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Monthly Round Up – April 2021

I’ve been meaning to start listening to more audiobooks so, this month, I’ve been making use of my local library which has a decent selection online. I find it easier to listen to non-fiction than fiction as I find I don’t need to concentrate as much! I’ve also been trying not to start any new series but when Bloodhound Books made some of their titles available on Kindle for free this month, I couldn’t refuse!

Books I’ve Read

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

When a woman witnesses a child being abducted, nobody believes her. Did she really see it or is her mind playing tricks? After initially feeling this was going to be a bit like The Girl on the Train, the plot took a sudden twist, making it one of my favourite reads of the year so far.


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes story for younger readers is another faithful version of the original with great illustrations. Ideal for children who are wanting to start to read classic crime fiction.


Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

The fourteenth book in the Kim Stone series is one of the darkest to date. When the body of a man is found horrifically tortured, Kim and her team know that they are on the track of a particularly sadistic killer who is seemingly out for revenge. Another fantastic book from the wonderful Angela Marsons.


The Lost Sister by Kathleen McGurl

Another great dual timeline book from the author, this time dealing with the Titanic tragedy and the story of her sister ships. Two stories, over a hundred years apart, link together to provide a heartwarming yet heartbreaking tale of sibling rivalry. Review will follow as part of the blog tour.


The Doctor Will See You Now by Dr Amir Khan

The TV doctor, who is also a full time practitioner, recalls situations from his time as a GP that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. Definitely a love story about the wonderful NHS.


Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

I first read this when it came out but when I saw it was available as an audiobook from my local library, I thought it was time for a re-read. Did Florence Maybrick, a young American, kill her older, cotton merchant husband, James, at their home in Liverpool? Kate Colquhoun provides all the evidence for you to decide.



Books I’ve Acquired

Quiet Places hide dark secrets…

In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it? 

Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.

Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fletcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?



A detective on the edge. A killer on the loose.

When DCI Bran Reece is called to the bloody crime scene of a murdered woman, he thinks the case is his. 

But the new Chief Superintendent has other ideas. She sees the recently widowed Reece as a volatile risk-taker and puts him on leave, forcing him to watch from the sidelines. Or so she thinks. 

DS Elan Jenkins soon realises her boss’s replacement is out of his depth and takes matters into her own hands. But Elan unknowingly puts herself and others in grave danger.

Can Reece and Jenkins overcome their personal issues and solve the case? 

The truth might be closer to home than either of them is willing to admit…


Katerina Rowe, a Deacon at the church in the sleepy village of Eyam, has a fulfilled life. She is happily married to Leon and her work is rewarding.

But everything changes when she discovers the body of a man and a badly beaten woman, Beth, in the alleyway behind her husband’s pharmacy.

Drawn to the young woman she saved, Kat finds herself embroiled in a baffling mystery.

When Beth’s house is set on fire, Kat offers the young woman sanctuary in her home and soon the pair begin investigating the murder, with some help from Beth’s feisty grandmother, Doris. But neither the police, nor Leon, nor the criminals want Kat and Beth looking into their affairs and the sleuths quickly find themselves out of their depth…

Can Kat and Beth solve the mystery and walk away unscathed?


How can you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.

Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.

Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.

Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?


When a nurse is murdered, Detective David Grant recognises the hallmarks of a serial killer called Travis.

Twenty-five years ago, Grant caught Travis for the murder of five women and the murderer has been incarcerated ever since. The problem is, Travis was at the hospital when the nurse was murdered but he was in the constant custody of two police officers.

Determined to solve the case, Grant recruits a specialist to his team, Ruby Silver, a top criminal profiler. But Ruby is hiding something from her colleagues.

Who is the killer and what is their motive?

Grant and the team must work quickly to solve the case as the body count rises…




MY DAD SAYS BAD THINGS
HAPPEN WHEN I BREAK IT…

Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants pie and chips, a big chocolate cake, and a comic book starring his favourite superhero. And as long as he follows The Rule, nothing bad will happen.

Daniel will be twenty-three next week. And he has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.

Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just doesn’t know his own strength. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…

Because they’ll do anything to protect Daniel. Even murder.


Quite a few new authors for me to read in the coming months. Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think?

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

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.

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!

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.

The Empty House by Arthur Conan Doyle

It has been three years since Sherlock Holmes plunged to his apparent death in a confrontation with his nemesis, Moriarty, at the Reichenbach Falls. His companion, Dr Watson, is continuing to solve mysteries in his absence and he is about to face the toughest one yet: the locked room murder of Mr Adair. Little does Watson know that help is about to come from a most unexpected source…

This is a fantastic adaptation for children by Stephanie Baudet of the classic Sherlock Holmes story. Despite it being aimed at the younger market, however, I found it a super read and enjoyed it just as much as another of this series, A Study in Scarlet, that I read a while ago. The story has been simplified for younger readers but it has lost none of it’s excitement and sense of mystery. The illustrations also capture the text perfectly, bringing the story alive.

This series by Sweet Cherry Publishing is a perfect way of introducing children to the work of the great Arthur Conan Doyle. It can be purchased from https://www.books2door.com/ at a great price!

