Sandy’s July 2022 Reading Roundup

I started July with 18 books to read for review and ended up with 20 🤷‍♀️ Of those I read 15, and am almost finished the 16th, giving me an 80% review success rate, well up on my dismal 64% rate for June. Plus I read or listened to four books purely for pleasure during the month. And read and reviewed two titles from my backlist. So that was a total of twenty-two reads for the month of July.

I read one debut novel during July, A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett which I rated ⭐⭐⭐.6

plus I read five books by authors I haven’t previously read. They were: Aft the Flood by Dave Warner ⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Saint of Lost Things by Tish Delaney ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

One Last Day of Summer by Shari Low ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#Rejected Goddesses by Natalie Watson and Nina Holmes ⭐⭐.9

My Netgalley feedback ratio is still at 69%. I wonder what it will take to crack the 70% mark. I think I would need to stop requesting books entirely, and that’s not likely to happen.

The four books I didn’t read in July that are now added to my backlist are:

Guilt Trip by Ed James

Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler

Mother of All Secrets by Kathleen M. Willett

Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman

My five star reads for July were: In the Middle of Hickory Lane by Heather Webber

Outside Looking In (DCI Matilda Darke #2) by Michael Wood

A Room Full of Killers (DCI Matilda Darke #3) by Michael Wood

The Lost Children (DCI Matilda Darke #9) by Michael Wood

One Last Day of Summer by Shari Low

Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please

I have seventeen reads for review scheduled for August. Fingers crossed that there are no late approvals. If I don’t read anything from my backlist I should be able to get through all of these.

Happy August reading!❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

My tablet appears to be having memory issues – early onset Alzheimer’s? It’s not that old, but then I wonder about the ratio of computer years to human ones. Anyway it’s going into the computer doctor this morning because yesterday, when I was trying to take my spot on a blog tour, it kept deleting random parts of my post – being a sneaky wee beastie! Thank you to my lovely neighbour Helen, who loaned me her laptop so that I could participate. I’m back on my tablet now, so we’ll see what happens….

Currently I am reading The Saint of Lost Things by Tish Delaney, set in the 1970s and 80s in Ireland and London, and currently in Ireland, it’s a poignant, sad and sometimes humorous read that I’m enjoying greatly.

I am also reading A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, which I have just started.

Both are new authors to me.

I am listening to Outside Looking In by Michael Wood, (#2 in the DCI Matilda Darke series, then I think I am all caught up with it.

Books to be read for review this week are:

The Record Keeper by Charles Martin, #3 in the Murphy Shepherd series

Murphy Shepherd’s last rescue mission very nearly cost him his life. He’d like nothing more than to stay close to his wife and daughters for a while. But Bones’s brother must be stopped, and there are so many who need to know that they are worth rescuing.

As the cat-and-mouse game moves into the open, Murphy is tested at every turn—both physically and mentally. And then the unthinkable happens: his beloved mentor and friend is taken. Without a trace.

Murphy lives by the mantra that love shows up. But how can he do that when he has no leads?  With heart-stopping clarity, The Record Keeper explores the true cost of leaving the ninety-nine to find the one. 

Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries, Edited by Otto Penzler

For devotees of the Golden Age mystery, the impossible crime story represents the period’s purest form: it presents the reader with a baffling scenario (a corpse discovered in a windowless room locked from the inside, perhaps), lays out a set of increasingly confounding clues, and swiftly delivers an ingenious and satisfying solution. During the years between the two world wars, the best writers in the genre strove to outdo one another with unfathomable crime scenes and brilliant explanations, and the puzzling and clever tales they produced in those brief decades remain unmatched to this day.

Among the Americans, some of these authors are still household names, inextricably linked to the locked room mysteries they devised: John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, Clayton Rawson, Stuart Palmer. Others, associated with different styles of crime fiction, also produced great works—authors including Fredric Brown, MacKinlay Kantor, Craig Rice, and Cornell Woolrich. 

All of these and more can be found in Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries, selected by Edgar Award-winning mystery expert and anthologist Otto Penzler. Featuring a delightful mix of well-known writers and unjustly-forgotten masters, the fourteen tales included herein highlight the best of the American impossible crime story, promising hours of entertainment for armchair sleuths young and old. 

Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman

12-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.

When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murders, questions remain as to his guilt — questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her Matty is dying and wants to meet. It looks like Sophie might finally get the answers she craves. But will the truth set her free — or bury her deeper? 

