Recent Events

Monday, 22 October 2018

‘Kiss of Death’ by Paul Finch

Published by Avon,
9 August 2018.


Detective Sergeant Heckenburg, known to all as Heck, is part of the Serious Crimes Unit. Whilst investigating the actions of the 'Black Chapel' gang, an anti-religious group who attack churches and kill the priests, Heck and his team are informed of a new case, Sledgehammer. Gemma his boss, informs him they will be working with the Met's Cold Case Team and they are to go after an Eddie Creeley wanted for armed robbery and murder. Creeley so far has eluded arrest and no one has seen him for some time, it also seems he is a really nasty piece of work, even fellow villains have no time for him.

As the case proceeds the team discover that more vicious criminals have suddenly disappeared. Following a lead from Creeley's sister, Heck and his partner Gail uncover a disturbing series of events which involve the missing criminals fighting desperately for their lives, all of which is captured on film. It becomes apparent that there must be a leak within the police as the names and some of the details of the missing villains are known only to the Serious Crimes Unit.

The team uncover the fact that they are dealing with an international gang making millions out of drugs and the films they make. The latter are shown to members of an exclusive club which costs a fortune to join.

These brutal criminals will stop at nothing to protect their interests, as Heck discovers to his cost.

Not only are the Unit intent on solving the case but they are determined to beat the Met's Cold Case Team to it. Plus of course they need to discover the leak within their department. The pressure is on.

A really good exciting and fast-moving book from the writer of The Bill. I am sure my blood pressure must have shot up on reading some of the descriptions of the fights. Heck has merely to try and stay alive, and arrest the utterly immoral people behind the crimes..

The ending especially is heart stopping.  Highly recommended for those of a strong constitution!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Paul Finch was born in Lancashire. UK. He began his writing career on the British television series The Bill. He has written over 300 short stories which have appeared in magazines, such as the All Hallows, the magazine of the Ghost Story Society and Black Static. He is the author of the ongoing series of DS Mark Heck Heckenberg novels.

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.

‘Murder in the Manger’ by Debbie Young

Published by Hawkesbury Press,
6 November 2017. 

Sophie Sayers has been living in the Cotswold village of Wendlebury Barrow for six months and is beginning feel part of the village community. Every day she feels grateful that she decided to leave her dominating and selfish boyfriend, Damian, and live in the cottage left to her by her Great-Aunt May. Now Sophie has a job she loves in the village bookshop, Hector’s House, and a new boyfriend, Hector, the bookshop owner. Hector has encouraged Sophie’s dream of becoming a writer. Sophie has joined the Wendlebury Writing Group and, as her confidence has grown, she has initiated a joint venture between the local drama group and the school to produce a Nativity play. What is more, Sophie has written the play, with parts especially tailored to the various village personalities.

Sophie has made many friends, including the warm-hearted, bubbly Carol, who owns and runs the village shop, and she is surprised to hear that Carol doesn’t not like Christmas, until Hector explains that a foolish and traumatic event when Carol was a teenager had destroyed her pleasure in celebrating Christmas. Despite her ebullience, Carol is a lonely woman who is desperate for somebody to love and cherish.

Sophie is horrified when, returning from a night spent with Hector, she finds a white van parked outside her cottage. Her first hopes that this is a tradesman calling upon her elderly neighbour, Joshua, are swiftly dashed when she sees that the van has ‘Damian Drammaticus’ emblazoned on the side. Damian, her ex-boyfriend, has decided to reinsert himself into her life. Sophie has to fight hard to retain her newly-found confidence and not allow Damian to dominate her, especially when he announces that he is in Wendlebury to direct the Nativity Play. Even when he discovers that this is an unpaid position he decides to stay, and, when Sophie refuses to allow him to move into her cottage, he takes lodgings with Carol.

Sophie is afraid that her relationship with Hector and her first attempt to write a play are both going to be endangered by Damian’s unwanted return to her life, but although she is very good at envisioning troubles that don’t exist, even in her wildest nightmares she had not imagined that the performance of the Nativity would be disrupted by a hysterical woman screaming that somebody had stolen her baby from the manger.

