10 December 2019

Review: THE LYING ROOM, Nicci French

  • this edition published by Simon & Schuster 2019
  • ISBN 978-1-4711-7924-2
  • 417 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (publisher)

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn't call the police.

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

My Take

A stand-alone from Nicci French, well worth reading.

After 20 years of marriage, 3 children, one about to leave for university, Neve Connolly's life has become predictable in fact you could set your clock by her. And then she has an affair with someone who makes her feel valued and special. When she gets a message on her phone to meet as soon as possible, she doesn't question who it is from, or where to go, she just gets on her bike and leaves.

What she finds on her arrival turns her life upside down.

Neve's reaction and what she does next has the reader questioning how she/he would react in the same circumstances. We read on to find out how Neve will fare. The book is a compulsive page-turner, and readers will discover elements that they share with Neve.

My rating: 4.7

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9 December 2019

Review: THE RIDDLE OF THE THIRD MILE, Colin Dexter - audio book

  • format: audio from Audible
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Series: Inspector Morse Mysteries, Book 6
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-05-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio 
Synopsis (Audible)

The thought suddenly occurred to Morse that this would be a marvellous time to murder a few of the doddery old bachelor dons. No wives to worry about their whereabouts; no landladies to whine about the unpaid rents. In fact nobody would miss most of them at all....

By the 16th of July, the Master of Lonsdale was concerned but not yet worried.

Dr Browne-Smith had passed through the porter's lodge at approximately 8:15 a.m. on the morning of Friday, 11th July. And nobody had heard from him since.

Plenty of time to disappear, thought Morse. And plenty of time, too, for someone to commit murder..

My Take

This is another cunningly constructed mystery, plenty of red herrings, so many that we lose sight of others who have disappeared, in our focus on one person. Eventually Morse gets help from a surprising quarter, which throws a very different light on his investigation.

These books are superbly read by Samuel West, and there's a literary quality to them that is rarely found in crime fiction.

My rating: 4.6

I've also read
4.3, INSPECTOR MORSE: BBB Radio Collection
4.6, THE WENCH IS DEAD- audio book
4.3, SERVICE OF ALL THE DEAD - audio book
4.4, LAST SEEN WEARING  - audio book

Review:A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS, Linwood Barclay

  • this edition published by Harper Collins Publishers 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-06-284564-1
  • 520 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Booktopia)

Paul Davis forgets things. Why he walked into a room. Who he spoke to, and what they said. What he promised his wife he'd do. Sometimes it's too much, and the panic takes hold.

But he wasn't always like this.

Eight months ago, Paul was attacked - left for dead after seeing something he shouldn't have - and has been piecing his life back together ever since.

During the days, therapy helps. But at night, he hears noises that no one else can. That nobody believes. Sometimes he thinks someone is in the house. Other times, the sounds are far stranger.

Either he's losing his mind - or someone wants him to think he is. Or maybe something even darker is waiting downstairs...

My Take

Before "the incident" Paul had thought his marriage had gone a bit flat, and that his wife might even be thinking of leaving him. But since he was attacked Charlotte has been very supportive. It is now 8 months on and he he seeing a therapist, battling PTSD, and depression, and is yet to return to work.

He has become anxious to understand what led his colleague to commit murder, which was what led him to attack Paul with a shovel. Central to the whole thing is a typewriter which Paul thinks is the one which his colleague owned. The typewriter is sitting in Paul's study and at night it appears to deliver messages from his colleague's victims.

A truly creepy and very readable novel.

My rating: 4.4

I've also read

2 December 2019

Review: WHAT YOU PAY FOR, Claire Askew

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2035 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (22 August 2019)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group (AU)
  • Language: English
  • Shortlisted for McIlvanney and CWA Awards
  • #2 in DI Birch series
Synopsis (Amazon)

DI Helen Birch faces a terrible choice - family or justice? - in the gripping second novel from the author of All the Hidden Truths

DI Birch joined the police to find her little brother, who walked out of his life one day and was never seen again. She stayed to help others, determined to seek justice where she could.

On the fourteenth anniversary of Charlie's disappearance, Birch takes part in a raid on one of Scotland's most feared criminal organisations. It's a good day's work - a chance to get a dangerous man off the streets.

Two days later, Charlie comes back. It's not a coincidence. When Birch finds out exactly what he's been doing all those years, she faces a terrible choice: save the case, or save her brother. But how can you do the right thing when all the consequences are bad?

As she interrogates Charlie, he tells his story: of how one wrong turn leads to a world in which the normal rules no longer apply, and you do what you must to survive.

