Watching What I Read

Well, I didn’t get as much reading done as planned . . . I am only just starting

The Coordinates of Loss

I am listening to

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1)

and almost half way through

Small Great Things

This week I am planning on reading

Treacherous Is the Night (Verity Kent, #2)

In 1919 England, in the shadow of The Great War, many look to the spirit world for answers. But it will take an all too earthbound intrigue to draw in the discerning heroine of Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery . . .

It’s not that Verity Kent doesn’t sympathize with those eager to make contact with lost loved ones. After all, she once believed herself a war widow. But now that she’s discovered Sidney is very much alive, Verity is having enough trouble connecting with her estranged husband, never mind the dead. Still, at a friend’s behest, Verity attends a séance, where she encounters the man who still looms between her and Sidney—and a medium who channels a woman Verity once worked with in the Secret Service. Refusing to believe her former fellow spy is dead, Verity is determined to uncover the source of the spiritualist’s top secret revelation.

Then the medium is murdered—and Verity’s investigation is suddenly thwarted. Even Secret Service agents she once trusted turn their backs on her. Undaunted, Verity heads to war-torn Belgium, with Sidney by her side. But as they draw ever closer to the danger, Verity wonders if she’s about to learn the true meaning of till death do us part . . .

If I get another read, it will be a bonus !

And only one approval from Netgalley this week

Perfect Bones (Samantha Willerby Mystery Series, #3)

Happy reading my friends!



How Does Your Garden Grow? and Other Stories by Agatha Christie


How Does Your Garden Grow? and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
EXCERPT: Dear M. Poirot,
I have been recommended to you by an old and valued friend of mine who knows the worry and distress I have been in lately. Not that this friend knows the actual circumstances – those I have kept entirely to myself – the matter being strictly private. My friend assures me that you are discretion itself – and that there will be no fear of me being involved in a police matter which, if my suspicions should prove correct, I should very much dislike. But it is of course possible that I am entirely mistaken. I do not feel myself clear-headed enough nowadays – suffering as I do from insomnia and the result of a severe illness last winter – to investigate things for myself. I have neither the means nor the ability. On the other hand, I must reiterate once more that this is a very delicate family matter and that for many reasons I may want the whole thing hushed up. If I am once assured of the facts, I can deal with the matter myself and should prefer to do so. I hope that I have made myself clear on this point. If you will undertake this investigation perhaps you will let me know to the above address?
Yours very truly,
Amanda Barrowby

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A classic collection of Agatha Christie short stories, taken from Poirot’s Early Cases and read by David Suchet.

David Suchet, Poirot to perfection, returns with five further short stories taken from the collection entitled Poirot’s Early Cases.

The short stories included in this audiobook are:

‘The Plymouth Express’
‘The Submarine Plans’
‘Problem at Sea’
‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’
‘The Market Basing Mystery’
Each story is entirely self-contained and shows all the essential Poirot qualities. Again we find Poirot’s maxim – ‘one must seek the truth from within, not without’ – proves highly efficient in his pursuit of the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I was excited to discover this little gem, of which I had never previously heard. The fact that it is narrated by David Suchet, only added to my pleasure.

The four stories are all shortish, but none the less intriguing. Hastings makes a welcome appearance, as does Chief Inspector Japp.

Several hours of listening pleasure. 😍😍😍😍😍 Highly recommended to all Christie fans, or as a starting point for anyone wanting an introduction to Hercule Poirot.

THE AUTHOR: Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

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 (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha’s senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

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.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During this 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, which is in the story collection of the same name, 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.

During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy at University College Hospital of University College, London, where she acquired a knowledge of poisons that she put to good use in her post-war crime novels.

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 How Does Your Garden Grow? and Other Stories by Agatha Christie, narrated by David Suchet, published by HarperCollins Publishers via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Friday Favorite – The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by D. L. Sayers

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers

EXCERPT: ‘What in the world, Wimsey, are you doing in this Morgue?’ demanded Captain Fentiman, flinging aside the Evening Banner with the air of a man released from an irksome duty.

