Close To The Bone by Stuart MacBride

Close To The BoneTwo years have passed since the traumatic events of Shatter The Bones and Logan MacRae is now acting-Detective Inspector of the Aberdeen CID. With his boss constantly on his back, a new pushy Detective Sergeant to deal with and his girlfriend pestering him to get a kitten, the last thing he needs is a vicious killer on the prowl…

So when someone is found “necklaced” – strangled, stabbed and shoved into a rubber tyre before being set on fire – a young couple vanishes, a gang war begins to kick off, Logan has his hands full. And when things start to become linked to the production of a film based on a book with a lot of dedicated fans, that’s when things get complicated…

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Top Five Underappreciated Books – My 600th Post

I’ve been banging on about mystery novels since 20th December 2010 and, at an average rate of 2.32 days per post, we hit post number 600. I didn’t do anything special for the 500th post – mainly as I didn’t notice it coming until I was writing the relevant review – so I thought I’d do something a little different for this one.

I’ve done various Top Five posts throughout the last four years – Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, Non-Series Carr and Paul Doherty – so here’s another one. The Top Five Underappreciated Books – the very best books that haven’t had as much attention as others. I’ve been delving through the stats page that WordPress gives me and have come up with these.

  1. Yesterday’s Papers by Martin Edwards.

Yesterday's PapersActually, most of the Harry Devlin posts don’t get much traffic – there’s also All The Lonely People, Suspicious Minds, I Remember You, Eve Of Destruction and Waterloo Sunset. Well-constructed mysteries with a strong believably-flawed central character with the background of 1990s Liverpool, these are always entertaining reads. And if you like these, there are also Martin’s Lake District series – reviews of The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth, The Serpent Pool and The Hanging Wood are hereabouts as well.

  1. The Ambush Of My Name by Jeffrey Marks

The Ambush of My NameOK, the book’s a little silly in places, but this historical whodunnit, with not-yet-President Ulysses S Grant as detective and one of the daftest endings I’ve read but Marks gets away with it. There’s also a review of the sequel, A Good Soldier as well. Must get round to reading book three.

  1. Dream Of The Dead by M G Scarsbrook

Dream Of The DeadA theatrical whodunit – a policeman from a London acting dynasty investigates an intricate murder plot while getting advice from absinthe induced visions in his old family theatre. Yes, that last bit sounds weird, but this is a cracking read and well worth a look.

  1. Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon

Thirteenth NightAnother theatrical entry, but in a different way. A sequel to Twelfth Night – by that Shakespeare bloke – revealing the truth between the lines of that play, combined with a clever mystery. Winner of the Grand Puzzly for 2013, this needs more of an airing. It probably has more of impact if you know the original play, but it’s well worth a look.

  1. Shadows In The Night by Jane Finnis

shadows_newcover_smallAurelia Marcilla, a Roman innkeeper at a tavern on the road to York, is drawn into the struggle against The Shadow of Death, a hidden figure determined to drive the Romans back home. A clever mystery with some great sequences that still takes time to build characters. The villain is pretty spottable, but that doesn’t detract from a great read.

Well, that’s the top five – although I could mention a heap from the usual suspects – Paul Doherty, Michael Jecks and Kate Ellis. Now I have at least four more books shooting to the top of my TBR list (M G Scarsbrook hasn’t published the sequel to Dream… yet). Do check out the full reviews by clicking on the link. Back soon for more authors that I sort of forgot about.


Posted in General, Jane Finnis, Jeffrey Marks, M G Scarsbrook, Martin Edwards | 13 Comments

An Excellent Mystery by Ellis Peters

Excellent Mystery1141 and the Empress Matilda, despite capturing King Stephen, has been beaten back by the Queen’s army as the tide is turning during the so-called Anarchy. Two monks, fleeing the conflict, take sanctuary at Shrewsbury, in the monastical home of Brother Cadfael, but they are pursued by a young noble who is desperate to find his one true love. She was wronged by the elder monk, who took holy orders rather than marry her, but seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. Cadfael finds himself drawn into the events, but can even he get to the bottom of this “Excellent Mystery”?

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Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton

like-this-for-ever-sharon-bolton (1)Barney Roberts is a twelve year old boy with twin obsessions. He desperately wants to find the mother who abandoned him when he was young, and he is fascinated with a series of local murders – the murders of young boys just like him, their bodies washed up by the Thames. He has a special talent for spotting patterns – but when he starts to uncover the truth, he discovers something too horrible to believe.

Lacey Flint wants nothing to do with this case or any other. After the traumas suffered in Cambridge, she has withdrawn from her few friends. But as the police make no progress, Lacey finds herself drawn into the case – a case that seems to be all about blood, something that Lacey knows far too much about…

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Posted in Lacey Flint, S J Bolton, Sharon Bolton | 14 Comments

The Crossword Murder by Nero Blanc

Crossword MurderMeet Rosco Polycrates, an ex-cop and current private investigator, hired to look into the unexpected death of crossword compiler Thompson C Briephs. The official word is that he died during some… um, strenuous exercise with a young lady of ill-repute,  but when his secretary is attacked and his final crosswords for the newspaper vanish into thin air, suspicions begin to form.

Meet Annabelle Graham, the crossword editor for a rival newspaper who Rosco goes to for information. Solving Brieph’s Monday crossword leads to a suspicion that Briephs left clues identifying his murderer within his crosswords – it becomes imperative that the remaining puzzles are to be located before the killer comes across them first or things will go down-hill fast.

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The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – September 2014

Well, that’s another month out of the way – September 2014 has swept past us. September always seems to be a short month for me, as the first month of the school year always keeps me busy. Being laid low by a cold didn’t help matters on the teaching front, but it did help me hit a respectable reading target for the month, which included one of my most controversial reviews in more ways than one – just read through the comments section…

But which of the seven books have been awarded the prestigious award of the Is Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel Book Of The Month – aka the Puzzly for September 2014?

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Posted in Book Of The Month, Brother Athelstan, Paul Doherty | 2 Comments

The Flesh Tailor by Kate Ellis

The FleshTailorDI Wesley Peterson is at a dinner party hosted by his sister, a local doctor. When her associate, Dr James Dalcott, doesn’t show up, no-one suspects the truth – that he has been shot dead in his home. While Dalcott seems to be a perfect local doctor, he has at least one dark secret in his past – one that may well have led to his death.

At nearby Tailors Court, a number of bodies are unearthed, showing signs of dissection. Not Wesley’s problem, it seems, as they date back centuries, but when a child’s body is discovered alongside a coin from the 1930s, it appears that there is a case to be investigated concerning a missing evacuee to the area. With the same marks on the bones as the older bodies, it seems that the Flesh Tailor may have inspired an heir. An heir that may well have links to the death of James Dalcott…

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Posted in Kate Ellis, Wesley Peterson | 5 Comments