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 display an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
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by the British Library October 2017. ISBN: 978-0-71235699-2
Foreign Bodies is a wonderful collection of fifteen
short stories from across the globe, that have been translated into
English.It is full of surprises, beginning
with the first extraordinary and very funny tale, The Swedish Match, by none other than Chekov.This is followed by Palle Rosenkrantz’s quirky,
A Sensible Course of Action, in which
Russian Countess Wolkonski presents herself to the Danish police requesting
their protection from her husband’s brother, and presenting them with quite a
conundrum.The third story Strange Tracks is by Hungarian writer,
Balduin Groller; eccentric detective Dagobert must use his ingenuity to solve a
murder which begins as ‘an ordinary matter of robbery.’ Maurice Level serves up
the next ‘little tale of horrors’ in The
Kennel, after which the reader is treated to a mystery by Maurice LeBlanc,
which concerns Footprints in The Snow.
Return of Lord Kingwood, by Ivans, begins when Lord Kingwood’s caretaker
contacts ‘The Yard’ about a discovery he has made and does not wish discuss
over the phone.When Detective Monk
arrives at Kingwood Manor, he finds that a murder has been discovered and the
caretaker has disappeared.In the next
tale, The Stage Box Murder, author Paul
Rosnhayn recounts a tragic story which is revealed through a series of letters
sent by out of work actor, Kurt, to his wife Clara.After this follow two stories to make the
skin crawl. First is Kogo Saburo’s The Spider (1930), in which a murderer
goes to extraordinary lengths to kill a colleague.Then, The
Venom of the Tarantula by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, considers an unusual
way of ingesting poison.And poison
remains the theme in the next story by Jean-Toussaint Samat - but don’t be
fooled by the mouth-watering title, Murder
A La Carte.A grim tale follows,
involving a double murder and some confusing ski tracks - The Cold Night’s Clearing by Keikichi Osaka, is not for the
Pierre Very offers a lighter read in his homage to Gaston Leroux, The Mystery of the Green Room, in which
an aging Madame de Rouvres is burgled, and Inspector Martin must try to recover
her belongings.Up next is Kippers, which tells the story of a
Caribbean voyage that ends in disaster for several of the crew whilst reserving
an unusual and grisly end for one of the mariners.In a 1957 tale, The Lipstick and the Teacup, Dutch author Havank explains how a
cigarette stub and a teacup can provide sufficient evidence to convict a
murderer, that is, when clever Detective Inspector Carlier is on hand.In the final story, The Puzzle of the Broken Watch, by Mexican writer Maria Elvira
Bermudez, an unfortunate worker from the local match factory, Juan Garcia, is
charged with the murder of his sister-in-law.Defence Lawyer Prado believes his client is innocent, but needs help to
find the real killer.Enter suave Armono
Zozaya, whose expertise discovers several other possible suspects.This is a classic ‘Whodunit’ with Latin
American flair, and includes a wonderful riposte for anyone who has ever been
chided for being lost in a novel, “So you think you can’t be busy reading a
Foreign Bodies is another splendid offering from the British
Library Crime Classics series.Martin
Edwards uses his in-depth knowledge of, and empathy for, early twentieth
century detective fiction to lead the reader through a carefully chosen collection
of cosmopolitan crime.Mr Edwards’
introduction contextualises the stories, and he effortlessly incorporates
fascinating biographical and literary detail which enhance the reading of the
tales.The editor’s understanding of
this period, provides the reader with insights into the genre which are
enjoyable and informative, as those familiar with his other edited collections,
and his comprehensive study, The Golden
Age of Murder, have come to expect.Highly
Martin Edwards was born 7 July 1955 at Knutsford, Cheshire and
educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first-class
honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first
legal article at the age of 25 and his first book, about legal aspects of
buying a business computer at 27, before spending just over 30 years as a
partner of a law firm, where he is now a consultant. He is married to Helena with two children
(Jonathan and Catherine) and lives in Lymm. A member of the Murder Squad a
collective of crime writers. In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the
Crime Writers Association and in 2011 he was appointed the Archivist of the
Detection Club. Martin is currently chair of the CWA. For more information
Dot Marshall-Gentworked in the emergency services
for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as
a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a
teacher of English in her mid-forties. She completed a M.A. in Special
and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches
part-time and writes mainly about educational issues. Dot sings jazz and
country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to
reading mystery and crime fiction.
by Matador, 28 November 2017. ISBN 978-1788039-88-8
Doug Thompson has produced a fascinating story.