Yours, Mine, Ours by Sinead Moriarty

What’s another branch on the family tree?

Things are finally looking up for Anna. Seventeen miserable years of marriage to man-child Connor have left her drained and ready for a new start. So when they separate, she couldn’t be more thrilled to move in with James, a handsome lecturer who is everything her ex-husband is not: kind, thoughtful, and above all, reliable.

But Anna and James’s kids hate living with the loved-up couple and the new set-up. Their teenage daughters – one a studious high achiever and the other a cool rich girl unbothered by grades or exams – have nothing in common. And Anna’s wild football-mad nine-year-old son declares war on bookish James.

Nobody said step-parenting was easy; Anna and James are about to find out exactly how complicated it can be. With exes, new partners-of-exes and money all in the mix, home life is fast becoming a minefield and their new-found happiness hangs in the balance. Do they have what it takes to make their blended family work?

I have six ARCs from Netgalley this week . . .

Look Both Ways by Linwood Barclay

The Way it is Now by Garry Disher

One Last Day of Summer by Shari Low

1989 by Val McDermid

The Plot Thickets by Julia Henry

My Darling Daughter by J.P. Delaney

Well, this has been an interesting experience. Tablet has now developed a stutter, amongst other things! I am saving each sentence as it finally appears on screen. It’s been a long and laborious process, but we’re finally here.

Have a wonderful week. ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

We’ve had a lovely day out with Dustin today, sans Luke. We took up what are probably the last of the passionfruit and cucumber, and a bag of tomatoes. We had a tasty pub lunch and then meandered home. I don’t think either of us will be wanting dinner tonight.

We were expecting heavy rain today, but so far there’s not been a drop. The wind is strong and gusting, and while it’s not exactly cold, it’s not that warm either. Since we’ve been home, I keep putting my slippers on then, ten minutes later, take them off again.

But onto books . . . Currently I am reading, but finding it difficult to get enthusiastic about My Mother’s Gift by Steffanie Edward. This is the first of my read for reviews for the coming week.

When Erica gets a phone call to say her mother, Ione, is ill in St Lucia, she knows she must go to her, even though their relationship has always been difficult. The island – the place of her mother’s birth – is somewhere that Erica has never called home.

Even when the plane touches down in the tropical paradise, with its palm trees swaying in the island breeze, the sound of accents so like her mother’s own calling loud in the air, Erica doesn’t find herself wanting to stay a moment longer than she has to.

But stepping into her mother’s house, she is shocked by what she finds. Her mother’s memory is fading and she is having strange, erratic episodes. Erica knows the right thing to do is to stay with her, even if it means leaving everything in England behind.

Could you uproot your whole life for the person who raised you? Can a place you’ve never felt at home ever feel like where you belong? And – as you experience loss – is it ever possible to also find love and peace?

I picked out three Irish reads from my shelves to celebrate St Paddy’s Day, but actually spent the day gallivanting around various food and wine festivals in France with Peter Mayle in ‘Bon Appetit! I had finished Dervla Mctiernan’s The Rúin, excellent five star book, highly recommended, and needed something with a different focus. I have just started the second of my three Irish reads for pleasure, The Wych Elm by Tana French.

One

night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.

But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.

As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.

And I am currently listening to As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner which is centred around the Spanish Flu pandemic at the end of WWI. As I have been listening, I am amazed that for all our technological advances since then, very little has actually changed.

In

1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

This week, as well as My Mother’s Gift, I am intending to read A Matter of Time (DI Birch #4) by Claire Askew

At

8am the first shots are fired.

At 1pm, the police establish the gunman has a hostage.

By 5pm, a siege is underway.

At 9pm, DI Helen Birch walks, alone and unarmed, into an abandoned Borders farmhouse to negotiate with the killer.

And The Ash Lake Murders, the first in a new series by Helen H. Durrant.

Callum is lured to an isolated boathouse by an attractive older woman. When she gets him alone, she knocks him out with a single blow. As he wakes up, her voice comes out of the darkness, “You’re a sprat to catch a mackerel.”

Surrounded by hills and lakes, Still Waters is home to a close-knit community of wealthy retirees. It’s an unlikely setting for violence. The police don’t take Callum’s disappearance seriously: he’s 24-years-old, after all. But Callum’s mother, a Still Waters resident, knows that something is very wrong.

