against the grain.

However, as much as Mr Booker and I do not see eye-to-eye over such issues as climate change, his insight into the long-term implications of social change during the 1950s and 1960s have really struck a chord with me.

This paragraph in particular made me sit up and think:

‘…the twentieth century has also provided two other factors to aggravate and to feed the general neurosis; the first being the image-conveying apparatus of films, radio, television, advertising, mass-circulation newspapers and magazines; the second the feverishly increased pace of life, from communications and transport to the bewildering speed of change and innovation, all of which has created a profound subconscious restlessness which neurotically demands to be assuaged by more speed and more change of every kind.’

From: THE NEOPHILIACS: A STUDY OF THE REVOLUTION IN ENGLISH LIFE IN THE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES BY CHRISTOPHER BOOKER

Of course, now in 2023 the desire for speed is all around us – from the need for ever faster broadband, to high-speed rail links and non-stop Transatlantic flights.  Some will point out that the changes started when the Industrial Revolution resulted in horse-drawn carriages and ploughs being replaced with the engine and the first railways.  Social change is ongoing, but it does appear that some eras are more significant than others.

What is fascinating is to realise that at least sixty or seventy years ago Booker was able to identify ‘restlessness’ as it was happening, knowing that people would need more of the same, on and on until we reach the present day addiction to online and social media, where we constantly flick through images to gratify our seemingly ever reducing attention span.

Sadly, when my loan period expired, I had to return The Neophiliacs to the library, but not before making copious notes. Notes that helped no end as I drafted A Notable Omissionand insights that I hope have helped to set the scene for the novel, transporting readers back to an era when the pace of life was a tad gentler than it is today.

Here’s the blurb

A 1970s debate on equality is overshadowed by a deadly secret…

Spring 1970. Sussex University is hosting a debate about equality for women. But when one of the debating group goes missing, attention turns away from social injustice to something more sinister.

It seems every one of the group has something to hide, and when a second tragedy occurs, two of the delegates – amateur sleuth Janie Juke, and reporter Libby Frobisher – are prepared to make themselves unpopular to flush out the truth. Who is lying and why?

Alongside the police investigation, Janie and Libby are determined to prise answers from the tight-lipped group, as they find themselves in a race against time to stop another victim being targeted.

In A Notable Omission we meet Janie at the start of a new decade. When we left Janie at the end of The Invisible Case she was enjoying her new found skills and success as an amateur sleuth. Here we meet her a few months later, stealing a few days away from being a wife and mother, attending a local conference on women’s liberation to do some soul-searching…

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Notable-Omission-Janie-Juke-mystery-ebook/dp/B0BQCLRYS6

US – https://www.amazon.com/Notable-Omission-Janie-Juke-mystery-ebook/dp/B0BQCLRYS6

Meet the author

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of family life in southern England in past decades – specifically those years from the Second World War through to the early 1970s. Researching all aspects of life back then has formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. It was during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing when Isabella rekindled her love of writing fiction and since then she has gone on to publish seven novels, six novellas and two short story collections.

This latest novel, A Notable Omission, is the fourth book in her successful Sussex Crime Mystery series, featuring young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. The early books in the series are set in the late 1960s in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, where we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. This latest novel in the series is set along the south coast in Brighton in early 1970, a time when young people were finding their voice and using it to rail against social injustice.

As well as four novels, there are six novellas in the series, set during the Second World War, exploring some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s love of Italy shines through all her work and, as she is half-Italian, she has enjoyed bringing all her crime novels to an Italian audience with Italian translations, which are very well received.

Isabella has also written a second series of Sussex Crimes, set in the sixties, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

Find out more about Isabella and her books by visiting her website at: http://www.isabellamuir.com

Connect with Isabella

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Happy publication day to Murder in Chianti by TA Williams #cosymystery #NewRelease

Here’s the blurb

The brand new instalment in bestselling author T. A. Williams’ Armstrong and Oscar cozy mystery series!

