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Monday, 30 January 2017

Kill The Father by Sandrone Dazieri - book review




THE BLURB

In this fascinatingly complex thriller, two people, each shattered by their past, team to solve a series of killings and abductions...

When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, the police unit assigned to the case sees an easy solution: they arrest the woman’s husband and await his confession. But the Chief of Rome’s  Major Crimes unit doubts things are so simple. Secretly, he lures to the case two of Italy’s top analytical minds: Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, and Dante Torre, a man who spent his childhood trapped inside a concrete silo. Fed through the gloved hand of a masked kidnapper who called himself “The Father,” Dante emerged from his ordeal with crippling claustrophobia but, also, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and hyper-observant capacities.

All evidence suggests that the Father is back and active after being dormant for decades. Indeed, he has left tell-tale signs that signal he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante. But when Columba and Dante begin following the ever-more-bizarre trail of clues, they grasp that what’s really going on is darker than they ever imagined.

Expected publication: February 9th 2017 by Simon & Schuster UK




MY REVIEW


If you are looking to find an outstanding new crime / thriller series to sink your teeth into, then look no further!! This beast of a book (almost 500 pages) has kept me thoroughly transfixed from start to finish.

The main characters are Colomba and Dante and they are called in to help solve the murder of a mother who was found beheaded, whilst her son has disappeared. The immediate suspect is the husband but soon similarities to other unsolved cases begin to appear, bringing the case a little closer to home for Dante especially.

The author cleverly has introduced us to two strong main characters who are flawed due to their troubled pasts, and the 'now' story is cleverly interjected with links to the past and, often in gruesome detail, brings their previous terrors to life. These flaws make them such interesting people to read about and seems to make them work together as a team much better.

I found this story had a great pace and never seemed to pause for breath! It also never goes OTT with the details or complexities of criminal proceedures which can bog some crime stories down. In Columba it also introduces us to a really strong female character who isn't afraid of bending the rules and tries not to let the past rule her present.

'The Father' is also a great character, in a fabulously evil way, as he always seems to be one step ahead of them and seems to justify his behaviour as more details are uncovered of his choice of victims.

The quest to track him down is an exhilarating rollercoaster ride and I cannot wait for more in this series!! A terrific debut!!






I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Book Weekly Wrap up!

Greetings fellow bookworms! I trust we are all feeling fit and well and glad to reach the end of yet another week.  Little bit scared that February is almost here already too! Shops are already full of Easter Eggs I see!  Always a positive thing!! ;)

On to the books! And there has been a good mix of reading some fantastic stories this week and receiving some great new books too so without further ado.......


BOOKPOST

my order from the lovely folk at  Goldsboro Books arrived this week and that is a signed first edition of the latest release from Ragnar Jonasson  'Rupture' so am excited to have this on my shelves now along with the others and excited to read another thrilling part of this series as this is book four! 

THE BLURB     

  1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…
In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them. 
Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers. ‘Traditional and beautifully finessed… morally more equivocal than most traditional whodunnits, and it offers alluring glimpses of darker, and infinitely more threatening horizons’ Independent • ‘Jonasson’s books have breathed new life into Nordic noir’ Sunday Express • ‘Bitingly contemporary in setting and tone’ Express • ‘A modern take on an Agatha Christie-style mystery, as twisty as any slalom…’ Ian Rankin • ‘A classic crime story seen through a uniquely Icelandic lens … first rate and highly recommended’ Lee Child • ‘Chilling, poetic beauty… a must read!’ Peter James • ‘British aficionados of Nordic Noir are familiar with two excellent Icelandic writers, Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Here’s a third: Ragnar Jónasson … the darkness and cold are palpable’ Marcel Berlins, The Times For fans of Trapped, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Agatha Christie and Ann Cleeves


Next up in the post this week was this rather gorgeous proof of The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel which I've been hearing lots about via Twitter and I was excited to receive my copy and will enjoy reporting back soon hopefully with my thoughts!  Sounds like a real rollercoaster ride of emotions ahead for me with this one!


THE BLURB  

 A gripping, provocative thriller about the twisted secrets families keep, perfect for fans of The Girls. Beautiful. Rich. Mysterious. Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl. But you won't when you know the truth. Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family's rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But what she doesn't know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice...


And i was also lucky enough to win a prize from the lovely folks at Michael Joseph Books on their Twitter feed and it was a book to make me feel warm and fuzzy all about Hygge - The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourel Soderberg.  If you haven't heard of Hygge by now then where have you been?!  Perfect for these cold and grey days!

