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Thursday, 13 May 2021
by Joffe Books,
11 February 2021.
ISBN 978-1-78931684-1 (PB)
The discovery of two bodies in a clearing in Saltmere woods is, as Sergeant Danny Crier said ‘strange’. The bodies are of two young people lying on a blanket entwined. They look peaceful, she dark haired, lying on her back, the young man lying beside her holding a red rose.
Closer investigation by Detective Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter reveals that they were clearly killed somewhere else and then arranged to look like a lovers’ suicide pact. The team dub them Romeo and Juliet.
Eve Anderson and her friend from her RAF days Wendy Avery now retired from the MOD, had recently taken on the restoration of a Victorian artist’s attic studio, prompted by a guided tour of Oleander House which had shown the place to have been neglected for over a hundred years owing to a stipulation in the will that the studio was to remain untouched. But the owner Robert Richmond had managed to overrule the clause deciding it was time it was restore the studio. Equally interesting to Eve and Wendy was the fact that the artist the late Robert Matthew Richmond had gone off one day to paint wildflowers and had never been seen again. Eve and Wendy love a mystery. A chance meeting with a lady who had inherited an original painting by Robert Matthew Richmond has resulted in an invitation to Eve and Wendy to visit her in the Lake District, as she has been doing some investigating of her own and suspects that there was foul play involved in the artist’s disappearance.
Opting for an early start for their drive to the Lake district, Eve and Wendy set out at 3.30 am, but haven’t gone far when they are flagged down by a group of youngsters who are worried by a light in a tunnel. When Eve and Wendy investigate, they find the tunnel blocked by a boat and on the boat are two dead bodies. A young man and a young girl lying on cushions with a pink heart-shaped helium balloon drifting upwards from the girl’s hand.
Who will be the next victims? And Why?
Secrets on the Fens is the 12th book in
the Detective Inspector Nikki Galena series. Rich
in characters, this is an amazing read. Intricately
plotted, can Nikki and her team unravel the mystery of the deaths of these
young people and find the killer or killers? Both family dynamics and personal
choices play a part. But not just one tantalising mystery, but two. Will Eve
and Wendy discover the truth of the hundred-year mystery of the missing artist. Secrets on the Fens is a page turner, and is most
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett
Joy Ellis was born
in Kent but spent most of her working life in London and Surrey. She was an
apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that
throughout the Sixties and Seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’
celebrities. She swore that one day she would have a shop of her own. It took
until the early Eighties, but she did it. Sadly the recession wiped it out, and
she embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a
bookshop manager Joy now lives in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner,
Jacqueline. She had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to
take it seriously. Now as her partner is a highly decorated retired police
officer; her choice of genre was suddenly clear. She has set her crime
thrillers in the misty fens.
Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Published by Joffe Books,
29 March 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-78931727-5 (PB)
The Prologue tells of a young man visiting a “reader” at a psychic fair and how he is entranced by a pack of cards, similar to Tarot but called the Book of Angels. He then buys his own pack and learns how to read them. From that day he lived his life by their interpretation.
We then come forward to the present day. Ray Flowers, ex-detective, and his partner George Mahoney run a security firm installing alarms and maintaining them. Sometimes he still helps the police out using his detective skills. One day he receives a visit from a Lily Spencer who asks him to look into her twin sister Rose's murder. She explains that it hasn't happened yet, but a friend Elspeth, read it in a pack of cards called the Book of Angels. The police are not interested at all.
Then an elderly lady in a nursing home is found killed and a Book of Angels card is tucked in her hand. The police now have to take Lily seriously and interview an Alice Weston, creator of the pack of cards. They want to know about the one found at the murder scene. But she is mystified as to what the significance of it is.
Next, we learn that the young man with the cards of years ago is teaching two young women how to carry out his wishes. However, we have no idea of any of the identities.
Then there is another murder, also in a care home, the police now take the prediction of Rose's death seriously, especially as another Book of Angels card is left behind. Ray contacts his friend Detective Inspector Dave Beckett and offers to help.
Concern for Rose now really grows when there is a failed attempt on her life. In their hurry to escape, the assailant drops a card from the same pack. Worried there may be another attempt on her life, security is really stepped up at the nursing home where she lives.
