Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Dead on Leave- Chris Nickson - "Dangerous Times Need Dangerous Men" ~Out Now ! Get Your Copy ~

Thanks to Chris Nickson, favorite author, NetGalley and Endeavor for this fascinating book about an era in Britain I knew little about. I was reminded that Churchill wrote the book "While England Slept" in 1938 and JFK wrote a rebuttal of it , "Why England Slept" in 1940. 

It was clearly a conflicted time in England and especially Leeds with deep economic depression. I will mention that I was not yet born, and my father, who was in battle in the South Pacific at my birth, always stated that he would not go to war again unless the Japanese were landing in Atlantic City. (We were from New Jersey) Dad had performed a heroic act shortly before my birth aboard his ship, which haunted him his whole life.

That was in my mind as I got into this quite excellent book, and I am still exploring after reading it, what was going on in England at that time. I was unaware of the factions existing in the UK at that time, and my husband whose parents were still British Citizens in the 1930s was not either.

Enter "the political tensions between Mosley’s Blackshirts and working-class Communists in 1930's Leeds" which was a city "struggling to shake off the effects of the Great Depression," and our hero WWI Vet DI Urban Raven. The Battle of Holbeck Moor September 1936 followed a week of rising tension, Sir Oswald Mosley against city orders, marched his Blackshirts ( British Union of Fascists) to Holbeck. The expected BUF rally was aborted by about 30,000 Leeds residents, opposing communists among them.

One unpopular, and mostly unmourned man( a means test inspector),was murdered and left in an alley which began our story. Detective Inspector Urban Raven was given the unwelcome task of finding the murderer with many unanswered questions. Was the murder a vengeful act or was it due to the rising political tensions in Leeds ? Which "side" was responsible and why were subsequent murders happening? 

Add to that Urban's unraveling marriage, helping his young assistant DC Daniel Noble cope with the ensuing violence, and the conflict of his superiors, and you have a perfect mystery novel.
Suffice to say, it ends well (for most) and I sincerely hope this will become a series by this gifted writer. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Mitford Murders - Jessica Fellowes- 5 Stars-Terrific start to a series~

I really enjoyed this book, as well as the place and time, and am excited  that it will be a series. I kept peeking at the end of the book to make sure it ended well- which shows   the characters engaged me! 

Louisa Cannon, from a poor working class family in London, works with her widowed mother as a washerwoman and seamstress. Her father's brother often stays at their house and puts Louisa in harms way. 

Jennie, a friend from school who gives her a hint for a job in an upper class family the Mitfords. Her uncle tries to interfere with her interview by abducting her, and she jumps off the train onto the tracks.Guy Sullivan, a young railway  officer assists her to get to the interview.

At the very same time Louisa jumped from the train, a war nurse, Florence Nightingale Shore  is attacked and left for dead on another train. Guy Sullivan and his coworker Harry are assigned to  that case and this murder will consume them all.

Her new position is nursery maid for the Mitford family adds Nancy Mitford the oldest child to the group who become obsessed with Nurse Shore's murder. 

An exciting sequence of events follows with  an eventful conclusion. I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Crowned and Dangerous - Royal Spyness- Rhys Bowen- Fun Read!

4.5 stars rounded up..A fun read where Georgie and Darcy almost make it to Gretna Green to marry but life and his father Lord Kilhenny intervened. A snowstorm interrupts their trip and the morning paper brings terrible news that Darcy's father has been arrested for murder.

Darcy breaks off their engagement to spare her ( and the throne) embarrassment and heads to Kildare. Georgie follows him, his friend Princess ZouZou follows suit. Queenie eventually comes also and hilariously stands at the foot of Georgie' s bed in Darcy's eccentric Great Aunt Oona's haunted manor house.

Georgie and ZouZou have ideas which are put into place and the murder eventually is solved with the US Embassy's assistance. Mr.Roach the deceased, was the head of a large robbery gang ( Based on an actual event in the US) and a gang members had actually committed the crime.

Lovely ending Christmas day, when Darcy gives Georgie his mother's ring, and has set things in motion for Royal consent for their marriage. It seems that Zou Zou and Lord Kilhenney may have similar plans. and Queenie has agreed to stay and help Great Aunt Oona and Uncle Dooley on their estate.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Holywell Dead (Chesterfield #3) Chris Nickson- Very Fine Series!

