Welcome to a wet and windy New Zealand Sunday afternoon. The wind howling around the house, the heavy rain and the thunder and lightning kept me awake last night. Today is a lot calmer, I’m pleased to say.
Unusually for me, I am not currently reading anything! Sorry, should I have warned you to be sitting safely down before I made that statement? But be reassured, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I finished reading two books this morning: The novella Foster by Claire Keegan
A small girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm in rural Ireland, without knowing when she will return home. In the strangers’ house, she finds a warmth and affection she has not known before and slowly begins to blossom in their care. And then a secret is revealed and suddenly, she realizes how fragile her idyll is.
The Plot Thickets by Julia Henry, A Garden Squad Mystery #5
Ever the quintessential New England town, Goosebush, Massachusetts, truly shines in springtime, but when an underhanded undertaker digs herself an early grave, only Lilly Jayne and her Garden Squad can unearth the cryptic killer . . .
With spring’s arrival in Goosebush, Lilly and the Beautification Committee turn their eyes to new projects. A cleanup of the historic Goosebush Cemetery may be in order, after Lilly and Delia find the plots there sorely neglected and inexplicably rearranged. Lilly soon discovers that Whitney Dunne-Bradford snapped up custodianship of the graveyard once she inherited Bradford Funeral Homes. But before Lilly can get to the bottom of the tombstone tampering, she stumbles upon Whitney’s body at the Jayne family mausoleum . . .
Though at first it appears Whitney died by suicide, Lilly has doubts, and apparently, so does Chief of Police Bash Haywood, who quickly opens a murder investigation. Plenty of folks in town had bones to pick with Whitney, including her stepdaughter, Sasha, and funeral home employee, Dewey Marsh–all three recently charged with illegal business practices. But when the homicide inquiry suddenly targets an old friend, Lilly and the Garden Squad must rally to exhume the truth before the real killer buries it forever . . .
I have written reviews for both of these, and I also finished listening to The Tilt by Chris Hammer, but am still to write my review on this Australian crime thriller.
A man runs for his life in a forest.
A woman plans sabotage.
A body is unearthed.
Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her home town, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a ‘file and forget’.
But this is no ordinary cold case, as the discovery of more bodies triggers a chain of escalating events in the present day. As Nell starts to join the pieces together, she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her. Could her own family be implicated in the crimes?
The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more dangerous the present becomes for her, as she battles shadowy assailants and sinister forces. Can she survive this harrowing investigation and what price will she have to pay for the truth?
I actually read all the books that I had planned to read for the week (1 dnf) , a definite bonus of having a chest infection.
I have loaded Day’s End by Garry Disher, #4 in the Paul Hirschausen series, to start reading when I have finished this post.
Hirsch’s rural beat is wide. Daybreak to day’s end, dirt roads and dust. Every problem that besets small towns and isolated properties, from unlicensed driving to arson. In the time of the virus, Hirsch is seeing stresses heightened and social divisions cracking wide open. His own tolerance under strain; people getting close to the edge.
Today he’s driving an international visitor around: Janne Van Sant, whose backpacker son went missing while the borders were closed. They’re checking out his last photo site, his last employer. A feeling that the stories don’t quite add up.
Then a call comes in: a roadside fire. Nothing much—a suitcase soaked in diesel and set alight. But two noteworthy facts emerge. Janne knows more than Hirsch about forensic evidence. And the body in the suitcase is not her son’s.
I have also loaded The Work Wives by Rachel Johns to start.
For work wives Debra and Quinn, it’s a case of opposites attract. They are each other’s lifelines as they navigate office politics and jobs that pay the bills but don’t inspire them.
Outside work, they are also friends, but where Quinn is addicted to dating apps and desperate to find love, Deb has sworn off men. Although Deb is not close to her own mother, her teenage daughter is her life and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do to protect her. But Ramona has other ideas and is beginning to push boundaries.
Life becomes even more complicated by the arrival of a new man at the office. One woman is attracted to him, while the other hoped she’d never meet him again.
But when Deb, Quinn and Ramona are forced to choose between friends, love and family, the ramifications run deeper than they could ever have expected.
And No Strangers Here (County Kerry Mystery #1) written by Carlene O’Connor, and narrated by Emily O’Mahony, to listen to.
On a rocky beach in the southwest of Ireland, the body of Jimmy O’Reilly, sixty-nine years old and dressed in a suit and his dancing shoes, is propped on a boulder, staring sightlessly out to sea. A cryptic message is spelled out next to the body with sixty-nine polished black stones and a discarded vial of deadly veterinarian medication lies nearby. Jimmy was a wealthy racehorse owner, known far and wide as The Dancing Man. In a town like Dingle, everyone knows a little something about everyone else. But dig a bit deeper, and there’s always much more to find. And when Detective Inspector Cormac O’Brien is dispatched out of Killarney to lead the murder inquiry, he’s determined to unearth every last buried secret.
