Missing Alibi

This is the second book in the Faukon Abbey Mysteries series.  You may recall I reviewed the first in the series, Remember Me, in March this year.

Once again this story is written as a play, perhaps another Greek Tragedy and once again we meet DI Greene and his offsider DC Ford and their friend and journalist Jimmy Carter.

Carter goes to meet a mysteries and romance writer who has recently moved into the area.  He knows the house in which she lives as its previous owner was murdered. The writer knows this about the house and being intrigued decides it is a good plot for a story.

We find out that the writer’s husband does not spend much time in Faukon Abbey, preferring to spend weekdays in London with his mistress.  And we soon discover that this man is not all he pretends to be.

The writer is murdered and the police are making little progress in their investigations so once again, they call upon Jimmy Carter to assist them.  After all, he did know the murdered victim and perhaps she has said something to him during their long interview that could set them on the path of the murderer.

Meantime there is another death reported.  This time of a local farmer and while initially it is considered suspicious, it is determined to have been death from natural causes.

There are many twists and turns to this novel before we eventually find out who is the murderer.  A man, the murdered woman’s husband, who with his mistress is involved in a car accident while leaving his wife’s house in a car that was running out of brake fluid, a will that has been lost having been tampered with, the dead woman’s brother who suddenly appears after several years, the sister of the writer’s first husband, a solicitor who is acting rather strangely.

Yes, there are several potential perpetrators but it is not until the end that we find out who did it.  My only complaint is that much of what really happens is made clear to us by the characters who summarise the evidence and then reveal the culprit and the reason why.  This rather detracted from a cleverly conceived and executed story.

But having said that, this is a book that will keep you reading well into the night.  And now that it has been edited, it is an easy read.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read and voluntarily post this review.


Grand Cru Heist

Grand cru

Are you a lover of France, French wines, and mysteries? if your answer is yes, this series could be for you.

In this second book of the series, we are introduced to Benjamin Cooker, winemaker and wine writer extraordinaire, his assistant Virgile Lanssien, and Cooker’s friend, Hubert de Bouard de Laforest, winemaker of Grand Cru.

Cooker is set upon by a gang of thieves, his classic Mercedes 280SL is stolen along with his wallet and his notebook with all his notes and memories of the wines he had tasted.

Cooker has been advised to rest and recuperate and decides that a hotel in the Touraine region will suit him rather more than going home to his chateau in the Medoc.

At the Chateau de La Tortiniere he connects with the young concierge Gaetan who apart from appreciating young, beautiful women, is also a lover of good French wine.  He also meets a certain Mr Morton, owner of a splendid classic Morgan Plus8.  These two men find they have much in common.  Cooker writes about wine and is a winemaker, Morton claims to work for a wine brokerage in London and both men have a tendency for good Havana cigars.

The friendship is short-lived as Morton makes a sudden departure from the hotel in search of his young, beautiful travel companion.

In a short time, there are two murders to solve as well as the continuing theft of Grand Cru from a variety of wine outlets.  Cooker quickly becomes involved in the murders.  But more, he is involved in finding the thieves of the wine.  So think a French Hercule Poirot winemaker.

As an added bonus we are given great descriptions of art, architecture, landscape and history of the region together with the wine drunk with the food eaten.

This is a short, easily read book but one that I found a delight to read.  The two authors, unknown to me, are obviously well versed in French wines and know the Bordeaux region well.

I started the series with this the second book.  I shall now go to the first and look forward to reading more 0f the adventures of Benjamin Cooker..

Changing Lanes


Changing Lanes

This is another of the books I read during my rehabilitation last year, but as I couldn’t remember much about the story, I decided to re-read it today.

Picture a cold, windy Easter Saturday; everybody is out and one is alone in the house.  So reading was definitely the task(?) of choice.

Changing Lanes is the story of Abby Halliday.  On one fateful day, Abby’s life is totally changed She is told her syndicated column is no longer required; it’s not edgy enough.  Add to that the house she and her fiancé have purchased to live in following their wedding in 2 months’ time, is declared uninhabitable due to a termite infestation, and her fiancé sends her a text to say he won’t meet her for dinner as he is in Paris, France.

Meantime, Abby has gone back to her parents’ house in Paris, New Jersey, where she had planned to stay until the wedding.  Now since her dream house is no longer available, she will stay there indefinitely.

We are introduced to her parents, Mother, a woman totally involved with providing a special family life for her daughters, Father who having retired now takes up a passion he has always had and has hidden, two sisters, one a pouting teenager and the other a delightful 5-year-old baby. Also, there is Nan who has lived with the family since her husband died.

