Joy Ellis really does write remarkable crime fiction. HUNTED ON THE FENS, the latest instalment in her Fenland series featuring DI Nikki Galena in perJoy Ellis really does write remarkable crime fiction. HUNTED ON THE FENS, the latest instalment in her Fenland series featuring DI Nikki Galena in perhaps the best yet, with twists, turns, and new suspects in each chapter. HUNTED ON THE FENS has everything — international crime, cybercrime, the death of a PC in a brutal 'accident', arson at the DI's own home — while Galena's loyal team is taunted by a game-playing criminal, who keeps the rules of that game to himself.
The Fenland setting, and the glimpses we are given of the natural beauty of the area, provides an occasional break to the unrelenting pace of this novel.
I loved the first two books in the series, and have no hesitation in giving this one five stars. Bring on more Nikki Galena, please. I can't wait.
Thanks to NetGalley and Joffe books for an advance reading copy of HUNTED ON THE FENS....more
Prepare to suspend disbelief as Albert Campion sets out to assist Val Gyrth and his family to protect their family tradition of guarding the famous GyPrepare to suspend disbelief as Albert Campion sets out to assist Val Gyrth and his family to protect their family tradition of guarding the famous Gyrth Chalice.
Witchcraft, gypsies, a suspicious death and a gang of international art 'acquirers' all play their part in this romp around the Suffolk countryside.
There's never a dull moment when AC's around....more
It is February 1810 in Market Harborough and the surrounding district on the borders of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. The brutal murder of agedIt is February 1810 in Market Harborough and the surrounding district on the borders of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. The brutal murder of aged has taken place William Sculthorpe has been discovered, along with the badly beaten body of his son Billy. The help of the Bow Street Police Force is summoned and Detective Stephen Lavender, along with his assistant Constable Woods travel from London to undertake the investigation. Is the fabled 'Panther Gang', notorious in the area, responsible, or is there a more local connection to the murder?
In this absorbing novelisation, loosely based on an actual event, the action moves along quickly, with twists at the turn of every page. It seems as though everyone in the area has a secret, or something they wish to hide, but the perseverance of Lavender leads to a satisfactory outcome.
This is the first Lavender novel by Karen Charlton that I have read. I'll be seeking out more. Thoroughly enjoyable....more
Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the Brighton EVENING CHRONICLE is in search of a headline story, and his search leads him to the premises of FrColin Crampton, crime correspondent of the Brighton EVENING CHRONICLE is in search of a headline story, and his search leads him to the premises of Freddie the Forger, who has earned himself an easy £20 by passing off a fake letter to Jeff, landlord of Prinny's Pleasure, one of the less savoury hostelries that Crampton frequents. Crampton's mission becomes recovery of that £20, but he hadn't counted on Freddie being shot.
In this fast-moving novella (a freebie from www.colincrampton.com), Crampton has to unravel the various clues left after Freddie's death. That he escapes near death himself on the Brighton Belle is, like the mystery itself, all a matter of timing.
Crampton is fast becoming another of my favourites. Recommended....more
Colin Crampton, reporter with the EVENING CHRONICLE, reporter with a difference. First a series of photographs is stolen from a What the Butler Saw maColin Crampton, reporter with the EVENING CHRONICLE, reporter with a difference. First a series of photographs is stolen from a What the Butler Saw machine on Brighton's Palace Pier. This is followed by the murder of a night-watchman on the same pier. Crampton insists that the two events are linked, and sticks with his story despite the opposing view of his rivals at the EVENING ARGUS and the investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Alec Tomkins. The missing pictures from 'Milady's Bath Night' lead Crampton into a journalistic investigation in which his life is ultimately threatened.
STOP PRESS MURDER is a great, fun read, a page-turner with excitement on every one of those pages. Think David Nobbs, what Tom Sharpe might have written had he turned his hand to mystery fiction, and the Aberystwyth Noir novels of Malcolm Pryce, and you'll get something of an idea of what is in store for you, the reader. But Bartram's is an individual style . . . one you'll warm to, I think, one that will have you searching out more Crampton mysteries....more
In these modern times, when people unbelievably still question expenditures to ensure potable water supplies, this harrowing novel should be essentialIn these modern times, when people unbelievably still question expenditures to ensure potable water supplies, this harrowing novel should be essential reading for the doubters. A fictionalised account of the cholera epidemic in London's Soho district in 1854, the novel relates the trials and tribulations of Dr Frank Roberts, whose lot it is to tend the sick and dying of the epidemic.
The true hero, however, is Dr John Snow, a sceptic of the accepted 'miasma theory', the cholera was spread by pollution, or 'bad air' in which its victims live and worked. Snow, after endless research, became convinced that cholera was caused by tainted water, chiefly from fecal contamination. He fought a long, hard battle to convince the authorities that this was so, carrying out painstaking research in his efforts to prove his case, but his 'waterborne' theory did not gain acceptance until the last major cholera epidemic in London in 1866, eight years after his death.
THE DOCTOR OF BROAD STREET is eminently readable, the novelisation of its subject making it all the more so. And, thankfully, not everyone dies....more
I wanted to like this book, even if only for its Parisian setting. But I found the writing unexciting, and the number of words without spacing distracI wanted to like this book, even if only for its Parisian setting. But I found the writing unexciting, and the number of words without spacing distracting. Disappointed....more
Joy Ellis's second DI Nikki Galena novel is, if possible, more gripping than her first. Sergeant Joseph Easter, just returned to duty after being seriJoy Ellis's second DI Nikki Galena novel is, if possible, more gripping than her first. Sergeant Joseph Easter, just returned to duty after being seriously injured on his previous investigation, has to face a name and a person from his past . . . a person who is to haunt him until the final page is turned. Quite how the Galena novels have remained hidden in their earlier incarnation is a mystery to me. They deserve to be read, and to be more widely known. Joy Ellis tells me that there are at least two more to come. . . . I, for one, can't wait....more
This was my first encounter with Joy Ellis's DI Nikki Galena, and I'll be looking for more. This absorbing, fast-paced police thriller set in the LincThis was my first encounter with Joy Ellis's DI Nikki Galena, and I'll be looking for more. This absorbing, fast-paced police thriller set in the Lincolnshire Fen country is ideal summer reading....more
A potential inheritance makes men greedy . . . and not just the potential inheritor.
Bobbie Cheldon is in line for 10,000 a year when his uncle, MassyA potential inheritance makes men greedy . . . and not just the potential inheritor.
Bobbie Cheldon is in line for £10,000 a year when his uncle, Massy Cheldon dies, and he needs that £10,000 to marry the girl of his dreams, a dancer at the 'Frozen Fang' nightclub in London's Soho.
Others, recognising an opportunity to gain a cut of the young man's fortune, are only too willing to help, none more than Nosey Ruslin, an ex-boxer, and man about Soho. When Massy Cheldon is stabbed to death a Piccadilly underground station the wheels of Scotland Yard are set in motion, in the persona of Chief Inspector Wake, whose laid-back manner belies his efficiency.
None, however, could have foreseen that Massy Cheldon was more of a man-about-town than would have been imagined from his 'Lord of the Manor' mien, and the climax of the story is one that few readers would guess.
First published in 1936, and one of some twenty crime novels written by Charles Kingston, MURDER IN PICCADILLY will entertain readers of the golden age detective story, and remains surprisingly topical today....more
The scene is London's West Ham, 1895, and 13-year old Robert Coombes has stabbed his mother to death. Lord's cricket ground and the Gentlemen vs. PlayThe scene is London's West Ham, 1895, and 13-year old Robert Coombes has stabbed his mother to death. Lord's cricket ground and the Gentlemen vs. Players match, in which the great W. G. Grace will play, beckons, and that is the destination of Robert and his 12-year old brother Nathaniel. The story is that their a relative has died, and their mother has been called away to Liverpool, but the suspicion of an aunt is raised by an unpleasant smell emanating from their house at 35 Cave Road, Plaistow. The mother's badly decomposed body is discovered in her bedroom, beaten and stabbed. Robert will insist throughout the investigation that his mother had beaten Nathaniel and had threatened to put a hatchet in his own head . . . she had to be killed to protect them.
The account of the subsequent trial is fascinating. There was consideration as to whether Robert had been influenced by the many 'Penny Dreadfuls' he had been in the habit of reading and of which he had a considerable collection. Had these affected his mind? Was he deranged as a result? But throughout Robert was spoken of as an intelligent child, a good scholar. In the end, Robert was adjuded insane and was sentenced to Broadmoor 'at her Majesty's pleasure'. His sentence appears to have been the making of him: he became a model patient, joining the cricket team, enthusiastically playing correspondence chess, learning to play the cornet, piano, and violin, and becoming a member of the brass band. As an occupation he learnt tailoring and made clothes for the inmates. Robert eventually petitioned the Home Office for his discharge in February 1912 and it was decided that he should be released to the Salvation Army's colony at Hadleigh in Essex. He was one of some 200 men at the colony (many of them derelict alcoholics, all of them unemployed). At Hadleigh Robert began to experience more leniency and a degree of freedom. He was a good worker and his efforts won him some rewards. In 1914 he was granted permission to follow his brother Nathaniel to Australia, arriving in Sydney after six weeks at sea.
It is at this point that Robert's story becomes wholly absorbing. When war broke out in August 1914, Robert enlisted in the new Australian Imperial Force and was assigned to the 13th Battalion, one of four battalions in the 4th Infantry Brigade. By April 1915 he became one of the soldiers sailing for Turkey as part of the Allied plan to seize the Gallipoli peninsula, gain control of the Dardanelles, capture Constantinople, and knock Turkey out of the war. As a stretcher bearer, Robert was to experience the horrors of war first-hand. He won medals for bravery and service as a stretcher-bearer, and later as hygiene officer at the battle of the Somme.
After a long and exhausting war Robert settled in New South Wales, near Coffs Harbour where his life took another fascinating turn.
Kate Summerscale paints a picture of a bad lad turned good - indeed, after reading the Epilogue one is tempted to think of him as something of a hero.
THE WICKED BOY is something of a change of tempo from THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER. Nonetheless, it is a meticulously researched story and a thoroughly absorbing read.
Reviewed from a Kindle edition supplied by Bloomsbury Publishing via Netgalley. ...more
Mystery MIle is the first true Albert Campion novel. First published in 1930, it recounts Campion's efforts to Judge Crowdy Lobbett, whom he meets onMystery MIle is the first true Albert Campion novel. First published in 1930, it recounts Campion's efforts to Judge Crowdy Lobbett, whom he meets on a transatlantic crossing. Lobbett is fleeing to 'England for safety after a number of people around him have been murdered. Campion finds sanctuary for Lobbett in Mystery Mile, remotely situated in Suffolk. The plot intensifies as the local priest commits suicie, Lobbett himself disappears from a maze, a second member of the group disappears, which leads to a dramatic rooftop rescue and a thrilling fire scene . . . until Judge Lobbett's secret is resolved.
You either love Campion or you hate him: there doesn't seem to be an in-between. But Mystery Mile is a good introduction and a fairly quick read....more
Owning a holiday home in the Dordogne seems to be a very British occupation. It's somewhat of a refreshing change, therefore, to find Les Americains (Owning a holiday home in the Dordogne seems to be a very British occupation. It's somewhat of a refreshing change, therefore, to find Les Americains (Eileen McKenna, Marty Neumeier, and their chef daughter Sara pursuing 'the British dream'. La Rêve is the name of their property (or Le Rêve, as Marty is corrected by a helpful villager just as he has finished painting the name on the outside wall). Situated in the Dordogne, just south of Bergerac, Le Rêve is to become their home away from home, their true dream. Of course, dreams have a habit of becoming reality, in their case exploding boilers, earthen floors, rotten floorboards, and the like, all of which is to be expected in a 400-year old propery. Les Americains remain undaunted.
BEGINNING FRENCH is something of a love letter to the Dordogne: from the food (and the book is enhanced by a number of Sara's delicious recipes), the wines, the first experience of boules, to the fascinating sounding marché nocturnes (night markets where one can dine cheaper than eating at home). It is truly a dream.
Written in a very readable style, and conjuring for this reader many happy memories, BEGINNING FRENCH is highly recommended. Les Americains - je vous envie!...more
First published in 1864, this collection of stories from the British Library archive present England's first female detective While historically intereFirst published in 1864, this collection of stories from the British Library archive present England's first female detective While historically interesting, the cases presented are narrations in method, and generally no one is brought to book as a consequence of the investigations. The language and style is very much mid-Victorian and this is a book very much of its time....more