Murder in Paradise: Thirteen Mysteries from the Travels of Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie

ABOUT ‘MURDER IN PARADISE’: Train journeys through rolling countryside and cruises across the open ocean might sound like paradise, but when murder strikes mid-journey, they鈥檙e anything but. Even on vacation, tensions can bubble beneath the surface, and when the end of the line leads to murder, everyone鈥檚 a suspect.

STORIES IN THIS COLLECTION: 路The Plymouth Express 路The Submarine Plans 路Problem at Sea 路How Does Your Garden Grow? 路The Market Basing Mystery 路The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan 路The Million Dollar Bond Robbery 路The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb 路The Affair at The Victory Ball 路The King of Clubs 路The Lemesurier Inheritance 路The Cornish Mystery 路The Adventure of the Clapham Cook

MY THOUGHTS: What a treat it was to have David Suchet narrate this collection! A few of these stories are also included in the Poirot Investigates collection, but they were just as interesting second time around.

This collection of short stories, also featuring Poirot’s sidekick Hastings and occasionally Inspector Japp, although lacking the depth of the Poirot novels, were still entertaining and stretched ‘the little grey cells!’ Oui!

猸愨瓙猸愨瓙

THE AUTHOR: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879鈥1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha’s senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880鈥1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha’s husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie’s death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie’s travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie’s 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie’s room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha’s greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Murder in Paradise, written by Agatha Christie, narrated by David Suchet, and published by Harper Collins during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy weekend everyone!

My son and grandson have been in the South Island this week. They couldn’t have picked a much worse week in summer. The weather has been diabolical. Cold, wet and windy, with snow on two days. But they have had a wonderful time despite the weather and have sent us photos of their adventures each evening. They were going whale watching in Kaikoura this morning and flying home from Christchurch this afternoon. It is still quite windy, but not gusting like it was this morning, so hopefully the trip home won’t be too bumpy.

Couldn’t tell what time it was!

Currently I am reading Exit by Belinda Bauer. She is an author I always enjoy.

And I am listening to Dry Bones (Enzo #1) by Peter May.

This week I am planning on reading The Rosary Garden by Nicola White

It was Ali who found the body of a murdered newborn baby, hidden in the garden of her convent school. In an Ireland riven by battles of religion and reproduction, the case becomes a media sensation, even as the church tries to suppress it. But this is not the first dead baby Ali has found.

For Detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine, the pressure to discover the identity of the dead child is little help against a community with secrets to protect. Gina knows all too well how many of Ireland’s girls are forced to make difficult decisions in terrible circumstances, silenced by shame. Is Ali one of those girls? Because what evidence there is, points to Ali herself…

And Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan

At just sixteen, Nancy leaves the small island of Cape Clear for the mainland, the only member of her family to survive the effects of the Great Famine. Finding work in a grand house on the edge of Cork City, she is irrepressibly drawn to the charismatic gardener Michael Egan, sparking a love affair and a devastating chain of events that continues to unfold over three generations. Spanning more than a century, Life Sentences is the unforgettable journey of a family hungry for redemption, and determined against all odds to be free.

I have received two ARCs from Netgalley this week: Win by Harlan Coben

And Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I l鉂e that cover!

So that is all from me today. I hear Belinda Bauer calling my name!

Have a wonderful week. Take care and be kind. 鉂ゐ煋

Flesh House by Stuart MacBride

EXCERPT: ‘I’ve been waiting for you for fifteen minutes!’ Dr Isobel MacAlister, Aberdeen’s chief pathologist, wearing an expression that would freeze the balls off a brass gorilla at twenty paces. ‘You might not have anything better to do, but I can assure you that I have. Now are you going to listen to my preliminary findings, or shall I just go home and leave you to whatever it is you feel is more important?’

Logan groaned. That was all they needed, Isobel winding Insch up even further. As if the grumpy fat sod wasn’t bad enough already. The inspector turned on her, his face flashing angry scarlet in the IB spotlights. ‘Thank you so much for waiting for me, Doctor. I’m sorry if my organising a murder enquiry has inconvenienced you. I’ll try not to let something so trivial get in the way again.’

They stared at each other in silence for a moment. Then Isobel pulled on a cold, unfriendly smile. ‘Remains are human: male. Dismemberment looks as if it occurred some time after death with a long, sharp blade and a hacksaw, but I won’t be able to confirm that until after I’ve performed the post mortem.’ She checked her watch. ‘Which will take place at eleven am precisely.’

Insch bristled. ‘Oh no it won’t! I need those remains analysed now -‘

‘They’re frozen, Inspector. They – need – to – defrost.’ Emphasising each word as if she was talking to a naughty child, rather than a huge, bad tempered detective inspector. ‘If you want, I suppose I could stick them in the canteen microwave for half an hour. But that might not be very professional. What do you think?’

Insch just ground his teeth at her. Face rapidly shifting from angry-red to furious-purple.

ABOUT ‘FLESH HOUSE’ (Logan McRae #4): Panic grips The Granite City as DS Logan McRae heads up a manhunt for ‘The Flesher’ – one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers. The case was closed. Until the killer walked free When an offshore container turns up at Aberdeen Harbour full of human meat, it kicks off the largest manhunt in the Granite City’s history. Twenty years ago ‘The Flesher’ was butchering people all over the UK – turning victims into oven-ready joints – until Grampian’s finest put him away. But eleven years later he was out on appeal. Now he’s missing and people are dying again.When members of the original investigation start to disappear, Detective Sergeant Logan McRae realizes the case might not be as clear cut as everyone thinks Twenty years of secrets and lies are being dragged into the light. And the only thing that’s certain is Aberdeen will never be the same again

MY THOUGHTS: I took every possible opportunity to listen to Flesh House, but I have to admit to not eating much meat while I was doing so! If you don’t have a strong stomach and a love of gore, I strongly suggest that you bypass this. But me? I loved every minute of it.

I don’t know why, but everyone seems to pick on Logan; he’s everyone’s whipping boy. He is treated abominably by all his superiors and his ex-girlfriend. And yet he has good ideas, sees possibilities that no one else recognizes.

Flesh House is grim, but has flashes of (dark) humor in unexpected places. It is needed. Be prepared for the eating of human flesh, torture, imprisonment and graphic descriptions of the killing of people.

I had the identity of the killer worked out a little ahead of the police, which pleased (and surprised) me no end. The ending was completely unexpected, and I laughed, which was probably highly inappropriate, but I did.

Definitely the pinnacle of this series thus far. 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙猸

THE AUTHOR: Stuart MacBride is a Scottish writer, most famous for his crime thrillers set in the “Granite City” of Aberdeen and featuring Detective Sergeant Logan McRae.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Flesh House written by Stuart MacBride, brilliantly narrated by Steve Worsley and published by Harper Collins Audio, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

A glorious morning has turned into a wet and stormy afternoon here in New Zealand. Pete has been away for the weekend fishing up the Coromandel. He had a wonderful time with his mates and they even brought home a few fish! I had to work this weekend otherwise I would have been with them. I haven’t been up the Coromandel for almost 40 years.

8I am currently reading Pianos and Flowers by Alexander McCall. It is a collection of short stories written about some historical photos. I am really enjoying this.

I am currently listening to Murder in Paradise: Thirteen Mysteries from the Travels of Hercule Poirot. I have read/listened to some of these previously, but some of the stories are new to me.

This week I am planning on reading The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, the Goodreads.com Crime, Mysteries and Thrillers January group read. I am a little late starting as I committed to two group reads this month. But I have been wanting to read this ever since it came out, so I simply couldn’t pass on this.

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn鈥檛, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one鈥攁nd nothing鈥攊s what it seems. 

I have ten books due to be read for review this week 馃う鈥嶁檧锔 and obviously I am not going to get them all read. Bad planning, I know, and a mistake I am trying not to repeat. So I am planning on reading Weekend Pass by Paul Cavanagh

Who can forgive a mother who poisons her eight-year-old son? Even if it was an accident.

