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Elly Griffiths

Monthly Round Up – July 2022

I’ve read a good range of books this month and was pleased to actually read one from my TBR pile and revisit a series I haven’t read for a while!

Books I Have Read

The Reunion by Polly Phillips

A university reunion gives Emily the chance to finally get her revenge after a major event that changed the course of her life. I really enjoyed this twisty tale of revenge and loved how the plot was slowly revealed in two different time frames.

The Mercy Killings by David Field

The sixth in the Esther and Jack Enright series sees the Victorian detective investigating the discovery of the bodies of young babies. Great characters and an engaging plot.

This Much is True by Miriam Margolyes

An incredibly honest autobiography from the actress who has become a national treasure. Probably known for her often risque comments just as much as her stellar acting career, this book is not for the faint of heart!

A Sliver of Darkness by C J Tudor

This book of short stories by the author of The Chalk Man is a mix of horror, mystery and the supernatural. I loved the dark humour and the unexpectedness of some of the plots. A great quick read for C J Tudor fans.

The Jane Seymour Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

The latest in the Marquess House series sees Jane Seymour taking a starring role although with a supporting cast including Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon. Another superb dual timeline novel where the Tudor history we know is well and truly challenged!

Books I Have Acquired

This serial killer doesn’t just want your life. He wants your identity…

No one sees him coming.

A stock-market trader is pushed from a high-rise balcony and falls to his death on the street below. The only clue the police can find is a box of matches.

No one survives for long.
The decomposing body of a member of the Saudi Royal Family is discovered in a car. Evidence suggests the killer took the man’s life, then stole his identity, wore his clothes and lived in his hotel room – before vanishing into thin air like smoke.

Nothing but matchsticks are left behind.
Dr Bloom realizes the only thing linking these murders is a trail of burnt matches and broken lives. Time is running out – and if she isn’t careful, she might be the next to burn …

Marquess House is under threat…

London, 1527

Nineteen-year-old Jane Seymour arrives at court to take her place with Queen Katherine of Aragon. Discovering a court already beginning to divide into factions between Katherine and Jane’s second cousin, Anne Boleyn, Jane finds herself caught between the old world and the new. Determined to have a son, the king appears to be prepared to take whatever steps he deems necessary to secure the Tudor dynasty.

When King Henry VIII finally succeeds in his pursuit of Anne, Jane witnesses the slow unravelling of his interest in the new queen as she, too, fails in her task to deliver a son. Having watched both Katherine and Anne fall from grace, Jane has no ambition for the throne, but when the king begins seeking her out, Jane realises the decision may be out of her hands…

Pembrokeshire, 2020

When a set of papers called The Pentagram Manuscript makes its way to Perdita and Piper at Marquess House, they find they have a new mystery to unravel. The manuscript is the tale of five women on a quest to find true love, written while Anne Boleyn was queen. As Perdita begins to unravel the text, she discovers a code that leads to a whole new outlook on Henry’s relationship with Jane Seymour.

But before they have a chance to reveal all, the twins find themselves under threat from a different source. Their second cousin, Xavier Connors, is determined to wrest Marquess House from them. As Marquess House must be passed down through the female line, and Perdita and Piper do not have children, Xavier sees his twin daughter as being next in line. And when Piper is nearly driven off the road, they realise he will stop at nothing to get what he wants…

What really happened to Henry VIII’s Tudor queens? Why was history rewritten?

Will Piper and Perdita be able to unravel all of the secrets before it’s too late…?

DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret – but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer.

One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again.

Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding.

Until someone else is killed…

Meet Janine Lewis. A single mum of three and Manchester’s newest detective chief inspector. Her cheating husband walked out the day she got promoted. Now she’s six months pregnant with his baby and in charge of her first murder case.
The body of a deputy head teacher is found on a lonely allotment. Gutted — his stomach sliced open — and left for dead.

The only witnesses are a dying elderly man and a seven-year-old girl.

And now the prime suspect has disappeared . . .

Monthly Round Up – June 2022

The first half of the year is over and I’m three books behind in my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Hopefully I can catch up in July!

