blog tour · book review · cosy · Italy · mystery · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Murder in Chianti

Banner for blog tour of Murder in Chianti

Murder in Chianti

Murder in broad daylight…

When millionaire magnate, Rex Hunter is found with his head bashed in on the eighth hole of his prestigious golf and country club in beautiful Chianti, it’s a clear case of murder. Hunter was rich and successful and the envy of many, so retired DCI Dan Armstrong thinks the case will be a hole in one to solve….

A despised victim…

But as Dan and his trusty sidekick Oscar begin to dig deeper into Hunter’s lifestyle, they discover a man despised by many. A renown womaniser, ruthless boss and heartless family man, it seems no one is particularly sorry to see Hunter dead. And the list of possible suspects is endless…

A murderer covering their tracks.

Dan is determined to catch this clever killer, but it seems every new lead brings another dead end. Will this be one case Dan and his canine companion won’t solve?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3sOnfkv

Author Bio

T A Williams is the author of over twenty bestselling romances for HQ and Canelo and is now turning his hand to cosy crime, set in his beloved Italy, for Boldwood. The series will introduce us to retired DCI Armstrong and his labrador Oscar and the first book, entitled Murder in Tuscany, will be published in October 2022. Trevor lives in Devon with his Italian wife.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

My Review

I’ve read a few books by this author before and love how easy he makes it to get engrossed in the story. Obviously, the Italian setting helps with the escapism, but it’s more than a travel guide – though who wouldn’t want to escape to Tuscany after reading this, I do not know – the story is packed with truly great characters. From the wily locals who see and hear everything (and love to share over good food and grappa-fuelled coffee) to those who have made their life in the area and come with baggage (usually ex-wives and numerous affairs that would test any Casanova worthy of the title).
Former (but for how long?) DCI Dan Armstrong doesn’t seem able to give up on his old life at the Yard, despite being in a new country, and despite having second thoughts over the breakdown of his marriage and subsequent divorce. Together with his dog, Oscar, Dan has become part of the community, and so when Australian millionaire and owner of the country club, Rex Hunter is murdered, it’s no wonder his good friend and local police inspector calls on him to help with “translations”. And if he wants to ask a few questions of his own, or follow up on some leads when “walking” Oscar, then why not?
The victim is not well-liked and the suspects mount up, but when further murders occur it’s clear this will be no easy case to solve. I loved how the author gives insight as to how Dan is thinking, who he suspects, and what he thinks has happened. However, even Dan has to admit feeling blind-sided by this mystery, and there are red herrings galore that misdirect the reader with great skill until the truth becomes apparent.
Peppered with glimpses of life in Tuscany, amusing antics with Oscar, and an array of fascinating encounters with locals, it’s easy to see why Dan is enamoured of the area. However, in this book, he starts to wonder how he might fill his time in the years to come. Dan can’t live by tennis matches and Chianti alone, so where does his future lie: as an author (his first book has been accepted by a London publisher) or as an investigator? Will he ever be able to put that part of his life behind him? I can’t wait to find out.
PS – I was gutted to find this is the second book in the series, but will be making up for it by grabbing a copy of book one – Murder in Tuscany – before the next in the series is ready.

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blog tour · book review · British · cosy · mystery · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Not Mushroom for Death

Not Mushroom For Death

TV Chef Luca Mazza Dies After Collapse at Food Show on the King’s Private Estate

Luca Mazza (38), who was taken ill during a food demonstration at the Fenn House Food and Wine Festival two days ago, is now known to have ingested poison. Lady Beatrice (36), the king’s niece, who is working on a refurbishment project at Fenn House with her business partner Perry Juke (34), is believed to be comforting Luca’s boss and close friend Sebastiano Marchetti (38), who she began dating last month.

Is he crazy? Why else would Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam suggest that Sebastiano poisoned Luca without any evidence? So now, with the help of her little dog Daisy and her best friends Perry and Simon, Lady Beatrice will have to prove to Mr Know-it-all Fitzwilliam that Seb is innocent. But with so many people having access to the food preparation area at the show how will she find out who did murder Luca before Fitzwilliam lets his personal dislike get the better of him and arrests Seb?

Purchase Links

Amazon –https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BFBMT9BP (UK)

and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFBMT9BP (US)

Author Bio

Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.

I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.

It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes

Social Media Links

Insta: www.instragram.com/helengolden_author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helengoldenauthor

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@helengoldenauthor

My Review

Who doesn’t love a punny title? It’s one of the best things about cosy mysteries, and it certainly caught my attention. I hadn’t read any of the others in the series but I am definitely planning to go back and check them out. By the way, the story works perfectly well as a standalone, I just want to know more about the key characters.
I’ll be honest, I did wonder if this would be a historical cosy given the main character is a proper Lady but I loved that it was a contemporary tale with a made-up Royal family of its own.
Lady Beatrice, together with her business partner, the fantastic Perry Juke, is working on a refurbishment project for the King while a cooking event is taking place starring Chef Seb – Lady Bea’s boyfriend – and a host of other chefs. When one of the main participants – Luca – takes ill and later dies, rumours of an unfortunate case of food poisoning run amok. And so begins the mystery. Had Luca been foraging and accidentally picked poisonous mushrooms? Did someone else plant the mushrooms in his dish?

So many questions, so many suspects, and so many secrets.
Let me just say that Lady Bea’s dog, Daisy knows the answer 😉

When it appears that Luca was murdered, Lady Bea’s nemesis in the form of DCI Fitzwilliam is brought in to investigate. Now, these two, I understand, have met before in other cases and he is not keen on her meddling. Which means, that’s the green light for her to “meddle” and solve the case before him. But will she? There’s a frisson of romantic tension bubbling away here which only adds to the fun.
Aided and abetted by the marvellous duo of Perry and Simon, not forgetting the instinctive reaction of her dog, Daisy, what follows is an entertaining mystery, and a tongue-in-cheek view of royal gossip. (Timely, indeed 😉 )

My only issue was the use of so many POVs which seemed to be used to reveal their inner thoughts and in so doing move the story forward. That said, each POV was presented with consistency and clarity. I loved the setting, the royal obligations to behave a certain way, and the inclusion of Lady Bea’s son brought a touch of youthful exuberance to the story (although Perry has his fair share of that too) I loved the characters, their relationship with each other, the behind-the-scenes details of the royal rooms being refurbished… in fact, it was a most amusing and engaging read with the promise of more to come. I’ll be back for more; I just need to catch up on the others in the series first.

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blog tour · book review · cosy · nostalgia · schooldays · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Wicked Whispers at St Brides

Wicked Whispers at St Brides

Gemma Lamb is ready for an uneventful term at St Bride’s, she’s had enough of dastardly deeds and sinister strangers.

However, she’s barely back at school before:

  • Unlucky in love Oriana is sneaking around at odd hours
  • Handsome Joe is keeping secrets
  • Militant Mavis feels a scandal is brewing

It’s all a bit much, but when a stranger appears Gemma thinks she’s had enough. But this stranger isn’t so sinister, instead he looks rather too familiar. If Gemma can’t get him away from the school the whispers and scandal his presence could unleash may just close St Bride’s doors for good.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3Surw7g

Author Bio

Debbie Young is the much-loved author of the Sophie Sayers and St Brides cosy crime mysteries.

She lives in a Cotswold village where she runs the local literary festival, and has worked at Westonbirt School, both of which provide inspiration for her writing.

She is bringing both her series to Boldwood in a 13-book contract. They will be publishing several new titles in each series and republishing the backlist, starting in September 2022.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebbieYoung

Twitter https://twitter.com/DebbieYoungBN

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/debbieyoungauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/DebbieYoungNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/debbie-young

My Review

Gemma has settled into life at the school but finds herself alone when the girls and staff all take advantage of the next exeat. Even Joe (with whom she hoped to spend more time) has plans that do not include her. And he seems rather over-friendly with Oriana too, which leaves Gemma wondering about their relationship.
So, when a stranger arrives at the empty school asking what could be very awkward questions for the headmistress (Hairnet), Gemma seizes the opportunity to steer the stranger away from the school and ends up enjoying a delicious afternoon tea at the infamous Doilies in town. She agrees to help him find out about his father rather than let him meet Hairnet and ask her about it (Gemma knows Hairnet’s secret and doesn’t want to put her in a difficult and embarrassing position of being exposed.)
Back in the staffroom, Gemma grows increasing concerned about Joe and Oriana, and also questions why sections of the local newspaper have been cut out. What is it that is being kept from them all? Does the stranger – Oliver – have anything to do with it? Do Joe and Oriana?
Gemma’s curiosity is distracted when one of the girls disappears and can’t be found on school grounds. Life at St Brides is getting more and more mysterious by the day.

