Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Tudor #Histfic BRANDON by @tonyriches

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Brandon by Tony Riches.

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We first meet Charles Brandon as a twenty-one year old, newly appointed to the King’s Spears. His father, who was Henry Tudor’s standard bearer, died during the Battle of Bosworth, and Brandon had been brought up at the court of Henry Vll. He became good friends with the young Prince Harry, who was later crowned Henry VIII, teaching him to joust and was one of his favoured group of courtiers.

Always finding himself lacking funds, Brandon incurred huge debts from borrowing money, primarily from Thomas Wolsey and afterwards Thomas Cromwell. His first marriage was a means to an end—Lady Margaret Mortimer had wealth and much land.

I knew next to nothing about Charles Brandon, really only that he married Mary Tudor. It was interesting to follow his story and the research was obviously detailed. Brandon worked his way up the ranks until he became Duke of Suffolk. He and Mary took a huge risk by getting married before asking Henry’s consent, especially after Brandon had been warned not to unleash his charm upon Mary. Henry had someone in mind for his sister for political reasons. Incurring his wrath was a dangerous thing and could be classed as treason. As it was, Henry made his displeasure felt by excluding them from court and keeping his distance for a while.

Mary’s unwavering and public support of Queen Catherine of Aragon caused friction between Brandon and the Boleyn family, whose fortunes were on the rise, not to mention Henry’s new chief advisor, Thomas Cromwell. Brandon had to keep in mind his responsibilities to his family as well as loyalty to Henry when it became obvious Ann Boleyn would be the next queen.

The story centres around Brandon and I enjoyed the way Tony Riches incorporates details of life at court with all its intrigue and danger into the narrative. Brandon is a well fleshed out character who managed to navigate his way through the unpredictability of court politics. He led a full life and was lucky enough to marry twice for love.

Book description

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Picture Not Perfect by @dehaggerty #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Picture Not Perfect by D.E. Haggerty

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In Picture Not Perfect we are reacquainted Terri, school librarian, and Melanie, school guidance counselor. Melanie’s ex, Owen, is trying his best to rekindle their relationship but Melanie is reluctant. Her over abundance of energy and lack of consideration for others is down to her ADHD and make her a complex and sometimes irritating character. She is aware not many people can cope with her hyper personality and recklessness. Afraid of Owen’s reaction to her diagnosis, she prefers to keep him at arm’s length rather than be let down.

When creepy Alfred Schultz, a social sciences teacher at the school, is found dead, Melanie is in the frame for his murder. The police found photos of her at Schultz’s house and believe he’s been stalking her.

“But he wanted to know you. Was he stalking you?” Davis’ harsh tone was in direct contradiction with Meyer’s gentle enquiries.

[Quote] “Stalking me! If he were stalking me, you’d know about it because I would have filed a police report. Duh. I’m a guidance counselor. I know exactly what steps I need to take when I’m being harassed, which I wasn’t.” By the time she finished her tirade, she was nearly screaming. [Quote]

Melanie is determined to find the real murderer in order to get the police off her back, and draws Terri and new English literature teacher Pru, into her far fetched, madcap, and sometimes dangerous, schemes as she follows up on her suspicions and speculations. The friends manage to uncover more than they’d imagined but will the police believe them?

Being Melanie’s friend would tax many people but Terri especially, and Pru, take her at face value. Terri is used to her antics and Pru is learning fast. Owen’s doing his best to convince Melanie he’s in it for the long haul, but she’s not easy to convince. There’s a good mix of characters and I enjoyed the chapter headings.

Picture Not Perfect is a light, fun cosy mystery, perfect for whiling away an hour or two.

Book description

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her. Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Social #HistFic Set In #Australia The Swooping Magpie by @LizaPerrat

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Swooping Magpie by Liza Perrat

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Lindsay Townsend, a pretty and popular sixteen year old, has set her sights on Jon Halliwell, the P.E. teacher at her school, regardless of the fact he is married. Although she is the daughter of wealthy parents, Lindsay’s home life leaves much to be desired. Her father is a controlling bully who thinks nothing of physical or verbal abuse and his long suffering wife has been cowed into submission. Despite her seeming popularity, Lindsay is vulnerable, lonely and desperate for affection. When her interest in Jon is reciprocated, it develops into a secretive affair.