With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my ARC.

Monthly Roundup – August 2019

Having more time on my hands, August is the month I manage to read a lot more than I do any other month and this month has been no exception. A couple of books crept to the top of my TBR list as they were on my most anticipated list and, thanks to Net Galley, I was able to get some early copies!

Books I Have Read

The Dirty Dozen by Linda La Plante

The fifth book in the Jane Tennison series sees the detective combating sexism as she joins the famous Flying Squad, investigating a particularly nasty armed robbery. Knowing that she will have to work twice as hard just to gain acceptance, we see the tenacious officer showing off her skills to the max as she shows the men just how it’s done. This is one of my favourite series at the moment.

 

Ice Cold Heart by P. J. Tracy

When a woman is found dead after a clandestine meeting, detectives Gino and Magozzi believe it could be a case of a sex game gone wrong. A chance meeting, however, leads them to think that this is not his first victim and time is running out if they are to save his next… This next installment in the Monkeewrench series is, in my opinion, one of the best.

 

The Perfect Lie by Karen Osman

Claire Carmichael has a great life but something happened a long time ago when she was at school that threatens to change everything. What has she kept hidden all these years and how does it link to what is about to happen to her and her family? This is a great thriller.

 

Daddy’s Girls by Sarah Flint

When an elderly woman is found dead in her bed, D. C. Charlie Stafford fears that the man responsible for a spate of burglaries has escalated his crimes. With another, equally heinous, criminal on the loose, decisions must be made about which avenues to pursue before more victims are found. Review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

46801377._SY475_A Pair of Sharp Eyes by Kat Armstrong

Even before she arrives in Bristol, young Coronation Amesbury hears about the deaths of six young boys, all found with their throats cut. Determined to make her own way in life,  she is also determined to find out what happened to these poor children. A great debut for fans of historical fiction, the review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Your Guilty Lies by Ruth Heald

This story of Katie, a mother of young twin girls, had me gasping with shock on more than one occasion! With a husband and a friend who are obviously keeping secrets from her, this is one of those books where you need to keep reading to find out what awful event is going to happen next! Review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

The fifth book in the Stephens and Mephisto series is set ten years after the events of the previous case, and we see a huge change in the personal lives of the main characters. With less ‘magic’ than the rest of the series, we see the police investigating the disappearance of several local women, with some of the characters getting a little too close for comfort.

 

Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound and Marcus Brown

A serial killer is targeting male to female transexuals and it is up to DI Dylan Monroe and his team to investigate in this highly sensitive case. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will definitely be making my favourites list this year. My review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

 

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

The well-known Sherlock Holmes book is given a retelling for a children’s audience. Despite this, I absolutely loved it and feel that this would be a great introduction to Sherlock for any young person.

 

 

The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A Denzil

Ten years ago, young Samuel Murray disappeared, never to be seen again. Now old wounds have been opened and the truth threatens to be revealed. How involved was Rosie Sharpe and will her and her sister, Heather, pay the price for their involvement? A shocking, fast-paced read. My review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

 

Play with fire, and you’re going to get burned. The unputdownable new Ridpath crime thriller

In Manchester, a block of flats is burning. The only victim is a middle-aged man, sat watching TV. Are the fire and the man’s death an accident or is something more frightening at work?

Meanwhile, DI Ridpath is back with his wife and enjoying work at the Coroner’s Office, his myeloma still in remission. But the quiet life is soon shattered by a new threat.

More corpses start appearing; charred, burnt, silent bodies, strewn in the streets and lodged in buildings. Next to each one is a chilling message sprayed in orange ink.

Fighting on all fronts, Ridapth will be drawn into the dark past of his city and the youth football clubs of the 1990s. He must find the link before any more people die. Before the flames come close to home…

 

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly are inextricably linked in history. Their names might not be instantly recognisable, and the identity of their murderer may have eluded detectives and historians throughout the years, but there is no mistaking the infamy of Jack the Ripper. For nine weeks during the autumn of 1888, the Whitechapel Murderer brought terror to London s East End, slashing women s throats and disembowelling them. London s most famous serial killer has been pored over time and again, yet his victims have been sorely neglected, reduced to the simple label: prostitute. The lives of these five women are rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of the most tragic kind. There was a time in each of their lives when these poor women had a job, money, a home and a family. Hardworking, determined and fiercely independent individuals, it was bad luck, or a wrong turn here or there, that left them wretched and destitute. Ignored by the press and overlooked by historians, it is time their stories were told.

 

Six friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?

 

A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING
Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS
But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE
Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

 

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping for the night with his brother Leo. When Ben woke up, he was covered in blood, and his brother had gone. Days later, Ben was facing a charge of murder. 

Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook, has always sworn he was innocent. And now, on the hottest day of a sweltering heat wave, a body has been unearthed in Ana’s village. A body that might be connected to what really happened between Ben and Leo that fateful night. 