A brand new cozy crime series set in gorgeous Tuscany…It’s murder in paradise!

Murder in broad daylight…

When millionaire magnate, Rex Hunter is found with his head bashed in on the eighth hole of his prestigious golf and country club in beautiful Chianti, it’s a clear case of murder. Hunter was rich and successful and the envy of many, so retired DCI Dan Armstrong thinks the case will be a hole in one to solve….

A despised victim…

But as Dan and his trusty sidekick Oscar begin to dig deeper into Hunter’s lifestyle, they discover a man despised by many. A renowned womaniser, ruthless boss and heartless family man, it seems no one is particularly sorry to see Hunter dead. And the list of possible suspects is endless…

A murderer covering their tracks.

Dan is determined to catch this clever killer, but it seems every new lead brings another dead end. Will this be one case Dan and his canine companion won’t solve?

Purchase Link 

https://amzn.to/405IRYR

My Review

Murder in Chianti is the second book in the Armstrong and Oscar series of cosy crime stories set in modern-day Italy.

I thoroughly enjoyed book 1, and book 2 is even better. Now that Dan is living in Tuscany and is known as someone the local police can call on for assistance, the story can focus much more on the mystery to be solved.

And what a mystery this one is. For ages, it seemed as though no resolution could ever be found. Everything Armstrong and Oscar uncovered contradicted something else they already knew, and wow, there are many characters that the reader could suspect of the foul deed. There were several ‘big reveal’ moments, and when the ‘big reveal’ moment finally arrived for real, I was annoyed that I’d not thought of it before. After all, and looking back, the clues were certainly there, but very well concealed.

A thoroughly entertaining and well-plotted cosy mystery. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy.

Check out my review for book 1, Murder in Tuscany.

Meet the author

T A Williams is the author of over twenty bestselling romances for HQ and Canelo and is now turning his hand to cosy crime, set in his beloved Italy, for Boldwood. The series will introduce us to retired DCI Armstrong and his labrador Oscar and the first book, entitled Murder in Tuscany, will be published in October 2022. Trevor lives in Devon with his Italian wife.

Connect with T A Williams

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

(This post contains an Amazon affiliate link)

I’m delighted to share my review for Death at Crookham Hall by Michelle Salter #historicalmystery #cosycrime #highlyrecommended

Here’s the blurb

A fatal jump. A missing suffragette. An inexplicable murder.

London, 1920. When she catches news of a big story, reporter Iris Woodmore rushes to the House of Commons. But it’s a place that holds painful memories. In 1914, her mother died there when she fell into the River Thames during a daring suffragette protest. But in the shadow of Big Ben, a waterman tells Iris her mother didn’t fall – she jumped.

Iris discovers that the suffragette with her mother that fateful day has been missing for years, disappearing just after the protest. Desperate to know the truth behind the fatal jump, Iris’s investigation leads her to Crookham Hall, an ancestral home where secrets and lies lead to murder…

Purchase Link

 https://amzn.to/3DuWBSw

My Review

Death at Crookham Hall is an incredibly well-written historical mystery set in 1920, both in London and Walden.

Our intrepid young report, Iris, finding work as a reporter for the local newspaper, begins to discover much she doesn’t know about her mother’s untimely death following a visit to the House of Parliament.

Iris is a great character, modern but not too modern – wearing trousers is fine, but wearing a dress short enough to show her thighs is too shocking – and she finds herself desperate to gather together the unknown strands of her mother’s death.

This is a really well-written story, interspersed with fascinating tit-bits of information both about the suffragettes and their sister organisation, the suffrage societies, and where the focus is very much on the women of their time, from the lady to the laundry-maid. It’s a very compelling tale, on occasion, fast-paced. Everything Iris does brings her some new information, and her role as a reporter means she gets to interview all of the main suspects without the narration feeling forced.