Naively, Lindsay dreams of a future with Jon but is brought down to earth when her life changes drastically. She has no control over the events which overtake her and is forced into a hopeless situation no-one should have to endure, especially in the so called liberated world of the 1970s.

The story is narrated in the first person from Lindsay’s perspective and Liza Perrat captures the plight of girls in the same circumstances exceptionally well, the detailed research bringing it all to vivid, if sometimes horrific, life. Their shared experience forced the girls, who all had tragic backgrounds, to grow up quickly and they forged lasting friendships.

The Swooping Magpie is a fictional story based on fact. It’s hard to imagine the forced incarceration and cruelty young unmarried girls, who found themselves pregnant, suffered. The circumstances of the pregnancy didn’t matter, the girls had disgraced their families, sometimes through no fault of their own, and were ostracised. No thought or compassion for the trauma suffered was forthcoming and they were told in no uncertain terms to forget it and get on with their lives. In most cases the pain of loss and regret never left them. It’s also incredible, thought not totally unexpected, that the perpetrators of the scandalous conduct meted out to the girls at every level, including the parents, never had to answer for their actions.

A wonderfully written, moving and compelling story with unexpected, sometimes devastating, twists as we follow Lindsay’s journey into adulthood. The characters are realistically drawn and although Lindsay is preoccupied with her own feelings initially, regardless of anyone else, she becomes more sympathetic and likeable as the story unfolds to its satisfying conclusion.

As always, Liza Perrat has created evocative imagery of time and place, including social issues, wildlife, music and decor. And, although this is the second book in the 1970s Australian drama series, like The Silent Kookaburra it is a stand alone novel.

Book description

The thunderclap of sexual revolution collides with the black cloud of illegitimacy.

Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Townsend is pretty and popular at school. At home, it’s a different story. Dad belts her and Mum’s either busy or battling a migraine. So when sexy school-teacher Jon Halliwell finds her irresistible, Lindsay believes life is about to change.

She’s not wrong.

Lindsay and Jon pursue their affair in secret, because if the school finds out, Jon will lose his job. If Lindsay’s dad finds out, there will be hell to pay. But when a dramatic accident turns her life upside down, Lindsay is separated from the man she loves.

Events spiral beyond her control, emotions conflicting with doubt, loneliness and fear, and Lindsay becomes enmeshed in a shocking true-life Australian scandal. The schoolyard beauty will discover the dangerous games of the adult world. Games that destroy lives.

Lindsay is forced into the toughest choice of her young life. The resulting trauma will forever burden her heart.

Reflecting the social changes of 1970s Australia, The Swooping Magpie is a chilling psychological tale of love, loss and grief, and, through collective memory, finding we are not alone.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #RomCom A Village Affair by Julie Houston @JulieHouston2

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading A Village Affair by Julie Houston

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Cassie Beresford’s life was pretty perfect—a handsome, loving husband, two great kids, a beautiful home and she was about to realise her professional dream of the deputy head position at Little Acorns primary school. She and Mark, with a group of their closest friends, were attending a charity auction when Cassie’s world as she knows it takes a shocking turn. Her husband and her best friend Tina, have been having an affair for the past two years. It was announced in spectacular style to the whole room by Tina’s inebriated husband.

Cassie gets through the next few weeks with difficulty, not made any easier by the fact she is asked to fill in as head teacher, starting immediately. There’s also a development company planning to build a housing estate on the green belt around the village, which includes her grandfather’s wildflower meadow. Making a bad situation worse, they also want to demolish Little Acorns.

‘The village of Westenbury itself, really,’ Edward smiled. ‘We own it all.’

‘But not our little bit.’ David smiled back, the smile not quite reaching his eyes. ‘The Church owns the land Little Acorns is built on.’

‘But we own all the fields, all the land that surrounds the school…’

‘And you want our little bit of land because, without it, you can’t access your huge amount of land to build the three thousand plus houses the Bamforth Estate has put forward the plans for to Midhope Council.’