Tasha thought she had everything under control 鈥 her family life, her career as a nurse 鈥 until her son got into her stash of painkillers. Now, during her first weekend home from drug treatment, she must come to grips with the damage she鈥檚 done and somehow pick up the pieces. Told from the points of view of four different family members, Weekend Pass is a story about the lies we tell ourselves and the people we love. And it鈥檚 about struggling to rise above the mistakes that threaten to define us.

And Ask No Questions by Claire Allen

Not all secrets are meant to come out鈥

Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.
Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.
It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating 鈥 but someone doesn鈥檛 want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it鈥檚 too late?

I have a busy week ahead at work so I probably won’t be able to sneak any extra reads in this week, but if I can, I will.

And of course I have already read and reviewed the amazing gangland crime thriller Family by Owen Mullen, which is being released 21 January.

Check out my review which I posted 11 January. This is one book that you won’t want to miss out on!.

I have only two new ARCs from Netgalley this week, so I am back on track. The first is The Words We Whisper by Mary Ellen Taylor

And Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble. This is my first book by this author so I am very excited!

Happy reading everyone, and enjoy whatever is left of your weekend!

Cheers

Sandy 鉂ゐ煋

Bibliomysteries Volume 1 edited by Otto Penzler

EXCERPT: They’d met last night for the first time and now, mid-morning, they were finally starting to let go a bit, to relax, to trust each other. Almost to trust each other.

Such is the way it works when you are partnered with a stranger on a mission to kill. (An Acceptable Sacrifice by Jeffrey Deaver)

ABOUT ‘BIBLIOMYSTERIES Volume One’: If you open your dictionary, you will discover that there is no such word as 鈥渂ibliomystery.鈥 However, most mystery readers know that the word refers to a mystery story that involves the world of books: a bookshop, a rare volume, a library, a collector, or a bookseller.

The stories in this unique collection were commissioned by the Mysterious Bookshop. They were written by some of the mystery genre鈥檚 most distinguished authors. Tough guys like Ken Bruen, Reed Farrel Coleman, Loren D. Estleman, and Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. Bestsellers like Nelson DeMille, Anne Perry, and Jeffery Deaver. Edgar winners such as C. J. Box, Thomas H. Cook, and Laura Lippman.

Here you will discover Sigmund Freud dealing with an unwelcome visitor; Columbo confronting a murderous bookseller; a Mexican cartel kingpin with a fatal weakness for rare books; and deadly secrets deep in the London Library; plus books with hidden messages, beguiling booksellers, crafty collectors, and a magical library that is guaranteed to enchant you. The stories have been published in seven languages鈥攐ne has sold more than 250,000 copies as an e-book (鈥淭he Book Case鈥 by Nelson DeMille)鈥攁nd another won the Edgar Allan Poe Award as the Best Short Story of the Year (鈥淭he Caxton Lending Library and Book Depository鈥 by John Connolly).

MY THOUGHTS: This is a mostly excellent collection of short stories with books and mysteries at their centre. There is a mix of contemporary and historical fiction. There were a couple of stories that I felt weren’t really mysteries at all, but the high quality of the others eclipsed them.

My favourite story was ‘The Book of Virtue’ by Ken Bruen; the story I liked the least was ‘The Final Testament’ by Peter Blaumer.

The stories are: An Acceptable Sacrifice by Jeffrey Deaver 猸愨瓙猸
Pronghorns of the Third Reich by C.J. Box 猸愨瓙猸
The Book of Virtue by Ken Bruen 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙猸
The Book of Ghosts by Reed Farrell Coleman 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙
The Final Testament by Peter Blaumer 猸愨瓙
What’s in a Name by Thomas H. Cook 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙
Book Club by Lauren D. Estleman 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙猸
Death Leaves a Bookmark by William Link 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙
The Book Thing by Laura Lippman 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙猸
The Scroll by Anne Perry 猸愨瓙猸.5
It’s In the Book by Mickey Spillane and Max Allen Collins 猸愨瓙猸.5
The Long Sonata of the Dead by Andrew Taylor 猸愨瓙猸.5
Rides a Stranger by David Bell 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙猸
The Caxton Lending Library and Book Depository by John Connolly 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙.5
The Book Case by Nelson De Mille 猸愨瓙猸

David Thomas May did an excellent job of narrating the stories. He had an awful lot of different voices to portray and did so admirably.

