Review of ‘Murder In The Cathedral’ by Cora Harrison

‘Murder in the Cathedral’ by Cora Harrison is a fascinating historical mystery set in Cork, Ireland in the 1920s. When the archdeacon of the protestant Cathedral dies suddenly, and one of the Reverend Mother’s own flock is found dead nearby, the sleuthing nun feels compelled to unravel the mystery. Why was young Enda even in the church? And what secrets are being kept by those allied to to the church? The Reverend Mother unravels the layers of deception and intrigue, finding that people are not always all that they seem.

I found the historical aspects of the story as fascinating as the mystery itself. The author gave a very interesting insight into Irish society after the civil war . Once they were a free state, the two communities had to learn to live together within a different power dynamic.  The Anglo Irish were no longer in control and that made for some interesting interactions. The story was about a country learning to live with a new reality. A new order. About two communities living in parallel . It was also about poverty and secrets. Cora Harrison has managed to weave all of this into well-written and immersive mystery. I loved it.

Out on 6th September.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Spring Of Hope’ by Cora Harrison

‘Spring of Hope’ by Cora Harrison is the fourth in her Gaslight Mystery Series. Famous writers Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens are friends and often hold dinner parties for eminent Victorians, most recently for engineers. As London tries to recover from the ‘Great Stink’ of 1859, engineers such as Joseph Bazalgette try to find a solution to the malodorous sewage problem facing the city. When showcasing their ideas a gruesome death occurs. Was it an accident? Or is there more to it? Wilkie and Dickens take it upon themselves to investigate. Dickens needs a distraction from his complicated home life. Wilkie’s mind has been on his recently acquired young housekeeper and her delightful child. Her difficult past is making life in their household far from easy.

I liked that the author used real life characters in the story. Her fictionalised account of their lives made for a fascinating read. This is a very slow burn book and it takes until quite near the end of the book for an actual death to take place. There is a lot of build up, and much detail regarding sewage and the attempts to solve the problems with it. 

The author cleverly takes the reader down one path, letting us think we have solved the crime, only to take a twist in the other direction. A good read for lovers of the Victorian era.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Death in Cornwall’ by G.M. Malliet

When Detective Chief Inspector Arthur  St Just and his fiancée Portia, a Cambridge academic, take a break in Cornwall, they hope for nothing more than relaxation and good food. What awaits them is a village at war. Those making a living need to see changes, but the incomers want to keep its picturesque charm. When one of their number dies in violent circumstances St Just is dragged in to help. Is the death linked to the fight between the fisherman and the new villagers? Or is there more to the story? Portia and Arthur must find out quickly before it’s too late.

‘Death In Cornwall’ has the feeling of a classic mystery but with a modern day twist.  Set as it is in a small village,  it also has the closed set feel of a country house mystery. I found the two main characters, St Just and Portia, engaging, intelligent and relatable. The writing was wonderfully descriptive, and I was transported to the Cornish coast for a delightful few hours. 

I really enjoyed it. 

I was given this ARC to review. 

Review of ‘Murder-in-Law’ by Veronica Heley

This is the 21st Ellie Quicke mystery, but it does not feature Ellie Quicke. She is mentioned throughout, and it revolves around her family members though. Ellie is on holiday in Canada when he son-in-law is killed during a burglary. It is down to her next door neighbour Susan, with the help of her husband and aunt to solve the case, and clear Ellie’s daughter Diana from suspicion. Diana is the most appalling individual and it is difficult to think that Ellie could be her mother. But even though Susan dislikes her intensely, she loves Ellie and Diana’s kids, so agrees to look into the death. 

This is the first of this series I’ve read, but there is no need to have read the others as it standalone well. It is a really good mystery, written at a hectic pace as befits a house full of kids and a family trying to settle into a new home. It felt so real and the family elements were spot on. I loved the chaos. Susan is a great character and I certainly want to find out more about her in future instalments of the series. I also loved Coralie, the young nanny-in-training, who had a no-nonsense approach that was refreshing. An enjoyable read.

I was given this Arc to 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.