Review of ‘A Lesson in Murder’ by Verity Bright

‘A Lesson in Murder’ by Verity Bright is Part of a series, but there’s no need to have read them in advance as this works as a stand-alone too.

Lady Eleanor Swift is  back at her old school, St Mary’s,  to give a speech. Her memories were not all good by any means, so being back stirs up some difficult feelings.

She’s a very independent woman for the time and not everyone appreciates that. When the death occurs of her favourite old teacher,  Eleanor is  pulled into the mystery, by virtue of being there, and because of her association with Chief Inspector Seldon in previous adventures. When he turns up to deal with the situation he asks her to go undercover as a house mistress.  Will they be able to find out the identity of the killer in time? Eleanor will have to use all of her know-how about the school to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

I liked the references to her time there and to previous mysteries. The book had a comfortable, cosy vibe, and the reader is made to feel part of it all. Being set in the Golden Age of Crime in the 1920s makes it all the more exciting. I also liked the dynamic between Eleanor , Clifford her butler, and Chief Inspector Seldon. They make a great  team. But most of all, I loved the boarding school setting, partly because I read so many books set in them when I was a child. It felt familiar. Verity Bright succeeded in bringing back those memories and adding her own twist with an engrossing mystery. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Murder in the Village’ by Lisa Cutts

‘Murder in the Village’ is a the first in a new cozy mystery series by Lisa Cutts. Belinda Penshurst has interests in businesses in her small village – one of them the local pub. When a suspicious death occurs there she is pulled into solving the mystery, along with retired police detective Harry Powell, a newcomer to the village. But that’s not the only strange thing going on. Dognappers seem to be targeting the village, and the pair join forces to find out why. And who is involved. 

I must admit I didn’t take to Belinda right away, but as the story progressed I began to see where she was coming from. She appeared bossy and dismissive at first, but there was an element of humour there too. I liked Harry a lot. He was extremely kind and thoughtful, and his influence rubbed off on Belinda. I liked getting to know the village and the inhabitants. I look forward to more in this series.

I was given this ARC to review:

Review of ‘The Bookshop Murder’ by Merryn Allingham

‘The Bookshop Murder’ is an enjoyable cozy mystery set in rural England in the 1950s. Flora Steele owns a bookshop in a quiet village where nothing exciting ever happens. That is until a body is found in her shop. When rumours start flying Flora’s livelihood begins to suffer, so finding out why the body was there becomes vital. With the help of local author Jack Carrington she begins to investigate and finds that her seemingly sleepy village holds a multitude of secrets. 

I love cozy mysteries, so I’m always on the lookout for a new series. This is the first in the Flora Steele Mysteries and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next. The dynamic between Flora and Jack was engaging. They worked well together and there was a spark of something more. I’d like to see how that pans out in the future. The setting was perfect and the time period made it all the more interesting. A really enjoyable story, with the promise of more to come. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Bath Conspiracy’ by Jeanne M Dams

The Bath Conspiracy by Jeanne M Dams is an engaging cozy mystery set in the beautiful English city of Bath, Somerset. Dorothy and her ex-Chief Constable husband Alan are in the habit of getting caught up in mysteries, wherever they go. This time they must clear their names when some loot is found in the boot/trunk of their car. Everything seems tied to the tourist industry of the area, which involves the healing waters and nearby Stonehenge. Can they find out the real culprits before it’s too late – and before things escalate?

Although this is book 24 in the series, I had no problem jumping right in at this point. There is no need to have read any of the previous books to understand this one. I liked that the story centred around an older retired couple and how they used their experiences of life and work to solve the case. The supporting characters were also appealing and there was a lovely family feel about them all. It was also lovely to follow them on their holiday in Bath and to find out about the city and its attractions. An enjoyable way to pass a few hours in the company of a liveable sleuthing couple.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘A Death At Seascape House’ by Emma Jameson

‘A Death At Seascape House’ is set on the beautiful Scilly Isles. That in itself was a bonus for me. I love it when authors take us to wonderful places, and let us see them through their eyes. Jem Jago returns to the islands after many years away. She left under a giant cloud, and going back was never going to be easy. Now a librarian, she has been tasked with the job of cataloguing her childhood friend’s vast collection of books and papers. No sooner has she arrived on St Morwenna, when her arch nemesis, the nasty Mrs Edith Reddy is found dead. And who do all the fingers point at? Yes, you’ve got it, Jem Jago. In a bid to clear her name, Jem must find out who the real culprit is, and battle the prejudices of her former neighbours. 

This story worked because it had a very likeable main character in Jem Jago and a cracking mystery that kept me glued to the page. There were plenty of suspects and secrets galore. I liked how we found out about Jem’s years there as a child and teenager, and found out where the animosities came from originally.  We saw growth in her character, and saw how easy it is to blame, but much harder to rethink and forgive. I enjoyed being with Jem and her fellow islanders and look forward to more in this series. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Reserved for Murder’ by Victoria Gilbert.

I adore a cosy mystery – especially one that is done well. ‘Reserved For Murder’ is entertaining, has great characters and a wonderful setting. Charlotte Reed runs the Chapters B&B she inherited from her great aunt. The local book club meets there in her extensive library, and when a world famous author is booked in as part of her tour, Charlotte is delighted. A select few super-fans are booked in too as part of a prize, but when the president of the fan club is found dead, Charlotte and her neighbour Ellen must try and solve the mystery.

This was exactly the kind of mystery I want to read as I while away a few hours relaxing in the garden. It reminded me of the feeling I get when reading an Agatha Christie. It was the perfect small-town mystery, with enough twists and turns and a myriad of suspects, to keep my brain trying to work out whodunnit. I loved the dynamic between Charlotte and Ellen, her elderly neighbour, and the book club members and locals added extra flavour. I look forward to reading more in this series.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Death Before Dessert’ by A.E. Radley

‘Death Before Dessert’ is a feel-good kind of book. You can’t fail to be drawn in by the setting, excellent plot and loveable characters. A cozy mystery set in a small English village, it features a new dynamic duo, Clara Harrington and her irrepressible aunt, Vanessa. Clara has left London after losing her job and home all in the one week. Her mystery writer aunt has offered her a place to stay and the chance to take stock. But one thing she didn’t expect was a murder in the country house next door – and an elderly relative determined to solve it before the police.

I loved Vanessa’s gleeful demeanour. She had a wicked sense of humour and loved a good real-life mystery. There was no way Clara was going to stop her investigating when her reviled next-door neighbour dies in the middle of a dinner party. Clara was sweet and kind and prone to blushing profusely when in the presence of a certain beautiful woman. The inter-generational element to the investigate partnership was a winner. A series with this pair is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. A.E. Radley has given us cozy mystery at its best. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Amazon Links :

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington/dp/1912684322/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Before-Dessert-Vanessa-Harrington-ebook/dp/B085B54PLV/

Review of ‘Con Sampler: Family, Friends, Love, Murder and Mayhem

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‘Con Sampler: Family, Friends, Love, Murder and Mayhem’ by Anne Hagan is the perfect book for those not yet familiar with her work to get a taste of her writing. The stories in this sampler vary from mystery, romance, cozy mystery and short story. I first started reading Ms Hagan’s mysteries and enjoyed them so much I was delighted to try her other books as soon as they came out.

The Morelville Mysteries feature Sherrif Mel, her partner Dana and their extended family. ‘Dana’s Dilema’ has Mel running for Sherrif for the first time and the ladies dealing with a mystery and criminal elements as well as a development in their own personal lives. I really enjoyed the mystery but also the love story between Mel and Dana and how it was taken to another level. I especially enjoy the inclusion of the other characters in each of the Morelville Mysteries. There is something quite special about how they all come together.

‘Broken Women’ is a romance  It is a  brilliant story, wonderfully romantic and helluva sexy. The love scenes were scorching and very detailed. They were meant for each other but getting to the point where they were both ready to see that was the trick. Anne Hagan has written an amazing romantic novel and has managed to surprise and thrill readers like me who love her previous work too. I can’t recommend this story highly enough. It has everything you could wish for in a romance – tenderness, sexual tension and sizzling love scenes.

‘Opera House Ops: The Morelville Cozies – Book 2’ – The second Morelville Cozies book is another winner for Anne Hagan. I already love the characters in this story, especially Faye and Chloe, having met them in ‘The Passed Prop’ and in the Morelville Mysteries, which deal with Mel and Dana. A dead body found in an old opera house in the village sets our heroines off on another investigation and ends up pulling in members of the wider community. The mystery itself is fascinating and really surprised me more than once. The strength of an Anne Hagan book is the brilliant characterisation she has nailed. The ensemble cast really make me feel part of a family and the cozy feel is evident on every page. I want to read more in this vein and hope there is another in the series soon.

Loving Blue in Red States: Salt Lake City Utah

Anne Hagan has written another thought-provoking short story in her latest series. When Amanda plucks up the courage to walk into a gay-owned coffee shop she changes her life in more ways than one. Working for an ultra-conservative Mormon bank she has to keep her private life very private. Will she be able to keep doing that? Rebecca, the barista in said coffee shop awakens something in Amanda, but she has troubles of her own. Will they get past these problems? I enjoyed the setting of the story and the main characters. Amanda had a strength that came to the fore at just the right time and Rebecca was already standing up for herself in the face of prejudice. I am really enjoying the whole series as the author has managed to point out that things are getting better but there are still women who need our support. Especially in these scary political times.

I would recommend giving this sampler a go because it shows exactly what this author can do and I guarantee you will want to read the rest of her work once your try this