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 welcoming Siobhan Daiko and her new book, The Flame Tree to the blog today #blogtour

Here’s the blurb

Based on a little-known true story, from award-winning author Siobhan Daiko comes a tale of love and survival against all the odds set in Hong Kong at the start of the Pacific War.

In the spring of 1939, dashing young William Burton and the beautiful Constance Han set sail from London on the same ocean liner to Hong Kong.

Romance blossoms while they enjoy games of deck quoits and spend sultry tropical evenings dancing under the stars. Connie is intrigued by Will’s talent for writing poetry, and she offers to give him Cantonese lessons to help him with his new job— a cadet in the colonial service.

But once in Hong Kong, Connie is constrained by filial duty towards her Eurasian parents, and their wish for her to marry someone from her own background. She can’t forget Will however and arranges to meet him in secret under the magnificent canopy of a flame of the forest tree—where she fulfils her promise to teach him to speak Chinese.

Before too long, trouble looms as Japanese forces gather on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. Will joins a commando group tasked with operating behind enemy lines, and Connie becomes involved in the fight against local fifth columnists.

When war breaks out, they find themselves drawn into a wider conflict than their battle against prejudice. Can they survive and achieve a future together? Or do forces beyond their control keep them forever apart?

Perfect for readers of Dinah Jefferies, Ann Bennett and Victoria Hislop.

Purchase Link https://mybook.to/TFTHK

Meet the author

Siobhan Daiko is a British historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and a rescued cat. Siobhan was born of English parents in Hong Kong, attended boarding school in Australia, and then moved to the UK—where she taught modern foreign languages in a Welsh comprehensive school. She now spends her time writing page-turners and enjoying her life near Venice. Her novels are compelling, poignant, and deeply moving, with strong characters and evocative settings, but always with romance at their heart.

Connect with Siobhan

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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Flame Tree (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494542/?

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

I’m delighted to be reviewing Patches Through Time by Sian Turner on the blog #blogtour

Here’s the blurb

An unbelievably believable time travel escapade.

Casual antique dealer Jake Patch picks up an unusual object and can’t put it down. Literally. His find is a time travel device, and he hatches a bold plan to acquire objects from the past and sell them at modern day prices. But when the mysterious Infinity Glass leaves Patch stranded in a dangerous past, it falls to his teen daughter Cass to save him.

With hints of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Back to the Future and a smattering of LovejoyPatches through Time will send you spinning headlong into the past, then spit you back into the twenty-first century.

This book contains occasional profanities. Trigger warning: bereavement (parent, spouse).

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patches-through-Time-Sian-Turner-ebook/dp/B0BNQ7XGT6

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Patches-through-Time-Sian-Turner-ebook/dp/B0BNQ7XGT6

My Review

Patches Through Time is a really enjoyable novel. It hooked me from the beginning, with its premise of limited and location-specific time travel.

Patch is a great character, but the story really comes to life with the point of view switch to Cass, and having visited a handful of places in the distant past, much of the narrative revolves around events in war-torn Hastings in the early 1940s. The author does an excellent job of reconstructing the past locations, and the characters that Patch and Cass meet there are believable and all bring something new to the story.

I’m not sure if the plan is to write a sequel, but if it is, then, I’ll happily read it, as I think there’s much more that Cass and Patch can do with their time travelling device.

A thoroughly enjoyable novel.

Meet the author

Sian Turner was born in Wales, but lives in East Sussex. She has recently started learning Welsh (and can categorically testify that Welsh is difficult). 

She works as a part-time volunteer in her local RSPCA cat re-homing centre, from where she keeps adopting new family members (only one or two at a time).

Sian enjoys reading and reviewing some of the many truly amazing novels by Independent Authors, and she is secretary of her local writers’ group, Shorelink Writers.

Connect with Sian

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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 

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It’s my turn on the #Payback by Edie Balylis #NewRelease #blogtour #gangland

Here’s the blurb:

Revenge will come at a price…

With his once thriving casino business now in ruins, Seb Stoker is certain about two things: One – he will rebuild bigger and better than ever. And two – someone will pay for torching his club.

But until that day comes, Seb has bigger things to worry about and a business deal that could make or break them all…

Sam Reynold knows Seb is out for revenge, and she’ll do anything she can to help him. But Sam has her own enemies and battles to fight – ones much closer to home.

With pressure mounting for both of them, tensions run high.

And payback will be deadly.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3DK8Xb2

My Review

Payback is the fourth book in the Allegiance series, but the third one I’ve read (I know, I know, I shouldn’t do that, but it’s book 1 I’ve not read, so I feel fairly up to speed now:). Payback picks up immediately after the events of book three (check out my review here) and is a deftly and tightly plotted sequel, taking into account each and every loose end from the previous book.

It’s fast-paced and well-written, ensuring the reader doesn’t have time to catch their breath as it tumbles towards its conclusion, with the main players seemingly unable to stay away from one another, as they intersect and react, sometimes with deadly consequences, in Birmingham of the 1990s.

This is not at all my ‘usual’ read, but Edie is such a fabulous writer, and while her characters are all, in some way or other, flawed or just downright horrible (and there are many of them who are, quite frankly, evil), I find the world she’s created to be hugely entertaining. I rushed to get to the end of the novel to find out how everything was going to play out. Will Payback come or will revenge go ‘wrong?’

Payback is not for those offended by violence or foul language, but it is a very well crafted novel, and I’m really looking forward to book 5, and seeing how the Allegiance series concludes.

Connect with Edie

Edie Baylis a successful self-published author of dark gritty thrillers with violent background settings. She lives in Worcestershire, has a history of owning daft cars and several motorbikes and is licensed to run a pub. She has signed a five-book deal with Boldwood and the first book in her new ganglit series, set in Birmingham, was published in January 2022.

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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.

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I’m delighted to be reviewing The Watson Letters Volume 6: The Haunting of Roderick Usher on the blog #blogtour #bookreview #historicalmystery

Here’s the blurb:

An invitation. A ghostly spectre. A criminal mastermind.

When Sherlock Holmes is invited to visit an old school friend, he and Doctor Watson are plunged into the first of three adventures involving the Dark Arts and the supernatural. From the ghostly spectre of a dead sister to the search for an ancient book of spells, the detecting duo learn that each case is connected, leading them into a final showdown with their deadliest adversary yet.

Adult humour throughout.

Purchase Link https://geni.us/dymvutk

My Review

The Haunting of Roderick Usher might be volume 6 in the Watson Letters, but it is the first book I’ve read by this author and in this series. But fear not. Building on the ‘lore’ of Sherlock Holmes and adding a few ‘adult’ touches throughout, as well as a slightly alternative universe, this is a fine story in true Sherlock Holmes style and very, very enjoyable.

The Haunting of Roderick Usher is really a string of three separate stories, all building on the other, before coming to a thrilling conclusion. The Haunting of Roderick Usher, The Witch’s Ghost and The Very Last Death of Lord Blackwood are all unique stories in themselves, with a hint of the otherworldly and with a conclusion of their own.

I really enjoyed the building blocks of the stories, and the slightly more flippant Holmes, Watson and Mrs Watson. All three of them, and indeed Lestrade as well, all have their voices throughout these tales.

A lot of fun, provided you’re not going to be offended by the slightly more adult tone – and I certainly wasn’t.

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 the author:

Website (Adults)  Website (Children) 

The Watson Letters  Amazon Author Page  Twitter 

Smashwords  Facebook  Bookbub 

Follow The Haunting of Roderick Usher blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources