An interview with author of The Day Henry Died, Lynda Renham

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I reviewed this wonderfully charming and unusual book at the end of May, but I haven’t been able to dislodge it from my mind. So I contacted author Lynda Renham to ask her how she came to write The Day Henry Died:

Sandy:I found this book somewhat unique. How did The Day Henry Died come about?

Lynda:Now, there’s a question. I had no plans to write a book as unusual as this. The idea came from a comment made by a neighbour. We were discussing my closest neighbour who had died. Although she was elderly, no one had been prepared for it. My neighbour happened to say something along the lines of ‘You never know, do you? One day you’re here and the next you’re reading your own obituary.’ I immediately wondered what it would be like if you woke up one morning and found yourself doing just that.

Sandy: What came to you first – the plot or the characters?

Lynda:With ‘The Day Henry Died’ the plot certainly came first and the characters grew out of that. The characters were already there somehow which sounds odd I know but it was like they had been waiting for the plot.

Sandy:Does it always work that way for you?

Lynda:Usually an idea forms and then the whole novel seems to unravel in a vague way in my head and then when I start writing, it all becomes clear.

Sandy: How well do you plan your books? Do you work out what you want to happen and then go about making it happen? Or do your characters sometimes take control?

Lynda:My characters always take control. There is no doubt about that. I usually know what I want to happen but often a character will appear that I hadn’t even considered and sometimes they can become a leading character in the story. An idea often changes in the writing. I never stick to an original idea if something better materialises in the process.

Sandy: Your characters are always very easy to relate to. Do you insert bits of yourself or people you know into them?

Lynda:I tend to write about people as I know them. I think there may be a fair amount of me in some of the characters. I like my characters to be relatable in some way, even the baddies.

Sandy: Do you, personally, believe in life after death? And how did your belief/nonbelief aid/hinder your writing of The Day Henry Died?

Lynda:I sit on the fence a bit regarding life after death. I think the book expressed differing opinions on that. Which is fairly realistic, I think. The writing of the novel gave me much to think about and I enjoyed exploring the concept of reality.

Sandy: What would you like the reader to take away from this book?

Lynda:That it is important to make the most of what you have. Not to sweat the small stuff. You can’t do any of this again. You are here the once, enjoy it and do everything you want to do.

Sandy: Are you currently working on another novel?

Lynda:Yes, I’m currently working on several in fact. I don’t know how that happened as it is sheer madness.

Sandy: What is your routine like when you are writing? Do you treat it as a job and head ‘off to the office’ at the same time every day, or do you just write when inspiration strikes you?

Lynda:It’s my job, although I am slowing down. I write from 10 in the morning until about 5. I’ve always had a writing routine and a writing place. I think routine is important even if you don’t feel like working.

Sandy: How do you feel when you have finished writing a book?

Lynda: Relieved and anxious. Relieved it’s finally done and anxious about how it will sell. When a book is slightly different to your usual style, I think the reader is unsure about reading it.

Sandy: What do you find hardest to write, dialogue or narrative? And how do you overcome this?

Lynda:I find narrative difficult. I’d like to be better at that. Dialogue is my strength, I think. I enjoy writing dialogue very much.

Sandy: Now, I haven’t read your very first book, (Croissants and Jam) , but if you were to write that book now, would it be different, and how?

Lynda:Oh yes. I would work much harder at it. I think I have learnt a lot since that book and though it was very popular, I would certainly improve on it if I wrote it now.

Thank you Lynda for taking the time to talk with me. I adored Henry, and his story, and I am eagerly awaiting your next book/s.

Here is the link to my review of The Day Henry Died
https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/the-day-henry-died-by-lynda-renham/

and, for a little variety also the link to Tina’s from NovelMeals wonderful review: https://novelmeals.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/the-day-henry-died-by-lynda-renham/

If you haven’t yet read this little gem, you don’t know what you are missing!

The House on Widow’s Hill by Simon R. Green

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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s Reviews > The House on Widows Hill
The House on Widows Hill by Simon R. Green
The House on Widows Hill (Ishmael Jones #9)
by Simon R. Green
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s reviewJul 10, 2020 · edit
really liked it
bookshelves: 2020, netgalley-arc, series, 3-star, 4-star, contemporary-fiction, crime, murder-mystery, paranormal, sci-fi

EXCERPT: ‘I don’t like the feel of the house,’ I admitted. ‘As though it’s hiding something from us.’

‘Are you feeling anything specific?’

Nothing I can put a name to. Not dread or horror, just . . . a general feeling of being watched, by unseen eyes.’

‘I am definitely feeling all of that,’ said Penny.

‘Remember the ink blot,’ I said. ‘It’s more than likely we are only feeling these things because the file told us we would.’

‘But we’re professionals,’ said Penny. ‘You are Space Boy,I am Spy Girl; we’re used to walking into dangerous situations. We don’t get nervous; we make other people nervous. And yet . . . it does feel as if something in that house is waiting for us, and rubbing its hands together in anticipation.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Set high on top of Widows Hill, Harrow House has remained empty for years. Now, on behalf of an anonymous prospective buyer, Ishmael and Penny are spending a night there in order to investigate the rumours of strange lights, mysterious voices, unexplained disappearances, and establish whether the house is really haunted.

What really happened at Harrow House all those years ago? Joined by a celebrity psychic, a professional ghost-hunter, a local historian and a newspaper reporter, it becomes clear that each member of ‘Team Ghost’ has their own pet theory as to the cause of the alleged haunting. But when one of the group suddenly drops dead with no obvious cause, Ishmael realizes that if he can find out how and why the victim died, he will have the key to solving the mystery

MY THOUGHTS: Another amusing and entertaining romp with Ishmael and Penny. Although this is a series, the books are easily enjoyed as stand alones. Author Simon R. Green gives enough information on the unique Ishmael Jones’ history to keep the reader up to speed.

While I easily guessed the murderer and motive, this in no way diminished my enjoyment.

The House on Widow’s Hill is a quick read, read easily in an afternoon, that blends a number of genres and sets us up for the next installment.

😱😱😱.5

#TheHouseonWidowsHill #NetGalley

‘Fight fire with fire. When science can’t protect you, and logic is off in a corner having a panic attack, magic is right there kicking arse and taking names.’

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Because if you do it today and you like it, you can do it again tomorrow.

THE AUTHOR: and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The House on Widow’s Hill by Simon R. Green 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 profile page on Goodreads.com or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

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

The Day Henry Died by Lynda Renham

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EXCERPT: A spoonful of porridge laced with honey was poised to enter his mouth when Henry uncharacteristically dropped the spoon with a clatter back in to the bowl, sending bits of blueberry-tinted porridge across the well-scrubbed table. Henry’s eyes scanned the words in front of him, his brain struggling to comprehend what it was seeing. This couldn’t be right. He blinked and removed his glasses, rubbing at them vigorously with a piece of kitchen towel. He replaced the spectacles and read the words again. They hadn’t changed. Henry Booker Frazer was still reading his own obituary.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Suppose you wake up one morning to find yourself dead. You can see yourself clearly in the mirror, and feel the same as you did the day before. But today is the day of your funeral. What do you do?

This was Henry’s dilemma. Henry decides he can’t possibly be dead, so he sets out to prove he is alive. Then, he discovers that Rita, a product demonstrator at the supermarket, can see him.

Even with the help of Rita, proving you’re not dead was harder than Henry imagined, but when Henry discovered that he was murdered, the question was why and by whom?

MY THOUGHTS: I read The Day Henry Died by Lynda Renham in one sitting, and loved it. It is not a book that is easy to categorize – there’s a little mystery, a little romance and a touch of murder, not to mention some relationship issues.

I really liked the way Lynda portrayed Henry and highlighted the vast gap between how Henry saw himself (successful, well-organised, competent and confident), and how others saw him (puffed up, pedantic, and controlling).

We don’t get to see a lot of Imogen, Henry’s wife, who has spent the whole of her married life firmly under Henry’s thumb, until after the funeral.

Rita, a product demonstrator at a local supermarket, is the only person who can see, hear and talk to Henry. And she has a soft spot for Henry, sees him as a real gentleman, someone she would like to have in her life. Rita is quite a quirky character. Her backstory is heartbreaking, and her current circumstances are little better. But she is a battler. And is determined to battle on Henry’s behalf.

I really thought that I had this sorted, that I knew exactly who had killed Henry and why. WRONG!

Lynda Renham has written an unconventional and entertaining book. I just had to know what had prompted her to write a novel with this particular theme. Here’s her reply: ‘The idea came when my neighbour popped in ages back and we were talking about another neighbour who had suddenly died. He said ‘That’s how it goes. One day here and the next you’re reading your own obituary in The Times newspaper.’ Something clicked in my head and the novel was born.’