Cassie is a very likeable and sympathetic character and I love how she manages to turn her life around after the huge shock of her husband’s affair and at the same time being thrust into the role of a single parent. Luckily she has excellent support in the form of friends and family. The new job and the fight against the development help to keep her mind off her personal problems.

I think I was fooled somewhat by the cover. I hadn’t read Julie Houston before otherwise I probably would have known better, because A Village Affair wasn’t at all what I was expecting (and I mean that in a good way.) Although the narrative is full of humour, which balances out the heartache and drama, serious and more sensitive subjects are handled delicately and are interspersed with wonderful and sometimes hilarious illustrations of life in a primary school.

A very well written, real and easy to relate to story with memorable, well defined characters. I particularly enjoyed Cassie’s free spirited and unconventional mother. The unpredictability of life makes Cassie re-evaluate who she is and what she wants and, more importantly, what she doesn’t want. With some great twists the pace is steady but never slow. A really lovely read. I’ll definitely be reading more of Julie Houston’s books.

Book description

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if that weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistFic The Lost Letters by @SarahM_writer @Bookouture

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell

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The Lost Letters is a dual timeline story, with alternating sections switching between the present and the past just prior to, and during the Second World War. Martha Rodwell is on a quest to discover why her father, who had been writing his memoirs before his sudden death a month ago, had been about to take a trip to England. She and her sister Elizabeth discovered he had booked a hotel and rented a beach hut in Wells-next-the-Sea for the whole month of May.

Her father’s death hit Martha hard and she was having trouble dealing with the emotional fallout. He had been evacuated to Canada during WWII but never wanted to talk about it. So Martha is on a plane bound for England to try and find out why the first twenty years of her father’s life was missing from his notes, what was drawing him to a small coastal town in Norfolk….and who was Catkins? Apart from all that it’s also an opportunity for Martha to visit her daughter who is studying in London and hopefully repair a seemingly fractured relationship.

‘He was found on the porch, surrounded by sheets of writing paper skimming over the lawn and skewered to the rose bushes. Six months previously he had stepped down from the municipal council to write his memoirs. Elizabeth, her sister, had offered to proof read them but she had told Martha that he refused point-blank to let her see them.

’Not until they’re finished,’ he said, And then he mentioned, casually, as if it were of no import at all, that in order to finish them he would need to go back to England.’

Back in time to 1939, we meet Sylvie who is married to Howard with two children, Esther and Lewis. When her aunt dies, Sylvie is surprised to learn she has been left a beach hut in Wells where she was brought up and her parents still live. She meets Connie and her little brother, Charlie at the beach and they become firm friends. Their lives become entwined and the results of their lifelong friendship echoes down through the years.

I enjoyed the alternating storyline, although it’s a little slow to begin with. Martha’s story seemed to take a while to get going but once it did I became more invested in the unfolding tale, as secrets are uncovered and the mystery begins to unravel, not without several realistic twists. Britain during the war is described evocatively, the devastation and destruction, and the evacuation of children. What a terrible decision to have to make, I can’t even imagine.

Characters are believable and well crafted. I liked Martha, Sylvie and Connie very much, their determination and courage stood out. A poignant story of family secrets and the bond of friendship and love, with a surprising conclusion that tied everything up nicely. The Lost Letters is an accomplished debut.

Book description

What if keeping your loved ones safe meant never seeing them again? 

Norfolk, 1940: Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

Canada, present day: When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

The tragedy of war brought heartbreaking choices for Sylvia. And a promise made between her and Connie has echoed down the years. For Martha, if she uncovers the truth, it could change everything…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction Gift Horse by @JanRuthAuthor #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Gift Horse by Jan Ruth

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The story is told in chapters alternating between the present and the past, following Caroline Walker’s story over an eighteen year period. Married to Ian with one daughter, Mollie, Caroline’s seemingly perfect life begins to unravel as her worst fears materialise when Mollie suffers a terrible accident during a show jumping competition. Ian has some devastating news when he offers a blood donation at the hospital, in case of emergencies.

Travelling back in time to the millennium, we get a good understanding of the events that influence the present, and the involvement of Niamh, Caroline’s best friend, and her attractive rock star brother. Niamh is planning a New Year’s weekend long party at her parents’ house.