Oh and by the way, the Pete's Dragon figurine was a recent buy as I'm obsessed with him - the original though! Not the recent remake!! I can't even bring myself to watch it even though I've heard good things!!


THE BLURB

Others books will tell you how to be hygge. This is the only book that will show you.

Though we all know the feeling of hygge instinctively few of us ever manage to capture it for more than a moment.

Now Danish actress and hygge aficionado Marie Tourell Søderberg has travelled the length and breadth of her home country to create the perfect guide to cooking, decorating, entertaining and being inspired the hygge way.

Full of beautiful photographs and simple, practical steps and ideas to make your home and life both comfortable and cheering all year round, this book is the easy way to introduce hygge into your life.


And then I paid a visit to the Library to take back one book and can never seem to leave without bringing at least one home with me, despite the mountain of books I already have to  read at home!  And I chose The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall as I heard Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads on his YouTube Channel waxing lyrical about it so I had to read it! So far so good!!


THE BLURB

During the long, hot summer of 1976, a young Cambridge mathematician arrives in a remote village in the Lake District and takes on a job as a farm labourer. Painfully awkward and shy, Spencer Little is viewed with suspicion by the community and his only real friendship is with scruffy, clever ten-year-old Alice.

BOOKS I'VE READ THIS WEEK

All top reads this week so that always helps my reading mood!!  Can highly recommend them all if you are looking for an enjoyable new adventure to dip into!

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller


A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles


The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan 


Britt-Marie was here by Fredrik Backman



And that is that!  Got another couple of books on the go already which will hopefully make the forecast rainy weekend a brighter prospect! Anything you have read that you need to recommend to me?!  Trying my best not to add any new purchases to my bookshelves at the moment but have found myself clicking on a couple of NetGalley covers - ebooks don't count as real books do they?!


HAPPY READING!!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller - Book Review


  The Blurb


Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage


Hive.co.uk - buy online and support your local bookstore


About the Author



Claire Fuller trained as a sculptor before working in marketing for many years. In 2013 she completed an MA in Creative Writing, and wrote her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days. It was published in the UK by Penguin, in the US by Tin House, in Canada by House of Anansi and bought for translation in 15 other countries. Our Endless Numbered Days won the 2015 Desmond Elliott prize. 



MY REVIEW



I was a huge fan of Our Endless Numbered Days, so I had huge expectations from this book and they were almost all achieved!

I found this to be a much darker, bleaker read as it follows the storyline of Ingrid and Gil through the present timeline, and via letters that Ingrid wrote to her husband in the past and then hid in books for him to find. And this explains why he has hundrends of books stacked up in his home. His daughters return home to care for him following an accident and ill health, and the mystery of their mothers' disappearance still plagues the family and the story building up to that is revealed in letter form and I found this an extremely clever way of looking back.

Ingrids' story is heartbreaking and the letters really capture the despair she was going through and how her and Gil both really seemed to not want the same things. It tells of how they get together in the first place and you often wondered what she ever saw in him!

It is a quiet, unassuming and bleak book in my opinion, that relies heavily on the family dynamics, the hope they feel and the mistrust when the daughters start to learn of the past and things weren't all as rosy as they imagined life really was for their parents.

It was very difficult to feel any emotional connection with some of the characters as more of their traits and indiscretions were revealed and that is why I didn't find myself loving this book as before but it was still a really thought provoking look at a dysfunctional family and how secrets always tend to find a way of revealing themselves.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan - Book Review


The Blurb


A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer-Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.





My Review

This was an absolute delight of a read! Found it to be charming, emotional, insightful and fun! Not often that a story can mix all those qualities so well!

We follow the story of Anthony Peardew who finds himself collecting up items he finds on his travels - be that on a train, or by a park bench. These items are all catalogued and kept in his study which is off limits to his housekeeper Laura, who is intrigued but respects the privacy he demands.

We also see the story through the eyes of Laura who has her own tales of a troubled personal life, but all seems brighter when she started working for Anthony, but she knows he isn't getting any younger and finds herself worried for the future. It is a really touching relationship between the two and upon his death she finds that she inherits his home, her sanctuary, and all that is inside - and that includes the Lost Things which he wants her to try and find their rightful owners.

Throughout the story we also hear the story of Eunice during the 1970's and on, and you do wonder about the significance of this storyline but it is cleverly woven in and provides another insight and interesting storyline.  

One of my major loves of this book as the character of Sunshine. She is a wonderful breath of fresh air with her innocence and outlook and she seems to have an extraordinary gift for picking up on the emotions behind the Lost Things.  And she understands the healing powers of a good cup of tea!