❤❤❤❤

MEET THE AUTHOR: Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. She has had several poems published as well as articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Recently she has taken part in radio discussions on the BBC.

She has studied literature and creative writing.

Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Lynda Renham for providing a digital ARC of The Day Henry Died, published by Raucous Publishing 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 . . .

We are enjoying a long weekend here in New Zealand. The weather has been varied, and I have worked two days, but am looking forward to my day off tomorrow. The weather forecast is for heavy rain and strong winds all day, so I feel a day of reading in front of the fire coming on.

I managed to squeeze in an extra read this week – The Day Henry Died by Lynda Renham which is due to be published 01st June. You can read my review here tomorrow. I loved this book, and also love the cover.

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I am listening to In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2)by Cara Hunter.

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A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are — the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem ..

I am about to begin reading The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris.

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Cate Morris thought she’d met her match in Simon at university—until she laid eyes on his best friend, Richard. Cate and Richard felt an immediate and undeniable spark, but Richard also felt the weight of the world more deeply than most.

Now, four years after Richard’s suicide, Cate is let go from her teaching job and can’t pay the rent on the London flat she shares with her and Richard’s son, Leo. She packs the two of them up and ventures to Richard’s grandfather’s old Victorian museum in the small town of Crouch-on-Sea, where the dusty staff quarters await her. Despite growing pains and a grouchy caretaker, Cate falls in love with the quirky taxidermy exhibits and sprawling grounds and makes it her mission to revive them. When the museum is faced with closure because of a lack of visitors, Cate stages a grand reopening, but threats from both inside and outside the museum derail her plans and send her spiraling into self-doubt.

As Cate becomes more invested in Hatters, she must finally confront the reality of Richard’s death—and the role she played in it—in order to reimagine her future.

This week I also plan on reading The House Guest by Mark Edwards.

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When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

Only 4 new ARCS this week:

What We Hide by Lesley Sanderson

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My Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan-Hyde

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A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen

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The House of a Hundred Whispers by Graham Masterton

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I hope that wherever you live, the Covid-19 situation is improving. Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep on reading.

Cheers
Sandy

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Good afternoon from a chilly, grey and dismal New Zealand afternoon. I am currently reading, and loving, The Banty House by Carolyn Brown.

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I am listening to the delightfully touching and humorous The Sparkle Pages by Meg Bignell.

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This week I am planning on reading Stories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg

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Psychology professor Jackie Strelitz thought she was over her ex-lover and colleague, Harlan Crispin. Why should she care if Harlan springs a new “friend” on her? After all, Jackie has everything she ever wanted: a loving husband and a thriving career. Still, she can’t help but be curious about Harlan’s latest.

Nasira Amari is graceful, smart, and young. Worse, she’s the new member of Jackie’s research team. For five years, Harlan enforced rules limiting his relationship with Jackie. With Nasira he’s breaking every single one. Why her?

Fixated by the couple, Jackie’s curiosity becomes obsession. But she soon learns that nothing is quite what it seems, and that to her surprise—and peril—she may not be the only one who can’t let go. (

Followed by When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard

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‘Functionally dysfunctional.’ That’s how financial analyst Grace Fairley describes her family in the small South Australian farming community of Miners Ridge – a family fractured by tragedy and kept that way by anger, resentment and petty jealousies. As the eldest sibling, Grace tries to keep the family in touch, but now she’s accepted a promotion to the London office. Time-zones and an enormous workload mean she’s forced to take a step back, although she finds time to stay in contact with Miners Ridge landscape gardener Aaron Halliday.

Sarah Fairley, Grace’s mother, fled Miners Ridge and her embittered husband eight years ago. Now, in the absence of Grace, she finds herself pulled back to the small town where her estranged children and grandchildren live. Drawn into the local community, and trying to rebuild family relationships, she uncovers a long-kept secret that could change her world …

Can Grace, Sarah and their family find a way to heal? Who will have the courage to make the first move?

This week I have received 4 new ARCs:

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon.

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The House on Widow’s Hill by Simon R. Green

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Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

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And The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

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Wherever you are, I hope that you are enjoying your weekend. I plan on spending the remainder of the afternoon reading in front of the fire. Whatever you are doing, have fun, stay safe and be kind my friends.

Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins

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EXCERPT: ‘A little boy died here!’ Mariah’s voice trembled from the bed,close to tears. ‘A little boy was murdered in this house!’

I walked over. ‘What?’

‘That house detective person just phoned-I’d forgotten all about him. He was asking for you, for some reason, he says he’s trying your mobile but you won’t pick up. Why’s he phoning you ? I was sleeping-he just woke me up and he told me to tell you a little boy was murdered here. A little boy was poisoned in this house! In the First World War! Oh my God, a … little … boy’ Her words dissolved into sobs.

I tried to soothe her. ‘Ach, I’m sure lots of people have died here,’ I said. ‘It’s a 400 year old house.’

The room was boiling and the air smelled sweet and sickly. ‘But a child was murdered here!’ Mariah wailed. ‘This is so horrible. So horrible. It makes sense now, the atmosphere in this place. Don’t you feel it? You have to!’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: As Dee looks back over her time in the Master’s Lodging – an eerie and ancient house – a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.

But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent?

MY THOUGHTS: Step up into the spotlight, Lucy Atkins, and take a bow. Magpie Lane was one riveting read. One that started out quite innocuously, then slowly cranked up the tension until I was forgetting to breathe.

The story is revealed as Dee, the Scottish nanny, is interviewed by the police about the disappearance of the child she cares for. Felicity is selectively mute, following the death of her mother. Bereaved and bullied, she cannot speak to her stepmother or at school. In fact, other than a few words to her father, Felicity speaks to no one, until she senses a kindred spirit in Dee. But Dee has secrets of her own. Ones that would come to light if any of the desperate parents who employed her ever bothered to run a police check.

And then there is Linklater, employed to write a history of the house the family occupies in Oxford. For some reason, although Felicity is terrified by the ghosts that inhabit her room, she is captivated by his ghost tours through the graveyards and streets of Oxford.

This is such an atmospheric read, both setting and characterwise. I was appalled by the ‘absolutely horrible’ and ‘narcissistic’ parents this poor child had, and totally captivated by the story that unfolded. We learn a little of the history of Oxford, a little about mathematics, and there are frequent literary references and a few musical ones.

I had an inkling of an idea as to what had happened to Felicity but we are held in suspense until almost the end.

I had previously read The Other Child by this author, but now I will also be reading her other two novels.

🎓🎓🎓🎓🎓

#MagpieLane #NetGalley

‘Even in something as apparently concrete as maths, things can be right and wrong at the same time.’

THE AUTHOR: Lucy Atkins is an award-winning author, Sunday Times book critic and journalist. Her new novel, Magpie Lane, is a literary thriller narrated by the nanny of a missing girl, and set in an Oxford College. Her other novels are The Night Visitor, The Other Child and The Missing One.

Lucy reviews books for The Sunday Times and has written for newspapers such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, the T.L.S, and many magazines. She has also written several non fiction books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Magpie Lane 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3171659878

Night train to Murder by Simon R Green

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EXCERPT: The toilet door was closed, but the railway guard was knocking on it loudly. He looked around sharply and actually jumped a little as I moved forward to join him.

‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘What’s happening?’

The guard stepped back from the toilet door. He seemed a little relieved now he had someone else to share his problem with.

‘I saw the gentleman go into this cubicle a while ago, sir, but he hasn’t emerged yet. It does seem to me that he’s been in there rather a long time, and I’m concerned the gentleman might have been taken ill…’

I hammered on the toilet door with my fist. There was no response. I called Sir Dennis’s name and pressed my ear up against the door, but I couldn’t hear anything from inside. I stepped back and looked steadily at the guard.

‘I’m security. Here to look after Sir Dennis. Is there any way of opening this door from the outside?’

‘I’m Eric Holder, sir, guard on this train. I can override the electronic lock, but I’m not sure I should. If the gentleman is ill, he might not want to be seen being ill, if you follow me, sir…’

‘Open the door,’ I said. ‘I’ll take responsibility.’

The guard removed a small device from his jacket pocket and fumbled with the controls in a way that suggested he didn’t get to use it very often.

‘I didn’t know these locks could be opened from the outside,’ I said.

‘We don’t advertise the fact, sir. People like to feel secure on the toilet. But I can use this little device to override any electronic system on the train, in an emergency.’

