I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Blog tour for Tropical Issues by Dorothy Dunnett- one of the Dolly mysteries featuring the enigmatic Johnson.
Rita, a small, tough Scottish make-up artist is on Madeira trying to find out who killed Kim-Jim, an American make-up supremo. Also anchored off the island is Dolly, the yacht of Johnson Johnson with whom Rita teams up to get to the bottom of this foul deed.Rita’s fighting spirits are aroused despite her danger. She is not one for quitting, even when she learns she is caught up in an international drug-smuggling ring.But she also discovers that dealing with the maddeningly enigmatic Johnson Johnson is, by no stretch of the imagination, plain sailing.
The Lymond Chronicles (review here) and The House of Niccolo ( review here) by Dorothy Dunnett are some of my favourite book and the author ability to spin an amazing story is evident in the Tropical Issue, book one in the Dolly mysteries.
I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Medici Murders by David Hewson- murder mystery set in Venice.
When a well-known British TV historian, Marmaduke Godolphin, is found murdered in the canals of Venice during carnival, stabbed by a stiletto blade, the Venetian police are eager to have the case solved and cleared up within a day – murder is bad for tourism! The police recruit the help of retired archivist, Arnold Clover. Godolphin had hired his services on arriving in Venice to help sort through some historical papers of note. These dusty documents may contain previously unknown information about the assassination of the murderer, Lorenzino de’ Medici, 500 years previously. How coincidental that Godolphin meets his death in the same place as the Medici murderer, Lorenzino, on a cold, dark, bloody night. Can Arnold use his powers of perception to establish a link and solve the murder of Godolphin?
This atmospheric murder mystery was a joy to read and The Medici Murders, the first book in the Venetian Mysteries, by David Hewson may be my favourite murder mystery of the year so far.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
The book packs a lot in 284 pages. Venice was never a place I fancied visiting but that has changed after reading the descriptions of little side streets, cafes, canals and beautiful buildings in this book. The author also weaves little historical titbits about Venice and its famous people which I loved.
Arnold Clover, the first-person narrator, historian, widower and reluctant amateur detective is pleasant, unassuming man-the perfect foil for a cast of colourful suspects. But Valentina Fabbri, the Captiano, has to be my favourite female detective. She is part Poirot, Miss Marple and a lover of good food but best of confident.
This is a clever book enriched with historical details including the complicated life of Michelangelo and his friends, his enemies, and his lovers. There are plenty of suspects and motives, but the ending took me by surprise.
References to sexual assault, suicide.
Perfect for Fans of
Clever, murder mysteries set in exotic locales with colourful characters.
Here is my review of this atmospheric murder mystery with plenty of human drama- here is my review of Dead Reckoning by Lea O Harra.
Indiana, January 2010. It’s a hot summer’s day in 1984 when twelve-year-old Gilly and her friend Sally find a dead new-born in a shoebox in the cemetery of their tiny town. Deciding to keep their discovery a secret, they bury the body in Gilly’s yard. The results are disastrous. Flowers are mysteriously left on strollers. Two local children disappear and end up dead. A suspect is arrested and confesses, blaming the deaths on the girls’ having taken the dead baby. Gilly grows up but is haunted by what’s happened. As a young woman, she flees the town and its memories, going all the way to Japan. Returning with her Japanese husband Toshi to attend her mother’s funeral, Gilly finds the past is not past. She’s threatened, and someone is putting flowers on strollers again. When another child is abducted, Gilly knows she must discover the truth about what happened all those years ago before more lives are lost.
Here is my review of this murder mystery Dead Reckoning by Lea O Harra which I think perfectly captures the atmosphere of a small town where everyone knows each other- and this isn’t always a good thing.
I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours blog tour for The Close by Jane Casey. Here is my review of this murder mystery, book 10 in the Maeve Kerrigan books.
At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together. But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing. It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before. And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.
This was my first Maeve Kerrigan book and I can safely say that this won’t be my last. I could jump straight into the Maeve backstory and the complicated relationship with her bosses without any problem, so you definitely don’t need to have read the previous book to enjoy this one.
I enjoyed The Daughter by Liz Webb- a murder mystery in a complicated family.
‘I lean in and whisper the question I have never let myself utter in twenty-three years. ‘Dad…did you murder Mum?’ Hannah Davidson has a dementia-stricken father, an estranged TV star brother, and a mother whose death opened up hidden fault lines beneath the ordinary surface of their family life. At thirty-seven, Hannah is losing her grip on both her drinking and a cache of shameful secrets. Now the spitting image of her mother Jen Davidson, and the same age she was when she died, Hannah is determined to uncover exactly what happened to her mum, but soon the boundaries between Hannah and her mother become fatally blurred.
I’m pleased I won The Daughter by Liz Webbe in a giveaway run by the author and this isn’t a book that would normally hit my radar!
I’m pleased to be part of Austenprose booktour for Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- murder mystery set in Nantucket post pandemic
Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly. The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behaviour is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up. Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
I enjoyed Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- my first murder mystery in a post-pandemic Nantucket where Covid-19’s presence is still felt.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion
This is a book in a series featuring no-nonsense detective Merry Folger but I found not having read the other books in the series made no difference in my enjoyment of the book or understanding of Merry and her colleagues’ characters.
A range of murder suspects descend on Nantucket for the Christmas stroll including powerful politicians, controlling fathers, Hollywood producers happy to abuse their power, rich tech people, actors, and their young grown-up children. Merry has to navigate carefully to find out who the murderer is while dealing with her own grief. I liked Merry- sensible and patient and her sidekick Howie and their need to balance investigating the murder and not to upset powerful was interesting with bonus points for having a tortured backstory.
The author makes Nantucket a character in its own right with her beautiful description of the environment, the joy of the Christmas Stroll but also the inequalities between the rich visitors and the not well-off permanent residents of the area.
The plot paces along with plenty of motives and revelations. I initially found myself disliking many of the characters, but the author’s writing shows them as deeply flawed but human. Despite the deaths and some of the dark themes, the book ends with hope for a few of the characters.
But it is the description of the new and strange world we find ourselves in post covid that particularly caught my interest and it was refreshing to read a book that didn’t dwell on this but didn’t ignore it either.
References to alcohol and drug addiction, suicide, sexual assault
Perfect for fans who
Like non-gory murder mysteries with an edge.
About The Author
Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.