Then a body is discovered floating in the lake. Head bashed in. But it’s not Callum.

And someone tweets:Come out to play one last time, Alice. Still Waters run deep. #MadHatter.

That’s when DCI Alice Rossi is called in. She’s back.

I received three new ARCs for review from Netgalley this week. They are: What She Found by Robert Dugoni (Tracy Crosswhite #9)

The Beach House by Beverley Jones

And finally Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler

So by my reckoning I have broken even this week because, although I have read more than three books in the past week, only three of them were Netgalley ARCs.

WORDLE: how many of you Wordle each day? I was a latecomer, but am an avid Wordler. I post my result on Twitter daily and tag a couple of other bookfriends who do the same to me. If you would like to join us please post your result on Twitter and tag me sandysbookaday @SandraFayJones2

Have a wonderful week!

A Surprise for Christmas and Other Seasonal Mysteries

EXCERPT: ‘After all,’ said our host, ‘it’s Christmas. Why not let the skeleton out of the bag?’

‘Or the cat out of the closet?’ said the historian, who likes to be precise even about clichés. ‘Are you serious?’

‘Yes,’ said our host. ‘I want to know if it’s safe for anyone to sleep in that little room at the head of the stairs.’

He had just bought the place. This party was in the nature of a house warming; and I had already decided privately that the place needed one. It was a long damp, high-windowed house, hidden behind a high hill in Sussex. The drawing-room, where a group of us had gathered around the fire after dinner, was much too long and much too draughty. It had fine panelling – a rich brown where the firelight was always finding new gleams – and a hundred little reflections trembled down it’s length, as in so many small gloomy mirrors. But it remained draughty.

Of course, we all liked the house. It had the most modern of lighting and heating arrangements, though the plumbing sent ghostly noises and clanks far down into the interior whenever you turned on a tap. But the smell of the past was in it; and you could not get over the idea that somebody was following you about. Now, at the host’s flat mention of a certain possibility, we all looked at our wives.

‘But you never told us,’ said the historian’s wife, rather shocked, ‘you never told us you had a ghost here!’

‘I don’t know that I have,’ replied our host quite seriously. ‘All I have is a bundle of evidence about something queer that once happened. It’s all right; I haven’t put anyone in that little room at the head of the stairs. So we can drop the discussion, if you’d rather.’

‘You know we can’t,’ said the Inspector: who, as a matter of strict fact, is an Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. He smoked a large cigar, and contemplated ghosts with satisfaction. ‘This is exactly the time and place to hear about it. What is it?’ – Taken from Persons or Things Unknown by Carter Dickson.

ABOUT ‘A SURPRISE FOR CHRISTMAS’: Two dead bodies and a Christmas stocking weaponised. A Postman murdered delivering cards on Christmas morning. A Christmas tree growing over a forgotten homicide. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except for the victims of these shocking and often elaborate murders. When there’s magic in the air, sometimes even the facts don’t quite add up and the impossible can happen — and it’s up to the detective’s trained eye to unwrap the clues and put together an explanation neatly tied up with a bow. Martin Edwards compiles an anthology filled with tales of seasonal suspense where the snow runs red, perfect to be shared between super-sleuths by the fire on a cold winter’s night.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one of the better collections of short stories that I have read in some time. All are set at Christmas, although Santa only features in one story.

The stories range from extremely short and pithy, to very long and rambling.

I was not particularly impressed by the first two stories, but once I got past them, there were several in a row that I absolutely adored. Overall this is an excellent collection. I have read stories by some of the authors before, other authors were new to me, as were all the stories.

Below is my rating for each story:

1. The Black Bag Left on a Doorstep by Catherine Louisa Pirkis ⭐⭐⭐

2. The Hole in the Wall by G.K. Chesterton ⭐⭐.5

3. Death on the Air by Ngaio Marsh ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

4. Persons or Things Unknown by Carter Dickson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

5. Dead Man’s Hand by E.R. Punshon ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6. The Christmas Eve Ghost by Ernest Dudley ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

7. Dick Whittington’s Cat by Victor Canning ⭐⭐⭐⭐

8. A Surprise for Christmas by Cyril Hare ⭐⭐⭐⭐

9. On A Christmas Day in the Morning by Margery Allingham ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

10. Give Me A Ring by Anthony Gilbert ⭐⭐⭐

11. Father Christmas Comes to Orbins by Julian Symons ⭐⭐⭐.5

12. The Turn-Again Bell by Barry Perowne ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My absolute favourite was the Ngaio Marsh story featuring Inspector Roderick Allyen, followed by the Margery Allingham story, On Christmas Day in the Morning.

