31 March 2017

Meme- New to Me Authors - January to March 2017

It's easy to join this meme.

Just write a post about the best new-to-you crime fiction authors (or all) you've read in the period of January to March 2017, put a link to this meme in your post, and even use the logo if you like.
The books don't necessarily need to be newly published.

 After writing your post, then come back to this post and add your link to Mr Linky below. (if Mr Linky does not appear - leave your URL in a comment and I will add to Mr Linky when it comes back up, or I'll add the link to the post)
Visit the links posted by other participants in the meme to discover even more books to read.

This meme will run again at the end of June 2017

Review: FRONT RUNNER, Felix Francis

  • this edition published by Penguin Group Australia 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-7181-7885-7
  • 428 pages
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Things are hotting up in this latest thriller from best-selling author Felix Francis, in his fifth solo novel Front Runner.

Jefferson Hinkley is back. In his role as an undercover investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, Jeff is approached by the multi-time champion jockey, Dave Swinton, to discuss the delicate matter of losing races on purpose. Little does Jeff realise that the call would result in an attempt on his life, locked in a sauna with the temperature well above boiling point.

Dave Swinton is then found dead, burnt beyond recognition in his car at a deserted beauty spot. The police think it's a suicide but Jeff is not so sure. He starts to investigate the possible races that Swinton could have intentionally lost but discovers instead that others are out to prevent him from doing so, at any cost.

My Take

I think it is high time that we admitted that Felix Francis isn't just his father's son, that he writes a cracking good novel all on his own. Publishers could take " A Dick Francis novel" byline off the cover.

Jeff Hinkley first appeared in DAMAGE  His work with the BHA involves hunting down gradt and corruption in the British Horseracing industry. The BHA gets a phone call tip that someone is putting on bets for a banned person and in checking this out Hinkley works out that the scheme also involves jockeys deliberately losing races. In the course of a day he is invited to a private room at the race course where he sees two men having an argument. He does not realise the significance of his observation at the time, but takes a photo of them on his phone.  This will eventually have serious consequences.

The characters in this story are well drawn and the plot quite believable, with the action fairly racing along. Certainly if you enjoyed the novels written by Dick Francis you will enjoy this one.

My rating: 4.4

I've also read

Also by Felix Francis
1. Gamble (2011)
2. Bloodline (2012)
3. Refusal (2013)
4. Damage (2014)
5. Front Runner (2015)
6. Triple Crown (2016)

28 March 2017

Review: LOST IN NEW YORK, J.J. Henderson

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • Series: The Lucy Ripken Mysteries (#5)
  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 16, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1533615373
  • ISBN-13: 978-1533615374
  • source: review copy from the publisher
 Synopsis (Amazon)

No matter how many murders she solves, Lucy Ripken never can seem to crack the case of happily ever after. Her bank account is nearly empty, her on-again off-again DEA boyfriend is off-again, and her estranged alcoholic father and enabling mother seem to exist mostly to prey on her weary conscience. It’s enough to make her feel that even New York itself has turned on her, and she might not be wrong. There’s too much money, and too many things people will do for that money. Her friend Patricia is part of the problem; easily seduced by wealth and fame, she’s always with the wrong guy. But this time is different, this time she thinks she’s found the one, and in a way, she’s right: she found the one who killed her. Sure, the coroner’s report says “drug overdose,” but when Lucy reads it all she sees is “Killed by rich jerk. Go get him, Lucy.”

My Take

Lucy Ripken is a photographer in her mid 30s, living in a loft in New York on the corner of Broome St and Broadway with her dog Claud. When Patricia's phone call comes she is ready for some human contact. Patricia has met a wonderful man, a Gulf War Vet, a self-made millionaire. Patricia is one of New York's beautiful, chasing a glitzy New York life, millionaires in particular. From the moment Lucy meets Patricia's latest, she feels he is not to be trusted. He appears to know all the right people, but all Lucy's instincts are screaming danger. And then when Patricia is killed by a drug overdose, she is sure that he is behind it all.