The resolution of the mystery feels particularly well constructed, and I just thoroughly enjoyed the story. A fabulous, well-written, mystery that holds all the promise of much more to come for young Iris and her fellow reporter, as well as the local policeman, Ben, and her friend, Alice, in Walden.

Meet the author

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

Connect with Michelle  

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I’m delighted to feature Matthew Jones’ new book, Dancing with the Devil on the blog #blogtour #mystery

Here’s the blurb

A wealthy oligarch, a failing business and a man who sacrificed everything for one final shot at freedom.

When Danny accepts a job from wealthy Conrad Szekely to spy on his business partner, Jerry, he finds himself with a world of trouble. Within days of Danny’s arrival, the business is destroyed in a catastrophic fire, which also claims Jerry’s life.

Torn between conflicting interests, Danny starts to suspect that Jerry’s business had been anything but straightforward, and finds himself trapped in a spiral of treachery and lies, which rapidly begins to degenerate into a cat and mouse chase across the fens.

With former allies turning violently against him, Danny tries to solve the mystery that surrounds Jerry’s death. But can Danny find the answers when those answers themselves prove lethal?

Purchase Links

Amazon

Until 10th February the ebook is available for only £1.99 

Waterstones

WHSmiths

Bookshop.org

Hive.co.uk

Blackwells

Until 10th February, the paperback can be purchased directly from Troubador with a 25% discount for only £7.49 using this code at checkout – RRRDANCING 

Meet the author

Aged 60 (will be 61 at time of blog tour). Married with 3 children (and grandchild). Consultant paediatric and neonatal surgeon at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. Have always been an avid reader. Hobbies = outdoor swimming (former long-distance swimmer), hillwalking, painting (did cover illustration myself). Used to play rugby, but sadly no longer. Still enjoy faded prog-rock bands from the nineteen-seventies. 

I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Tony Bassett’s new novel, Out for Revenge #blogtour #mystery

Here’s the blurb:

When notorious gangland boss Tadeusz Filipowski is released from prison, several people start looking over their shoulder.

A volatile character, not shy of picking fights, Filipowski plans to expand his drugs empire and put his competitors on a backfoot. That’s until he turns up dead. Very dead.

DS Sunita Roy of the Heart of England police is handed the case but it’s a challenge to find the killer of a man with so many enemies.

DCI Gavin Roscoe would lend more support but he is busy nailing down suspicions of corruption plaguing the force.


Soon, however, the investigations will bump into one another. And unless Roy and Roscoe can get to the bottom of the mystery, they could well become the next victims.

OUT FOR REVENGE is the fourth gripping standalone mystery in the Detectives Roy and Roscoe crime fiction series by Tony Bassett.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BK9PJLHK/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BK9PJLHK/

EXTRACT FROM  OUT FOR REVENGE BY TONY BASSETT

A serial killer is being driven to Birmingham Crown Court in a prison van, escorted by police, to give evidence for the prosecution in a murder case. But armed members of a criminal gang, including one of two corrupt detectives, are lying in ambush, ready to free the prisoner from custody.

Detective Sergeant Bains flicked off the car radio. He glanced towards the driver sitting beside him, Tahir Khan. They had turned off the main Pershore Road in Edgbaston and were parked in a black Audi Q7, which had tinted rear and side windows, a few metres along a side road, Brunel Way, close to Calthorpe Park.

‘Shouldn’t be long now,’ Bains remarked. ‘I’ve got three guys on look-out and we should hear from them the minute the convoy appears.’

‘Bloody cold today,’ moaned Khan, who like Bains was wearing suitably dark clothing.

‘Yes, but at least it’s stopped raining.’

‘Why did you decide we should stop here? I’d have thought it would’ve been easier to do this little job in a quiet country lane.’

‘Well, Seymour found out the main route they usually take up from the Vale is along the A441 and then they take the inner ring road. They’re mainly fast roads and, of course, there’s a chance they’d be on a blue light. The only part of the journey where they’re forced to slow down is here. They turn off the Pershore Road and use this street as a cut-through to Bristol Road at the other end. So this is our only chance before they hit the dual carriageway.’

