Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MURDER & MAYHEM by @carolJhedges #HistFic #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Murder & Mayhem by Carol J Hedges

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I’ll start by telling you how much I enjoyed this mystery. It’s a bit different from the mysteries I’ve read to date, but it is a smashing historical who dunnit.

Set against an exquisitely detailed Victorian London – I could see myself there – the story is told from multiple points of view, each character fully developed. It begins with the discovery of the corpses of infants in the basement of an abandoned house on a street in the middle of demolition for the railway system. Inspector Lachlan Greig of the Bow Street Police has become aware of dark practice of baby farming (women and men who will take someone’s child and a sum of money for “looking after” on a permanent basis) and it falls to him to find the murderers.

A second thread involves two school friends – Daisy Lawton, daughter of a wealthy physician who lives in the lap of luxury and wants for nothing but marriage to a handsome man of social standing, and Letitia Simpkins, daughter of a penurious widower who treats her like a servant. She disdains marriage but craves for higher education and the employment that would bring, in order to get her away from her family. Daisy becomes engaged to a wealthy young man headed for Parliament but with a shadowy life with prostitutes and a decent woman carrying his baby. Letitia meets a librarian, Sarah Lunt, who believes Ladies should be educated and trained for a profession, and she quickly becomes the only light in Letitia’s gloomy life.

Add in a couple of anarchists with catchy names — Edwin Persiflage and Danton Waxwing – who work as clerks but who have deep grievances against the rich and privileged and who are determined to blow up parts of London, and Inspector Greig has another problem on his plate.

I loved the rounding of all the characters, major and minor, and especially gas-lit, crowded and filthy Victorian London, a character unto itself. The author is at once humorous and heart-breaking in her descriptions, never more so than in the plight of women in that time. The depth of her research and the colorful details with which she decorates the story lines is exceptional.

Ms. Hedges breaks the wall and talks directly to the reader at the beginning of the book (which is when it should be done, if at all), and most charmingly pulled me into the story.

Every aspect of this read was a delight, and I am looking forward to the next book!

Five stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com also available free from Kindle Unlimited

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MURDER & MAYHEM by @carolJhedges #Mystery #fridayreads

Today’s second team review is from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/

I reviewed Resthaven for Rosie's Book Review Team

Barb has been reading Murder & Mayhem by Carol Hedges

Murder & Mayhem (Victorian Murder Mystery: Stride & Cully Book 4) by [Hedges, Carol]

Even though I’m looking over my shoulder in case someone from my University is standing there demanding the return of my English Lit degree, I have to admit it: I don’t like Dickens. Or rather, I like everything about his books except the writing. I love his subjects, the tropes he uses and even invents. But I’m in luck! Carol Hedges, in her wonderful Victorian detective series, channels the most Dickensian of tropes without the overly sentimental, I-get-paid-by-the-word-so-I-never-use-one-where-six-would-do Dickensian mush. Consider the writing in her latest book in the Victorian Murder Mystery series:

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    Priggish: In Dickens, the writing is an over the top mix of sentiment and satire, steeped in Victorian melodrama and sanctimonious prudishness. Author Hedges pares back the language to make every word count, while mixing in a welcome dose of humor. “It is much too early for urgent reports, but Greig begins to read it, silently tutting at the absence of paragraphing. As usual, the comma has looked in the face of the writer and decided not to disturb him.”

  • Emotional: Dickens’ characters and writing are constantly bouncing between narrowly suspicious and bizarrely credulous, making them seem shallow and flat. Hedges’ characters come complete with backstories that inform and drive their actions. Daisy Lawton, the beautiful young girl about to make her debut into Victorian society, could have been as one-dimensional as Lucie in Tale of Two Cities. Instead she has the conviction of friendship, and the example of her parents’ marriage to give depth to her character. Even better, despite clues and speculation on what drives Inspector Grieg, his backstory isn’t revealed until the end of the book.

