blog tour · book review · cosy · mystery · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – A Harvest Murder

A Harvest Murder

One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.

In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, a curmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children, vanishes.

When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village’s popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.

Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friends to dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.

As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.

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Author Bio

Frances Evesham is the bestselling author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea murder mysteries set in her home county of Somerset, and the Ham-Hill cosy crime series set in South Somerset.

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My Review

A Harvest Murder is a light cosy mystery set in a quintessentially English village. The main characters form a foursome, Rachel and her partner Dan, and
Adam and his partner Steph. With a couple of mysteries solved already, their sleuthing credentials are strengthened by Adam’s history as a retired Detective Inspector. Consequently he carries much of the story when it comes to questioning villagers and using his contacts to find evidence that would otherwise not be available to them. For me, that’s a little off-genre, he’s hardly your regular amateur sleuth, nonetheless he fulfils the role of the “friend in the police force” that cosy mysteries are known for.

The plot is deliciously misdirected at first to throw the reader off, but once all the supporting characters are known then the real culprit is not too hard to find – proof, however, is less easily uncovered.

The pace is gentle, in keeping with the setting, yet it’s not without its dramas both relative to the crime and the personal lives of the main four characters. I did find the reason behind the attacks on Dan to be a little reaching but I was happy to suspend belief to know his donkeys were safe. (Now you have to read it, right? 😉 )

A solid mystery (the disappearance – murder of farmer Joe) with likeable characters with believable lives and issues. The setting is stunning and almost steals the show by itself, and the romance between the two couples provide a little tension whilst also being sweet and heartwarming. For a cosy mystery, what more could you want?

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blog tour · humour · serial killer

Blog Tour – Sister Agatha

Sister Agatha: The World’s Oldest Serial Killer

Sister Agatha is 118 years of age, whose vim and vigour would put the most robust athletes to shame. However, during a routine check-up, her doctor claims that she has just a week to live – inconvenient, seeing as the beloved sister once made an improbable vow: to be the oldest person in the world. At last count, she was the fifth.

Never one to admit defeat, Sister Agatha concocts a bold Plan B. Using her final days, she intends on travelling the world to meet the only four people whose birthday cakes boast more candles than hers.

And then, one by one, she will kill them.

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Author Bio

Hailing from Navan in the royal county of Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT.

He now works as an actor and a journalist, dividing his time between Galway, where he films TG4’s award-winning series, Ros na Rún, Dublin and Venice, where he and his Italian lover continuously promise their well-worn livers that they will refrain from quaffing so much Prosecco. (Unfortunately, it seems some vows, just like nearby Rome, were not built in a day.)

Wine-drinking aside, for more than four years, Domhnall has also enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title whose various awards includes Consumer Magazine of the Year. Thanks to this role, he interviewed a host of high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, David Gandy, and Jacques Villeneuve.

Domhnall has written for the majority of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and RTE. He also writes a monthly column in Woman’s Way, the country’s biggest-selling weekly magazine.

His first novel, Sister Agatha: the World’s Oldest Serial Killer, was released in 2016 to critical acclaim (Tirgearr Publishing). His second and third books, Colin and the Concubine and Crazy for You were published by Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house.

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cosy · Europe · Female sleuths · series · there's a dog

Recommended Read – The Homeswappers Series

I’ve just started to read this series and am two books in but I couldn’t wait to share it with you. It’s set in different locations in Europe and has a dog – Napoleon, the Basset Hound – as one of the key players. Sounds like my absolute cup of tea.

Cosy mystery fans will love this!

The sleuths are two fabulous Italian ladies, Etta and Dora. To save on their pensions, they’ve decided to share Etta’s home and have saved some money to spend on travelling. To keep costs down, they look into homeswapping, and come across some wonderful destinations in Germany, Denmark and Czechia, and meet a host of lovely people (and a dog!) However, they get so much more from their travels than they could ever imagine – a host of new friends, an appreciation of different cultures and lifestyles, not to mention a dead body or two.

