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
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Head of Zeus, 5 October 2017. ISBN:
It's always a treat to discover a talented debut author, and when the
genre of the novel is one of my favourites and the setting is one of the most
beautiful areas of the UK, the pleasure is doubled.
The genre is troubled
families, the location the Lake District, and Zosia Wand clearly knows plenty
about both. The family in question is the modern blended kind, rather than the
more conventional married couple plus two point four kids. Lizzie and Jonty
aren't married; he is twice her age, and the kids are his. Though only one,
seventeen-year-old Sam, appears in person for more than a page or two, both
leap off the page in technicolor.
That age gap, and the fact
that Lizzie is barely ten years older than Sam, lie at the heart of the story.
After forming a close not-quite-maternal bond with Sam over several years.
Lizzie now finds he is moody and uncomfortable around her. Jonty's attitude to
fatherhood has always been on the casual side; Lizzie's early life forced her
to grow up very early, and she's happy to take on the role of adult in the
relationship and the responsibility for dealing with Sam's problem.Except... It appears that everyone from Jonty
to Sam's grandmother and even a local policeman think that Lizzie is the
A tangle of relationships and
emotions ensues. Female companionship is thin on the ground for Lizzie, and
it's with some relief that she meets Rebecca, new to the small town they live
in. She confides in her new friend, but soon wonders if that was a good idea...
Several times as I read, I
found myself shouting out loud at Lizzie, warning her, begging her, desperate
for her to calm down and think before she acts. But that's the writer's art:
ensuring that the reader knows exactly what's going on when the characters
don't, and making the protagonist so real that we can't bear for her to
continue down the wrong path. The other lead characters, too, made me want to
hug them, slap them, cheer for them, blow the whistle on them, whatever the
storyline required. This wasn't a book to read dispassionately; I was right in
there alongside the family and townspeople.
Another aspect of that art is
to make the location so desirable and tangible that the reader aches to pack a
suitcase and head off to a new life. Tarnside isn't a real place, but it seems
to encapsulate everything that's good about the Lake District; it's a place
this talented author clearly loves.
Trust Me isn't a murder mystery; nobody dies, and though
there's a modicum of violence, the real crime is as topical as that blended
family. It's billed as a psychological thriller; it's certainly the former, and
the thriller label isn't wide of the mark either, especially when the tension
ramps up regarding whether Lizzie's view of the darkening situation will be
Did I say a treat and a
pleasure? Trust Me was both.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Zosia Wand is an author and playwright. She was born in London
and lives in Cumbria with her family. She is passionate about good coffee, cake
and her adopted landscape on the edge of the Lake District. Trust Me is her first novel.
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
Abby Foulkes is a police detective
sergeant in England who has experienced the loss of her husband and is still
grieving. She is not allowed to return to work until she completes a
programme of counselling. She had been involved in a case on the Greek
island of Skiathos in the previous year when she had worked with Lieutenant
Abby becomes interested again in the bone circle murders she had investigated
in the Aegean. She looks at photos from the past remembering a boy who
had disappeared whom she had met in 1998. She decides to visit Greece
again, having refreshed her memories of a series of discoveries of bones laid out
in circles on various Greek islands from 1990 and 2010. She has
no official status and, in fact, decides to travel under a false name to a
commune on Skiathos which may be connected to some of the victims.
after her arrival she and another woman at the commune find a dead body on the
beach - this is a far more recent demise of a refugee. She talks to the
Greeks who run the commune offering exercise classes, painting classes and even
some counselling. Other bones are found and Abby eventually discerns a vague
picture of the deaths. She puts herself in danger by so doing. The
climax is dramatic and deadly. Most of the book is set in Greece and a
picture of modern and old Greece is built up.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
is the third adventure for Abby.
born and grew up in Scotland. She now lives in the north-east of England and
has lived there since the 1980s. Her first novel Out of the Tower was shortlisted for the Constable Trophy 1992, a
competition for the best unpublished novel by a writer from the north of
England. It was described by the judges as powerful, strong, heartfelt,
admirably tense, a work of great promise and individuality, carefully thought
out and with subtlety, deftness and poetic nature of idiom.The Abby
Foulkes mysteries are set in Newcastle upon Tyne and the Aegean. The second
mystery Lady's Slipper won Indie Book
of the Day Award in November 2015 and the third mystery Forget-me-not Blues was picked as an Official Selection in the
Mystery Category of the 2017 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards.
