You might recognise Dr Amir Khan from television programmes such as GPs Behind Closed Doors or Lorraine. In The Doctor Will See You Now: The Highs and Lows of My Life as an NHS GP, we see how the popular doctor has progressed from his early days as a newly-qualified GP to becoming a partner in a busy surgery, with many heartbreaking, heartwarming and hilarious tales along the way.
I enjoy watching GPs behind Closed Doors and Dr. Amir Khan is one of my favourites on there, his way with patients showing why he has been embraced warmly by television. I listened to the audiobook, which is voiced by the author, and hearing his tales in his own words definitely enhanced my enjoyment.
Dr Khan paints a very vivid picture of what it is like to work in the NHS and it is clear that he thoroughly enjoys his work. He demonstrates how no two days are ever alike, sharing tales that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, and have already regaled several people with one story about the time some non-human ‘patients’ ended up in his surgery! There are some truly heartbreaking stories, however, and one particular family will remain in my thoughts for some time.
The epilogue really resonated with me, especially in light of recent events (COVID does feature in the book) and the vital role the NHS has played in keeping our country running over the past year. Our NHS is something that should not be allowed to be broken up and it is important that there is proper funding and recruitment that will allow this amazing institution to continue. It is the envy of many around the world and we need to be able to keep people like Dr Khan.
When a genealogy student asks him for help in researching the subject of a painting, Jefferson Tayte feels that she is holding something back. It transpires that the woman in the painting is an ancestor of student Nat and that she would like to find out more about her and why she seems to disappear from the records at around the time the picture was painted. To complicate matters further, the painting has recently been stolen and there are also links to a recent murder. Why would someone steal this painting all those years later and what secret does it hold that would make someone want to kill?
Oh how I have missed Jefferson Tayte! Our favourite genealogist is back only this time, his job title has changed! After events in previous books, he is now teaching others how to research their families, something he hopes will be less dangerous! Of course, it’s not long before one of his students piques his interest and he finds himself embroiled in another dangerous mission in the pursuit of a long-lost ancestor.
If you have never read any of the Jefferson Tayte books before, this is a great introduction to the series as, with it being a novella, it is a quick read. The plot is an interesting one, taking us into the slums of Victorian London and contrasting it to the lives of the well-to-do. This is my favourite era to read about in historical fiction and so with the genealogical theme, it was right up my street.
The story is told in two time frames, both being as good to read as the other. As a family historian, I enjoyed reading about Jefferson’s research and it made me long for the pre-pandemic days when we could visit galleries and record offices.
If you haven’t read any of Steve Robinson’s books yet, then I recommend every one of them. Here are my reviews of some of his other books:
A strange beast is stalking the Devon moors and Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr Watson must determine exactly what has caused the death of Sir Charles Baskerville before his nephew meets the same fate. With an escaped convict also in the area, this could prove to be an incredibly dangerous task for the detective.
This is the next installment in the Easy Classics series which aims to introduce classic works to a younger audience. I have read some others in this series (The Empty House, A Study in Scarlet) and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this was no exception. Superbly adapted and illustrated by Stephanie Baudet and Arianna Belluci, this captures the essence of the Conan Doyle classic, retelling the story in a way that is accessible to younger readers without ever compromising the plot.
This is a superb series, one that I thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting to introduce younger readers to Sherlock Holmes. Unfamiliar vocabulary such as hansom cab is also explained, meaning that these are books that children can read independently.
With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my copy.
Police are investigating a spate of violent burglaries but when a mutilated body is found inside a Cotswolds house, they realise that this is more than just opportunistic crime. Detective Jack Warr finds himself encountering numerous dead ends as he unearths the secrets in the local community, hoping to get to the core of this organised gang. When he meets Charlotte Miles, a woman with links to the group, Warr wants to use her to lure them into committing one last job with the aim of catching them in the act. With violent acts escalating, Jack knows that he must get this right to avoid more blood being spilled.