Take a look for yourself, and I dare you not to be drawn in 🙂

The Watchman of Rothenburg Dies

A holiday is a time to relax, unwind and see the sights. But for two adventurous sexagenarians, the sights have a tendency to include dead bodies.

Etta and Dora, both newly retired teachers, travel from their home in Southern Italy to a fairy-tale German town for their first home swap holiday, delighted by their neighbours’ warm welcome. But the welcome turns sour when the Night Watchman of Rothenburg is brutally murdered while his tour group takes photographs nearby, a halberd buried in his chest and a peculiar iron mask by his side.

When the murderer claims a second victim and the son of their hospitable neighbours becomes the number-one suspect, Etta’s analytical mind goes to work. Why was a shame mask left at the scene of each murder? Is there a clandestine trade going on behind the scenes of apparently upstanding local businesses? And why does every lead take her back to the sinister Devil’s Ale pub and the terrifying gang who lurk within?

Meanwhile, Dora has a puzzle of her own – how can she persuade Etta that a loveably disobedient Basset Hound called Napoleon is now a permanent part of their lives?

A Wedding and a Funeral in Mecklenburg

As two young people from different worlds are joined together in marriage, the murmuring among the guests is that the relationship is doomed. But only one knows the form that doom will take.

Etta and Dora, retired teachers from the South of Italy, arrive with their Basset Hound, the strong willed, loveable Leon, for a home swap holiday in a German mansion, just in time for the celebrations following the wedding of their hosts’ son to a beautiful Parisienne socialite. But the festivities come to an abrupt end when the bride falls face first into the wedding cake, a bullet in her heart.

Although the culprit looks obvious – the groom’s business partner stands in shock, a gun in her hand – indisputable forensic evidence clears her name. Calling on her burgeoning talent as a sleuth, Etta launches her own investigations in parallel with those of the police. But with matters of the heart seeming to play a prominent role, it’s the more sentimental Dora who comes to the fore to fill in the gaps. Still, there’s something elusive, some crucial little detail…

Then the truth strikes. And it is so diabolical that even the pragmatic Etta is left reeling.

An Aero Island Christmas Mystery

In the depths of the Nordic winter, the beautiful Island of Aero is steeped in pre-Christmas cheer and Danish hygge. But in one dark and forbidding attic, a gruesome secret waits to be discovered.

Two Italian sexagenarians and a stubborn, loveable Basset Hound are travelling across the sea to the historic town of Ærøskøbing. The ever-positive Dora is clasping her hands in delight at the prospect of their latest homeswap; her more feisty friend Etta is picking a fight with an equally belligerent Danish woman; and Leon? Well, Leon is saving a small child from certain death. Just another day in the life of a brave and noble dog.

Little do the three travellers know just how significant the people they meet during the ferry crossing are going to become over the next couple of weeks. As Aero rises before them from the Baltic Sea, an unsolved murder, a mythical treasure, an unrequited love and a bitter family feud await them. Can the analytical Etta, empathetic Dora and sharp-nosed Leon finally lay the dead to rest and lead the living to the happiest of Christmases? And who is destined to receive the most precious gift of all?

Prague, A Secret from the Past

A look of pure hatred cuts across a packed theatre foyer, where one of the revellers has only hours to live.

The morning after a convivial evening, retired teachers Etta and Dora, on a homeswap from the South of Italy, are rudely awakened by Leon, the adorably mischievous Basset Hound who’s ready for his walk – at quarter to six! Taking advantage of the empty streets and pausing to admire the views over Kampa island from Charles Bridge, the trio find themselves instead looking down upon a murder scene.

Recognising the striking red dress she had seen a glamorous businesswoman wearing the previous evening, Etta identifies the victim’s body for Czech policeman, Jan Baloun. But despite notable successes when sleuthing on previous trips around Europe, this time, the friends simply want to enjoy their holiday. And Leon? This lovelorn hound only has eyes for the pretty she-Basset in the flat opposite.

When their new friend disappears hours after telling them about the dark days of Communism, and Etta and Dora themselves narrowly escape being attacked on their way home, the case becomes personal. What is the humorous Lieutenant Baloun hiding? Who was the traitor in the US Embassy, leaking vital information to the secret police during the tense days in 1980s Prague? And what bearing could that have on a crime committed nearly three decades later?

My thoughts

Having only read the first two books, both set in Germany, I’m already hooked and only saddened that there are only four books in the series (so far 😉 I hope)

Dora and Etta are poles apart in personality, yet when they do overlap it’s quite a lovely thing to see. Their homeswapping holiday should be fun, in their teeny Fiat 500, but no driver is ever ready for the sharp turns and winding roads they face on their way, which only increases the tension between them (which is fun for the reader, not so much for them 😉 )
In book 1, they also assume ownership of Napoleon – Leon, the Bassett Hound – who was the tour guide’s dog and he helps lead them to the killer … well, once they realise he is more than just a dog!
These are highly entertaining stories with well-layered plots that draw the reader into the location to enjoy the history, culture, folklore and citizens therein. The two ladies are endearing and amusing, you can’t help but root for them as they prove that they might be retired but they are as sharp as a tack and not to be dismissed lightly.

◆◆◆ Pack your bags, jump into the backseat of Etta and Dora’s old Fiat 500, and join them on their travels around Europe. There’ll be mystery, murder and mayhem aplenty wherever they go. ◆◆◆

So, what do you think?

Are you hooked too? If you are, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

As always,

blog tour · book review · Contemporary Romance · romantic comedy · romantic suspense · Spain

Mini Blog Blitz ‘n’ Book Review – The Spanish Wedding Disaster

The Spanish Wedding Disaster

Some people are romantics. Some aren’t. When Sophie and Maddie are summoned to a mysterious, top-secret meeting by their best friend Kate’s partner, and told that he’s planning to whisk Kate away for a surprise wedding in Gibraltar, it’s immediately clear that bubbly florist Sophie is a total romantic. And that freewheeling, purple-haired Maddie is not.

Soon, Maddie finds herself reluctantly organising venues, planners and ceremonies; trying not to think of her own memories of Andalucia, and those she’s lost touch with there. Meanwhile Sophie’s hoping this dreamy gesture might spur on her own boyfriend to similar plans . . . and absolutely not thinking at all about Kate’s gorgeous brother-in-law-to-be.

But Kate’s got no idea what’s going on. And as the stress piles up and the group jet off to the sunny south, it seems it’s not just Kate who might get a surprise in Spain – one that could change everything . . .

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Author Bio

Karen King is a multi-published author of both adult and children’s books. She has had eleven romantic novels published, two psychological thrillers with another two in the process of publication, 120 children’s books, two young adult novels, and several short stories for women’s magazines. Her romantic novel The Cornish Hotel by the Sea became an international bestseller, reaching the top one hundred in the Kindle charts in both the UK and Australia. Karen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers’ Association and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Karen now lives in Spain where she loves to spend her non-writing time exploring the quaint local towns with her husband, Dave, when she isn’t sunbathing or swimming in the pool, that is.

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Giveaway to Win 3 x signed copies of The Spanish Wedding Disaster (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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My Review

Time to buy a hat!
However, bride-to-be Kate doesn’t know she’s getting married. Her boyfriend, Steve, plans to surprise her with a proposal during their summer holiday in Spain. But he’s leaving it until they get there – she always tells him he is never spontaneous, so he’s decided to plan a wedding too.
Surely he can’t do it alone? Of course not. He ropes in his brother and Kate’s two best friends (who end up doing the bulk of the organising really) and swears them to secrecy. Trouble is, he wants Kate to have the wedding of her dreams so her input is vital. They simply need a creative way of planning Kate’s wedding with Kate but without her realising it. Simples! Or not.
Cue Sophie (best friend 1) pretending she’s going to be getting married and so wants Kate and Maddie (best friend 2) to be her bridesmaids. Sophie asks Kate for her opinion on dresses, cakes, colour schemes and in so doing she gets a clear picture of what Kate would like by telling her she really doesn’t want her ‘dream’ dress but would prefer something more elegant, something Kate would choose. It’s a plan with lots of potential to go wrong, and that doesn’t even take into consideration what Sophie’s boyfriend, Glenn, thinks of the whole thing.
Still Sophie thinks what Steve is doing is romantic, even though his brother Josh and Maddie have a feeling Kate is going to be furious that Steve has done all this without her involvement let alone her agreement to marry him.

It’s the perfect scenario for a disaster and there are further calamities that threaten to scupper the holiday-engagement-wedding, all of which make for a fun read, with a fabulous Spanish setting and the will-they/won’t they tension right up until the end.

Wedding aside, there are some wonderful subplots surrounding Sophie’s future with Glenn as well as her job, Maddie reuniting with her Spanish family, and a realisation for Josh that a past love was never meant to be.
The writing is fun, breezy, realistic though a tad repetitive on the “going grey with all this planning” imagery. Nonetheless, a great summer read.
Thanks to Netgalley and Headline Accent for my copy which I’ve reviewed freely and fairly.

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book review · cosy · France · historical · mystery

Book Review – The French for Murder


A grand villa, croissants for breakfast and a dead body in the wine cellar… Lady Swift can’t seem to take a vacation from murder!

Summer 1923. Lady Eleanor Swift is finally persuaded by her butler, Clifford, to take a villa in the south of France for the season. She plans to do what a glamorous lady abroad should: long lunches on the balcony followed by lazy afternoons lounging by the pool. Even Gladstone the bulldog is looking forward to a daily paddle in the ocean.

But when Clifford examines the wine cellar, he discovers there are no decent reds but there is a very dead body. The victim is famous American movie star Rex Armstrong. Poor Rex seems to have been stabbed with a sword from the film set. So how did he end up in Eleanor’s villa?

Before Eleanor even has time to change out of her travelling suit, her beloved butler is arrested for the crime. At sea without her right-hand man, Eleanor must gather her wits if she’s to outsmart a murderer and save Clifford.

Attending a glitzy party at the luxurious Hotel Azure with the film’s cast and crew so she can question her main suspects, Eleanor overhears the director having a most unsettling telephone call that throws all her theories out of the water. Can Eleanor unmask the true killer before her time abroad is cut murderously short?

A gripping historical murder mystery full of charm and intrigue, set in the beautiful French Riviera. Fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss will adore The French for Murder.

My review

Well, guess who came late to this party? Starting a series at book 10 is not my best move, but – you know what? – it didn’t matter. There was not a single point at which I was lost or in need of backstory; it felt as though I’d been there from the beginning with Ellie (Lady Eleanor Swift) and Clifford (so much more than the Starchy Archie nickname given to him in this story). Let’s not forget, the wonderful Gladstone, Mrs Butters, Trotters and all the gang – what a delightful ensemble.

I loved the rapport between Ellie and Clifford, I adored the 1920s theme – the naming of the refrigerator as Rigobert and the blender, Blendine 😉 – and the French Police Inspector and his laissez-faire attitude (never to act on an empty stomach) was wonderfully vague and helpful in equal measures.

An excellent mystery with plenty of suspects and a clever twist when it comes to revealing the killer. Thoroughly enjoyable and so vividly written as if I were there on the Cote D’Azur all along.

I’ve already checked out the back catalogue, and trust me, those books will be in on my shelf in no time at all. It’s always lovely to find a whole series of books to catch up and I look forward to getting to know Ellie (and I understand she has a Chief Inspector boyfriend back in England, too), Clifford and Gladstone much, much better.

About the author

Verity Bright

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.