I really loved the flow of this story - it is full of poignant stories that has you thinking about the stories attached to random items as they must have meant something to somewhere sometime! As Laura, Sunshine and Freddy the gardener begin their quest to reunite items the significance of the task that Anthony set them becomes clearer and re-awakens some old ghosts.

Beautiful debut and will definitely be looking out for future Ruth Hogan books!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles - Book Review




The Blurb

In 1922 Count Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal He is sentenced to house arrest in The Metropol a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov an indomitable man of erudition and wit has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel s doors. Unexpectedly his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.Brimming with humour a glittering cast of characters and one beautifully rendered scene after another this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the Count s endeavour to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

 About the Author -  Amor Towles was born and raised in the Boston area. He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University. An investment professional for over twenty years he now devotes himself full time to writing. Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.




My Review

Where to begin??! This is one of those books that I don't think any review can do it justice! It has to be read. To be savoured. To be lived! And the style of writing and attention to detail lets you do that with ease! Amor Towles has captured the essence of his main character, the wonderful Count Alexander Rostov, and his situation, sentenced to house arrest at the magnificent Hotel Metropol indefinitely, with brilliant clarity.

As we watch the Count over the 30 years that follow we are introduced to some amazing characters who seem to teach the Count, and the reader, a new perspective on life and the history that is unfolding outside the Hotel doors. It makes Count Rostov re-evaluate all he thought he knew, and what makes life worth living! He talks to the pigeons and the hotels one eyed cat, he makes friends with the staff

A completely charming and captivating read and it was an absolute pleasure and delight to spend time in the company of these people with their amazing insights and a look back at life in ever changing Russia through the Second World War, Stalin and beyond. It is a very insightful, and often bittersweet, look at the way the world changes outside while he is stuck inside, but to him the Hotel becomes his 'world' and still manages to teach him things about the human race.
This book made me laugh and cry and I would just like to thank the author for an astonishing read.  If you get the chance to read this book, then do it!! You will not regret it!!

Friday, 20 January 2017

My bookish weekly round up!

Here we go again! Another look back at what has been keeping me amused in the world of books this week!! Hope it has been a good one for you all!  

Shelf space has reached a critical stage again so I've had to have another little declutter and send some of my old books on to pastures new via a local charity shop! I hope they get to go to good new homes!  I am finding it much easier to part with paperback books now rather than  hardbacks - is this normal?!  I seem to be going through a hardback appreciation phase at the moment, even if they do take up more space!  Maybe it will pass!

Book Haul

Yep! New books have been added to my collection yet again! I've given up trying to fight it now! I just need to accept it and embrace the book buying habit that I have been blessed with!

Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton




This cover though??!!  How could I not!!!  Have heard some good things via BookTube about this one and it sounds like a fascinating read, as well as being a cover stunner, so am hoping to get to this very soon!

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This has been bought as an online facebook book club that I'm part of is reading this as their next book club read, and as a massive fan of the Anime movie I couldn't resist wanting to join in and see where it all began!  Another cover stunner too!!


Kill The Father by Sandrone Dazieri


Received this early copy via the publisher and it is set to be released on the 9th February 2017 so will hopefully get to it very soon.  Looks like another stunningly dark thriller, and is the first in a planned series.

The Blurb   -   In this fascinatingly complex thriller, two people, each shattered by their past, team to solve a series of killings and abductions...

When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, the police unit assigned to the case sees an easy solution: they arrest the woman’s husband and await his confession. But the Chief of Rome’s  Major Crimes unit doubts things are so simple. Secretly, he lures to the case two of Italy’s top analytical minds: Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, and Dante Torre, a man who spent his childhood trapped inside a concrete silo. Fed through the gloved hand of a masked kidnapper who called himself “The Father,” Dante emerged from his ordeal with crippling claustrophobia but, also, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and hyper-observant capacities.

All evidence suggests that the Father is back and active after being dormant for decades. Indeed, he has left tell-tale signs that signal he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante. But when Columba and Dante begin following the ever-more-bizarre trail of clues, they grasp that what’s really going on is darker than they ever imagined



Three-Martine Lunch by Suzanne Rindell


This was the book in the January Book and a Brew subscription box and I know very little about it so hoping it will be an interesting read!


The Blurb    -      From the author of the “thrilling” (The Christian Science Monitor) novel The Other Typist comes an evocative, multilayered story of ambition, success, and secrecy in 1950s New York.
 
