#SocialMediaBlast Death Awaits in Durham by Helen Cox

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Social Media Blast for the fourth book in the Kitt Hartley series, Death Awaits in Durham 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. her first two novels were published by HarperCollins in2016. She currently hosts The Poetrygram podcast and works for City Lit. She lives in Sunderland.

Follow @Helenography on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit helencoxbooks.comBuy Death Awaits in Durham

About the book

When librarian and budding private investigator Kitt Hartley visits her ex-assistant Grace Edwards in Durham, she soon learns of an unsolved murder.

A year ago Jodie Perkins, a Mechanics student, disappeared after her student-radio broadcast was cut short with a deafening scream. the police suspect Jodie was murdered although her body was never found.

Keen to be on the front line of one of Kitt’s investigations, Grace convinces Kitt to use her recent private investigator training to solve the mystery. Can Kitt and Grace uncover the truth?


This is the fourth book in the Kitt Hartley series, however all books can be read as standalone novels. The characters do evolve as the series progresses, especially in this book, which is why I would definitely recommend reading the other books.

This time Kitt is roped into the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, then again perhaps roped isn’t the right word. She really needs to be convinced to use her powers of observation and deduction. Not even the mysterious tape of the young girl screaming with fear is enough to get her on board entirely. 

The solution was a wee bit of a rabbit drawn out of a top hat with feathers and a unicorn, perhaps too much packed into the last quarter instead of delivered equally bit by bit. Kitt and Grace seem to be at opposite sides of the sleuthing spectrum, or no spectrum at all, at the very beginning. The ending however implies that their paths are heading in a similar direction again.

Cox delivers an entertaining cosy mystery with great scenery, and if you happen to know the area, a very realistic vibe goes with the quirky and often obstinate characters. I would enjoy seeing a visual representation of the sleuths and seeing them solve mysteries in such great surroundings.

Buy Death Awaits in Durham at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Quercus Books, pub date 18 February 2021 – Paperback Original £8.99. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#BlogTour Murder on the Downs by Julie Wassmer

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Murder on the Downs by Julie Wassmer.

About the Author

Julie Wassmer was born in the East End of London, studied at Kingston University and had a variety of different jobs before she finally settled down to become a professional television drama writer.

She worked on several TV series, including ITV’s London’s Burning, C5’s Family Affairs and the popular BBC soap, EastEnders, which she wrote for almost 20 years.

In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True. The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year.

In 2015, Julie’s debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by award-winning publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. Six other books have since followed in the series with more on the way, and the television rights to the series have been optioned by the TV production company, Buccaneer, the makers of Marcella, starring Anna Friel.

Julie moved to Whitstable twenty years ago where she shares a home with her husband, Kas, and three cats, Charlie, Lily and Maisie. She also spends a great deal of time campaigning on environmental issues.

Murder on the Downs is the seventh book in the Whitstable Pearl Mystery series.

Follow @juliewassmer on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit juliewassmer.comBuy Murder on the Downs

About the book

A controversial new property development is planned in Whitstable which will encroach upon the green open space of the downs, to the dismay of Whitstable residents who view this as the thin end of the wedge with regard to local wildlife conservation.

A campaign springs into life, spearheaded by a friend of Pearl’s family, Martha Laker. A committed environmentalist, Martha is no stranger to controversy herself. She has also managed to divide opinion across town, with the locals viewing her as their fearless champion while establishment figures seeing only an interfering agitator.

Tensions escalate between the developers and Whitstable residents, straining Pearl’s close relationship with London-born police officer, DCI Mike McGuire, who harbours concerns that the local campaign will spiral out of control. Pearl’s loyalties are torn, but the protest duly goes ahead – and newspaper headlines claim a moral victory for the residents in this David and Goliath battle.

But the victory is short lived when Pearl discovers a dead body on the downs…


Pearl is thrown into the middle of a fight between a property developer and the locals in Whitstable. She doesn’t really want to take sides, especially because she is trying to focus on her budding relationship between herself and DCI Mike McGuire. Her hand is forced, although perhaps more due to nostalgia as opposed to admitting the practicality of more people needing affordable housing. That twinge of nostalgia places her firmly on one side. It’s all fun and games, and a bit of rebellion, until somebody turns up dead.

Wassmer captures the essence of rural and coastal smalltown mentality and definitely hits the nail on the head when it comes to the gentrification of areas perceived as perfect by those with second homes. If you happen to live in one of those areas it’s easier to understand the more negative implications for the locals. DfL’s (down-from-London) don’t help the local economy because their holiday homes are empty for the majority of the year. They tend to be key figures and string-pullers when it comes to environmental and conservation protests. It makes them look good. Yes, I am a wee bit cynical.