It is always a pleasure to read a Lynda La Plante book, someone I have admired since watching the original Prime Suspect on television. After reading the first in the Jack Warr series, Buried, last year, I couldn’t wait to see where Lynda took this character next, especially after finding out his origins. Although this could definitely be read as a standalone, I found that Buried served as a great introduction to the character, helping us to understand what made him tick, whereas this book has given us the opportunity to see more of Jack as a detective. I found myself liking the character more as the book progressed, admiring his determination and policing skills, even if his tactics may not be strictly legal sometimes!
The plot moves on at a good pace and is well developed. From the horrific discovery at the start of the book, the plot progresses well until we discover how this fits in with the rest of the story, taking us on a journey through the privileged Cotswolds where nobody’s home seems safe. I had never heard of a Judas Horse before reading this book and I loved the idea of using the weak link as an insider to lead the police to the gang. We meet a myriad of characters throughout the book, each one, police, victim and criminal, bringing a different element to the story.
The Jack Warr series is promising to be another huge hit for Lynda La Plante and I look forward to seeing where she takes him next.
With thanks to Zaffre Books and Net Galley for my copy and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour.
New mum Bridget is on her way home from work on the train when she witnesses something horrific – a young girl being abducted from a passing station. With none of the other passengers claiming to have seen anything and the police reluctant to believe her, Bridget feels that it is up to her to find the girl. As she begins to uncover the truth, she must make the decision as to whether it is worth putting her own life in danger for a child that nobody else seems to care about.
I love a story with an unreliable witness and in Bridget we definitely have this! With a lifetime of metal health problems and suffering from post-natal depression, there is no doubt that she is a troubled woman. Teamed with the fact that she feels that she is not spending enough time with her baby, we have a main protagonist who made me constantly change my mind as to whether to believe her or not.
At the beginning of the book, there was a definite The Girl on the Train feel, with Bridget determined to find the truth even though others are reluctant to believe her. In my opinion, however, The Girl on the Platform is even better than the aforementioned novel, grabbing my interest right from the start and sustaining it until the very last page. I had been suffering from a bit of a reading slump and this was the book that dragged me out of it, not wanting to put it down for a second!
There is a good range of supporting characters although we see the plot from the perspective of two people – Bridget and the girl on the platform. The chapters featuring the young girl were chilling, and made me desperate for Bridget to be believed and for her to be returned back to her family. At the back of my mind, though, was the nagging doubt that maybe this was all being imagined by Bridget due to the medication she was on. I was pleased that she received support from her husband who always seemed to have her best interests at heart and provided her with love, even if she couldn’t always see it.
At one point in the story, I did start to have an inkling as to where the plot was going to go but I was still genuinely taken aback by the explosive ending. If you are looking for a book to become totally engrossed in, then I cannot recommend The Girl on the Platform enough. This is shaping up to be one of my books of the year.
With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my copy.
After the cliffhanger in the previous book, we see DI Thomas Ridpath adapting to new circumstances whilst investigating the murder of a young boy. A great addition to a very readable series and I recommend them highly if you have not yet started to read them.
A multi-genre time travel novel which sees new employee Megan Taylor trying to alter the course of history. Just what did happen to Lady Eleanor Fairfax in 1939, and can Megan stop it from happening? With a touch of history, magic, science fiction and romance, there is something here for everybody!
Judas Horse by Lynda la Plante
The second book in the Jack Warr series sees the detective investigating a spate of violent burglaries in his own inimitable way. After getting to know Jack in the first book in the series, we start to see more of his policing in this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my review will follow as part of the blog tour.
The Girl in the Painting by Steve Robinson
The eighth in the Jefferson Tayte series (although this could be read as a standalone) sees the genealogist now teaching family history. He can’t resist helping with some research, however, when one of his students asks for help in identifying the subject of a painting. In true JT style, it’s not long before danger heads his way… Review to follow.
Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.
Books I Have Acquired
When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate,Detective Kim Stonearrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.
But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.
Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.
Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.
Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.
A secret that some police officers are also protecting.
Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.
Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?
