A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari- Book review

I enjoyed this murder mystery featuring a mystery solving botanist in the swinging twenties. Here is my review of A Botanists Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

Genre: Historical fiction/ historical crime

Series: Saffron Everleigh Mysteries

Publication Date :June 2022

Source: Thank you  NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books

London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon,  one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.
Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition’s departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor’s name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself.
Joined by Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list?

Review

I was pleased to be approved for a copy of this murder mystery for a free, unbiased and honest opinion. 

 Saffron aspires to run her own study but this isn’t likely to happen in 1920s London, no matter how hard she tries. So when her only champion and mentor is accused of attempted murder she has no choice but to solve the crime with her knowledge of plants.

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Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Lloyd- Book Review

I enjoyed this mystery set in Regency England featuring a huge cast of suspects, strange murders and the house party from Hell. Here’s my review of Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Lloyd.

Genre: Historical Crime

Source: Kensington books and Net Galley

Publication Date: 31st May 2022

The options for the penniless daughter of a deceased earl are few indeed in Regency England. So, Lady Caroline takes a post as a lady’s companion to the wealthy widow Frogerton.
Just as Caroline is getting accustomed to her new position, her aunt invites her and her employer to a house party in the countryside to celebrate her youngest daughter’s birthday.
But all is not well at the Greenwood estate after a series of troubling harassments of the staff, an elderly family member is found stabbed by a knitting needle.
As Caroline and Mrs. Frogerton attempt to solve the  crime, they discover the culprit  leaving bizarre clues as to who will be next in the nursery. But they must make haste, for this heartless killer is engaged in anything but child’s play…

Review

I enjoyed Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Taylor, a not quite so cosy murder mystery set in the traditional setting of Greenwood, an English manor house. But while the book may look like a traditional cosy mystery there are dark, modern themes running through the book that might surprise anyone looking for a typical cosy crime.

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Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis – Book review/Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Midas #blogtour for Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis historical crime set in 1942 London.

The Second World War rages on but Britain now faces the Nazi threat with America at its side. In a bombed-out London swarming with gangsters and spies, DCI Frank Merlin continues his battle against rampant wartime crime. A mangled body is found in the Thames just as some items of priceless art go mysteriously missing. What sinister connection links the two? Merlin and his team follow a twisting trail of secrets as they investigate a baffling and deadly puzzle.

Review

I love reading historical fiction but I don’t really read a lot of crime fiction set in World war 2 but after reading  Dead in the  Water by Mark Ellis, I think I will read more( luckily Dead in the Water is part of a series featuring  DCI Frank Merlin).

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Dead of False Creek by Sarah M. Stephen – Book Review

I loved Dead of False Creek, by Sarah M. Stephen, a historical murder mystery with a twist. Can Riley in 2017 and Jack in 1897 work together to solve a murder?

I received this eARC from NetGalley and the author for an honest review.

Genre: Historical Crime Fiction, Time-Slip/travel

Series: Journey Through Time Series

Publication date: 1st October 21

In 1897, Jack Winston, a new Detective, in Vancouver is stuck solving the disappearance of a young man from a prominent family. He keeps a journal with his thoughts about his work. In 2017, Riley, an archivist, is fascinated with his journal when she discovers it in a box of files. They soon realise the pair can communicate via the journal through time. Can Riley help Jack solve this crime?

Review

This book combines my two favourite genres, historical fiction and time travel/slip, and I wasn’t disappointed. I couldn’t put the book down and finished this off in one sitting.

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Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron- Book review and Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the Austensque, historical fiction Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron.

  • Series: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14)
  • Genre:Historical Mystery, Austenesque

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
 
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Review

I can’t believe I haven’t come across The Being Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron before I took part in the Jane and the Year without Summer blog tour, the fourteenth book in the series.

The book is told in the first person from Jane’s Austen point of view and I felt like I was seeing the world with her eyes. Jane’s voice is strong, confident, with a sense of humour and her attitude is in keeping with the times.