‘How does Seymour know they always come along here?

‘We’ve got an insider. The prison driver’s wife used to live round here, so he’s very familiar with the area. There’s an added bonus for us – there aren’t many shops round here, so there’s not much in the way of CCTV.’

Just then Bains’ mobile phone rang. It was Leroy, one of the new gang members Blake had recently taken on. The sergeant looked at his watch.

‘What did you say, Leroy? … It’s just coming up to twenty past one and they’ve just passed the zoo at Cannon Hill? … OK, thanks, mate,’ said Bains as he ended the call.

‘I’ll just let the brothers know,’ he told Khan, while pressing buttons on his phone.

‘Hello, is that Gabriel? … Hi, it’s Phil. They’ll be here in a couple of minutes. Are you both ready? … Good. Don’t forget to dispose of your phone afterwards … OK, so you know exactly what to do? … Good man!’

The minutes ticked by. The two men put black balaclavas over their heads. The sergeant, who had a Beretta pistol on his lap, was becoming nervous. The adrenalin was beginning to flow. He kept glancing over his shoulder at Khan’s sawn-off shotgun on the back seat and watching in the side mirror as the traffic passed slowly along the Pershore Road behind.

Suddenly they became aware of a siren in the distance. The noise became louder until the pair spotted a glimmering blue light near the junction. Khan flashed his headlights on and off to alert Gabriel and Dominik Nowak – who were two hundred metres ahead at the entrance to the Bedford housing estate. The Nowaks started up their hired box lorry and waited in anticipation just a few metres back from Brunel Way.

Within seconds, a police motorcycle appeared at the Pershore Road junction, where its rider halted briefly to cast his eyes around. Then he set off along the cut-through.

After he had travelled at least a hundred metres up the street, two constables in a police Ford Focus with its siren blaring turned the corner, followed closely by a white prison van with blacked-out windows. A solitary officer in a police Range Rover brought up the rear.

The motorcyclist continued past the entrance on the right to the Bedford estate, but no sooner had he gone by than the eighteen-tonne lorry lurched across the road, at once separating the rider from the police car.

The lorry careered directly in front of the car driver – forcing him to slam on his brakes.

The van driver behind was compelled to do the same. The lorry, which was eleven metres long, completely blocked the road. Despite the police driver turning off his siren and hooting his horn instead, the man in the cab made no attempt to shift it.

Then, just as the constable was thinking of stepping out of the car to have words with the driver, he was stunned into shock. Part of the lorry’s blue webbing was hauled back and a man in a black balaclava strode across the lorry’s floor – like an actor taking to the stage in a chilling melodrama.

What really caught the attention of the two officers in the Focus was that the slim man, Dominik Nowak, was grasping a double-barrelled shotgun. He pointed his menacing weapon at the car’s windscreen, ordering the constables to remain inside.

Meet the author

I am a semi-retired journalist who was born in West Kent. While growing up, I spent hours reading and writing, and, from an early age, nursed an ambition to become first a journalist and then novelist. My theory was that, in order to write novels, one had to have life experiences to colour one’s writing and one could obtain those experiences through journalism.

I was fortunate enough to be named Time-Life Magazine Student Journalist of the Year in 1971 in a competition organised by the National Union of Students. At the time, I was editing the student newspaper at Hull University, where I gained a BA Honours degree in History and Political Studies.

After six years working on provincial newspapers in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff, I became a freelance journalist in London. For 24 years, I was a reporter on the staff of the Sunday People (now part of Reach plc, formerly Trinity Mirror). Over the years, I sold tens of thousands of stories to the national newspapers, including the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Star, Daily Telegraph and London Evening Standard. I helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial at the Old Bailey for the Evening Standard. I broke the news in a Sun newspaper exclusive in April 1989 that Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones guitarist aged 52, was to marry 18-year-old Mandy Smith. I bought 200 blank MOT forms to expose a trade in fake certificates.

