cosy · cover reveal · mystery · R&R Book Tour stop · series

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 · 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.

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.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/francesevesham

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

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

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/frances-evesham

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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As always,

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,

book review · cosy · France · historical · mystery

Book Review – The French for Murder

http://ow.ly/bA5b50I0WEs

Synopsis

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.

As always,

book review · cosy · murder mystery · mystery · series

Book Review – Woodson Falls: 9 Donovan’s Way

Welcome to Book 2 in the Gaby Quinn Mystery Series!

Missing in Woodson Falls

Attorney Gaby Quinn’s phone has been ringing off the hook since her involvement with the infamous Jorgenson case. Yet she finds herself craving the peace of her garden, as she heals from the senseless death of her husband.

As Woodson Falls’ most famous lawyer, it’s only natural that Gaby is asked to handle the estate when renowned author Phillip Mitchell suddenly dies of an apparent heart attack. Everything seems straightforward until some things turn up missing—including Mitchell’s girlfriend.

Now it’s up to Gaby to dig up the truth.

Praise for Book 2 in the Gaby Quinn Mystery Series

  • It seems like a pleasant sleepy town, but beneath the everyday lives of the townspeople, surprising secrets and schemes unfold. What appears at first to be a routine death by heart attack has unforeseen twists and turns.
  • New England small town attorney-turned-sleuth Gaby Quinn, who we initially met in O’Connor’s first Woodson Falls novel, “16 Lakeview Terrace,” is a plucky and likable attorney with a nose for detail—details that grippingly add up to a shocking crime.
  • Gaby Quinn, the main character, has a habit of getting into the middle of things without really trying. The characters come to life and the town and events are real, strange, but real.
  • A cozy mystery for readers who think they don’t like cozy mysteries!
  • This story focuses on the mysterious death of an author and the disappearance of his girlfriend, but there are side issues dealt with as well along the way, all of which add to the rounding out of the town, its residents and its problems. The end of the book gives us a tantalizing glimpse into the focus of the next story.

My Review

Having read and enjoyed book 1, I was more than happy to be return to Woodson Falls. This time, Gaby is busier than ever, her business has really taken off since her success with the infamous Jorgensen case put her firmly on the map.

Now she is asked to represent the estate of a famous author – Phillip Mitchell – who appears to have died of a heart attack. What should be a straightforward job soon rouses suspicion when Mitchell’s pregnant girlfriend cannot be located.

Gaby goes about her business, methodically getting jobs done but the missing girlfriend niggles her, and since said girlfriend is also a beneficiary in the deceased’s will, not finding her leaves a lot of loose ends.

The residents of Woodson Falls help Gaby identify when the girlfriend, Danielle, was last seen, as well as filling her in on others whose visits to the area have recently become more frequent. It begs the question why, and what were they doing there?

As Gaby draws her conclusions, it’s interesting to see other aspects of her workload. The details given by the author bring both the town, its inhabitants and Gaby’s job to life. However, it starts to look as though the missing girlfriend might never be found … and it’s only when out walking with her dog that they come upon Danielle’s car. Has something happened to her too? And if so, can they believe that Mitchell’s death was the result of a heart attack and nothing more?

I thoroughly enjoyed how Gaby got to the bottom of this, as well as seeing her contribution to Woodson Falls increase and make her a valued member of the town. Of course, the ending thrilled me as it hinted at what was to come next for Gaby, and this time it would get very personal. Bring on book three!

My thanks to the author and the publishers for my copy of 9 Donovan’s Way.