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Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass – Book review

I couldn’t put this book down. A historical thriller set in 1794 featuring Laurence Jago, a reluctant spy addicted to  Black Drop, trying to survive in London on the edge of violence.

I received a free review copy from Serpent’s Tail/Viper/Profile in exchange for my honest, unedited feedback.

Publication Date: 14 October 21

Publisher Serpent’s Tail/Viper/Profile Books

Genre: Historical Fiction.

In 1794, Laurence Jago is an ambitious clerk at the Foreign Office but has a secret- well a few secrets- which could lead to him being tried for treason. He becomes a suspect when a highly sensitive letter is leaked to the press which could cause a major blow to the British Army’s war effort When Laurence discovers the body of another clerk, the blame is conveniently shifted but he knows the clerk is innocent. Can Jago find the true culprit without incriminating himself or falling into addiction?

I couldn’t put this book down and found myself hooked into reading late into the night with each new revelation and twist of which there are many!

We know from the start that this is the written confession of Laurence Jago, in 1794, who has succeeded in keeping his spying and his French ancestry a secret from the Foreign Office. The confession adds an extra layer of peril and tension to the story as Jago’s fate is difficult to predict through the course of the book.

Jago is a flawed character, impulsive and rushing headlong into danger, opens his mouth when he shouldn’t and is full of repressed emotions which he tries to ease with the help of Laudanum.  He is not the usual slick, sophisticated spy but is more human, sympathetic and all too realistic. His slow descent into addiction was realistically described.

The author seamlessly blends historical and fictional characters with their own agenda confounding poor Jago. Philpott and Theodore Jay provide humour and enhance this potentially dark story, I was fascinated by the author’s note at the end of the book about Lord Grenville and his networks of spies but also how some of the stranger events in the book were based on true events.

The writing clearly evocates the atmosphere of 1794 London and I could almost feel the grime and filth of the streets of London. The descriptions bring to life the differences between the offices of Downing Street and the seediness of the back streets of London and a rural, pre-industrial England. I haven’t read much fiction based in this time so the French revolution’s impact on England, the signing of a treaty between Britain and the new USA and the Anglo-French war felt fresh and new, Unfortunately, the xenophobia and prejudice sound all too familiar.1794, was a time when far too few people were allowed to vote and the political struggle to try and change this form another important strand in the book and neatly dovetails into the main plot.

Content warning

Hanging, references to suicide and addiction.

Perfect for fans

Who like spy thrillers or historical crime in a historical setting with plenty of twists and turns. This reminds me of some of the earlier books in the Shardlake Series by C.J Sansome.

Summary

Five stars- I loved this book and I would happily read more books by this author particularly if they are about Lord Grenville’s spies and his spy network.

The Mannequin House by R.N Morris – Book review

It’s my turn to review, The Mannequin House by R.N. Morris, a historical crime fiction featuring Silas Quinn, a detective with a dark side, who has to solve a strange locked room murder but the chief suspect happens to be a monkey.Quinn is now my favourite Detective!

Thank you, RN Morris and Canelo Press for an eARC for an honest review.

Mannequin House

From goodreads

In this intriguing historical mystery, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn investigates one of the strangest cases of his career . . . London, 1914. Called out to investigate the murder of a fashion model employed by the House of Blackley, a prestigious Kensington department store, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn of Scotland Yard’s Special Crimes Department is thrown into the bizarre: the chief murder suspect is a monkey. He may be sceptical, but how will Quinn ever get to the truth when faced with the maelstrom of seething jealousy, resentment, forbidden desires and thwarted passion that is the Mannequin House?

Review

Silas Quinn has to investigate the death of a Mannequin, a model at Blackley, found dead in a locked room. Silas has to solve the case under the scrutiny of his superiors that seem a little too keen for him to fail. It doesn’t help that that Blackley, the owner of Mannequin House has his own view on how things should be done. His investigation is helped by the Sergeants Inchball and Macadam but hindered by detective Coddington, a terrible hypnotist and a fez-wearing monkey on the run.

Quinn is now officially my favourite detective!

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