28 May 2021

Review: HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Kate White

  • this edition published by Harper Collins 2020
  • ISBN 978-0-00-842723-8
  • 366 pages
  • author website

Synopsis (author)

The key to her missing memories could bring relief—
or unlock her worst nightmares.

On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives soaked to the bone at her Manhattan office, only to find that she’s forgotten her keycard. When her boss shows, he’s shocked to see her—because, he explains, she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Ally knows her name, but is having trouble coming up with much beyond that, though after a trip to the psychiatric ER, she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she’s now a freelance journalist; she’s married to a terrific man named Hugh. More memories materialize and yet she still can’t recall anything about the previous two days. Diagnosed as having experienced a “dissociative state,” she starts to wonder if it may have been triggered by something she saw—an accident, or worse, a trauma from her childhood that has risen to the surface.

Desperate for answers, Ally tries to track where she spent the missing days, but every detail she unearths points to an explanation that’s increasingly ominous, and it’s clear someone wants to prevent her from learning where those forty-eight hours went. In order to uncover the truth, Ally must dig deep into the secrets of her past—and outsmart the person who seems determined to silence her.

My take

When Ally Linden arrives at work, she doesn't realise she has been missing for two days. Her husband hasn't realised she is missing because when he last saw her she was storming out after an argument. 

Bits of her memory return but she still doesn't have answers to her fugue state, and it seems that something deep in her past may have triggered everything. A friend suggests that she may have had a shock, and Ally is inclined to believe that after she finds blood-soaked tissues in her coat pocket.

A book that kept me engaged right to the end.

My rating: 4.5

About the author 

Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels of suspense: seven standalone psychological thrillers, including Have You Seen Me? (an Amazon Editors’ mystery and thriller pick for 2020), as well as eight Bailey Weggins mysteries.

Her next suspense novel, The Fiancée, will be published on June 29, 2021.

For fourteen years Kate served as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and all the freebies to be found in the Cosmo beauty closet), she decided to leave eight years ago to concentrate full-time on being a suspense author.

Her first mystery, Even If It Kills Her, was a Kelly Ripa Book Club pick and #1 bestseller on Amazon. She has been published in countries around the world. Her most recent Bailey Weggins mystery, Such a Perfect Wife, was nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award.

Like many female mystery writers, Kate fell in love with the genre after reading her first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of Redgate Farm.

Kate is a frequent speaker at libraries and conferences and loves to share her journey from magazine editor to suspense novelist in a talk called “On Becoming an Author: Forging a New Creative Path and Finding Winning Ideas All Around You.”

She is also the editor of the Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, a collection of recipes from the field’s top-selling authors. In addition to writing mysteries and thrillers, Kate is the author of several bestselling career books, including The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success, as well as I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, and Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do.

She divides her time now between New York City and Las Flores, Uruguay.

25 May 2021

review: TELL ME LIES, J. P. Pomare

  • this edition published by Hachette in 2020
  • ISBN 9-781869-718619
  • 230 pages

Synopsis (Publisher)

Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children and a successful career.

On a warm spring morning Margot approaches one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That's when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train.

Margot's clients all lie to her, but one lie cost her family and freedom.

A fast-paced psychological thriller for fans of The Silent Patient.

My Take

It is not just Margot's clients who lie to her, the success of her entire career has been based on lies, narrowly avoided conflict of interest and compromise.

Margot knows that she is a successful psychologist. She spends much of her time in pigeon-holing her clients, confident that she can help solve their problems. But she doesn't seem to see behind the facade they present, and she doesn't realise that at least one of them is stalking her, and just biding his time.

Her own problems seem to begin when her family house is fire-bombed. She thinks that the culprit is one of her clients, but she picks the wrong one. And then her consulting rooms are fire-bombed as well, but her office has been ransacked too, and she realises that the fire-bomber was looking for something.

An interestingly constructed plot, with little problems for the reader to solve along the way. Highly recommended.

