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March 2022

The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John Pearson

The names Ronnie and Reggie Kray are synonymous with the gangland crime that existed in London in the 1960s. Their empire of crime saw them befriending famous actors, sportsmen and politicians despite the terror that they brought to those who dared to cross them. The Profession of Violence takes us back to the beginning – their childhood – and tells the story of how they became the infamous criminals we know today.

After watching a recent documentary series about the Krays, I felt compelled to find out a bit more about them and this book, published in 1972 and nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, seemed like a good place to start.

The Profession of Violence gives a complete overview of the lives of the brothers, from their humble beginnings in the east end of London to their later incarceration and subsequent deaths. (The audiobook I listened to had been updated to give this up-to-date information). Although many people would inevitably read this to discover more about their infamous crimes, for me the most interesting part was the details about their childhood and early life. We see from an early age, the bond they had, doing everything together (unless prison got in the way). At a time when National Service was in existence, I also found their time here fascinating, and although many men say that this period in their lives was what put them on the straight and narrow, this could not be said about the Kray twins!

Some good research definitely went into the writing of this book and I have seen that there are other books written by the same author that I will definitely be reading at some point.

The Music Makers by Alexandra Walsh

Pembrokeshire, 2020

Eleanor Wilder has been forced to return to her parents’ home in Wales after a devastating illness has made it difficult for her to carry on with the life she was used to. A set of old family photos has given her a new lease of life, however, especially a photo of someone called Esme Blood, a name Eleanor is already familiar with. She soon embarks on a research project to find out all she can about this intriguing woman.

London, 1875

Esme Blood lives with her adoptive parents, Cornelius and Rosie Hardy, spending her time performing as part of a theatrical troupe. When her close friend Aaron leaves, Esme feels that one day they will reunite and will be able to live as man and wife. Fate has the habit of dealing a cruel hand, however, and soon Esmefinds herself in a loveless marriage, one that threatens the safety of those around her.

I have really enjoyed Alexandra Walsh’s previous books and this one, The Music Makers, is the second in her Victorian timeshift series. Although it is the second book, it is very much a standalone as it features a brand new story and different characters from the previous book, The Wind Chime. I do like how the author weaves in characters from previous books in little cameo appearances however, a sort of Easter Egg for those of us who have read the previous book and also the Marquess House series.

Both time frames are very readable and, although I had great sympathy for Eleanor and willed her to get what she wanted by the end of the book, it was the story of Esme Blood that was the standout plot for me. Esme was a wonderful character and I loved how her strength carried her through some quite dangerous situations. Alexandra Walsh’s superb writing meant that I could visualise the various aspects of Esme’s life from her life on stage to her marriage and beyond. I enjoyed the connections made between the two time frames and could totally understand Eleanor’s need to find out more about this mysterious woman from her past.

Alexandra Walsh has become one of the authors whose books I look forward to reading and I am eagerly anticipating the next in the Marquess House series, The Jane Seymour Conspiracy.

With thanks to Sapere Books and Net Galley.

Vanished by Lynda La Plante

Detective Jack Warr wonders if he has drawn the short straw when he is asked to investigate the case of an eccentric widow who claims she is being stalked by an ex-lodger. After speaking to her, Jack wonders if there is more to this story than it at first seems, his hunch proving to be correct when she is found brutally murdered in her home. When the case merges with a major drugs investigation and the former lodger is nowhere to be found, Jack’s past comes back to haunt him. How far will he go to get what he wants?

The third book in the DC Jack Warr series sees the detective investigating a complex case that gets more and more mysterious as it progresses. What initially starts off as a potential stalking case, soon becomes bigger than the dectective could imagine, leaving him to feel guilt-ridden as he wonders if he could have done more. This is what I like about Warr as he will stop at nothing to achieve justice even if it means that he isn’t strictly on the right side of the law. We see a face from a previous book reappear but this does not mean that you have to have read the previous books – Vanished can be read as a standalone.

For many years, Lynda La Plante has been one of my favourite writers, having been a fan of the Prime Suspect, Anna Travis and Tennison series. In Jack Warr, she has created another fascinating, well-rounded character who is part of a brilliant series of books. Although Vanished has a complex, multifaceted plot, La Plante’s writing makes it easy to follow and as a result I found the book highly engrossing and intriguing. I was certainly kept on my toes throughout my reading as the twists and turns kept occurring – I could certainly empathise with Jack as he tried to solve this baffling case!

If you haven’t read any Lynda La Plante books before, you won’t go far wrong if you start with this one!

With thanks to Net Galley and Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre for my advanced copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the other books in this series:

Buried

Judas Horse

The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths

When Dr Ruth Galloway finds an intriguing photo in her late mother’s belongings, she is intrigued. Why would she have a photo of her her cottage taken long before she lived there? On her return home, she is determined to solve the mystery although juggling work and home schooling during the pandemic is proving to be quite tricky. Nelson, meanwhile, has a problem of his own – could a series of apparent suicides actually be the work of a serial killer? With the Covid pandemic in full effect, policing is proving harder than ever.

