Thoughts about books I’ve read–Feb 2018

I’m trying something a little different with my reviews. I’ve only done a handful of separate reviews so far this year. So instead I’m going to list all the books I read during a month and write a few sentences about each one or give a link (if I’ve already reviewed the book). I really want to get my reviews under control. And in some cases just write a few sentences. (Did I mention that already?!!)

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #3

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

287 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: The last book in this series (because the author–Ms. Edmondson–died). The author’s son finished the book and did a good job with this British cold war mystery.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Source: Ebook, Library

304 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: March 19

Bottom Line: A romance and a mystery . . . Ms. Krentz does a good job giving both equal time. 

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland Islands #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Source: Ebook, purchased

392 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: May 25

Bottom Line: The white nights of summer–where it never gets completely dark during the summer. That theme runs throughout this very good mystery.

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

 Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

371 pages

Source: Audiobook, Library

My Rating: A

Narrator Rating: A

Reviewed: March 16

Bottom Line: Excellent story and narration. The story arc which started in the last book continues in this book.

A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

 A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #1.5

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

60 pages

My Rating: C+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: A short story that provides some background to the books I read before I read this one. However, it isn’t necessary to read this to understand the books in this series.

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Source: Graphic Novel, Library

128 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: I don’t read many graphic novels, but I really enjoy the Peter Grant series so I really liked the illustrations and the story in this graphic novel. It gave me a new way of looking at the series.

Diamond Girl by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

38 pages

My thoughts

This was a fun short story while we all wait for the next Country Club Murder book! It’s about Aggie DeLucci who is Ellison’s housekeeper. She’s an important character in the series so it’s nice to find out a little more about her. And even though it’s such a short story the mystery is good and finishes up well.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Source: Audiobook, Purchased

29 Minutes

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: Very short, but what a fun story about something larger than Peter’s dog running around the British library!

Twelve Days of Faery by W.R. GingellTwelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

136 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: June 8

Bottom Line: A short book (novella), but a fun and satisfying fairy tale retelling that turns the usual fairy tales upside down!

…………………………..

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

A Matter of Loyalty–the last book in A Very English Mystery series

A series I’ve enjoyed so much has come to an end because of the death of the author. Called A Very English Mystery series they were written by Elizabeth Edmondson. The last book in the series was finished by her son–Anselm Audley–when she died suddenly in 2016.

The series has ended with three books and a novella. All of them good.

A Man of Some Repute, book 1–I reviewed the book in 2016 and gave it a B+

A Question of Inheritance, book 2–I reviewed the book in 2017 and gave it a B+

a youthful indiscretion by elizabeth edmondsonA Youthful Indiscretion, book 1.5

1953, and Freya Wryton is determined to discover the truth of murdered Lord Selchester’s youthful passion for the mysterious Marie Louise. 

Her family and his colleagues want her late uncle’s secrets to go to the grave with him, but intelligence officer Hugo Hawksworth is as curious as Freya about what happened between Lord Selchester and Marie Louise in that golden Oxford summer before the first world war. 

The stakes are high, since Marie Louise’s life and death hold the key to the great Selchester inheritance: fortune, castle and title. 

This was very short (only 60 pages) and if I hadn’t read any of the other books I would have been lost. I knew most of the information in the book since I read the three books and then found the novella and read it last. The book did explain a few things a little more. However, it wasn’t necessary to read this to understand what had happened–though I did enjoy revisiting Selchester, the Castle, Hugo, Freya and Georgia again!

Rating: C+

a-matter-of-loyalty-by-anselm-audley-&-elizabeth-edmondsonA Matter of Loyalty, book 3–this book was started by Ms. Edmondson and finished by her son who is also an author.

January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s the mole. Hugo Hawksworth isn’t so sure. Then a body turns up, and Hugo’s instincts are proven correct. But if Rothesay wasn’t selling secrets to the Soviets, who is?

As Hugo digs deeper into buried connections and unlikely coincidences, he knows there’s more to this case than his London superiors believe. But following his instincts will pit him against the Establishment—and tangle him once again in the poisonous legacy of the late Lord Selchester.

As he closes in on the truth, Hugo finds himself confronted by an adversary who will stop at nothing, in a case that will prove the most personal of his career.

This series takes place in rural England in 1953 to 1954 at a top-secret government complex. The main character is Hugo Hawksworth an agent wounded on a mission and now confined to desk duty. His job is to search for sleeper Soviet agents after two British agents defected to the Soviet Union. I like how the author has used history in this series since two British agents–Guy Burgess and Donald Duart Maclean–really did defect in 1951. Burgess and Maclean were part of the Cambridge Spy Ring (young men recruited when they were at students at Cambridge in the 1930s). Kim Philby is probably the most famous double agent in this spy ring. He defected to the Soviet Union in 1963.

In the third book a British scientist working on the atomic bomb for the British has disappeared and the British government is worried he also defected to Russia. Hugo has to work with an Inspector Jarrett from the Special Branch as they search for clues about the missing British scientist. Inspector Jarrett is a very impatient man, is suspicious of everyone and once his mind is made up he doesn’t want to change. He’s difficult to work with since he thinks everyone else working on the case is incompetent. Jarrett and everyone else except Hugo are content to take the easy answer even if an innocent man hangs.

I really enjoy Hugo’s sister Georgia. She’s a teenager and Hugo is her guardian since their parents were both killed during WWII. Georgia is precocious and curious which sometimes gets her into trouble. The author does a good job portraying the insecurities Georgia has from her parents dying as well as Georgia having been trapped in the same bombed building that killed her mother. Even though she’s insecure sometimes she tries to show self-confidence and does show lots of bravery. I also like the local Selchester people including those living and working at the castle–especially Freya (the late Lord Selchester’s niece) and Mrs. Partridge (the housekeeper).  The covers of all four books are very well done, too.

This is a good mystery plus the characters are well-drawn in this series. Elizabeth Edmondson had planned to write more books in this series. However, this is the last one and her son does a pretty good job of wrapping up the series.

Rating: B+

Have you read any of the books in this series?

A Matter of Loyalty fulfills the rules for the Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge and I will add a link for this book to the Challenge site.

Putting the mystery into historical

Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell

Quaker Midwife Mystery #1

Setting: 1888, Massachusetts mill town

Narrator: Michael Page

Rose Carroll is the Quaker midwife and I really enjoyed reading about her. The life of a midwife in that era is fascinating as is reading about Quaker life in this town. I think she is something of an anomaly since she’s a midwife and unmarried at 26, but she sticks to her beliefs without being obnoxious. Rose boards with her brother-in-law and family. Her sister died not too long before the book starts and Rose helps with cooking and cleaning when she can as do the oldest children. She also wants to help her sister’s children. She’s also able to have office space in the house to meet with her pregnant women clients.

She and a local doctor like each other and I can see that could be a problem for her. The doctor comes from a well-to-do family and his mother is not at all happy about Rose. Plus I think her Quaker faith and belief in a simple life will become a problem. So that is a set-up for problems for them in the future!

I am busy working on my family history this year and I have several ancestors who were Quakers so I found this book very interesting since I don’t know a lot about the Quakers as a group. I am reading more so I can know my family’s social history as well as genealogy. Even though this is fiction much of the Quaker lifestyle feels authentic.

Ms. Maxwell does a good job with the mystery. I found it interesting and thought Rose’s involvement with it made sense. There is a fire in a carriage factory and one of the people who dies in the fire is a fellow Quaker. Because Rose is so involved in both the Quaker and non-Quaker communities she hears a lot as she helps women from all parts of society when they’re pregnant and giving birth. Then the son of a carriage maker is murdered and one of Rose’s knitting needles is the murder weapon. Now she’s definitely involved!

I listened to the audiobook version of this (on Audible) and really enjoyed it. Michael Page did a very good job narrating.

I found this book interesting with a very good mystery!

Narrator rating: B+

Rating: B+

A Question of Inheritance by Elizabeth Edmondson

A Very English Mystery #2

Setting: England, 1953

I read the first book in this series in 2015 and really enjoyed it so I finally got this one read it was great, too! Hugo Hawksworth was an intelligence officer who worked in the field until he was badly injured during a mission. Now he’s on desk duty which he doesn’t enjoy very much. Hugo’s latest assignment is to find out about missing artwork and the possible involvement of a British officer in the aftermath of WWII.

Hugo and his 13-year-old sister Georgia have managed to board in Selchester Castle which has been pretty much empty since the Earl disappeared during a snowstorm seven years earlier (read book 1!). Georgia and Hugo still live at the castle, but a new Earl (an American!) is arriving with his two daughters so Georgia and Hugo are looking for a new place to live. Right now they’re still at the castle and will probably get to stay until after Christmas.

The Earl and his two daughters arrive as well as Lady Sonia (the new Earl’s half-sister who isn’t happy she’s been disinherited). Lady Sonia brings a couple of guests for Christmas. Freya who was the former Earl’s niece (and was a prominent character in the first book) is also present as is the cook and housekeeper–Mrs. Partridge. There’s a lot of tension in the castle and then a death occurs. Hugo and Freya (and Georgia) work to figure out what’s going on.

I enjoyed the mystery a lot. These books are cozy mysteries as well as historical mysteries. I’m really looking forward to the third book which comes out in October 2017.

Rating: B+

Have you read either of these books? Do you like historical mysteries? If you do I think you might like one of these!