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Thirty-One Bones

(Daniella Coulstoun #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Carl Hiaasen meets Tartan Noir in this comic crime caper set on the sunny Costa Blanca.

What Carl Hiaasen does for Florida and Elmore Leonard did for LA, Morgan Cry does for Spain's sun-splashed Mediterranean coast, where British expats and certain notorious criminals go to escape-slash-retire.

When Daniella Coulstoun's estranged mother, Effie, dies in Spain under suspicious
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Arcade Crimewise (first published July 2nd 2020)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, why wouldn’t you enjoy a book set in the sunny coastal Spain while being stuck inside on a snowy wintery day miles and seemingly worlds away. Actually, there’s probably many possible reasons, but fortunately this book provided none of those. It was pretty fun through and through.
Daniella Coulstoun doesn’t just leave the rainy Scotland and comes to Spain for fun and sun like the rest of the English emigres comprising some of the local community, she comes to bury her long estranged mothe
Rich B
Stumbled across this book after Christopher Brookmyre mentioned it on Twitter, and it was an unexpected joy to read. The style and quality of writing is excellent through-out and I’d happily recommend this book if you’re a fan of writers like Christopher Brookmyre, Colin Bateman or Caimh McDonnell.

The book starts with the passing of one Effie Coulston in her bar in Spain, and the follows the arrival of her estranged daughter, Daniella as she arrives from Scotland to unravel her mothers many and
Maybe it’s my dark sense of humor, but Mother’s Day seems an appropriate day to post the review of a book in which a dead mother leaves behind a mess for her estranged daughter. Gordon Brown, writing as Morgan Cry, takes readers to Spain’s Costa Blanca in the crime caper Thirty-One Bones.

Effie Coulstoun moved from Scotland to El Descaro, Spain, bought a run-down pub, and hosted a motley group of expats and retired mobsters. Then she assembled a team of those expats who called themselves Ex-Patri
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: April 18th 2021

"In my world, everyone is on the con. Full stop. And the key is to stay in control."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
Jun 19, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

This book was billed as sort of a Carl Hiaasen-noir-sunny Spain mystery. Yet again, if this book was supposed to be funny, I didn't get it.

My understanding is that the author usually writes tartan-noir, but is branching out with a different feel and a different name here. The main character is a female insurance adjuster who's been estranged from her mom for years. Mom has become an ex-pat in Spain and has recently died, and daugh
Alex Jones
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a new book from Author Gordon Brown penned under the Alias of Morgan Cry and is a very different read from his other books.

Effie Coulston is an ageing bar owner and business woman out in a small town in the Spanish Costa’s. When she drops dead in the middle of a business meeting, she leaves a serious problem for daughter Daniella, when she arrives from Scotland to sort out her estranged mothers affairs.

Daniella soon finds her self mixed up in a world of trouble when a group of ex pats wh
Anne Pettigrew
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific read!

This is an engaging tale which spins the reader in circles as poor Danielle tries to make sense of her deceased mother’s life in sunny Spain. From scams to tunnels to saggy beds you can’t put it down till you know where it’s going. And then it suddenly flips off again in another clever direction. A breathy ride with colourful well-drawn characters! More please....
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniella Coulston has travelled to Spain to bury her mother Effie who has died unexpectedly. They didn’t have a very close relationship, so she had no idea what she was walking into or why everyone was so hostile to her. When she discovers that Effie was up to her neck in a property scam and that a group of expats were looking to her to find the missing money, she is drawn into a situation that she is not prepared for.
I really loved this book and found that once I started reading it, I couldn’t
Rachel Moscowitz
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the full review:

Written by Morgan Cry, aka Gordon Brown, the book has scenic locations, interesting characters, and a strong plotline. Daniella and Effie are both strong female characters, albeit in very different ways. The story does a great job of capturing the conflicting emotions an ex-pat feels, including missing one's homeland and the pressure of succeeding in a different country.

The book keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. I especi
Darcy Speed
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part mystery, part family drama, this novel takes us on a journey through Spain, searching for the truth and a few euros. I enjoyed the twists and turns, and the unexpected route the story took.
Debbie Hall
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love books set overseas that take you to different places and this book definitely did that, it had such a great sense of place to the extent that I actually felt I was there with the characters. Which brings me to the characters which are definitely a high point in this book, l loved Danielle but even more so the supporting cast of ex pat's in their various lovable guises. The book had lots of twists and turns and a very satisfying ending and I honestly cannot wait to read more. ...more
Kathleen Gray
May 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Daniella has been estranged from her mother Effie for years. So she's surprised, really surprised, when she goes to Spain to bury her and discovers that not only has she inherited a bar, she's inherited a pile of problems because Effie has been running a scam. A scam which bilked a bunch of ex-pats of over one million euros. And the money is missing. Her mother's attorney George Laidlaw as well as others think she knows where it is. So do the police. This is a hoot in spots. Daniella's story is ...more
Gordon Mcghie
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
But my reading mojo is back and Thirty-One Bones played a huge part in that. I was able to lose myself in this book as it had an engaging story, a tight cast of characters and an underdog I could get behind and will to succeed. For the first time in weeks I had a story I wanted to keep reading.

It starts so well – Effie is in her element, she is in her rundown Spanish bar, she is mid-con as her silver tongued sales pitch is about to scam a potential investor out of €20,000. Before she can seal th
Pamela Scott

This is different than other crime novels I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve read a book that focuses on the Spanish criminal world or property scams. I wanted to read this book because of these two things; I thought it would be different than other books I’ve read and I was right. I loved this book and had such a good time reading it. Thirty-One Bones is fast paced, fun, a bit crazy and packed with dodgy character you can help warm to. Effie is not a nice pers
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Thirty-One Bones by Morgan Cry (pseudonym for author Gordon Brown) is a highly recommended mystery.

Daniella Coulstoun travels to El Descaro on Spain Mediterranean coast to bury her deceased mother, Effie. The two have had a distant relationship for twenty years so Daniella has little knowledge or information about her mother's life in Spain. She knows Effie left Scotland when Daniella was sixteen to move to Spain where she owned and ran a pub, Se Busca. Se Busca was patronized by British expats
Suze Clarke-Morris
Daniella Coulston hasn't seen her mum much in the last wee while, but when Effie dies suddenly in the Spanish town where she lives. Daniella flies out for the funeral and to sort out her mother's will. She's taken a week off from her insurance firm job and has already booked her budget return flight. But things aren't quite that simple. In fact, the whole situation is, well,... it's complicated.

It turns out that Effie had a personality to match her size - large - and had attracted a ragtag bunch
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Morgan Cry is an alias for crime writer Gordon Brown, but Thirty-One Bones is a distinct departure from his previous books – a new setting, in Spain, and a new central character in Daniella Coulstoun.
We begin in a bar in a small coastal town in Spain, Se Busca, owned by Effie, who has just persuaded a young man called Paul to invest 20,000 euros into a property scheme that is entirely a scam, when in walks Simon, an aggrieved investor who has figured out what he put his money into and now wants
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Scottish Writer Gordon Brown (Morgan Cry) has given us with "Thirty-one bones" a magnificent and hilarious crime caper that had me in stiches from start to finish.

It's 2019 and the story takes place in El Descaro, a fictional resort town reminiscent of that urban eyesore called Benidorm on the Costa Blanca, 20 minutes north of Alicante (Spain)
Effie Coulstoun, a 80 year old British expatriate and pub owner drops dead from a heart attack after popping one too many ecstasys. Effie is also one of
Rosie | rossiereads
Jun 17, 2021 rated it liked it
When Daniella's estranged mother, Effie, dies in Spain under suspicious circumstances, Daniella feels it's her duty to fly out for the funeral. Effie was the sole owner of the seedy ex-pat pub Se Busca, whose faithful kept her in business for twenty years. Among them is a dangerous group of misfits who confront Daniella on her arrival, claiming that Effie stole huge sums of cash from them in a multimillion-euro property scam. They want the money back, and Daniella is on the hook for it
Jun 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Thanks to netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Effie is a Brit living in Spain. She had made a life for herself and owns her very own bar frequented by fellow Brits in Spain. One day out if the blue Effie drops dead in her bar. Her daughter Daniella feels it is her duty to go to the funeral in Spain, but they have been estranged for years.

She soon discovers that Effie had many secrets and is confronted by those fellow expats as the cash from a multi million property sca
Apr 28, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
At the start of this book, I felt like it would make a very good mystery for a dinner theatre. Lots of unique characters, beautiful location, somewhat silly encounters. In fact the characters are almost caricatures: former musical stars, former models, hopeful future famous people. It made for an oddball scene surrounding the death of Daniella's estranged mother. When Daniella arrives for the funeral, a three ring circus environment ensues with several people pressuring her to return money her m ...more
Effie Coulstoun is pulling a scam to get $20,000 from a man, she hides the money, but dies from a heart attack before she is able to tell anyone where the money is. But, there are people who want their share of the money and they are going after Daniella, Effie's daughter, to get it.

Daniella travels to Spain for the funeral and meets detective/ Captain Lozano who doesn't believe Effie's death was caused by a heart attack. In a new country and having been estranged from her mom for 20 years, Dani
Farida  Yasser
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.
Okay, so first things first, let me tell you what i liked.
The author is really good with his writing, the dialogues were entertaining, there weren't any stretching, and the ending of some parts especially the investigation parts, ended in a really funny and amusing manner.
On the other hand, i didn't think the plot was that strong, like it needed more spice to let you feel hooked, and i'm sure the autho
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this delightful mystery. The setting in a coastal town in Spain was an excellent break from my current real world surrounding. The cast of characters were very quirky but not trite or formulaic. I finished the book in just 2 days which is a bit rare for me, but the story just kept going and it was so easy to just ignore the world until I finished it. And, while I thought I knew where the money was the whole time, I was wrong. And it’s nice to to read something that can still surprise me ...more
Hannelore Cheney
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thanks you Net valley and Skyhorse Publishing for the eARC.
What a fun ride this book is! A great group of characters, a warm, lovely setting (Costa del Sol!), a feisty, appealing lead character and the mystery of 1.3 million hidden Euros make this a unputdownable read.
When her mother dies of a heart attack (or was it murder?) in her bar, Daniella has to leave Scotland for the funeral and ends up meeting her mother's 'friends', a motley group of ex-pats who are basically losers. They're all broke
Apr 18, 2021 rated it did not like it
The premise of this book seemed interesting upon first glance: a young woman goes to Spain to settle her mother’s estate only to find that her mother was involved in running a massive property scam. But I didn’t enjoy the book. I’m not sure exactly why but I didn’t find any of the characters memorable or particularly engaging. The story seemed kind of ridiculous at times, although it did have some humor which saved it in parts. I wouldn’t recommend buying this book. Thanks to NetGalley for the A ...more
T Olsen
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is entertaining, well written and with great characters, but there's just too much nonsense to be top notch. ...more
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing read with a fab collection of characters, i liked the links to the interviews by the police and the unusual storyline. A great introduction to the author
Wow. Morgan Cry keeps you engaged with this thriller all throughout the story. Twists and turns with ups and downs. Action and surprises you won’t see coming.
Gillian Waterhouse
rated it really liked it
Dec 17, 2020
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