I’ve managed to read a few more books than usual this month mainly due to it being the holidays and having time to do so! As well as several ARCs, I’m glad to have finally started on the Stephens and Mephisto series by Elly Griffiths – they’ve been on my TBR list for a while!

Books I’ve Read

The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

I’m a big fan of The Ruth Galloway novels of Elly Griffiths and so it was high time that I started on her Stephens and Mephisto series. The first sees  a woman found murdered, her body dismembered in a way reminiscent of a magic trick known as ‘The Zig Zag Girl’. It soon becomes apparent that the murder, and others that follow, are linked to the detective’s exploits in World War Two. A great start to the series.

 

Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan

When Sophia returns home to find her mother dead and her father seriously injured, a can of worms is opened that leads her to the conclusion that her parents were not the people she thought they were. With murder, a cult and paranoia, this is an intriguing book that definitely picks up pace as you read.

 

Last Cry by Anna-Lou Weatherley

The first in a new series sees Detective Dan Riley investigating the murder of a man in an exclusive London hotel. This is soon followed by another murder, Dan’s fears that there is a serial killer on the loose becoming reality. A great start to a new series.

 

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths

The second in the Stephens and Mephisto series deals with the death of two young children found buried with a pile of sweets. The scene is reminiscent of the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ story and Detective Stephens wonders if their deaths are linked to the fairy tales that one of the victims so enjoyed writing about. A novel, entertaining read.

 

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

The year is 1986 and a group of young friends are forced to grow up quickly after a series of unsavoury events culminate in them finding a dismembered body in the woods. This dual time frame book looks like being one of the biggest hits of 2018 and is definitely one of the best books I have read recently.

 

In Her Footsteps by Ruth Harrow

When Harriet finally flees her abusive husband, Dan, and starts a new life in Coventry, all does not go according to plan when she starts to experience debilitating panic attacks. Just what is she hiding and why will she do anything to stop her secrets from being exposed? A great debut.

 

Blood Underground by Dan Waddell

It’s been some time since we read anything about the genealogist Nigel Barnes but he is finally back in this short story where he is assisting in an investigation into murders on the London Underground. It’s good to see Nigel back!

 

41odISkCAaLThe Intruder by P. S. Hogan

A deeply unnerving tale of an estate agent who keeps copies of the keys from all the houses he has sold and uses them to his advantage. This will definitely have you thinking about how many keys are in existence for your house…

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Newspaper reporter Alec Lonsdale discovers that a series of seemingly random murders may be connected in this absorbing historical mystery.

London, 1882. Alec Lonsdale, a young reporter on the Pall Mall Gazette, is working on a story about a fatal house fire. But the post-mortem on the victim produces shocking results: Patrick Donovan’s death was no accident. But why would someone murder a humble shop assistant and steal part of his brain?

When a second body is discovered, its throat cut, and then a third, Lonsdale and his spirited female colleague, Hulda Friederichs, begin to uncover evidence of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of Victorian society.

 

Kelly’s gut turned over as she realised the danger she was in. She heard no sirens. She knew that she was simply collateral. To these men who made a lot of money from the suffering of others, they’d have no problem snuffing her out.

After a scandal forces DI Kelly Porter out of the Met, she returns to her home turf in the Lake District. Crimes in the Cumbrian constabulary tend to be of the minor sort, but Kelly begins work on a cold case that shocked the local community – the abduction and brutal murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies.

Meanwhile, Kelly is also investigating two seemingly straightforward crimes: a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of local businessman Colin Day. But evidence comes to light that reveals a web of criminal activity beyond anything Kelly imagined. Behind the veneer of sleepy, touristy towns lies a dark and dangerous underworld. As Kelly threatens to expose those with much to lose, she risks paying the ultimate price to get to the truth…

 

You can’t choose your family. Or can you? 

Meet the Bensons. A pleasant enough couple. They keep themselves to themselves. They wash their car, mow their lawn and pass the time of day with their neighbours. And they have a beautiful little girl called Daisy.

There’s just one problem. Daisy doesn’t belong to the Bensons. They stole her.

And now they’ve decided that Daisy needs a little brother or sister.

D. S. Nathan Cody is about to face his darkest and most terrifying case yet . . .

 

downloadIn his first book David Jason told us about himself from his early years training as an electrician through to making it as one of Britain’s greatest actors.

This autumn, in a follow up autobiography, he tells us about the many other lives he has lived – his characters. From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost, he takes us behind the scenes and under the skins of some of the best loved acts of his career.

And in the process he reflects on how those characters changed his life too. The result told with his characteristic charm and wit is both funny and poignant, honest and heart warming.

 

download (1)Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and The Who were all performing in the Queensway and Shepherds Bush areas of London in 1964-65, but in those same areas during the early hours a meticulous serial killer was stalking local prostitutes, dumping their naked bodies on the streets.

While London was famed for its trendy boutiques, groundbreaking movies and its Carnaby Street vibe, the reality included a huge street prostitution scene, a violent world that filled the magistrate s courts but rarely made headlines. Seven, possibly eight, women fell victim making this killer more prolific than Jack the Ripper, 77 years previously. His grim spree sparked the biggest police manhunt in history. But why did such a massive hunt fail? And why has such a traumatic case been largely forgotten today?

With shocking conclusions, one detective makes the astonishing new claim that all the original evidence from the crime scenes has been destroyed. Using secret police papers, crime reconstructions and interviews with contemporary police experts along with insights from the world s leading geographical profiler, Hunt for the 60s Ripper revisits this chilling case. What do modern experts say about the case today? And why did the leading detective, John du Rose, claim to know all along who the killer was? With links to figures from the vicious world of the Kray twins and the Profumo Affair, the case exposes the depraved underbelly of British society in the Swinging Sixties. An evocative and thought-provoking reinvestigation into perhaps the most shocking unsolved mass murder in modern British history.

51rTH32ECKL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_On the eve of the Queen’s coronation, DI Stephens and Max Mephisto uncover an anarchist plot and a ticking bomb at the same time as solving the murder of a man close to them – from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries.

‘Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie’ Sunday Express(on Smoke and Mirrors)

Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.

Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards .

 

51DrGCRmNsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Winter, 1953. A young flower seller is found dead in her room at a Brighton boarding-house, posed with chilling perfection into a recreation of the death of Lady Jane Grey. This is a killer unlike any DI Edgar Stephens has encountered before.

Across the city at the Hippodrome theatre, Max Mephisto is top of the bill in a double act with his daughter Ruby. Tarnishing the experience, though, is one of the other acts: a seedy ‘living tableaux’ show where barely-dressed women strike poses from famous historical scenes. Is the resemblance to the murder scene pure coincidence, or is life imitating art?

When another death occurs – this time within the troupe itself – Max once again finds himself involved in one of Edgar’s cases, and a threat that will come closer to home than anything before. What should be just a job is about to become personal.

 

Wishing you all a very happy new year  – here’s to some great new books due in 2018!

happy-new-year