He finally got the thing to work and the lock disengaged. The door slid smoothly to one side, and there was Sir Dennis, sitting on the toilet with his trousers round his ankles, leaning over to one side. And quite definitely dead.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. The Organisation has acquired intelligence that an attempt is to be made on Sir Dennis Gregson’s life as he travels to Bath to take up his new position as Head of the British Psychic Weapons Division. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that Sir Dennis arrives safely.

How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed and with no obvious means of escape? When a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination.

MY THOUGHTS: I joined this quirky series at book #5, Into the Thinnest Air, and I have enjoyed every one of the subsequent books, until now. This wasn’t a bad read, but neither was it up to the standard of the previous books. It felt hastily written, not well thought out, and was distinctly lacking in mystery. Yes, I guessed ‘whodunnit’. It was, to me – and I am usually not good at solving these things – blindingly obvious. it should also have been blindingly obvious to Ishmael, who certainly is no dummy, and to Penny.

There was an awful lot of ‘filler’ in this book, i.e. passages/chapters that had no real point other than to fill up a prerequisite number of pages. There were no red herrings, only a few oblique references to the possibility of ‘psychic assassins’. I was looking forward to a brilliant locked room murder. I didn’t get it.

Although this was a quick and easy read, I disposed of it in one sitting, it was slow, plodding and, dare I say, quite boring reading. I do love this series and will continue to follow it. I hope this is just one of those uncharacteristic ‘blips’. If you haven’t read this series previously, I don’t suggest that you start with this book.

**.5

‘I’ve always had a fondness for crowds. They make such excellent places to hide in.’

‘Testosterone. I keep hoping they will come up with a cure.’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Simon Richard Green is a British science fiction and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Night Train to Murder by Simon R. Green 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3222203285

Watching What I’m Reading…

It is a hot summer day here in my little corner of New Zealand. It is not often that you will hear me say this, but it’s actually too hot to be out in the garden. It was the same yesterday, and apparently we have a whole week of this lovely weather to look forward to. Bring on summer…this is my kind of weather. It is lovely sitting out on the deck in the shade, my book in one hand and a nice cold drink in the other.

I actually squeezed an extra book in last week

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Which I read last night. Watch for my review.

I am about to begin

And I am listening to

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the follow up to The Lilac Girls.

This week I am planning on reading

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When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

And hopefully I will also be able to start

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Louise Bridges has the perfect life.

A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.

So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.

But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…

The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…

Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?

And I have seven new ARCs from Netgalley….well what can I say? There are currently just so many tempting titles out there begging to be read. And those of you who know me well will know that I can resist everything but temptation 🤣😂🤣😂

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I also bought two books this week…

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So I had better go get some reading done! I hope you got some lovely books to read this week….

Happy reading my friends
❤😍📚

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

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

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EXCERPT: May 19, 1924
It had started when Hattie was a little girl.

She’d had a cloth-bodied doll with a porcelain head called Miss Fentwig. Miss Fentwig told her things – things that Hattie had no way of knowing, things that Hattie didn’t really want to hear. She felt it deep down inside her in the way that she’d felt things all her life.

Her gift.

Her curse.

One day, Miss Fentwick told her that Hattie’s father would be killed, struck by lightening, and that there was nothing Hattie could do. Hattie tried to warn her daddy and her mother. She told them just what Miss Fentwick had said. “Nonsense, child,” they’d said, and sent her to bed without supper for saying such terrible things.

Two weeks later, her daddy was dead. Struck by lightening while he was putting his horse in the barn.

Everyone started looking at Hattie funny after that. They took Miss Fentwig away from her, but Hattie, she kept hearing voices. The trees talked to her. Rocks and rivers and little shiny green beetles spoke to her. They told her what was to come.

‘You have a gift,’ the voices told her.

But Hattie, she didn’t see it that way, Not at first. Not until she learned to control it.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

MY THOUGHTS: This wasn’t chilling, but it was a good listen. It didn’t give me goosebumps, or night horrors, or any sort of horror really, but it kept me interested.

Really this is a family drama with a little paranormal thrown in. It centres on greed, obsession and jealousy, and the effects it has on people. Which is a lot scarier than ghosts, any day.

😱😱😱.5

THE AUTHOR: I’m the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Invited by Jennifer McMahin, narrated by Amanda Carlin and Justine Eyre, published by Random House 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, and other reviews, are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3031299201?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1