From the beginning, I felt perhaps this was a "younger person's" book, well, younger than me anyway. But the depiction of New York nightlife was absorbing. Lucy is engaged by a magazine to take photographs of a new night club with Russian connections and overtones.  This assignment eventually helps her track down Patricia's killer.

I noted that this is the 5th in the Lucy Ripken series, so there was obviously some pre-history that would have added to my enjoyment of the book. Lucy's personal life is cleverly advanced by other events, and so her character is not quite the same at the end as it was when the story started.

Other books in the series appear to be

My Rating: 4.1

About the author
Along with the Lucy Ripken series of mysteries, author J.J. Henderson has written nearly a dozen books on architecture and interior design, and travel guides to the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, and Los Angeles. A native of southern California, Henderson lived in both New York City and Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico before settling in Seattle, where he currently resides with his wife, photographer Donna Day, his daughter Jade, and Ziggy the Dog.

24 March 2017

Review: PRECIOUS AND GRACE, Alexander McCall Smith

  • this edition published 2016, large print, by Wheeler Publishing
  • source: my local library, 
  • 370 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1-4104-9339-3
  • #17 in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi help a young woman on a quest to find someone from her past.

Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency's help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph - and, of course, some good old-fashioned detective skills - to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound.

Busy as she is with this challenging investigation, Mma Ramotswe can always be relied on to come to the aid of her friends - who seem to have a special knack for landing in hot water. Mr. Polopetsi, an occasional assistant at the agency, has made an ill-advised business decision that may lead to serious trouble. And next door at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the junior mechanic, has become helplessly attached to a stray dog who proves to be a bigger responsibility than he can handle. With Mma Makutsi by her side, Mma Ramotswe dispenses help and sympathy with the graciousness and warmth for which she is so well known, and everyone is led to surprising insights into the healing power of compassion, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

My take

These books really are the reading equivalent of comfort food. I met someone today who told me that she had "never been able to get on with them." I was surprised because for me it is the opposite: I always expect to enjoy them. They are not deep mysteries but the situations depicted them show an incredible understanding of what makes people tick, and the solutions are dispensed with just a touch of philosophy.

There are reminders always that the setting is not the West, but Botswana, a country struggling to find its place in the 21st century. Technology is changing the world. Even Precious Ramotswe's husband Mr. J.L.B Matekone comments on how much cars have changed, making them so difficult for him to repair.

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are now co-directors of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and that situation breeds its own frictions, and I enjoyed their interaction.

So if you haven't ever read these, and would like something light and cozy to read, give this series a try. But I would advise starting at the beginning.

My rating: 4.5

I've also read


20 March 2017

Review: SILVER WATTLE, Belinda Alexandra

  • this edition published Harper Collins Publishers Australia 2007
  • ISBN 978-0-7322-8134-2
  • 479 pages
  • source: my local library
  • author website
Synopsis (author website)

A dazzling novel about two exceptional sisters, set in the Australian film world of the 1920s.

Two sisters, Adéla and Klára, must flee their home in Prague in 1920 after their mother is murdered by their duplicitous stepfather. They seek refuge with their estranged uncle and his Indian wife in Sydney, Australia.

Falling in love with the landscape and unique wildlife of her adopted country, Adéla becomes a film director at a time when the early local industry is starting to feel the competition from Hollywood.
But Hollywood is not Adéla’s only adversary. Separated from her true love by deceit, she must deal with conflicted feelings about marriage to a man she likes but does not love and her sister’s deepening mental illness. Danger from her past returns and ultimately dreams of the silver screen must compete with the bonds of a lifetime …

Weaving fact into inspiring fiction with great flair and imagination, this is a novel as full of hope, glamour and heartbreak as the film industry itself.