This book is certainly packed with intrigue, but it’s also more focused on Gemma’s relationship with Joe. She spends a lot of time second-guessing events, all of which lead her to incessant introspection as she reflects on their relationship. This aspect of the story stunts the flow for me, and while there are mysteries to solve, Gemma is more of an accidental bit-player in their resolution. The story around Hairnet and her daughter seemed a little far-fetched and I couldn’t imagine a parent keeping that secret from their child, especially given the circumstances of living at St Brides. Not as fast-paced as book two, but still completely engaging and addictive.

I hope there is more to come from St Brides.

Thank you to the author, Boldwood Books and Netgalley for my ecopy which I have reviewed of my own volition.

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blog blitz · cosy · mystery · series

One Day Blog Blitz – For Richer, For Deader (incl. extract)

For Richer, For Deader

Is the Wedding Between Sir Hewitt Willoughby-Franklin’s Step-Daughter and Billionaire’s Son Off?

Rumours are that the recent death of Kelley Lindsell (29), the personal chef of tycoon Rudy (68) and Sheri Trotman (65) at Sir Hewitt’s Fawstead Manor country estate in Fenshire, has spooked Sybil Bransgrove (36) so badly she’s considering cancelling her nuptials.

Meanwhile the bride and her mother, Lady Grace (61), are being supported by family friend Lady Beatrice (36), the Countess of Rossex, who, alongside her business partner Perry Juke, is currently managing the project to refurbish the Manor House and Lodge on the estate.

Not again! Now that Lady Grace has asked Lady Beatrice to liaise with the police during the investigation into Kelley’s death, she’ll have to cooperate with boorish Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam whether she likes it or not. Her only relief will be solving the murder with the help of her friends Perry and Simon and her dog Daisy to get rid of him faster. But with so many wedding party guests staying on-site, any one of them could be the killer. Can they find out who it is before Sybil calls off the wedding…

Purchase Links

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BF5P3C9N (UK) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BF5P3C9N (US)

Author Bio

Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.

I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.

It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes

Social Media Links

Insta: www.instragram.com/helengolden_author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helengoldenauthor

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@helengoldenauthor

Fancy an extract?

Intro

Another dead animal with a threatening note attached to it has been found at Fawstead Manor, the recently purchased country home of TV’s Sir Hewitt Willoughby-Franklin and his wife Lady Grace. Lady Beatrice, the Countess of Rossex, who is seventeenth in line to the British throne, and her business partner Perry Juke, are there working on the refurbishment of Fawstead in preparation for the arrival of the wedding party for the marriage of Lady Grace’s daughter Sybil to Otis Trotman, the son and heir of the American billionaire Rudy Trotman. Lady Beatrice had called Mike from the local CID and he has come along with Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam from Protection and Investigation (Royal) Services (PaIRS for short) to investigate. Lady Beatrice and DCI Fitzwilliam’s relationship is fractious to say the least.

Extract

“Thanks for coming so quickly, Mike. It was Kelley here who found the dead animal.” She gestured towards Kelley, who had risen from the table and was now leaning on it, resting her hands on its top.

Nodding at them, she said nothing.

“Mrs Noon,” Lady Beatrice continued, indicating the older woman, who took one step towards them and smiled, “was here too, and she suggested they inform me as Lady Grace wasn’t around. I called you straight away, of course.” She turned to the two ladies. “Kelley, Mrs Noon, this is Detective Inspector Ainsley from Fenshire police and his colleague Detective Chief Inspector Fitzwilliam. They will want to ask you a few questions.”

“Yes, thank you, Lady Rossex.” Mike turned to the cook. “So Lady Grace doesn’t know about this?”

“No, sir. She hasn’t come down yet.” As if prompted by her statement, the bell labelled ‘Study’ hanging from a wooden board attached to the wall rang, making them all start. “In fact, that will be her ladyship now,” she told them as she hastened to the large stove along the side of the wall behind them and pulled a white enamel kettle from a warming plate. She placed it on top of a gas ring and switched on the gas. Wiping her hands on her apron, she moved over to the long wide wooden work surface and prepared a tray. “She’ll be wanting tea.”