‘Oh, I wouldn’t call it that,’ retorted Wimsey amiably. ‘Funeral Parlour at the very least. Look at the marble. Look at the furnishings. Look at the palms and the chaste bronze nude in the corner.’

‘Yes, and look at the corpses. Place always reminds me of that old thing in Punch, you know – ‘Waiter! Take away Lord Whatsisname. He’s been dead two days.’ Look at old Ormsby there, snoring like a hippopotamus. Look at my revered grandpa – dodders in here at ten every morning, collects the Morning Post and the armchair by the fire, and becomes part of the furniture til the evening. Poor old devil. I suppose I’ll be like that one of these days. . .’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ninety-year old General Fentiman has been estranged for years from his sister, Lady Dormer. On the afternoon of 10 November, he is called to her deathbed for a reconciliation, and learns the terms of her will. If she dies first he will inherit a fortune, which his grandsons sorely need. But if he dies first, nearly all of the money will go to Ann Dorland, a distant relative of Lady Dormer’s late husband. She is a young woman with artistic leanings who lives with Lady Dormer.

Lady Dormer dies at 10:37 AM the next day, which is 11 November—Armistice Day. That afternoon the General is found dead in his armchair at the club. This produces a hysterical outburst from his younger grandson, George Fentiman, a veteran of World War I still suffering from the effects of poison gas and shell shock. Due to the terms of Lady Dormer’s will and the time of her death, it becomes necessary to establish the exact time of the General’s death. Though the estate would provide amply for all three heirs, Ann Dorland refuses any compromise settlement. Wimsey is asked to help solve the puzzle by his friend Mr Murbles, the solicitor for the Fentiman family. Wimsey agrees, though he insists that he will pursue the exact truth, regardless of who benefits.

MY THOUGHTS: At the time I first read this, I wrote ‘This is quite the best Lord Peter Wimsey novel I have read thus far’. I read the whole series as part of a challenge on Goodreads a few years ago, and developed a fondness for both Sayers and Lord Peter, but this remains the firm favorite.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club is #5 in the series and Lord Peter’s personality is beginning to flower – he really is quite a sweetie with a kind heart, a man who likes to see people happy. He even gets to play matchmaker. I love the way his mind works, and he has quite a theatrical bent.

Lord Peter had been joking about how a body could sit in its chair in the club undetected, when one is discovered. Everyone had thought the elderly General Fendman was merely snoozing by the fire. But when it becomes imperative to ascertain the exact time of the General’s death to determine the recipient of a half-million pound inheritance, Lord Peter will need to employ all his skills and those of his butler Bunter and good friend Inspector Charles Parker.

This is a true British classic and one I enjoyed immensely. Best enjoyed on a wet, wintery afternoon in front of the fire with tea and crumpets.

Although this is #5 in a series, it is perfectly able to be read as a stand-alone .

THE AUTHOR: Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She is also known for her plays and essays.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by D. L. Sayers. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fine Sunday for a change. Though I shouldn’t grumble as we have had two nice fine days this week. Although I love summer, my heart goes out to those in the areas of California affected by the wildfires. Despite my grumbling, we are very lucky here in New Zealand that we are not often subjected to extremes of weather. So wherever you are my friends, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe.

Currently I am reading

Pieces of Her

and true to form, Slaughter has me hooked!

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never had any more ambition than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.

But one day, a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

Twenty-four hours later, Laura is in hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down. Now, Andrea must go on a desperate journey to follow the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. If she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either of them.

I am also reading

A Question of Trust

the last book Penny Vincenzi wrote before her death.

1950s London. Tom Knelston is charismatic, working class and driven by ambition, ideals and passion. He is a man to watch. His wife Alice shares his vision. It seems they are the perfect match.

