#BlogTour A Clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy. It’s a cosy crime mystery with a main character who has to navigate life as an immigrant.

About the Author

Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. An English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University, Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. A Clean Canvas is the second book in the Lena Szarka mystery series about a Hungarian cleaner who turns detective.

Follow @ElizabethEMundy on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit elizabethmundy.com

Buy A Clean Canvas

About the book

Crime always leaves a stain…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner, dusts off her detective skills when a masterpiece is stolen from a gallery she cleans with her cousin Sarika. When Sarika goes missing too, accusations start to fly.

Convinced her cousin is innocent, Lena sweeps her way through the secrets of the London art scene. But with the evidence against Sarika mounting and the police on her trail, Lena needs to track down the missing painting if she is to clear her cousin.

Embroiling herself in the sketchy world of thwarted talents, unpaid debts and elegant fraudsters, Lena finds that there’s more to this gallery than meets the eye.

Review

This is the second book in the Lena Szarka series and can be read as a standalone novel. There are a few references made to the first book, but nothing that disturbs the flow of this read.

Lena isn’t exactly your standard sleuth, in fact she sort of accidentally falls into the role of detective again to clear the name of Sarika. It is also of utmost importance to ensure the survival of her cleaning company. She doesn’t need a bad reputation, especially not the kind of reputation that comes with the disappearance of an expensive piece of art.

It’s a cosy crime mystery with a main character who has to navigate life as an immigrant. A stranger in a country where she is judged for her origins and accent. Given the side-eye when employers misplace valuable items and in general is an undervalued individual. At the same time Lena isn’t someone to be underestimated. She is nothing less than fierce when she is fighting for someone she cares about.

I thought the theft plot was a little on the weak side and not on par with the attention Mundy pays to the characters. Each one of them is far more developed than the whole painting goes missing scenario, then again that’s maybe because I do like a good dead body and was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick story. It’s a pleasant uncomplicated read with a feisty main character.

Buy A Clean Canvas (Lena Szarka Mystery #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 3 Jan. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Little Brown.

Buy the 2-book Lena Szarka Mystery series.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a Winsor & Newton pocket sized Watercolour set and a signed copy of A Clean Canvas. (UK Only)

Enter the Giveaway below:

Click here to Enter Rafflecopter giveaway *Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin.This is the third book in the Ryder and Loveday series, a cosy crime series with an unusual crime fighting duo.

About the Author

Faith Martin has been writing for 30 years. She signed a massive 3-book deal with the publishers Harper Collins/HQ, who have published her Ryder & Loveday novels. All three novels, A Fatal Obsession, A Fatal Mistake and A Fatal Flaw are available now.

Follow @FaithMartin_Nov @HQDigitalUK @HQStories

Buy A Fatal Flaw

About the book

1960, Oxford

As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition.

Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case.

In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize?

With time running out, the duo need to spot the killer before tragedy strikes again…

Review

This is the third book in the Ryder and Loveday series, a cosy crime series with an unusual crime fighting duo. Loveday is a probationary WPC and Ryder is a coroner, many years her senior. 

Loveday has to suffer the misogynistic and sexist attitudes of her male colleagues. She is relegated to making tea, searching female suspects and family liaison. She would rather be at the forefront of crime like her colleagues, which is why she doesn’t say no when a potential crime falls into her lap.

Ryder has become Loveday’s inadvertent sidekick, but does so with great pleasure. He is busy trying to hide the fact he has a medical condition, which could end his career. Hiding the physical impairments of his Parkinson’s disease is becoming increasingly difficult, and are being mistaken for alcohol related incidents.

The combination of the two of them gives the story a light-hearted and comfortable feel, despite the crime element. Ryder gives Loveday the platform to evolve professionally and Loveday connects with Ryder in an almost familial way.

There are plenty of cosy crime books, but what Martin does is slide an element of modern crime in with the easy flow. You get an early Jane Tennison feel, which addresses the difficult aspect of being a woman in the police force, and the discriminatory treatment of people with medical issues and gender inequality.