Books I Have Read

A Girl Called Justice: The Spy at the Window by Elly Griffiths

World War Two has started and Justice Jones has a new mystery to solve as she believes that there is a spy in their midst. This is a fantastic series for those of us brought up on the books of Enid Blyton.

When the Night Ends by M J Lee

A potential police cover up pits coroners officer, Thomas Ridpath, against his colleagues once again. With definite Line of Duty vibes, this is one of my favourites of the series so far.

The Guilty Couple by C L Taylor

When Olivia is released from prison after serving time for attempting to have her husband killed, she only has one thing on her mind: to clear her name. This is a twisted plot that makes us ask who we can really trust.

The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Alice Hunter

When a woman goes missing and strange things start being left on her doorstep, Jenny is perturbed. She’s spent her life hiding the true identity of her father and yet someone clearly knows who he is. The crime is chillingly close to what her father did all those years ago – what if she is more like him than she realises…

Books I Have Acquired


You can’t lie to Izzy Lambert. Her highly developed empathic abilities allow her to read people’s emotions with terrifying accuracy – and consequences. As a child her insights sparked her parents’ divorce. As an adult she avoids getting too close to people for fear of what she might learn.

But now young girls are going missing in her town. The police have no suspects but, seeing her old school caretaker interviewed on the news about the story, Izzy comes to a chilling realisation: he knows where the missing girls are. When the police won’t take her seriously despite the lives at stake, she will risk everything to uncover the truth

Tom Harper must catch a traitor intent on disrupting the war effort and bringing terror to the streets of Leeds in this page-turning mystery.

Leeds. December, 1916. Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper is called out in the middle of the night when a huge explosion rips through a munitions factory supplying war materials, leaving death and destruction in its wake. A month later, matches and paper to start a fire are found in an army clothing depot. It’s a chilling discovery: there’s a saboteur running loose on the streets of Leeds.

As so many give their lives in the trenches, Harper and his men are working harder than ever – and their investigation takes a dark twist with two shootings, at the local steelworks and a hospital. With his back against the wall and the war effort at stake, Harper can’t afford to fail. But can he catch the traitor intent on bringing terror to Leeds?

This Halloween prepare to be terrified with C. J. Tudor’s first collection of short stories.

Featuring eleven twisted tales of the macabre, including:

The Lion at the Gate in which a strange piece of graffiti leads to a terrifying encounter for four school friends . . .

Butterfly Island
 which tells the story of a group of survivors who wash up on a deserted island and make a horrifying discovery . . .

Gloria where a cold-hearted killer encounters a strange young girl at a motorway service station with unexpected consequences . . .]

Prepare for the big chill . . .

An overturned coach full of students.
A stranded cable car full of strangers.
An isolated chalet full of friends.

Outside, a snowstorm rages.
Inside one group, a killer lurks.
But which one?

And why is no rescue coming?
What are they trying to escape from?
And who are the terrifying Whistlers?

A locked-room mystery.
A dystopian thriller.
A nail-shredding horror.

One mind-bending twist.

THE DRIFT – survival can be murder.

A chance to reconnect.
A chance to get revenge . . .

Emily Toller has tried to forget her time at university and the events that led to her suddenly leaving under a cloud. She has done everything she can to forget the shame and the trauma – and the people involved. She has tried to focus on the life she has built with her children and husband, Nick.

But events like that can’t just be forgotten. Not without someone answering for what they’ve done. 

When an invitation arrives to a University reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan.

Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?

A Girl Called Justice: The Spy at the Window by Elly Griffiths

The year is 1939 and the Second World War has started. Justice Jones returns to Highbury House Boarding School, not knowing what to expect but pleased that her father is unlikely to have to go to fight due to his age and profession. When a boys’ school is evacuated to their building, it is forbidden for the boys and girls to mix. It is not long, though, before Justice has struck up a friendship with a like-minded boy and when strange things start to happen, she has another mystery to investigate. Is there a spy in their midst?