Please note: some books are harmed in the telling of these stories.

Overall a 猸愨瓙猸愨瓙.6 rating

#BibliomysteriesVolume1HighBridgeAudio #NetGalley

EDITOR: Otto Penzler is an editor of mystery fiction in the United States, and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, where he lives.

Otto Penzler founded The Mysteriour Press in 1975 and was the publisher of The Armchair Detective, the Edgar-winning quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to HighBridge Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of Bibliomysteries Volume 1 for review. Publication date 05 January 2021.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

What a tumultuous week it has been around the world! I am so grateful to be living in New Zealand. 鉂 I hope that wherever you are, you are safe and healthy.

Currently I am reading Trafficked (The Missing Children Case Files #3) by M. A. Hunter. This was published earlier this week.

I have also started reading The Lost Man by Jane Harper. I have only read the prologue and already I am enthralled! I love this author.

I am almost finished listening to Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the world of books and bookstores, a Netgalley audiobook ARC. There are some excellent stories in this collection. My favourite so far would have to be The Book of Virtues by Ken Bruen.

This week I am planning on reading The Ocean House: Stories by Mary-Beth Hughes.

Faith, a mother of two young children, Cece and Connor, is in need of summer childcare. As a member of a staid old beach club in her town and a self-made business consultant, she is appalled when her brother-in-law sends her an unruly, ill-mannered teenager named Lee-Ann who appears more like a wayward child than competent help. What begins as a promising start to a redemptive relationship between the two ends in a tragedy that lands Faith in a treatment facility, leveled by trauma.

Years later, Faith and her mother, Irene, visit Cece in college. A fresh-faced student with a shaved head and new boyfriend, Cece has become a force of her own. Meanwhile, her grandmother, Irene, is in the early stages of dementia. She slips in and out of clarity, telling lucid tales of her own troubled youth. Faith dismisses her mother’s stories as bids for attention. The three generations of women hover between wishful innocence and a more knowing resilience against the cruelty that hidden secrets of the past propel into the present.

Including stories from an array of characters orbiting Faith’s family, The Ocean House weaves an exquisite world of complicated family tales on the Jersey Shore.

And, The Boatman’s Wife by Noelle Harrison.

There was some dark secret in this western edge of Ireland that her husband never wanted her to find out. She might never be able to lay his body to rest, but she could gain some kind of closure by finding out who the man she married was.

When Lily married her soulmate Connor, buffeted by the sea spray and wild winds of her coastal homeland in Maine, she never imagined she鈥檇 be planning his memorial just three years later. Connor has been lost at sea in the bleak stormy Atlantic, leaving Lily heartbroken.

But as she prepares to say goodbye to Connor for the last time, she is shocked to discover a message to him that he never told her about:

Does your wife know who you really are, Connor Fitzgerald? Don鈥檛 ever think you can come home. Because if you do, I swear I鈥檒l kill you.

Unable to bear living in the home she and Connor shared, Lily decides to find out her husband鈥檚 secret. She flies to Connor鈥檚 home town of Mullaghmore on the west coast of Ireland, a harbour town hugged by golden beaches and emerald-green fields. But when doors are slammed in her face, she begins to realise that she knows nothing about her husband鈥檚 past.

Connor鈥檚 grandmother, a hermit living on the cliffs of the wild Atlantic, must know the truth about her grandson. But when Lily tries to find her, threatening notes are pushed through her door warning her not to stay. Will Lily leave the darkness of the past where it belongs? Or will she risk everything to find out the truth about the man she married鈥

I have four new ARCs from Netgalley this week: The Gorge by Matt Brolly

The Secret Within by Lucy Dawson

Forgotten Victim by Helen H. Durrant

And, The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich

I have requested a couple of audiobooks, but my approvals don’t seem to be in any hurry to come through. 馃し鈥嶁檧锔

I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but needs must. There were so many things I was planning on doing during the two weeks I had off work, and so many things that are still on my list, uncompleted or, worse still, not even started. I always overestimate what I can do in the time I have available. My Netgalley back list is evidence of this failing!

