Friday, September 27, 2013

Spellbinding and Riveting ~ Fair and Tender Ladies

I returned to Leeds for a riveting visit with Richard Nottingham as he continues to do what he has always done best, solve crimes with his wit and his heart.

Chris Nickson tells a spellbinding story, taking the reader with him into the hearts and minds of the citizens of this city as they existed in 1734.I should digress here, and tell you to hop on over to and purchase "Convalescence". This short novel  can precede your reading of Fair and Tender Ladies until publication.

Nickson, like his protagonist the Constable, has a love and an intimate knowledge of the city. "Why Leeds?" he has said, " It's where I was born and raised, and that puts a place in your bones. You know it the way you can never quite know anywhere else". Nothing enhances my literary appreciation like solid historical facts and appropriate period details.

Emily Nottingham, the Constable's only living relative is in danger, as are many young women. Why is that and how do these and other murders and crimes tie into each other, or do they? What would Nottingham do without his right hand man, Deputy Sedgewick?

Answers to all of these questions had me biting my nails as I finished the book. Relief of a sort was followed by wondering what will happen to Leeds if a certain letter is delivered. How much time will elapse until we see the Constable again?

Were I you, I would purchase "Convalescence" this very moment, and preorder and read "Fair and Tender Ladies". I am pleased to be able to designate this a Five Star mystery novel in my review. Recommended to historical and mystery lovers and anyone at all who enjoys a well written period tale. Off to my next Nottingham read!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The King's Grave ~ An insider look at an event

As one of the millions who were awake and on Twitter as the announcement came on Richard III's identity, I was excited and thrilled to get a review copy of the book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. My Kindle and I happily became witnesses to a remarkable historic event through this book.

The authors, who held differing ideas about King Richard, made a more than adequate team  team as the facts were sequentially laid out before me. Ms. Langley's part of the tale was most appealing to me and was riveting. I found myself most excited at Philippa Langley's narration of the events and less so for the historical events compiled by the Jones/Langley team which at times created a disjunction. Probably Langley and the search, dig and resulting scientific conclusions by impeccable experts get five stars from me and the book as a whole three. You might chalk that up to the fact that I do a lot of work in genetic genealogy (DNA) and the facts of the search for and discovery of Richard are breathtaking for me.

That being said, it was a very good technique to bring balance and scholarly discourse to Richard's persona and the book itself. I enjoyed the psychological profiling and handwriting analysis which added depth to the two opinions. Richard seems to have been very much a product of his times and his convictions. He was and remains a courageous warrior and a chivalrous prince, the last English warrior king.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Announcing ~ "The Study of Murder" by Susan McDuffie

I was so very happy to catch up with Muirteach MacPhee and his new wife Mariota on the road to Oxford. Muirteach, you remember, is the Keeper of Records for John McDonald the Lord of the Isles, who is also his overlord. He has been charged, as we join him, with protecting and escorting Donald, son of the Lord of the Isles and grandson of the current King of Scotland.

The year is 1374 and the differences between the Scottish Hebrides and  the university town of Oxford  were stark. In addition to the usual mistrust between town and gown, we can add religious and gender inequities, which intensify stresses on the newly married couple. Muirteach seems to be accepted but Mariota, seen to be his equal in Scotland, is mistrusted for her skills and education in this country.

Riots, disappearances and murder shake and roil the town leaving many in danger. When Mariota disappears, Muirteach is desolate, distraught and sleepless but continues to search for her and gather clues about all. He is aided by Thomas Houkyn,coroner, a historical figure in  1373 Oxford Town. The coroner collaborates with Muirteach with network of searchers  as  hope begins to fade for Mariota and another missing young woman.

Jonetta, the tavern keeper's daughter, had gone missing shortly after Muirteach, Mariota and Donald arrived in Oxford. It was initially surmised that she ran off with a chapman from York who fancied her. When that proved not to be the case, suspicion turned on another attached to the school.The plot and the suspects shift and twist and change daily. The coroner's jury finds an innocent man guilty and  he will soon hang.

You MUST read this book, a superb mystery and historically correct in every aspect. Susan McDuffie is of Clan McPhee,Fee, McDuffie  and her ancestors served the Lord of the Isles, the McDonalds in the Inner Hebrides on Colonsay.She knows her Scottish history and this period intimately and is a powerful storyteller.

                                      GIVEAWAY  GIVEAWAY   GIVEAWAY
                                 Celebrating the publication of this book with an ARC of this very fine book.
Send a request from my blog using my Google email found there at the top by  the end of the Tour  on September 25th.  I will have a helper draw a number and will award the book based on the order the e-mails come in. I shall send it to the e-mail you provide in the e-mail. Good Luck!

                                                           The Author and Award
Susan McDuffie and her Editor and fellow author Alice Duncan with her 2011 Award for "Best Historical Novel of 2011" by the New Mexico Book Awards for  The Fairie Hills

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Closet ~ Summerset Tales ... A Giveaway

Pleased to be an advanced reader for Jac Wright's upcoming full length novel, The Reckless Engineer. You too can be pleased as he is offering to send his short story, The Closet, to those who sign up from my Blog! So we are all very fortunate on this Friday the 13th. No bad luck here!

Jac Wright is an Edgar Nominee whose Summerset Tales, a collection of literary novel The Reckless Engineer.  His characters live, love and struggle in the semi-fictional area of England called Summerset. Thomas Hardy called this area Wessex in his Tales.

I call it fun and am ready to explore the region and experience the suspense myself.
Use this link below to sign in on Jac Wright's contact page. and start the count down to The Reckless Engineer debut  also.!contact/c1kcz

The Handfasted Wife ~ A Gem of a Book ~ Free on Friday ! Grab It Now!!

Carol McGrath's fine work is climbing on the charts.. Grab it Free while you can at Goodreads Giveaways and and iTunes..
My previous review is below..I am counting the days until her next novel..

So very glad that I saw this book in someone's "want to read" status! This is an era and a family that I can't get enough of reading and the author surely did them justice.

I am thrilled that this is the first of a planned trilogy and that I can revisit Elditha's family and hopefully it will be soon. Carol McGrath has done impeccable research and is so very knowledgeable on these troubled times. The use of The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Domesday and Orderic Vitalis through out the book in chapter headings was very inventive and informative.

McGrath's author's note was very clear and detailed on what is known of that time, what was probable and what was her thoughts could have been possible. I highly recommend this novel and Carol McGrath's Blogs as well.         

Monday, September 9, 2013

East Side, West Side ~ Murder in Chelsea

This is a favorite series for my sister and I, and my birthday gift this year. So thrilled with where this particular book took the main characters and the route they traveled to get there. Murder in Chelsea had depth, warmth and the correct amount of twists and turns in it.

I plan to visit Victoria Thompson's website now to cheer on the next chapter in Frank and Sarah's life. I am so glad they are officially a team! How quickly characters become part of our own circle of friends.

The period detail in this series is very fine and the characters have have depth and are lively.Loved this visit in New York City and looking forward to my next one.