The Celtic Dagger



celtic dagger


I loved this book and it’s introduction to Fitzjohn. I have read all of the subsequent books which feature the Inspector in a more stellar capacity. I decided to start at the beginning and this time read them in the order they were published.The characters are believable and interesting. There are enough of them to make the brain work to try and determine the killer. James the brother of the murdered Alex Wearing, plays the main part in the story, with Inspector Fitzjohn hovering in the background. A well-told story with a twist to the tail. Who would have suspected the murderer!



Eternal Youth


Have you discovered Commissario Guido Brunetti, his sidekick Ispettore Vianello, Vice-Questore Guiseppe Patta, Signora Elettra and the other members of the Questura  in Venice?

In this, the twenty-fifth book in the series we find Brunetti involved in a cold case at the request of his Mother-in-Law’s good friend, Contessa Lando-Continui.  Fifteen years earlier the Contessa’s granddaughter had been pulled from a canal late at night, but while she was saved, she suffered severe brain damage and has never moved on from her 7 year old self. This is where the title comes from.  According to Alice Roosevelt Longfellow “The secret to eternal youth is arrested development.”

All the investigations at the time pointed to a tragic accident, but the Contessa is not convinced it was an accident.

Brunetti is not at all sure that there is a case to investigate, but in true form, he finds himself unable to let the case rest. We are swept up in the concerns of contemporary Venetian life from housing issues, to historical preservation, to the African migrants and their effect on the community,  and the posturing and life of those involved in the Questura.  And through it all is Brunetti doing what he does best; he solves the crime.

This is Donna Leon also at her best. She cleverly imbues her stories with literary and musical allusions of which she has a multitude. She takes us on walks through one of my favourite cities And as an added bonus, one can always learn from Ms Leon’s novels.  I strongly recommend this book and indeed the other 24, to anyone who loves thrillers, Venice, and detectives who are slightly different to those who usually reside in books of fiction.



Blood of Others

Blood of Others

A grisly site shocks passers-by.  A model in a wedding dress displayed in the window of a fancy wedding dress boutique.  But it’s no model.

This brings together, once again, Walt Sidowski , legendary homicide cop and Tom Reed, award-winning investigative journalist.

The victim is an introverted insurance clerk who is looking for love and friendship.  But this is not the killer’s only prey; others have been killed before her.

We meet Olivia Grant, a shy shop manager who is looking for friendship and maybe love.  During the course of the investigation she meets Ben Wyatt, a cop wrongly accused of causing the shooting of his partner.

As the killer moves freely around the globe, tempting shy young women to meet him, he is searching for the one perfect woman who will forgive him the unforgivable.  And because none of them is that perfect woman, all must die,

As usual, Rick Mofina draws us along with characters who are so believable.  But you must read this book to the bitter end, to get the whole story.  The story behind the killer’s search, Ben and Olivia’s burgeoning romance,  and the final outcome.


This is another book I read when in rehab last year following my misadventure.  I think this book was given to me to read and I choose to write this review.

When the Moon is Low


This is the second book by Nadia Hashimi that I have read. have you read the review on “House Without Windows”?

It is a fascinating story giving an insight into life lived in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and then the Taliban. After the death of her mother,

After the death of her mother, Fereiba is raised as a step-daughter in a harsh family.  Her arranged marriage to Mahmoud, however, turns into a love affair that produces three children, the baby having been born after Mahmoud’s death. Theirs is a free-thinking marriage where much is discussed including leaving for Europe to escape the harsh world of the Taliban, but the final decision is always Mahmoud’s.   Later she comes to regret the decision not to leave for London while it was still possible.

Fereiba and the children are left alone in the world after Mahmoud’s death and she has to find a way to live in the world without her husband but with three children. She determines that they will go to London. We move with the family to several safe houses before they land in Turkey.  While in Turkey they manage to save enough money, with Saleem, the son, working on a tomato farm and Fereiba cleaning hotel rooms, to arrive in Greece where the Afghanis are not welcome. Working and saving money Fereiba worries that the food her son provides is gained by doubtful means.  And then eventually,  with enough money to go to Italy, Saleem is arrested and returned to Turkey, two days before they are due to leave. With a very sick baby,  Fereiba is forced to leave without her son.

Finally, they do arrive in London where they find a place to settle.  Much later mother and son are reunited and we follow Saleem’s travels during the time they are separated.

This is a heart-warming book, difficult to read in places but one I would highly recommend to everyone.


Love story with Murders

Love Story
Image from Amazon

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Talking to the Dead, you may have difficulty connecting with the protagonist here.  Detective Fiona Griffiths is an almost recovered sufferer from Cotard’s syndrome where the patient believes herself to be dead and thus has an uncanny affinity for corpses and body parts that is way outside the norm.

Again the scene is set in Cardiff and this time when called to a dead widow’s house by the house clearance team, she finds a human leg in the freezer.

To Griffith’s dismay, probably the most disliked officer is in charge of the case is Rhiannon Watkins, and she soon finds herself at odds with this officer.

The search for the rest of the body to add to the leg it quickly started and soon other parts of the dead woman appear all over Cardiff.  Then very soon another part of a body is found, but it is a different body.  This one is a male and it is not frozen, but fresh.  Now they have two bodies to identify.  Are the two murders connected, and if so how?

Through the hunt for the murderer, murderers we learn more about Fiona who is taking steps to find out more of her beginnings – who is she really? She has no knowledge of herself before the age of 2 when she was found in her adoptive father’s car at 2 years old?

And through it all, the murders, the hunt for herself, she finds herself drawn into the web of money, deceit, obsession and definitely danger.

This is not an easy book to read, but if you are into crime, murders and a totally convincing, but somewhat quirky character and deep visits to her mind, then this might be a book for you.  For me, I’m off to get book 4 in the series.







Lorna Belling is stuck in a marriage to a manipulating, control freak.  She meets and falls in love with her dream man.  They make plans to leave their bad spouses and go away together, that is until she discovers from a client that he is not who he purports to be. The name and the background he has given her are totally false. So she arranges to meet him to confront him but things go very wrong for Lorna.

When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to a flat in Brighton where a woman’s body is found, it seems that an accident is the cause of death but when murder is suspected the husband rapidly becomes the chief suspect.  As the case proceeds. Grace realises there may be more than one other possible suspect, one of whom is much more clever and devious than the husband.

As usual with Peter James, we are given an insight into the inner workings of police procedures adding a sense of realism to the story.  To do this he calls upon the experiences of the real policemen with whom he is associated.

We are taken on a merry chase around Brighton and the environs until the real murderer is found and the case turns more sinister.  The twist in the tail is utterly unexpected and takes Grace completely by surprise.

I am a Peter James fan from way back, having read all the earlier 12 novels in the series. This one didn’t disappoint me.



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.