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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Friday, 24 August 2018

The Mystery Of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The Mystery Of Three Quarters

I am really enjoying Sophie Hannah's foray into the world of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. One thing that strikes me about the latest instalment, 'The Mystery Of Three Quarters', in particular is the way that Sophie Hannah has carried over her masterly handling of human emotion and moral dilemmas that characterise her psychological thrillers into this very different setting.

The story starts with Poirot being perplexed. When four people all come to see him to complain that he has sent them a letter accusing them of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, he is both baffled and somewhat indignant. Why would Poirot do such a thing? And, since Poirot knows he did not send the letters, then who did? And how dare they sign them with his name.

Things take an even more peculiar turn when one of the letter recipients explains that Barnabas Pandy was her grandfather and that far from being murdered he died as a result of drowning in his bath. Poirot and his engaging sidekick Edward Catchpool set out to find some answers.

This story really does have a close examination of human nature at the heart of it as well as a mystery. The motivations of some of the characters for doing what they did are absolutely fascinating, and something you'll keep thinking about once the book is finished.

Oh, and cake. Did I mention cake? Some light relief is provided when Poirot finds himself assisting his favourite waitress, Fee Spring, in the matter of a stolen cake recipe. The 'Church Window' cake in question becomes a tool for Poirot's own contemplation of what is behind 'The Mystery Of Three Quarters'.

All in all, a great read. If you love Agatha Christie, give it a go, and if you love Sophie Hannah's other work you'll certainly find much to enjoy here.

I received a review copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.

You can read my reviews of more of Sophie Hannah's books here.
You can find out more here.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Death Rope by Leigh Russell

Death Rope


Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.
When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.
Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?
Death Rope is a real treat for fans of Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson, back together and working as a team again. Geraldine isn't entirely happy that these days Ian is the boss, but for readers the changed dynamic is really interesting.
This is an unusual murder enquiry that starts off looking like a suicide. But one person, the victim's sister, refuses to believe her brother would do such a thing. As Geraldine makes enquiries, at first tentatively, she starts to find that other people agree with that view. Could the victim's sister be right when she starts throwing accusations around about who might really be responsible for her brother's death?
If the victim didn't take his own life, then what did happen? Geraldine has to piece together the fragments including a shoe left outside a house, the mysterious involvement of a dog, a sinister black van, and the fact that people connected to the victim are also starting to go missing.
This is a complex plot with some very subtle touches, which leads to an unexpected conclusion. I don't want to say too much more than that for fear of giving something away, but it is very inventive.
As always we get glimpses into the detectives' private lives as well, adding another layer of interest to the proceedings. Geraldine's adoptive sister Celia has just had another baby and so she feels the pull to spend more time with family. But her loyalties are split between Celia and her birth sister. And what of Ian's estranged wife? Or does he have romantic intentions closer to home?
This series just gets better and better. You can read my reviews of Leigh Russell's earlier books here.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.
And buy a copy here

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Gone To Ground by Rachel Amphlett

Gone To Ground

I have been following Rachel Amphlett's Kay Hunter series from the beginning and have really enjoyed all of them. You can read my reviews of two of the earlier books here

In this latest book, Rachel Amphlett is on fine form. 

When a series of body parts start to turn up in various locations around the Kent countryside, Kay and her colleagues are at a loss. There's a real sense of mystery here and a great plot set up. Despite the unpromising circumstances, they identify the first body, and then a second. But what links the two? And why on earth would their killer be cutting them up and leaving bits of their bodies by the roadside.

One thing that does become clear is that the killer is very dangerous and will almost certainly strike again. Kay and her team need to stop them before they kill any more people. As the investigation progresses, Kay and her team find themselves investigating an interesting set of possible suspects. In parallel to this they also start to unravel the backgrounds of the victims.

As always the characterisation is deftly done and Kay's relationship with her colleagues, and also her husband is vividly drawn. A little light relief is offered by husband, Adam, bringing his work as a vet home again. This time in the shape of a miniature goat that seems intent on destroying the garden.

Overall a great read with tension, pace and a gripping and unusual plot. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks very much to the author for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more and buy a copy here.