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Crazy June

June 2020 will see me in print in three different places!

1 Dark London

Dark London is a two volume anthology of stories drawing on the darker side of the Capital’s streets and the people that fill them.

My story that lurks between the covers of Volume 1, hidden between stories by Jess Popplewell and Anne-Marie Ormsby (The Tower) and a safe distance from the foreword by Alice Castle (The London Murder Mysteries)

December Fog is one of those stories that floated around in my mind for several years with no natural outlet … until Dark Stroke came up with this collection.

A period piece set back before the Clean Air Act, in a time when heating was by coal and gas lighting was pretty high tech stuff!

The tale follows one man and his … No, that would give too much away!

I wonder … will you find the contemporary political joke in the tail?

The list of authors includes some fabulous writers:

Miriam Drori
Jess Popplewell
Ted Bun
Anne-Marie Ormsby
Kate Braithwaite
Donna Cuttress
Sue Barnard
Sam Hall
Cathie Dunn

And there are more stories in volume 2

Featuring tales by these talented scribes:

Angela Wren
Chris Dommett
Alice Castle
Richard Savin
Alan Taylor
Marie Gault
Tom Halford
Denise Bloom
Harper Channing

All the royalties from the sales of these books will go to The London Community Project and Centrepoint.

2 Murder in the Nudist Colony

A second Short Story in a charitable anthology.

Murder in the Nudist Colony, not a very PC title but it was chosen deliberately using the antiquated term “nudist colony” for a slightly retro, humorous touch. All the stories feature a murder in a place used for naturist recreation. The original idea was to have all the stories called “Murder in the Nudist Colony” but that was abandoned as too silly. Except …

My story is called “Murder in the Nudist Colony” and is set in a very British Nudist venue of considerable vintage. The crime is however very contemporary.

The other stories by such luminaries of naturist fiction as Paul Z Walker, Wallace Greensage, Robert Longpre, Matthew McDermott, Will Forest and Jacob Drake.

As well as new comers to the genre James Gault, Stan Muir, Adreas Nudetzki, Ana Juric, Hannah Steenbock, Gregg White and Robert Payne.

The collection sit behind a superb cover illustration by Fabien Barabe

Diverse, humorous and dark … read it! It is fun.

Royalties from this collection will be going to Médecins Sans Frontières (aka Doctors Without Borders)

3 The Last Day of June

A serious tome, for me. Hence it is published under a different name, Edward Yeoman and not Ted Bun.

Once again it is a story with a very long period of gestation. It started back in 1974, when I heard Al Stewart sing a song with a similar title. I kept returning to the idea’s and images the song had brought to mind and eventually I started to write the story in summer 2019.

The tale starts in 1934, when the last day of June was the last day of life for a lot of people. Taking three different view points the book sweeps through Europe and European History to the conclusion in 1974.

“I started to read it and couldn’t put it down!” Robert Whiston-Crisp

According to Robert’s wife, “He sat out in the garden and started reading it. He didn’t move until four o’clock when he went to the loo, came back and kept reading!”

April and May reading

If You Must Know: A Novel (Potomac Point Book 1)

Jamie Beck

A tale of two sisters, one her father’s joy, happy go lucky take each day as it comes, nearly thirty-year-old Erin. The other, her mother’s little girl, sugar and spice and all things nice. Married, a baby on the way, a part time teacher life is perfect for Amanda, until she discovers that her husband has been secretly visiting the same café as she does. Just a little lie … that is the first of many.

As Amanda’s life is shredded, Erin’s wobbles but they find they need each other.

A good read, stretching the credulity a bit far in a couple of places.

4 Stars 

Born in the Wrong Body (The Nudist Series)

Martin Brant

An interest read about a woman born in a male body and her struggles to be accepted and to escape.

Just a little bit too pat.

3 Star

Fools and Their Toys

Michael Beyer

Not Michael Beyer’s best by a considerable distance. It takes a different view point on the events in the earlier Sing Sad Songs.

I found the timeline confusing, which made it very difficult to follow the narrative.

The author indicates at the start of the story that he intends to meld the two books into one at some stage. Fools and Their Toys will benefit, I’m less sure that Sing Sad Songs will.