No connection can be found between all the victims, so much against the judgment of Beckett's boss, Alice the creator is asked to help them. Can she do any better than the police?
As the murders mount up, they are certainly at their wits end.
Another spine chilling, nerve tingling thriller from Jane Adams. She certainly likes touching on the occult and is very good at creating a creepy and somewhat unsettling atmosphere. Once again, a highly recommended book from this intriguing author.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell
Jane Adams was born in Leicestershire, where she still lives. She has a degree in Sociology and has held a variety of jobs including lead vocalist in a folk rock band. She enjoys pen and ink drawing, martial arts and her ambition is to travel the length of the Silk Road by motorbike. Her first book, The Greenway, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award in 1995 and for the Author's Club Best First Novel Award. Jane writes several series. Her first series featured Mike Croft. Several books featuring DS Ray Flowers. Seven titles featuring blind Naoimi Blake, and six titles featuring Rina Martin. Her most recent series is set between the two World Wars and featuring Detective Inspector Henry Johnstone and his sergeant, Micky Hitchens. Jane has also written several standalone novels. She is married with two hildren.Tricia Chappell. 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.
Monday, 10 May 2021
Published by MacLehose Press.
18 February 2021.
ISBN 978 0 85705 884 3 (TPB)
Whilst driving back to Bolzano, a small city at the base of the Dolomites in northern Italy, the Ludovisi family, Nicolo, his wife Gaia and their autistic son Michelangelo, pull into the side of the road for a comfort break. Almost immediately we hear Gaia calling for her son who seems to have vanished into the thick undergrowth at the bottom of the mountains. A passing priest, don Guiseppe, stops his car and calls the police.
Commissario Sergio Striggio and Chief Inspector Elisabetta Menetti arrive at the scene soon afterwards. They determine the boy is not in his parent’s car and learn that Nicolo and Gaia’s marriage is going through a tough time. Nicolo admits Michelangelo is difficult to deal with - earlier we had seen him raise his hand as though to hit the boy. Routine investigations fail to discover the boy who seems to have disappeared into thin air. However, we learn that Michelangelo’s mother, Gaia, had a twin brother who had also disappeared without trace when he was young. He had never been found, but their father had been convicted of abusing him and sent to prison. Gaia was subsequently fostered by Nicolo’s parent’s, and the teenagers developed a seriously intense relationship long before they married.
Whilst Striggio is trying to uncover what has happened to Michelangelo, he is conducting a relationship with Leo, whom he loves, and trying to avoid one with CI Menetti who loves him but whom he doesn’t love. He is also preoccupied with the impending visit of his father, Pietro. Striggio is determined to tell Pietro that he is gay, but Pietro is seriously ill and has more important matters on his mind.
Striggio’s investigation and his love life then become entangled. Leo teaches at the primary school Michelangelo attended, and he knows that Sarah, the boy’s class teacher, has been having an affair with the missing boy’s father. Leo has neglected to give this vital information to Striggio. Sarah has already hinted to Gaia that Michelangelo showed signs of being abused.
two main threads in this sensitively written and sympathetically translated
book: crime, and communication with those you love. Of these, to my mind at
least, communication is Marcello Fois’s standout achievement. Whether it is
between father and son, Pietro and Striggio; between Striggio and his young
lover Leo; or even between Gia, Nicolo and their autistic son, Michelangelo;
the difficulties of communicating are beautifully portrayed. Possibly as a
result of his less than satisfactory upbringing, Striggio has an inbuilt
inability to communicate freely and honestly with those closest to him. During
exchanges between Striggio and his father and lover, we are continually exposed
to “shorthand conversations” that both convey and conceal the misery of years
of shared experiences and missed opportunities. This is a book that deserves to
be read, and read slowly, both to solve the mystery of what has happened to
Michelangelo and why it has happened, and to savour the poetic nature of the
Reviewer Angela Crowther
Marcello Fois was born in Sardinia in 1960 and is one of a gifted group of writers called 'Group 13', who explore the cultural roots of their various regions. He writes for the theatre, television and cinema, and is the author several novels, including The Advocate (2003). Silvester Mazzarella is a translator of Italian and Swedish literature. He lives in Canterbury.
Angela Crowther is 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.