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People of Abandoned Character

Monthly Round Up: December 2020

The last month of the year and I’d hoped to make a dent in the books that appear to be multiplying on Net Galley, but instead I seem to have added some more! I am a bit late with this month’s round up as I’ve had no internet access for over a week – nightmarish first world problem!

Books I Have Read

People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield

A great new take on the infamous Jack the Ripper story. When a young woman starts to suspect that her new husband could be the Whitechapel killer, we are drawn deep into the London underbelly that is not featured on any tourist map.

Lost by Leona Deakin

The second in the Dr Augusta Bloom series follows the aftermath of an explosion. When one of the injured disappears only to reappear some time later, there is a mystery to solve. Where did he go and why can’t he remember anything about what has happened to him? I’m enjoying this series and have downloaded the third book to read soon.

The Christmas Carol by M J Lee

Genealogist Jayne Sinclair takes on an unusual case when she is asked to prove the provenance of a first edition of A Christmas Carol. Taking us back to Victorian Manchester and the possible inspirations for many of the characters, we encounter Charles Dickens as he sees how the mill workers of Lancashire live. A great festive tale.

Silent Night by Nell Pattison

The second in the Paige Northwood series sees the sign language interpreter aiding the police when a deaf teenager goes missing and his head teacher is found murdered. This is another series I am really enjoying due to the different slant taken on the investigation.

The Island by C L Taylor

A YA book from an author whose books I have loved over the past few years. A group of teenagers aim to spend a week on a deserted island, living off the land with the help of a local guide. When things go drastically wrong, their lives are put in danger. Can they work out what is going on and escape from their nightmare? Review will form part of this month’s blog tour.

The Burning Girls by C J Tudor

When a vicar arrives at their new church, it is not long before they realise that all is not well in this village. Just what exactly happened to the previous vicar and why are people still obsessed with the burning of local marytrs hundreds of years previously? This is another sure-fire hit for the author of The Chalk Man. My review will form part of the blog tour later this month.

The Game by Luca Veste

When a young woman goes missing and another is found dead, D C Mark Flynn has his work cut out trying to convince his colleagues that the cases are connected and that they are players of something known as ‘The Game’. Just who is the shadowy figure behind this game and can the players ever leave?

Books I Have Acquired

Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney

The words blurred as she read the note from the killer. She could feel her blood turning to ice. Shivers ran up and down her spine. ‘Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, meet me. If you don’t, her blood will be on your hands. She is with me. You know where to find us’.

When twenty-five-year-old Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party…

Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue.

While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die?

Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …

Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante

‘Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he’s ready, you release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral – like Judas betraying them…’

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them.

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands…

Hunt by Leona Deakin

The Foreign Secretary is being held under the Terrorism Act. He will answer the police’s questions on one condition – they let him speak to Dr Augusta Bloom.

He asks Bloom to track down his niece, Scarlett, who hasn’t spoken to her family for ten years. The last they heard, Scarlett was getting involved with Artemis – an organisation dedicated to women’s rights and the feminist movement, led by the charismatic Paula Kunis.

But as Bloom learns more about Artemis, she’s torn. Is this organisation everything it claims to be, or do they have a secret side and an alternative agenda? And if so, what has become of Scarlett?

The only way to find out for sure is for Bloom to go undercover. But will she make it out safely – or will she become the next Artemis woman to disappear?

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

‘The train doesn’t slow. We aren’t stopping. We are going to burn past, leaving her behind in a swirl of leaves and dust. I blink. And then men are there, two of them. They lift the squirming girl to her feet, haul her towards the van… and then we are past.’

I am the girl on the platform.
When new mother Bridget catches her train home from London, she witnesses something terrible: a young girl is taken from the platform, right before her eyes. 
No one knows where I am.
But no one is reported missing and with Bridget the only witness, she is written off as an attention seeker. Nobody believes her – not even her own husband.
Can you find me? 
But Bridget knows what she saw, and becomes consumed with finding the little girl. Only she can save the child’s life… but could delving into the mystery cost Bridget her own?