Wassmer knows exactly how things roll between locals and second home holiday dwellers. The plot is built around the same kind of tension, disgruntled opinions and energy the two sides tend to evoke. Combined with a cosy mystery crime vibe and a blossoming romance this is the kind of read you need when you want distraction and a bit of smalltown quirkiness.

Buy Murder on the Downs ( Whitstable Pearl Mysteries) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 7 May 2020 – £8.99 Paperback/eBook. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Killer Queen by T.S. Hunter

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Killer Queen, the fifth part of the Soho Noir series, by T.S. Hunter.

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 Killer Queen

About the book

It’s 1988. A mild summer after a turbulent political year for LGBT rights. While working as an assistant to a successful theatre director , Joe Stone finds himself unwittingly embroiled in another Murder investigation. Lexi Goode , a young , up and coming actress had her bright future cut short when she is found murdered in her exclusive top floor apartment in the posh end of Soho. Knowing that the police are as racist as they are homophobic, Joe and Russell inevitably take it on themselves to investigate what happened to the young woman.

Along the way they discover illicit liaisons , a string of admirers , a secret life that was helping to pay for the glamorous lifestyle no young actress should have been able to afford. But who would want to kill Lexi?

Finding the answer to that question put’s Joe In mortal danger and a young police officer in an awkward position.


This is the fifth book in the Soho Noir series. It’s a fantastic LGBTQ cosy crime series set in the 80s with characters who are just getting settled in. What Joe and Russell have in common is a discovery and exploration of self and their sexuality, and a propensity for falling into crime scenarios. It’s no wonder their nemesis gives them the side-eye every time one of them falls over a dead body.

This time Joe stumbles upon the body of a young actress, who appears to have been leading a dubious double life. Is it a case of stage envy – the world of theatre can be rather deadly. Or has her secret life led to her early demise?

I think Hunter is just getting his groove when it comes to this series. The hidden Christie vibes are starting the permeate the surface of the stories.

The Soho Noir series shines a light on an important era for the LGBTQ community. The rising acceptance was cut short by the paranoia and fear caused by the AIDS pandemic, which resulted in any advancement and change in opinion about homosexuality being cut short for a long time. In that sense this is also a poignant political and sociological perspective on sexuality in that era. Hunter has created an excellent balance between crime and mystery, and social contextual development of sexual identities in this series.

It’s a cosy crime mystery series – quick perfect pocket reads. I also have to note, once again because I get such joy from it, that the covers are great and the titles cause the worst case of earworm ever.

Buy Killer Queen (Soho Noir #5) at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Red Dog Press, pub date 15 Nov. 2019. Buy the ebook editionBuy at Amazon comBuy at Red Dog Press.

Also by T.S. Hunter – Soho Noir series:

Read my review of Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1)

Read my review of Who’s That Girl (Soho Noir #2)

Read my review of Careless Whisper (Soho Noir #3)

Read my review of Crazy For You (Soho Noir #4)

#BlogTour Christmas at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Christmas at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a £15 Amazon Gift Card (UK Only)About the Author

Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath, England. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018, A Rebel At Pennington’s February 2019 and Christmas At Pennington’s September 2019.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website: https://rachelbrimble.com/

Connect with @RachelBrimble @Aria_Fiction on Twitter, on BookBubon Goodreadson Instagram, on Amazon, And with Rachel Brimble on FacebookRachel’s Readers Group on Facebook,Visit rachelbrimble.blogspot.com

Buy Christmas at Pennington’s

About the book

Gripping drama as Pennington’s department store prepares for a glittering Christmas in 1911, but a killer stalks the women of Bath.

Christmas sees Pennington’s at its most glorious, thronged with shoppers, its grand staircase and balcony adorned with holly, mistletoe, tinsel and lights. It should be the happiest time, but dramas are seething beneath the surface.

For Cornelia Culford, in charge of jewellery, a divorce hearing looms, where she could lose custody of her young sons to her overbearing and unfaithful husband.

For Stephen Gower, being head of security at Pennington’s is the perfect refuge from a tragic past at Scotland Yard. But soon the past will call him back, as Joseph Carter and Elizabeth Pennington beg him to help solve the murder of Joseph’s first wife, now that it seems as if the killer has struck again.

For Joseph and Elizabeth, their marriage depends on exorcising the past. But can it ever be laid to rest?


Although this series is more of a cosy romance series that addresses important topics of the times, this book seemed to take it up a notch. The crime element of the story was a bit more gritty and full of emotional turmoil, and the domestic violence element played out quite well.

Brimble brings the confusion, behavioural issues and the blame game of the children to the plot, and shows the extreme situation Cordelia finds herself in.

There is a lot going on in this story, the murder, the domestic violence, the aspect of child abuse and women living in a patriarchal society, and much more. At times it seems as if one storyline has to be cut short to make room for another one, sometimes less is more.