Dimpna Wilde hasn’t been home in years. As picturesque as Dingle may be for tourists in search of their roots and the perfect jumper, to her it means family drama and personal complications. In fairness, Dublin hasn’t worked out quite as she hoped either. Faced with a triple bombshell—her mother rumored to be in a relationship with Jimmy, her father’s dementia is escalating, and her brother is avoiding her calls—Dimpna moves back to clear her family of suspicion.
Despite plenty of other suspects, the guards are crawling over the Wildes. But the horse business can be a brutal one, and as Dimpna becomes more involved with her old acquaintances and haunts, the depth of lingering grudges becomes clear. Theft, extortion, jealousy and greed. As Dimpna takes over the family practice, she’s in a race with the detective inspector to uncover the dark, twisting truth, no matter how close to home it strikes . . .
Other books that I have to read for review this week are: Auld Acquaintance by Sofia Slater
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Millie Partridge desperately needs a party. So, when her (handsome and charming) ex-colleague Nick invites her to a Hebridean Island for New Year’s Eve, she books her ticket North.
But things go wrong the moment the ferry drops her off. The stately home is more down at heel than Downton Abbey. Nick hasn’t arrived yet. And the other revellers? Politely, they aren’t exactly who she would have pictured Nick would be friends with.
Worse still, an old acquaintance from Millie’s past has been invited, too. Penny Maybury. Millie and Nick’s old colleague. Somebody Millie would rather have forgotten about. Somebody, in fact, that Millie has been trying very hard to forget.
Waking up on New Year’s Eve, Penny is missing. A tragic accident? Or something more sinister? With a storm washing in from the Atlantic, nobody will be able reach the group before they find out.
One thing is for sure – they’re going to see in the new year with a bang.
The Next Best Day by Sharon Sala
A fresh start for a young teacher to build the life she’s dreamt of
A second chance at romance for a single dad
The warm and uplifting small-town community cheering them on
After two back-to-back life-changing events, first grade teacher Katie McGrath left Albuquerque for a fresh start in Borden’s Gap, Tennessee. She is finally back in the classroom where she belongs, but it will take a little while for her to heal and feel truly like herself. She’ll need to dig deep to find the courage it takes to try again—in life and in love—but with some help from her neighbor Sam Youngblood and his adorable daughters who bring her out of her shell, her future is looking brighter than she dared imagine.
A Body at Lavender Cottage, (A Kate Palmer mystery #6) by Dee MacDonald
Nurse Kate Palmer is Cornwall’s answer to Miss Marple! But when a body turns up in her own garden can Kate solve the crime? Or is the murder a bit too close to home?
Kate Palmer is stunned when she wakes up one morning to discover the body of a man in the beautiful garden of Lavender Cottage. She’s spent the last few years renovating her cozy, clifftop cottage with its gorgeous views of the sparkling Cornish sea. And a death right under her nose is more than a little unsettling…
When Woody Forrest, Kate’s new husband and the village’s retired detective inspector, takes a closer look he realises the victim is none other than Frank Ford – Woody’s old nemesis. Now, Frank is lying dead amongst the daisies… strangled with Woody’s blue police tie.
Kate is certain the man she loves is not a murderer and is determined to prove his innocence. But who would want to kill Frank and frame Woody? As Kate investigates, Frank’s family seem to be the obvious suspects. Could it be Jason Ford, the youngest son, who has an odd obsession with birdwatching? Sid Kinsella, the angry father-in-law? Or Sharon Mason, the troublesome daughter?
When another member of the Ford family bites the dust while Woody is tending his allotment, it’s clear the killer is determined to bury Woody’s reputation. But when a chance conversation on Bluebell Road provides Kate with a clue, she must find a woman named Rose, who could hold the answers Kate is looking for.
But Kate needs to dig up the truth – and fast! – before poor Woody is thrown behind bars. Can she solve the case and save her husband before it’s too late?
I received six new ARCs from Netgalley this week, including the audio of No Strangers Here. They are: Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza
Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea
On Spine of Death by Tamara Berry
Tell Me Lies by Teresa Driscoll
And the audiobook, The Couple in the Cabin, written by Daniel Hurst and narrated by Eilidh Beaton and Matt Bates
Do you have any of these on your tbr shelf?
Before I go, does anyone have a nice, tasty pumpkin pie recipe that they don’t mind sharing? I love pumpkin pie, but there are so many recipes out there it’s mind boggling!
Have a great weekend.