Death Comes to Marlow – RobertThorogood

Following the success of the Marlow Murder Club, Judith, Susie and Becks and unlikely trio are back and this time they are right in the thick of the action.

Judith receives a phone call to attend a party to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Sir Peter Bailey to his nurse Jenny Page. A marriage that has upset many. Judith cannot understand why she has been invited, but can only assume it is her notoriety. Perhaps something is going to happen, Judith with Susie and Becks all attend, if anything to just be nosy.

A loud crash is heard from inside the house and the three women all rushing to find the prospective groom, crushed to death under a large cabinet.

There cannot be anything suspicious about this death, as the room was locked and the key was in the pocket of the deceased. The only key.

But for Judith she knows something is not quite right, there is too many mysteries. All the potential killers have strong alibis, in fact the three women were alibis for the most obvious of the killer – Peter’s son, Tristan who had been arguing with his father and step mother to be on more than one occasion.

Add to this; daughters hidden in wardrobes, gardeners with a long family feud, a bitter ex wife, a glass jar not smashed and the plot thickens.

Of course amongst all of this intrigue, Judith is busy trying to work out the mystery clues she has picked up in the cryptic crossword. She discovers something that she wasn’t really meant to but at the same time, the author uses this as a vehicle to explain the structure and logic of all things cryptic. It is one of my greatest wishes that I could solve cryptic crosswords. I have yet to reach one clue correct.

Susie, the local dog walker is now hiring dog walkers to look after her own clients as she has found fame on the local radio station. In fact it proves a useful tool in solving some questions for the murder club. However fame comes at a price for Susie and it seems she will need to go back to what she is good at if she wants any chance of solving her financial woes.

Becks, the devoted wife of Colin the local priest seems to be up to something which is intriguing both Susie and Judith. Surely they can’t think someone like Becks would commit that sin. Sometimes all the detecting in the world and you can jump to the wrong conclusions.

But when it comes to the death of Sir Peter and catching the killer the Marlow Murder Club will not be fooled.

The book builds on the characters and setting of the first book and is fast paced and plotted, with plenty of clues and red herrings. Smugly I want to say I had worked out the perpetrator but actually it was a guess and I certainly could not work out how they did it. A great example of crime fiction in a bucolic setting with some characters who you can adore. Perfect for all fans of that cosy crime fiction that has boomed in recent years.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Death Comes to Marlow is out now.


The Dazzle of the Light – Georgina Clarke

When the light catches a diamond what women can resist. Well none of the Forty Thieves it seems, and especially of them – Ruby Mills. Beautiful and an eye for beautiful things, Ruby is one of the best thieves, but she wants to break out on her own and not be beholden. When you are in deep with the forty Thieves, there is it seems no way out.

Harriet Littlemore, from the right side of London, her marriage prospects are good but she still wants to forge her own path in life. Which is why she is dabbling in journalism, she writes pieces that the editor thinks women want to read about. Harriet desires to read pieces about the gritier side of life.

She gets her chance when she witnesses a robbery, and goes on to publisher her piece about it, with a rather good drawing of one of the perpetrators – Ruby Mills.

Two sides of London, two sides of society and two sides of the law. Harriet and Ruby gravitate towards each other, Ruby shows Harriet another side of life whilst Harriet shows Ruby that with money you can have freedom and not be restricted. What neither of these wonderfully drawn characters realise is that both lives and both their worlds have their own restrictions. The main one they share is they are other female.

It’s the 1920s, the decade is about to start ‘roaring’ and the scars of the war are being eradicated through frippery and finery and the muscle of the men that did come home, used to get what they want now that the whole world has shifted.

This is a great piece of historical fiction and I it had me drawn in form the beginning, as the story unfolded of these women. The supporting characters were rich in description and quite frankly despicable in some cases. The plotting, the deviousness could not be forgiven with some but when these desparate women were turning to all sorts to simply survive, you did suddenly realise how unfair class, society and gender can be and in some cases still is an issue.

This books is one to be read along Kate Atkinson’s latest, the two complement each other so well and the richness of the storytelling is excellent. It has brought a period of history that I was slightly aware more to the forefront and I hope to read more about these fascinating people that seem to be forever missing in history.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Dazzle of the Light is out now.

Books · Jottings · Witterings

January Roundup

I think this is possibly going to be the shortest roundup post I have ever written as it seems that longest month of the year with around 864 days means I have only read 4 books!

I have simply stuck to reading one book at a time, I generally have two on the go, but found that with the brain filling up with work I had not the capacity for this. As the month draws to a close, I am back to the two book scenario. One actual book, one from my ever growing netgalley list. It is that which needs tackling and I am trying not to be so frenzied in requesting books that take my fancy. I am being a bit more select and sticking authors who I know will deliver.

Perhaps 2023 is the year of slowing the pace. Slowing the pace was definitely the way I felt reading Diane Setterfield – Once Upon a River a book that has been on my shelf, having been donated from a friend a while back. The meandering tale was fascinating and reminded me of Diane Setterfield’s debut novel all those years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed and was before I took to book blogging.

Going back to author I haven’t read for a while, took me to this author’s latest Jill Mansell – Promise Me. It has been around seven years since I have ready anything by her, I have no idea why as she hasn’t stopped writing and I follow her on twitter. If she ever reads this blog, I can only apologise and perhaps will look to rectify it in 2023.

Ironically the last two books of the month feature the strong relationships and friendships of girls and both written by a Georgina. First up is Georgina Clarke – The Dazzle of the Light a fascinating historical fiction novel that took me to the Forty Thieves, to the lure of the diamond and the beginnings of women making their own way in life. I do love the rich detail in this novel and this would be an excellent companion book to Kate Atkinson’s latest Shrines of Gaiety.

Then I moved more modern to the debut novel Georgina Moore – The Garnett Girls. I have followed Georgina on twitter for a long time and she has enabled me to read some fantastic novels. And now she has written a fantastic novel of her own. What makes it that little bit more special for me is that it is set on the Isle of Wight, somewhere I can see from where I live. Do look out for my review nearer the publication date of this novel.

So a simple January you could say, a simple start to the year, at this rate I will not hit 100 books but who knows what tomorrow will bring let alone the next 11 months. So on with more reading.

Books · Jottings · Witterings

Books in 2022

Again, I seem to have waited for 2023 to start and settle before I got round to looking at what I read in 2023. This must be the last roundup post to be published.

So first off, I did not reach that magic number 100: 2 short. Who knows why but do you know what I haven’t let it stress me out, I think I have read a decent amount of books and learnt not to read books just to keep the numbers up if I am not enjoying them.

The Shortest Book was Holly Hepburn – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures at 100 pages

The Longest Book was Robert Galbraith – Troubled Blood at 944 pages

Of the 98 books read that is the equivalent of 30,476 pages! Of course this is all dependent on which version I save to my Goodreads list and I am not particularly fussed about ensuring it is the correct one, as I read quite a lot of advanced review copies.

As for the kindle it was 79 books and these would have been thanks to the wonder that is netgalley which is also a curse as it means I am not reading books from my shelves as much as I should.

To stick with common themes in my look back of the year we will start with:

Multiple Books by the same Author

Top spot for 2022 was Helena Dixon with 4 books. 2020 was the last year with 4 books.

3 books: Merryn Allingham, Christie Barlow, Cathy Bramley, Holly Martin, Cressida McLaughlin, Jo Thomas. Authors in bold featured in this category in 2021.

2 books: Phillipa Ashley, Vicki Beeby, Sarah Bennett, Liz Eeles, Sharon Gosling, Molly Green, Stacey Halls, Tracy Rees, Helen Rolfe, Jennifer Ryan, Heidi Swain, Tilly Tennant. Authors in bold featured in this category in 2021.

As you can see I go back to the authors I know and love, who will give me a great read and also comfort as well. Of course as tastes change and books are written and discovered, there are more authors added into the mix.

No Agatha Christie (well not really) in this list but there is one reread. P.G.Wodehouse – Carry on Jeeves, I really wish I had not given away my Wodehouse books I had collected years ago. These are such a great joy. For 2023, I want more rereads, I want more Agatha Christie.

What about my favourite, I really can’t say I have one. There have been some cracking good reads and I am pleased to have delved a bit back into the historical fiction/saga area which has always been of great interest to me. So here is a snapshot of those books that stand out in 2022, a mix of many genres.

I think it is good that I haven’t got a stand out book of the year and haven’t had for many. I always think that leaves a lot to live up to with all the other books out there waiting to be read. So as for 2023, expect to see more of the same I think and more of reading what I want at a gentle leisurely pace or fast and furious depending on the book and the timing.

Finally thanks must go to my readers, book blogging has changed a lot of the years and a lot more is done on social media rather than specific blogs and also with a lot more visual content, especially videos. I am grateful to everyone who pops by and reads my wittering, for the time being I will continue to read and post.


The Three Dahlias – Katy Watson

You can’t beat a house party in the country for entertainment and if it comes with murder mystery then all the better.