3 Stars

Mortal Blow (Wilson Book 12)

Derek Fee

Wow!

If you have waded through the 11 books to get here, you’ll know about the Circle. You’ll know about the corruption in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

You may have heard of the Panama Papers

Well Sammy Rice’s foot turns up and all hell breaks loose.

A fabulous Finale. (Please)

5 Stars

Border Badlands (Wilson Book 11)

Derek Fee

DS Wilson is sent to the South to help with a brutal murder, the powers that be know that the killers and the motive are in the Northern Ireland even if the crime wasn’t.

A bit of a pot-boiler there to convince the reader that he deals with other crimes beyond the Circle.

Good detective story if a little lackluster for the series.

A Field Guide to Fauns

Michael Beyer

Fifteen-year-old Devon Martinez is a very damaged and abused young man. He has been rescued by his father and is taken to join his step-family. Step-Mum is a beauty, her twin daughters are as like physically as they are different behaviorally. Devon is an introvert drawn to drawing pictures of Fauns, in fact his only friend is a faun!

Now they are all going to have to accommodate Devon’s problems and issues as he comes to terms with the abuse from his dead mother and coming to live in a naturist park.

Michael Beyer’s years of teaching enable him to get right beneath the skin of his characters and imbibe them with real traits, emotions and responses.

One to read.

Book of the Month

5 Stars 

The Naturalist

Andrew Mayne

Violent …

Super scientist, Professor Theo Cray, gets drawn into a murder case. A former student has been killed within a few miles of a place he is visiting.

Then the body count starts to mount, as armed with his computer modeling software he deduces deaths, murders, almost too many to count.

His observational skills enable him to detect bodies under the ground from the clues left by plants.

The problem is the cops don’t believe him. He has to catch the serial killer on his own.

Clever, well written and blood soaked.

5 Stars (just)

The Reed Ferguson Series: Books 7-9: A Private Investigator Mystery Series – Crime Suspense Thriller Boxset (The Reed Ferguson Mystery Series

Renee Pawlish

Reed Ferguson and his team of social misfit helpers blunder around 3 more cases aided by the glamourous Girlfriend and slightly hostile lady cop.

Fun light and not to serious even though the body count starts to stack up.

And … If the computer guy can hack everyone else’s mobile phone records in stories 1 – 8 why is it down to Reed to find a number noted somewhere in Case 9 before he can make progress … Just Askin

Enjoyable light reading

4 Stars

Tidal Wave

by R A Dee

An amusing like variation on the ‘Deep Space Asteroid Miner’ genre of sci-fi. Joe Tide is in deep space with is eccentric ship board computer, when he gets a Mayday from a pleasure yacht. He ends up stuck for the entire journey home with the man hating Professor Melissa Scrivener.

This book adds little to the sum of human knowledge or understanding but that is not what it about. As I say amusing, fun and easy reading.

4 Stars

Now, Then, and Everywhen (Chronos Origins Book 1)

by Rysa Walker (author)

Time travel in short installments all vaguely linked …. A cast of hundreds all called Kate.

Some interesting historical content on the early days of the American Civil Rights movement and the early days of the Beatles

It all got to confusing and little got resolved.

As a fan of good science fiction … I was disappointed.

Paul Kater’s book Time to Time (Reviewed in January) was a much better stab at time travel fiction.

3 Stars mainly for historical content

The Mad March Reviews

Started the month looking forward to meeting my American family in Florida. The month ended locked down in France, plenty of time for reading and writing.

Dorelle’s Journey (The Cloud Lands Saga Book 1)

Hannah Steenbock

A nice tale of a warrior girl (Dorelle) and her fighting, talking and thinking dragon.

Dorelle is a Dragon Rider, Mashira is her dragon. They have a different concept of duty to the commander of the Wing they belong to. To save Mashira’s life they have to run. Then things get worse, safety or duty?

A nice read, nothing deep, no hidden messages but fun

4 Stars

Magical Miss Morgan

Michael Beyer

Miss Morgan is one of those teachers that inspire, that is until the Wee People from the Kingdom of Tellosia turn up. Then things go to pot!