The Justice Jones series is exactly the sort of book I would have devoured as a child and it is no different as an adult! The fourth book in the series is set at the outbreak of World War Two, a perfect time to read about a group of schoolgirls coming to terms with this tumultuous period in their lives. The title gives a hint as to what Justice and her fellow Barnowls will be investigating and there are plenty of clues (and red herrings) thrown in to aid the reader in trying to figure out what is happening.

The addition of a boys’ school adds an extra dimension to the plot and it was fun reading how the different girls reacted to the sudden appearance of members of the opposite sex in their school.

As in the previous books, the plot is incredibly readable with great characters and a delightful setting. I’m already looking forward to reading book 5.

Monthly Round Up – May 2022

Another month over and May brought some great reads!

Books I Have Read

The Missing Father by M J Lee

The ninth in the Jayne Sinclair series sees the genealogist taking on a case for a neighbour who wants to find out about her biological parents. Taking us to Singapore in World War Two, M J Lee has written another great plot full of historical detail and tips for genealogical research.

The Guilty Girl by Patricia Gibney

We are now on the eleventh in the Lottie Parker series and this one sees the detective taking on a particularly hard-hitting subject while also dealing with problems of her own. This is one of my favourites so far and my review will form part of June’s blog tour.

A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This classic Sherlock Holmes story has been reproduced as a dyslexia-friendly version and the plot has certainly stood the test of time. My review will form part of June’s blog tour.

Why Mummy’s Sloshed by Gill Sims

The latest in the series sees Ellen dealing with a potential new relationship, children approaching adulthood and a work crisis. Plenty of laugh out loud moments!

Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza

I’ve waited a while for the latest in the Erika Foster series and Robert Bryndza has not let me down. When a young woman is found brutally murdered, Erika and her team have to overcome numerous obstacles to bring the killer to justice. A superb read.

Books I Have Acquired

It’s 1939 and war has broken out. Everything has changed at Highbury House school. The pupils have to help cook, clean and wash up, for a start! Then a boys’ school is evacuated to Highbury House, and the girls have to share the building. Justice and her friends are delighted that there are still mysteries to solve, however. Like: why can they hear voices coming from an empty room? And how can there be a face at the window two storeys up?

Then Justice faces her biggest challenge yet. Could there be a spy in their midst?

A death in custody. A life in jeopardy.

When Ben Holdsworth dies alone in a police cell, riots erupt in Manchester. But after a post mortem, the authorities have decided nobody was to blame.

DI Ridpath is asked to investigate by the coroner before an inquest, and immediately uncovers some discrepancies in the witness statements.

Why was the CCTV not working that night? Where was the custody sergeant, and did he know the victim? Wherever he turns there are lies and gaps. It’s a dangerous game and the net is closing… On Ridpath himself.

There is only one way out: uncover what really happened in the prison cells on that dark Manchester night.

My Netgalley shelf is down to three books so I’d better get writing those reviews quickly!

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!

My Eagerly Anticipated Books of 2022

I’m a bit late with this post but for some reason, I forgot to publish it! Here are the books I am most looking forward to reading this year although I’m sure there are many more I’ve forgotten!

See No Evil by David Fennell

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 . . .

The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths

Ruth is in London clearing out her mother’s belongings when she makes a surprising discovery: a photograph of her Norfolk cottage taken before Ruth lived there. Her mother always hated the cottage, so why does she have a picture of the place? The only clue is written on the back of the photo: Dawn, 1963.

Ruth returns to Norfolk determined to solve the mystery, but then Covid rears its ugly head. Ruth and her daughter are locked down in their cottage, attempting to continue with work and home-schooling. Happily, the house next door is rented by a nice woman called Zoe, who they become friendly with while standing on their doorsteps clapping for carers.

Nelson, meanwhile, is investigating a series of deaths of women that may or may not be suicide. When he links the deaths to an archaeological discovery, he breaks curfew to visit the cottage where he finds Ruth chatting to her neighbour whom he remembers as a carer who was once tried for murdering her employer.

Only then her name wasn’t Zoe. It was dawn.