If you are looking for a Christmas treat to dip into over the festive season, this is it, or it would make a wonderful gift for the mystery lover in your life.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

#ASurpriseforChristmasandOtherSeasonalMysteries #NetGalley

I: @medwardsbooks @poisonedpenpress

T: @medwardsbooks @PPPress

#christmasfiction #cosymystery #crime #detectivefiction #historicalfiction #murdermystery #mystery #shortstories

THE AUTHOR: Kenneth Martin Edwards is a British crime novelist, whose work has won awards in the UK and the United States. As a crime fiction critic and historian, and also in his career as a solicitor, he has written non-fiction books and many articles.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Surprise for Christmas and Other Seasonal Mysteries compiled by Martin Edwards for review. 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Bodies from the Library edited by Tony Medawar

EXCERPT: The murderer killed apparently at random, anyone, any time, any place. The quick incapacitating stab in the back, the body turned over and stabbed and stabbed and stabbed again. A plastic sheet would be thrown down, which had protected the killer from the spurting blood; and for the rest, no sign left, ever, no clue left for a police force stretched to its limit, on the edge of desperation. And every crank in the country ringing up, writing in, with their crackpot theories. (No Face by Christiana Brand)

ABOUT BODIES FROM THE LIBRARY 2: This anthology of rare stories of crime and suspense brings together 15 tales from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction for the first time in book form, including a newly discovered Gervase Fen novella by Edmund Crispin that has never previously been published.

With the Golden Age of detective fiction shining ever more brightly thanks to the recent reappearance of many forgotten crime novels, Bodies from the Library offers a rare opportunity to read lost stories from the first half of the twentieth century by some of the genre’s most accomplished writers.

This second volume is a showcase for popular figures of the Golden Age, in stories that even their most ardent fans will not be aware of. It includes uncollected and unpublished stories by acclaimed queens and kings of crime fiction, from Helen Simpson, Ethel Lina White, E. C. R. Lorac, Christianna Brand, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, to S. S. Van Dine, Jonathan Latimer, Clayton Rawson, Cyril Alington and Antony and Peter Shaffer (writing as Peter Antony).

This book also features two highly readable radio scripts by Margery Allingham (involving Jack the Ripper) and John Rhode, plus two full-length novellas – one from a rare magazine by Q Patrick, the other an unpublished Gervase Fen mystery by Edmund Crispin, written at the height of his career. It concludes with another remarkable discovery: ‘The Locked Room’ by Dorothy L. Sayers, a never-before-published case for Lord Peter Wimsey!

MY THOUGHTS: I have a strong affection for Golden Age Detective and mystery fiction, and I enjoyed the majority of these novellas and short stories. My very favourites – I couldn’t pick between The Locked Room by Dorothy L. Sayers featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and one of the shortest, A Joke’s a Joke by Jonathan Latimer.

My one and only criticism of this collection is that the pen portraits of the authors is sometimes longer than the story!

Strongly recommended for all Golden Age aficionado.

⭐⭐⭐.8

THE EDITOR: Tony Medawar is a detective fiction expert and researcher with a penchant for tracking down rare stories. His other collections of previously uncollected stories include WHILE THE LIGHT LASTS (Agatha Christie), THE AVENGING CHANCE (Anthony Berkeley), THE SPOTTED CAT (Christianna Brand), A SPOT OF FOLLY (Ruth Rendell) and THE ISLAND OF COFFINS (John Dickson Carr). (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Bodies From the Library, collated by Tony Medawar, narrated by Philip Bretherton and published by Harper Collins 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 profile page on Goodreads.com 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 . . .

Another Sunday, and another week’s reading completed. I even managed to sneak in an extra book this week . . . I picked it up last night, intending to read just a chapter or two before I went to sleep. Instead I read the whole thing. But more about that later in the post.

I am currently reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. Two of my Goodreads.com reading groups, the Crime, Mystery and Thriller group and the All About Books group, have picked this as the October group read.

I am about to start You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

Currently I am listening to Bodies From the Library 2: Forgotten stories of mystery and suspense by the Queens of Crime and masters of Golden Age detection.

I am also planning on reading The Book of Carol Sue by Lynn Hugo this week.