His protagonist is Sally Jardine-Fell who is in Holloway Prison awaiting trial
for murder in 1946. The vis Tim is an Italian in London. Sally
tells the story of her experiences in the War to her lawyers and remembers many
further interesting details as she sits in her cell.
Sally went from a privileged upper-class
life in London to working as a secretary in a factory in the North of
England. Her husband has been killed right at the beginning of WW2 on a
reconnaissance flight over France and she feels rootless and
dissatisfied. She finds herself being tested and directed as she is
recruited by Special Operations Executive and sent to Italy as a spy. She
is aiming to get close to Count Ciano, Mussolini’s Foreign Minuster.
Her adventures in Italy are amazing
as she, firstly, pursues her allotted tasks and, secondly, wanders through
Italy after the Germans take over in Italy. Her memories are very clear
and her stopping points in Italy and her chance met companions prove to be extremely
varied. Her fears that there are double agents operating seem to be
accurate. The story of her life as revealed to the lawyers reaches a
conclusion for the trial. It is obvious as she relates what happened to
her and her own reactions that the lawyers find her free-thinking attitude hard
to accept and that they will gloss over some aspects to give an impression to
the Court that is more conventional.
This is a clever story which
quickly engulfs the reader in Sally’s experiences as she struggles for survival
in the teeth of life threatening dangers. The tension grows as the story
reaches a climax.
knowledge of Italian history is very good which is not surprising since Doug is
a former professor of Italian literature and history.
Jennifer S. Palmer
Professor of Modern Italian language, history and literature, draws on his
intimate knowledge of Italy to write a lively novel with a feisty protagonist
and colourful cast of supporting characters. The book will appeal to readers of
historically based fiction, those with an interest in Italy especially the war
Thompson has several previous books including nonfiction about Italy.
Jennifer 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 Zaffre, 16 November 2017. ISBN: 978-1-78576-182-9
and Charlie Swift are the perfect couple - Instagram-perfect, gorgeous,
successful and in love. Then Charlie is named as the prime suspect in a
gruesome murder and Emily’s world falls apart. Enter London Herald journalist,
Sophie Kent. Sophie knows the police have got the wrong man, after all, she
trusts Charlie, a fellow journalist, and a best friend, with her life. But as
she is drawn deeper into Charlie and Emily’s ‘perfect’ marriage, something
happens that blows the investigation and her trust in Charlie apart. And now Sophie
isn’t just fighting to clear Charlie’s name, she is fighting for her life.
Perfect Victim is the second thrilling outing for Sophie Kent, and her life
hasn’t got any easier since Corrie Jackson’s first book. Sophie has a tonne of
emotional baggage: she is still investigating the possible murder of her adored
brother; she is dealing with the fall-out of an unwise relationship; she
doesn’t sleep well and she drinks too much. But she is fiercely loyal to her
friends and dives headlong into clearing Charlie Swift’s name.
a multi-layered and devilishly well-constructed plot this is. It’s a very
modern story involving social media and its manipulation. The story twists and
turns this way and that until your head is spinning. We have to sit by and
watch as Sophie tries to make sense of the mounting evidence against Charlie,
trying to reconcile the idea of him being a killer with the fact he is one of
her best friends.
strong second strand to The Perfect Victim is the relationship between Charlie
and his wife, Emily, which we see unravelling through Emily’s eyes in chapters
that count down to the day of the murder. The perfect marriage is not all it
seems from the outside, and Jackson cleverly reveals its disintegration piece
book is deliciously complex, gritty and dark. Jackson uses her own experience
as a journalist to show a newsroom under pressure. The book deals with alcohol
abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse. There is a religious cult. There are many
secrets and lies. It is written beautifully and with so much energy - the
characters leap off the page. It gallops to a good and surprising resolution.
Jackson has written a worthy follow up to her Sophie Kent book, Breaking Dead.
It is not necessary to read the first novel to understand the second, but it
would stand you in good stead. And, like The Perfect Victim, it’s a great read
- so what’s stopping you?
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley
been a journalist for fourteen years and has worked at Harper’s Bazaar, The
Daily Mail, Grazia and Glamour. After a sunny two-year stint freelancing in Los
Angeles, she is now coming to terms with the weather in Surrey, England where
she lives with her husband and two children. She is currently working on the
second book in the Sophie Kent series.
Mary-Jane Riley wrote
her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter, when she was
eight. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk
show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but
also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Then, in true
journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good
story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She
formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message
across using their life stories. Now she is writing psychological suspense,
drawing on her experiences in journalism. The
Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads.
Her second book, After
published by Killer Reads in April 2016.To read the review click on the title.