About the Author

Having received a library card before she began kindergarten (requiring her cursive signature), Andrea began her writing career at age five with a short story describing the seasons. Her next endeavor, at age nine, was a novella featuring Christine O’Leary. So began Andrea’s long love affair with the written word.
Singularly focused on a nursing career, Andrea continued to write for pleasure through high school and college. After completing a master’s degree in order to teach nursing, she was offered a position as a nurse editor with the American Journal of Nursing, where she honed her writing skills through editing others’ works.
Andrea was in the midst of writing a novel styled as a memoir when her husband’s Parkinson’s disease had progressed to the point where John was unable to engage in his usual active life style. He longed to “do something,” so she suggested they write a book together. She had long considered writing a mystery series based on some of her experiences as an attorney, and they settled on one of her early cases as the basis for a book.
It was a great opportunity for both. Andrea had left a long career in a “publish or perish” university setting prior to becoming an attorney. It was hard for her not to view writing fiction as lying on paper. John helped her to push the uneasy feeling that was the seed for Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace into a believable plot line. It was Andrea’s long service as the chief elected official of a small town in Connecticut that provided the story’s sense of place.
Andrea is the author of three award-winning texts in the area of nursing education and staff development as well as numerous articles in peer-reviewed nursing and education journals. Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace is her first foray into the world of fiction. She collects teddy bears and birdhouses, loves to garden and bake bread, and writes from Sherman, Connecticut.

As always,

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

Blog tour ‘n’ Book Review – Murder at the Summer Fete

Murder At The Summer Fete

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3HE7928

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3JLSUtX

Apple: https://apple.co/3zDUyte

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of the bestselling GLENDALE HALL series, which continues with its third book HOPEFUL HEARTS at GLENDALE HALL in September, as well as two other standalone novels – SUMMER at the KINDNESS CAFE, and THE SECOND LOVE of my LIFE. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Find out more about Victoria by following on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/

My Review

It was wonderful to return to Dedley End and the bookshop run by Nancy and her grandmother, Jane. Since last we met, after the murder up at the house on the hill, life in the village has returned to its normal tranquillity. In fact, for both Nancy and Jane, things are a little too quiet which is why they have invested so much time and effort into the upcoming summer fete. Having arranged for a very successful crime writer to launch his latest book at the fete, the level of excitement and anticipation is high. Author Thomas Green grew up in a nearby village before getting an agent and a book deal in London.

What Nancy and Jane, and best friend Jonathan don’t realise is that Thomas Green’s return will not be so widely welcomed, especially among those who knew him in his younger days. Green is reluctant to talk about those days too, which begs the question why.

It takes an act of “vandalism” and threats to spark the sleuths’ interest in Green’s background, but not even they are ready to see another case of murder in Dedley End.

As before, the relationship between the main characters is endearing as are their endeavours to get to the bottom of things. At the outset I thought I knew the motive for the murder but the case almost seemed to be resolved … until Nancy feels the same sense of unease at justice not really having been done and so, encouraged by Jane and Jonathan, she digs further … and finds the real reason behind it. I’m glad to say my initial deductions were correct, and I applaud the author for making me second guess myself. The twisty nature of solving the crime was most enjoyable (and not just because I was proved right 🙂 )

The author picks up the trail of information we learned in book one about the culprit behind Nancy’s father’s death and now the story takes another personal twist in delivery Nancy another mystery, this time to do with her mother who left the family home when Nancy was very young. The author combines well Nancy’s personal family history with mysteries in Dedley End and that combination makes for an interesting, yet fun read, but also leaves me wanting more.

I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series.

For more news and reviews,

As always,

cosy · cover reveal · crime · mystery · series

Cover Reveal – Murder at the Summer Fete

Are you ready to return to Dedley End? I know I am. Murder at The House on the Hill was one of my favourite reads in 2021, a cosy mystery in essence but with a modern vibe. Consequently, I am so delighted to reveal the cover for book two in The Dedley End Mysteries by Victoria Walker … and here it is:

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Praise for Victoria Walters’ Dedley End Mysteries cozy crime series:

Superb sleuthing! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Dedley End and can’t wait to go back!’ Heidi Swain, author of Underneath the Christmas Tree

‘Such a fab book – really puts the cosy in cosy crime!’ M. A. Kuzniar, author of Midnight in Everwood