CarolSue and her sister, Louisa, are best friends, but haven’t had much in common since CarolSue married Charlie, moved to Atlanta, and swapped shoes covered with Indiana farm dust for pedicures and afternoon bridge. Louisa, meanwhile, loves her farm and animals as deeply as she’d loved Harold, her late husband of forty years.

Charlie’s sudden death leaves CarolSue so adrift that she surrenders to Louisa’s plan for her to move back home. But canning vegetables and feeding chickens are alien to CarolSue, and she resolves to return to Atlanta–until Louisa’s son, Reverend Gary, arrives with an abandoned infant and a dubious story. He begs the women to look after the baby while he locates the mother–a young immigrant who fears deportation.

Keeping his own secrets, Gary enlists the aid of the sheriff, Gus, in the search. But CarolSue’s bond with the baby is undeniable, and she forms an unconventional secret plan of her own. How many mistakes can be redeemed?

I am keeping my reading load deliberately light this week as I have a busy week ahead at work, culminating next Sunday so am probably going to be very late with my Watching what I’m reading post – like Monday!

Four new ARCs this week:

The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope

The House at Magpie Cove by Kennedy Kerr

Consolation by Garry Disher

And The Open House by Sam Carrington

Now, the extra book that I read this week? My Darling by Amanda Robson. WARNING: don’t start reading this unless you have cleared the rest of your day. Yes, it is THAT good. Review coming tomorrow!

Have a wonderful weekend to all of you who still have some left to enjoy. It’s time for me to start planning the meals for the rest of the week….

Happy reading!

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

EXCERPT: ‘Hold on,’ I said. ‘Three mysteries?’

‘Oui, mon cher. There is the betrothed of Richard Devonport, Mademoiselle Helen. Did she or did she not kill his brother Frank? If she did not, then why has she confessed? That is Mystery Number One. Then we have Number Two: the strange affair of Joan Blythe who speaks of mysterious warnings of her own future murder and is assuredly deeply afraid of something.’

And Number Three?’

ABOUT THE KILLINGS AT KINGFISHER HILL BY SOPHIE HANNAH: Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.

On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to “the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in.”

Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?

MY THOUGHTS: Well done Sophie Hannah! I could hear the Belgian detective’s voice clearly throughout this book. The plotting is perhaps a little more complex and ingenious than in Christie’s works, but that is in no way a criticism.

I was gripped almost from the very start and continued to be so to the very end. Sophie Hannah had me putting my little grey cells to work, not particularly effectively I may add. I thought that I had it all figured out, the who and the motive, reasonably early on, but by three quarters of the way through I knew that I was wrong, unless someone was lying . . . but, unfortunately, in this instance they weren’t! In fact, I got a lot of things wrong, but had great fun doing so.

I thought the solution rather ingenious and was satisfied with the way it was all wound up. There are some despicable characters amongst the cast, and some that I grew quite fond of. It matters not in the least that there’s very little character development, and that there’s a huge amount of dialogue, two things that I normally complain about. It is what it is, and it works.

Hannah has done a great job of carrying on Poirot in almost Christiesque style. It’s a marvellous read, and although one of a series, is easily read as a stand-alone. I have another of her Poirot titles that I recently purchased on my shelf, and I will be pulling that out to go on the pile on my bedside table. And I will be purchasing the others. I enjoyed this romp!

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#TheKillingsAtKingfisherHill #NetGalley @HarperCollins

THE AUTHOR: Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.
She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah for review. 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 . . .

Today seems to have sped past. I worked this morning, a friend called in for coffee as soon as I got home. TMOTH had been fishing so I had fish to fillet and drop around to friends. I managed to get a little time in the garden then all of a sudden it is time to come in and prepare dinner. Pan fried snapper with herbs served on lemon parsley potatoes with avocado salsa.

My reading schedule didn’t go to plan again this week. I have just started The Second Wife by Rebecca Fleet

because I snuck in the absolutely amazing Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, #1 in the Susan Ryeland series

Which I wanted to read before I started Moonflower Murders, the second book in the series.

After being totally captivated by Magpie Murders, I can’t wait to start this!

Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller by Anthony Horowitz. The follow-up to Magpie Murders.

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her longterm boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted – but is it? She’s exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told she’s beginning to miss her old life in London.