My Take

This was really on the border of what I generally read. Some crimes in it, but not really crime fiction, more romance, and family saga.
While the setting was historical, I felt that historical detail didn't play a great part. Perhaps I mean that in a political sense. I was never sure what was happening in the "outside" world, how much time was passing. I think I am right in saying that the time frame does not get beyond the 1920s. At the end of that decade "talkies" became  dominant in the film industry here and in America, and signalled the end of the cheap silent film.
The social picture of Australia is carefully created and the characters are engaging and well drawn.

But just not really my sort of book: not enough mystery, not enough tension, and too much romance.

My rating: 4.2

About the author (author website)
An Australian born writer.
I hear many writers claim that they write to please themselves, but I can’t do that. I’m a born storyteller and I love to entertain people. I picture my readers while I’m writing – as if we were huddled around a campfire together swapping tales. I imagine that the people reading my stories, no matter where they live in the world, are people who love the same things I do – history, drama, family, mystery, romance, nature, animals and triumph over adversity. In that way, I think of my readers as my extended circle of friends.
The setting and historical periods in which I write are very important to me. I research my books almost like an actress preparing to play a part. As well as research about events, characters and the society of the period, I listen to the music, learn as much as I can of the language and culture, read the books that were popular, and pore over the interior design and cookbooks of the time.

19 March 2017

Review: LUSTRUM, Robert Harris - audio book

  • first published 2009
  • this audio book from Audible.com
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook, released 01-12-15
Synopsis (Audible.com)

Rome, 63 BC. In a city on the brink of acquiring a vast empire, seven men are struggling for power. Cicero is consul, Caesar his ruthless young rival, Pompey the republic's greatest general, Crassus its richest man, Cato a political fanatic, Catilina a psychopath, Clodius an ambitious playboy.

From the discovery of a child's mutilated body, through judicial execution and a scandalous trial, to the brutal unleashing of the Roman mob, Lustrum is a study in the timeless enticements and horrors of power.

My Take

Once again this was engrossing listening.  Told through the eyes of Cicero's scribe Tiro, a slave, it has such a modern feel to it. Events that occurred in Rome over 2,000 years ago come to life. You need to begin this series at the beginning with IMPERIUM, and I have no doubt that we will continue to the final, DICTATOR.

At the beginning of LUSTRUM Cicero is Consul, truly the father of Rome, but he is also a man of principle, determined to root out corruption. He makes many enemies and from the beginning of his consulship there are those plotting his downfall, even his assassination. By the end of the book his chickens have come home to roost.

In Latin, the word Lustrum is a period of 5 years. The book covers Roman politics, and Cicero's fortunes, for the period roughly 63-58 BC.
Check Cicero's timeline here.

My rating: 4.6

I've also read

14 March 2017

Review: BLACK WATER LILIES, Michel Bussi

  • first published in France as Nymphias Noirs in 2011
  • translated into English by Shaun Whiteside
  • this edition published in Great Britain in 2016
  • ISBN 9-781474-601757
  • 350 pages
Synopsis (Amazon UK)

Giverny. During the day, tourists flock to the former home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his Water Lilies. But when silence returns, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village.

This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jérôme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet's Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.

Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jérôme Morval's corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Water Lilies?

My Take

I was absolutely gobsmacked by the ending of this book. Nothing had prepared me for the way the author had played with various time frames, and with my mind. Initially I was left feeling that perhaps I hadn't read it carefully enough.  But then as I looked back over the pages I could see how he had done it.

We see most of the book's action through the eyes of an elderly woman, a recluse who lives in the water mill next to stream that runs through Monet's Garden. She lives on the 4th floor, a vantage point that allows her to observe most of what goes on in the small village. Nothing escapes her attention it seems.

We are so taken up with the investigation into the death of Jerome Morval and the possibility of a lost Monet painting that we don't recognise the signs that our path meanders. I wonder if the author has played fair with the reader?  What strikes at the end though is that the novel is itself a tribute to impressionism.