A portrait painting is stolen from a London home. Shortly afterwards, the owner, Nat, calls on genealogist Jefferson Tayte for his help. She believes the subject of the painting, a young girl called Jess, is a past relative and wants to learn more about her. The problem is that Nat’s research has hit a brick wall – Jess appears to have vanished from the slums of Victorian London soon after the portrait was painted.
When Tayte learns that the theft is connected with a recent murder, he’s right to be wary, but solving crimes through genealogical research is what he does best. He quickly becomes intrigued by the girl in the painting and agrees to help. What became of her? Who stole the painting, and why would they kill for it all these years later?
As Tayte and Nat go in search of the answers, can they solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice? Or will they become the killer’s next victims?
Three sisters. Three ships. One heartbreaking story.
1911.As Emma packs her trunk to join the ocean liner Olympic as a stewardess, she dreams of earning enough to provide a better life for both her sisters. With their photograph tucked away in her luggage, she promises to be back soon – hoping that sickly Lily will keep healthy, and wild Ruby will behave. But neither life at sea nor on land is predictable, and soon the three sisters’ lives are all changed irrevocably…
Now.When Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic, she’s shocked to discover a photo of three sisters inside – her grandmother only ever mentioned one sister, who died tragically young. Who is the other sister, and what happened to her? Harriet’s questions lead her to the story of three sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and a shattering revelation about three sisters torn apart…
The discovery of a body in the Liverpool docklands unearths long forgotten secrets. Reporter Anne McCarthy is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon. There she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have a connection to the body.
Vinny Connolly is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s migrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about his father’s disappearance in the 70s.
Escaping poverty in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Connolly, who smuggle contraband through the docks, putting them at odds with the unions. While organisers rally the dockworkers against the strikebreakers and rackets. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels. But will the truth out?
As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him, while in the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?
I shall now reveal the truth of the legend behind the hound of the Baskervilles. No Baskerville should ever cross the moor at night. With a deadly phantom hound on the loose and a mysterious man living on the moor, Devon is a dangerous place to be. But Holmes and Watson must put their fears aside. The country’s favourite crime-fighting duo need to unravel the strange case of Sir Charles Baskervilles murder before his nephew meets the same fate.
The Wheel Spins is the novel about young and bright Iris Carr, who is on her way back to England after spending a holiday somewhere in the Balkans. After she is left alone by her friends, Iris catches the train for Trieste and finds company in Miss Froy, chatty elderly English woman. When she wakes up from a short nap, she discovers that her elderly travelling companion seems to have disappeared from the train. After her fellow passengers deny ever having seen the elderly lady, the young woman is on the verge of her nerves. She is helped by a young English traveler, and the two proceed to search the train for clues to the old woman’s disappearance.
HopefullyI’ll also get my head round the changes WordPress have brought in by next month too!
Grief-stricken gardener Megan Taylor, tries to put thoughts of her missing in action brother out of her mind by taking a job at Foxfield Hall, restoring the maze in the overgrown gardens. She soon becomes interested in the mystery of the hall’s most famous resident, Lady Eleanor Fairfax, who disappeared in 1939 during the harvest festival. Although no body was ever found, Megan begins to wonder if she could have been murdered. There is also the possibility that she ran away in order to avoid a marriage to someone she didn’t love or could it even have something to do with her father’s war work? Megan finds the maze drawing her in, feeling that the truth could lie inside. Will she discover what happened to Eleanor or will she become the next woman to simply disappear without a trace?
If you had the opportunity to prevent a past tragedy from happening, not knowing how your actions would affect the future, would you do it? This is the dilemma faced by Megan when she is somehow transported back to 1939, days before the disappearance of Lady Eleanor Fairfax. Ellie, as she is known, is about to find her world turned upside down due to the outbreak of World War Two, her fiancé’s involvement in the armed services and her father’s secret war work meaning that she is left in the care of Ava Seaborne, her father’s new secretary. Ava was a mysterious character, this feeling of forebording becoming stronger when Megan encountered a Dr Faye Seaborne. A familial connection or something else entirely?