“We need to ask you some questions first, please, if you don’t mind Mrs Noon.” Fitzwilliam moved towards her.

“I’m sorry, chief inspector.” She carried a tray over to the stove and filled a teapot with steaming hot water. “But it’s more than my job’s worth to be late with her ladyship’s tea. I won’t be long.” And with that, she picked up the tray, bustled past him, and disappeared down the corridor.

Lady Beatrice caught Perry’s eye, and they both smirked. That told him!

“I think I’ll go up to the study, too, Mike, and talk to Lady Grace about us coming back on-site. I hardly think she can refuse us now. Can I leave you and Hines to interview Miss—” He looked at Kelley and raised an eyebrow.

“Lindsell,” she told him.

He nodded. “Miss Lindsell, and then have a look around the place? I’ll call Forensics on my way up.”

“Sure.” Mike nodded.

“Lady Beatrice, Mr Juke, as no one requires you here anymore, would you be kind enough to show me where the study is, please?”

Lady Beatrice turned towards Kelley. “Are you all right if we leave you now, Kelley? Mrs Noon will be back any minute.”

“Please stay,” Kelley said in a hushed voice. Walking around the table, she stopped in front of Lady Beatrice. “I don’t know how your police work over here, and I’d feel happier if I had someone with me when I’m being questioned.”

“There is really no need for you to be worried, Miss Lindsell. We just want to ask you a few questions,” Fitzwilliam piped up. “And no doubt Lady Rossex and Mr Juke are busy and need to get on.”

How dare he answer for me! If Kelley wanted her here, then she’d stay. He couldn’t stop her.

“I know.” Kelley looked at him, then looked down at the floor. “But I’d like to have someone else here with me. Please.” She reached a shaky hand to her forehand and rubbed it.

“Of course I’ll stay with you, Kelley, if that’s what you’d like.” She shot a look of disdain at Fitzwilliam. He glared at her but didn’t protest again. “Perry, would you be kind enough to show the chief inspector where to go?” Perry smirked back at her, and she suppressed a grin. “I’ll join you in the sitting room as soon as I’m done here.”

Perry cleared his expression and turned to Fitzwilliam. “This way, chief inspector.” He held his arm out and guided Fitzwilliam towards the kitchen exit. As he followed Fitzwilliam out, he turned to Lady Beatrice and winked.

I love this cover, and wish, wish, wish I’d had time to read this before it launched. Nonetheless, it’s on my TBR list. I hope you’ve been tempted too.

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
blog tour · book review · cosy · nostalgia · schooldays · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Sinister Stranger at St Brides

Sinister Stranger at St Brides

When an American stranger turns up claiming to be the rightful owner of the school’s magnificent country estate it could spell trouble for everyone at St Bride’s . . .

No one can believe it when the headmistress, Hairnet, instantly accepts the stranger’s claim, not:

  • the put-upon Bursar, ousted from his cosy estate cottage by the stranger
  • the enigmatic Max Security, raring to engage in a spot of espionage
  • the sensible Judith Gosling, who knows more about Lord Bunting than she’s letting on
  • the irrepressible Gemma Lamb, determined to keep the school open

Only fickle maths teacher Oriana Bliss isn’t suspicious of the stranger, after all she can just marry him and secure St Bride’s future forever. That’s if inventive pranks by the girls – and the school cat – don’t drive him away first.

Who will nab the stranger first? Oriana with the parson’s noose? Gemma with sinister secrets? Or could this be the end of St Bride’s?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3dBLZZ1

Author Bio

Debbie Young is the much-loved author of the Sophie Sayers and St Brides cosy crime mysteries.

She lives in a Cotswold village where she runs the local literary festival, and has worked at Westonbirt School, both of which provide inspiration for her writing.