The Holywell Dead ( Chesterfield #3) was a satisfying read by a favorite author, about a perilous time in history. 1364 finds the plague returning to Chesterfield as the local priest, sorely needed now, has vanished.

John the Carpenter is content in his new life, but the plague brings up his own personal history as an 8 year left parentless. The discovery of the priest wrapped in a shroud in an empty house precipitates a string of related murders. John is charged with finding the murderer as he has been for some time past. His wife and extended family are concerned, and after John is attacked, he vows to not participate in the search.

Murders and abductions continue to occur,including the Carpenters young mute apprentice being taken. John intervenes to find Alan and once to find the Coroner, whose fury remains unabated.
After deHarville, the Coroner, is attacked and dies, John becomes the target of those few remaining in this group of mercenaries, who have some attachment to the King.

Unlikely allies are a group of lepers who are willing to help him fight the mercenary group, as they knew him as a kind generous person.. One of them, Alison, on her own, came with him on the final battle, and slew the remaining murderer while sacrificing her own life.

The ending was poignant and pointed to happier times as John and Alan had completed a "thank offering" bench commissioned by the Coroner, warmly received by parishioners. Katherine his wife happily tells him a second child will be born to them before long. I hope that indicates a sequel to this fine series. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Corpse at the Crystal Place- Carola Dunn - #TheCorpseAtTheCrystalPalace #NetGalley - Great Read!

Wow Daisy Dalrymple #23, thanks NetGalley& St. Martin's Press for the read. I have not read all Carola Dunn's books, but enough to know this one was a very fun read. Daisy's family life is quite entertaining, with cousins from other countries, friends from near and far and the twins and Belinda.

Alec ( who ends the book at Superintendent of his unit at Scotland Yard) , tries very hard to keep Daisy from being immersed in his cases to no avail. His subordinates and colleagues are also sort of their extended family.

The school holidays have started and stepdaughter Belinda arrives at home, where Daisy has arranged many exciting day trips, as well as house guests. The first one, which included visiting cousins, close friends,Nanny Gilpin and her young assistant, was via several chauffeured vehicles to the Crystal Place. 

Before lunchtime, Nanny Gilpin ends up floating in a pond and rescued by the older cousins Ben and Charlie, Belinda and others were in the ladies room where another Nanny appears to be deceased. A closer look at the deceased reveals the corpse is male, and a third Nanny was seen fleeing the scene after being pursued by Nanny G. Daisy feels she knows this man and it ends up he is a cousin of Lucy, her best friend and heir to a Baronet.

A complicated plot including Russian jewelers as well as a huge amount of possible murderers ensure. Teddy, the victim has made himself universally disliked in many social circles. The ending was enjoyable, as was another look at Daisy's world.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Troubadour's Tale- Oxford Medieval Mystery 5 - Enjoyable Series As Usual

I have greatly enjoyed all the Oxford Medieval Mysteries and this one is no exception. The author's fine afterward discusses the "little ice age" which could have been having an effect on winter travel and other historical facts of that period.

Nicholas and his family, as well as his friend Jordain and Emma and her aunt and cousins are invited to Peter Winchingham's manor in Leighton for the Christmas season. Nicholas and Margaret's mother had been too frail to travel to them in Oxford with the harsh weather they are having so they agree.

Despite extensive preparations the trip is fraught with peril from both the elements and outlaws. Deputy sheriff Cedric Walden had offered to travel with Nicholas' group for safety, which ended up saving their lives. The whole trip was fraught with peril, as the French Troubadours invited to Leighton Manor were also attacked, and that sets the stage for most of their visit.

The ending is unique with Nicholas and the Black Prince again fighting together against treasonous mercenaries. All ends well and made for a delightful read

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Death Comes to Kurland Hall - Catherine Lloyd- 5 Stars - What a Terrific Series

"As wedding bells chime in Kurland St. Mary, a motley group of visitors descends on the village—and with a murderer on the prowl, some of them may not be returning home…"

This series just keep getting better with each volume, or else I am just more enamored of the characters. I have other books I NEED to read but this one... and now the next one is on my kindle..

It starts "Lucy , my dear, you cannot ignore Major Kurland forever"
 "I know that"

It ends with Lucy and Sir Robert Kurland agreeing to be married.

In between were a marriage, several deaths and unveiling of illegitimate heirs, all in Regency England in a "cozy" mystery. Wonderful Read!