My rating: 4.8 

I've also read


23 May 2021

Review: NOT DARK YET, Peter Robinson

  • this edition published in 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton
  • ISBN 978-1-529-34307-6
  • 374 pages
  • #27 in the Inspector Banks series

Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction

Murder is only the beginning for Banks and his team . . .

The gruesome double murder at an Eastvale property developer's luxury home should be an open and shut case for Superintendent Banks and his team of detectives. There's a clear link to the notoriously vicious Albanian mafia, men who left the country suspiciously soon after the death. Then they find a cache of spy-cam videos hidden in the house - and Annie and Gerry's investigation pivots to the rape of a young girl that could cast the murders in an entirely different light.

Banks's friend Zelda, increasingly uncertain of her future in Britain's hostile environment, thinks she will be safer in Moldova hunting the men who abducted, raped and enslaved her than she is Yorkshire or London. Her search takes her back to the orphanage where it all began - but by stirring up the murky waters of the past, Zelda is putting herself in greater danger than any she's seen before.

And as the threat escalates, so does the danger for Banks and those who love Zelda . . .

My take

Another many stranded plot, firmly rooted in the infiltration of Britain by East European mafia. Added to that the exploration of Banks's personal life. Some heart stopping moments as not only Zelda is abducted but also Banks himself is snatched and then thinks his end has come.  

I am always an advocate of reading a series in order, and that has stood me in relatively good stead in the case of the Inspector Banks series. However I have missed only one of the recent titles in this series, but it was enough to ensure that I did not know who one of the important characters in this title, Zelda, was.

My rating: 4.5

I've also read

4.6, BAD BOY (2010)
4.8, CARELESS LOVE - #25 

20 May 2021

Review: THE CUTTING PLACE, Jane Casey

  • format: Kindle e-book (Amazon)
  • ASIN : B07ND6691Q
  • Publisher : HarperCollins (April 3, 2020)
  • Publication date : April 3, 2020
  • File size : 1217 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Print length : 390 pages 
  • #9 in the Maeve Kerrigan series 

Synopsis (Amazon)

Everyone’s heard the rumours about elite gentlemen’s clubs, where the champagne flows freely, the parties are outrageous…and what goes on behind closed doors is darker than you could possibly imagine.

Paige Hargreaves was a young journalist working on a story about a club for the most privileged men in London. She was on the brink of exposing a shocking scandal. Then she disappeared.

DS Maeve Kerrigan must immerse herself in the club’s world of wealth, luxury and ruthless behaviour to find out what happened. But Maeve is keeping secrets of her own. Will she uncover the truth? Or will time run out for Maeve first?

My take

A Thames mudlarker discovers a human hand and an investigating team finds a few other pieces of a body, enough for the forensic pathologist to say that these are female remains, and enough to yield some DNA which eventually leads to identification of young journalist who has disappeared just when she was about to break a shocking story. 

There are several threads to this plot: a male voice recounts something that happened two years earlier, and Maeve Kerrigan works on the current story. But the thread that virtually takes over is the domestic violence that Maeve becomes part of, something she had never thought would happen to her.

An engrossing read.

My rating: 4.8 

I've also read

4.6, CRUEL ACTS - #8
4.5, THE RECKONING - #24.6, SILENT KILL - #8.5

15 May 2021

Review: KILLJOY, Ann Cleeves

  • this edition on Libby through my local library
  • first published 1993 by Macmillan
  • this e-book published 2013 by Bello
  • #4 in the Inspector Ramsay series
  • ISBN 978-1-4472-5322-8 EPUB
  • 215 pages

Synopsis (publisher)

Gus Lynch is directing the Youth Theatre through a rehearsal. The cast is in place but the female lead, Gabriella Paston, is missing. Later that evening her body is discovered in the boot of Gus's car. Detective Inspector Stephen Ramsay and Sergeant Gordon Hunter are assigned to head the murder enquiry.