The home is Aldermere, staying are the occupants of the house of the Davenports. Hugh, his wife Isobel and their granddaughter. High is the nephew of the famous crime writer Lettice Davenport, long since passed.

Also present are three Dahlia Lively’s, Lettice Davenport’s most famous creation, Of course fictious, but having been played on the screen big by aging actress Rosalind King. Caro Hopper the small screen version for numerous series and then Posy Starling, ex wild child about to start the latest film version.

The murder that happens is meant to be staged as part of the weekend convention for all the fans of the books and screen adaptations. However it seems that someone else has real crime on their mind and when items go missing and strange notes keep being left it doesn’t seem to far fetched to think a body will turn up next. But surely it must have been a heart attack…….

Pooling their knowledge, the book is told from the perspective of the Three Dahlias (hence the title). They use the skills they simply learnt by rote or in the case of the newest Dahlia, by learning fast from the available books that Lettice Davenport wrote. A strange concept, but one that seemingly works and makes for a fun novel.

Is the answer obvious, are the clues real or just copied from the books and can they prevent any more bodies turning up ?

Definitely a book and plot which is a homage to Agatha Christie, sneaky little elements here and there that you can pick up if you know your Christie well enough. It moves along with a meandering pace at times, but stick with it as I think we are forming the three main characters in this book which is clearly the start of a series.

Perfect for fans of characterful mysteries with a nod to some of the great crime writers of the past. I enjoyed the escapism and the humour of the book.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Three Dahlia’s is out now.


Murder at the Charity Ball – Helena Dixon

It’s book eleven, its the week before Christmas and finally Matt and Kitty are going to tie the knot on Christmas Eve. What could be more romantic and what could possibly go wrong?

A murder at the ball?

Kitty’s father the prime suspect?

Kitty and Matt are invited to a Charity Ball by Lady Eliza Foxley, well known for perhaps not the right reasons but still not averse to organising and giving something back. Present is Edgar Underhay, Kitty’s father who is back from America for the wedding and came across the Atlantic accompanying Eliza.

All seems to going well, dancing, drinking and enjoying life. Until Eliza is found dead, strangled by one of her own silk stockings and Edgar standing over her.

With his reputation, it’s clear who the focus goes onto. But with some persuasion Kitty and Matt try and convince the police that perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye. When some of the potential suspects all have something to hide, including Eliza’s sister, niece, secretary, financial investor and old nursery nurse it seems Kitty is going to be focusing on something else before her wedding.

This is like picking up with stories of old friends every time I return to The Dolphin Hotel and Kitty, Matt as well as the wonderful Alice and her sister Dolly. As the series has gone on, the characters have grown and the plot moves on. This was a lovely way to finish my reading year as it felt I was closing some chapters with Kitty but also at the same time opening some more up and moving forward.

I look forward to the next chapter of Kitty’s life. Though I wonder if she can get through her honeymoon unscathed and without any bodes?

This book, this series is perfect for those who like the warm hug of a story even if slightly scattered with dead bodies and criminals. The supplementary characters make for fun diversions and back stories and the fact that it is set in churches, big houses, hotels, trains to name a few adds to that golden age feel of the books.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Murder at the Charity Ball is out today.


The Mitford Secret – Jessica Fellowes

It has come to the end for this series and we have finally reached the last Mitford Sister. Deborah or ‘Debo’ was as well known for her married life in later years as that of her siblings escapades.

Newly married to Andrew Cavendish and going to be the poor relations to the heir to the Chatsworth estate, Deborah is determined despite war, despite some of her sisters being all over the world or in prison that she will make the best Christmas they can have. she invites the constant throughout this eries of books Louisa Cannon, who was her elder sisters nursery maid and been involved in their ives for a long time.

Time has moved on, Louisa now married and with a daughter is glad to escape the bombs of London but not to leave Guy, her husband behind to run their detective agency. However it seems that the house party this Christmas is going to be a bit more interesting. A psychic arrives one night and claims that a maid once died in this house and her body never found. Surely this woman is stirring up trouble until she is found dead.

It seems ideal that a private detective is staying at the house and Deborah along with older sister Nancy, look to Louisa to try and solved this very cold case as well as the most recent death. With many house guests staying all with something to hide it seems that Louisa is going to have her work cut out. What she really needs is help from her husband and luck would bring him to Chatsworth.

With the facets of a locked room mystery – surely it must have been one of the house guests, this is a great historical mystery for fans of big houses and the upstairs, downstairs life. Plenty of class and society struggles and a reflection of the time, perhaps some of the dates have been manipulated a bit so some of the characters such as Kick Kennedy and Adele Astaire appear. However all in all this is a well researched and great book showing the sphere that the Mitford Sisters lived in. I have enjoyed all in there series and the historical notes at the end are as fascinating.