In 1958, Greenwich Village buzzes with beatniks, jazz clubs, and new ideas—the ideal spot for three ambitious young people to meet. Cliff Nelson, the son of a successful book editor, is convinced he’s the next Kerouac, if only his father would notice. Eden Katz dreams of being an editor but is shocked when she encounters roadblocks to that ambition. And Miles Tillman, a talented black writer from Harlem, seeks to learn the truth about his father’s past, finding love in the process. Though different from one another, all three share a common goal: to succeed in the competitive and uncompromising world of book publishing. As they reach for what they want, they come to understand what they must sacrifice, conceal, and betray to achieve their goals, learning they must live with the consequences of their choices. In Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell has written both a page-turning morality tale and a captivating look at a stylish, demanding era—and a world steeped in tradition that’s poised for great upheaval.



Books Finished

The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici  - loved this one! Really kept me guessing the whole way through



Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett - listened to the Audio CD version of this one and thoroughly enjoyed the characters being brought to life by Tony Robinson.  Hoping to listen to more Audio CD's in the future so recommendations for the best ones to listen to are always welcome!



Not a bad week again!  Am halfway through a couple of other books at the moment so hoping to have those finished over the weekend, and then have a nice big pile of reads to get through which are set to be released towards the end of January and the start of February - where is 2017 going already??!!!  Time needs to slow down a little!  

Happy Reading!!



Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici



THE BLURB


ONE MAN'S TRUTH IS ANOTHER MAN'S LIE.

When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued.

The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder.

One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.

Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime.

But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried


Due out 26th January 2017

Hive.co.uk - buy online and support your local bookstore

Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Also writes under Eugen O. Chirovici and Eugen Ovidiu Chirovici

Eugen O. Chirovici had a career in mass-media, running a national daily newspaper and then a TV news channel. He has published over 1,000 articles in Romania and abroad. He currently holds three honorary doctorates (in Economics, Communication & History) and is a member of the Romanian Academy of Science. He is the recipient of several prizes for journalism. He lives in both the UK and New York City.



MY REVIEW

I was intrigued when I received a copy of this book via the publishers, in return for a fair and honest review, as it sounded like the perfect mind games 'whodunnit' crime story and so it proved to be!!

It's a very interestingly told story from the viewpoint of 3 different characters - a writer, a literary agent and an ex-detective - over a number of years and plays heavily on the part that memory plays on all of us! How time can change your perception of events, bad memories surpressed, and a good old fashioned lie that some people manage to convince themselves was the truth.

When a literary agent receives part of a manuscript he is left wondering whether it is just a story, or an actual confession to the murder of a Professor many years earlier. The more he delves into the background of the writer and those around the Professor at the time, the more he is intrigued and is often left wondering, as is the reader, just who is telling the truth and who to believe. Who did actually murder the Professor? 

Found the different viewpoints a really interesting concept into telling the story of this murder and it gives you plenty of background into those involved as the layers are slowly peeled away at what exactly had happened all those years ago.

Have to admit to being a little let down by the last few chapters as after such an excellent build up of circumstances, it all just seemed to fall a little flat and rushed and that did disappoint after an excellent look at the role that memories have on us all.  

It is a slow burner of a book that leaves you questioning many of the characters and their versions of events and I think the pace is perfectly pitched at how much it reveals and when.  My mind changed many times over the pages of who I believed and didn't!

Still found it to be an absorbing thriller and the perfect read for a rainy weekend!

Friday, 13 January 2017

My week in books.....

Happy Friday 13th to you all!! Hope you have a lucky day!  There is snow in Essex today so my pet bunny is a happy boy as he loves it!  Disappearing fast though now so hopefully it won't cause too much disruption! 


Happy to report it has been a good week again on  the book front!   Reading and buying!!  And borrowing too now as I've decided to take advantage of our local library more - now that i've managed to remember my password for the machine in there! - and so I'm hoping that will help curb my book buying habits a little!  


Book Haul

I couldn't stay away! And i'm blaming the videos I've been watching on BookTube again for leading me astray and wanting to add new reads to my TBR mountain!  So this little lot arrived this week as The Book People had a good deal on the Costa Book Award books


Alice Oswald - Falling Awake

Francis Spufford - Golden Hill

Brian Conaghan - The Bombs that brought us together

Sebastian Barry - Days without End

Keggie Carew -  Dadland

Anyone read any of these yet?!  Not sure which one to start with but they all sound so good!


Books Read

Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson



Review posted up yesterday -  a real classy crime novel!


