As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Penguin Random House, 28 July 2016. ISBN: 978-0-09-955809-5 (PB)
You’d think there was a limit to the number of variations on murder
mysteries based around old or well-weathered bones. Yet Kathy Reichs’s
bestselling series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan now
runs to nineteen titles, and still she succeeds in pulling something a little
different out of the hat each time.
Speaking in Bones, the latest of Tempe’s adventures, has a lot in
common with the earlier titles: a mystery which requires a lot of unravelling;
interesting characters and a vivid sense of place; further developments inTempe’s emotional rollercoaster of a personal
life; and the clipped, idiomatic style liberally laced with technical terms
which has become something of a trademark for Reichs.
The first of the interesting
characters is one of the factors which makes this title a little different from
the others. Hazel ‘Lucky’ Strike, self-styled websleuth, is present from the
outset, and her investigation is what fires up Tempe’s own sleuthing brain
cells. ‘Lucky’ is as eccentric as they come and determined to follow her
intuition through to the bitter end.
Websleuths, it appears, take
it upon themselves to follow up cold cases of murder, missing persons and other
crimes which the police have given up on, mainly by picking up leads online,
but also in the real world. Lucky has been pursuing a teenage girl whose family
insist has run off with a boyfriend, and enlists Tempe’s help when she unearths
a vital piece of evidence the police have missed, and becomes convinced the
girl’s bones are stashed in thecounty
medical examiner’s store.
Religious fanaticism soon
enters the picture, and the case becomes a great deal more complicated than it
appears. Tempe follows Lucky’s trail with the help, and sometimes hindrance, of
two contrasting cops, discovers more bones and a lot of conflicting
information, and eventually has a narrow escape as the denouement approaches.
Meanwhile, her personal life
is in chaos. The case is taking place in North Carolina, and her former lover
in Montreal is pressuring her to resume their relationship; her mother is in
love; her soldier daughter is in Afghanistan; and her accountant is chasing her
for information for her tax return.
The sum total is another
intriguing episode in the life of one of crime fiction’s most popular
protagonists. Kathy Reichs knows how to tell a good story and keep the reader
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Kathy Reichs was born July 7,
1948 She is a crime writer, forensic anthropologist and academic.She is vice president
of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists; a member of the RCMP National
Police Services Advisory Council; forensic anthropologist to the province of
Quebec; and a professor of forensic anthropology at the University of North
Carolina-Charlotte. Her first book, Déjà Dead , catapulted her to fame
when it became a New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times bestseller
and won the 1997 Ellis award for best first novel. She is a producer of the
chilling hit TV series Bones. She has written eighteen bestsellers
featuring Dr Temperance Brennan, the most recent include Bones of the Lost
and Bones Never Lie. She has also written five bestsellers featuring
Tory Brennan: Virals, Seizure, Code, Exposure and Terminal.Kathy is a forensic anthropologist
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.
Published by Legend Press,
31 October 2015. ISBN: 978-1-9103946-3-2(PB)
The country of Luxembourg may be
small, attractive and apparently tranquil but nonetheless it is at the heart of
the European Union. In late August the Schueberfouer fair is held in Luxembourg
City. Among the crowds are Bridget and Achim Scheen and their daughters,
17-year-old Ellie and much younger Gaynor. Achim is German and has a job in
Luxembourg; Bridget used to be a nurse and has worked in Algeria, among other
places, with the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. Ellie wanders off,
comes back, and has a furious argument with her mother. She goes off again and
takes Gaynor on the Ferris Wheel; Gaynor comes back but Ellie does not. She has
disappeared. Brigid becomes frantic as does Achim. At first the Luxembourg
police assume it is simply a demonstration of teenage rebelliousness and are
slow to react; they are not anxious to publicise anything that might risk the
reputation of Luxembourg. But as Ellie remains missing they begin their
investigation. One of the investigating detectives is Olivier Massard, the
boyfriend of probation officer Cate Austin who has featured in this author’s
previous novels. Cate, who has moved to Luxembourg not just to be with Olivier
after the end of her previous marriage but for reasons connected with her own
family, has now resigned from the probation service. Cate’s daughter Amelia and
Gaynor are friends and when Cate sees how distressed Bridget is and how slowly
the police investigation is progressing she herself becomes involved. Meanwhile
in Algeria, a young girl, Amina, is about to start on the long people
traffickers’ route to Europe; this has been arranged by her mother who is
anxious for Amina to get an education and escape the growing domination of the
local Islamists including Amina’s own brother as is Amina herself. Eventually
Amina, along with her friend Jodie, finds herself in a run-down part of
Luxembourg and they both become involved in the events arising from Ellie’s
disappearance, finding themselves drawn into the dark heart of the city’s
underworld which underlies the somewhat kitsch exterior, as does Cate.
is a very impressive novel with a strong and powerful theme involving not only
people trafficking but also the damage that parents can unwittingly do to their
children. As herself a former probation officer, Ruth Dugdall’s writing is
clearly informed by her own experience of working with troubled children and
vulnerable adults. Her first novel won the Crime Writers Association Debut
dagger; I have not read that nor her other earlier novels but I look forward to
doing so. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May
studied English at university and then took an MA is Social Work. Following
this she worked in the Criminal Justice System as a social worker then as a
probation officer. Part of this time was spent seconded to a prison housing
serious offenders. She continues to work within the Criminal Justice System,
most recently in Luxembourg. Ruth's novels are informed by her experience and
are "authentic and credible".
