Saturday, March 10, 2018

Murder on Marble Row - Victoria Thompson - Gaslight #6 ~ Strong plot and historical elements~

"In turn-of-the-century New York City midwife Sarah Brandt is again helping police Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. This time, an arsonist is presumed to have murdered a wealthy industrialist in an explosion."

5 stars and down to just a two books of this series. One is available to me on digital loan and one is not out yet. I am hoping the publisher lets me have it and have messaged them.

Book #6 has a lot going for it, Sarah and Frank end up closer than they were and it is quite an unusual sequence of events. It begins when Teddy Roosevelt, Police Commissioner, contacts Malloy to investigate a murder committed with a bomb on a wealthy society member. 

The victim, well known to known to the Deckers and is assumed to be "Anarchists" that committed the murder because a bomb was used. The son of the victim, Creighton Van Dyke, had left his father's home and his employ, because of serious philosophical class differences. 

In fact he was currently living in a common law relationship with Katya, an immigrant who had ties to this criminal element.One murder led to another but happily eventually it resolves that the deceased died partly because of their own efforts or actions.

Sarah's parents both get involved in this situation and give advice and seem to begin to approve of Frank and Sarah's budding relationship with him. Additionally in this happier ending Frank's little boy Brian is to attend school for the deaf and Sarah and little "Aggie" will be visiting him at his home.

A very fine read and a strong historical precedent for this type of murder

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Gruesome Discovery - Cora Harrison - Fourth Reverend Mother Mystery- Order NOW!

5 Stars - "The Reverend Mother receives a decidedly gruesome gift in this compelling Irish historical mystery"

Big thanks to Cora Harrison for writing this mystery, and NetGalley for sending it to me. The Reverend Mother series are great as are all of her Irish mysteries. I have a second one I will be starting also in the Reverend Mother series ( so excited). I am Irish and the age of the Reverend Mother and her cousin Lucy so I particularly love this series.

This one is a generational saga with this murder, and subsequent murders, not revealed until the last few pages. A tradesman who many felt was "uppity", because he had amassed so much money and built a large house in an exclusive area, is murdered. Henry Mulcahy was not well loved, but his housemaid and nurse Bridie was beloved of the sisters at the convent. Bridie and Mrs. Mulcahy are also eventually victims of the cover-up of this crime.

Not only was Mulcahy "of the skins" murdered, but his decaying for 3 days body was delivered in a trunk to the Reverend Mother. It was said to contain schoolbooks but actually contained Mr Mulcahy packed in some gruesome exhibits of his trade.

Reverend Mother Aquinas' cousin Lucy who had been at an auction, bid on the trunk and sent it to her. The nuns of St. Mary's Isle have a school for poor children at that location and a religious community had been there since ancient days.

Figuring in this episode also are several young adult protégés of the Reverend Mother, Eileen MacSweeney and Patrick the Constable. Adding to this is that several of Mulcahy's children, he has 13, as well as Eileen, are Republican Army sympathisers. This is the cusp of Ireland's partition.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Dark Angel -Elly Griffiths- Book #10 ~ Publication May 2018 but start this amazing series now!! ~

My review will be on my Blog and at NetGalley for the May Publication date, but  also is written  here.

From the Publisher "It’s not every day that you’re summoned to the Italian countryside on business, so when archaeologist Angelo Morelli asks for Ruth Galloway’s help identifying bones found in the tiny hilltop town of Fontana Liri, she jumps at the chance to go, bringing her daughter along with her for a working vacation. Upon arriving, she begins to hear murmurs of Fontana Liri’s strong resistance movement during World War II and senses the townspeople are dancing around a deeply buried secret. But how could that be connected to the ancient remains she’s been studying?
 Ruth is just beginning to get her footing in the dig when she’s thrown off-guard by the appearance of DCI Nelson. And when Ruth’s findings lead them to a modern-day murder, their holidays are both turned upside down, and they race to find out what darkness is lurking in this seemingly picturesque town."

I came upon Elly Griffiths' novels fairly recently but have devoured the Ruth Galloway series  (although not in sequence- that is for later rereads). I have an Anthropology graduate 
degree so I love the prehistory and examination of relics aspect of Ruth's career. I also very much enjoy  how she is "seconded " to the local Major Crimes unit and meets DCI Harry Nelson, her polar opposite.

Ruth has a diverse group of friends and associates and is the most educated person in her small family of origin.  Their distinctiveness is a reflection of her life choices  and where they intersect with others. She lives in a small cottage on the Norfolk marsh land with two cats but also is a noted forensic Archaeologist.

Fast forwarding to Book #10

How then did Ruth, fortyish and plump, meet and have a child with DCI Harry Nelson? You will need to start on this amazingly well done series and find out.

Kate is now in school and quite advanced for her age, knows "Nelson" is her father, and  he shares parts of her life. Why then is Harry Nelson still living with his glamorous wife and his two almost grown daughters? Life is complicated sometimes.