And then a couple – the Trehearnes – come to stay, and the story they tell about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married, is such a strange and mysterious one that Susan finds herself increasingly fascinated by it. And when the Trehearnes tell her that their daughter is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to London and find out what really happened …

I am currently listening to The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michelle Campbell

This week I am planning on reading Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz, and The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah.

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot—the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile—returns in a delectably twisty mystery.

Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.

On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to “the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in.”

Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?

And six new ARCs this week . . . The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

The Rosary Garden by Nicola White

Death Score by Angela Marsons

The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

and and finally, The Drowned Woman by C.J. Lyons

And if you missed my post yesterday, do take a look see what I scored at the second hand bookstore Tuesday!

Happy reading and have a wonderful week!

❤😍📚☕🍪

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

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EXCERPT: Joanna picked up a string of pearls from the dressing table. ‘I suppose these are real, aren’t they, Linnet?’

‘Of course.’

‘I know it’s ‘of course’ to you, my sweet, but it wouldn’t be to most people. Heavily cultured or even Woolworth! Darling, they really are incredible, so exquisitely matched. They must be worth the most fabulous sum!’

‘Rather vulgar, you think?’

‘No, not at all – just pure beauty. What are they worth?’

‘About fifty thousand.’

‘What a lovely lot of money! Aren’t you afraid of having them stolen?’

‘No, I always wear them – and anyway they’re insured.’

‘Let me wear them till dinner time, will you, darling? It would give me such a thrill.’

Linnet laughed. ‘Of course, if you like.’

‘You know, Linnet, I really do envy you…..’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems…

MY THOUGHTS: Classic Christie! This filled in a wet and stormy autumn afternoon for me, curled up on the couch with the cat and a pot of tea.

This is a wonderful plot! It is full of envy, betrayals and lies, complications and confusion. There are, as always, a plethora of plausible suspects. And the setting, a boat on the river Nile, is a variation on the ‘locked room’ mystery.

Linnet Ridgeway, being young, beautiful and extremely wealthy, naturally has enemies, some obvious, some not so obvious. She exhibits a huge sense of entitlement. She is not the nicest person on the planet. But does she deserve what happens to her? I am tempted to say ‘yes’, but….I will leave you to make your own decision about that.

The characters are mostly spoiled, bored, wealthy and grasping, seething with resentments, both real and imagined.

Linnet’s death is merely the first . . . of many.

The denouement is shocking and tragic.

Highly recommended.

🗺⛴🔪💋⚰

THE AUTHOR: Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE was an English writer known for her sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. (Wikipedia)

DISCLOSURE: I have a collection of Agatha Christie paperbacks that I have picked up over the years from second hand bookstores, charity shops and garage sales. I can’t remember quite where this copy came from, but it was well read before it came to me, and I have also read it several times. This particular copy of Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie was published by Bantam Books in 1978. 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 is also published on Twitter and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1671715476

The Return of Mr. Campion by Margery Allingham

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Somehow, I have lost my notes containing the excerpts from this collection of short stories thatthat I wanted to share with you. Hopefully they will turn up in some unexpected place, some time in the future, and I will be able to add them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In this fantastic collection of thirteen short stories, Margery Allingham explores both the Mystery and the other genres it has allowed her to write.

From a Christmastime story and a portrait of her leading man, Albert Campion, to classic capers and the traditional British mystery, Allingham displays her wit, her humour, and her prowess not just as a Mystery writer but as a storyteller.

Published thirty years after it’s first publication, The Return of Mr Campion proves that both The Mystery and Allingham are still everywhere.

The Return of Mr Campion was first published in 1989 and contains the following short stories:
The case is altered — Mr friend Mr. Campion — The dog day — The wind glass — The beauty king — The black tent — Sweet and low –Once in a lifetime — The kernel of truth — Happy Christmas — The wisdom of Esdras — The curious affair in Nut Row — What to do with an ageing detective

MY THOUGHTS: This was a mixed bag of short stories, many of which didn’t actually feature Mr Campion. But there is plenty to keep the reader interested, with tales of crime, blackmail, romance and even a ghost story.

Of great interest to me is the lack of political correctness that was very evident at the time this collection was written. Very strict social mores are also in evidence. People talk of living in simpler times, but it seems to me that the difficulties were just different.

3.5

THE AUTHOR: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley . The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

After a battle with breast cancer, Margery died in 1966. Her husband finished her last novel, A Cargo of Eagles at her request, and published it in 1968.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Return of Mr Campion by Margery Allingham for review. 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 or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753056259?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1