A Del of a Life by David Jason

”So lithe,’ they say. ‘So spry and sparkling. So uncannily youthful. How on earth do you do it?’

Well, what can I tell you? An hour of tai chi first thing in the morning, an HIIT work-out with my personal trainer, a bowl of steamed kale and a handful of almonds for lunch, and then two hours of yoga in the afternoon followed by an ice bath – this is a routine which I’m sure would work miracles for anyone of any age, although I can’t be entirely sure because I haven’t myself adopted any aspect of it at any point.

Fortunately, during my life and career I have been given all sorts of advice and learned huge amounts from some great and enormously talented people. I’ve been blessed to play characters such as Derek Trotter, Granville, Pop Larkin and Frost, who have changed my life in all sorts of ways, and taught me lessons that go far beyond the television set. And I’ve worked a few things out for myself as well, about friendship, ambition, rejection, success, failure, adversity and fortune.

With any luck, some of these thoughts and observations will chime with episodes and challenges you have faced, or are facing, in your own life. And if they don’t… well, hopefully, at the very least you’ll get to have a good old laugh at my expense.

So lean back, pour yourself a glass, and try not to fall through the bar flap . . .’

Why Mummy’s Sloshed by Gill Sims

I just wanted them to stop wittering at me, eat vegetables without complaining, let me go to the loo in peace and learn to make a decent gin and tonic.  
It genuinely never occurred to me when they were little that this would ever end – an eternity of Teletubbies and Duplo and In The Night Bastarding Garden and screaming, never an end in sight.  But now there is.  And despite the busybody old women who used to pop up whenever I was having a bad day and tell me I would miss these days when they were over, I don’t miss those days at all.  
I have literally never stood wistfully in the supermarket and thought ‘Oh, how I wish someone was trailing behind me constantly whining ‘Mummy, can I have, Mummy can I have?’ while another precious moppet tries to climb out the trolley so they land on their head and we end up in A&E.  
Again.

Mummy has been a wife and mother for so long that she’s a little bit lost. And despite her best efforts, her precious moppets still don’t know the location of the laundry basket, the difference between being bored and being hungry, or that saying ‘I can’t find it Mummy’ is not the same as actually looking for it.

Amidst the chaos of A-Levels and driving tests, she’s doing her best to keep her family afloat, even if everybody is set on drifting off in different directions, and that one of those directions is to make yet another bloody snack. She’s feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated, and the only thing that Mummy knows for sure is that the bigger the kids, the bigger the drink.

Wishing everyone a very happy new year!

People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield

In London in 1888, former nurse Susannah thinks that she is about to start a new, secure life with her doctor husband Thomas. The honeymoon period is short, however, as Thomas begins to stay out late returning home covered in blood and with a temper that makes his new wife fear for her life. When a woman is murdered in Whitechapel, Susannah begins to take an interest in the newspaper reports, reading everything she can. When other women are killed in horrific circumstances, Susannah begins to realise that the deaths coincide with her husband being away from home. Could Thomas be the one they call Jack the Ripper?

I am always looking for a a different take on the Jack the Ripper story, whether it be fiction or non-fiction and so People of Abandoned Character piqued my interest immediately. What I found was that, although the premise of the book is that the protagonist suspects her husband of being the notorious killer, this is only the backdrop to what is a wonderful take on life for the poorer classes in London, in particular the plight of women who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the slums of Whitechapel.

In People of Abandoned Character, we see Susannah, a product of Whitechapel, managing to secure herself a position as a nurse, providing her with a way out of the misfortune that befell her own mother. Despite this, the life of an unmarried woman in Victorian Britain was a precarious one and so it was easy to see why her head was turned by Thomas, a doctor several years her junior and why she felt compelled to marry him. The marriage was by no means a happy one and Clare Whitfield paints a terrifying picture of what Susannah had to endure at the hands of her husband and his housekeeper, Mrs Wiggs.