The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain




This is the debut novel from the Great British Bake-off winner Nadiya.  Found it to be a very 'safe' debut that had some fun moments as it follows the lives of the Amir family as they go through some personal problems added to the fact that they are the only Muslim family in a small english village.  An easy read.


Out of Essex by James Canton


Borrowed this via the library app Overdrive as an e-book and found this to be a fascinating read about the link that Essex has to many literary names such as H.G Wells, Defoe, John Clare and even Shakespeare.


We are all made of Stars by Rowan Coleman


This was another book borrowed from the library and was the book club choice of one of the Facebook groups I belong to. Found it to be an emotional and inspiring book about the power of writing a letter as people were in a hospice asking one of the nurses to write notes to their loved ones for when they passed.  A beautiful book.



And that concludes my bookish week!  How has yours been? Productive?!  I did manage another little clear out of my bookshelves to help the local charity shops with another bag of books for donation so I'm doing my best to keep things under control at home, although I have been plotting ways to find room for another bookcase!!  

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson Book Review


THE BLURB


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'.


Hive.co.uk - buy online and help your local bookshop

Amazon UK

Out now!

Published by Urbane Publications

About the Author


Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer best known for his series of ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television. 
Originally a corporate lawyer, he currently teaches at Cass Business School and acts as a board advisor to high growth companies.


MY REVIEW

This is the second book in the series of the Hampstead Murders and I have to admit to having not read the first - Death in Profile - but will definitely be getting hold of a copy after being captivated by the characters and setting in this classy crime novel!

We begin with a body found in a study with a truncheon used as a murder weapon - sounds like a game of Cluedo! - at a local museum and with so few witnesses or visitors it seems that the investigation may be a fairly simple one for those officers involved. But when they later discover a body in a suitcase, of someone murdered many years ago, surely they can't be linked? But with good old fashioned police work it soon transpires that there is more to these deaths than meets the eye, and it is fascinating to watch the various lines of enquiry and research that the officers put in to uncover the truth.

This is a book full of strong characters and a clever plot and I found myself completely stumped at times trying to work out just who was involved and who was hiding more than they should be! It did make a nice change not to be confronted with scenes of gore or torture that has been quite high in many crime books recently, so just to focus on the classic 'whodunnit' was an extremely enjoyable experience and I now look forward to catching up with book one before book three, A Whiff of Cyanide, is released in the Summer of 2017

Friday, 6 January 2017

My week in books

First week of 2017 done and dusted! And already flying by it seems! Hope your New Year has begun well! My cold has finally gone so am hoping the fluctuating weather - mild one day, freezing cold the next - doesn't make it return anytime soon! There is only so many cups of Lemsip one person can drink!!

On to the book front! As I blogged earlier in the week, there have been purchases already despite my best intentions! But there could have been a lot more so I'm congratulating myself on not buying even more despite the temptation!!  Am still looking into finding room for another bookcase though but think another book declutter may be required! Took a big bag of books to a local charity shop this week so I've made a start - anyone else find it difficult deciding what books to keep or chuck?! Any tips on helping make the process any easier?!

On the book reading front it has been an extremely good reading spell since Christmas!  My reading mojo returned thankfully so here's a little look at the titles, all excellent by the way, that have made my reading time so happy in the past 7 days or so.....


Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern


This was the book that rekindled my love for reading as I found it to be really captivating and beautiful as it described the journey of the girl who had lived in isolation in the forest and how those around her thought that making her live in 'their' world was the right way for her to share her unique talent.  A touching romance develops too and I just enjoyed the pace and ambience of it all.


Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land


This was a brutal and twisted read but stunning in its' subject and storyline and had me gripped from start to finish!


The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington



Still thinking about this book days after finishing it! Such a beautiful story and message throughout and lots of laughs and tears in equal measures!

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick


This was an enjoyable, easy historical/supernatural read.featuring the present day and Tudor England with some of its' most famous names.

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helen Bertino


This was a magical little read that I read in one sitting and the character of Madeleine is difficult not to fall in love with!

Call of the Undertow by Linda Cracknell



This was another captivating read full of emotion and featuring characters who are looking to escape the past and finding comfort where they least expect it.


A nice varied little batch of books there!  Am definitely finding myself drawn to so many different genres now and I think that is helping keep me happy on the reading front as I did used to get bogged down in reading just one genre and then finding myself getting bored of that!

Hope your weeks have been full of some good reads! I've now got to try and get through the next week without adding to the book collection, and also have some more very interesting reads ahead with some publication dates approaching!  

Happy Reading!!