DCI Jansen, of St Albans police, is sure that Ana has something to hide. But as Jansen knows all too well, nothing stays buried forever…

 

 

When art dealer Ivan Fielding is found dead of a heart attack in his home, surrounded by the treasures he’s collected all his life, it doesn’t initially seem like a case for Detective Inspector Frost and the Denton police force. But then signs of a burglary are discovered, and Frost senses there’s more to the story than meets the eye – even though the only thing taken was a worthless amateur painting.

Then a young girl is abducted outside the school, an infamous gangster fresh from prison arrives in the area, and dead bodies start turning up in the woods. As Frost and his team dig deeper, everything seems to lead back to Ivan Fielding’s murky lifetime of misdeeds.

Will they find the answers they need before the dead man’s past puts them all at risk?

 

Have you read any of these or are any of them on your TBR list? At the moment, I’m reading The Posing Playwright, the fifth book in the Esther & Jack Enright mystery series by David Field, and my next read is going to be Luca Veste’s, The Six – this is one I’m really looking forward to!

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes and so when I saw that a series had been published, aiming to bring the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to a younger audience, I couldn’t wait to read it. After reading a few books with some grisly moments in them, it was also a much-needed lighter read than some of my recent ones!

As many people will already know, the mystery starts with the baffled police summoning consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, to the scene of a murder. A man, believed to be E. J. Drebber, has been found dead in an empty house, with no obvious cause of death. It is up to Holmes and his new companion, Dr. John Watson, to discover the truth about the death and solve the case.

Although this is a book that is targeted at children aged 7+, I admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it, the story sticking to the plot that we know and love yet simplified for a younger audience. I loved the illustrations from Arianna Bellucci and also the explanations of terms that children may not be aware of, such as ‘hansom cab’.

I am pleased to see that this is part of a series – The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection, and would definitely recommend it to anyone with children who are beginning to express an interest in crime fiction. Or, if you are like me, you might just enjoy it yourself!

With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my copy.

 

The Mile End Murder by Sinclair McKay

61dkqcjG65LIn 1860, Mary Emsley, a 70-year-old widow of substantial means, was found bludgeoned to death at her home in London. Although she lived a fairly simple life, Mary was a wealthy woman due to the numerous houses she rented out around the London area, but this wealth brought its own problems. Seemingly disliked by many of her tenants, she employed a few trusted men to collect rents on her behalf although it was not unknown for her to venture into the roughest parts of town to receive the payments herself. Was her death at the hands of a disgruntled tenant or was the cause much closer to home?

With the body remaining undiscovered for several days, clues were limited. It was thought, though, that due to the woman’s distrust of strangers, and there being no evidence of a forced entry, the killer must have been admitted to the house by Mary herself. The police struggled to find a culprit until someone known to the murdered woman came forward with some information. On investigating this tip-off, the police found that there case had suddenly opened up – they now had a firm suspect for the first time.

The Mile End Murder sees Sinclair McKay re-examining the evidence (or lack of) and coming to the conclusion that a huge miscarriage of justice led to the execution of an innocent man. This was a view shared by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the infamous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. He would, some years later, write his own thoughts on the case, The Debatable Case of Mrs Emsley. Miscarriages of justice were not uncommon in the Victorian era, but it is still shocking to see how a man could be sentenced to death on a small amount of circumstantial evidence. The author has come up with another possible culprit although, again, lack of evidence would not see a modern jury find them guilty.

Victorian crime is something I have always enjoyed reading about and Sinclair McKay has written a very readable book dealing with not just the murder but also the social history of the period. The Mile End Murder has been well-researched and will appeal to anyone interested in historical crime of the Victorian period in general.

With thanks to Net Galley and Quarto Publishing Group – Aurum Press for my copy of The Mile End Murder.

 

 

 

A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley

18042000For a long time, the British public has had an interest in murder, whether it be fictional or true crime. In A Very British Murder, Lucy Worsley looks at this interest in great detail, exploring cases such as the Ratcliff Highway and Road Hill Murders, before moving onto how crimes were reported and how they inspired detective fiction.

This is a book that has been on my TBR pile for a while and, as it’s been a while since I’ve read anything non-fiction, I decided it was time to give it a try. After watching the accompanying television series, I was looking forward to reading Lucy Worsley’s take on some of the cases I have enjoyed reading about over the years.

If you are looking for a straightforward compendium of British crime, then this is not the book for you. It does mention some of the more well-known crimes (I was particularly pleased to see the murder of Julia Wallace included, albeit fleetingly) but the emphasis is firmly placed on the public fascination for these events. I must admit, though, that these were the sections I enjoyed the most, even though I had read about most of the cases before!

Much of the book is devoted to the growth of the crime fiction genre from the likes of Wilkie Collins and Arthur Conan Doyle to the ‘golden age’ of detection with authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers. There is even a modern slant where Worsley briefly discusses how these books and cases are being brought to life on television in the guise of Whitechapel, Ripper Street and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. My only concern here is that the author gives out some major spoilers and there are certainly now some books that I no longer need to read!

Lucy Worsley’s writing style is very easy to follow and makes for an enjoyable read.

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