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blog tour · book review · crime · Female sleuths · France · mystery · Spain

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Five Dead Men

Five Dead Men

When the bodies of five men are discovered in a secret vault at the villa Belle Époque, suspicion falls upon the villa’s former owner, enigmatic Pascal Deveraux.

Actor, gambler, general good-for-nothing – Pascal has lived a life of privilege and excess. But with no evidence to implicate him in murder, the case goes unsolved.

Called in to investigate the cold case, it’s not long before Margot’s enquiries re-open old wounds. Aided by policière municipale, Alia Leon, the investigation moves swiftly from the smugglers’ trails of the Pyrenees to the cannabis clubs of Barcelona. And it’s there, in the dark medieval streets of the city’s Gothic Quarter, that someone finds a reason to silence her.

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Author Bio

Rachel Green is the pen name of a writer from the UK. Rachel has twice been longlisted for both the Bath Novel Award and the BPA First Novel Award, as well as being on the shortlist for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. Rachel lives in a tiny village in England, but travels frequently to the south of France where the stories from the Madame Renard Investigates series are set

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My Review

I must admit in advance to not having read the first book in the series but, for the most part, that wasn’t a major issue.

Margot has been asked by Judge Deveraux to look into a matter relating to a family property – Belle Epoque – and the disturbing case of five dead men being found in an underground tunnel beneath the grounds. (At this point, I didn’t yet know of Margot’s background, only that her husband had been a police detective, so I did wonder why Margot was chosen to investigate matters)
Anyway, that aside, Margot stays in the area and is eventually invited to stay at the home of policière municipale, Alia, and her father, Didier (also a former police officer), and together they look into the mystery. No-one was ever caught, and the discovery of the bodies has left an indelible stain on the property which is now left vacant by its former owners (whose plans to redesign the grounds led to the finding of the bodies in the first place).

Several years have since passed, and the case has gone cold, the bodies still unidentified. That doesn’t deter Margot, who is intrigued and determined to get to the bottom of things. With Alia and Didier, and one of Alia’s friends, they find themselves with some leads – the main one being Pascal Deveraux who grew up at Belle Epoque with his sister.
Pascal is an odd chap, the kind who’d make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but there is no evidence to conclusively tie him to the murders. Even so, you get this feeling that he had to be involved somehow.
Margot feels much the same, and she won’t rest until she knows for sure what happened. Well, rather her than me, because he really has a creepy, smug vibe about him.
So, just imagine how Margot feels when he turns up unexpectedly when she’s in Barcelona following a lead in a cannabis club.
Too much of a coincidence, right?
Absolutely, and that glimmer of an opportunity to catch Pascual out is what lands Margot in deep, deep trouble.
Has she got it all wrong, or will she finally be the one to catch the killer of those five dead men?

The story is atmospheric in its settings, from the rural French countryside to the seedy backstreets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, the tension mounts incredibly towards the story’s conclusion – it’s a breathless race to the end, dangerous and heart-breaking for those close to the action.

The characterisation is sublime, from the crotchety gardener and housekeeper to the “unsettling” Deveraux siblings. Alia and Didier appear to have a wonderful father/daughter relationship, but a surprising twist changes that dynamic and Margot is pivotal in steering Alia towards leading her own life; their interactions are touching and, hopefully, long-lasting.

Now that I fully understand Margot’s history, I hope there is more to come from her. She’s a fierce femme fatale, definitely someone not to be messed with.

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book review · crime · police procedural

Book Review – 20/20

Can you see a killer before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, D.I. Eva Harris is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the heart of Surrey society. A shocking crime by a meticulous killer – who escaped with the victim’s eyes.

With the body drained of blood and no forensic evidence left at the scene, Harris’ efforts to find the killer becomes desperate. But as her investigation is complicated by corruption at the heart of the police, she doesn’t know who to trust on her own team.

As the pressure mounts, Eva realises the murder is even more horrific than it seems, and her own dreadful history threatens to be drawn out with it…

A dark and compulsive detective novel, for fans of Chris Carter and M.W Craven.

