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The Death Certificate by Stephen Molyneux

When Peter Sefton discovers an inscribed metal disc on a farm, he becomes intrigued by its original owner, taking him on a journey to the dangerous streets of Victorian London. Over 150 years before, Moses Jupp finds himself orphaned at a young age, scavenging on the banks of the Thames being the only way to keep him alive. Through his research, Peter reveals a link to a Victorian antiquities scandal and the farm where he is undertaking his metal detecting, uncovering a tragic tale of death, forgery and unfortunate circumstances.

Ever since I read Stephen Molyneux’s debut, The Marriage Certificate, six years ago, I have been longing for a second book. I just didn’t think I would be waiting six long years! It has definitely been worth the wait, however, as the author has, once again, written a fascinating look into another era, mixing historical and genealogical fiction. Written in two time frames, the majority of The Death Certificate tells us about the life of Moses Jupp with timely chapters looking at Peter’s research, allowing the story to move on quickly.

Although he was not always strictly on the side of the law, I had great sympathy for the character of Moses. Losing his parents at such a young age and having to fend for himself, it was understandable that he was always going to have to do what he needed to do in order to survive. I enjoyed reading about his time as a scavenger and his experience at the ragged school and as a shoe-black. There was a definite feeling of, ‘what if…’, however, as if it were not for a constant thorn in his side, his life would probably have been a lot better, leading to a different outcome on the death certificate purchased by Peter.

If, like me, you enjoy historical fiction, especially that set in the Victorian era, then I am sure that this is a book you will enjoy. If you are a family historian, then this is also going to be right up your street. I really enjoy Stephen Molyneux’s writing and I hope that I do not have to wait the same length of time for his next book – we’ve had a death and marriage certificate, how about a birth certificate next?

Monthly Round Up – March 2020

Well, what a month! I hope you are all keeping well and that you are finding some good books to read in these uncertain times. I thought I’d have read more than I have done, but don’t seem to have had the time! There are some great-looking books on Net Galley at the moment and so my TBR list has grown considerably…

Books I Have Read

Buried by Lynda La Plante

A new series from one of my favourite authors introduces us to a complex new paragraph, DC Jack Warr. When the body of a badly burnt man is found along with the remnants of millions of pounds worth of stolen bank notes, the detective finds himself embroiled in a cold case where he may find himself more involved than he realises…

 

The Silent House by Nell Pattison

An interesting concept – a murder takes place in a house full of people but no one hears anything due to the residents being deaf. An enjoyable book which taught me an awful lot about the deaf community. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Where the Innocent Die by M J Lee

The fourth book in the DI Ridpath series is, arguably, the best so far. When a woman dies in an Immigrant Removal Centre, the coroner’s officer must try to work out how this could have taken place in such a high security establishment. This is becoming one of my favourite crime series.

 

Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

The first in a new series introduces us to Detective Megan Thomas. Relocating due to trauma in her past, she finds herself involved in two tricky cases – the murder of an unknown man and the rape of a schoolgirl. A great start to what promises to be an interesting series. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Everything is about to change…

1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.

Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…

 

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper senses trouble ahead when the prime minister plans a visit. Can he keep law and order on the streets while also uncovering the truth behind a missing child?

Leeds, September 1908. There’s going to be a riot. Detective Superintendent Tom Harper can feel it. Herbert Asquith, the prime minster, is due to speak in the city. The suffragettes and the unemployed men will be out in the streets in protest. It’s Harper’s responsibility to keep order. Can he do it?

Harper has also received an anonymous letter claiming that a young boy called Andrew Sharp was stolen from his family fourteen years before. The file is worryingly thin. It ought to have been bulging. A missing child should have been headline news. Why was Andrew’s disappearance ignored?

Determined to uncover the truth about Andrew Sharp and bring the boy some justice, Harper is drawn deep into the dark underworld of child-snatching, corruption and murder as Leeds becomes a molten, rioting city.

 

THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. Having left a trail of bodies in his wake, and with the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that the can drop down into all the other houses on the street through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

 

DCI Craig Gillard will be pushed to his limits… But will he break?

It seems like a routine disappearance, a case of musician’s stage fright. As a senior detective, Craig Gillard isn’t sure why he’s even involved. Until it turns out the woman’s father is the German Minister of Justice, and the British Home Secretary is on the case too.

But nothing about the case is simple. How does a woman on a train simply vanish? What do you do when a trail runs cold and the pressure is on?

Before long the perpetrator has another target: DCI Gillard himself. What if the detective isn’t just running the case, but is part of it? The victim merely a lure for a bigger fish.