The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall packs in an awful lot, switching genres effectively throughout. Part mystery, science-fiction, history and romance, it was the time travel element that fascinated me the most. The two lead characters, Megan and Ellie, were both strong women, Ellie in particular showing great tenacity when faced with her future. Knowing the fate that was about to befall her, yet not knowing exactly how it was to happen, I admired Ellie’s determination to get to the truth, not letting the aforementioned Ava Seaborne stop her in her tracks.
Jessica Thorne managed to blindside me numerous times, leaving me wondering which characters were on the side of Ellie and Megan and which ones were not. This definitely kept me on my toes throughout! In such a complex plot, I was pleased that there were no loose ends left at the end, the story reaching a satisfying conclusion.
With thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my ARC and to Noelle Holten for orgainsing the blog tour.
When a dog walker finds the body of a young boy in a meadow beside the River Mersey, memories are immediately evoked of the Moors Murders. With no DNA or other clues to help find the killer, the police are struggling to make any progress and know that they have a race against time before there is another victim. After recent traumatic events, DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work and is thrown straight into the investigation. When another child is taken, Ridpath must try to put aside his own issues to stop the killer in his tracks.
After the shocking cliffhanger M J Lee left us with at the end of the previous book, When the Past Kills, I had been champing at the bit to read this one to see how the story would play out. Within the first few pages, we find out, and we see Ridpath having to come to terms with the aftermath of what happened. If you are new to this series, I would advise you start back at book one in order to get a full picture of Ridpath’s life up to now. While the cases themselves are standalones, I do feel that you need to read about Ridpath’s past to fully understand his character.
Still seconded to the coroner’s office, Ridpath finds himself tasked to re-investigate another officer’s work in order to prove that the case is watertight. Again, we see him falling foul of his colleagues as they realise what he is doing but this is what I like most about him – he has courage of his convictions and will stop at nothing to find the truth even if it means upsetting his fellow officers on the way.
Any plot involving the murder of a child is always a harrowing one and M J Lee has written this in a sensitive way. We soon become aware that there is something amiss in the household of the dead child but what? Could his father really have killed him? The police seem to think so but Ridpath isn’t so sure. Again, we see his tenacity in trying to prove the man’s innocence, not caring whose back he gets up along the way.
I do feel that this series would be great on television and the showdown towards the end of the book had my heart racing just as if I were watching it rather than reading. In Ridpath, M J Lee has created a great character who becomes more and more likable with every book, exactly the sort of police officer I would want to see investigating crimes in real life. I am already eagerly awsiting book seven!
With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.
Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:
After their success in using DNA evidence to help solve a cold case, Detective Clayton Tyler engages the help of specialist company Venator to help him with a cold case of his own. In the 1980s, three young women were murdered, their bodies found dumped in Chester Creek, Delaware County. Despite having the killer’s DNA on record, no arrest has ever been made, and the trail has gone cold. Can Madison Scott-Barnhart and her team use their cutting-edge technology to help to bring the killer to justice?
I have been a fan of Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s Morton Farrier books for many years and so I was immediately drawn to The Chester Creek Murders, the first book in the Venator Cold Case series. Like the Farrier books, this also has a genealogical theme but with a twist. Using the DNA left by the perpetrator at a crime scene, the specialist company are able to use the DNA samples submitted by people wishing to research their family history in order to find a family connection. This lengthy process is obviously something the author understands well, and I found the research process fascinating. As someone who has submitted their DNA profile to a genealogical website, it really helped me to understand how it all works.
There are a good mix of characters, each with their own back stories which I am sure will be explored further in future books. There is a good subplot involving Madison (Maddie) and her missing husband which would be worthy of a book of its own, especially as it also appears to involve another of the characters. I also enjoyed another of the subplots where we begin to explore the ethics of DNA profiling and the secrets it could reveal.
I am a big fan of genealogical fiction and I really like how Nathan Dylan Goodwin has taken this and given it a fresh twist. I am already looking forward to reading about Venator’s next cold case.