Saying that, the author manages to maintain the feel of the Pennington books and the aura Elizabeth brings to the story. The elegance and atmosphere of the store, the struggle to claim her place in society because she has no rights as a woman. More importantly the strong friendships and bonds that form despite class and gender distinctions.

It’s a cosy romance and crime with poignant social issues of the era woven into the plot. The author wants readers to take something away from the story, whilst simultaneously giving them a good read. I enjoy the contradiction of the pleasant and controversial in the same plot – it makes for a good read.

Buy Christmas at Pennington’s at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Aria pub date 19 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

Read my review of A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

Enter the Giveaway to Win a £15 Amazon Gift Card (UK Only)

Click here to Enter the  Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  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 Tainted Love by T.S. Hunter

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Tainted Love by T.S. Hunter. Tainted Love is the first book in the Soho Noir series of cosy crime novellas. Kudos to Hunter for creating a read that caters for the lover of easy, cosy, crime and also the food for thought readers. Don’t miss the fantastic Q&A with T.S. Hunter and…

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway below to win – a signed copy of the book, a gorgeous Tote Bag, a #rainbow button badge and some #chocolate.

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 Goodreads,

Buy Tainted LoveAbout the book

Some relationships are just murder.

It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town Joe and Chris grew up in.

But when Chris is brutally murdered, the police just write his death off as another rent boy, fallen foul of a bad hook up. Joe realises that his best friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.

Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?

A noirish whodunit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.


Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know) I’ve been reading Derek Farrell’s Death of A… Series. The latest one, Death of an Angel, is great fun, and definitely his strongest yet. I came across the series, and the author, looking for other LGBT Crime series. And these are cracking.

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it)?  Can I go for TV series instead? Because POSE absolutely slayed me. It’s such a beautifully written, wonderfully acted piece of drama. It’s a wonderful period piece, incredibly evocative of the time, and with so many messages still pertinent today, if not even more important that we are still having those same arguments.

Writers or books who have inspired you to put pen to paper? Obviously, there are countless, but Armistead Maupin, Russell T Davis, and Maya Angelou are all high on that list, certainly.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet?Freddie Mercury, please. But if he could bring Bowie along too, that would be nice.

A famous declutterer a la Marie Kondo has decided to help you organise your home – you have to get rid of all but three of your books (the ones you have written yourself are exempt) which three would you pick and why? It’s not clutter if it’s books! I refuse to part with a single one. I will build a fortress of books and repel all who attempt to topple it. You can keep your ‘Spark of Joy’ I’ve got books!

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Tainted Love.

This is book 1 in the Soho Noir series, which is the first of six crime novellas set in Soho in the 1980s.

Tell us about the inspiration for this series. That’s a tough one. I love crime series. I love Marple, and Poirot, and Midsomer, Endeavour. All of them. I also love all things Noir. But I wanted a gay central character, rather than a sidekick or villain. I realised there weren’t that many about, and it got me thinking. That’s where this came from.

In the end, I just wanted to write a cracking good crime series, in which the main detective just happened to be gay. We all like to see ourselves in positive character roles, rather than just as mirrors to straight heroes.

Do you think LBGT fiction tends to be stereotyped and pushed into certain genres? I don’t know if it’s been pushed there, necessarily, but I’ve realised there is a lot of romance in the LGBT fiction scene and, while there is clearly an audience for that, the other genres tend to be lacking. While there is some mainstream fiction which does feature gay characters, there isn’t nearly enough of it.

Maybe it’s too naïve to hope that we can just have good fiction, with gay characters as well, and hopefully avoid all stereotyping of character in the future. I am aware, however, that many readers would be put off because the characters are gay, and others will be put off because there’s no sex. Hopefully there will be enough in the middle who want good crime, and good gay characters.

Leading on from that is this a way of levelling the playing field when it comes to diversity in literature and in this case crime fiction? Ooh, I don’t know. Every time a book with a diverse character in it happens to find a slot among the mainstream literature, I think that helps. The ideal would be that all characters are created, given gender or sexual preference, skin colour or religion, because that best fits with the story the writer is trying to tell.

Not pigeon-holing those books into categories might help to create a more level playing field, but I think we are a long way from levelling anything, really.

We’ve come a long way in having credible, excellent female detectives, but we can count on one hand the number of gay ones. Maybe that’s why I have a duo in mine. Two for the price of one.

In Tainted Love the crime story flows subtly alongside the discrimination, abuse, fear and oppression the characters experience, which makes the reader more aware of the daily battles the LBGT community endures. Was it important to you as an author for readers to take something away from this read? I think that was definitely a huge part of it. It also helps to create a sense of time, of the inherent and oppressive danger in that world, and of the things that will trouble our characters throughout the series. 

