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 HQ, 5 April 2018: ISBN: 978 – 0 –
00-824067 -7 (HB)
Rahmen is a British/Bangladeshi policewoman who has lived in the East End of
London since she was four. Maya is a kind and caring professional who has
plenty of her own problems to cope with before she can even begin to think of
solving the challenging series of brutal murders she is about to confront.
first meet Maya, she is on compassionate leave, having just returned from
attending the funeral of her brother in Sylhet – he had committed suicide by
setting fire to himself. Her mother has dementia, and her father, who
walked out on the family when she was a teenager, is an ever-present ghostly –
or perhaps not so ghostly – presence. All these issues impinge on how Maya
views the crimes and the people she deals with.
her new Australian sergeant, Dan Maguire, are called to Maya’s old school –
more memories to contend with - where the trendy young headmistress, Linda
Gibson, has been strangled. Beside Linda’s body is a card with the second
of five basic Buddhist precepts written on it. Does this mean that there
is a first victim waiting to be identified, and that the murderer has their eye
on three more victims? Of course, it does.
investigation is influenced by the need to take account of the many social,
cultural and racial tensions that are bubbling away under - or even on - the surface,
within the school’s Mile End catchment area. The Buddhist connection
seems clear. Finding it is another matter. Maya and her team are not
helped by their boss, DCI Briscall. He dislikes women in general and Maya in
particular. Egged on by a voracious journalist, Briscall is interested only in
getting a result quickly, regardless of whether or not it’s the right one.
Turn a Blind Eye is a quick and easy read. The background is truly
authentic, though I would have to say troubling at times as it provides scant
evidence of an integrated society in the East End. Maya and Dan are
refreshingly original and likable characters and, as this is the first in a
series of DI Rahmen stories, I will look forward to hearing more of them.
Vicky Newhamis the
author of the DI Maya Rahman police procedural series which is set in East
London. The first book, Turn A Blind Eye,
was published on 5 April 2018, and has been optioned for television by
Playground Entertainment. The second, Out
of The Ashes, will be published on 4 April 2019. Vicky has drawn on her
Psychology background and her experiences of living and working in East London
to write the books in the series. She studied Psychology at university and
taught GCSE/A-level Psychology for 10 years before moving to Whitstable, Kent
where she now lives with her cockerpoo dog.
Angela Crowtheris 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.
Portsmouth Bookfest. Portsmouth
Central Library organised in partnership with Mystery People
Open. A fun Quiz will be offered to the audience as they come in.
by Clare to Bookfest/ Mystery People/library/facilities/ safety precautions.
Crime Panel: Why Crime? - the reasons behind the appeal of Crime Fiction to
readers and writers.
Westron (participating moderator), Leigh Russell, Peter Tickler, Jeff Dowson,
Christine Hammacott, Judith Cranswick.
BREAK- Tea, coffee and scone, cream and jam will be served by Lily and Lime - your ticket
12.30pm: Forensic Investigations in the Real World: What would Sherlock
do now? Talk by Dr
Paul Smith and Inspector Colin White of Portsmouth University.
Talks 1,2, 3, 4 (20 mins each):
Christie - Stranger than Death: Gaynor Baker A
study of Christie's use of Spiritualism in her inter-war books and short
Not much like The Gentle Touch!: Dot
personal perspective of life as a 1980s Woman Police Constable.
·Murder and Moving Car-Parks in
Oxford: Peter Tickler Oxford crime writer Peter Tickler confesses all (well, some of it)
about the problems, joys and sneaky tricks involved in writing crime fiction
set in an authentic Oxford. And why one particular TV series set there has a
tendency to drive him wild.
Writing a Bestselling Series:
Leigh Russell The
challengesand rewards of writing a
Tea and coffee: Included in ticket
questions for the 4 speakers
History Panel:The Past is a Foreign Country: How do members of the
panel create the period they are writing about without over-burdening the
reader with details? Do they think that certain crimes occur at specific times
in the past?
Westron (participating moderator), Linda Stratmann, Barbara Nadel, Nicola
Slade, William Shaw, Leigh Russell.
Published by Constable &
Robinson, 2 November 2017. ISBN: 978-1-47212-288-9 (HB).