Elly Griffiths is one of the authors whose books I eagerly anticipate at the start of each year, having been thoroughly spoilt with several different series: the Brighton Mysteries and the books featuring Harbinder Kaur and Justice Jones. It is the Dr Ruth Galloway books I love the most, however, and I couldn’t wait to read the latest book, The Locked Room.

Set during the Covid pandemic, I enjoyed reading the problems faced by the police as they tried to investigate a series of suicides while adhering to the ever-changing rules. It seemed strange to find myself reminiscing about the early days of Covid as Elly Griffiths took us through the experiences of different people from home-schooling to working on Zoom and watching the daily news conferences with trepidation. The hard-hitting aspects of Covid were handled superbly and genuinely had me fearful as we waited to see the outcome of one storyline in particular.

There are several other storylines running alongside the main plot, each one as engaging as the other, but for me, the best part was to see the characters we have grown to know and love learning to adapt to situations out of their control. The ending has really whetted my appetite for the next book and I am already coming up with my own ideas as to what is about to happen!

If you have never read any books in this series before, what are you waiting for?!

Monthly Round Up – February 2022

March already and the world is looking a very different place. Here’s hoping for peaceful times ahead.

Books I Have Read

The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris

I love reading true crime, especially anything from the Victorian era and this well-researched story of a murder that was unfamiliar to me was a fascinating tale of how the legal system operated in Ireland at this time.


Every Little Secret by Sarah Clarke

The title is incredibly apt as secrets from the past come to the fore in the present leading to the creation of even more secrets! A twisty tale which really made me question who, if any, of the characters I could trust or believe.


The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths

The latest in the Ruth Galloway series is another fantastic read, but I’d expect nothing less from Elly Griffiths. The Covid pandemic is weaved into the plot perfectly and it was great seeing how these much-loved characters coped in their different ways.


The Music Makers by Alexandra Walsh

The latest timeslip novel from Alexandra Walsh takes us back to the Victorian stage and introduces us to a range of characters and behaviours that the prudish Victorians would rather remain hidden! With history, mystery, romance and even murder, there is something for everybody!



Books I Have Acquired

From behind her came a noise, and she whirled around. Two pairs of cold, murderous eyes stared back at her from beneath hooded cloaks. She stood cemented in place, even as her brain screamed at her to run…

It’s their usual Thursday girls’ night in, and best friends Skye, Elena, and London are enjoying hanging out at Skye’s house in New Mexico, eating junk food, drinking wine, and playing with Skye’s little children, Carter and Abigail.

Until the intruders arrive.

Hearing the horrific screams from Elena and Skye, London hides the children, tiptoes out to see what has happened… and disappears.

After Carter raises the alarm, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is called in to investigate a bloodbath that appears to have no motive, no evidence, and worse still – no sign of London.

As Alyssa and her team dig deeper, the truth is always out of their reach… but what is clear is that they need to find London, and fast.

And as they uncover a link between the murders and a sinister local cult, can Alyssa find the young woman who has vanished without a trace – before London joins the list of victims?

Meet Detective Alyssa Wyatt. Mom, Wife… and a serial killer’s worst nightmare.


Two men are found dead in London’s Battersea Park. One of the bodies has been laid out like a crucifix – with his eyes removed and placed on his open palms.

Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, lead the investigation. But when more bodies turn up in a similar fashion, they find themselves in a race against time to find the sadistic killer.

The hunt leads them to Ladywell Playtower in Southeast London, the home to a religious commune lead by the enigmatic Aaron Cronin. Archer and Quinn suspect Cronin’s involvement but his alibis are watertight, and the truth seemingly buried. If Archer is to find the killer, she must first battle her way through religious fanatics, London gangsters – and her own demons . . .


When an eccentric widow claims she is being stalked by her former lodger, Detective Jack Warr is the only person who believes her wild claims.

Days later, she is found brutally murdered in her home.

When the investigation uncovers an international drugs operation on the widow’s property, the case grows even more complex. And as the hunt for the widow’s lodger hits dead end after dead end, it seems that the prime suspect has vanished without a trace.

To find answers, Jack must decide how far is he willing to go – and what he is willing to risk – in his search for justice. Because if he crosses the line of the law, one wrong move could cost him everything . . .


Reggie and Ronnie Kray ruled London’s gangland during the 60s with a ruthlessness and viciousness that shocks even now. Building an empire of organised crime that has never been matched, the brothers swindled, extorted and terrorised while enjoying a glittering celebrity status at the heart of the swinging 60s scene, until their downfall and imprisonment for life.


Happy reading!

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