My thoughts

I expected to love this book, and at first I did enjoy it … but then the excessive technical terms distracted me from the story. I realise some background to the eye condition was necessary but it was too much for me and it affected the pacing – and my interest – considerably, becoming more textbook-like than fiction.

Eva is a strong and determined character who has few qualms in doing whatever is necessary to achieve a goal, and she seems to have a wide knowledge of almost anything, from art to film to string theory. She’s also incredibly “busy” – in this book alone there are many mysteries and crimes to be solved – two serial killers and several “mob” gangs that ultimately amount to at least four cases to crack. She is constantly under pressure and the tension is paramount, the pacing does increase substantially and the final scene is good but maybe not what I expected or felt was worthy of Eva’s story.

Fans of gritty and disturbing murder mysteries will enjoy this.

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book review · historical fiction · novella · series · WWII

Book Review – Operation Cameo (Eve’s War: The Heroines of SOE, Book 6)

I sat in the farmhouse in front of the open fire and read Vivienne Fernandez’s file.

Aged 24, she resided in London where, before the SOE recruited her, she was a switchboard operator. Multilingual, she enjoyed gymnastics – like Mimi – cycling, ice-skating and dressmaking. Her assessors also noted that she loved to party.

I’d met her from the plane and noted her elegance and grace. She was stylish, beautiful – the complete package. Jealousy should have raised its ugly head. Instead, I smiled at that recent memory; I liked her.

Vivienne’s French husband had died fighting for the Free French in Senegal. She’d left a two-year-old daughter at home, with childminders. Father and daughter had never met. That was sad, and all too familiar.

Vivienne’s mother was English, her father French. They’d lived on the French-Spanish border and, when the Nazis invaded, escaped over the Pyrenees. It was a route I knew well.

I tore Vivienne’s file into strips and placed it on the fire. Within seconds, it turned to ash, consumed by the orange and yellow flames.

I wondered what Guy would make of Vivienne. I would discover his thoughts soon enough, when he returned from the coast. I wondered how she would fit into our team. As a short-term replacement for Mimi, I didn’t foresee any problems.

In retrospect, I would regard that assessment as a huge mistake.

My thoughts

Eve and Guy have noticed Mimi’s decline, while she’s still the fastest wireless operator out there, she has lost her spark. They arrange for her to return to England for a break, and a new operator – Vivienne – is brought in. Mimi is not at all happy; she feels she’s being sent away because she knows how close Eve and Guy have become, and that she’s in the way. Eve admits her feelings for Guy, but assures Mimi that the break is only temporary.
Meanwhile, Eve’s German Officer admirer, Raab, wants her to spy for him. Despite Guy’s reluctance, Eve is determined to do so, although she plans on giving him out-of-date info, and just enough detail to keep him distracted from his amorous overtures to her, and to the real matters of business that they’re pursuing.
Vivienne is soon put to work, but her love for fashion worries Eve, who feels the new operator – a mother of a two-year-old – will stand out too much. Nonetheless, the business of sending and receiving messages continues until one night the power fails. It’s a tactic used by the Nazis to track down wireless signals. They have to flee.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets away and, together with Jean-Claude’s men, the SOE agents have to rescue one of their own. Clashes with the Gestapo lead to losses on all sides, and even Eve’s ardent admirer, Raab, is caught in the crossfire. Revenge is inevitable, the Resistance will not accept anything else.

Looking forward to the next in the series – roll on July! Now I’ve read all those published to date, I’m sort of wishing I’d waited till the whole series was available to binge read … but I’m not that patient!

I said in a previous post that I had a plan about how to fill the gap between now and July (for book 7) and the three month wait for each subsequent book. It’s not as if my TBR list is lacking, but having studied this author’s extensive back catalogue, I think I’ll be checking out The Olive Tree series next. As a former student of Spanish political history, I’m looking forward to this one. Hannah Howe, right now, is hitting all the buttons on my “want to read” list 😉

About the Author

Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series, The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga, Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE and Saving Grace. Hannah’s books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into numerous languages.