Attempts at getting her sacked and physical threats. A conflict with her boyfriends daughter. And fairies.

The Norwall Pirates, are there to help of course, this is a Michael Bayer book! Even if their involvement is always positive!

Fun easy reading, with lots of little moral messages either hidden away or slapping you around the face.

4 Stars

The Imposter’s Inheritance (Glass and Steele Book 9)

C.J. Archer

Maybe this should be a Glass and Glass book … Miss Steele has been Mrs Glass for quite a while.

Matt and India become embroiled in the theft of a magical gold coronet and the machinations of Lord Coyle. There are plenty of suspects for the crime all with good alibis for the time of the crime. After a lot of investigation they manage to solve the crime … and Lord Coyle?

Nice writing lots of little sub-plots with well drawn minor characters to help keep you reading. I rather enjoyed this one

4 Stars

This Won’t End Well

by Camille Pagán

Spoiler alert … it did.

Written as a diary with e-mail correspondence between the characters this story is about a failing human, in a failing romance, part of a failed family. Annie Mercer loses her job after complaining of sexual harassment. Annie’s best friend becomes obsessed with selling health supplements, instead of being a pal in her hour of need. Her boyfriend hightails it to France when they should be wedding planning.

Enter a new neighbour, followed by a detective, a violent lover … or is it. Annie has a new interest in life … Even Annie’s depressed mother has a new interest in life.

The plot swings between obvious to rather silly as it goes along. The only character that you really get to know is the rather wobbly heroine, Annie. I am sure in real life the other people in the story have more depth than gets into the diary.

Fun but rather empty.

I’ll give it 3 Stars

The Harlech Beach Killings: A Snowdonia Murder Mystery Book 2

The Snowdonia Killings: A Snowdonia Murder Mystery Book 1

by Simon McCleave

DI Ruth Hunter, a refugee from the Metropolitan Police (a London cop) takes up a new job in Wales, or a fictional country that has Welsh named places randomly distributed (and sometimes randomly spelt) across the landscape.

Ruth is on the run from the horror of London crime and the loss of her lover, who got on a train and is never seen again, despite checking the CCTV at every station.

Her partner in crime solving is an alcoholic Detective Sergeant with a huge need for a vodka breakfast that no one has noticed …

Both stories are Murder whodunits that lay lots of false trails about and are fundamentally good stories, except our damaged twosome manage to destroy rather of innocent(ish) lives as they bark up the wrong trees.

In the second story Ruth has a new relationship … but I guess it is doomed as she is still in love with her missing partner.

Not impressed

2 Star pot boilers

THE SPICE MAN OF CASABLANCA (Tea and Scones at the Canal Side Cafe’ Book 1)

by Maggie Morley

Two interchangeable young girls go on a cruise. One pulls the Third Officer, the other the man from the British Consulate. How did the man from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office get involved? The Spice Man deals in other things.

Sadly there is little more to the plot. There are lots of changes of clothing, a plentiful descriptions of items on the menu and people who get introduced and disappear for ever.

Not Classified

Hattie Goes to Hollywood

Caroline James

Not that Hollywood, the one in Cumbria. For that matter, it isn’t the famous Hattie , Hattie Jacques either. Although, Hattie Mulberry is a larger, voluptuous and sexually aware lady of a number of years life experience too. She has been married twice, once to an Italian and then more recently and, all too briefly, to Hugo. Hugo had a massive heart attack, Hattie was sat at the Captain’s table on a cruise with him at the time.

Hattie comes to Hollywood to collect on an inheritance, Holly Cottage, which has been left to her by an aunt. The day she arrives there is a funeral next door at Holly House, preceded by a loud argument between two female voices.

The next day with her furniture in the cottage and Alf, and his dog Ness, set to work tidying the dilapidated garden, Hattie decides to call at the big house. Where she meets the recently widowed Daphne, a far from merry widow. Daphne’s husband, a popular man with the gang at the pub, apparently committed suicide. Daphne describes him as a happy man. A man who wouldn’t have left her in a parlous financial state by breaching the terms of his life insurance.