It might seem a strange thing to say about a crime story, but the relationship between Ryder and Loveday gives it a feel-good element, despite the murders. Martin mixes the more nefarious aspects of human nature with an entertaining crime-solving duo. This is what happens when conscience and empathy meets murderous intention.

Buy A Fatal Flaw at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 1 Feb. 2019, Paperback pub date 18 April 2019

Read my review of A Fatal Obsession (Ryder and Loveday Mystery #1)

#BlogTour Right on the Monet by Malcolm Parnell

I missed my spot on the BlogTour Right on the Monet by Malcolm Parnell (due to personal circumstances) – here is my post…

About the Author

Malcolm Parnell has a passion for painting and teaches art and drawing skills when he is not working on his next novel. His other passion, apart from his good lady wife, Marion, is Leicester City Football Club. Becoming an author and Leicester win the Premier League have been two of his greatest ambitions realised.

Follow @PaintAuthor @3ppublishing1 on Twitter, on Facebook

About the book

New York – Claude Monet painting is stolen.

Mediterranean – Of all the things Harry Chase had imagined in his life, being a drummer on a cruise ship band was not one that would have occurred to him. And yet, there he was. Centre stage, behind a young female singer along with his mates, Dave, Tony and Steve.

Which meant that getting involved in a jewellery theft, an on-board massage parlour and the hunt for an Old Master was even further from his mind as he cracked the snare drum.

And yet, this was exactly how he found himself being questioned by Interpol …..

Review

This is the third book featuring Harry Chase and his strange group of friends. The books can be read as standalone novels, but there is enough of the previous stories mentioned for the reader to follow the history of the group. The books aren’t necessarily recognisable as a series until you read the blurbs, perhaps it’s something which could be added to the book description or title. #HarryChase

What can I say about Harry & Co? Think men’s locker room banter and the typical sexist, and slightly misogynistic comments and jokes one might encounter in said environment. Then imagine a group of men, a few with their respective partners, solving crime. In essence that is Right on the Monet.

The theft of the painting plays more of a secondary role in the story. The book starts with the theft and then it isn’t mentioned until nearly halfway through the story. The first half is more about the banter between the group and how they accidentally tend to fall into mysteries and solving crimes.

The women are portrayed as nothing more than sexual objects and of course everyone has the hots for the main character Harry. Of course, because every man is irresistible to each and every woman.

The way the men, especially Harry tend to talk about their partners and women in general can be a bit off-putting, it depends on whether locker room thoughts and talk is your thing. If that particular aspect were taken away I think the read would find a bigger audience, because the rest of the story has a cosy mystery comedy feel to it.

Aside from that it is an entertaining comedy of awkward amateur sleuths with a propensity for falling into the midst of mysteries and strife.

Buy Right on the Monet at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. (Buy links to follow soon)

Buy A Brush with Death at Amazon Uk by Malcolm Parnell or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy A Fool and his Money at Amazon Uk by Malcom Parnell or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Walden of Bermondsey by Peter Murphy

waldenThink Judge Deed, with less moral constipation, with a flair of Kavanaugh QC and a smidgen of Rumpole of the Bailey. Walden of Bermondsey is the legal procedural equivalent of a cosy mystery.

I was highly amused by the way Charlie Walden kept referring to his wife as the Reverend. Their relationship is well-balanced, and she is the Tuppence to his Tommy. His hands are bound when he learns facts which could influence the outcome of a case he is presiding over, however legally he is not in a position to act upon the information.

His wife, the Reverend, seems to think she remembers the name of one of the men involved in the case Walden is concerned about. She stumbles upon something that could blow the whole case apart.

Murphy gives the reader fascinating insight into the UK legal system, combining facts with his fictional story to create a pleasurable read. He balances the legal case with a little mystery and a room full of cantankerous colleagues, who all have their very own personal input when it comes to legal cases.

Murphy is definitely an author I would recommend to readers who like Robert Thorogood or G.K. Chesterton. Readers who enjoy the more comfy read, as opposed to the crime read filled with gratuitous violence.

Buy Walden of Bermondsey at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @noexitpress @OldcastleBooks

Visit petermurphyauthor.co.uk