Murder by the Minster by Helen Cox

This weekend we are celebrating the Paperback Publication of Murder by the Minster by Helen Cox.About the Author

Helen Cox is a Yorkshire-born novelist and poet.. After completing her MA in creative writing at the University of York St. John Helen wrote for a range of magazines and websites as well as for TV and radio news. Helen has edited her own independent film magazine and penned three non-fiction books. She currently hosts The Poetrygram podcast and works for City Lit, London.

Follow @Helenography on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon,Visit helencoxbooks.comBuy Murder by the Minster

About the book

Meet Kitt Hartley: librarian, trilby-wearer, Lady Grey tea-drinker, talker of no nonsense… detective?

It’s a perfectly normal day for Kitt Hartley at her job at the University of the Vale of York library, until Detective Inspector Halloran arrives at her desk to tell hr that her best friend, Evie Bowes, is under suspicion of murder. Evie’s ex-boyfried Owen has been found dead – with a fountain pen stabbed through his heart – and all the evidence points to her.

Kitt knows there is no way Evie could murder anyone – let alone Owen, who she adored. Horrified that the police could have got it so wrong, Kitt decides there’s only one thing to do:: she’s going to investigate Owen’s murder herself. She’s read hundreds of mystery novels – how hard can it be?

With the help of her assistant Grace, and the occasional hindrance o the library’s eccentric regulars, Kitt summons up all her investigative powers ( absorbed over years of reading everything from Agatha Christie to Ian Rankin) and gets to work.

She soon discovers that down the quaint streets and snickelways of York lie darker doings than she’d ever dreamed, but she needs to watch her step: the murderer is watching her. And they haven’t finished killing yet…

Review

Kitt is emboldened by her friends, her fictional companions. She becomes the feisty detective searching for the truth and seeking the real murderer regardless of how much trouble she may get herself into.

How dare anyone accuse her friend Evie of murder? Evie’s ex-boyfriend has plenty of enemies to choose from. There are probably quite a few who wanted to see him dead. The list of suspects, and let’s be honest the list is kinda pushing it a bit when it comes to some of them, isn’t exactly short.

It reminded me of the kind of murder mysteries you can watch on the Hallmark channel, a bit like the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. A combination of humour, awkward and stumbling sleuthing, a plot that draws the reader in and plays with them a little, and a main character who just can’t help herself and stays in trouble the majority of the time.

It’s a cosy murder mystery with an audacious main character. Kitt isn’t bothered with boundaries or rules, and certainly not by any dangerous situations which may arise. This is what makes her such a bold fighter when it comes to fighting to clear her friends name.

Cox writes with enthusiasm, especially when it comes to Kitt, and despite all the murders it is the kind of read cosy crime lovers will enjoy. With a beautiful setting and quirky set of companions to accompany her I am sure Kitt will be back again soon with another mystery.

Buy Murder by the Minister at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Quercus; pub date 31 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Quercus BooksBuy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour Crazy For You by T.S. Hunter

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Crazy For You by T.S. Hunter. It’s the fourth part in the Soho Noir series.

About the Author

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction. He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

Follow @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on GoodreadsBuy Crazy For You

About the book

The course of true love never runs smooth.

It’s 1987, and Soho is in the grip of another hot summer. While working part-time in The Red Lion, Joe finds himself agreeing to help a notorious gangster search for her missing girlfriend.

Antonia The Gecko Lagorio is daughter to the ruthless but ageing gang boss, Tony The Lizard Lagorio. When her girlfriend, Charlotte Fenwick, goes missing, Antonia turns to Joe for help, believing her to have been kidnapped by a rival gang.

Charlotte Fenwick is daughter to multi-millionaire, Charles Fenwick—who also happens to be one of Freddie Gillespie’s bigger clients. Keen to keep any hint of a scandal out of the public eye, Charles Fenwick had already asked Freddie to recruit Russell and Joe to help him find his daughter discreetly.

With both of them on the case, Joe and Russell find themselves trying to stop a turf war between the two rival gangs while uncovering all manner of dark secrets about the missing heiress and her troubled life.

Meanwhile Freddie Gillespie has a run in with an old foe that could see him lose both his job and his relationship with Russell.Review

The inadvertent sleuthing duo is back. Joe and Russell, who both seem to fall into crimes with an alarming frequency. I think they need to worry about whether they have fallen into a Midsomer Murder postcode area. Their adventures or the crimes they get involved with tend to have a cosy feel, despite the fact Hunter combines that feeling with important historical topics, which are still relevant in our era.

It’s what makes this series so readable, and the fact each book can be read as a standalone. Personally, and I can’t say this enough, I really like the Quick Read feature of the Soho Noir series. It doesn’t purport to be overly complex or long. Its strength is the fact it can be read anywhere and finished too. The perfect pocket read.