Look after yourselves my friends and stay safe.

Pop in tomorrow check out my review of a book that I didn’t really expect to love, but ended up being a five star read for me!

Cheers

Sandy 鉂ゐ煋

Blue Genes by Val McDermid

EXCERPT: I was about to close the conservatory door behind me as I returned to Richard’s house when his doorbell belted out an inappropriate blast of the guitar riff from Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’. ‘Shit,’ I muttered. No matter how careful you are, there’s always something you forget. I couldn’t remember what the other choices were on Richard’s ‘Twenty Great Rock Riffs’ doorbell, but I was sure there must be something more fitting than Clapton’s wailing guitar. Maybe something by the Smiths, I thought vaguely as I tried to compose my face into a suitable expression for a woman who has just lost her partner. Just how was I supposed to look, I found a second to wonder. What’s the well-bereft woman wearing on her face this season? You can’t even go for the mascara tracks down the cheeks in these days of lash tints.

ABOUT ‘BLUE GENES’: Kate Brannigan, Manchester’s tough-talking crime-stalking PI, isn’t just having a bad day. She’s having a bad week. The worst week of her life, in fact. Her boyfriend’s obituary is in the newspaper, her plans to capture a team of heartless crooks are in disarray, and a Celtic neo-punk band under siege wants her to rescue them from the saboteurs who are trashing their posters and gigs. Kate can’t even cry on her best friend’s shoulder because ace crime reporter Alexis has a few worries of her own. Her girlfriend Chris is pregnant, and when someone involved in pioneering illegal fertility treatment is murdered, Alexis needs Kate as she’s never needed her before. Delving into the alien world of medical experimentation and the underbelly of the rock music business, Kate confronts betrayal and cold-blooded greed as she fights to save not only her livelihood but her life.

MY THOUGHTS: This is #5 in Val McDermid’s Kate Brannigan series. I haven’t read/listened to any of the previous books, but it didn’t matter at all.

There’s plenty going on as Kate juggles multiple investigations, the main one being the murder of a doctor involved in illegal and groundbreaking IVF treatment for lesbian couples.

Kate thinks outside the box, coming up with logical but off-the-wall ways to get the information she needs to solve her cases. She, and all the other characters featured in Blue Genes, are realistic, consistent and totally believable, as is the dialogue.

McDermid’s plotting is precise and plausible, well executed, and paced to keep the reader turning pages long into the night. I have long been a fan of this author’s Tony Hill series. This is totally different. It is lighter with a little dry humour thrown in. I enjoyed Blue Genes and will certainly be reading more of this series.

And I want Richard’s doorbell!

猸愨瓙猸愨瓙.3

THE AUTHOR: Val McDermid writes full time and divides her life between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to Blue Genes, written by Val McDermid, narrated by Chloe Massey, and published by Avid Audiobooks, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

It’s Monday…..and

Watching what I’m reading…2021!

Here we are, 3 days into 2021 already, and nothing much seems to have changed except my back yard looks much tidier than it has for ages. I have olives forming on my olive tree for the first time, and my avocado tree which bore 9 avocado last year is absolutely laden! I need to get a watering system up to that corner of the garden as the hose doesn’t reach and, apparently, if they don’t get enough water they will just drop their fruit.

Is anyone else having difficulty referring to 2020 as last year? I am still referring to 2019 as last year!

I was reading in the early hours of New Year’s Day, a paperback as my Kindle was on the charger, and decided that I really did need some sleep when I started tapping the right hand side of the page and wondering why it wasn’t going to the next page! 馃し鈥嶁檧锔忦煠︹嶁檧锔忦煒傪煠b潳馃摎

Currently I am reading The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher on my Kindle and all I can say is wow! It’s making the back of my neck tingle in anticipation. The Wrong Family is due for publication 6 January. Order your copy now!

I am halfway through reading the paperback of Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Australian author Jane Harper. So far I am enjoying it even more than The Dry.