Currently, Hannah is writing Stormy Weather, book eighteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. She is also researching material for future Sam Smith books along with material for a Victorian novel set in 1888, a novel set in 1948, a novel set in Bulgaria during the Second World War and A Schoolteacher’s War, a story about the French Resistance and the preparations for D-Day. Along with these projects, Hannah is also writing The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga and Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE.

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blog tour · book review · murder mystery · suspense · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Murder List

The Murder List

When Mary receives a blank diary as a present, she thinks nothing of it. Until she opens the diary, and sees it’s not blank after all…


Is this some kind of sick joke? But…it’s the end of January now. And a woman named Lisa was murdered in Oxford on 1st January.

Does that mean there really is a killer out there, planning to commit a new murder on the first of each month? And is the Mary due to be killed on 1st April her?

The clock is ticking for Mary to uncover the truth, before she becomes the next victim on the killer’s list…

Purchase Links

UK –

US –

Author Bio

Jackie Kabler is an internationally bestselling author of psychological thrillers including The Perfect Couple, Am I Guilty? and The Happy Family. She worked as a newspaper reporter and then in television news for twenty years, including nearly a decade on GMTV. She later appeared on BBC and ITV news, presented a property show for Sky, hosted sports shows on Setanta Sports News and worked as a media trainer for the Armed Forces. She now combines her crime writing with her job as a presenter on shopping channel QVC. Jackie lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.

Social Media Links

Twitter @jackiekabler

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My Review

Mary Ellis is a journalist / crime writer who prefers to work from rented office space – The Hub – with other self employed people. Her father was a famous crime novelist who died in a house fire that also killed Mary’s best friend, and left Mary scarred both mentally and physically, although thanks to her grandmother she has received the best care to heal her wounds.
The story begins with the Christmas holidays about to begin and Mary is home with her best friend and housemate, Pete Chong. After New Year, Mary begins the task of clearing out things for the charity shop and finds an unopened gift she’d been given – a diary – which she assumes came from one of the publishing companies she works with. She looks for a sign as to who it is from and finds the disturbing reference to the murder of someone called Lisa in Oxford on Jan 1st. The date has already passed, and to make it more disturbing the TV news is covering the murder of a woman named Lisa on New Year’s Day in the city of Oxford. Further entries – each a month apart – suggest more victims, including one called Mary on Apr 1st in Cheltenham – where she now lives.
She has to tell the police. Will they take her seriously? Might they even suspect her?
Well, the answers are in the book …

The premise of this pulled me right in and it was compelling reading throughout.
What if Mary hadn’t read the diary before she planned to donate it to the charity shop? There were so many ways in which this story could have collapsed and not been as twisted or surprising as it was, yet the author had it all under control, even throwing out spurious red herrings like confetti. But, boy, was it engaging and hugely addictive. No wonder so many characters came under suspicion. As a reader, I formed an opinion early on, but my ideas were soon quashed when along came Mary’s big secret – could she really use it to thwart the killer come April 1st? It was difficult to imagine how that scene would unfurl, but it did … and it was completely out of the blue. Kudos to Ms Kabler for a fabulously suspenseful read.

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Bloggers · books · Indie authors please · Reading Indie

A book blogger’s delight!

BBNYA Panelist Logo by Jenn @JennieLy (

Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year is an annual Indie book award hosted and judged completely by book bloggers from all over the world!

I’m so looking forward to being a panelist for 2022. It’ll be my first time taking part as a book blogger, but based on past years I know I’m in for a treat. Being an Indie author myself, I understand how easy it is to feel invisible in the sea of famous names and celebrity authors. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be on the other side with one of my own books, but until then I’m more than happy to lend my support to other Indie authors with the help of the book blogging community.

It’s going to be amazing. I’ll keep you posted as much as I can but you’ll understand if I have to be cryptic until the winner is discovered.

As always