She and Caroline are total opposites. Niamh is part of a large Irish family, which includes brothers, sisters and numerous cousins, and isn’t backwards in coming forwards when it comes to expressing her opinions. Her meddling, albeit with the best intentions, can often make a situation worse than it need be. Caroline is an only child who likes her privacy and is much more self-contained. She and Ian are in an established relationship but are unalike in so many ways, and there’s already a serious issue which troubles Caroline.

‘Ian always knew how to handle Niamh. In fact he knew how to handle the majority of awkward situations. Except for one. It played on her mind from time to time but Caroline had high hopes for their weekend away and watched the passing scenery with a mixture of anticipation and awe.’

Mollie’s accident is the catalyst for the secrets and ill-advised choices from the past to resurface and impact on everyone’s lives. Caroline realises that when it comes down to it, possessions and wealth mean nothing if happiness is the cost. She’s desperate to help with Mollie’s recovery and her hopes are raised when she discovers an equine therapy centre. She believes this could be the answer. The centre reminds her painfully of something and someone she’s never forgotten but also soothes her, thanks to the peaceful setting and Connor (my favourite character) and his sensitivity.

The plot is crisp and concise and the cast of interesting, fully formed and diverse characters, who we get to know through their backstories, are an introduction to the intriguingly involved storyline which unfolds. Emotional issues, human and animal, are treated sensitively and are true to life. An unexpected twist leads to a very satisfying conclusion. Characterisations and relationships are always realistic and identifiable, the locations evocative with engaging storylines. I always enjoy Jan Ruth’s books and this is no exception.

Book description

Imagine living eighteen years of your life around a mistake…

Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.
Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family.
Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he?

Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery Fear & Phantoms by @carolJhedges

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fear & Phantoms by Carol J Hedges

Fear & Phantoms is another very enjoyable addition to the excellent Victorian Detectives series. The story opens in the early hours of a snowy winter morning, as an injured man is left to freeze to death. And as Helena Trigg wakes to a bright white, silent world she discovers her twin brother Lambert’s bedroom neat, tidy and empty. Assuming he has left early for work she doesn’t worry until she returns at the end of the work day to empty lodgings and an accusatory letter.

Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully are dealing with sightings of a supposed apparition in railway tunnels and the ensuing media frenzy. Which is nothing compared to the crime they will investigate very shortly. A con man is defrauding banks, masquerading as several different people, and killing those who get in his way.

Lucy Landseer, a budding novelist, journalist and very purposeful young lady who is determined to pursue her dream of a writing career in London, keeps her eyes and ears open at all times in search of articles and stories, which comes in very useful along the way.

‘A train going in the opposite direction arrives, and they board it. Now, Lucy is highly intrigued. What is going on? Feeling more like a detective than a writer, she follows them, placing herself in an inconspicuous seat.’

What I love about these books, apart from the colourful, well defined characters (with sometimes very apt names…Tom Scallywagg MP), be they good, bad or downright evil, are the evocative descriptions of Victorian London. The dark, menacing back streets contrasting sharply with the more affluent areas, and the opulence of the wealthy set against the often terrible lives of the poorer classes, particularly the children. Two of these children play a small but significant part in the plot and are portrayed brilliantly.

I enjoyed meeting again the characters who have been constants throughout, as well as new ones, witnessing their development and experiencing Carol Hedges’ wonderful way with words and distinct narrative style. Stride and Cully along with Inspector Greig have their work cut out to make sense of the financial dirty dealings and murders, in addition to bringing the perpetrator to justice. The proverbial thorn in their side, chief reporter Richard Dandy, makes the job harder than necessary with his scurrilous newspaper articles. Plot and sub plots are woven together expertly, bringing the story to a very satisfactory conclusion.

Book description

When a young man’s body is discovered buried deep beneath the winter snow, Detectives Stride and Cully little realise where the discovery will take them. Is his murder a random, one-off event, or could the death be linked to the mysteriously elusive individual who has already brought down one of the City’s long-standing private banks?

Mishap, misunderstanding and mystery dog their footsteps, as the Scotland Yard detectives find themselves in very murky territory indeed, struggling to keep their heads above water in the umbrous underworld of murder and  financial fraud.