Then out of the blue, Tom meets beautiful and unhappily married Diana Southcott, a fashion model. An exciting but dangerous affair is inevitable and potentially damaging to their careers. And when a child becomes ill, Tom is forced to make decisions about his principles, his reputation, his marriage, and most of all, his love for his child.

Coming up to read this week I have

One Little Lie

‘I’m Alice. And my son is a murderer.’

Deborah’s son was killed four years ago.
Alice’s son is in prison for committing that crime.

Deborah would give anything to have her boy back, and Alice would do anything to right her son’s wrongs.

Driven by guilt and the need for redemption, Alice has started a support group for parents with troubled children. But as the network begins to grow, she soon finds out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control…

They call it mother’s intuition, but can you ever really know your own child?

A twisty and unnerving thriller about the price of motherhood and the unthinkable things we do to protect our children.

Last Witness: A gripping crime thriller you won't be able to put down

What if you made one mistake and it came back to kill you? 

Detective Zac Boateng’s old friend, Troy McEwen, is found dead in his home. The official verdict is suicide. But Boateng believes it was murder. And he thinks he might be next on the killer’s list.

If Troy didn’t take his own life, then who did? As he investigates, Boateng discovers a link to an incident from decades earlier. Mistakes were made that day. Lives were lost and secrets kept. Until now…

As more people who were there on that fateful day are found dead, Boateng knows that the killer is closing in on him…

And this week I have received the following ARCs from NetGalley

Paris Echo

Kill with Kindness (DI Fenchurch, #5)

Treacherous Is the Night (Verity Kent, #2)

Whatever you are reading I hope you are loving it!

Happy reading


Blood on the Tracks collated by Martin Edwards

Blood on the Tracks by Martin Edwards

EXCERPT: The guard marched up and down the platform looking into all the carriages to see if anyone had left a halfpenny evening paper behind for him, and opening the door of one of the first class compartments, he noticed a lady sitting in the further corner, with her head turned away towards the window, evidently oblivious of the fact that on this line Aldgate is the terminal station.

‘Where are you for, lady?’ he said.

The lady did not move, and the guard stepped into the carriage, thinking that perhaps the lady was asleep. He touched her arm lightly and looked into her face. In his own poetic language, he was ‘struck all of a ‘eap’. In the glassy eyes, the ashen colour of the cheeks, the rigidity of the head,there was the unmistakable look of death.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Blood on the Tracks celebrates the classic railway mystery. Trains and rail travel have long provided evocative settings for tales of murder and mayhem, and succeeding generations of crime writers have made ingenious use of them.

“Never had I been given a tougher problem to solve, and never had I been so utterly at my wits’ end for a solution.”

A signalman is found dead by a railway tunnel. A man identifies his wife as a victim of murder on the underground. Two passengers mysteriously disappear between stations, leaving behind a dead body.

Trains have been a favourite setting of many crime writers, providing the mobile equivalent of the “locked-room” scenario. Their enclosed carriages with a limited number of suspects lend themselves to seemingly impossible crimes. In an era of cancellations and delays, alibis reliant upon a timely train service no longer ring true, yet the railway detective has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the twenty-first century.

Both train buffs and crime fans will delight in this selection of fifteen railway-themed mysteries, featuring some of the most popular authors of their day alongside less familiar names. This is a collection to beguile even the most wearisome commute.

MY THOUGHTS: Although I wasn’t on a ‘wearisome commute’, I was mostly beguiled by this collection. I have fond memories of, as a teenager, catching the railcar on a Friday night to the next town south to go stay with my friend Susan’s grandmother for the weekend. We no longer have that option as trains no longer stop here. The train station and waiting room is now a trendy restaurant, the railway café a display of rugby memorabilia. The turntable is gone, ripped up to be relocated who knows where, or scrapped, and the engine sheds are falling down, the tracks fenced off to prevent people who no longer seem to have even a vestige of common sense from straying onto the tracks and being mowed down by one of the increasingly infrequent trains that still pass through our town.

