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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Published by Avon, 23 January 2020. ISBN:
Three days following a tragic accident when the wife
of a gang member was killed during a police raid, riots broke out south of the
River Thames where DCI Anna Tate lives and works.Currently on leave after finally being
re-united with her daughter* Anna has offered to report for duty and been told
to stand by and wait for a call back.
When she is called by Detective Chief Superintendent Bill
Nash, despite the severity of the riots she is asked to take the case of the
death of a young boy who was killed when the rioters set fire to a derelict pub
in Camberwell. He died of smoke inhalation as he couldn’t escape owing to being
chained to a wall in the cellar.
As the riots continue and move closer to Anna’s home,
she asks her boyfriend, Tom Bannerman who is a social worker and lives only a
mile away to go and stay with her daughter Chloe. He responds that he will go
The dead boy is quickly identified by the label in his
blazer as Jacob Rossi, the ten-year-old son of Mark Rossi, a TV presenter and
Celebrity with a capital C. The boy had disappeared while walking home from
While Anna is examining the crime scene the leading
officer in the search for the missing boy arrives introducing himself as DI
Benning, who was clearly devasted to find the boy dead. ‘How do I tell the
parents, I told them there was hope and that I would bring their boy home to
them’. He said, with anguish. When Anna explains its now an MIT investigation
he asks if he can stay on the case to help bring those who did this to justice.
Confident that her daughter Chloe is safe with Tom
Anna sets her mind on the case. But are Chloe and Tom safe?Caught up in her investigation Anna is unaware
that the rioters have reached her street.
As Anna investigates it becomes clear that a number of
people have grudges against the boy’s father. But would any of them go so far
as to abduct his son?
Little Boy Lost is the third
book in the DCI Anna Tate series. The story is narrated in the third person by
Anna, and by Chloe, who provides some back story to her earlier life.
It is often said of a book that it was a ‘thought-provoking’
read. This book is certainly that. It is
about ‘consequences’.The actions that
we take and the decisions that we make that can lead to unthought of, and unforeseen situations that may have dramatic
and heartbreaking results. In 2015 I reviewed a book by
this author written as James Raven called Random Targetsand if you have
read it you may understand that when travelling on a motorway I still find
myself scanning the bridges.
This is a truly gripping read, with a jaw-dropping ending.Highly recommended.
J P Carter is a pseudonym for James
Raven who has been a journalist for
most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national
newspapers he moved into television as a news scriptwriter. He then worked his
way up to become Director of a UK News Division. He now runs his own TV
production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling. He is
also an accomplished magician.
Published by Matador, 28 October 2019. ISBN: 978 1-838590 93-7
London, Christmas Day, 1947, and one of the coldest
winters ever to hit the British Isles: deep snow, ice, bitter winds. Britain
had been victorious in World War II but everywhere were the scars inflicted by
the bombing, particularly in London where this story is set. And to add to
physical damage inflicted on the landscape there are the privations arising
from the strict control necessitated by the conflict which increased after the
war was over so that even bread was rationed. And the cold made everything much
worse, the sea freezing over, coal impossible to get out of the ground, electricity
supplies often intermittent.
protagonist of this story, Newman (no first name), had first arrived in London
nearly twenty years before and had found himself a job as an insurance fraud
investigator in the City of London and then, when the war began, tracking down
military supply fraud. Now he’s back in London and going it alone as a private
investigator, private eye, gumshoe, shamus – call it what you will. He knows
his way around both England and the English, but he is, and always will be, an
in the morning of Christmas Day, Newman receives a call from a Councillor Drake
to the effect that a driver will call for him with a set of keys and then will
drive him to an address in the City where he is to hand the keys to a detective
inspector who had just called Drake to request access to a property owned by
him because of an ‘incident.’ But when Newman gets to his destination, which is
the church of St Bartholomew’s near Smithfield, the detective inspector has
gone and there is a body with gunshot wounds in the porch. The constable on
duty tells Newman that the body was actually discovered by a neighbour, a nurse
from Barts Hospital nearby. Newman looks round the church, sees two candles
burning, lights a couple more himself and then, armed with the keys Councillor
Drake has supplied, enters the building to which the keys belong. The second
floor flat was plainly occupied by a skilled photographer whose favourite
subject was boys in various seductive poses on a divan. One photograph,
however, is of a grown man, the man whose body is now in the porch of St
Bartholomew’s. But that is not all: in the next room is the divan featured in
the photographs and in the bathroom is a hole in the wall with a camera focused
on the divan. A scenario clearly set up for blackmail.