She is bringing both her series to Boldwood in a 13-book contract. They will be publishing several new titles in each series and republishing the backlist, starting in September 2022.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebbieYoung

Twitter https://twitter.com/DebbieYoungBN

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/debbieyoungauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/DebbieYoungNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/debbie-young

My Review

Diving straight into book two sees staff and students returning to St Brides after the half-term break. Gemma Lamb feels much more confident in her ability to teach now, and is looking forward to catching up with her Year 7 girls as well as her colleagues – some more than others. So when a stranger with a rather familiar face turns up, no one expects his arrival to cause such a fuss. However, the stranger introduces himself – in an American accent – as Earl Bunting, the only surviving heir of their benefactor Lord Bunting, and he’s come to claim his inheritance.
While his resemblance to Lord Bunting cannot be denied, there’s something about him that neither Gemma nor her co-workers, and particularly the girls do not like. He may seem to be the soul of generosity by insisting the school continue as it is, but bit by bit he usurps the headmistress’s authority until his true intentions can no longer be ignored. The governors seem happy with his credentials yet Earl – which is actually his given name and not a title – may have thrown his weight around a little too much in the village. That he imagines stories of his weird behaviour won’t get back to the teachers is his first mistake: dropping his accent for one thing, taking out books on inheritance law from the bookshop, dying his hair, and building up a large unpaid tab at the pub only give Gemma cause to suspect he’s not all he says he is.

When it looks like the school’s very existence may be at stake, everyone joins forces to invalidate his claim. However, it’s not so straightforward since he possesses a journal that does link him to the Lord. So how can they get dispute his claim on St Brides ?
It’s time to look closer at the man and in particular at his snazzy vehicle. To do this, Gemma relies heavy on Max who looks after the security of the school and its inhabitants. Max has a habit of popping up at the most unexpected times by virtue of the tunnel network created by Lord Bunting, this gives him the perfect opportunity to watch the comings and goings of everyone at St Brides. Put this way, if there’s something dodgy going on, Max will be on the case, and he and Gemma make the perfect double act in uncovering the true identity of the pretender to the estate. But will their evidence be enough?

My only criticism of this story is Earl Bunting’s constant, irritating habit of getting everyone’s name wrong. Calling Miss Lamb everything from Kidd to Lamp (and it wasn’t just her name he got wrong) made me dislike him even more. If he did this to rile people, well… he succeeded!!

Rant over, the mystery in this book is much stronger, the story is fast-paced, and combined with great touches of humour – courtesy of the pranks played on the interloper by the students and the cat! – this is a most enjoyable read.

Thank you to the author, Boldwood Books and Netgalley for my ecopy which I have reviewed of my own volition.

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blog tour · book review · cosy · nostalgia · schooldays · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Dastardly Deeds at St Brides

Dastardly Deeds at St Brides

When Gemma Lamb takes a job at a quirky English girls’ boarding school, she believes she’s found the perfect escape route from her controlling boyfriend – until she discovers the rest of the staff are hiding sinister secrets:

  • Hairnet, the eccentric headmistress who doesn’t hold with academic qualifications
  • Oriana Bliss, Head of Maths and master of disguise
  • Joscelyn Spryke, the suspiciously rugged Head of PE
  • Geography teacher Mavis Brook, surreptitiously selling off the library books
  • creepy night watchman Max Security, with his network of hidden tunnels

Even McPhee, the school cat, is leading a double life.

Tucked away in the school’s beautiful private estate in the Cotswolds, can Gemma stay safe and build a new independent future, or will past secrets catch up with her and the rest of the staff?

With a little help from her new friends, including some wise pupils, she’s going to give it her best shot…

Purchase Linkhttps://amzn.to/3A3l13R

Author Bio

Debbie Young is the much-loved author of the Sophie Sayers and St Brides cosy crime mysteries.

She lives in a Cotswold village where she runs the local literary festival, and has worked at Westonbirt School, both of which provide inspiration for her writing.

She is bringing both her series to Boldwood in a 13-book contract. They will be publishing several new titles in each series and republishing the backlist, starting in September 2022.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebbieYoung

Twitter https://twitter.com/DebbieYoungBN

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/debbieyoungauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/DebbieYoungNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/debbie-young

My Review

As someone closer to pensionable age than school age, Dastardly Deeds at St Brides is a veritable blend of fun and nostalgia. Being an avid fan of Malory Towers as a child, the boarding school theme drew me in instantly, and the fact that it’s the first in a series only makes me happier still.

The staff at the girls-only St Brides, apart from the bursar and the head of security, are (supposedly) all female, even the cat is described as such regardless of his very obvious anatomy. It’s all part of the contract that the headmistress, commonly known as Hairnet, struck with the estate of the stately home. Lord Bunting, the last known ancestral owner, stated in his will that in the event of there being no surviving heir, the estate would be run for the education of mother-less girls. Along with his wife, Lady Bunting, they suffered the loss of all their children, the eldest one at the age of nine.
And so it came to be that St Brides boarding school for girls took on only female staff (well, almost).