From one of the most acclaimed new voices in crime fiction, What You Pay For is a brilliantly tense and moving novel about the terrible disruption caused by violence and the lines people will cross to protect those they love.

My take

A gripping tale told alternately by two narrators - one is Helen Birch, the other is her brother Charlie.
Birch's tale is what is happening in current time, Charlie's brings us up to date with what he has been doing for the past 14 years and why he has come to her.

Birch should turn Charlie in  - he has committed more serious crimes than you can count on both hands. But she desperately wants to make sure he will be safe, but it really comes down to a choice between her career and his freedom. She can't have both.

My rating: 4.5

30 November 2019

Pick of the Month - November 2019

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2019
Many crime fiction bloggers write a summary post at the end of each month listing what they've read, and some, like me, even go as far as naming their pick of the month.

This meme is an attempt to aggregate those summary posts.
It is an invitation to you to write your own summary post for November 2019, identify your crime fiction best read of the month, and add your post's URL to the Mr Linky below.
If Mr Linky does not appear for you, leave the URL in a comment and I will add it myself.

You can list all the books you've read in the past month on your post, even if some of them are not crime fiction, but I'd like you to nominate your crime fiction pick of the month.

That will be what you will list in Mr Linky too -
ROSEANNA, Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo - MiP (or Kerrie)

You are welcome to use the image on your post and it would be great if you could link your post back to this post on MYSTERIES in PARADISE.

28 November 2019


Synopsis (publisher)

She's the victim.
But is she so innocent?

Sophie McCarthy is known for her determination, ambition and brilliance at work. She's tough, but only because she wants to get the best out of people.

Aidan Ryan is strong, honourable, and a family man. He's tough too; the army requires it.

When these two strangers are brought together in a devastating incident, Sophie's life is left in ruins. Her family wants to see Aidan pay for what he did.

Aidan's prepared to sacrifice everything - including his marriage and his child - to fix the mess he's made.

But some things can't be fixed, and Sophie is not at all what she first appeared . . . 

My Take

More a novel of mystery than crime fiction, although there are crimes: physical violence, bullying, and abduction. If I had to pick an element that I think the novel is about: it is about pain, and the effects of stress, the sort of stress created by our modern society.

Aidan and Chloe's happy family life comes to an abrupt end the day that he swerves out into the traffic without looking and smashes into Sophie McCarthy's oncoming car. Aiden and Chloe are not significantly injured but Sophie has horrific injuries. Aiden's feelings of guilt don't allow him to move on, and his stress leads to the break up of his family.

In another way this story is about the impact of something like a car crash on both sides: the person who causes it, and the person who suffers it.

We hear the story from a multitude of narrators, and sometimes see an event from numerous points of view. This seems to make it all the more mesmerising.

My rating: 4.5

About the author
Ber Carroll was born in Blarney, a small village in Ireland. The third child of six, reading was her favourite pastime (and still is!). Ber moved to Sydney in 1995 and spent her early career working in finance. Her work colleagues were speechless when she revealed that she had written a novel that was soon to be published. Ber now writes full time and is the author of eight novels, including Once Lost, Worlds Apart and Less Than Perfect. The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy is her first book published under the name B M Carroll.

24 November 2019

Review: CRUEL ACTS, Jane Casey

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1536 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0008149038
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (April 18, 2019)
  • Publication Date: April 18, 2019
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Maeve Kerrigan #8
Synopsis (Amazon)

A year ago, Leo Stone was convicted of murdering two women and sentenced to life in prison. Now he’s been freed on a technicality, and he’s protesting his innocence.

Not guilty?
DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve digs, the less convinced she is that he did it.

The wrong decision could be deadly…
Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?

My Take

If anyone can work out whether Leo Stone is truly guilty of at least two nasty murders, it will be Maeve Kerrigan. He has been released, pending re-trial, because members of the original jury were influenced by media and internet resources. One of the things that Maeve and her boss has to do is to go through the original case to see if anything was missed.

Leo Stone is not a particularly nice person, but despite that, Maeve is finding that some of the evidence the police based their case on just doesn't add up.

I think I suffered a bit from not reading 4 of the books in this series and I was floundering a bit with details of Maeve's personal life, and how it is she comes to be living in a flat owned by her boss.

Nevertheless I have to admire her dedication to the job and her willingness to go that little bit further.
This is a tightly plotted book with some threads that give the reader plenty of food for thought.

My rating: 4.6

I've also read


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