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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Tide

blood-tide

I haven’t read any shifter/paranormal romance stories so I was keen to start reading this when it was offered to me.

Imagine a dolphin shifter who becomes a beautiful woman, a gorgeous hunk suffering PTSD, attempts on her life just saved each time by him, intrigue and planning among the members of the community, an unsolved murder what more could you want in a good read?

Romance, sex, intrigue it’s all there. Off to read the next in the series – – Risky Tide.

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

Live From Cairo

Another book to review from NetGalley from another author who is new to me.

The story is set in Cairo in 2011 following the departure of Mubarak. So…

live-from-cairo

Four lives are completely changed by the end of the book.  Plotting and planning have some disastrous results and don’t necessarily reach the desired conclusion.

We’re introduced to Charlie, an American lawyer working in Cairo and acting on behalf of refugees seeking to escape to a new life in a new country.  We meet Aos his friend and colleague.  Aos is an Egyptian translator and apart from his adopted dog Ruby, Aos is Charlie’s only friend.

Into this mix comes Hana, newly arrived from the US to work at UNHCR – the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.  Her job is to accept or reject applications for resettlement.  Hana is initially overwhelmed by the number of applicants and her role in determining their future.

And Dalia an Iraqi refugee and one of those seeking to leave Egypt to join her husband in Boston.  When her petition is rejected she finds herself trapped in Cairo.

This is a book full of detail, of humans meeting inhuman systems, told by a gifted writer who takes us to this other time and other place.  To say I couldn’t put it down would be wrong.  I found myself putting it down again and again while I thought of how people live following a revolution and the results of this on their lives.

I would strongly recommend this book and thank the publishers for making it available to me prior to its publication in July this year. I  am under no obligation to do so but choose to review the book

Dare to Remember

I was lucky enough to be given this book to read by NetGalley.  I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it with you.  In some ways, it’s a psychological tale but more than that it’s one girl’s way of coming out of the despair into which she has landed.  So

dare

A young girl recovering from an horrific episode is trying to rebuild her life. Her best friend is killed and she is badly injured by a man they considered a friend. She relives that night in vivid flashbacks and horrendous nightmares.  She isolates herself from friends and family in the country and here she meets and befriends an elderly neighbour and his dog.  We move with her through meetings with the therapist, strained meetings with the family of her murdered friend, her mother and even the murderer.

This is a tautly written book that gripped me right through to the finish.  I would certainly recommend it with the proviso that it’s not an easy read.

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

Rejection Slips

And now for  something a little (or a lot) different

The Rejected Wrier’s Bookclub
A charming, funny and delightful book.

Suzanne Kelman introduces us to Janet a retired librarian and her husband Martin who have moved to the village of Southlea Bay. They find life here so very different to their old lives living in town and begin to find their way around this new life, having to deal with rampaging (?) racoons, “a plague of termites,  a swarm of hornets, a gang of carpenter ants and an attack of crazed moths” as well as rats in the basement and mice in the pantry.  As Janet says “We have found taking care of the ‘country’ is practically a full-time job.”

Janet is quickly selected by Doris Newberry the village self-professed leader and know-it-all to join several projects but most strangely, the Rejected Writers’ Bookclub. This is a group of women who meet regularly for tea and cakes and to celebrate the number of rejections they have accumulated between them. The goal is 500 but things are brought to an abrupt halt when one of them receives an acceptance letter  Led by Doris, the group decides to confront the writer of the acceptance letter and have the acceptance rescinded.

Their travel to San Francisco is a joy to read – a series of mishaps result in the ladies having to face a landslide, a haunted house, a homeless man seeking shelter and food and even a handsome young stranger who becomes attracted to one of the group.

I really enjoyed this book and felt at the end of it as if I had made a whole new group of friends. I recommend it for those times when you’ve had enough of murder, thrills, lies, subterfuge, hot sex and romantic liaisons and want to go back to a more innocent time.

rejected-writers

 And if I didn’t already believe in synchronicity I read this today from Chris White at awritersden.wordpress.com
rejection-slips