This, together with the bonus of live-in accommodation, is what attracts Gemma Lamb to the job as Head of English. Escaping a controlling ex, Gemma revels in the opportunity to be as far away from Stephen as she can in this remote part of the Cotswolds while finally following her heart to become a teacher, something Stephen had mocked her for and not permitted.

Book one in this series sees Gemma settle in and acquaint herself with the odd yet equally amusing rules of the school. Her pupils, many richer than royalty and some actually of minor royal descent, are welcoming and engaging, and Gemma’s colleagues are just as obliging. It’s all rather wonderful and addictively cosy. However, the book is listed as a cosy mystery, and while there are some mysterious secrets to be learnt, the expected tropes of a cosy mystery are somewhat lacking, and it’s only very near to the end of the book that there’s a potential tragedy and a crime to be solved. That said, I didn’t mind at all, since just reading about how the school functioned, the dynamics between various staff members and seeing Gemma grow in confidence was more than enough to keep me entertained and wanting more. The mini foray into a cosy mystery at the end worked well enough to quench my thirst for sleuthing, and also set the story up for the next in the series.
I raced through this book – it’s more a long novella than than full novel at around 200 pages – and once I’d finished I couldn’t wait to dive straight into book two. By now, the characters all feel like people with their own personalities, their own quirks and, most definitely, their own secrets. I am looking forward to revisiting them.

Thank you to the author, Boldwood Books and Netgalley for my ecopy which I have reviewed of my own volition.

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book launch · boxsets · cosy · murder mystery · mystery · preorder · romance

Book Launch – Frozen to Death

If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, then why not treat yourself to this new boxset? Unlike many anthologies, Frozen to Death follows the highs and lows of protagonist Lizzie Lee in stories told by authors from around the world.

Lizzie’s had a rough old time lately and moves to Bleak Lake to help her mom run a B&B. It’s not her ideal job – she’s always wanted to be a police detective – but after a messy divorce, there’s nothing for her back in Newark.

Thing is, Lizzie’s dreams might just be about to come true… in a strictly amateur sleuth kind of way. Who knew that the quiet old town of Bleak Lake would be a magnet for the criminal fraternity? It’s a lesson Lizzie quickly learns, especially since the sheriff can’t be bothered much.

So, what’s she waiting for? There may even be signs of romance ahead… (OK, that’s going to happen because this is a cozy world and good must conquer evil 😉 Am I right?)

A year in the life of Lizzie Lee - from Christmas to Valentines, from Summer to Fall - and the crimes she has to solve (poison, murder, kidnap)

Read about Lizzie’s one year plight in her new home in this seasonal boxset which starts at Christmas and ends a year later.

Death by Plantation by P. A. Thomas Welcome to Bleak Lake cottage, where everything’s perfect except for a murder on Christmas night.

Invisibly Accused by R. C. Barnes Somebody has poisoned the newly crowned Queen of the Sweetheart Festival, and it is up to Lizzie to protect her best friend’s daughter from being accused of murder.

The Body Below Deck by Bea Kendall Lizzie & Ken take to the high seas for a much-needed vacation, but with a killer on-board, cruising the Caribbean gets deadly serious.

For Whom The Bell Tolls by Katherine Tomlinson A not-so-secret wedding ends with the groom everyone thinks is a gold digger dead from a poisoned wedding cake.

Shanghaied by Revenge by Aliyah Burke Refusing to stay on the sidelines when a young bride-to-be is kidnapped, Lizzie may be the only one who can figure out what happened and mount a rescue.

With a name like Bleak Lake you might expect a quiet town, and the sheriff would like nothing more. But, unlike him, the town has moved with the times. Its community thrives and visitors are welcome (mostly).

Bleak Lake, where secrets and rumors collide but murderers cannot hide.

Available to preorder now from many e-retailers, and will be out on Amazon on 15th November. (Bookmark this link for later!)