The story follows  Abby through her adventures driving her Father’s cab, reconnecting with two friends and many of the people from her childhood and Mick, the son of the next door neighbours with whom she had a teenage crush years before.

We move with her as she adapts and changes to the new opportunities available to her as she recognises that what was her dream life now ceases to be and there are other choices to be made.

This is a light-hearted book, easy to read and hard to put down.  I strongly recommend it for a wet afternoon when you feel that the ironing, cooking or even writing,  can be put aside for a time to relax with a good read.

Note – I received a free copy of this book and in return, I choose to write a review.







Blood Trails

I read this originally way back in October but decided to reread it after discussion with another reader.

A new book, a new series, a new protagonist from Diane Capri, one of my favourite authors.

blood trails


Michael Flint is the protagonist or maybe, after all, he is a hero. Flint is an heir hunter who claims to be able to find anyone. This time he’s given the task of finding a woman who hasn’t been seen or heard of for more than 20 years. Added to the problem is that time is very limited. An option is about to expire and two oil moguls are in a fight to the end to get the rights.

Michael Flint and his associate, Katie Scarlett have few clues to the missing woman’s whereabouts and Flint is being pursued on both sides and everywhere he goes.
This is well worth a read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.



Dangerous tide

This is book no 3 in the Dolphin Shore Shifters Series.

In this one, we are introduced to Libra Doc Lyra’s twin sister.  These two doctors are identical and most people don’t know there are two of them.

The sisters are concerned that a spate of violent behaviour occurrences by some second-time male shifters could be a male hormone imbalance.  There is scant physical evidence and the twins want to do some more in-depth probing to provide medical proof.For this, Doc Libra will need special, costly lab equipment.

When she makes her application to the Save Blue Water corporate department heads she is met with a resounding refusal.  Particularly against it is the newly appointed head of field ops, Rye Walker.

Libra is determined to gain the equipment needed.

One of the field ops is missing and feared hurt. He is on the trail of a whistleblower informing them that a leaking freighter was headed for Galveston.  Now Rye is off to find him No male shifter ever flies, they all drive because of a strong fear of being enclosed in a plane so far above the earth.   In this instance the drive from Santa Barbara to Texas is 26 hours; the non-stop flight is only 3 hours

Libra offers Rye a deal.  She can help him get over the fear of flying by giving him a variety of drugs administered before and during the flight, with the proviso that in return she’ll get all the equipment needed for the tests.  Rye counteracts with the proposal that Libra fly with him to Galveston, administering the drugs he will need to get over his fear and in return, he will agree to be her first guinea pig and also vote to get her the money required for her equipment.

Grus the missing field ops member identified the steamer and was taking photos when he was discovered and is now being held captive.  His last communication to SBW was abruptly cut off from a phone in a hotel.  Rye and Libra rush to the hotel but there is no sign of Grus.

As is usual in this series, there is hot, steamy sex between Libra and Rye, much interaction with the bad guys.  Rye’s gun is found in the missing ops car and has been used in a murder, making Rye to main suspect.  Eventually Grus is found beaten but not fatally wounded and after a short stay in hospital attended to by a friend of Libra, he is allowed to return to Santa Barbara in a specially adapted motor home.

This is another intriguing tale, with the added benefit of information on the damage being done to our environment by those companies and individuals seeking only to make themselves rich.


Disclaimer. I was given this book to read and chose to post a review




Remember Me?

Another author who is new to me – A K Lakelett and the first book in the Faukon Abbey Mysteries series is Remember Me?

This is a novel with a difference.  It’s written as a Greek Tragedy and what a tragedy it is for all those unlucky enough to become involved with Eric Warner. So we have, mystery, murder and mayhem as in all good Greek Tragedies.

The play opens with a body being found, sitting on the ground and resting against a tree in Tersel Woods.  The man has no identification, no wallet,  and no cell phone.  Added to that is the fact that the woman who called the emergency services has given an incorrect phone number and a non-existent address.  The police in the form of DI Peter Greene and DC Terry Ford, are baffled.

They call upon the reporter for the local paper, Jimmy Carter for help and a photo is printed in The Abbey Chronicle asking that anybody who knows who this man is to get in touch with the police.  From here comes a phone call from the manager of the local bank who recognises the photo as that of Eric Warner.

Warner and his second wife, the beautiful Estelle, have recently moved to the area with plans, according to Estelle, of starting a family.

But Warner is not as he seems.  He has a nasty, murky past and has left a well-hidden trail behind him. He has at least one former wife and it seems, a fairly long-term and disastrous relationship with another woman.  There were two children from the earlier marriage, one of whom dies in mysterious circumstances, and a daughter of the woman with whom he had the earlier relationship.