My speciality was tracking people down. For instance, I found evidence about Rod Stewart’s secret love child Sarah Streeter by tracing a retired adoption agent through a library ticket. On one occasion, I took an escaped gangster back to prison. Some of my stories can be read on my website (see below); others are generally available online. For thirty years, I was also employed as a birth and marriage researcher mainly for the Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and The Sun.

I have a grown-up son and four grown-up daughters who all live in South Wales.

Connect with Tony

www.tonybassettauthor.com

www.twitter.com/tonybassett1

www.facebook.com/tony.bassett.92505  

www.instagram.com/tonyba1

Happy publication day to The Alewives by Elizabeth R Andersen #mystery #historicalmystery #newrelease Highly Recommended

Here’s the blurb

Colmar, 1353 CE

Gritta, Appel, and Efi managed to survive the Black Death, only to find that they are in desperate need of money. With limited options and lots of obstacles, they band together to become alewives – brewing and selling ale in the free Alsatian town of Colmar. But when an elderly neighbor is discovered dead in her house, the alewives cannot convince the sheriff and the town council that her death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. As the body count piles up, the ale flows and mystery is afoot!

Set in the tumultuous years after the most devastating pandemic the world has ever experienced, The Alewives is a playful romp through a dark time, when society was reeling from loss and a grieving population attempted to return to normal, proving that with the bonds of love, friendship, and humor, the human spirit will always continue to shine.

Purchase Link

My Review

The Alewives is a fantastically well-written murder mystery set in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death, with delightful characters and a sinister murderer and thief, at the heart of all the problems. Set in the tannery area of Colmar, something smells bad.

The three main characters of Gritta, Appel, and Efi are all glorious creations – Grita with her useless husband and horde of children (she had 12, you see), Appel with her mysterious nighttime activities, and young Efi, who has the sense of a young kid goat at the beginning of the tale.

This story is immersive and filled with just enough tension and humour to make even a story about those who survived the Black Death an absolute delight to read. The humour is well constructed, the antics of the three women, acting a little outside the ‘law’ in a deeply patriarchal society that doesn’t allow women to brew their own ale for profit, artfully created, and even the Friar, Wikerus, is a sympathetic character, in the end. The three women are put upon. Society is against them, as is the sheriff (all the male characters are dismissive of the women, but they get on with it, doing all they can to circumnavigate the obstacles placed in their path), and the church, and just about everyone else, but they triumph.

The mystery itself is really well constructed, as are the red herrings. I didn’t know who the culprit(s) (no spoilers here) were until the big reveal.

A short, sharp, snappy, hugely entertaining, medieval mystery that portrays the realities of life at the time, with just the right amount of humour to make it thoroughly entertaining. A well-deserved 5/5 from me!

Meet the Author

Elizabeth R. Andersen’s debut novel, The Scribe, launched in July of 2021. Although she spent many years of her life as a journalist, independent fashion designer, and overworked tech employee, there have always been two consistent loves in her life: writing and history. She finally decided to do something about this and put them both together.

Elizabeth lives in the Seattle area with her long-suffering husband and young son. On the weekends she usually hikes in the stunning Cascade mountains to hide from people and dream up new plotlines and characters.

– Join Elizabeth’s monthly newsletter and receive the first two chapters of The Scribe for free. Sign up at https://www.elizabethrandersen.com

– Find photos of hikes and daily author life at Elizabeth’s Instagram: @elizabethrandersen 

– Follow Elizabeth on Twitter for nerdy medieval history facts: @E_R_A_writes 

– Watch Elizabeth try to explain the weird, wonderful world of Medieval life on her TikTok channel: https://www.tiktok.com/@elizabethrandersen

Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Find my previous blog posts here for The Scribe and here for The Two Daggers Series.