Anyway, enough of my rant. Back to the purpose of this review – Blood on the Tracks, which is a beguiling collection of Golden Age detective fiction short stories, all set on or around the railway. This is a diverse and mostly entertaining collection showcasing the work of some very famous authors, and some whom I had never previously read and, as a result, I have some new authors to follow up on.

Definitely recommended if you are a railway enthusiast, enjoy Golden Age detective fiction, short stories or like a historical read. Even if you are none of these things, there is probably something in this collection that will please you.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Blood on the Tracks collated by Martin Edwards. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

It is a bitterly cold and dismal Sunday here in the central North Island of New Zealand, with heavy rain forecast for this afternoon. A perfect day for reading in front of the fire!

Currently I am reading

Blood on the Tracks: Railway Mysteries

A collection of Golden Age detective fiction short stories, which I am really enjoying. I have discovered a few new authors to follow up.

I am listening to

Money in the Morgue: The New Inspector Alleyn Mystery

So you can see that, this weekend, I am firmly ensconced in the past.

For the coming week, I am planning on reading

The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller, #2)

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

Walk a Crooked Line (Jo Larsen, #2)

A young girl has taken her own life. But what—or who—drove her to it?

When a teenager’s body is found at the base of the old water tower, Detective Jo Larsen is one of the first on the scene. Tragically, it appears to be a clear case of suicide.

But the more Jo learns about Kelly Amster, the more she finds herself needing to understand why the high school sophomore would take that fatal plunge. As they interview family and friends, Jo and her partner, Hank Phelps, begin to fit together the pieces of a dark puzzle. Something happened to Kelly in their small town of Plainfield, Texas—and it sent the young girl straight over the edge.

Haunted by the memories of her own childhood, Jo digs deep into the shadowy corners of a seemingly tight-knit community—to uncover a devastating secret…

And, oh dear! Six ARCs from NetGalley this week, plus one directly from the author. From NetGalley

The Killing Type: A short story from the bestselling author of My Husband’s Wife

The Silent Sister

The Secret

For Better and Worse

My Real Name Is Hanna

And, finally . . .

Pieces of Her

The publishers have sent me this in epub, which I can’t read on my Kindle. There seems to be a number of different programs out there for converting epub to mobi. Any recommendations?

And Lynda Renham has sent me a copy of

Watching You

Which I am looking forward to.

Now it’s time to make a big pot of tea and get comfy in front of the fire with my book and a do not disturb sign. Happy reading my friends!



Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith

Portrait of a Murderer by Anne  Meredith
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931. The crime was instantaneous and unpremeditated, and the murderer was left staring at the weapon on the table to the dead man in the shadows of the tapestry curtains, not apprehensive, not yet afraid, but incredulous and dumb.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: “Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.” Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.

MY THOUGHTS: This is not a ‘whodunit’ in the traditional sense, nor can it really be classified as a detective story, although there is some detecting done by the murderer’s brother. There is no mystery, because we know the story from the beginning, we are there for the kill. What it is, is a portrait of a family, none of whom particularly like one another, and what happens when one of them, who we know is not guilty, is charged with murder. It is also a story of how the true murderer is able to cast the seeds of suspicion elsewhere.

I can’t say that I particularly like this approach. I prefer a mystery. But having said that, I was kept interested to the end. There is some beautiful atmospheric writing – ‘The house was uneasy with the noises of old houses at night. Doors creaked and shadows seemed full of anonymous life; phantom steps sounded in empty corridors and on the black stairs.’ And the author has a beautiful turn of phrase when describing the relationships between the characters – ‘He persisted in loading his wife up with jewels, handsome clothes, and furs – “Putting his trademark on me, so that I can’t be mislaid wherever I go, ” said Laura bitterly. This action on his part caused other wives to say in envious tones, “It must be wonderful to have a husband like Richard Gray. That wife of his hasn’t done a thing for him, and he’s the most generous soul alive. Some women have all the luck.” Which, as Laura knew, was Richard’s crafty intention, and a new way of humiliating her. ‘

Anne Meredith was a pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson (1899-1973) who is best known as the author of the Arthur Crook series of detective novels published under the name of Anthony Gilbert. She was a highly esteemed writer of crime fiction and a member of the elite Detection Club, but the ‘Anne Meredith’ books were out of print for many years. I am interested enough to try the Arthur Crook series, if I can lay my hands on them.