 

He’s a single man. No children. But the Bow Street sergeants say he’s like a terrier after a rat up a drainpipe. Absolutely determined to catch these people, whatever it takes.

  • Social Critic: Dickens’ didn’t shy away from pointing out social issues, although his writing became increasingly dark as he realized that social woes such as poverty and child abuse were immune to his critique. It’s true that Carol Hedges has the advantage of 20-20 hindsight, but she uses that to take on the particularly difficult Victorian crime of baby farming, one which was virtually invisible to Londoners at the time, even though they routinely came across the corpses of children who had died of abuse or neglect. Murder & Mayhem’s Inspector Grieg muses, “He regards it as deeply ironic that there are laws against mistreating animals, strict licensing laws for the numerous cow-keepers who supply the city with fresh milk, but not a single law to safeguard the lives of children.” 
  • Twisty Plots: Probably as a result of being initially published as serials—the soap operas of his day—Dickensian casts are huge, plots convoluted, and plot twists rely heavily on contrived coincidences. This was lampshaded by Oscar Wilde in his play, The Importance of Being Ernest, which earnestly—sorry, I couldn’t resist—entreats, “Now produce your explanation and pray make it improbable.”  But this is where Carol Hedges comes into her own. Without abandoning the properly Victorian tone, her plots involve lots of characters who are constantly running into each other as they pursue goals ranging from apprehending baby murderers, to making a socially acceptable marriage, to education for women, to blowing up Parliament. Although Murder & Mayhem, like all books in this series, works as a standalone, it’s fun to welcome old friends like detectives Stride and Cully, and Cully’s wife Emily, while each has a role to play here. 

The descriptions of 1863 London are wonderful, especially as it contrasts the idyllic London of the upper and middle classes with the London being reshaped by the industrial revolution.

It is the month of May, and the city is in full bloom. Green leaves unfurl, yellow celandines peep from their lowly beds. Violets beckon coyly. Pink frothy waterfalls of blossom cascade from park cherry trees. Birds and bees go about the purposes for which they were created and everywhere from crook to cranny, in garden bed of bow pot warmth returns and nature reasserts itself in song, hum, bud and flower.

Except here.

Here there is only the shrill roar of escaping steam, the groans of machines heaving ponderous loads of earth to the surface, the blasts of explosives, and the clack of pumping devices as the future arrives in lines of steel rails and a thundering in the blood.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book and the whole series. If you want a great detective story, beautifully detailed within its historical context, with a well-rounded supporting cast, I recommend Murder & Mayhem as well as the earlier books in this series. The pace accelerates to a satisfying conclusion, while the descriptions of London, Victorian language (frowsty?), and society at various levels is pure entertainment.

**I reviewed Murder & Mayhem by Carol Hedges for Rosie’s Book Review Team.**

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MURDER & MAYHEM by @carolJhedges #wwwblogs

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Murder & Mayhem by Carol Hedges

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It’s the spring of 1863 in the city of London, and as Hind Street is being demolished to make way for the railway, something horrifying is uncovered by the construction workers. Inspector Lachlan Greig of the Metropolitan Police, based in Bow Street, is called to the scene, where the bodies of eleven dead babies have been discovered.

When the wonderfully named Edwin Persiflage and Danton Waxwing, who lodge in Hind Street, decide they have a grievance against the rich and privileged and declare themselves anarchists, they pose a threat to the public resulting in yet another problem for Inspector Greig.

Miss Daisy Lawton is living in a different world altogether. Full of the joys of spring, she’s young, pretty, well to do and on her way to meet her best friend from school, Letitia Simpkins. The two girls have vastly different backgrounds – Daisy is secure in the love of her family and the knowledge life only promises good things, such as being in love, shopping and parties. Whereas Letitia has a tricky and strained family life, at the beck and call of her parents and only a step up from the servants. The only light at end of her very dark tunnel is a well-timed meeting with librarian, Sarah Lunt, who is of the opinion ladies should be able to study and train for a profession. Letitia herself loves learning and believes there should be more to life than waiting for a man to offer marriage.