Today, I’m welcoming Blood on the Tyne:Red Snow by Colin Garrow to the blog #blogtour #extract #review #mystery

Here’s the blurb:

A dead body. A hoard of forged banknotes. A gangster out for blood.

Newcastle, December 1955. Returning home after a weekend away, singer and amateur sleuth Rosie Robson discovers a man lying on a baggage trolley with his throat cut. After the police get involved, an attack on Rosie and her boss prompts Inspector Vic Walton to find a safe house for the pair. But the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of them and Rosie is forced to track down a possible witness to the murder in a bid to learn the truth. Can the canny crooner solve the mystery before a Newcastle gang boss catches up with her?  

Set on Tyneside, Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow is book #3 in the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries series.

Purchase Link – https://geni.us/3PKXkN

Extract from: Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow by Colin Garrow (contains some strong language)

Having tracked down the train station porter to a Gateshead apartment, Rosie and Frankie question him about money he stole from the dead man’s pocket. Finally admitting his crime, the porter hands over the money. But a man in a trench coat is watching the building:

Frankie wandered into the kitchen while I counted the notes. Three hundred and thirty pounds. I looked up at the porter. ‘Not worth getting killed over, is it?’

He worked his mouth for a minute. ‘Ye’re sayin it belongs to that Danny Fisher, are ye?’

I nodded.

‘Fuck.’

‘Know him, do you?’

‘Only by reputation.’ He pointed to the money. ‘So are yous gonna give it him back?’

I laughed. ‘Don’t be daft. This’ll go to the police.’

Martin’s eyes widened. He stared at me. ‘But what if Fisher thinks Ah’ve still got it?’

I hadn’t considered what the consequences might be for Martin if Fisher did track him down. I studied the carpet for a moment, thinking. ‘If he didn’t suspect you’d nicked it, he’d have no reason to come visiting, would he?’

He glared at me. ‘But ye said,’ stabbing the air with a grubby finger, ‘ye said if Ah didn’t talk to yous, Ah’d have to deal with Fisher.’

I shook my head. ‘I implied that if we were able to find you, sooner or later he would too.’

His eyes almost popped out of his head. ‘Jezaz Christ. So, he might still turn up here, eh?’

‘He might. But if no-one saw you take the cash, there’s nothing to worry about.’ I looked hard at him. ‘No-one didsee you, did they?’ I’d dismissed the idea that Fisher might’ve seen something while he’d been standing by the bridge on the station platform. If he had seen the porter messing with the body, he’d have been here already, and we’d likely have another dead body to deal with.

‘Oh, Christ, man.’ Martin threw his hands up in the air. ‘When Ah found the money, Ah shook so much Ah could hardly walk. Ye could’ve driven a steam train up me arse and Ah’d not have noticed.’

I tried not to laugh. Resting a hand on his arm, I said, ‘Look. We’ll tell the police where we got it and they’ll probably come round to speak to you. If you’re worried about anything—’

Frank grabbed my shoulder. ‘We’ve got a problem, bonny lass.’

I followed him back into the kitchen. The man in the trench coat stood in the lane, looking up at the flat. Now though, he had two more men with him. Behind him, Maurice’s car had been pushed out of its hiding place. 

‘Is that who I think it is?’

‘It’s not the fuckin Pied Piper, that’s for sure,’ said Frankie.

Back in the living room, I caught sight of Martin making for the front door.

‘I wouldn’t do that, Mr Sutherland,’ I called.

He turned and stared at me. ‘Well Ah’m not bloody stayin here to get me neck sliced open.’

‘No, and neither are we. Is there a fire escape?’

He paused. ‘Not from this building.’ He came back into the room. ‘If we could get onto the roof…’

‘The roof?’

‘Aye. The warehouse next door has a fire escape.’

Frankie pushed past me and opened the flat door. Me and Martin followed him. Gazing over the banister into the stairwell below, we peered into darkness. Everything seemed quiet.

‘D’you think—’

Frankie shushed me. Lowering his voice, he murmured, ‘There’s someone there.’

Turning to the porter, I whispered, ‘How do we get to the roof?’

I didn’t hear what Martin said, my attention focused on the shadowy figures sliding up the first flight of stairs towards us. 

My Review

Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow by Colin Garrow is an exciting murder mystery set in and around Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland in 1955.

Many of the locations are familiar to me, and I could quite happily trace Rosie’s journey upon discovering a body at Newcastle train station on her return from York.

This really is a fast-paced tale of murder, mayhem, forgery and gangsters. Rosie is headstrong even when embroiled in something far beyond her control. She’s resourceful and determined to find out the truth and stay alive.

Surrounding her is a great cast of supporting characters, and the story takes some quite unexpected twists and turns before reaching its conclusion.

As might be expected, there is some foul language throughout the book, and the author has also done a great job of ensuring the Geordie accent is prevalent throughout. Readers will quickly come to ‘hear’ the characters as well as read about them.

An entertaining read.

Meet the Author

True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. He has also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin’s published books include the Watson Letters series, the Terry Bell Mysteries and the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland.

Connect with Colin

Website (Adults)  Website (Children)  Amazon Author Page 

Twitter  Smashwords  Facebook  Bookbub 

2022 – A Reading Year in Review

Wow! I think 2022 has been the year that I read (and listened) to the most books EVER! As I write this, I’m up to 99 titles. I have some ‘holiday’ reading I’m keen to do as well – fingers crossed I make it to the magic 100 for the year (I am including audiobooks in this, and also my own books as I have to read them A LOT, and I’ve also been refreshing a few throughout the year as well.) Even so, I’ve read many, many books, across a number of different genres, but the predominant one has certainly been historical mysteries/cozy crime. I’ve found that this is my ‘happy’ place when trying not to think about my own books. And luckily, Boldwood Books (who publish the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles) have a huge collection of mystery writers, and they’ve autoapproved me on Netgalley, so I’ll never struggle to find something to read in my favourite genre.

As has been pointed out to me by a fellow author, I don’t often award a five star review to books. Indeed, while I do rate and review on Amazon and Goodreads, on the blog, I don’t tend to give a rating – I’m just quirky like that. Those books that I have given a five star to, I’ve given a shout out in the Aspects of History Books of 2022. You can find the link here – (of course, these are all historical fiction books) and The Capsarius, Valentia, Twelve Nights and The Maids of Biddenden made it onto that list (and yes, these are all books I was lucky enough to be asked to review on the blog – but I never automatically give a 5 star review just because of that). I also want to add Domitian by SJA Turney as well. I couldn’t include two of his books on Aspecs of History but Domitian is wonderful, just my sort of Roman story with plenty of politics, intrigue, and some fabulous characters.

Three of these books are indie-published, and I can assure you all, that there’s a huge amount of amazing indie stuff out there. Don’t believe me, try one of these titles:)

I’ve also treated myself to a bit of comedy this year. I’ve been listening to the Terry Pratchett Discworld audio books (the new and the original recordings – but not the abridged versions) and it’s reminded me of how much I love a funny book, and so, here are my favourite comedies of the year. Simon Whaley’s Foraging for Murder, Dead in Tune by Stephanie Dagg and Crazy for You by Domhnall O’Donoghue and Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett, which I’ve listened to twice!

In terms of cozy crime, I’ve found a few new series of which I’m certainly going to read more. Catherine Coles new 1940s historical mystery series, TA Williams‘ Armstrong and Oscar cosy series, Debbie Young’s St Brides Series, and Helen Golden’s Right Royal Cozy Investigations.

In terms of books set in ‘my’ time period, I’ve been reading Matthew Harffy, SJA Turney or maybe it’s a Simon Turney one (it’s the same author, in case you were confused), Peter Gibbons, Christopher Cervasco, Donovan Cook, Eric Schumacher, Paula De Fougerolles, Richard Cullen, and still historical but a little before and after, Robert M Kidd, Elizabeth R Andersen, Mark Knowles, Dan Jones and Kate Shanahan.