A must for historical fiction fans, murder mystery really is the vehicle to get to know these Mitford Sisters more informally. I am sorely disappointed that it has had to end.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel.

The Mitford Secret is out now.


Murder at St. Saviour’s – Merryn Allingham

For whom the bell tolls and it tolls unexpectedly in Abbymead and it draws Flora and Jack to church. Here they find the bell ringers, and the body of the curate, recently joined the church, fallen from the bell tower.

Surely it must be a tragic accident. But something seems off to Jack and Flora and with past experience of discovering bodies and solving mysteries it seems that there initial thoughts may be true.

It gets even more complicated when they discover the dead curate, isn’t really the dead curate and strange faces in the village start to make the duo question everyone and their motives. Then the lead suspect is found dead, is it one of these mysterious faces that is guilty or should they be looking closer to home.

Alongside the investigating the relationship between the two main characters is developing and the gentle courtship adds to the gentle pace of these novels, despite the dead bodies! Of course there is much we don’t know about Flora and her background and it seems as this series progresses we are going to find out more if the ending of the book is anything to go by.

Perfect series for those who want that Midsomer Murder vibe but set in in the past.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Murder at St. Saviour’s is out now.


Murder Most Royal – S.J.Bennett

This series of books for me are terribly British and celebrates everything about how unique we are as a nation and our ability to poke fun at ourselves as we all know the world around us is doing the same.

What can be more British than the Queen at Christmas? What can be more British than a murder mystery to while away the hours.

The book set within the last 8 years, clearly has much it can mention about Brexit, Prime Ministers and current girlfriends of royal princes. At Christmas it was well known that HM The Queen decamped to Sandringham, a house owned privately by her and where she spent over a month until her accession day. This year is no different, apart from the fact that her and Phillip are suffering from colds and flu, oh and a severed hand ends up on the beach next to the estate.

The severed hand has a signet ring on it and The Queen recognises it as belonging to Edward St Cyr, a neighbour and someone who used to play with Charles when he was a small boy. Not without his eccentricities, finding the rest of Edward and who actually committed the murder is going to keep the Queen and her APS Rozie, quite busy over the festive period.

Like any place, whether it be large or small, gossip and rumours abound even when you have Royalty as neighbours. With Rozie tasked to find out certain information, the Queen uses her unique position to question, influence and probe without anyone realising. The truth will always out. The Queen will help and no one will ever know. Or only those that need to know.

This book, this series, is just a delightful warm tribute to her late majesty and you can only but imagine that she would have found such a thing amusing. Of course we never know what really goes on, and if we did that would ruin the mystique and if this is as close as we can get with it then I am all for it and cannot wait for more.

For fans of cosy mysteries, historical fiction, royalty and everything British.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Murder Most Royal is out now.


Murder on Board – Helena Dixon

It is with trepidation that I read book ten in this series, because I know at some point it has to come to an end and actually for Kitty in this book it could come sooner than we think.

Planning for her wedding underway, Kitty thinks she has found her new manager, Mr Lutterworth for the Dolphin Hotel, as she knows once she is married things will be different and her grandmother is also wanting to step back. He certainly has a baptism of fire, as a body turns up on the paddle steamer that was used to host a dinner party before the main event being held in the hotel.

The body is someone Kitty’s fiancé has been watching for his government contacts.

The party is the daughter of the Chief Constable.

The suspects can only be those that were on the boat, so Inspector Greville, has to investigate his boss and associates.

Then a diamond necklace goes missing for a short space of time.

It is going to be a tough case to tackle for the Inspector so he relies on Kitty and Matt to help. Of course that is going to put one of them in danger and the new manager finds himself searching the local area for his new boss pretty quickly. What sort of place has he come to work at ?

The sort of place, where all walks of life come to stay and pass through and with the wonderful kindness of Alice, Kitty’s Maid. Her Sister Dolly who helps in the office, the Night Porter and of course Bernice the skittish dog it makes for an interesting start for Mr Lutterworth. But if you have been with the series from the beginning then it is just par for the course for these two delightful characters.

This series goes from strength to strength, the introduction of characters along the way, means it can move off in different directions but without losing sight of the main focus – murder mystery. Cosy crime seems a misnomer, they are simply cracking good stories that serve to escape from the realities of life with for me a great big dollop of history thrown in for good measure.

I look forward to as many more as the author wishes to write.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Murder on Board is out now.