Alf is a gardener and handyman who worked at a ‘hotel’ a short distance from Hollywood. Hattie had met Alf when she been employed at the ‘hotel’ before marrying Hugo. There is much more than a bacon sandwich and a roll-up to Alf and the ‘hotel’ might deserve the inverted commas!

Stop her from getting bored in her new rut, it is Alf who suggests that Mrs Mulberry should become the village Miss Marples. Her first case awaits.

The cast of village characters are nicely drawn, pencil outlines where that is all that is needed, watercolours where colour is needed and just a few detailed portraits. It is a well-balanced piece of writing in this respect. Just enough to make the difference between the vicar’s hippy-dippy second wife and the nosey shop keeper very clear.

The randy pub manager is one of Hattie’s big fans, although it would appear that most of the pub regulars are victims of her undoubted charms. As you would expect from a village crime story, the pub, the shop and vicarage are all frequently visited locations.

The plot is a simple vehicle to enable the likeable and less pleasant characters to interact with Hattie. Only the out and out baddies are not redeemable in this light story.

All you have to do is get yourself a nice cup of something, a packet of your favourite biscuits, sit in your favour fireside chair and turn the pages while smiling at these delightful characters. Well, that is what I did.

Oh, and did I mention Drake? I should have mentioned Drake, too late now you’ll have to read the book to find out!

5 Stars

Books for January 20

Slim to None

Jenny Gardiner

Abbie is the Restaurant Critic for the New York Sentinel and she has the body to go with it, after a life time of indulging in the finest food available. So much so she is no longer able to go ‘undercover.’ The restaurants know her and she is starting to get special treatment!

As a result, she is replaced by Barry and demoted to a once a week column until she loses some of her identifying weight.

Why is she so addicted to food? Her Grandmother, Gigi, who taught her to cook to keep her away from her warring parents? Her parents? Social pressure?

Supported, sometimes indirectly, by the males in her life she sets about rebuilding herself.

A pleasant read, however I found the detailed recipes that ended many chapters an affectation that cost the book a whole star and her girlfriend, Jess just disappearing…

4 Stars – 1 for the cookery lessons.   

Love Lost in Time

Cathie Dunn

The stories of two women living centuries apart, but through the actions of others, in the same region of France.

It is apparent from the very beginning that both of the women are trapped. Only one has the power to set them both free and she doesn’t know it.

The older story set in the time of Charlemagne offers a tale of blood, violence, and feuding. The heroine, although loved by father and her future husband, is treated as a chattel battered to please the King. Forced into an arranged marriage to man she hardly knows sent across the country from Vaulun to the citadel of Carcassonne to marry the Count.

The other contemporary woman, Madie, has been left a house by her estranged. Francophile, mother. Not that she wants to keep it, do it up and sell it; get back to Newcastle and her life as an academic, that’s her plan. Her mother it transpires had other ideas. Trapped in the house, she finds herself the focus of attention from the locals, in more ways than one.

Then there is the mystery of her father …

Although she is best known as a writer of historical romance, the story set in contemporary time is an elegantly written and realistic romance.

5 Stars

Time to Time

Paul Kater

Paul Kater his written a delightful piece of time travel fiction. The main character Cordelia Brown used to (or is it, she will?) work for a company that makes time machines. Until, it all goes to pot one day and she escapes in an unfinished time machine. When we meet her she is building a new life in the past, has a boyfriend in a different country but in contemporary time.
All is going well until, agents from her time appear and … the rest you will have to read for yourself.
A fun uplifting tale, cleverly plotted.

5 Stars

The Real Story Of The Boat That Rocked

Ray Clarke

The story of Radio Caroline, written by someone who was there, for part of it. A well written book sprinkled with dozens of amusing, scary and totally mundane anecdotes collected from former DJs, the Owners, office workers and supporters of Britain’s first commercial radio station.

The book covers the heady early days of the Station in the 1960 through the low times, the shipwrecks being impounded, to the modern day.

Radio Caroline still transmits to the East of England, 24 hours a day- everyday,  on the medium wave and to the rest of the world via DAB and the Internet. They use the Radio Caroline ship, the Ross Revenge (a record breaking trawler before she became a broadcast ship) for a monthly broadcast under the guise of Radio Caroline North.