3 stars.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Here we are at Sunday and it’s time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

The Next Girl (Detective Gina Harte, #1)

and listening to

Lessons in Love

This week I plan to read

Portrait of a Murderer

“Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.” Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.


At approximately 09.00hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; it contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.
At 11.15hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family. He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life!
Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbors a dark historic secret, following a life a lot less ordinary … as a furtive, yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.

As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.

Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old!
Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government!
Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard … And listened to!!

Deadly Secrets (Detective Erika Foster, #6)

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover. 

On a cold icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a horrific killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

This week I have received only one ARC from NetGalley

The Perfect Mother

But I have received a proof from author June Rousso for a children’s book titled The Little Book of Character Strengths. You may remember I reviewed another title by this author, We All Live On This Planet Together, earlier this year.

I am starting a new job this week which is going to be quite time consuming for the first month or two. So if my posts are a little erratic in the next few weeks, I apologise in advance and ask that you bear with me.

Please don’t be shy about letting me know what you like and don’t like. I love getting your feedback. And I love hearing about what you are reading, or if you have read something that is on my list, what you thought of it.

Have a lovely week and  happy reading.

Seven Dead by J. Jefferson-Farjeon

Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The woman was in a chair, her head resting against a blue cushion. It would have been easy at first glance to mistake her sex, for she was wearing a man’s clothing — jersey, trousers and heavy boots — while her features, framed in short dark hair, were coarsened by exposure. She might have been attractive once. She was not attractive now. Her unseeing eyes were open. . .

THE BLURB: Ted Lyte, amateur thief, has chosen an isolated house by the coast for his first robbery. But Haven House is no ordinary country home. While hunting for silverware to steal, Ted stumbles upon a locked room containing seven dead bodies. Detective Inspector Kendall takes on the case with the help of passing yachtsman Thomas Hazeldean. The search for the house’s absent owners brings Hazeldean across the Channel to Boulogne, where he finds more than one motive to stay and investigate.

MY THOUGHTS: J. Jefferson-Farjeon is one of my favorite golden age detective story writers. His writing is both atmospheric and compelling, yet at the same time he manages to inject it with an underlying wry sense of humour.

Seven Dead is a locked room mystery. Seven bodies are discovered in a room where the shutters have been nailed closed and the key is in the lock on the outside of the room. Add a note with a cryptic clue and the portrait of a pretty young girl with a bullet hole through her heart, and the mystery deepens.

I first encountered Detective Inspector Kendall in Jefferson-Farjeon’s The Z Murders, and then Thirteen Guests, both titles that have been republished by Poisoned Pen Press as part of the British Library Crime Classics series. He is a decisive man, very thorough in his investigative techniques, and a deep thinker. He is, rather unusually for this period, a relatively realistic police detective without any of the affectations so commonly given to characters in this era.

He is aided and abetted in his investigation by a young journalist and yachtsman, Hazeldean, who had inadvertently stumbled upon burglar Ted Lyte fleeing the crime scene, his pockets full of silverware. He becomes obsessed with the painting of the girl and is determined to find her.

There are plenty of twists and unexpected turns in this story, and I became a little obsessed myself with the relevance of the silk trader.

Early on in the book, one of the characters, I think it was Kendall, says ‘There’s some mighty queer story behind all this. ‘, and he’s right. Not only queer, but compelling. Seven Dead was almost a five star read, but the ending fell a little short for me.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Seven Dead by J. Jefferson-Farjeon for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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