As always,

blog tour · book review · cosy · historical · mystery

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Daggers at the Country Fair

Daggers at the Country Fair

Winteringham Village 1947

As a thank you for her previous brilliant crime solving, amateur sleuth, Martha Miller is guest of honour at the Winteringham Country Fair. However, this time she is looking forward to simply judging dog shows and eating cream teas rather than apprehending a killer!

And Martha is just beginning to enjoy spending quality time with Vicar Luke Walker away from the prying eyes and gossips of her own village, when disaster strikes, and the local teenage femme fatale is found stabbed to death behind the tea tent by Martha’s trusted red setter Lizzie!

But who would want to kill such a young girl and why? Someone in the village has secrets to hide and it seems Martha and Luke have another case to solve!

Let the investigation commence!

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/39FO4RF

About the author

Catherine Coles writes bestselling cosy mysteries set in the English countryside.

Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie series is based in North Yorkshire in the 1920’s and Catherine herself lives in Hull with her family and two spoiled dogs.

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My Review

I must admit to not having read the first book in the Martha Miller series, but even so, Daggers at the Country Fair more than stands up for itself and can easily be read on its own merit.

Martha Miller, Luke Walker (the vicar), her sister Ruby and friends from her village, have been invited to visit Winteringham for the country fair, where Martha’s reputation as a crime solver precedes her. As such, she is the guest of honour and is asked to perform the opening ceremony.

It’s all perfectly lovely until Martha’s little dog sits down, refuses to move, and barks and growls at something odd behind one of the tents. Keen to see what’s troubling her pet, Martha ventures to look what’s happened. Finding a young woman, stabbed to death, is not something she ever expected to find, nor is subsequently learning that the young woman – Helen Kennedy – is the niece of the village vicar, who just happens to be Luke’s best friend… and their host.

While Martha feels it’s not her place to get involved in the case, Luke and Ruby convince her to at least ask some questions of the young woman’s family and friends.
The answers Martha gets to her investigation raise doubts in her mind that not everyone is telling the whole truth, and digging deeper only causes her to worry about the repercussions of her discovery. Alongside this concern, Martha is also trying to underplay her attraction to Luke. She, as a married woman (whose husband has left her), cannot get involved with the vicar. This emotional conflict reminds the reader how different those years were for women, and Martha is visibly struggling with the need to stand on her own two feet while society still prevents women from being so blatantly independent. The plight of young Helen Kennedy also highlights how society treated young women in her situation back then, and how so little was done to support them.

The mystery is intriguing with plenty of suspects, and I particularly enjoyed the big reveal when Martha eliminates one suspect after the other until the inevitable killer is trapped, unable to deny their involvement.

This is a perfect cosy mystery with vibes of Grantchester and a nod to the limited role of women in those post-war years. With great twist, a forbidden romance, and a quintessential village fayre, what’s not to love?

Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books publishers for my copy of the book.

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Cover Reveal – Wedding Planned to Death

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I am so pleased to share this gorgeous cover of upcoming release, Wedding Planned to Death by Ellie Fields! Pre-order a copy today!

WEDDING PLANNED TO DEATH COVER

Wedding Planned to Death (Wedding Garden Cozy Mystery Series #1)

Expected Publication Date: August 9th, 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Cricket Creek might be off the beaten track, but it’s an idyllic place to live—a quaint town where neighbors gather at the bakery, families go back generations, and where your friends always have your back.

It’s also where introverted gardener Cicely Rue is nervously about to start her new business hosting weddings in her picturesque garden. That is, until she discovers the wedding planner dead and buried in her compost heap! With this new business, she’d expected brides and bouquets, not murder and mayhem!

Small towns mean everybody knows your name and your secrets. Secrets some would die to know . . . and others would kill to keep.

PRE-ORDER HERE

About the Author

ELLIE FIELDS HEADSHOT

Author of The Wedding Garden Cozy Mystery Series, Ellie Fields grew up running around wild and barefoot in the foothills of northern California and hating every minute her mom made her spend in the kitchen and garden. She still runs around barefoot but now she absolutely loves spending time in her garden and has fallen hopelessly in love with baking. And with murdering people. Fictionally, of course.

Ellie weaves small town charm, baking recipes, and gardening tips into her cozy mysteries. Her fictional town of Cricket Creek is based on her hometown: a place where neighbors gather at the mailboxes to chat, families go back generations, and where the grocery store clerks know your name (and what your cousin just bought for the family bbq).

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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.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3tNDDDd

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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