The book is illustrated with a selection of photographs, many of which unless you are a transmitter-mast nerd, look much the same.

I found it to be an interesting read.

4 stars

Soulfarm

David Toft

Two worlds are suddenly linked, ours and one where the Church has developed mental powers. Powers that they need tortured souls to sustain. Guess who’s souls they are after.

A Murder and a spate of disappearances bring Detective Chief Inspector Seamus Brogan to a remote part of the countryside outside Dublin. Where he finds himself driving off the road, literally the road has disappeared. He has crossed into the other world.

Can he save himself, the rather attractive woman who was with him and the rest of our world?

A cleverly constructed tale. I enjoyed turning the pages.

4 Star

A Friend in Need

Elizabeth M. Hurst

A second story set in the same village and involving characters we met in Siren Spirit.

Once again we have a well written and engaging story of spirits trapped in a place beyond their time, while people try to deal with the issues in their own lives.

The representation of Selena’s depressive illness and behaviour is one of the best I have encountered in fiction.  

A likeable story, a good fireside read for a cold winter’s evening … or maybe on a sun lounger by the pool.

4 Stars

A Wife and a Bisexual Husband

Martin Brant

A novel, written in a woman’s voice, about her coming to terms with her husband’s admission that he is bisexual. Not only is he bisexual he is also impotent, which of course brings, Kate, the wife’s sexuality into play.

This is a patchy exploration of the doubts and uncertainties Kate experiences along the way to her new life. Some of her internal conversation repeats several times, others are almost glossed over. While in her life she struggles with some small steps and at other times she makes huge bounds almost without thought.

For the patchy nature.

3 Stars

Who Kills a Nudist

Paul Whybrow

A complex story of interwoven crimes in the English county of Cornwall, a spiritual home of smuggling of all types.

The trigger for the tale is the death of rather gentle pensioner, a man who was found naked in the sea. He had been sexually assaulted and violently killed. (That is about it for nudists as far as this story is concerned!)

Enter Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kettle, a man with enough on his plate already. Widower of 3 years, his only real friend his father-in-law who was also a heroic thief taker in his days in the police.

A plot that has more elements than the periodic table (not really but it is a busy story) the Cornish Detective could be a series to follow.

4 stars

A Village by the River

Martin Brant

A story from the Nudist Series that Marin Brant has created.

Jonathon, a born hiking enthusiast, decides to abandon his damp, clingy clothes, one afternoon when out hiking and has an epiphany.

The rest of the book concerns his relationship with Patricia, a girl he encounters while on a naked ramble and trying to get his friend Timothy, to join him.

A very American book, many of the cultural references … factory dormitories, for instance, are outside of British experience. So learnt something as well as enjoying a gentle stroll through Americana with out my clothes.

4 Stars

Return of Uncovered Policeman

Yes the Uncovered Policeman, Rags, is set to return in a new adventure! LIVE, LOVE and LAUGH is the eleventh story in the series featuring the unclad copper.

The new story is released on Thursday 21st November 2019. The Kindle edition is available for pre-order on Amazon from …. NOW!!

The paperback is already available to purchase on the Amazon website. Whoo – Hoo!

The front cover of Live, Love and Laugh
The return of the Uncovered Policeman

Rags is back with a new adventure set, in part, on the island of New Albion. A place created by Wallace Greensage for “Who Is This Naked Lady?: And What Have They Done With My Wife?

Rags finds himself surrounded by strong, caring and supportive women; most of them strongly influenced by Bea. All wanting the very best for a man they all view as someone very special, Bea’s influence at work again?

If you remember how he left the after party following the final, farewell performance of the Unknown Twins. How he returned to his hotel and he sat and talked the night away. Then you might have an idea where this story starts.

If you don’t, well, this might be a good time to read or re-read The Uncovered Policeman: The Long Road!

October 2019 Book Reviews

Death Beside the Seaside (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 6) by T E Kinsey (author)

Tiny Flo’ and Lady Hardcastle are back!

