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The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

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.

Monthly Round Up – March 2021

March has definitely been one of my leanest months, reading-wise, as for some reason, it seems to be taking me an age to read a book. Hopefully April will bring a better ability to concentrate!

Books I Have Read

When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

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.


The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne

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 Stone arrives 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…


2004

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.

1955

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.


Hopefully I’ll also get my head round the changes WordPress have brought in by next month too!

**BLOG TOUR** The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne

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.

Buy  Link:         

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08WPZDM5GCover

Apple: http://ow.ly/Hg8l50DDmJl 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/fiuJ50DDmI2

Google: http://ow.ly/iqP350DDmPK

When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

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:

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

Where the Silence Calls

Where the Innocent Die

When the Past Kills

The Chester Creek Murders by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

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.

Monthly Round Up – February 2021

The second month of the year is over and there’s hope that, with regards to the pandemic, there’s light at the end of what seems to have been a very long tunnel. With limited things to do, books have definitely been essential for many during this latest lockdown.

Books I Have Read

Alone in the Woods by Charly Cox

When a teenager arrives home to find her parents have been murdered, her own life, and that of her friend, is put in danger when they realise that the killer is still in the house. This, the third case for Detective Alyssa Wyatt, was one of the books I was most looking forward to this year and I was definitely not disappointed.

Death at Rainbow Cottage by Jo Allen

When the body of a man is discovered in a seemingly motiveless attack, DCI Jude Satterthwaite finds himself investigating a complex case where he must expose hidden secrets to get to the truth.

The Empty House by Arthur Conan Doyle

This children’s adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story by Stephanie Baudet is true to the original plot and is a great way of introducing Conan Doyle to younger readers. Great illustrations enhance the book.


The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

The seventh DCI Craig Gillard book is one of my favourites to date with the detective investigating the deaths of Russian oligarchs, finding his work hindered by the secret services. If you haven’t read this series yet, I can recommend it highly.

The Chester Creek Murders by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

A fascinating story of a specialist company in Salt Lake City who use ancestry DNA to help the police with cold case murders. This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read what comes next after being introduced to the varied lives of the main characters.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

Books I Have Acquired


A child’s body in an unmarked grave. A killer waiting to strike again.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

After two weeks, the police have made no progress finding the killer. The one thing they do know; he will kill again. It is a race against time – and they are losing.

DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work. Diagnosed with PTSD and undergoing supervised psychological therapy, he is dragged into the case against his better judgement. When another child is kidnapped, Ridpath must confront his own demons to stop a killer before he strikes again.


September, 1939. The moon shines silver on the looming yew trees. Thinking of her fiancé, fighting for his life and country in the war, breaks Eleanor’s heart, but also gives her courage. She takes a deep breath, picks up her camera, and follows the dancing lights into the maze.

Present day. With her little brother Missing in Action, gardener Megan Taylor runs from her grief to take a job at Foxfield Hall – a centuries-old place full of myths and folklore – restoring the wild maze in the overgrown gardens. Throwing herself into shaping the tangled ivy, Megan soon becomes drawn into the mystery of Lady Eleanor Fairfax, the Hall’s most famous resident… the villagers say she disappeared without trace at the Harvest Festival in 1939, leaving behind a grieving father and a heartbroken fiancé.

Leafing through delicate old newspaper cuttings and gazing at an ornately framed portrait of the missing woman, Megan is full of questions. Although no body was ever found, could Eleanor have been murdered? Did she run away, unwilling to marry the man who loved her? Or, with her father working at the War Office, did Eleanor stumble upon a secret she shouldn’t have?

Then, one night under a full moon, a mesmerising light inexplicably draws her to the entrance of the maze. Megan is filled with a strange certainty that, if she follows it into the shadows, it will lead to the truth about Eleanor… but could Megan herself be the next occupant of Foxfield Hall to be lost forever?


My current read is When the Evil Waits by M J Lee – something I’ve been desperate to read after the ending of the previous book in the series. I’m enjoying it so far, as I would expect from this great series.

**COVER REVEAL** A Chance Encounter by Rae Shaw

I’m really pleased to be able to take part in the cover reveal for A Chance Encounter, the latest book from Rae Shaw, who you may know as Rachel Walkley.

Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?

Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.

His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.

For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?

Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.


Pre-order Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08X1PN4VH

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X1PN4VH

Publication Date: 24th March


About the Author

Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.

Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.

As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.


With thanks to Rae Shaw and Rachel’s Random Resources.

**BLOG TOUR** Death at Rainbow Cottage by Jo Allen

When the body of a man is found in what seems like an unprovoked attack outside the home of activist Claud Blackwell and his wife, Natalie, DCI Jude Satterthwaite wonders if the man’s personal life might hold clues as to why it happened. When a second victim is found outside Claud’s office, the Cumbrian police fear that a serial killer is targeting people because of their sexuality. What proves to be a challenging case is made trickier by the arrival of a new boss, someone who has already crossed paths with one of Jude’s team.

Death at Rainbow Cottage is the fourth in the Jude Satterthwaite series and while this could be read as a standalone, the previous books help to create an understanding of the main characters and the circumstances behind their relationships. I like Jude as a character and particularly enjoyed his interactions with his new boss. I look forward to seeing how this dynamic develops in future books, especially now she is aware that Jude knows about her past. My opinion of Jude did change, slightly, at the end of the book and, again, I look forward to seeing how this story develops in the future.

We see that what, initially, look like unmotivated attacks, are connected, but who would want to kill people who appear to offer no threat to anyone? Jo Allen provides us with several potential suspects and leaves us guessing until the end as to what their motive is. Although I was not surprised by the big reveal, I was shocked by this character’s actions leading up to it, not guessing what they would do.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the setting. As I am reading, I find myself visualising the long country roads and the desolate cottages – a perfect place to set a gruesome murder! My only criticism, and this is a personal view, is that I would like to read less about Ashleigh’s love of tarot. I feel that this detracts from what is a great series with engaging plots.


With thanks to Jo Allen and Rachel’s Random Resources.

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

Death By Dark Waters

Death at Eden’s End

Death on Coffin Lane

The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

Local residents are not happy when Russian oligarch, Alexander Volkov, buys the historic Westgrave Hall, but are intrigued enough to visit when he throws a party for 1000 guests. While giving a private tour of the library, however, Volkov is shot dead, along with two other men. Knowing that he doesn’t have long before the local police are ousted by the security services, DCI Craig Gillard, is struggling to find evidence to show what actually happened. CCTV shows no one entering or leaving the library, everyone appears to have an alibi and the murder weapon is nowhere in sight. Is this a professional hit or the result of a love triangle? With the security services breathing down his neck, Gillard finds himself involved in his most prolific case to date.


I love a good ‘locked room’ mystery and in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, Nick Louth has brought this genre bang up to date with a crime that is definitely of its time while still keeping you perplexed as to how the murders could have happened. In recent times, we have seen poisoning cases involving the likes of the Skripals and Alexei Navalny becoming worldwide news so the deaths of Russian oligarchs, albeit by a different method, is very topical. We are left, initially, to wonder whether politics are at play in the deaths or whether it is simply a case of old enemies finally calling time on their differences. I had my theories throughout, but found myself blindsided at the end, angry with myself for disregarding a piece of information that I had originally felt would prove to be important!


The plot is a complex one, showing how difficult it is for the police to mount an operation when there are other agencies involved, in this case the security services. The sheer size of the house also made it difficult for the police, meaning that they had to prioritise evidence, potentially missing clues which may prove to be useful. Although it was complex, I found the plot easy to follow, and felt it definitely had a ‘real time’ feel to it, as we saw the investigation unfold over the Christmas period.


As well as the characters we have got to know in previous books, Nick Louth has created a superb supporting cast in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, some definitely more likeable than others. My favourite character had to be the man with a name that was so unpronounceable, he was known as Wolf. I once knew someone who learned English from watching episodes of Scooby Doo so I found Wolf’s Only Fools and Horses take on the English language hysterical. “Lovely bubbly!” as Wolf (not Del Boy) would say!

I’ve loved all of the Craig Gillard series, but I think I can safely say that this is one of my favourites to date. An engaging plot, superb characterisation and a mystery that keeps you guessing right until the end… hopefully it won’t be too long before we see what happens next to the Chief Inspector.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

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

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body on the Island


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