As in her previous books, Carol Hedges’ vivid and engaging prose recreates the atmosphere and flavour of Victorian London and its inhabitants evocatively, so that I was transported back in time immediately. The story gives considerable realisation and understanding of life at that time, across the many societal levels of the population. The characters are portrayed extremely well, including the secondary ones, and whether they’re likeable or not they draw the attention.

Lachlan Greig is a wonderful addition to the stories, I like him a lot, and it was good to get reacquainted with Stride and Cully. The plight of, and non-existent civil rights for, women in Victorian times is highlighted, not only by the machinations of Daisy’s mother and Letitia’s horrible situation but also with those who are forced, for whatever reason, to seek the services of the so-called ‘baby minders’. People who are at best unscrupulous, and at worst guilty of mass infanticide. The obviously in depth research needed for this story must have been heartbreaking.

I’m loving these books and am very glad to know there will be another.

Reviewed for Rosie Amber’s book review team and based on an ARC from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MURDER & MAYHEM by @carolJhedges #SundayBlogShare

Today’s second team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Murder & Mayhem by Carol Hedges

Murder_Mayhem

Murder and Mayhem by Carol Hedges

 

In “Murder and Mayhem” Victorian progress continues apace. The age of the railway has begun and people’s homes are being knocked down to make way for the tracks. It is 1863 and lowly bank clerks, Danton Waxwing and Edwin Persiflage relieve the monotony of their daily drudge by plotting anarchist deeds. Inspector Lachlan Greig, however, is more concerned with the discovery of tiny bodies revealed by the railway company’s explosives.

 

Meanwhile in Fitzroy Square, Daisy Lawton, spoilt daughter of an eminent surgeon, tries on beautiful dresses, in which to meet a potential husband. Her former school friend, Tishy Simpkins, would prefer to continue her studies aided by the Ladies’ Literary and Philosophical Society, but she is enforced to look after her young brothers and attend to domestic tasks, by her uncaring father. Amongst the other characters in the novel is young engineer, Fred Grizewood, who would dearly love to discuss his ideas with his renowned mentor, Joseph Balgazette, but an unexpected event changes his life profoundly.

 

This novel is rich with mid Victorian life, from the gutter press to the fine drawing rooms and on to rough pubs frequented by villains and prostitutes. Struggling in this hectic world, are oppressed women, caring police officers and evil baby farmers.

 

I take particular pleasure from the authentic 19th century writing style, so fitting to the subject matter and my knowledge is enriched by the inclusion of words which are new to me, such as “cynosure”. The definition of this word, used by Carol Hedges, is, “something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance.” I think that’s an accurate description of this book.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MURDER & MAYHEM by @carolJhedges #HistFic #Mystery

Today’s second team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Murder & Mayhem by Carol Hedges

Murder_Mayhem

Murder & Mayhem by Carol Hedges

5 out of 5 stars

I’ve read the other three of Carol Hedges’ colourful, amusing and really rather brilliant Victorian murder mystery series, and this was every bit as good.  They’re complete stand alones, by the way, no need to read them in order.

Murder & Mayhem follows the stories of several wonderful characters: lovely, outwardly superficial, privileged Daisy Lawton, a girl looking forward to her first ‘season’; Ms Hedges very cleverly avoided the trap of making her merely empty-headed, but gave her a heart of gold, too, especially when it came to her friend, poor Letitia, who is bound to a life of drudgery by her horrible father.  Then we have the would-be anarchists, Persiflage and Waxwing, Scottish detective Lachlan Greig, and various other upper middle class ne’er-do-wells, street rogues and those eager to make money by foul means, mostly the evil ‘baby minders’ around whom the story centres.

Inspector Lachlan Greig: ‘… a certain glint in his eye possessed by those who have found they are generally more intelligent than most people around them but haven’t yet learned that the most intelligent thing they can do is not to let said people find this out.’