On holiday in wonderful Weston, the dynamic duo find themselves embroiled in a multiple murder, spy, hotel mystery.
Lots of murders, most of the guests at the hotel involved in espionage and the biggest mystery … who are Chub and Perch or is Antelope and Gazelle? Maybe Flo was correct to name them Leftie and Rightie after their gun hands.

An other rollicking adventure, revealing more of the past adventures of Lady H and her tiny companion, that bustles along like a hat in the breeze along Weston Promenade. At least it prevented Flo’ getting bored waiting for the tide to bring the sea to her!

As ever another fun read, just pipped to book of the month.

A fabulous read 5 Stars


The Reed Ferguson Series: Books 1-3 & Books 4-6
by Renee Pawlish (author)

A couple of box sets, the start of at least 18 stories featuring “not quite a rich boy anymore” detective Reed Ferguson. (Book 5 reveals why!)

The cast of characters are laid down in book 1 and they remain very true to themselves throughout, no sudden super-powers … then with Goofball Brothers as main support players; you wouldn’t expect them too.
The plots are all different even if Reed’s technique, a bit like Dick Francis’s detective Sid Halley’s “crash about a bit until someone beats me up”, approach.

I found them to be easy to read and kept me turning the pages.

Good reads 4 Stars


See You at the Bar (A Harry Gilmour Novel Book 5) by David Black (author)

Harry Gilmour continues to fight his war beneath the waves of the Mediterranean. Except in this story he is on the surface of the sea much of the time.
His would be nemesis, The Bonnyboy, is still trying to kill the one and only officer who knows the truth about his final patrol.

A less tension riddled tale than earlier books. Instead you worry for poor Harry’s mental and physical health and that of his crew as the submarine is pushed well beyond the normal deployment.

A bit weaker than normal from David Black

A final fling, 3 (+1/2) Stars


The Prisoner’s Key (Glass and Steele Book 8)
by CJ Archer

This is really a Steele and Steele book, picking up the story soon after Matt and India return from their honeymoon.
A metal magician wants to work with India to create new spells, then he becomes embroiled in a murder. India, Matt and the rest of the crew set out to provide the police with the identity of the real killer.

If you have enjoyed the previous seven stories, you’ll like this one too. It doesn’t, however, give you a reason to read on if you have lost enthusiasm for the series.

A fun read 4 Stars


The Last Dance (The Near-Earth Mysteries Book 1)
by Martin L. Shoemaker

The Captain of a ship on an endless voyage is charged with mutiny by the military forces under the control of BIG money.
The very junior Inspector General, Park Yerim, is the only inspector available in the narrow time frame available to conduct an independent investigation.

Park gathers testimony from the diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Captain Aames’s character: his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions. As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself having to hold off powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a different direction to the one she wants to pursue.
Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction. All eyes are on her: one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for all involved

A classic country house style mystery, just the country house is missing. A well-told, enthralling story.

Undoubtedly The Book of the Month 5 Stars


Other Halves (Hannah series Book 2)
by Nick Alexander

A typically well crafted book by Nick Alexander. A marriage falls apart when Hanna leaves husband Cliff for his brother James. Cliff then has to struggle, coming to terms with suppressed feeling from his teenage years.
In the middle of this turmoil is Luke, the only child and weapon of choice for the warring couple.

A clever well written and absorbing story.

A good read 4 stars

September Books

Several books that were not so good this month … and one blindingly good one (at the bottom of the page)

The Case of the Nudist Numismatist

by Jack Dearborn (author), Ellen Dearborn (editor)

Another case for American detective Miles Grant, this time he has to solve the disappearance of a very valuable coin. The investigation progresses in an orderly manner, eliminating possibilities in a logical manner.

As usual Miles engages his wife as his sounding board which brings his family situation into the scope of the story. This opens up a family conversation about the rights and wrongs of the naturist life style some members of his family have adopted.

Not great literature but it is a fun read.

Fun 4 Stars

The Protest

by P.A. Choi (author)

Light fluffy short story about a naked protest on a college campus., from the prolific pen of PA Choi.

Fine if you want to read it.

Short and Signifying Nothing 2 Stars

A Dress the Color of the Sky

by Jennifer Irwin (author)

I wanted to enjoy this book … I didn’t.