Meanwhile violence is escalating on the Starling Farm Estate as police battle to contain the latest outbreak of joyriding. Is the death of Gabriella connected to the events at Starling Farm? When another death occurs, investigations suggest a possible link. Ramsay realises what could have provoked someone to kill . . . and kill again.

My Take

Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. A cleverly told story, and the identity of the murderer came as a surprise. There were plenty of red herrings and a number of plot strands that provided interest. Stephen Ramsay meets up with a former girl friend, and his relationship with his Sergeant seems to be improving... slightly. There is a nice contrast between Ramsay and Hunter.

If you haven't tackled this series before, you could read this one as a stand-alone, but hopefully will enjoy it enough to go back to the beginning  and read them all.

My rating: 4.6

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13 May 2021

Review: THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN, Agatha Christie

  • this edition on Kindle (Amazon)
  • ASIN : B0046A9MQS
  • Publisher : HarperCollins; Masterpiece Ed edition (14 October 2010)
  • first published 1928
  • Language : English
  • File size : 650 KB
  • Print length : 317 pages
  • Earlier review
  • Extra information- Wikipedia

Synopsis (Amazon)

The daughter of an American millionaire dies on a train en route for Nice…

When the luxurious Blue Train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake serene Ruth Kettering from her slumbers. But she will never wake again – for a heavy blow has killed her, disfiguring her features almost beyond recognition. What is more, her precious rubies are missing.

The prime suspect is Ruth’s estranged husband, Derek. Yet Poirot is not convinced, so he stages an eerie re-enactment of the journey, complete with the murderer on board…

My take

Another novel that I have read many times, as well as seen numerous tv versions of. However it is one of those novels where the precise details become a bit blurred.

The novel has two major events: the theft of a ruby and the death of its owner while they are on The Blue Train which is taking holiday makers to the French Riviera. It reveals glimpses of the French underworld, a description of the lifestyle of the well to do in post-war Europe, and the plot is characterised by a lot of misdirection and red herrings. Poirot has some doubt that theft and the murder are done by the same person.

Poirot goes into "partnership" with Katherine Grey, who recently has acquired wealth after a decade as a companion. She meets Ruth Kettering on the Blue Train. This "partnership" foreshadows a method Poirot will often use in the future.

There does not appear to be a narrator in this novel (i.e. no Hastings who is not even mentioned).  Poirot is described as a famous detective of bygone years who is now retired. Ruth Kettering's father offers him a huge sum to take on the case, but then becomes frustrated with what he thinks is inaction on Poirot's part.

As with many other of Agatha Christie's full length novels, THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN was based on an idea originally used in an earlier short story: The Plymouth Express.

It was also serialised over a 6 week period in 1928 in a slightly shorter version with 34 daily instalments. This may explain the relative shortness of each chapter. 

This novel features the first mention, in a novel, of the fictional village of St. Mary Mead, which had originally appeared in "The Tuesday Night Club" published in December 1927, which was the first short story of Christie's detective Miss Marple. It also features the first appearance of the minor recurring character, Mr Goby, who would later appear in After the Funeral and Third Girl. The book also features the first appearance of Poirot's valet, George

My rating: 4.5

Agatha Christie Books read

6 May 2021

Review: THIS SIDE MURDER, John Bonett

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • ASIN : B01N4V5KEI
  • Publisher : Lume Books (February 1, 2017)
  • First published 1967
  • File size : 1362 KB
  • Print length : 154 pages
  • Inspector Borges #3

Synopsis (Amazon)

Gilbert Tarsier, successful newspaper columnist, is sent by his paper to Spain on a mission: to ferret out gossip about the guests at the new luxury hotel in Cala Cristina…

This quickly arouses the hostility of several distinguished hotel guests, so when the self-assured Tarsier shows up dead, the lack of sympathy is unsurprising.