My rating: 4.8

About the author
Michel Bussi (born 29 April 1965 in Louviers, Eure, France) is a French writer of detective novels, and a political analyst and Professor of Geography at the University of Rouen, where he leads a Public Scientific and Technical Research Establishment (French: Unité mixte de recherche, "UMR") in the French National Centre for Scientific Research (French: Centre national de la recherche scientifique, "CNRS"), where he is a specialist in electoral geography.

According to the Le Figaro/GfK list of bestsellers, he was one of the ten bestselling French writers of 2013, selling around 480,000 books.

11 March 2017


  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1485 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Text Publishing (September 23, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 23, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B010KFBP4E
  • #1 in the Tannie Maria series
Synopsis (Amazon)

Tannie Maria used to write a recipe column for the Klein Karoo Gazette. Then Head Office decided they wanted an advice column instead, so now she gives advice. In the form of recipes. Because, as she says, she may not know much about love, but food—that’s her life.

Everything has been going well. A tongue-tied mechanic wins his girl with text messages and Welsh rarebit. A frightened teenager gets some much-needed sex ed with her chocolate-coated bananas.

But then there is a letter from Martine, whose husband beats her, and Tannie Maria feels a pang of recognition and dread. This may be a problem that cooking can’t solve…

Warm, funny, poignant: Sally Andrew’s irresistible heroine brings mystery, romance and amazing cooking together in the most entertaining new series in years. And all Tannie Maria’s mouthwatering recipes are right there in the book!

My Take

An interesting and captivating read which I must admit I began reading as a paperback from my local library but then swapped to an e-version on my Kindle because of the size of the print.

As another reviewer commented, it looks like a cosy, but doesn't shirk from major topics like South African history, and social problems like domestic violence. A murder mystery is interwoven with Afrikaans and local recipes, as a small team from the local paper investigates and members of their team are targetted by the murderer.

Tannie Maria's character is well fleshed out and is a good basis for a second novel, already published, THE SATANIC MECHANIC.

My rating: 4.4

About the author

Sally Andrew lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve near Ladismith in the Klein Karoo (South Africa). She has published a number of non-fiction books and educational articles. Recipes for Love and Murder is her first novel

Book vs Film, Agatha Christie's DUMB WITNESS

Having recently reviewed DUMB WITNESS, I decided to watch a TV version to see what changes the dramatisation made to the Christie story.
The one I chose to watch was produced in 1996 with David Suchet playing Poirot and Hugh Fraser playing Captain Hastings.

The first thing that strikes you is the change of setting: from Berkshire to Windermere (Coniston Water).
The second is the change of time frame: Charles Arundell is attempting to set a new water speed record, so the time frame has been changed from the mid 1930s to around 1949/1950. (Donald Campbell is mentioned in passing).

Here are some of the other modifications
  • Hastings and Poirot have come to Coniston Water to watch Arundell's attempt because Hastings is a friend of Arundell's
  • Emily Arundell confides her worries to Hercule Poirot prior to her death, and he persuades her to re write her will.
  • There is no letter from Lady Arundell to Hercule Poirot (in the book posted after her death)
  • after Emily Arundell dies there is a second murder (I won't tell you who)
  • the companion Minnie Lawson is involved romantically with the local Doctor - in the book it is Theresa Arundell.
  • Bob's ball is always kept in his basket, not in the drawer of the hall stand
  • the problem of who becomes the eventual owner of Bob the dog is solved (in the book Poirot has to take him)
  • Poirot's own form of justice (mentioned in my book review) does not eventuate because he never gives the murderer a written version of his understanding of what has happened.
The actual plot/murderer is unchanged, and all is revealed, Poirot-style, in a final denouement when all the characters in the story are assembled. However because of the changes I've listed above, many of the red herrings are either left out or do not work.

Which did I prefer? well, the book actually. I think the suspense was better there and the characters better drawn.