The answer is under the bridge. The chilling setting for the biggest challenge of his life.

 

There is an explosion at a military ball. The casualties are rushed to hospital in eight ambulances, but only seven vehicles arrive. Captain Harry Peterson is missing.

His girlfriend calls upon her old friend Dr Augusta Bloom, who rushes to support the investigation. But no one can work out what connects the bomb and the disappearance.

When Harry is eventually discovered three days later, they hope he holds the answers to their questions. But he can’t remember a single thing.

 

 

A BIZARRE DISCOVERY

An unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house. No-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. When DS Alexandra Cupidi is handed the case, she can have no idea it will lead her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets. Namely the discovery of the skeleton of public-school boy, Trevor Wood, beneath a housing development.

A HISTORIC CRIME

His disappearance twenty five years earlier had almost passed unnoticed. But as evidence surfaces that his fate was linked to long suppressed rumours of sexual abuse, Cupidi, her teenage daughter Zoe and her friend Bill South find themselves up against powerful forces who will try to silence them.

A BURIED LIFE

Digging deep into the secrets that are held underground leads to Cupidi’s realisation that crime and power are seldom far apart. There are dangerous connections between the two cases, which are complicated by Constable Jill Ferriter’s dating habits, a secret liaison and the underground life of Trevor Grey’s only friend.

 

Something sinister stirs in Stockport…

The police find a young woman’s body in the woods the same week a couple discover a crude, handmade doll in Lyme Park. But are the two findings connected… or a strange coincidence?

In a town full of loners and unhappy families, nothing is as it seems…

All Mr Anderson wants is a family. After his elderly mother died, he was almost unbearably lonely. Now it’s time for him to claim his own.

All Jacob wants is for Maggie to love him back. She only has eyes for the Vincent twins – but maybe he can make her see just how much he cares.

And everyone is a suspect.

 

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

Two bad things happened that summer:
A stranger arrived. And the first girl disappeared.

In the wake of the crime that rocked her community, Felicity fled, knowing more than she let on.

But sixteen years later, her new life is shattered by the news that a second girl has gone missing in her hometown.

Now Felicity must go back, to face the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Only she holds the answers – and they’re more shocking than anyone could imagine.

The heatwave is back. And so is the killer.

 

Do any of these books appeal to you? Maybe you already have some of them and would like to share your thoughts! I’d better get reading!

Stay safe everyone. 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Buried by Lynda La Plante

When the body of a man is found in a burnt-out cottage, the police are astounded to also find the remains of millions of pounds worth of bank notes. It is not long before a connection is made to unsolved crimes of the past, and to an infamous group of criminals. DC Jack Warr, struggling with events in his personal life, suddenly finds himself embroiled in the criminal underworld of the 1980s and 1990s, making shocking revelations about his past along the way. Just how far will he allow himself to become involved?

I have been a fan of Lynda La Plante’s books and TV shows ever since watching the original Prime Suspect and so I jumped at the chance to be one of the blogs on the tour for her latest book, Buried. For those who have read the Widows books or seen the TV series/film, then this book is definitely for you as it follows on from the story of Dolly Rawlins and her gang. The beauty of Buried, however, is that although it will bring back a touch of nostalgia for Widows fans, you do not need to know any previous plot as backstory is explained in the book.

I loved how the story developed, the body of the charred man being linked to a train robbery of twenty years ago. This gave us an opportunity to meet some brilliant characters, each of them knowing more than they were willing to let on. These women, over the years, had become very adept at hiding in plain sight and I couldn’t wait to see what the results of them playing the long game would be.

Jack Warr is a great character who becomes more complex as the book progresses. As we (and him) discover more about his life, we see a change in his character as he comes to terms with his past. This led to some great interactions between the detective and the people he is tasked with interviewing and created lots of internal conflict. At the same time, we also see the softer side of his personality as he struggles to come to terms with the impending death of his adoptive father.

In a book with numerous twists and turns, we were treated to a proper ‘gasp’ moment at the end, which, although shocking, was in-keeping with what we had read about Jack. This set up the next book nicely and I can’t wait to read where Lynda La Plante takes DC Warr next. Buried is a book that I can definitely imagine on the small screen, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be optioned for TV. This promises to be another huge hit for the author.

With thanks to Net Galley and Zaffre Books for my copy and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour.