PalmerThroughout my reading life crime fiction
has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in
the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing
my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now
lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.
by Little Brown Book Group, 16 November 2017. ISBN: 978-0-7515-5269-0 (PB)
Former Chief Inspector Armand
Gamache has left the Sûreté and taken a long respite after he was seriously
injured. Settled, with his wife, Reine-Marie, in the small, isolated village of
Three Pines, Gamache has found peace and healing for his wounds, physical,
mental and emotional. Now he has recovered and has received offers of many
high-ranking positions that will allow him to move back into the world of power
that he once inhabited, but he has chosen to take on the job of commander of
the Sûreté Academy. Gamache has a good reason for this decision. He has already
rooted out the corruption that was eating away at the Sûreté but he knows the
only way to truly cleanse the police force is to eradicate corruption at its
roots. For years the cadets at the Academy have been trained and bullied by
vicious, arrogant instructors, who have created generations of police officers
as cruel and corrupt as they are themselves. Gamache is aware that only by
getting the cadets when they are young can these evil instructors twist their
minds until they no longer know right from wrong. With his son-in-law, Jean-Guy
Beauvoir as his second-in-command, he is determined to stop this evil.
makes several bold decisions as he selects his teaching staff and the new
yearly intake of cadets. He mixes trusted instructors with others that he
wishes to keep near him until he can get sufficient evidence to have them
prosecuted. He dithers for some time before admitting as a cadet Amelia
Choquet, a young woman who has been leading an out-of-control life and has
slipped into prostitution, but Gamache decides to give her a chance to turn her
at Three Pines, Reine-Marie and the other residents are trying to solve the
mystery of an intriguing, strangely-illustrated map which was found amongst
magazines, newspapers and other old paperwork that had been used as insulation
in the walls of an old building. Three Pines does not appear on any of the
official maps of the district, but it is central to this map. As an exercise in
detection, Gamache gives copies of the map to four students, one of whom is
Amelia, and sets them the task of revealing its mysterious origin and its
a professor at the Academy is murdered, the crime is clearly tied to a member
of the Academy and it seems that Gamache’s bold gamble to cleanse the Academy
of corruption and cruelty has failed. A copy of the map of Three Pines is
discovered in the murdered professor’s bedside drawer and the corrupt Academy
and the peaceful village where Gamache found sanctuary are linked together.
Worst of all, Gamache finds himself under suspicion of committing the murder
and is in danger of being arrested.
A Great Reckoning is the 12th
in the series featuring Chief Inspector Gamache. It is a compelling book, with
a strong, lovable central protagonist. Gamache is a man of power, integrity,
generosity and kindness. His wife, Reine-Marie, matches him with her strength,
gentleness and her instinct to champion the vulnerable. This is demonstrated
when Reine-Marie is given the choice of a litter of abandoned puppies and she
picks not the adorable, fluffy puppy but the runt of the litter, who many
people claim is not a puppy at all. When he sees the puppy, Gamache admits to
himself that he would have done exactly the same thing.
regular characters in the series – the residents of Three Pines and Gamache’s
family – are all delightful, eccentric and warm, and must make most readers
wish that they were part of such a community. The plot is excellent, intricate
and flawlessly interwoven, with a clever discovery at the end. The writing
style is elegant without ever losing the delightful touches of humour or
slowing down the plot, and the images are exquisite. There are several subtle
underlying themes that weave through the book but, for me, the most moving were
those of kindness and of finding one’s way home.
Penny is a superb writer. When I first received this book and saw it was 500
pages long, I wondered how I would get through it in time to review it for the
December ezine. After the first few pages I was wondering what I could jettison
from my schedule because I just had to go on reading. In the end I read it in
three days. It is definitely a page-turner. Thoroughly recommended.
born in Toronto in 1958 and became a journalist and
radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, specializing in hard
news and current affairs. Her first job was in Toronto and then moved to
Thunder Bay at the far tip of Lake Superior, in Ontario. Louise had always dreamed
of writing and says, ‘Michael's support allowed me to quit work to write’.
Louise and Michael were married for 20
years. He died September 2016.
The Chief Inspector Gamache books have found a
world-wide audience, won awards and ended up on bestseller lists including the
New York Times’. Louise says Gamache was inspired by her husband, a kindly,
thoughtful, generous man of courage and integrity. She
lives outside a small village south of Montreal, quite close to the
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.She is the moderator for the cosy/historical
crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime
novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.The Terminal Velocity of Catsthe first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was
published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To
read the interview click on the link below.