Ruth's first novel, The James Version,
is a historical fiction based on the actual murder of Maria Marten at the Red
Barn in Suffolk. The story is re-told with a fresh light on who really killed
Maria. Her second novel, The Woman Before Me, won the Debut
Dagger in 2005. It is the story of Rose Wilks, a female stalker imprisoned for
killing a child, who claims to be innocent. Her third novel, The Sacrificial Man, will be published in 2011. It is the story on an Internet suicide pact that goes wrong. Humber
Boy B, set in Ruth's birthplace Hull, was published in 2015 as was Nowhere Girl, which is set in
Luxembourg. Apart from The James Version, all of Ruth's books feature probation
officer Cate Austin. "Probation officers have more face-to-face contact
with criminals than any other profession," she says, "they are the
unsung heroes of the Criminal Justice System."
Radmila Maywas born
in the US but has lived in the UK ever since apart from seven years in The
Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead
she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and has been working for
them off and on ever since. For the last few years she was one of three editors
working on a new edition of a practitioners' text book on Criminal Evidence by
her late husband; the book has now been published thus giving her time to
concentrate on her own writing. She also has an interest in archaeology in
which subject she has a Diploma.
fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin was the creation of the nineteenth century
American writer Edgar Allan Poe. However in this remarkable novel, Poe and
Dupin, the first of a proposed series, combine forces to unmask the perpetrator
of a number of knife attacks on women in late eighteenth century London. In
those attacks, which really happened, solitary women are stabbed in their buttocks
and thighs. The perpetrator was known as the London Monster and was the subject
of several ballads. A man was convicted of some of the attacks and imprisoned;
there was virtually no evidence against him but the true identity of the
perpetrator (or perpetrators) has never been established.
novel begins in 1840 with Poe voyaging from his home in Philadelphia, leaving
behind his beloved wife, to meet Auguste Dupin in London. Poe’s mother had died
when he was a child and he was adopted into a prosperous family. When his
adopted mother (‘Ma’) died, his adopted father (‘Pa’) married again but
relations between him and his adopted father were not good especially after his
father married again – Poe had expected to inherit some of his father’s wealth
but instead only gets from his stepmother a box containing letters between his
maternal grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Arnold, both actors on the London
stage in the late eighteenth century who had left London for the United States.
The letters not only indicate the stormy relationship between the Arnolds’ but
also describe the misdeeds of the London Monster indicating that the Arnolds
were in some way connected to them. Poe thinks that the letters are forgeries,
designed by his stepmother to cause him pain. He asks Dupin for his opinion. Then
more correspondence between the Arnolds turns up, delivered to Poe’s lodging,
the splendidly named Brown’s Genteel Inn. But Poe’s stepmother does not know
his London address so how can she be responsible? And if not her then who? And
Poe is being followed by a mysterious stranger – who is it? He and Dupin,
having begun by investigating the mystery of the authenticity or otherwise of
the Arnold letters, now find they are investigating another mystery as well.
But are the mysteries in some way connected? And since Poe is heavily addicted
to both drink and drugs, how much of what he experiences is real and how much
is about the cleverest book I have ever read and I am deeply impressed,
beginning with the basic concept, in which a fiction writer meets his own
creation who just happens to be the first fictional detective. The prose style
is amazing: although the eighteenth century letters are in the somewhat flowery
style then fashionable, they pale in comparison with the feverish Gothic style
of Poe’s first-person narrative reproduced by the author in a way which comes
across as being entirely authentic. Then there is the way in which the
real-life story of the London Monster is taken up and elaborated so as to
involve the Arnolds. Another clever touch is the way in which Poe’s writing is
woven into the narrative: I’m not particularly familiar with his writing but
even so, out of over 30 allusions, I recognised about 5. Poe addicts will
probably recognise all or most of them. But this novel should appeal across a
far wider field. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Karen Lee Street was born in America, but has
lived in London for a lot of her adult life. She recently moved to
Australia. Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster is her first
Radmila Maywas born in the US but has lived
in the UK ever since apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at
university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years
for a firm of law publishers and has been working for them off and on ever
since. For the last few years she was one of three editors working on a new
edition of a practitioners' text book on Criminal Evidence by her late husband;
the book has now been published thus giving her time to concentrate on her own
writing. She also has an interest in archaeology in which subject she has a
Published by Twenty7 Books 3 March 2016.
ISBN 978 178577 020 3
Whilst you spend the whole of The Last Thing I Remember wondering who
had killed Sarah’s husband and left Sarah in a coma, a major part of this
intriguing book is, to my mind, actually about the relationship between Sarah
and Kelly. Over the course of an engaging dual narrative that alternates between
Sarah and Kelly, the two of them take it in turns to speak, think, and dream.
Sarah was a beautiful and
successful career woman before she was mugged. She cannot speak out loud, but
she can hear and differentiate between voices. The speech of the doctors and
nurses, and of her parents and her sister, together with their alarming future
plans for her, is reported along with her comments on her situation.
Kelly is fourteen, half
Sarah’s age. She and her mother live next door to Sarah and the two of them
have become friends. Kelly recounts the horrible behaviour of her schoolmates
and the sometimes-embarrassing behaviour of her Irish mother who insists on
behaving in what she considers to be an “appropriate manner”.
Gradually as we build up a
picture of Sarah and Kelly’s backgrounds, we come to appreciate how much the
two of them have in common, and how much they have come to rely on each other
for comfort and mutual support.
Sarah knows who attacked her
but cannot say, and Kelly knows who attacked Sarah but won’t say. You
simply have to finish the book to find out.
Reviewer Angela Crowther.
Deborah Bee studied fashion journalism at Central St martins. She
has worked at various magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, the
Times and the Guardian as a writer, a fashion editor and later an editor.
Currently, she is a Creative Director in luxury detail.
Angela Crowtheris a retired scientist. She has published many
scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction. In her spare time Angela
belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening
to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.