 

Where the Innocent Die by M J Lee

When the death of a woman in an Immigrant Removal Centre is adjudged to be a case of suicide, it is only when the coroner’s office gets involved that a more thorough investigation begins to take place. Just how could a woman locked in a high-security building get hold of the knife that killed her when she had been searched on arrival? With only five days until the inquest, will DI Ridpath have enough time to find out the truth about what happened to Wendy Tang and will he be able to prevent even more deaths?

In the fourth installment of the DI Ridpath series, the author has painted a bleak picture of life inside the Immigrant Removal Centre. Operated by an outside agency, the establishment is clearly under-resourced and, quite frankly, not the sort of place you would want to spend any time in. Despite this, there are strict regulations in place which should have prevented the death of the woman, something which Ridpath realises quite early on. Although working as the coroner’s officer, his detective skills really came to the fore as he investigated what really happened, reaching the conclusion that this was no suicide. It was good to see Ridpath back working alongside MIT, leaving us wondering if he will return full time or whether he will continue his work alongside the coroner. Personally, I hope it will be the latter as  I enjoy the deviation from the average police procedural.

With only five days to investigate, and with more bodies turning up, Ridpath really had his work cut out to reach a conclusion before the inquest took place.  I find that many courtroom scenes can be quite long-winded, but I really enjoyed the coroner’s inquest, feeling that this provided a natural conclusion to the detective’s investigation. This also provided us with some great action and, although I had worked out who the killer was, there was so much more to this book than just finding out ‘whodunnit’.

Ridpath is a great character and I am thoroughly enjoying this series. After his good news at the end of this book, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

Where the Silence Calls

 

**COVER REVEAL** Daisy on the Outer Line by Ross Sayers

Two of my favourite TV shows in fairly recent years have been Ashes to Ashes and Life in Mars and so my interest was immediately piqued when I read the blurb for Daisy on the Outer Line by Ross Sayers. Time travel is a fascinating concept and I really like the sound of this plot.

The Blurb

Life, Death and Time Travel on the Glasgow Subway…

When selfish student Daisy trashes her stepdad’s funeral, she gets blind drunk and wakes up on the Glasgow subway to find she has travelled back in time. To make amends for her behaviour, she must save a life—but she doesn’t know who, how, or where to begin. She’ll have to find out fast if she wants to make it back to her old life and avoid being trapped in the wrong timeline forever.

The Cover

 

Daisy on the Outer Line will be published by Cranachan Books on 5th November 2020.

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group.

**BLOG TOUR** The Prized Girl by Amy K Green

After a teenage girl, Jenny,  is found brutally murdered, the police are convinced that the culprit is a man who was an obsessive fan of her work in beauty pageants. Something doesn’t sit right with her older half-sister, Virginia, however, and she undertakes on an investigation of her own. It soon becomes apparent that in a town where everyone seems to know everyone else, there are many people with secrets to hide, Jenny and Virginia included, and soon the suspect list rises. With numerous potential motives coming to light, just exactly who did kill Jenny?

Told from the perspectives of both Jenny and Virginia, we get an insight into the weeks and days leading up to the death of the teenager and also Virginia’s uncovering of what actually happened. I really enjoyed this writing technique, as it helped to create a slow burner of a story which had me constantly asking questions about what had occurred.

This is one of those books where the more you read, the more suspects you encounter, each one with their own motives for wanting Jenny out of the way. My opinions of Jenny changed throughout the book, as initially I felt a great deal of sympathy towards her as she found herself desperate to leave the beauty pageant world. This is a phenomenon that has never sat right with me and I found it interesting that the author addresses my concerns as part of the plot. Jenny undergoes a great transformation as the book progresses and, whilst I was horrified by some of her actions, I could see her need to rebel.

Virginia was a fascinating character, and I found her backstory a very tragic one. Despite the strained relationship she had with her family, the love for her half-sister was evident as she worked tirelessly to find who had killed Jenny. Like the murdered girl, she too had secrets she would prepare to remain hidden, these secrets surfacing and playing a major role in the killing. I enjoyed reading how something that happened a long time ago could create a ripple effect, creating a chain of events that ultimately led to the murder.

The Prized Girl  is a very strong debut from Amy K Green, full of twists and turns that had me gripped right until the end.

With thanks to Sian Baldwin at HQ for my copy of The Prized Girl.

 

Little Doubt by Rachel Lynch

When a local woman is brutally stabbed to death, there is a great deal of shock amongst the Lake District community. The death of another girl in a similar fashion does not command the same level of outrage, however, due to the difference in their social standing, and DI Kelly Porter faces a wall of silence as she tries to uncover the truth. When she begins to unearth a much larger conspiracy, the detective knows that she must put her job on the line if she is to see justice served.