Unfortunately for the gentle Inspector Borges, Tarsier’s unpopularity means the range of suspects is extensive. If indeed it was murder that caused his untimely death. First there’s his neglected wife Lily, plain but holding untapped potential, who is soon taken under the wing of Irene Stollman, wife of the economist Franz, one of the victims of Tarsier’s libellous pen. Then there’s Lady Poppy Dauntwood, currently on her fifth husband, her vivaciousness belying a sad past and another guest suffering the slurs of Tarsier.

When it is revealed that Tarsier had penned a defamatory biography of the Victorian novelist Matthew Egremont, grandfather of the artist Arbelle and her brother Ralph Egremont, the pool of suspects grows even larger. Does this incriminate their nephew and architect of the Cala Cristina, Philip Egremont too? Surely his relations with the lovely ballerina Judy Shafto, on holiday with her Uncle Quintin, means his thoughts are occupied by romance and not murder?

The Inspector must sort through numerous and often conflicting statements and alibis to discover the truth behind Tarsier’s demise…

This Side Murder is a mystery filled with colourful characters and gripping suspense, and is the third Inspector Borges mystery.

My Take

Another enjoyable read in this series.  The plot is quite complex and after the death of the very reprehensible Gilbert Tarsier, the first thing is to decide whether his death was an accident or murder. There are plenty of reasons for thinking murder but then who had the motive or the opportunity?

You will have noticed that these novels are relatively short, so quite a lot happens in a small space, and yet the character development is very good.

I do recommend this series, but read them in order please. Available on Kindle very cheaply. However, published over 50 years ago, so probably not available now in hard copy.

My rating: 4.5

I've also read

1 May 2021

Review: THE SOUND OF MURDER, John Bonett

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon
  • Publisher : Lume Books (November 22, 2016)
  • Publication date : November 22, 2016
  • Originally published 1966
  • Language : English
  • File size : 1194 KB
  • Print length : 181 pages
  • #2 in the Inspector Borges series

Synopsis  (Amazon)

When Sid and Minnie hear a loud noise from the back of their van, they think it’s the engine stalling. Hours later, Sid discovers a corpse…

The body is of Halberd Corsair, one of London’s finest tycoons and entrepreneurs, whose home and work is the grand Termini building. The official report suggests it was an accident – that he slipped and fell out the window.

But gossip is rife and rumours spread that Mrs. Corsair might have done him – it was an unhappy marriage and she profited handsomely from her husband’s death. Not only that, but her opera glasses are found broken outside, just below the ill-fated window. As her health declines over these vile slanders, her nephew and heir to Corsair’s ‘empire’, Keith Antrim, enlists Sir Otto’s help to clear her name.

And so, Inspector Borges is brought in. Alongside Sir Otto’s niece, the headstrong Anthea, the pair realise that Corsair’s death might not have been an accident after all. As Inspector Borges discovers, there are several people with the means and the motive to kill. As the list of suspects grows, it’s up to Borges and Anthea to track down the killer before it’s too late.

Filled with intrigue and suspense, The Sound of Murder is a cleverly-plotted, engrossing murder mystery, and the second book in the Inspector Borges mystery series.

My Take

Inspector Borges has been at a conference in Europe with some English senior policemen and has accepted an invitation to holiday in London with an old friend, Sir Otto. Sir Otto's niece Anthea will  be taking him to see the sights in future days but Sir Otto has been contacted by the son of an old friend with a worrying problem about his uncle's recent death. The death is that of Halberd Corsair and rumours are beginning to circulate that his wife has somehow caused his death. Her nephew Keith is keen to prove them wrong.

And so Inspector Borges is drawn into a semi-official investigation with the blessing of Scotland Yard,  although in fact he is a Spanish policeman.

I'm so glad to have discovered this series of very readable crime fiction, with their very satisfyingly constructed teasers.

I have already begun reading #3, THIS SIDE MURDER. I will certainly follow through and read all 5 titles in the Inspector Borges series. Has anybody read the 3 titles John Bonett wrote with his wife - the Mandrake series?

My rating: 4.5

I've also read


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