I am currently listening to Blue Genes by Val McDermid, #5 in the Kate Brannigan series. I haven’t previously read or listened to any of this series, but that isn’t impacting my enjoyment at all.

This week I plan on reading Family by Owen Mullen

Family 鈥 might be the death of you鈥
The Glass family business is crime, and they鈥檙e good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars 鈥 but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life 鈥 all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.

His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.

Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.

And Your Neighbour’s Wife by Tony Parsons

Tara Carver seems to have the perfect life. A loving mother and wife, and a business woman who runs her own company, she’s the sort of person you’d want to live next door to, who might even become your best friend.

But what sort of person is she really?

Because in one night of madness, on a work trip far from home, she puts all this at risk. And suddenly her dream life becomes a living nightmare when the married man she spent one night with tells her he wants a serious relationship with her. And that he won’t leave her or her precious family alone until she agrees.

There seems to be only one way out.
And it involves murder …

Only one Netgalley ARC this week, and that’s an audiobook, Bibliomysteries, A must-listen collection of thirteen bibliomysteries by bestselling and award-winning authors Bibliomysteries Volume 1 includes: – “An Acceptable Sacrifice” by Jeffery Deaver – “The Final Testament” by Peter Blauner – “What’s in a Name?” by Thomas H. Cook – “Book Club” by Loren D. Estleman – and many others

Thank you Carla! I will be starting this as soon as I finish Blue Genes, probably tomorrow.

Enjoy whatever is left of your holiday period and keep calm, we survived 2020.

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons

EXCERPT: When Eudora Honeysett hears the flip-clunk of her letterbox on this particular Thursday morning, her heart skips before she pulls it back down to earth like a rapidly descending hot air balloon. It will be junk mail as usual. Unsolicited junk. As she struggles to a standing position, retrieves her stick and anchors herself to gravity, Eudora marvels, not for the first time, at humanity’s ability to fill the world with unwanted junk. The oceans are stuffed with plastic, the landfills with broken three-year-old fridges, and her doormat with an endless littering of pizza leaflets, advertisements for retirement homes, and flyers from individuals offering to re-pave a driveway she doesn’t have. Occasionally, she casts a critical eye over the expensively produced retirement home brochures filled with photographs of smiling elderly couples toasting their successful move to the old person’s equivalent of a Premier Inn. Eudora can’t imagine anything worse. She was born in this house, and intends to die in this house, hopefully sooner rather than later.

ABOUT ‘EUDORA HONEYSETT IS QUITE WELL, THANK YOU’: Eudora Honeysett is done 鈥 with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she鈥檇 never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering 鈥 is she ready for death when she鈥檚 only just experienced what it鈥檚 like to truly live?

MY THOUGHTS: Initially I didn’t particularly like Eudora Honeysett. We’ve all known an elderly woman like her, self-contained, forever correcting grammar and pronunciation, and complaining about everything. She doesn’t join in with anything, doesn’t associate with anyone. Her routine is rigid. She is lonely, but would never admit it. But as her life story was revealed, I began to understand her. By the end of the audiobook, I admired her.

This is the story of an elderly woman facing death, on her terms. This is not a depressing story. It is a story of hope. It is confirmation that it is never too late to start living, or to make friends.

It would have been easy to over-sentimentalise this tale, but Annie Lyons has adroitly avoided this trap. Instead it is poignant and touching, honest and realistic.

The character of Rose, the child next door, who inveigles herself into Eudora’s life, is a breath of fresh air. Rose is full of life, of joy de vivre. She is a force to be reckoned with, impossible to resist. She is a child who prefers the company of adults after being bullied at school. Her family adopts Eudora, and Rose and Stan, the man who rescues Eudora after a fall, slowly broaden Eudora’s horizons.

We all think about death and, naturally at her age, so does Eudora. Annie Lyons uses Eudora’s story to introduce us to the concept of the death doula, and the option of the arranged death. There is a lot of information contained in this story, unbiased and unemotionally presented.

Narrator Nicolette McKenzie does a wonderful job of the many different voices and I will be watching for her name on other recordings.