6 March 2017

Review: DUMB WITNESS, Agatha Christie

  • this edition Center Point Large Print published 2013
  • originally published 1937 AKA USA edition POIROT LOSES A CLIENT
  • ISBN 978-1-61173-683-0
  • large print edition, 382 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Agatha Christie Wikia)

The story is set in Berkshire and centres on Emily Arundell, a wealthy spinster surrounded by grasping young relatives. She is injured by falling down a staircase, and everyone believes that she tripped over a ball left by her pet fox terrier, Bob. Emily later dies of natural causes (or so it is believed), and her estate is unexpectedly left to her companion, Miss Lawson. A letter written before her death to Hercule Poirot by Emily arrives too late to save her, but puts Poirot on the case. 

The book features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and is the second to last Poirot novel (the last being 1975's Curtain: Poirot's Last Case) to be published that features Hastings as narrator.

Dumb Witness was based on a short story entitled The Incident of the Dog's Ball. This short story was lost for many years but found by the authoress's daughter in a crate of her personal effects, in 2004. The Incident of the Dog's Ball was published in Britain in September 2009 in John Curran's Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years Of Mysteries. The short story was also published by The Strand Magazine in their tenth anniversary issue.

My Take

One of the focal points of this novel is the unreliable narrator. The assumption is that if the dog, Bob, could tell his story, he would be able to narrate what actually happened. But in fact Bob does not see all.

The principal narration is through the eyes of Captain Hastings, and the reader has come to expect that he often gets things wrong. But there are other points of view expressed including Poirot's. Under Hastings' influence we either dismiss or accept these other points of view, but which is the right one?

This is also a classic Poirot. Various red herrings are laid, and various scenarios and alibis tested, accepted or rejected. And then of course there is the final denouement. But Poirot has already meted out his own peculiar form of justice.

I thought there were at least a couple of unsatisfactory plot elements: I couldn't imagine anyone hammering a tack into wood in the middle of the night and expecting to go undetected, and I thought the murderer changed character too much. Unexpectedly Poirot becomes the owner of Bob the dog.

I originally reviewed this novel in 2011 and gave it the same rating. I have re-read it to participate in this month's Crime Fiction of the Year Challenge for 1937 at Past Offences.

My rating: 4.5
Check my other reviews in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.

3 March 2017

Review: MISS CHRISTIE REGRETS, Guy Fraser- Sampson

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1458 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Urbane Publications (January 12, 2017)
  • Publication Date: January 12, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MRUI98P
  • #2 of the Hampstead Murders
Synopsis  (Amazon)

The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link.

As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at 'Hampstead Nick'. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch.

On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed 'a love letter to the detective novel'.

My Take

I was attracted to reading this book by the connection in the title to Agatha Christie. I generally don't read what I term "coat-tails" novels (those that attract readers because of their connection to someone famous) but the blurb for this one made me curious, even though it too tries to attract by making reference to books that have nothing to do with the plot of this one.

The story opens at Burgh House in Hampstead where a young couple are inspecting a Constable exhibition. They are about to have afternoon tea when a uniformed policeman arrives with the news that a murder has been discovered in a room on one of the upper floors. The young woman, who is Detective Sergeant Karen Willis, takes charge until another detective arrives. The detective who arrives is DI Bob Metcalfe, a colleague and close friend.

The plot becomes complicated when a murder is discovered in an apartment house in which both Agatha Christie and the grandfather of the current victim were residents. However the body in this case is long dead, bricked up in the basement in a trunk. The date of the death appears to be some time in 1937.

There seems to be a lot of complication in this novel. On the surface it is a police procedural, but it is also obviously a tribute to crime fiction writers, with the connection to Agatha Christie, but also one character who thinks he is the embodiment of Lord Peter Wimsey, and references to other writers such as Ngaio Marsh and Philip Marlowe. The personal relationships between the main characters are very convoluted. There are political overtones with connections to top secret documents which means that the SIO has to sign the Official Secrets Act.

Then finally there was a twist in the tale that I didn't see coming.