‘In sixteen-hundred-and-sixty-six,’ goes the old
rhyme, ‘London burned like rotten sticks.’ And, being built largely of wood
with houses jammed together along narrow streets, it did. There was apparently
a new contraption, a fire engine stored not in the City but in Clerkenwell for
the use of the Clerkenwell firefighter with which water could be pumped into
from the Clerkenwell Pipe House. Except that the director of the Clerkenwell
Pipe House, a Mr Joseph Graunt, was away and took the only key with him.
However, the fire engine could trundle through the streets of the City until it
reached London Bridge where it was possible to pump water from the Thames into
the fire engine via a waterwheel. Except that London Bridge was burning and
with it the waterwheel. So, water could be pumped directly from the river into
the engine. Except that the fire engine has slid down right into the Thames and
is floating slowly away. Men with buckets are attempting to stem the fire but
to no avail. London is being destroyed.
It is at this
point that John Grey, the narrator of this fourth story in the author’s sequence
of novels set in the seventeenth century, becomes aware of the fire. In his day
job, John has a successful legal practice in Lincoln’s Inn. Now, however, he
thinks he should join the ranks of the firefighters and on the way, he discovers two men. One of them runs off,
the other is dead, not from the fire but from a shot to the back. Now John
needs to find a magistrate to report his discovery to. He does find a
magistrate who is also Sir Felix Clifford, the father of the widowed Aminta
Lady Pole with whom John is in love. But Sir Felix has been waylaid by a mob who
are convinced that the fire must have been started by the French (who are at
war with England, and who, being Catholics, are doubly likely to be villains of
the deepest dye). Not that Sir Felix is a Catholic but his mistress, from whose
house he has just emerged, is French. That being so, what more evidence is
needed? John manages to deter the mob from killing Sir Felix but he does need
to find someone of sufficient standing to whom he can report his finding of the
dead man. And he can only think of one person: Charles II’s Secretary of State,
Lord Arlington, for whom John has in the past worked under cover. Arlington
tells John that someone has already been arrested, a Frenchman called Robert
Hubert, in fact, not a Catholic but a Huguenot, who has admitted to being the
fireraiser along with another man whom he shot. And that is the man whose body
John has found. Arlington is by no means convinced that Hubert is the
perpetrator and furthermore wishes to dampen down anger against Catholics: he
himself is not one but Charles is known to be sympathetic to Catholics and the
king’s many enemies dearly wish to blacken his name yet further. John, on
interviewing Hubert feels that he is sufficiently deranged for his confession
not to be taken seriously and, anxious that an innocent man not be hanged, he
starts to try and uncover the truth. But John’s search for the truth leads him
and his clerk and servant Will Atkins and also Aminta, who refuses to be left
out, into real danger and into a world in which no-one, least of all Arlington
and others of Charles’s inner circle of advisers, each conspiring against the
other, can be trusted. Hubert is just a pawn in that deadly game, and John and
his friends not much more. As we all know now, the fire started accidentally in
a baker’s shop but at the time religious paranoia demanded a more dramatic
John is an excellent
creation: an upright man, not to say somewhat puritanical and sanctimonious,
and determined to serve the truth in the dark, uncertain world in which he
finds himself. Will is loyal and supportive although somewhat bossy, while
Aminta is equally bossy but takes a more flexible and practical view of
matters. The narrative is gripping and historically accurate and enlivened with
the author’s dry humour. He tells us that he finished the book just as the
Grenfell Tower fire happened; the loss of life was far greater in that fire
than it was in the Great Fire of 1666 and he has dedicated it to the firefighters
of London. Highly recommended.
L. C. Tylerwas born in Southend,
Essex, and educated at Southend High School for Boys, Jesus College Oxford and
City University London. After university he joined the Civil Service and worked
at the Department of the Environment in London and Hong Kong. He then moved to
the British Council, where his postings included Malaysia, Thailand, Sudan and
returning to the UK he has lived in Sussex and London and was Chief Executive
of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health for eleven years. He is
now a full-time writer. His first novel, The
Herring Seller's Apprentice, was published by Macmillan in 2007, followed by A Very Persistent Illusion, Ten Little
Herrings, The Herring in the Library and Herring on the Nile. The first book in a new historical series, A Cruel Necessity, was published by
Constable and Robinson in November 2014. Since then he has published three further
books in this series. The latest being Fire.
His latest Ethelred and Elsie is Herring in the Smoke
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.