There is nothing wrong with the writing. The plot is a little far fetched; a sex addict in therapy, trying to save a relationship with a man who is planning to marry another woman.

The voice didn’t work for me and coupled with the plot issues, I couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time … until I gave up.

NOT FINISHED – No rating

They Rang Up the Police (Inspector Guy Northeast Book 1)

by Joanna Cannan (author)

This a wonderful little detective story was actually written in 1939 and reflects the social mores of the period.

Out of favour Detective Guy Northeast is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate the disappearance of one member of a household of women, which turns into a country house murder. Before he can make progress he has to overcome the class prejudices of the era.

A rather well crafted book.

Good Read – 4 Stars

Death in Dulwich (The London Murder Mysteries )

by Alice Castle

The main character is a thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane. She has a young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of the rather affluent Dulwich .

She starts a new a job and on her first day her immediate boss is murdered. For some reason she decides that she must be the main suspect and sets to clear her name.

A cozy crime story, pleasant enough if some of the characters are not much more than ciphers. Others I found to be a bit artificial. Read it or not, it isn’t going to change your world.

Cozy Reading 3 Stars

Hide and Seek PARIS-SXM

Valérie Lieko

I picked up the publicity for this book in a resort shop on St Martin, and didn’t get round to reading it for years. Thankfully.

Alternate chapters tell the story from either side of a dysfunctional romance. Dysfunctional because both characters are not who they claim to be. He is an undercover cop. She is on holiday and has created a more colourful persona for the event.

However, I found the double point of view story telling slow and often uninspiring. You know the factual basis of the second of each pair of chapters before you read it, although you might get a better understanding of the motivations and perceptions … it wasn’t enough.

I ended up skipping chunks and the entire last third of the book because to be honest I didn’t care enough about the characters.

NOT FINISHED – No rating

The Man with No Borders: A Novel

by Richard C. Morais (Author)

It is a time of reckoning for José María Álvarez, an aristocratic Spanish banker living in a Swiss village with his American wife. His has led a long and very interesting life, which includes a lot of salmon fishing. Or butchery of salmon by the hundred. Which he sells to hotels four or five days later, ungutted, no refrigeration, in Spain? Just as well it is fiction and an allegory.

That said this is the best book I read this month by a country mile. Well written, imaginative and engaging. You know the ending from the very start of the book. However, the narrative twist and turns like an alpine road, to the left, to the right and the doubling back to where you began, well almost.

I loved Richard C Morais earlier book The Hundred Foot Journey, I think that this is an even better book

The full 5 Stars And Book of the Month

Early Summer Reading

Farewell To Summer (New Albion Book 3)

by Wallace Greensage (author)

This is Wallace Greensage’s 3rd New Albion book. I don’t say ‘story’ because it is lots of stories about lots of characters all cleverly woven together.

New Albion is an imaginary country in the mid-Atlantic. A bit like Britain towed south by a thousand ships. (Going South – Forever.) The climate is warmer and so are most of the people. Apart from a few gangsters who are seeking to use the convenient location for their own ends, who bring the edge to the story.

I really enjoyed this gentle relaxing tale of good people geting the lives they deserve!

Well worth the Full 5 stars

Mirror Gate (Harbinger Book 2)

Storm Glass (Harbinger Book 1)

Mirror Gate (Harbinger Book 2)

by Jeff Wheeler (author)

Take three girls, A princess, a pauper and a child of privilege. Add a few ghosts and some Muirwood, leering mediated magic, set the stories in a world with a huge gap between rich and poor and a narrow margin between success and failure. Add a bit of steampunk science and you have the Harbinger books.

They are well written and entertaining stories that in the end you walk away from. Harmless, without great significance and reading like one long book .

Pointless fluff

Three Stars

Hello from Another Time: A fun, yet poignant story about a modern girl adapting to life in a completely different era.

Hello from Another Time: A fun, yet poignant story about a modern girl…

by Tina K. Burton (author)

A story that starts promising but fails to deliver.

Emily is crossing the road, absorbed in her phone then she is in the care of her great aunt in 1930’s Bath. If the story had stayed there it would have been a wonderful piece of whimsy.