Mr Sprowle, landlord: ‘… educated in the School of Hard Knocks, leading to a degree in Resentment.’

Just two lines I picked out, there are so many more little gems.

This book is not just a clever story with hilarious characterisation and descriptions so good you want to read them twice.  It’s an insight into how difficult life really was for women in those days, only 150 years ago, and a view into Victorian London as clear as any film or TV drama series.  When I got to 84% I thought ‘oh, no, I’ve only got a little bit left’, and tried to make it last as long as possible.

I believe this might be the last in the series but I do hope not; as long as Carol Hedges keeps writing these books I’ll keep reading them as soon as they’re available, and you should, too!

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

 

9 #NewReleases for you to get reading this Autumn/ Fall #AmReading

Let’s Take a Look at some Hot New Releases.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Hardcover – 8 Sep 2016

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between.

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out – but immortality is in

What does our future hold?

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Nutshell by Ian McEwan – Hardcover 1st September

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Lean in 15 – The Sustain Plan: 15 minute meals and workouts to get you lean for life by Joe Wicks Paperback – 17 Nov 2016

Bestselling author Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, has inspired thousands to transform their bodies by shifting unwanted fat and building lean muscle. In Lean in 15 – The Sustain Plan he reveals how to SUSTAIN incredible results while still seeing progress week on week.

Fully illustrated and with a hundred quick-to-prepare meals and four workouts, the plan is perfect for busy people who don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen or gym. Joe gives advice on how to combine his tasty, nutritious recipes with a brand new training programme to make you leaner, fitter and healthier than ever before.

It’s time to make Lean in 15 part of your lifestyle forever.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

New For Kindle

Destination Chile (The Lonely Hearts Travel Club, Book 3)by Katy Colins September 22nd

Destination Chile (The Lonely Hearts Travel Club, Book 3) by [Colins, Katy]

Katy writes with humour and heart. The Lonely Hearts Travel Club is like Bridget Jones goes backpacking.’ – Holly Martin, author of The White Cliff Bay series

Welcome to Paradise

Next on her bucket list Georgia Green is heading to Chile, but this time she’s not going alone…

The new favourite series for fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary, the Shopaholic series and Eat, Pray, Love.
Join Georgia Green for a romantic trip into the sunset…

What reviewers are saying about The Lonely Hearts Travel Club

‘I cannot recommend this book enough. It is beautifully written with a brilliant plot and fantastic characters. READ IT!!’ – Blabbering About Books

‘I loved this book.’ – For the Love of Books

‘It is a really enthralling page turner and a brilliant start to a new series. I can’t wait to read the sequels, ‘Destination India’ and ‘Destination Chile’!’ – Splashes into Books

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Pharaoh by Wilber Smith due out September 22nd

Pharaoh by [Smith, Wilbur]

The Worldwide Number One Bestseller Wilbur Smith returns to Ancient Egypt in a captivating new novel that will transport you to extraordinary times.

EGYPT IS UNDER ATTACK.

Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost.

Taita prepares for the enemy’s final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose’s armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt’s most desperate hour.

With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen.

Pharaoh Utteric is young, weak and cruel, and threatened by Taita’s influence within the palace – especially his friendship with Utteric’s younger and worthier brother, Ramases. With Taita’s imprisonment, Ramases is forced to make a choice: help Taita escape and forsake his brother, or remain silent and condone Utteric’s tyranny. To a good man like Ramases, there is no choice. Taita must be set free, Utteric must be stopped and Egypt must be reclaimed.

From the glittering temples of Luxor to the Citadel of Sparta, PHARAOH is an intense and powerful novel magnificently transporting you to a time of threat, blood and glory. Master storyteller, Wilbur Smith, is at the very peak of his powers.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com(no kindle edition for US yet, hardback due out October)

Chasing The Dream: A Sports Thriller by J.D Dudycha September 13th

Chasing the Dream: A Sports Thriller by [Dudycha, J.D.]

