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Paul Thomas Murphy

Monthly Round Up – September 2018

After such a great reading month in August, September has been the complete opposite! Work and a dreaded cold has prevented me from reading as much as I would have liked  but I did manage to read two of the books I had been eagerly anticipating. I did manage to feature on several blog tours, sharing some great extracts and reviews:

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The Home by Karen Osman

I was able to share an extract of The Home, the latest book from Karen Osman whose previous book, The Good Mother, was one of my favourites of 2017.

 

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The Body on the Shore by Nick Louth

A plot that took me in a completely different direction than I was expecting! A tense, high-octane read with plenty of action. My review formed part of the blog tour.

 

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Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot

What starts off as a serial killer plot soon escalates into a story about a real-life scandal. My review for this intriguing book was part of the blog tour at the beginning of the month.

 

Full-Metal-Cardigan-Front-CoverFull Metal Cardigan by David Emery

Even a crime fiction fan needs a little light relief at times and while these memoirs of a social worker do, at times, detail some shocking tales, this was a book that definitely had me laughing out loud.

 

Books I Have Read

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Dead End by Rachel Lynch

The third in the Kelly Porter series investigates the disappearance of several young women in the Lake District and the suspicious suicide of the local lord of the manor. My review will form part of the blog tour.

 

img_1321Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane by Paul Thomas Murphy

This real-life story of a long-forgotten murder in Victorian England is a fascinating tale of how important it is to build up your case before going to trial…

 

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The fifth Lottie Parker book is an emotional tale of murder and child abuse. This is a series that just keeps getting better.

 

 

41137013Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons

After the emotional rollercoaster that was the previous book, the ninth Kim Stone book is another superb read that all fans of the wonderful Angela Marsons will absolutely love.

 

Books I Have Acquired

The Stranger Diaries

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Susan Hill meets Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

Teacher Teacher

 

It’s 1977 and Jack Sheffield is appointed headmaster of a small village primary school in North Yorkshire. So begins Jack’s eventful journey through the school year and his attempts to overcome the many problems that face him as a young and inexperienced headmaster.

The many colourful chapters include Ruby the 20 stone caretaker with an acute spelling problem, a secretary who worships Margaret Thatcher, a villager who grows giant carrots, a barmaid/parent who requests sex lessons, and a five-year-old boy whose language is colourful in the extreme. And then there’s also beautiful, bright Beth Henderson, who is irresistibly attractive to the young headmaster…

Warm, funny and nostalgic, Teacher, Teacher is a delightful read that is guaranteed to make you feel better, whatever kind of day you’ve had.

 

As a big fan of Elly Griffiths, I can’t wait to read The Stranger Diaries this month! Happy reading!

 

 

Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane by Paul Thomas Murphy

In April 1871, whilst on his beat near Greenwich, a police constable found a young woman dying in the mud, her head displaying horrific injuries. The woman, Jane Clouson, would manage to live for a short time but was never able to reveal the identity of her attacker. A ‘maid of all work’ who was pregnant at the time of her death, it was not long before someone was arrested and charged with her murder. With the police struggling to build a case, however, did they get the right man?

I enjoy reading about real-life Victorian crime and this book has been on my TBR pile for a while. Like the author, this was not a case I had previously heard of and so I was intrigued to see how the investigation would unfold and what the outcome would be. What I found was an incredibly flawed investigation and a suitably flawed outcome.

From the moment witnesses began to come forward, the police had only one suspect in mind – Edmund Pook. Clouson had been the maid at the Pook family home and it had been alleged that Edmund, the son of her employer, was the father of her unborn child. Although this was fiercely denied, the police were not convinced and hastily arrested Pook. This became their first problem. Although there were no serious contenders for an alternative suspect, the speed at which Pook was arrested meant that the police did not have time to build up a convincing case.

Public opinion played a huge part in the case, with newspapers keen to report everything that was happening. As a result, crowds gathered at the court and at the Pooks’ home, all keen to voice their opinions. Witnesses were unreliable, leading to a frustrating trial for the police.

To avoid spoilers, I will refrain from divulging the outcome of the trial, but what I will say is that I agree with the author’s opinion as to what really happened. Paul Thomas Murphy has written a fascinating book about a little-known case in British history, one that kept me engrossed until the end. If, like me, you enjoy reading about long-forgotten murder cases, then this book could be for you!

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