Sadly World War 2 approaches and Emily goes off the rails, panicking about the coming bombing … At the level where you’d imagine only a tiny percentage of the population were going to survive and the story sort of goes off the rails.

fun scenario, fun story for the first two thirds, let down by the final third.

Three Stars

Life Models

Life Models

by D.H. Jonathan (author)

A fun uplifting story of lonely Life Model, widower David, who becomes enamored with a new model on the rota at the Art College. Despite the difference in their age and social background they find common cause in the course of a project and …. I’m not giving away the plot.

We written with very believable characters (probably because DHJ has vast experience as a life model) I enjoyed this story from start to finish.

Five Stars

Elven Winter (The Saga of the Elven Book 2)

Elven Winter (The Saga of the Elven Book 2)

Elven Queen (The Saga of the Elven Book 3)

by Bernhard Hennen (author), Edwin Miles (translator)

I loved the original book The Elven and gave it 5 stars. Well sadly it has been down hill from there. The Elven Winter begins as quite an exciting tale that crackles with action and tension then slides into a quagmire of detail.

The third book seems to stay stuck in the same rut. I say seems I set it aside at about a fifth of the way in.

The Case of the Lascivious Lecturer

The Case of the Lascivious Lecturer

by Jack Dearborn (author), Ellen Dearborn (editor)

PI Miles Grant is back, This time trying to discover who is blackmailing the family of a young girl. How did they come by the images? Why can’t the victim remember? Methodical (plodding?) as ever Miles sets off to solve the mystery.

Meanwhile at home Miles’ wife is flirting with naturism or is it something else? Spending more time naked than dressed, to what purpose, is it just a passing phase? Or should they tell the children of the family what is going on?

This tale left a bit of a nasty taste in the mouth. To get his evidence another student is allowed to go through the same ordeal. i suppose it is historically correct but the young girls are left unsupported after being abused.

Unscored

A Thousand Devils (Max Heller, Dresden Detective Book 2)

A Thousand Devils (Max Heller, Dresden Detective Book 2)

by Frank Goldammer (author), Steve Anderson (translator)

Another case of I gave Book 1 five stars and book two fails to hit the mark. however it was a very high mark to aim for.

Set two years after air Raid Killer (the first Max Heller case) and Dresden is struggling to survive the bitter winter under Russian occupation when a series of bizarre killings involving the occupation forces arrives in Max Heller’s case load.

Are the murders related to a Nazi revival, desperation for food or are they as the Russians insist not related at all?

While it isn’t as good as the exceptional The Air Raid Killer, Im still going to give it more than four stars …. so that is

Five Stars

See-Through: An Emma Nelson Mystery by [Walker, P.Z.]

See-Through: An Emma Nelson Mystery

P.Z. Walker, (Will Forest editor)

It started when Emma accepts a candy from a stranger …

Unnerved by her new ability she confides in a friend, and then while drunk, another, a guy, a policeman. Suddenly she is attracting interest from the police. In more ways than one.

A Fun poolside read from a prolific pen of Paul Z Walker.

Five Stars

Love…From Both Sides

Nick Spalding

A very forgettable book … I had to check on my kindle that I had read it. I recognised the last few pages. I dipped back through a few pages and I remember that it is a piece of nothing – Boy meets girl, makes an idiot of himself in a food poisoning episode and eventually gets her back – As usual it makes for a great read by the pool or in the airport waiting for a delayed flight.

Three Stars

Lies Sleeping: The New Bestselling Rivers of London novel (A Rivers of London novel Book 8)

Ben Aaronovitch

The New Bestselling … I hate that sort of subtitle doubly for the repetition. The cast is all here again as PC Peter Grant chases down the bad guys of magic in a complex narrative that finally moves the Rivers of London series forward after a couple of rather static books. Nightingale, Beverley and even a gentler Leslie play their roles, as finally we discover more about the Faceless man …

This is by no measure a stand alone read you have to read the enjoyable first couple of stories and wade through the fifth and sixth books for this one to make sense. Even Amazon are confused calling it book 8 of a seven book series.

Three Stars