Review of ‘Death At Castle Cove’ by Mary Grand

‘Death At Castle Cove’ by Mary Grand is set on the picturesque Isle of Wight. Susan’s life revolves around walks in the country with her dog and meeting her fellow dog lovers for strolls along the coastal paths. Her young lodger, Colette, seems to be fitting in well, after a difficult start in life. But when Colette dies in suspicious circumstances, Susan realises that her dog walking pals were the last to see her alive. She has to face the disturbing fact that one of her friends may be responsible. The local police put it all down to an unfortunate accident, but Susan is not convinced. As she looks in to the mystery, she finds out that her friends have much to hide – and one of them must have killed Colette.

I loved the Isle of Wight setting for the story. It was beautifully described and played an integral part in the mystery. I could see why Susan was so keen to stay. She was determined to keep her independence, even as her life became more and more difficult. 

Susan felt compelled to find out what happened to Colette, even when others were encouraging her to back off. She took risks, and I worried for her on more than one occasion. She put herself in potentially dangerous situations. Mary Grand ramped up the suspense perfectly. 

I especially liked how the author gradually peeled back the layers . Layers of secrets and lies. I don’t know how many times I changed my mind about who the killer was. It was so well done, and I didn’t guess whodunnit until the reveal. I really enjoyed it and plan to read more from this author in the future. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Murder At An Irish Bakery by Carlene O’Connor

Set in County Cork, ‘Murder In An Irish Bakery’ is the ninth in this series, and a very welcome addition. Garda Siobhan O’Sullivan is asked to keep an eye on a reality baking show taking place in an old mill in town. Excitement amongst the villagers peaks when it is revealed a very famous celebrity baker will be taking part. But it’s not all sweetness and light, when the competition show a ruthless determination to win. When one of them dies on day two, Siobhan and her husband, Garda Macdara Flannery, are called to investigate. Can they find out who is behind it all – and can they solve it before anyone else dies?

One thing is sure about this book – you’ll get hungry reading it. I couldn’t help but crave something sweet every time I picked it up. The bakery descriptions are yummy. 

Carlene O’Connor has a wonderful light touch, bringing humour into all of her stories. She weaves a great mystery, making her readers really think. There’s kindness too, and a family feel. I love that Siobhan’s family are part of the story – and the many villagers and colleagues.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘How To Write A Winning Fiction Book Outline – Cozy Mystery Fiction Workbook’ by Hackney & Jones

This is the second of this series of workbooks that I’ve tried and I must say I’m very impressed.

I have found this particular one so helpful in planning out a cozy mystery novel. The authors have thought of everything. They take the reader through the themes to consider, the most common names, locations and events in a cozy mystery and how to outline your story.

I found the chapter by chapter and scene by scene planning the most useful. It has taken away the mystique behind outlining a novel. I can see me using this and the others in the series again and again.

Review of ‘The 12.30 From Croydon’ by Freeman Wills Crofts

‘The 12.30 From Croydon’ by Freeman Wills Crofts is the second Freeman Wills Crofts mystery novel I’ve read, and I’m quickly becoming a fan of his meticulous storytelling. 

On a flight to Paris, elderly grandfather, Andrew Crowther dies in his seat. When questions are asked as to the nature of his death, we begin to find out what lead to it – and how it was planned.  The author takes the unusual step of telling the story from the point of view of the killer, making this a fascinating and utterly compelling read. 

This story looks into the mind of a killer, and how a very ordinary man finds himself on a destructive and dangerous path.  It tells of a man’s downfall and the terrible consequences. 

Inspector French is a quiet and unassuming character, and one that criminals underestimate at their peril. His contribution to the story was pivotal. An excellent story and one that will stay with me. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Murder Mystery’ by Alice Castle

‘The Murder Mystery’ by Alice Castle is the first book in this series and after reading this, I can’t wait to get my teeth into the next two. Beth Haldane gets a job as an assistant archivist at the local prestigious school, Wyatt’s. Her first day gets off to a surprising start, when she finds the dead body of her boss behind the bins. It soon becomes apparent that he had many enemies within the school. Was it one of Beth’s new colleagues? When she begins to investigate, it appears she may be in danger too. Will she find the killer before it is too late?

I like Beth . She’s a normal woman with a child. A widow, she lives in the south London village of Dulwich. It’s full of yummy mummies and Beth feels she’ll never fit the mould. But why should she have to. She’s clever, bright and determined, and more than a match for any of them. The story is well written, with interesting characters and I loved the descriptions of Dulwich and the local society. 

I was given this ARC to review. 


Review of ‘The Morelville Cozies Collection: Books 1-3’ by Anne Hagan

As a huge fan of Anne Hagan’s mystery series set in Morelville, I was thrilled to find she had written a series of cozy mysteries featuring Mel and Dana’s mothers. Chloe Rossi and Faye Crane are the perfect senior sleuths we’ve all been waiting for. 

This collection comprises of books 1-3 in the series. In The Passed Prop, Opera House Ops and the Conjuring Comedienne, we find out just how clever the pair are. I love seeing the pair solve mysteries in their own inimitable way. A wonderful way to pass a few hours.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Christmas Candy Killing’ by Christina Romeril

This is the first book I’ve read by Christina Romeril and it won’t be the last. I enjoyed her writing style and her perceptive eye on village life and the secrets held within. 

The Sleuth Book Club holds meetings at Murder and Mayhem: Killer Chocolates and Bookshop, run by Alex and her twin sister, Hanna. When elderly club member Jane hints to Alex that there may be a killer hiding in their village, Alex isn’t sure what to believe. Jane is an aficionado of true crime TV and it won’t be the first time she’s accused a neighbour. When death enters their lives, Alex has to take it seriously- especially as she’s one of the prime suspects. 

This was a well written story, with interesting characters. I enjoyed it.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Bullet That Missed’ by Richard Osman

‘The Bullet That Missed’ is the third in the Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman, and the best so far. When the gang look into a cold case regarding the murder of a local news anchor, more and more questions are thrown up. Like, where is the body? Meanwhile Elizabeth faces an unpleasant task. Will she carry out a killing as ordered? Or risk a killing closer to home. As the pensioners investigate, time is not on their side. With the help of some old friends, and some new ones, they must solve the case before anyone else dies. 

I enjoy these books even more as they go on. Maybe it’s because I have grown to love the characters. Each play a part in solving the mysteries, and their ages are actually an advantage, not a disadvantage. I especially like Joyce, who describes the most shocking of crimes in such a matter of fact way. Nothing fazes her. And the humour just ties it all together. 

I love the short, snappy chapters, as it makes me pictures the story like a film in my head. It also makes the peril more immediate. Richard Osman has made me care about these characters, and although they put themselves in the most dangerous situations, it still has the cosy feeling I want from a mystery. 

Through it all there is friendship, decent and kindness. I adored it.

Review of ‘Mystery At Southwood School’ by Clare Chase

‘Mystery At Southwood School’ is the ninth Eve Mallow mystery by Clare Chase. Eve is at the school helping her friend Viv provide catering to ‘The Coven’ who run the school. Founders Day is upon them, and ex-pupil and celebrity, Natalie Somerson, is to be the Founders Day Champion. Much to the chagrin of certain members of staff. Professional gossip-monger, Natalie made many enemies whilst a pupil and since. When her speech hints at a secret lover affair from the past, little does she know the trouble she has stirred up. The discovery of her body the next morning puts suspicion on Eve’s boyfriend Robin, compelling her to find out who really had a motive to kill Natalie. Will she find out in time? Or has her investigation put her in danger?

This is the second book I’ve read in this series and I am becoming increasingly fond of Eve and her friends. Eve is kind, loyal and determined. She’s exactly the type of friend you want on your side. I think a lot can be said about writing characters your readers will connect with. The author has done this with Eve Mallow. She’s easy to like.

I loved that the story was based in a boarding school. It took me back to my days of reading Mallory Towers and the like. A mystery in a closed setting works so well, and this is no exception. I was hooked.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Automobile Assassination by MJ Porter

The Automobile Assassination’ by MJ Porter is set in England in 1944, when the war is in full swing and tensions run high. Chief Inspector Mason and Sergeant O’Rourke are called in when a body is found in the vicinity of the Castle Bromwich aerodrome. Unable to identify the man, the pair begin to question the members of the Air Force stationed there. Was he one of them? Could he have been a spy? Mason feels compelled to solve the case and find out who he was – and whether his death was linked to the war effort. 

This is the first book in this series I have read, but it won’t be the last. The story was compelling and opened my eyes to aspects of the war and the daily lives of those living through it. I liked finding out about the time period and the setting was interesting. The working relationship between Mason and O’Rourke was fascinating. The age gap worked well and I enjoyed seeing how they complemented each other. 

MJ Porter’s writing is well crafted and pulls the reader into the story. ‘The Automobile Assassination’ is a very good cosy mystery, with extremely likeable main characters. 

I was given this ARC for review.