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.
New reviews are posted daily, but to search for earlier reviews please click on the Mystery People link below and select 'reviews' from the welcome page. This will displays an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
For PREVIOUS REVIEWS- Click on MYSTERY PEOPLE below -
Orion, 15 June 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4091-5279-8 (PB)
The maverick cop is a staple of crime fiction, but once in a while the
avid reader comes across a protagonist who takes the description to a whole new
level. Detective Sergeant Fiona Griffiths of the South Wales Police goes even
further; she's a loner (though growing less so as the series progresses), a
disciplinary nightmare (and growing more so, ditto) and often a danger to
herself, but she's so brilliant and so successful that senior officers who
can't work with her get themselves transferred so she can stay with Major Crime
and solve the tricky cases.
The Deepest Grave is her sixth adventure (a word Fiona also takes to a
whole new level), and the case is so complex and bizarre that author Harry
Bingham almost has to apologize in a note at the end. Only almost; he explains
his reasoning, and I for one was completely convinced.
Whether or not you'll be
convinced by Fiona depends on your view of crime fiction. If you like the
gritty, down-to-earth, every-day-on-the-streets kind: the Chandleresque model,
as Bingham describes it – well, there's a certain amount of that. But her real
appeal is probably to the Sherlock Holmes school of fandom: unlikely plots with
plenty of twists and turns and off-the-wall happenings, and an investigation
which follows a path for which only Fiona has a map, and owes nothing to either
convention or procedure.
In Fiona's cases, there's a
body round every corner, a surprise every fifty pages or so, and half-clues
dropped liked confetti for the reader to pick up and tuck away for later. Fiona
herself is a one-off to beat all one-offs, and gathers around herself an
unlikely crew of allies: in this case a PhD student with motor neurone disease,
a gun-toting Welsh vicar and his dog, a verbose church librarian and a group of
archaeologists. Oh, and her dad, possibly Wales's most notorious unconvicted
master criminal. The boss who appreciates her unique qualities is away, and she
falls foul of a detective inspector who plays very much by the rules; at once
point I wondered if she was about to decamp to Oxford to escape his rod of
And the crime? To describe it
would give too much away. Suffice to say it starts with a murder involving a
sword, three spears and an ancient box with a distinctive design. There's
burglary, a hostage situation, forgery of a very specialized kind, and a lot of
action which requires swift travel from one part of the UK to another to get
there before the bad guys. Fortunately Fiona drives very fast indeed.
Immersing myself in one of
Fiona's cases is like visiting another world. It's not always comfortable, but
it's invariably utterly amazing. As Harry Bingham says himself, you never know
quite where the story will end up. And that, surely, is the true meaning of
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Harry Binghamis the author of the Fiona Griffiths series of crime
novels, set in Cardiff and featuring a heroine described by the Sunday Times as
'The most startling protagonist in modern crime fiction ... brutal, freakish
and totally original.' Harry - slightly less freakish than his creation - lives
in Oxford with his wife and young family. He also runs The Writers' Workshop,
an editorial consultancy for new writers. His books on Getting Published and
How to Write are among the leading titles in their field. H enjoys
rock-climbing, walking, and swimming.
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 Edurus Books, 31 May 2017. ISBN: 978-0-9957123-0-0
When Zaq Khan is called to his boss's offices at the builders'
yard where he works on release from prison, he fears the sack. However, it is
worse, under threat of being sent back to prison on trumped up charges he is instructed to search for his boss,
Mr Brar's runaway daughter. It seems he has arranged a marriage for her but she
had other ideas and was seen with another man, Mr. Brar is furious. Reluctantly
Zaq has to agree to find her, although inside he is seething and he goes to see
his friend Jags who offers to help.
They find out where Rita Brar works
and slowly piece things together. However they also have her two brothers
Parminder and Rajinder, both huge menacing brutes to contend with. They seem to
know a lot more about Rita and the man she was seen with than they let on.
It soon becomes clear that the
brothers are also mixed up in crime on a large scale. Is there really cement in
the sacks they are seen loading up at a warehouse? Zaq and Jags' search is further
hampered by someone intent on making Zaq's life a misery, he is attacked for no
apparent reason and he has no idea who the men are. Threatening notes are also
left on his van's windscreen, and the tyres are slashed. Has someone else got
it in for him?
The brothers the put more pressure
on Zaq by insisting he lets them know first when he finds Rita. They need to find her before things
hot up even more.
Then things go from bad to worse
when back at the warehouse, Zaq witnesses a brutal murder which really shakes
him up. He wonders what else he is getting himself mixed up in. This is more
than just finding a runaway daughter. He really starts to fear for his life.
This is a great story and the main
character, Zaq is a likeable person but he does have a tendency to keep getting
beaten up! I have never been to Southall but Amer Anwar's description is so
good that I feel as though I have.
It is well written and has a clever
plot which twists and turns right up to the exciting finish. A well-deserved winner of the
C.W.A. Debut Dagger Award.
grew up in West London. After leaving college he had a variety of jobs,
including; warehouse assistant, comic book lettering artist, a driver for
emergency doctors and chalet rep in the French Alps. He eventually landed a job
as a creative artworker/graphic designer and spent a decade and a half
producing artwork, mainly for the home entertainment industry. He holds an MA
in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London and is a winner of the
Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. Western Fringes is his first novel.
I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I
play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love
is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for
plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots
of great new authors.
by Constable, 6 October 2016. ISBN: 978-1-4721-2309-1(HB). 4 June 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4721-2310-7 (PB)
First Inspector Ruud Pujasumarta of
the Jakarta police has never seen a crime like it: a middle-aged woman who has
first had one hand severed, then been choked to death with a mah-jong tile in
her throat. When Ruud’s former playfellow, Imke Schneider arrives, they’re
immediately attracted to each other, but Imke also has a dark secret ...
present-day PP moves between narrators: we follow Ruud, Imke and her eccentric
Aunt Erica, whose portrait commission has brought them to Indonesia, in third
person, but there are also first-person sections in the voice of the brother of
the perpetrator of this series of killings, and these are used to give us hints
as to who the killer might be – several possibles are set up, and dismissed in
turn. There are also moments of tension as it appears that key characters may
have been taken by the killer. The characters are an interestingly diverse
bunch: Ruud, whose wife has left him – as everybody knows, and isn’t shy of
mentioning - is now haunted by his mother-in-law bringing him lunchtime
curries, and dealing with his choleric boss. Imke is torn between her need to
return to her childhood home and the feeling that her family left under a
cloud; Aunt Erika travels with the contents of a sweet shop to fuel her
chocolate habit. The sights, sounds and smells of Indonesia are vividly evoked,
particularly through the country’s food. The plot moves swiftly, the general feel is of a cosy read, but the
scenes of violence are evoked in full detail.
A police procedural with episodes of noir violence, clever plotting and an unusual setting.
Julian Lees was born and raised in Hong Kong, attended boarding
school in England and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with his wife
and children. The great-grandson of a
high-ranking Cossack general who served under the last Tsar of Russia, Julian
is a writer who draws from his family's rich history. His novels are set in a
world where East meets West, a cross-cultural world which he captures
bewitchingly and dramatically in his fiction.
Marsali Taylor grew up near
Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently
a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and
two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is
fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive
dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a
keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of
her local drama group.Marsali also does
a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.
A review of her recent book Ghosts
of the Vikings can be read here.