‘This is a brilliant ‘whodunnit’ which gave me some serious Miss Marple feels… it’s absolutely brilliant and a pleasure to read’ Head in a Book18

‘I loved this brilliant cozy read… it felt very Christie-esque. Nancy and Jane were fab, I loved their relationship. And I can’t wait for more.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘Even gave me some Murder, she wrote vibes… I truly enjoyed reading this funny, cosy mystery’ Tizi’s Book Review

‘What an absolute delight this was to read… I was still guessing whodunnit until the end.’ Wrong Side of Forty UK

‘A delightful detective duo, a charming and clever cosy mystery.’ Diane Jeffrey, author of The Silent Friend

‘A cosy, satisfying and enjoyable murder mystery full of intrigue… and even better, with a bookshop too!’ Ella Allbright, author of The Last Charm

The book is available to preorder now with a release date of 17th March 2022. I’m in … are you?

As always,

book review · cosy · crime · recommended

Book Review – The Appeal

IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS
SOMEONE WAS MURDERED.
SOMEONE WENT TO PRISON.
AND EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.
CAN YOU UNCOVER THE TRUTH?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel. 

Purchase link: Amazon UK

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel.

My Review

Five Fabulous Stars

To say this book is unconventional in its format might make a reader walk away. If that’s you, then stop! Come back! I thought the same. A story told through emails, text messages, sticky notes and legal documents sounds like a lot of work for the reader, but it quickly becomes all-engrossing to the extent that you won’t be able to read one more message, then another and another until you’re so far in the only way out is by reading on.

It surprised me too. I’d seen so many dazzling reviews; they couldn’t all be wrong. And, trust me, they weren’t.

This witty thriller is giving Richard Osmond’s Thursday Murder Club a run for its money in the cosy crime stakes, as it continues to charm readers. Hallett’s debut, set in a sleepy town where an am-dram production of All My Sons is in the works, is funny and full of twists. Amateur sleuths and thespians alike will love it ― Evening Standard

This ingeniously conceived whodunnit encourages the reader to turn detective in a murder case set against the backdrop of an amateur dramatic club. Brain-twistingly clever ― Metro

[A] daring debut… Hallett will soon have you laughing out loud… The Appeal is clever and funny ― The Times


From the book’s description you learn that someone has been murdered and everyone is a suspect. Now, together with law students Femi and Charlotte, you get the chance to put the pieces together to find out what happened. Go!

The story runs alongside the performance of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons by an amateur dramatics group. Newcomers to the village are persuaded to attend the casting auditions as a way to get to know everyone. But before the casting is even decided, it’s revealed that the director’s granddaughter has brain cancer and treatment, although experimental, is only available in the US. Instantly, the group make plans to raise the necessary funds as they rehearse and perform the play. It’s the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child.
The family are the linchpin of the village, the people “you want to know” and by whom you want to be accepted. Being in that inner circle is, for many, a privilege, and offering to help with the fundraising a means to gain recognition with the “powers that be”.

The newcomers, however, do not have that sense of needing to be accepted and, perhaps, are the best eyes through which to watch events play out. They are encouraged to participate by Izzy, who for some reason has attached herself to them like a limpet, often volunteering to be a go-between for them. Izzy is hugely unaware of her “standing” within the community, and it seems ignorant of how she is perceived by others. Her actions are deeply amusing and sad. She seems to be super generous and thoughtful whilst also verging on annoying – you know the type, right? For me, she is a key character in bringing out the true personality of other characters. Their “tolerance” of her varies, creating some laugh-out-loud moments but not without episodes of cringeworthy desperation and frustration. What amazed me was how the author was able to bring out so many personality traits in the characters’ messages – from the straightforward, no nonsense tactlessness of some to the almost hero-worshipping of others. So refreshingly creative and effective. I couldn’t quite believe how absorbed I became in this story. Amid a tale of a family facing the ultimate challenge in saving the life of a young child to rumours of wrongdoings in Africa, it all comes together beautifully.

Without any spoilers, this is one very clever cosy mystery: witty, poignant, delightfully addictive, hugely satisfying, and (for once I’ll say this myself) unputdownable! I’ve already got the author’s next book on my Kindle and cannot wait for the right kind of rainy day to settle down and get stuck in. Easily one of my favourite books this year.

Enjoy!

As always,

blog tour · book review · cosy · murder mystery · mystery

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Murder at the House on the Hill

Murder At The House On The Hill

Once Upon A Crime…

Nancy Hunter and her grandmother Jane Hunter run the Dedley Endings Bookshop, selling crime, thriller and mystery books, in a small, quiet Cotswold village where nothing ever happens…

That is, until the wealthy and reclusive Roth family open up their mansion for the first time in twenty years, inviting the people of Dedley End to a lavish engagement party.

While everyone is thrilled to finally look around the mansion on the hill, the festivities are quickly cut short when beautiful Lucy, recently married to young Harry Roth, is found dead after being pushed over the first-floor balustrade.

But who among the guests could have been capable of her murder – and why?

Nancy and Jane decide to investigate – after all, not only do they own a crime themed bookshop, they were also both named after famous literary detectives – but soon wonder if they’ve taken on more than they can handle. Especially when it seems the killer has worked out that they’re hot on their heels…

Can they catch the murderer before the murderer catches up with them? Or will there be a deadly ending to this story?

Join the unlikeliest detective duo for the killer opener of The Dedley End Mysteries series, by a major voice in women’s fiction.

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3yJqSKk

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2SzAN4h

Apple: https://apple.co/3yJGkWE

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of the bestselling GLENDALE HALL series, which continues with its third book HOPEFUL HEARTS at GLENDALE HALL in September, as well as two other standalone novels – SUMMER at the KINDNESS CAFE, and THE SECOND LOVE of my LIFE.

She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.
Find out more about Victoria by following on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/.

My Review

Roll back the years and get ready for a Christie style cosy mystery. Devotees of traditional murder mysteries will want to read this one.

Nancy loves nothing more than running the bookshop with her gran, Jane, in Dedley End, the village she grew up in, and where she knows everyone and everyone knows her. It’s comfortable, cosy but nothing really ever happens, like never, ever, ever. At least not since her own father died in a car crash years ago, which led to her living with Jane. The only mystery in their lives comes from the books they sell.

All is about to change when the wealthy Roth family issue invitations to all the villagers, requesting their presence at an engagement party up at the manor. Excitement is off the scale, and the village is abuzz with chatter especially since the Roth family haven’t opened their doors to the village in decades.

In true Agatha Christie style, the party doesn’t end well when Lucy Roth falls to her death from the stairwell. Cue tension as curiosity and rumour join forces to create havoc in the search for her killer.

Even though the police are “in charge” of the case, nothing is going to stop Nancy and Jane from starting their own investigation. Helped by the Roth family asking Nancy to sort out the family’s extensive library, she’s in the perfect place to snoop around. Everyone is a suspect, and no-one is a suspect – will Nancy find the murderer? Will life in Dedley End ever be “boring” again?

I simply loved this story, it was so characteristic of an old-style cosy but set in modern times. The old-world charm and elegance of the engagement party suited the tone magnificently. The characters – Nancy and Jane’s fellow friends and villagers – are the kind you’d want as neighbours in a community like this. The arrival of Nancy’s old boyfriend – a devilishly handsome cad – added hint of romance to the mix, but a modern twist tested his mettle.

Such an easy story to settle in with, a charming setting, vibrant characters, and a lovely personal touch that made Nancy’s efforts all the sweeter. A proper old-style cosy in style but very modern in substance. Loved it! 

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art · blog tour · book review · cosy · France · magical realism · mystery · romantic comedy

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Falling in Louvre

Falling in Louvre

‘A heartfelt, funny and romantic caper – a mashup masterpiece!’ – Sandy Barker, author of ‘That Night in Paris’.

Bertrand is King of the Pigeons…

Unofficially. From his perch atop a gargoyle on Notre Dame cathedral, he surveys his kingdom. He sees Sylvie Cloutier, art lover and ex-antiques dealer, making dinner for her bullying husband Henri, trapped in their loveless marriage like a bird in a gilded cage. He sees security guard, hopeless romantic and bookworm Philippe Moreau cycling through the streets of Paris in his crumpled uniform, late (again) for his night shift at the museum.

When Sylvie begs her husband to let her go to work, he gets her a job as an evening cleaner at the Louvre. He thinks such a menial position will dispel any ideas about independence she might have, but his plan backfires when she falls in love with kind, gentle Philippe. They decide to run away together, but there’s a major problem: neither of them has any money.

One stormy night in the Louvre, the answer to their prayers falls into their lap… But is it really the solution, or just another, even bigger problem?

What follows is a romantic, wistful but madcap adventure through (and under) the city of lights, involving a stolen painting, an art heist in reverse, and Eric Cantona. Will love find a way?

Purchase Link: mybook.to/Louvre

Author Bio

Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant scheme finalists, and her bestselling cosy mystery series, The Nosey Parker Mysteries, is published by One More Chapter/HarperCollins.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/fionakleitch

https://www.instagram.com/leitchfiona/

https://twitter.com/fkleitch

www.fionaleitch.com

My Review

If you think this is just another romcom set in Paris, then you’d be mistaken. It is so much more than that, it’s the perfect mashup of a romantic comedy with a cosy mystery, while also throwing the spotlight on domestic abuse with a dash on magical realism thrown in for good measure. Ooh, la la! .

2016 is the year of the Euros (European Football Championship) in France, and the country awaits a tidal wave of supporters from across Europe. Phillipe, a security guard at the Louvre is an avid football fan, his childhood bedroom an homage to his hero, Eric Cantona. Unfortunately, Phillipe once again finds himself living with his mother in that self-same bedroom after the break-up of his relationship. Working night shifts, he barely sees a soul, and is not exactly living the life he wanted or expected.

Sylvie, the daughter of an antiques shop owner, finds herself as far away from her dreams of running her father’s shop as she can possibly get, although she is grateful to her husband, Henri, for giving her the life she has now. An accident years before left her dependent on medication, and Henri makes sure she remains stable … and dependent upon him. You can see where this is going, can’t you? Sadly, for many years, Sylvie could not 😦 and she settled for the life he “allowed” her to lead whilst yearning to be back in her parents’ shop amid those wonderful antiques.

Sylvie wants to come off her meds; she knows it’s not going to be easy, but gradually the fog lifts and she starts to want more from life. Henri plays along in getting her a job at the Louvre. But he has only acted out of spite in not telling her the job is as a cleaner … in his words, it’s all she is worth! Nonetheless, Sylvie is glad of the chance to escape home for a few hours each night, even more so when she meets Phillipe. Cue the romance – it’s subtle and sweet, and oh so satisfying to see them both come out of their mutual cocoons and live and love again. But the dark cloud that is Henri looms in the background, and the more you learn about him, the more you’ll want Sylvie to cast of the shackles and be happy with Phillipe.

Then the perfect storm hits Paris and floods the city, including the Louvre. Both Sylvie and Phillipe are called into work to help save the precious items on display. At which point, Phillipe does something rather stupid, yet for all the right reasons. His actions on that cold, wet, dark night set the story up for its mystery and for their future. It’s funny, endearing, tense and a little dangerous in that it could land them both in jail.

As I said at the start, it’s not a regular romcom. Henri’s behaviour will infuriate you, Phillipe’s “attachment” to Eric Cantona will amuse you, and Sylvie and Phillipe’s relationship will warm your heart. A fabulous read with believable and relatable characters amidst a setting brought to life by an author who knows her oignons.

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