Also, I think we have forgotten how hard it was, especially in the LGBTQ community. These days it is less of an issue to come out, to identify as gay, or trans, or non-binary. Back then, we didn’t have the words to explain, and we didn’t have the rights in place. Police discrimination against gays was a big deal, but then so was standard discrimination in the street, in bars, and in homes across the country. I guess I would like us all to take a moment to remember how much people had to fight for us to have the freedoms we have now—and within most of our lifetimes, too.

This is set in the 1980s (best decade ever) and infused with the more stringent fashion, music and political groups the 80s produced, as opposed to the free spirit and lackadaisical attitude of the 60s and 70s. The book titles are also all well-known 80s hits. Why the 80s? Because I think it lends itself well, as a decade, to the spirit of Noir. There is an oppressive government in place causing privation and unemployment, there’s police discrimination and corruption, there’s a background of inequality, but at the same time the dawning of a freedom of expression that we now know well, a sense among the young of injustice, and fight. Also, there is the interminable, constant threat of AIDS, the killer disease which shaped the decade for gay men.

Also, it means I can listen to a fabulous soundtrack while I’m writing. I have a strong nostalgia for the time, even though I was too young, really, to be going through any of the big stuff then.

I really like the quick read kind of vibe, sort of like a Mills & Boons for the crime reader who wants a story in their pocket to read anywhere and at any given time. Is that why it is a series of novellas, as opposed to novel length reads? To appeal to every kind of reader? Absolutely. It’s a great discipline, the short novella. They’re quick to release, and great fun to write. There’s no time to wallow or drift off. Also, I think there is a good market for people who just want a quick read on a cold afternoon. My husband usually only reads on holiday or on cold afternoons, very rarely, after a big lunch in front of the fire. He doesn’t like starting a big novel, in the same way he refuses to start watching a TV programme if he’s already missed the first few seasons. God forbid you suggest we start watching something that is eight seasons in. Even if it’s great, he just won’t commit the time. I guess it is with people like this in mind that I created the novella series.

Thank you answering my questions, even the odd ones! By the way I am loving the book covers, they are sublime and cheeky at the same time. Thank you. It’s been great.


Let me tell you what I love about the concept of the Soho Noir series, the quick read feel of it. You can just pop it or them (there will be others in the series) in your bag. It is the modern crime equivalent to a Mills & Boon romance novella, but with a more serious premise and incorporating important social and societal topics.

Side note – I also adore the cover art for this book and that the titles are an ode to the 80s.

The story follows Joe who discovers the body of his friend Chris and his attempts to find the killer. Chris wasn’t just any old friend though, he was the one who encouraged Joe to finally be himself and to live and love, and not just to adhere to the rules and opinions of others.

In a way this story is about having the courage to identify and love the way you want to, despite the myths, controversy, hatred and discrimination surrounding the lives of gay men. It speaks to the fact that although we, as a society, have moved on from the oppressive laws and opinions of homophobia of previous decades, we haven’t moved on far enough.

As someone who enjoyed her formative years during the 80s, I can speak to the fact that even in a rural area of the German/Dutch border area the wave of paranoia and panic due to the AIDS epidemic was felt. Interestingly enough the threat or alleged threat was perceived to be from infected heterosexuals who thought nothing of having sex without protection. In fact we had a few who infected sexual partners on purpose and were taken to court and punished for it. In the majority of countries there was a paranoia about the gay community being the source of the disease.

It made life even more difficult for the LGBT community in a sense that they were treated like pariahs. It defined the way gay men were treated, and it certainly changed the face of interactions and relationships in said community. It killed too many, too early and in a tragic way.

This is a cosy crime novella with quite a few poignant moments that serve as a reminder that the world has to comprehend the hate and obstacles before we can break them down, because they have no place in the 21st century. Kudos to Hunter for creating a read that caters for the lover of easy, cosy, crime and also the food for thought readers.

Buy Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press; pub date 18 April 2019.

Enter the Giveaway to Win – A signed copy of the book, a gorgeous Tote Bag, a #rainbow button badge and some #chocolate!

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

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

All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

all dressed in white

Laurie finds it hard to resist the emotional plea of Sandra. The parallels between losing Greg and searching for his killer for so long are echoed in the disappearance of Amanda.

The Pierce family have been driven apart by the disappearance of their daughter, sister and almost wife. Gone without a single trace of evidence. Is she dead or has she just started a new life somewhere else? It is the not knowing that is slowly destroying Sandra.

The relationship between Alex and Laurie has come to wobbly halt, because she is still finding it hard to let go of the truth and deal with the fact Greg is gone.

Bringing everyone back together to enact the ‘crime’ for the television show Under Suspicion leads to all the suspects getting their cage rattled.

Higgins Clarke and Burke have created  a combination of psychological thriller, murder mystery and cosy crime. The characters are memorable and the type a reader wants to come back to. The crime element is sufficiently creepy and there are plenty of suspects to go around.

Thank you to Edelweiss for my copy of All Dressed in White.

Buy All Dressed in White at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.