The story and its characters are well thought out, the characters are deftly drawn, places are well researched and in all, it is totally believable.

But to find out who did it, you’ll have to read the rest of the book.  For me?  I was completely baffled until the unveiling at the end, the Final Action.  This is only the first book in a new series, but one that will continue to get better, involving us more deeply into the three protagonists, Greene, Ford, and Carter.  I look forward to reading the second book.

Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book, enjoyed it and chose to review it.

The Apple Orchard

This has been on my to be read list for some time.  I see from looking at my Amazon account I bought it in October 2015.  How time flies.

Now back to the book.

Apple Orchard

It’s a light-hearted read for a miserable afternoon.

We meet Tess Delaney who lives in San Francisco and restores lost treasures to their rightful owners.  In doing so, she meets Ms Annelise Winther an elderly Danish woman who is the rightful owner of an antique lavaliere (a necklace, pendant with one stone) Tess is intrigued with this woman who lives a very modest life accompanied by her two cats.  Tess has little time to spend with her but shares a cup of tea and lavender scones and advises her on the best way to sell the necklace, but is amazed when the old woman says she will not sell.

Note – there is a recipe for lavender scones.

While sharing the tea Tess’ attention is drawn to the sugar bowl that has been left in the pantry Tess sees it’s Tiffany and part of a set.  The old woman tells her it was picked up at a church rummage sale.  After discussing it’s probable value with her, the old woman decides to sell and Tess’ company has the right to offer the set at auction.

Next, we meet Dominic Rossi a banker, who wishes to be a winemaker, living in Archangel, California and who is the executor of the will of Magnus Johansen.  Dominic tells Tess that she is set to inherit half of Johansen’s estate in Sonoma County when the old guy dies.  Currently, Johansen is in a coma having fallen off a ladder in the orchard.  Tess thinks there is a mistake.  There have only ever been her Mother, and her and until recently her Grandmother, who died.  But there is no mistake.

Tess decides to travel to Archangel with Dominic and once there meets a half-sister of whom she knew nothing.

She is introduced to her Grandfather’s estate, a 100-acre apple orchard and its workers who all consider themselves family. She also learns that the bank is about to foreclose on the property and Tess and Isabel, her sister, with the help of Dominic, try to find a way out.

Isabel is a talented cook and her recipes are dotted throughout the book; a bonus.

Set against the background of Bella Vista, the apple orchard in Sonoma County, Tess begins to understand the value of family and friends, good food and a more leisurely way of living.

But to find out how it all works out to a happy ending, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.









Risky Tide

Risky Tide

This is book No2 in the Dolphin Shore Shifters series.  Did you read my review on  Blood Tide the first in the series?

This time the Dolphins who’ve morphed into human form are on a series of missions to free some captive dolphins and exchange them for others who have volunteered to spend the next three years in captivity, performing for crowds at various sea life parks.

Katherine is a newly arrived shore shifter who had an horrendous experience during the shift and is now beset by nightmares and panic attacks at quite the wrong time. Her first assignment with SBW (Save Blue Water) is with the exchange team.

The leader of the team, Peal is attracted to Katherine (now renamed Katie) and is aware that there is something wrong with her that could affect the whole team and its missions.  He tries, unsuccessfully at first, to find out what’s wrong.

After a couple of close shaves while on missions when Katie  has had a panic attack and consequently caused problems, Peal has to decide whether to report the actions, or lack of actions, which could result in her being called back to Santa Barbara and being tied to a desk for the three-year period of her shore shift.  He is seriously beginning to doubt whether she is an asset to his team.

He realises that Katie wants to succeed.  He admires her resourcefulness, and once he finds out from Katie the cause of the panic attacks and nightmares, he admires her courage.

Soon they find themselves strongly attracted to each other.  There is nothing to stop them having sex with each other; dolphins readily have sex with one another while not making long term relationships.  In fact, the idea of a long relationship is totally unheard of in a dolphin pod.

While the team is involved in these escape plans, they become aware of a virus which is killing off dolphins in a lagoon nearby. They determine the cause is illegal dumping of hazardous material and set out to gather enough samples to send to the lab and then to advise the authorities.

We are introduced to Brian,  scientist,  who is convinced he has the answer to a nagging problem.  He finds out that in fact, it’s not the answer and his experiments have now left him  with a number of vials of bio hazardous waste to get rid of.  But because his experiments were unsanctioned he can’t get rid of this I the usual way.  He links up with the driver who regularly removes the waste materials for Brian’s company and offers him money to dispose of the vials.  Their plan  to add them to another company’s waste falls down and Reese, the driver decides to get rid of them by dumping them into the lagoon.  But another problem arises when Brian realises that he hasn’t removed the label showing both the company’s name and his.