I’ve also dipped my toe into a few dual-timeline novels. As you might expect, my interest is always much more in the historical aspect of the story and not the modern settings, but they were a bit of fun when I was on holiday. The Witches Tree and The Storm Girl.

I’ve only read one fantasy book in 2022, which surprises me (aside from Discworld), but Mark Lawrence is one of my all-time favourite authors, and I will always read his books. The sneaky toad has a theme running through them all and I love it.

I’ve also read surprisingly few non-fiction books, in their entirety. I’ve been working on my non-fiction book and that’s meant a lot of dipping in and out of books I’ve already read. But, the non-fiction books I’ve read have been excellent, Michael Wood’s 40th anniversary of In Search of The Dark Ages, reviews for Aspects of History, Winter in the World by Eleanor Parker, also reviewed for Aspects of History and I also read my first ever writing guide.

And an entirely new genre for me, but one I was strangely drawn to for the location, which is close to where I grew up – a bit of Gangland.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my reviews on the blog. And I’d like to that the publishers that let me read advanced copies, and also, all the writers I’ve mentioned who’ve taken the time to craft these novels so that I can devour them. Now, I need to get back to my reading to make sure I hit that magic 100!

I’m delighted to be hosting Not Mushroom for Death by Helen Golden on the blog #cosycrime #blogtour

Here’s the blurb:

TV Chef Luca Mazza Dies After Collapse at Food Show on the King’s Private Estate

Luca Mazza (38), who was taken ill during a food demonstration at the Fenn House Food and Wine Festival two days ago, is now known to have ingested poison. Lady Beatrice (36), the king’s niece, who is working on a refurbishment project at Fenn House with her business partner Perry Juke (34), is believed to be comforting Luca’s boss and close friend Sebastiano Marchetti (38), who she began dating last month.

Is he crazy? Why else would Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam suggest that Sebastiano poisoned Luca without any evidence? So now, with the help of her little dog Daisy and her best friends Perry and Simon, Lady Beatrice will have to prove to Mr Know-it-all Fitzwilliam that Seb is innocent. But with so many people having access to the food preparation area at the show how will she find out who did murder Luca before Fitzwilliam lets his personal dislike get the better of him and arrests Seb?

Purchase Links 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

Not Mushroom for Murder is the third book in the Right Royal Cozy Investigations series of books, which is fast becoming one of my favourites. This time, the death of renowned chef Luca brings Lady Rossex and her nemesis Fitzwilliam back into conflict. And by now, it really is only Lady Bea herself who’s oblivious to the attraction between the pair of them, as she determines to clear the name of her beau, Seb, even though doubts about their relationship are growing in her mind.

As to be expected from this series, Perry, Simon, and Daisy are instrumental in helping Lady Bea solve the case, which is a particularly nasty and premeditated one, and while they’re busy determining who’s responsible, factoring in a tricky love pentagon (or something like that, I can’t remember how many people are involved:)) there are also developments in Lady Bea’s personal life and a few little snippets about the case all fans of the series will want solved, what really happened on THAT fateful night 14 years ago. I really enjoy the pesky online news outlet where we get all those juicy snippets of gossip, as well. It’s a lovely touch.

Not Mushroom for Death is a mighty fine addition to this series. I’ve just preordered the prequel (will I get my answers?) and signed up for the mailing list. I’m becoming a fan of this writer and these characters, and that doesn’t actually happen as often as you might think.

Fans of cozy crime will want to read this charming series, set at the fictional royal court of King James and Queen Olivia. Each story is well crafted, and while the solution to this one might have come to me sooner than others in the series, it was still a very thrilling end to a hugely enjoyable story.

Check out my reviews for:

Spruced up for Murder

For Richer, For Deader

Meet the Author

Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.

I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.

It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes.

Connect with Helen:

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Follow the Not Mushroom for Death blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources