Summer 1472, Canterbury. Kathryn Swinbrooke has been appointed by the Archbishop for a crucial task. Friar Roger Atwood, a soldier who committed terrible crimes before joining the church, has died. He has apparently led a holy life for many years, and, having been found dead in his room with his body betraying stigmata, miracles are now being attributed to him. An appeal is made for his beatification – and Kathryn is brought in to argue against it.
At the same time, a spy is found dead in an inn outside the city, locked in his room but with his head smashed in. He was carrying the name of a traitor in the royal court – but when Kathryn finds that everything seems to revolve around Dame Cecily, the mother of King Edward IV, she starts to smell a rat. For, you see, Atwood was Dame Cecily’s confessor. Oh, and she can probably smell the multitude of rats that have mysteriously appeared across the city…
Potentially the latest setting for my Medieval Miscreants strand of reviews, as the dawn of the Tudors is a mere thirteen years away, this is the fifth of seven novels featuring Kathryn Swinbrooke, an apothecary in Canterbury and her household. It was written under one of Paul Doherty’s pseudonyms and is a right swine to get hold of… or is it? Stay tuned for some exciting news…
DS Jessica Daniel and DC David Rowlands are waiting at Manchester Piccadilly station waiting for the train that will take them to the hell that is a training course. Luckily, Jessica spies a distraction – someone has left an unmarked package on the platform. Faced with a potential bomb or the training course, she chooses to open the box – only to find something bizarre inside.
As more surprises are left across the city, it’s up to Jessica to put everything together – but the mystery of the boxes is only the first link in a chain that will lead Jessica into a confrontation with a relentless foe.
A “half-novel”, set between the second and third full novels in the Jessica Daniel series – of which I greatly enjoyed the first two. After the “joy” of Cocaine Blues, I needed a guaranteed page-turner to boost my spirits. I figured that this would deliver the goods – but did it?
The end of the 1920s and Phryne Fisher, a young socialite, is tired of London. After solving a jewel theft, she receives a request to investigate the possible poisoning of a wife by her husband – in Melbourne, Australia.
No sooner has she arrived, she is thrust into a world of cocaine smuggling – can she find the Cocaine King and solve the mystery of the poisoning?
A while ago, Mrs Puzzle Doctor went to Melbourne for a work trip – a hard life, isn’t it? – and popped into a bookshop to buy me some local mystery fiction. The helpful shop assistant recommended three titles – the other two will be appearing soon. But this seemed to be a bright breezy book to start with? So what did I think of our heroine?
For the last eight weeks, UK television viewers have been following the investigation into the murder of the young Danny Latimer, found dead one morning on the beach at Broadchurch. As the crime is investigated by DI Alec Hardy, a officer brought in from outside the area, and DS Ellie Miller, a local officer passed over for promotion whose son was best friends with Danny.
As suspicion passes from person to person, starting with Danny’s father, secrets are inevitably revealed until the killer stands revealed. But with such a close-knit community, the scars from the murder go very deep indeed…
Well, the final episode got uniform coverage in the national press in the UK, garnering five star reviews everywhere, so inevitably, In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel jumps on the bandwagon – with one eye aimed primarily on the mystery, what did I think of it?
London, in the reign of Charles II. Lucy Campion is a servant in the household of a local magistrate. Blessed with a sharp intelligence, Lucy is thrust headfirst into trouble when her fellow servant Bessie goes missing. Whilst Bessie is suspected of robbing the household, things soon take an even more serious turn when Bessie is found murdered, in a manner similar to other recent deaths. Determined to bring justice for Bessie, and to clear someone close to her of the crimes, Lucy sets out to find the truth. But with a brutal killer on the loose and an ongoing conflict with the magistrate’s son, how can a serving girl possible find the truth? And that’s not to mention one or two rather devastating events that are about to hit London… it is 1665 after all.
This is the debut novel of Susanna Calkins, and fits nicely into a gap in my Historical Mystery Timeline. The reign of the Stuarts – especially post-Civil War – is a bit of a blank spot for me – while the English Civil War is a common topic at schools, the Restoration of the monarchy tends to get sped through quite quickly, or completely ignored. But this isn’t a history lesson – and, indeed, nor is the novel. This is Lucy’s tale – so what sort of a tale is it?
The Last Policeman introduced us to Hank Palace, a Detective in the Concord, New Hampshire police department, a man finally achieving his dream role as a police detective just as the end of the world begins. Asteroid 2011GV1 is on an inexorable path towards Earth – and when it hits, everything is over…
As Countdown City begins, 2011GV1 is 77 days away, and Hank no longer has his badge. Still smarting from the events of the first book, his lack of an official job doesn’t stop him promising to help the woman who used to babysit him – her husband has disappeared without trace.
Of course in a world without internet, without mobile phones and with a vast proportion of the population deciding to go “bucket listing”, disappearing without trace isn’t particularly difficult. But Hank, for whatever reasons, takes the case, little dreaming where his journey will lead him. While the human race may have 77 days left, there’s every chance that Hank may not make it to the finish line…
1264, Oxford. The barons of England, led by Simon De Montfort, are gathering their forces to rise up against King Henry III. With both parties vying for the support of the University, the fate of the country hangs in the balance.
Regent Master William Falconer, a logician of the Aristotlean school, is welcoming a new student, Thomas Symon, to his classes. But when a servant girl is brutally killed, Thomas barely escapes a lynch mob alive. As the town rises up against the university, Falconer has to find a brutal and cunning murderer – before the death count continues to rise.
I encounter Falconer recently in one of the better sections of The Tainted Relic and was very much looking forward to meeting him again in this, the first of eight books (so far). Of course, I’m biased as we’re visiting THE University, as far as I’m concerned. And possibly in the most important year, 1264, because that was when THE college, Merton College, was founded. But does that get a mention in the book? Absolutely not! What a disgrace! So, bearing this cardinal omission in mind, could I possibly give this book a fair hearing?