Ruth, as an internationally known forensics expert in bones, is invited to Italy by a former colleague. Nelson is self invited when he reads of an earthquake in the small mountain town in Italy and brings Cathbad with him and he rushes to check on Ruth and Kate.

How this tale ends is both mystifying  and a bit terrifying, as a good mystery should be.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Death Comes To The Village- Catherine Lloyd's mystery debut ~ A delightful read~

"A wounded soldier and a rector's daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland St. Mary in Catherine Lloyd's charming Regency-set mystery debut."

My first Kurland St. Mary Mystery was a fun read with some intricate details to the plot. The two main characters, Lucy Harrington and Major Robert Kurland both seem to be oblivious to their growing affection. There were two more book excerpts attached, and in those also they are close to one another while avoiding an emotional attachment.

Violence is done by a close associate of the Major, without his awareness, to both Miss Lucy Harrington and one of her household. Mary a long time maid was murdered and hidden in a crypt and Lucy came close to sharing her fate.

Lucy's family entanglements hinder any social life, as she has been her father's housekeeper and caregiver for her twin brothers for eight years. Major Kurland comes home seriously wounded from Waterloo with an entourage who barely protected him.

Their ability to share details of events in this small village and help others makes a very readable storyline. I intend to get book two right away. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Memento Mori - A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire - Ruth Downie - Love this series - Order Yours!

Author’s Note ” Aqua Sulis is one of the most visited sites in Roman Britain, perhaps because it combines a lovely setting with spectacular remains..over 130 curse tablets deposited in the waters..From the floor level down, the Great Bath is much the same today as it was when Ruso swam in it” and My thanks go to all the readers who travel with Ruso and Tilla”  

I travel with Ruso,the Medicus and his wife Tilla and now their extended family, which grows with each  outing. Valens who is a colleague and very close personal friend of Ruso, sends a messenger ( also a colleague of Ruso) to let him know that he is accused of murdering his wife.

Albanus, the former assistant to Ruso when he was still in the Army, was distraught when he arrived due to the death of Serena. Additionally Albanus is tutor to Valens twin sons, now in the custody of Pertinex, former Centurian  over all three of these men. 

Catus, brother of Pertinex,Virana now-wife to Albanus but biological mother to Mara, adopted daughter of Tila and Ruso as well as Gleva, who is both Priestess and mistress to Pertinex round out the immediate characters involved. Characters many of them are, for sure! They leap off the page, each unique in a different fashion.

The plot involves Aqua Solis, more than a Roman Bath but a religious site with the   goddess Minerva Sulis  of extreme  importance to what is now modern-day Bath. The Governor arrives post haste to "try" the case, as Valens' father in law is  convinced his daughter  and her recent love interest, was murdered by her husband.  Tides, the mysteries of this sacred spring as well as other obstacles stand in the way of untangling what happened. There is no resolution until the very end.

Always the juxtaposition between Tilla, a British native and her husband a Roman physician from Gaul gives wonderful depth and that depth is replicated for many such couples and associates of our main characters. That is Roman Britain.
All of this is why I love this series so.. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Zig Zag Girl- Elly Griffiths ~ A Great Series ~

Book #1 of the series sets the stage for the Stephens & Mephisto Mysteries ( aka Magic Men) and a fine story it was. ( I had already finished book #2)

The Magic Men unit in WWII apparently had brought together a group of people who did not always relate well to others. People who were thought to be dead were alive, and were trying to do others in.The first murder was a female cut in three pieces, like magicians pretend to do. Who was the spy in their war unit?

Max Mephisto and DI Edgar Stephens were friends in the war and their friendship deepens. The dynamics of the Brighton Police Unit are amusing and the book is extremely well written. Elly Griffiths is a masterful writer. I will now get Book #3 and look forward to a 4th in the series later this year.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Smoke and Mirrors- Book #2 Magic Men series - Elly Griffiths - Awesome Read !

The Stephens & Mephisto Mystery series is just great- of course in my own odd way I read book 2 first, but I also downloaded book one as back up. DI Stephens is a likeable competent character not terribly unlike Ruth Galloway (smart and a non conformist). The back story of their WWII record that brought this dissimilar group together is good to read. Book #1 helps there, but they do bring up explanatory vignettes as you go along.

The Christmas season in Brighton brings a very sad murder of two young teens, and Max Mephisto and DI Edgar Stephens( wartime friends) are again together to solve the case. Police Officer Emma Holmes is a terrific character in this one too, she and Bob who are DI Edgar's sergeants play prominent roles in this, for reasons of contrast. The characters are so well done and Ruby is now playing a prominent role;I need to finish book #1 to understand how that transpired.

Christmas comes to Brighton, the police department and the pantomime theater crowd are provided with a happy end to another missing child story.Edgar's sister Lucy and his nephews will feature in his Christmas celebrations, and Max has a glimmer in his eye also.

A second fine series for wonderful and talented author Elly Griffiths.