You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Veste

Sam Cooper has a happy life: a good job, a blossoming relationship. Yet, there’s something he can never forget – the image seared into his mind of his mother, Laurie, dying when he was a child. His father allowed his grief to tear them apart and Sam hasn’t seen him in years.

Until an unexpected call from Firwood hospital, asking Sam to come home, puts in motion a chain of devastating events. On his deathbed, Sam’s father makes a shocking confession.

Who was Laurie Cooper? It’s clear that everything Sam thought he knew about his mother was wrong. And now he’s determined to find out exactly what she did and why – whatever the cost.

What happens if you discover you’ve been lied to by your own family for twenty-five years?

Sam Cooper is about to find out.

The Murder Book by Mark Billingham
Tom Thorne has it all.

In Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks, Thorne has good friends by his side. He finally has a love life worth a damn and is happy in the job to which he has devoted his life…

Tom Thorne has it all…. to lose.

Hunting the woman responsible for a series of grisly murders, Thorne has no way of knowing that he will be plunged into a nightmare from which he may never wake.

A nightmare that has a name. 

Finally, Thorne’s past has caught up with him and a ruinous secret is about to be revealed. If he wants to save himself and his friends, he must do the unthinkable.

Monthly Roundup – January 2022

I didn’t quite reach my Goodreads Challenge least year for the first time, so I’m determined that I’m going to do it this year!

Books I Have Read

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

The sixth book in the Brighton Mysteries series focuses more on the female characters as they investiagte the murder of theatre impressario Bert Billington. Set in 1965, I was really transported back to the Britain of that time.

Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante

In the latest in the Tennison series, the detective investigates the murder of a nun found buried in a coffin near to the convent where she resided. Another series that just keeps getting better.

You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Veste

Luca Veste’s latest book is set in the USA and sees the lead character, Sam Cooper, slowly coming to terms that everything he’s been told about his family in the past may not be true. A twisty, fast-paced book that I really enjoyed.

Sorry Isn’t Good Enough by Jane Bailey

A gripping tale set partly in 1966 when a catastrophic event in the childhood of nine-year-old Stephanie has a knock-on effect for the rest of her life. Review to feature as part of the blog tour.

Books I Have Acquired

From the outside, it seems Grace has it all. Only she knows about the cracks in her picture-perfect life… and the huge secret behind them. After all, who can she trust?

Her brother Josh is thousands of miles away, and he and Grace have never been close – he was always their parents’ favourite.

Her best friend Coco walked away from her years ago, their friendship irreparably fractured by the choices they’ve made.

And her husband Marcus seems like a different man lately. Grace can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.

But when her seven-year-old daughter makes a troubling accusation, Grace must choose between protecting her child and protecting her secret… before she loses everything.

Just the one new book this month as I try to make headway on the TBR list!

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

When Bill Billington is found dead in his home and it is discovered that he has been poisoned, his wife, Verity, is immediately suspected of his murder. Determined to find the real culprit herself, Verity employs the private detectives Emma Holmes and Sam Collins, pitting Emma against her own husband, one of the police officers involved in the case. With their friend, Max Mephisto currently filming a remake of Dracula with Bert Billington’s son, Seth, they hope that this will give them some inside information on the family, but is everyone telling the whole truth?

The sixth book in the Brighton Mysteries series takes us to 1965 and we are seeing more of the female characters as they come to the fore, investigating the suspicious death. In previous books, the main focus has been on Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto and while Max does have a prominent role in The Midnight Hour, Edgar is more of a background character. It was joyous to read the role reversals as Emma travelled around the country while Edgar stayed at home to look after the children!

As we see women becoming more independent in 1965, there is a stark contrast made to how women were treated in the theatrical world back in Bert Billington’s heyday, a theme that, sadly, has continued and can be seen in the emergence of the ‘Me Too’ movement. It definitely made you wonder how Billington had lived as long as he did!

I really like how this series is developing and Elly Griffiths paints a wonderful picture of 1960s Britain, even referencing the real-life Moors Murders case which adds to the authenticity. I hope that this continues through the years as I look forward to seeing how the 1970s treats the characters.

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