And these are not the only people involved in dumping waste in the lagoon.  Employees of a waste company are seen also dumping there.

And all along there is another plot working out. Sorenson an ex-FBI agent has been employed to seek out and kill one of SBW’s men and then once he has succeeded in doing so, he is to kill Peal.  Who is his employer we know only as Nick.

Add Peal and Katie falling in love which is unheard of in dolphin’s language and lifestyle – they have to find a way to deal with this;  wild and quite explicit sex scenes, drama, murder and confusion at the way some members of the shifters are acting, and we have another book to hold us captive for a few days.

Thank you . CJ Matthew for letting me read this book.




The House

The House

Well,  thanks again to NetGalley I have just finished reading a book from another author new to me.

A young couple, Jack and Syd have been house hunting for a while.  They started out with a long list of must-haves and over the months,  as their offers on houses were declined, or somebody else made a better offer, the list dwindled.  So imagine how delighted they were when they found the house of their dreams that matched their original list and their offer was unexpectedly, accepted.

This house had everything they wanted, plenty of space, perfect location and in walking distance to the local shop and pub.  But the previous owner had packed up and gone to the other side of the world, Australia to be with a woman whom he met on the internet.  And in leaving, he had left the house complete with all its furniture and everything else from his life, to the lucky purchasers.

We learn about Jack and Syd and their relationship with each other and the house by a series of notes that each has made.  Syd is more enamoured of the house than is Jack who has some dark thoughts about the house and rapidly questions the Real Estate agent’s story of the vendor and his reasons for leaving everything behind.

Meantime, Syd meets and befriends Elsie a young girl who is obviously being abused by her father  Syd is sympathetic because she too suffered at the hands of her father until on the night before her 14th birthday when she left home never to return.  Unfortunately because of er leaving the father turns his attention o the younger sister and 2 months later her younger sister killed herself.  Syd feels responsible for this death and now includes Elsie in her feeling of responsibility.

We learn that Jack is a Social worker employed by the local Council and together he and Syd decide to try to help Elsie.  This ends in disaster as the Social Services can do nothing without proof and in fact, they only succeed in making things worse for the girl.

And the house?  Well, there’s a whole lot of strange things going on.  Strange noise in the night, odd smells, a dead cat in the attic, and a box of a young girl’s keepsakes, none of which can be easily explained away.

When Elsie’s father is murdered Jack becomes the prime suspect because he had threatened to kill the man following a drunken brawl at the local pub.

Meantime, Syd discoverers that her father has been released from jail and is once again living with her mother.   Syd discovers this by chance and is immediately concerned that her father will once again try to control her.

The twist in the tail (or the tale) when it comes is totally unexpected. Can this be the perfect murder?

Are you confused yet? I can only encourage you to read his very complicated, well-written story for yourself.    And like me, when you come to the end and all is revealed, you will no doubt take a deep breath and look around your own house with a different eye.

Disclaimer:  I downloaded this book from Netgalley.  I’m under no obligation to do so but choose to write this review,





The Blood Whisperer

blood whisperer

Several years ago I read and was enthralled by a novel written by one of my favourite authors, Zoe Sharp.

But not Charlie Fox as the protagonist this time, but Kelly Jacks.  A crime scene specialist who was convicted of a bloody murder that she didn’t commit.  Having served her sentence – six years for involuntary manslaughter, she takes the only job on offer with a former mentor, as part of a crime scene cleaning crew.

When sent out to a so-called suicide, she sees evidence that perhaps conflicts with the police verdict and from then on finds herself in a series of terrifying episodes.  Fortunately, her six years in jail have prepared her for looking after herself and fighting back.

She asks questions that somebody doesn’t want answered and finds herself in the nightmare of once again being branded a killer.  We follow her through this nightmare as she tries to clear her name, with no help on any side.  Pursued by the police, Russian thugs and a so called respected businessman (here read gangster) she struggles to keep ahead of the pursuit.

The skills she learned while serving her sentence stand her in good stead and eventually with some unexpected help she succeeds in not only clearing her name but also in helping to capture the real criminals.

This is a sitting on the edge of your seat story that I couldn’t put down.  I read in while eating breakfast, waiting for the laundry to finish and then stretched out on the couch letting the rest of the world go by.

I thoroughly recommend this new protagonist and seriously hope that Zoe will be giving us more of this feisty, believable character soon.

“But, how do you know if an ending is
truly good for the characters unless you’ve
traveled with them through every page?”
Shannon Hale, American author of young adult fantasy
and adult fiction. 1974 –