The descriptions of life in Whitechapel were incredibly clear and I could visualise the desperation of the people who lived there as they tried to survive. Although, as I wrote earlier, the murders are a backdrop to the rest of the plot, I was pleased to read about the victims when they were alive, the author giving them a voice instead of just portraying them as dead prostitutes.

As the book reached its exciting conclusion, I couldn’t wait to see if Susannah’s fears would be realised. The ending was full of shocks and was particularly macabre and gruesome. You will have to read the book to see if Thomas was Jack however…

People of Abandoned Character is a fantastic debut and I shall look forward to reading more of Clare Whitfield’s work.

With thanks to Head of Zeus and Net Galley for my copy.

Monthly Round Up – August 2020

I thought I would have managed more books this month but I found that despite having more time to myself than in previous months, I didn’t actually read a great deal! I’ve got some great books to read in September, so I’m hoping to get through some of that TBR pile!

Books I’ve Read

Grave’s End by William Shaw

Murder and environmental activism combine in the third book in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series. A complex, very readable plot and the first time I’ve read chapters penned by a badger… It’s not as daft as it seems!

 

Lost Cause by Rachel Lynch

The eighth book in the Kelly Porter series has a particularly dark plot about the abduction and imprisonment of young women. This has become one of my favourite crime series, and this is one of the best so far.

 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

A cosy mystery (albeit one with some gruesome murders) and a cast of unforgettable characters, this promises to be one of the hit novels of the year. A brilliant read.

 

Close to the Bone by Susan Wilkins

The second in the series to feature Megan Thomas sees the detective investigating the murder of a local businessman whilst also working alongside the NCA on a case involving human trafficking. This is promising to be a great series. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

The Smuggler’s Daughter by Kerry Barrett

This dual timeline book set in present day Cornwall and the same place in 1799 is a wonderful mystery story about smuggling and revenge. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

The past is never over. It’s just waiting for an opportunity to return…

When the notorious serial killer the Beast of Manchester was captured, the streets should have been safe. Except the police got the wrong man. An innocent person was convicted, and only later was the culprit put away.

Now, those connected to the case are being targeted. Someone wants revenge. DI Thomas Ridpath has to relive the horrors all over again. As the bodies stack up once more, Ridpath knows the answers lie in the mistakes made the first time round.

But as he is searching for clues from years ago, fresh terror awaits. While Ridpath seeks to save lives, he risks overlooking the greatest danger of all – and losing more than he can stand.

 

‘He’s gone…’

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…

 

10 Rillington Place: the house of death.

John Reginald Halliday Christie and Timothy John Evans were hanged after a series of brutal murders in the 1940s and 1950s.

But should they both have been executed?

The sole survivor who grew up with Christie and Evans tells the untold story of what really happened inside 10 Rillington Place…

 

 

 

He is my husband.
To honour and obey.
Until murder do us part.

London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes. His behaviour becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets.

Lonely and frustrated, Susannah starts following the gruesome reports of a spate of murders in Whitechapel. But as the killings continue, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time her husband stays out late, another victim is found dead.

Is it coincidence? Or is he the man they call Jack the Ripper?

 

Things can’t get much worse for detective Jane Tennison.

Unceremoniously kicked off the adrenaline-fuelled Flying Squad, she’s been relegated to Gerald Road, a small and sleepy police station in the heart of London’s affluent Knightsbridge.

With only petty crime to sink her teeth into, Tennison can feel her career slowly flatlining. That is until the discovery of the most brutal murder Jane has ever seen: Charlie Foxley has been found viciously beaten to death, his body dismembered and disembowelled.

As a big-time showbiz agent, Foxley had a lot of powerful friends – but even more enemies. And alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Tennison must journey into the salacious world of show business to find the killer, before they strike again . . .

In Lynda La Plante’s most gripping thriller yet, Tennison discovers that the brightest lights hide the darkest secrets – and the killer doesn’t always hide in the shadows . . .

 

I’m currently reading, and enjoying, Blunt Force – I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad book by Lynda La Plante! Are any of these on your TBR list?

 

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