This is a series that I have enjoyed since the first installment and I think I can safely say that this, the seventh book, is by far my favourite. With knife crime on the up, Rachel Lynch has written a very topical book, and one that highlights how this is not just a problem of the big cities. It was easy to see why witnesses were not forthcoming, with fear of reprisals being at the forefront of their minds. I am sure that there are some people who will read this book and will draw comparisons to an estate or area that they know.

For those who have watched the television series, there is a definite ‘Line of Duty’ feel to parts of this book, with Kelly realising that she cannot trust everyone who is supposed to be on the right side of the law. By introducing police corruption to the plot, we get to see a different side of Kelly as she realises that due to her integrity, matters may be taken out of her hands as she not only battles to solve the case, but finds herself fighting against those supposedly helping her to solve it.

One of the themes that I enjoyed most about Little Doubt, was how we get to see the best of people in the worst of circumstances. The mother of Keira Bradley, the murdered girl, was the epitome of a strong woman, going against the grain in order to bring order to her lawless estate.

Little Doubt is a fantastic book, with numerous plots that all converge to create a clever, gripping, topical story. One of my favourite reads of the year so far.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of this series:

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End

Bitter Edge

Bold Lies

Blood Rites

**COVER REVEAL** Lost Cause by Rachel Lynch

One of my favourite crime series in recent years has been the D I Kelly Porter series by Rachel Lynch. Set in the Lake District, these books are a great read and the latest, Little Doubt, is, in my opinion, the best one yet. My review for this will be published in a few days, but in the meantime, I’m thrilled to be able to share the cover of the next in the series, Lost Cause, which will be published on 20th August 2020 by Canelo. This promises to be another great read.

The Blurb

Is he a victim? Or a killer?

Kevin Flint is a young man on the cusp of adulthood and something of a misfit. He has no friends and a reputation of being odd. At home he lives in fear of his cruel, controlling father. Kevin starts spending time at an abandoned church with an ancient graveyard, and learns couples also go there to have sex. He becomes obsessed with watching them. Soon, one of the women who he has followed is reported missing.

DI Kelly Porter investigates the disappearance and knows that the adolescent boy is hiding something. Kevin is culpable, but to what degree? The evidence against him begins to stack up and Kelly is torn between instinct and facts. Distracted by a looming crisis in her personal life, can she preserve what she loves and still uphold the laws she lives by?

A stunning new DI Kelly Porter crime novel set in the Lake District which is perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, L. J. Ross and Angela Marsons.

 

 

The Cover

With thanks to Sophie Eminson fron Canelo.

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

Fleeing from her controlling partner with her young son, Joe, Lisa is given directions to a lake house in Yorkshire from a friend, a place where she can feel safe. Rowan Isle House isn’t what she was expecting but despite it being run down and having no running water, she perseveres, desperate to keep her and her son safe. After receiving a visitor from the nearby village, however, Lisa realises that maybe she isn’t as safe as she thought she would be. When her past returns to haunt her, just what will she need to do to survive?

Nuala Ellwood has become one of those authors whose books I download without even needing to read the blurb as I know that I am going to enjoy it. Her previous books, My Sister’s Bones and Day of the Accident were both superb reads and I couldn’t wait to read her latest offering. I was definitely not disappointed as The House on the Lake is a dark, gripping tale that kept me intrigued right until the very last page.

Lisa is a woman living on her nerves, terrified of meeting new people in case she is discovered. I could feel her desperation as she found herself living at a clearly uninhabitable house and wondered exactly what it was she was fleeing from. Her unconditional love for her son was apparent, despite him not being the easiest child to bring up. Throughout the book, I willed her to succeed and felt genuine fear for her as her world seemed to be closing in around her.

Lisa is not the only main character as we meet, in alternate paragraphs, previous occupiers of Rowan Isle House. The girl who, initially, we know only as ‘soldier’, tugged at my heart strings from the off. Living with her father, who clearly has PTSD, I had nothing but sympathy for this girl who is longing to experience life outside of the regimented existence inflicted by her father. There were several terrifying scenes where I genuinely feared for her life and I willed her to find a way out of this situation.

It was obvious that the two stories would eventually merge, and I liked how the author built this up slowly, creating a tense read that just made you want to keep reading. There were plenty of surprises along the way that I did not see coming and I was gripped right until the fitting end.

If you have never read any of Nuala Ellwood’s books before, then I can recommend each of them, this one being no exception.

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Books (UK) for my copy.

 

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