Can they unmask the dark brutal mastermind lurking at the centre of it all, before he strikes again?

A taut, gripping historical crime novel that lays bare the dubious practices of the Victorian banking businesses and entices the reader into the shady world of high-class gambling houses, where fortunes can be made or lost on the luck of the cards.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Vintage #Mystery The Riviera Affair by @newwrites #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Riviera Affair by J New

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When Ella Bridges takes a frantic phone call for help from her mother Elspeth, who lives on Cap Ferrat in France, she and her aunt Margaret waste no time in travelling to the French Riviera accompanied by Margaret’s dear but eccentric friend, Pierre DuPont. Pierre is a renowned artist, master forger and, despite his name and French manner, a cockney. It seems Elspeth’s friend, Colonel Summerfield, has gone missing and, because she was the last person to see him, the unpleasant detective in charge has implied she must have something to do with his disappearance. With the threat of prison hanging over her and worry about her friend, Elspeth needs all the help she can get.

Ella was glad of the company, she didn’t relish the idea of travelling to France alone. Pierre could speak fluent French and knew a good number of people and Aunt Margaret saw to all the travel arrangements. Travelling by aeroplane was a first for Ella and she was undeniably nervous, but once on board she pleased to note it was very civilised, similar to a first class train carriage. When they arrived on French soil and left the plane Ella saw a man she’d noticed on board.

[As we pulled away and started out along the coast road I glimpsed a man standing in the shade of a tree opposite, staring at the car. My stomach twisted and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up; it was the stranger from the aeroplane and at his feet was a black cat, my black cat in actual fact. It could only mean one thing; there had been a suspicious death. I only hoped it wasn’t the colonel.]

I’ve enjoyed each book in this period cosy mystery series and The Riviera Affair is no exception. The characters are very well drawn. Ella is extremely likeable, Aunt Margaret and particularly Pierre are unconventional and quirky, and judging by the hints dropped have an intriguing back story. They soon discover there’s more to the disappearance of the colonel than meets the eye and become involved in a dangerous and complex investigation. Ella is without the back up of Detective Sergeant Baxter this time, although she is able to correspond with him, but joins forces with the handsome Captain Jacques Robillard, who isn’t quite what he seems.

The plot is skilfully put together, the narrative well detailed. In this episode we get an idea of what it was like to travel by air when in its infancy, getting weighed before embarking to make sure the aeroplane isn’t too heavy, which makes Ella even more nervous. Aunt Margaret describes it as ‘like having tea at the Ritz only up in the air.’ If only! The Riviera Affair is an excellent addition to the series.

Book description

The glamour of the French Riviera quickly turns sour as Ella is caught up in an investigation which will have repercussions on both sides of the channel. But has she finally met her match?

When her mother telephones from France with news of her imminent arrest, Ella along with her aunt and an eccentric friend rush to her aid. But what starts as a simple disappearance quickly turns to murder and Ella finds herself embroiled in a mystery which is far more complex than she’d anticipated.

In a foreign land where she doesn’t speak the language, has no jurisdiction and doesn’t know who to trust, Ella has to call upon all her usual skills and devise new ones in order to flush out the adversary in their midst.

But will she be in time to save the life of the man she came to find?

‘The Riviera Affair’ is set in 1930’s England, and is the fourth of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mystery series.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Finders, Not Keepers by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Finders, Not Keepers by D.E. Haggerty

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Terri is in the process of sorting through the boxes in the attic for something her ex husband wants, annoyed with herself for not forcing him to take his stuff when he moved out. When her friend, Melanie arrives she helps Terri get the boxes downstairs. Later, as Terri is cleaning the now box free attic she makes an astonishing discovery. Hidden in a corner is a necklace. A large pear shaped diamond on a platinum/white gold chain. Terri is understandably utterly astounded.

Terri is determined to find the previous owners of her house and return the diamond. Luckily her super hot next door neighbour Ryder, is a private investigator – the perfect person to ask for advice. Even though it was easy to find the previous owners, a Mr and Mrs Collins, returning the necklace proved trickier as they didn’t want it. It transpired the necklace had belonged to their niece, Jessica.