My rating: 4.3

About the author
GUY FRASER-SAMPSON is an established writer, previously best known for his 'Mapp and Lucia' novels, which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television. His debut work of detective fiction, Death in Profile, the first in the Hampstead Murders series has drawn high praise from fellow crime writers as well as from readers on both sides of the Atlantic. 

2 March 2017

What I read in February 2017

Some good reads this month including the latest by Australian author Garry Disher.
  1. 4.5, SIGNAL LOSS, Garry Disher
  2. 4.4, THE MOVING FINGER, Agatha Christie 
  3. 4.4, THE UNFORTUNATE VICTIM, Greg Pyers
  4. 4.8, IMPERIUM, Robert Harris - audio book 
  5. 4.5, WHAT REMAINS BEHIND, Dorothy Fowler 
  6. 4.3, THE PALLAMPUR PREDICAMENT, Brian Stoddart
  7. 4.7, THE SILENCE BETWEEN BREATHS, Cath Staincliffe
  8. 4.7, HELLFIRE, Karin Fossum
  9. 4.7. THE NEW MRS CLIFTON, Elizabeth Buchan  
My pick of the month though is THE SILENCE BETWEEN BREATHS, Cath Staincliffe

Passengers boarding the 10.35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston have no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.

Holly has just landed her dream job, and Jeff is heading for an interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. Onboard customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family; pensioner Meg and her partner, setting off on a walking holiday; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, desperate to get home to her daughter.

And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack....

See what others have chosen for their pick of the month.

1 March 2017

Review: THE NEW MRS CLIFTON, Elizabeth Buchan

  • this edition published by Penguin UK 2016
  • ISBN 978-1-405-91820-6
  • 401 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Penguin UK)

As the Second World War draws to a close, Intelligence Officer Gus Clifton surprises his sisters at their London home. But an even greater shock is the woman he brings with him, Krista - the German wife whom he has married secretly in Berlin.

Krista is clearly devastated by her experiences at the hands of the British and their allies - all but broken by horrors she cannot share. But Gus's sisters can only see the enemy their brother has brought under their roof. And their friend Nella, Gus's beautiful, loyal fiancée, cannot understand what made Gus change his mind about their marriage. What hold does Krista have over their honourable and upright Gus? And how can the three women get her out of their home, their future, their England?

Haunted by passion, betrayal and misunderstanding these damaged souls are propelled towards a spectacular resolution. Krista has lost her country, her people, her identity, and the ties that bind her to Gus hold more tightly than the sisters can ever understand...

My Take

We know from the opening pages that a murder has been committed, but not whose body it is. The murder is discovered nearly 3 decades after it happened. There are at least 3 possibilities and the identity is not revealed until the last few pages.

This is a novel filled with the aftermath of World War II and full of little mysteries. Central is the hold that Krista has over Gus. Theirs is clearly a marriage of convenience not love, but just who has a hold over who is not clear. The comparisons between Berlin and London are very evocative and thought provoking. Krista is an illustration of how tough and resilient the female survivors of Berlin must have been, but life in post war London is tough especially for a woman speaking with a noticeable German accent.

Gus's sisters Julia and Tilly are struggling to find meaning in their lives especially after their brother's return to the house they have maintained for him during the war years. And Gus's job doesn't make life any easier.

An excellent read, but one that is on the very edges of crime fiction.

My rating: 4.7

About the author

Elizabeth Buchan's previous novels include the prizewinning Consider the Lily, The New York Times bestseller Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, and her most recent book I Can't Begin To Tell You, which was a World Book Night pick for 2016. Elizabeth's short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in a range of magazines. Elizabeth reviews for the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail and is a patron of the Guildford Book Festival and co-founder of the Clapham Book Festival. She has chaired the Betty Trask and Desmond Elliott literary prizes, has been a judge for the Costa novel award, and she sits on the authors' committee for the Reading Agency. She lives in London.

Pick of the month February 2017

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2017
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 February 2017, 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.


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