Murder in the Manger is the third book in the series featuring Sophie Sayers. It is the cosiest of cosy crime books, packed with eccentric and lovable characters and details of life in a country village. It is a delightful, easy to read book with plenty of gentle humour. A perfect Christmas read to relax with.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Debbie Young was born and raised in Sidcup, Kent. When she was 14, her family relocated to Germany for her father’s job. Debbie spent four years at Frankfurt International School, broadening her outlook as well as gaining the then brand new IB (International Baccalaureate). She returned to the UK to earn her BA (Hons) in English and Related Literature at the University of York, then lived and worked for a while in London and the West of England as a journalist and PR consultant.  In 1991 she moved to the Cotswolds. In 2002, she married a Scot named Gordon whom she met in Swindon – and not, as village rumour once had it, a Swede named Scottie.  In 2003, her daughter Laura was born.  Best Murder in Show was the first in her series featuring Sophie Sayers. There are now a further three books in this series.

Carol Westron is 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 Cats the 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.

To read a review of Carol latest book Strangers and Angels click on the title.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

‘The Staveley Suspect’ by Rebecca Tope

Published by Allison & Busby,
19 April 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-2239-6 (HB)

This is the seventh in this prolific author’s Lake District series which are published in parallel with her Cotswold series. For reviews of many of the titles in both series see the Mystery People Reviews page.

Simmie (Persimmon) Brown’s flower shop is in the romantic town of Windermere on the shores of the lake of that name. She and her young assistant Bonnie are beginning to make a success of it with sizeable orders such as that from the middle-aged Gillian Townsend who is planning a party in her mother’s house in the village of Staveley to mark the retirement of her friend Anita Olsen from their joint solicitors’ practice. But Simmie’s personal life is particularly complicated. The relationship with boyfriend, and friend since schooldays, antique dealer Christopher, is progressing but time-consuming, and her father is showing signs of dementia which affect the B & B that he and Simmie’s mother run together. And out of the blue has come a letter from Simmie’s former mother-in-law: Simmie’s former husband Tony has been stabbed but the woman concerned has claimed that Tony had been stalking her and the stabbing had been in self-defence. Would Simmie be prepared to assist in Tony’s defence by giving evidence of his good character? But that not what Simmie wants to do: the reason why the marriage had broken down was the child she had been carrying was still-born and Tony’s grief had led him to an utter collapse whereas she had come to term with the tragedy and had forged a new life for herself. Except that, every year when Mother’s Day with all its faux-sentimentality and commercialism comes round, the wound opens afresh.  And now, as winter relaxes into a chilly spring, so Mother’s Day approaches.

And then a man’s body is found near Staveley, probably the victim of a hit-and-run driver. And the body is that of Declan Kennedy, Anita Olsen’s son-in-law. So, the retirement party will be postponed. Chief Inspector Moxon thinks that there may be more to the hit-and-run than a simple road accident. Meanwhile Anita’s daughter Debbie is convinced her mother is the perpetrator. But Gillian Kennedy is convinced that the culprit could not possibly be her friend Anita; after all, when it happened Anita was with her. The last thing Simmie wants is to be drawn into yet another murder investigation but she is deeply sorry for Gillian who is suffering from an unpleasant terminal disease. But Bonnie and her boyfriend Ben, a geeky scientist with ambition to be a forensic archaeologist, do suspect Anita whose dislike of her son-in-law was notorious. Is Simmie right in insisting it could not be Anita? Or are Ben and Bonnie, right?

This is, like the author’s other titles, very much in the cosy tradition. But, like all such stories, the cosiness is a veneer. As it peels off, so family antipathies are revealed exposing rancid scars. But which of those scars is rancid enough to lead to murder?
Reviewer: Radmila May

Rebecca Tope is the author of four popular murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker, Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds, and more recently Persimmon (Simmy) Brown, a florist. Rebecca grew up on farms, first in Cheshire then in Devon, and now lives in rural Herefordshire on a smallholding situated close to the beautiful Black Mountains.
Besides "ghost writer" of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme. Rebecca is also the proprietor of a small press - Praxis Books. This was established in 1992

Radmila May was 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.