猸愨瓙猸愨瓙.3

#EudoraHoneysettisQuiteWellThankYou #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published five books including the best-selling, Not Quite Perfect. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Audio UK, One More Chapter via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You, written by Annie Lyons and narrated by Nicolette McKenzie. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway #7) by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: ‘…Is this it?’

Her question is superfluous. Three quarters of a wing and half a cockpit lie exposed at the bottom of the shallow pit.

‘American,’ says Nelson. ‘I can tell by the markings.’

Ruth shoots him a look. She thinks that Nelson would have been just the sort of boy to collect models of second world war fighter planes.

‘There was an American airbase near here,’ says one of the other men. ‘At Lockwell Heath.’ Ruth recognizes him as Edward Spens, a local property developer whom she encountered on an earlier case. Spens is tall and good looking; his air of authority is only slightly dented by the fact that he is wearing tennis clothes. The third man, dressed in jeans and a filthy football top, stands slightly aside as if to imply that none of this is his fault. Ruth guesses that he must be the digger driver.

She looks at the exposed soil. It has a faintly blue tinge. She kneels down and scoops some earth in her hand, giving it a surreptitious sniff.

‘What are you doing?’ asks Phil. Clearly he’s terrified that she’s going to embarrass him.

‘Fuel,’ she says. ‘Can’t you smell it? And look at the blue marks on the soil. That’s corroded aluminium. Did you have any idea that this plane was here?’

It is Edward Spens who answers. ‘Some children found some engine parts in the field long ago, I believe. But no one had any idea that this was buried here, almost intact.’

Ruth looks at the cockpit. Although dented and corroded it looks remarkably undamaged, lying almost horizontally at the foot of the crater. She’s no geometry expert but wouldn’t you expect the prow of a crashed plane to be at a steeper angle?

‘Where’s the body?’ she asked.

ABOUT ‘THE GHOST FIELDS’: Norfolk is suffering from record summer heat when a construction crew unearths a macabre discovery鈥攁 downed World War II plane with the pilot still inside. Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn鈥檛 possibly be the pilot, and DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea. When the remaining members of the Blackstock family learn about the discovery, they seem strangely frightened by the news.

Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk鈥檚 deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger Blackstocks. As production begins, Ruth notices a mysterious man lurking on the outskirts of Fred Blackstock鈥檚 memorial service. Then human bones are found on the family鈥檚 pig farm. Can the team outrace a looming flood to find a killer?

MY THOUGHTS: I love this series and have become very invested in Ruth’s life, with and without Nelson, father of her five year old daughter, Katie. One of the things I love most about Ruth is how realistically Elly Griffiths has chosen to portray her. While she is confident and assured in her professional life, she is anything but in her personal life. She fantasises about being married to Nelson but, in reality, she knows that she would kill him within days. To begin with, Nelson obssesses over Katie and how he thinks she should be brought up, leaving Ruth with the feeling that he thinks she’s an inadequate mother. She is much older than the other mothers of Katie’s contemporaries, and doesn’t relate to their lifestyles. She’s not a slim, trim, Lululemon mummy. She thinks wicked thoughts about people, things she would like to say, but doesn’t dare. I can totally relate to her.

There is a very complicated family by the name of Blackstock featured in The Ghost Fields. Landed gentry living in a crumbling pile with very little money but a lot of local clout. They come with a good deal of infidelity, illegitimate children, greed, avarice and a certain amount of insanity. There is a family tree at the beginning of the book to help.

Of course the body in the plane is not going to be straightforward. It would seem that the body has been moved there recently from elsewhere. But why? And from where?

This is an excellent mystery set against the ongoing relationship between Ruth and Nelson, and their friendship with Druid Cathbad, and his wife Judy, a policewoman who works closely with Nelson, and who is heavily pregnant with her second child. The American, Frank, makes another appearance. And there are goings on in the background of Nelson’s life of which he is totally unaware.

The Ghost Fields is another excellent addition to the series of which there are currently twelve books with the thirteenth due out in February 2021.

猸愨瓙猸愨瓙.4

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Ghost Fields written by Elly Griffiths, narrated by Clare Corbett and published by Quercus via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com