In this book Joe is asked to look for the missing girlfriend of The Gecko, the daughter of a local mobster. Then soon after he is asked to look for the missing daughter of a very wealthy and influential businessman. Same girl. Seems as if the young woman isn’t as innocent as her father thinks she is or as sincere as her girlfriend thinks she is.

It’s a cosy crime and LGBTQ read set in the 80s with memorable and often highly entertaining characters. I would definitely both recommend the series and buy the books or box set as a present.

There is one more thing I want to say about this series, which has beautiful covers by the way, and catchy 80s songs as titles. It might be because the 80s was my era, but every time I read one of the titles the soundtrack plays in my head. It’s an automatic reaction – I blame Hunter for the earworms.

Buy Crazy For You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press, pub date 22 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1)Who’s That Girl (Soho Noir #2) and Careless Whisper (Soho Noir #3 by T.S. Hunter.

#BlogTour The Art of Murder by J.S. Strange

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Art of Murder by J.S. Strange. This is the second book in the Jordan Jenner Mystery series.About the Author

J.S. Strange is an author from Wales, United Kingdom. He writes crime, mystery and horror. His first novels, published in 2016 and 2017, were set in an apocalyptic London. Murder on the Rocks, was the first in a cozy crime mystery series, featuring a leading gay male detective.

Murder on the Rocks was written by Strange for many reasons. One of those reasons was a lack of representation within the crime genre, particularly with detectives and sleuths. Strange created Jordan Jenner, a private investigator, who lives and works in Cardiff. Murder on the Rocks was written with the intention of shining light on Cardiff, and bringing Cardiff, and furthermore, Wales, into the crime genre.

Strange’s previous works, such as ‘Winter Smith: London Burning’, also explored LGBT themes, and featured socialite Winter Smith escaping a zombie apocalypse. ‘London’s Burning’ became an Amazon best-seller in LGBT fiction.

When Strange doesn’t write, he works in television. He also presents a radio show all about the paranormal. He has an enthusiasm for Britney Spears and cats.

Strange’s new novel, The Art of Murder, is set in Wales and is the second in the Jordan Jenner series. The murder mystery is available now.

Follow @JackSamStrange  and @PantherPubs on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreadson Instagramon Facebook, Visit jacksamstrange.comBuy The Art of Murder

About the book

The second in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series. The follow up to Murder on the Rocks.

Artist Xander Draper is being threatened by a dangerous group. With PI Jordan Jenner’s help, Xander hopes to remain unscathed.

But when Xander is murdered, his body displayed as his final exhibit, Jordan realises the extent of the trouble Xander was in. Now, there are people following Jordan. They know his name, and they want him dead.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s brother Ashley has returned, and he has a secret. As time runs out to solve the murder of the famous artist, Jordan begins to fear his brother may be responsible.

A classic cosy mystery set in the heart of Cardiff. A perfect read for fans of Agatha Christie. A murdered artist. A brother with a deadly secret. A group intent on killing. The Art of Murder is the second in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series, a cosy murder mystery set in Wales.

Review

This is the second book in the Jordan Jenner Mystery series, the first is Murder on the Rocks. Both of the books can be read as standalone novels.

This time Jordan is drawn into the dubious world of art and crime. Into a world of secrets, deals and betrayal. Unfortunately Jordan finds himself on the mister popular of the month list with a local gang. Of course he is completely unaware of this fact, but when the local goons start turning up with less than honourable intentions, Jordan soon figures out he might be in over his head.

Then to put the cherry on top of his sundae his brother turns up with a boatload of trouble in tow.

It’s noted as a cosy crime mystery and yet this book in particular also has the feel of gritty urban crime with a gangster vibe at times. It’s brutal and not very cosy with plenty of action and perhaps less focus on the sleuthing aspect the first book in the series had.

The one thing I will say is that the author needs to make sure cosy isn’t interpreted as simplistic from a language and writing point of view. His readers have warmed to his main character and enjoy the crimes he wanders into, albeit often without any help from himself. Perhaps Jordan Jenner is moving in the direction of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, as opposed to the world of cosy crime.

Although I made this point in my review of Murder on the Rocks I think the sentiment is worth repeating. This is marketed as mystery series with an LGBT main character. Strange doesn’t overshadow the crime element of the read with that fact. Instead it becomes as irrelevant as having a heterosexual main character, which is as it should be. The author helps to fill the niche of diverse fiction by creating a character that people can relate to.

Buy The Art of Murder at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Panther Publishing 1 Oct 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Murder on the Rocks ( Jordan Jenner Mysteries #1) by J.S. Strange

#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