One is driven from failure to success. The other is willing to let his friends die to chase his dream. 

Brothers Drake and Cade Flint are baseball players. It is in their blood. From an early age, Drake has had superior talent and secures himself a place in professional baseball at the age of eighteen. But after three long years in the minors and a recent fastball gone awry, he is beginning to question his ability and even his love for the game. Will anything be able to help him refocus and recapture his place in the sport he loves? 

Cade Flint, on the other hand, has a belief in himself that’s unparalleled. The brash teenager can do no wrong—at least in his own mind. That is, until he finds himself in a precarious position with an intriguing young woman, who turns out to be more of a stalker than your average fan. She forces Cade to take action, leading to the untimely death of a teammate and to his life spiraling out of control. Will it ultimately lead to his own demise? 

Can these brothers make it out on top? Or will chasing their dreams cost them more than it’s worth? 

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

New releases from people we know

The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan due out September 4th

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Nuclear war devastated the planet of Hemera and shattered its main city, Magna. A century later, its sister planet, Erebus, despatched a team of soldiers to the city to rescue Hemera’s president and restore that world to its former glory. What the reconnaissance team found however was a violent mutated population—all they discovered there was death. Now, four weeks after the final mayday call from her decimated soldiers, Erebus has sent a larger force to Hemera’s surface. Colonel Paden is coming with them, but his desires go way beyond the rescue of the surviving recon team. A mountain of jewels and gold is rumoured to lie buried beneath the presidential palace, and Paden is here to claim the wealth he believes is due to him.

Dropped into an unforgiving world, Ryan and the other soldiers of Erebus Superior Armed Forces soon discover everything is not as they thought. Magna’s population is more deadly than they could ever have imagined, their Colonel more corrupt than they’d ever known. Seeking refuge in the president’s underground bunker, the combatants are forced to sacrifice everything just to stay alive. 

Bandit clans control Hemera’s dead lands and they’ve surrounded Magna in an effort to claim the fortune that belongs to their planet. Mutants control the city streets, but all they want is the taste of human flesh. Trapped inside the dead city, Ryan must fight against a mutated population—against the greed, betrayal, and hatred of those who stand at his side—in a desperate battle for survival.

Goodreads

Murder & Mayhem by Carol J Hedges due out early September

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The city is in the grip of railway mania when the gruesome discovery of several infant corpses in an abandoned house forces Inspector Lachlan Greig of A Division, Bow Street Police Office and his men to enter the dark and horrific world of baby farming. It will take all Greig’s skill and ingenuity to track down the evil perpetrators and get justice for the murdered innocents.
Meanwhile two school friends Letitia and Daisy stand side by side on the threshold of womanhood. One longs for marriage to a handsome man The other craves entry to higher education. Will their dreams come true, or will their lives be shattered into little pieces by the tragic and unexpected events that are about to overtake them?
Hope meets horror, and Parliament is threatened by anarchists in this rumbustious fourth Victorian crime novel, set once again amongst the dangerous twisting alleyways and gaslit thoroughfares of 1860s London.
The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler due out early October

There’s a serial killer at large in the fictional town of Lyndford in south Lincolnshire, and five people fear that he might be someone close to them.  One of them is right….

Juliet wonders where her controlling, violent husband goes at night, and when a TV crime expert lists the characteristics of your average multiple murderer, she realises they could be describing the man she’s been married to for twenty-four years.

Steve has been friends with Dan since childhood, but a new friend has brought out the worst in him.  Is ‘the worst’ more terrifying that Steve dares to imagine?

Tamsin is in love with her colleague on the local newspaper.  When Jake rejects her, she begins to look at him with new eyes.

Maisie loathes her mother’s new boyfriend.  Her best friend teases her that Gary is the Lyndford Strangler, but could her joke have hit the nail on the head?

Dorothy loves her son, Orlando, more than life itself ~ which makes her suspicions about his secret life so heart-breaking that she fears for her sanity.