blackmail is only part of what this story is about. Much of the City of London had
been largely destroyed during the Blitz and property developers are eyeing the
opportunities offered by the devastation. When Newman speaks to the nurse who
found the body, she tells Newman his name – Raymond Jarrett – but refuses to
say anything more. Drake, however, is very perturbed to hear of his tenant’s death
and of his activities about which he claims to know nothing. Then Newman finds
himself following leads: to an elderly prostitute called Dillys Valentine but
when he is talking to her he is attacked and wounded, and she is killed. And it
all goes on from there: tough City of London cops who may or not be corrupt, a
nervous City solicitor, an enigmatic temporary forensic medical examiner, an
edgy nurse, a frightened boy from a good family, a missing archaeologist, City
bankers and property developers, a tangled web of soured family relationships. And
was very impressed with this book. The author, although English, writes in a
highly effective pastiche of the traditional U.S. hard-boiled style but which
is at the same time very literary – one chapter heading refers to the Austrian
philosopher Wittgenstein and another to a famous chess player. The plot is very
complex with strong characters, although it is not always easy to follow. The
author on her website (www.janetroger.com)
,which is well worth reading, scrupulously tells us that the bitter winter
which forms such a vital part of the story had actually happened the year
before, but she certainly paints a totally convincing picture of what it was
like. She also describes, not just on her website, but in the course of the
story the peculiar jurisdiction of the City of London police which is quite
distinct from that of the Metropolitan police. Recommended.
says as a teenager I’d read all of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe detective
stories - not so long after they were written as I’d like to think - and they
knocked my socks off. He wrote about a Los Angeles of neon-lit boulevards,
a sour, gritty downtown and gun-toting cops (a novelty to this young
European) and made them exotic. But what really got under my skin was
Marlowe's voice guiding me around the next street corner, and beyond
it into a stale apartment block or a down and low bar. He invited me in
to look over his shoulder, let me see the highs and the lows, talked
me through them and then put me in the seat beside him to drive me home.
It was heady stuff, up to the point where the story began to seem incidental to
the city, its moods and characters and speech patterns. What really mattered
was a time, a place and the people you might run into there. I’d discovered a
new kind of mystery writing and got hooked. I wasn’t the only one. Pretty soon
it just wasn’t possible to take the Chandler out of anyone’s idea of LA. By now
you might have the same thought about Leon and Venice, Lehane and Boston, or
Block and New York. And when that happens, you know they’re getting under
your skin too.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven 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 still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.
Mystery Fest is Mystery People’s own Crime Fiction Day in collaboration with the Portsmouth BookFest. Our Guest of Honour, award winning author
will be in conversation with successful actress and author
Other Authors, Expert Witnesses taking part are:
Carol Westron, Organiser Jeff Dowson
Christine Hammacott Donna Fletcher Crow Mia Emilie
Debbie Young Dot Marshall-Gent
10.15am Welcome from Clare Forsyth 10.20 - 11.20 The Right Place to Kill. Choosing the place to set your Fictional Crime. Panel: Peter Tickler, Debbie Young, Charlie Cochrane, Christine Hammacott.
Participating Moderator: Carol Westron.
11.30am12.30pm: Expert Witness Professor Becky Milne of the University of Portsmouth who will be talking about Police Interviewing - the reality
13.15-14.00 - Guest of Honour L C Tyler in conversation with author Linda Regan
14.00- 15.00 Supernatural & Religious Beliefs in Crime Fiction
Panel: Barbara Nadel, Sally Spedding, Linda Stratmann, Mia Emilie. Donna Fletcher Crow Participating Moderator: Dot Marshall-Gent
15.00 -15.20-Coffee-Tea Break
15.20-15.45 Short talk by Jeff Dowson on Screenplays, Crime Thrillers, Marlowe and Me.
15.45-16.30Discussion with audience participation
- Fictional favourites Peter Tickler will lead the discussion of favourite books in the crime fiction genre, assisted by Charlie Cochrane and Carol Westron Tickets are available in any Portsmouth Library or at www.portsmouthbookfest.co.uk £15 including a light lunch.