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Monday, October 24, 2016

Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham

My second read by this author. We have four attempts on the life of Judge Lobbett - all unsuccessful and in the process someone else dies. This creates a pall amongst his family as well as they feel that a sense of doom is following them doggedly. The quirky investigator Campion adds to the interest of the story and after a convoluted story, the villain is apprehended and dies in rather horrific circumstances.

This is a classic crime series and the language and descriptiveness is part of its attraction. A rather old fashionedly told tale, I liked it very much. Not quite Agatha Christie but very much like.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bloomsbury Reader.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Wages of Sin by Nancy Allen

The Wages of Sin: An Ozarks Mystery (Ozarks Mysteries)

In rural Missouri a particularly gruesome murder of a young woman eight months pregnant by her partner. The only witness is her six year old daughter who is able to very clearly point out who the culprit is.

The public defender in this case seems inane, not particularly apt specially since it seems like an open and shut case. Not getting support from her co counsel as she will not support the death penalty, however deserved it is, Madeline turns reluctantly to Elsie who is equally reluctant to work with the arrogant, stuck up Madeline. Not a very good start for the case anyway.

Many unsavoury facts regarding the victim arise in the meantime and it becomes crucial to have our six year old Ivy and her statements intact. This is going to be easier said than done with several attempts made to intimidate her and even kill her. Whilst Ivy is having her own trauma in her head over the loss of her mother and now being in foster care, her temperament is such that she is not going to confide in anyone her thoughts on what she feels will happen.

The case is very straightforward but the murderer and his cohorts are not going to back down. They have hidden strengths not revealed till the very end and it was a surprising twist in the tale.

I enjoyed the story - though it was sad. I felt for Ivy who was just ignored and put aside other than by Elsie who saw her as the real victim in this case. There must be many thousands of Ivy's in the world who suffer a similar fate.

This book was sent to me by Edelweiss.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Step Mother by Claire Seeber

This was a story that was so unbelievable that it was perfectly possible, plausible and you are then sure that it is happening all around you.

Jeanie and Mathew both have history. Both have teenage children from previous relationships which have gone sour and how! the children seem wary of the new stepmother but Jeanie bends over backwards to try to find a meeting point so that the family can move on. Jeanie however has a past and one she is terrified is going to catch up with her sooner rather than later. It does and then the unraveling of her life begins.

Terrified that all her chances of happiness are drifting away from her, at the same time trying to protect her son who she adores and trying to balance it with two precocious teenagers who seem out to destroy her is the story of the book. Add to this an ex wife - scheming is putting it mildly with many other characters, all equally important and all well played in the story.

The book was a page turner and kept me on my toes till the end.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bookouture for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Broken Pieces by Kathleen Long

Destiny is alone and proud of the way she came through a lot of trauma. She lost her mother at a very young age, her father disappeared from her life to pop up at long intervals and then disappeared again. Brought up by a loving community, she is today having a thriving carpentry business and is very well settled in her little town, surrounded by people she loves.

The arrival of Albert her father, out of the blue who has decided to stay permanently puts a spanner in the works of Destiny's very orderly life. She is angry and puzzled in turn as to why he should pull a trick like this and expect to be warmly welcomed. A double whammy comes up when a long ago adopted sister turns up with her daughter in tow. How Destiny has to handle a situation with a very ready made family is the story here.

Emotionally the story was trying. We were dealing with relationships which were bitter and acrimonious and an unknown sibling who was very nice but her own tragedy to tell. The story telling was bitter sweet but a very welcome read.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)

I only got to the final book in the quartet and wasn't this a good one! It took me a while to finish as its quite a chunkster and I wanted to take it slowly to assimilate the various characters. Everyone was related to everyone else in this story and it took me a while to sort out the who is who.

Elena is bookish, can be easily led and then there is Lila who is exuberant, unstoppable. Naples plays a huge role in the book as this is a city that both women cannot leave. Elena leaves it for a little while, gets married, has her daughters and then moves back. Lila never leaves. Both are successful in their careers - one writing, one business. The backdrop of organised crime, drugs, nepotism, thuggery is all very well depicted as being part of the Neapolitan culture and one has to learn to live and let live with this.

This is a story of a strange friendship between two women - ups and downs and with the vagaries of character thrown in as well. However it survives despite all odds. In many of the circumstances of the story it would seem strange that Elena will return to Lila and go back to the old existing situation despite harsh words, some true, some enigmatic, some forcing Elena to look back critically on her life and loves and to find them wanting. Then there are the personal tragedies in each woman's life - broken hearts from lovers who spurn them, from children who ignore them and finally from the loss of a toddler inexplicably. Throughout it all, the friendship survives.

This was a brilliant piece of writing and though I started with the last book, I will try to track down the other three. 

The Cavendon Women by Barbara Taylor Bradford


The sequel to the Cavendon Hall book this takes us into another era. 1926 to 1929 and the background to the story is the major Wall Street crash.  The characters have grown up a little more, everyone is older, not necessarily wiser but there is much happiness ahead for many of the group.

I loved the story telling of the series and was all along hoping that many of the stories will have a happy ending. Everyone has come out of the war period hoping for some happiness and for some of them that is elusive but for the Inghams and the Swanns it marks a new beginning - a marriage between the two families which has never happened for the last two hundred years and hopefully the story will continue happily into the next book (which I have received).

This is such a pleasurable series to read as it takes us into the heart of an aristocratic home. A home which is trying to deal with social changes in plenty and radical ones at that. That the Cavendon family is adaptable and willing to change added much to the enhancement of the story.

The book was sent to me by St. Martin's Press courtesy of Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Secret Lives of the Barbican by Nathan Field

We have a housing estate which appears posh and secure with thousands of tenants. We are dealing in the story with just three of them. Claire, Dennis and Trixie.

Each of them is a story in itself. Claire feels there is an intruder in her flat - things are moved about, Dennis accidentally takes ecstacy pills thinking they are headache tablets and Trixie is faced with a surprising visit from her cleaner who reveals that Trixie's partner has been also her cleaner's partner for sometime.

Taken over a period of twenty four hours (which was a bit too crammed in with action for just twenty four hours) we look at the three lives and the twists and turns which happen with far reaching consequences. This is definitely not a mediocre day and not routine and you are kept wondering what on earth is going to happen next.

The characters are complex and not what they seem with the exception of Dennis who was completely out of his depth!

This book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Silvermac Publishing.