‘Mr Collins cleared his throat. “Our niece Jessica was only twenty-five when she was killed.”

Terri gasped. “Killed? Oh no! What happened?” She leaned forward, her coffee and pie forgotten.

“That’s what we’d like to know,” Mrs Collins snapped. Her husband reached over and grasped her hand.

“She was murdered three years ago,” he explained.’

Both parties come to the decision Terri should check out local charities to try and find the one that meant most to Jessica, and donate the diamond. Terri’s research, and Melanie’s wanting to solve Jessica’s murder, lead them both into danger and Terri is (very) occasionally glad Ryder is so protective, however he does have some anger issues when it comes to Terri getting herself into trouble. Maybe a touch too much alpha male but he’s genuinely worried for Terri. However it’s soon apparent that Ryder wants much more than a neighbourly kind of relationship with Terri, but is willing to wait and take things at her pace. A definite point in his favour.

Terri and Melanie are total opposites, and it’s usually Melanie doing the instigating with Terri going along with whatever crackpot idea Melanie dreams up. They’re a great foil for each other. I loved the fact that Terri is a librarian and each chapter heading is a librarian related quote. Well written in the third person from Terri’s perspective, there’s a good dynamic between the characters.

An entertaining cosy murder/mystery with an interesting cast of characters.

Book description

What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?

While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT vintage #mystery Fatal Finds In Nuala by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fatal Finds In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Inspector Shanti de Silva is already regretting the whim that made him arrange a visit to see his colleague Inspector Singh in Hatton during the monsoon season. A fallen tree had blocked the road since he passed through earlier on, which necessitated de Silva taking the old road back to Nuala. Before he’d gone very far his beloved Morris gave up the ghost and coasted to a stop. De Silva had two choices—walk into town or stay with the car in the jungle. He decided on the first option. After a little while he heard something that stopped him in his tracks.

~~’It came again, fading against the howl of the wind. He squared his shoulders. Perhaps he was imagining things and it was just the wind. Briskly he stepped out once more.
Then his heart started to pound. A pinpoint of white light was emerging from the darkness, dipping and swaying, emitting an inhuman wail that froze his blood.’~~

After his escapade in the jungle de Silva awakened the next morning feeling distinctly under the weather. Jane, his wife, tried to persuade him to take the day off but he didn’t want to miss his regular appointment with Archie Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent in Nuala and de Silva’s superior. On de Silva’s return to the police station there’s a report of a missing man from one of the villages and Sergeant Prasanna asks permission to search the area with Constable Nadar. Recalling the noises he heard the previous night, de Silva joins the search. They find more than they bargained for.

The investigation gains momentum, despite the monsoon making everything much more difficult. Jane and Clutterbuck, who is home alone while his wife is cruising, join in the search for artefacts in the jungle, bringing about what turns out to be a hazardous train journey to Colombo for De Silva and Jane.

It was lovely to be able to have a return visit to colonial 1930s Ceylon and catch up with the colourful, engaging and well-rounded characters peopling this series. It’s written well, incorporating the complexities of the social structure, the local dishes and vividly descriptive prose together with quite a fast moving and well thought through plot. De Silva and Jane moved from Colombo to Nuala for a slower, less fraught lifestyle but in this episode de Silva finds himself in some desperate situations, not helped by the dreadful weather conditions. I think he, and Jane, deserve the holiday they discussed.

Book description

In this fourth instalment of the Inspector de Silva mysteries, it is monsoon season in the Hill Country. One stormy night, a ghostly encounter on a lonely road leads de Silva into a case of murder, and a mystery that stretches back to Ceylon’s distant past. To uncover the truth, he will have to face death and his inner demons.
Fatal Finds in Nuala is another absorbing and colourful mystery in this series that vividly portrays Sri Lanka’s Colonial past.

About the author

Harriet Steel wrote four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries, inspired by time spent in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon)). Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. Visit her blog to sign up to her monthly newsletter for news of new releases and great offers, harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk/
She’s married with two daughters and lives in Surrey. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, long walks and visiting art galleries and museums.

Harriet Steel

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