As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
New reviews are posted daily, but to search for earlier reviews please click on the Mystery People link below and select 'reviews' from the welcome page. This will displays an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
For PREVIOUS REVIEWS- Click on MYSTERY PEOPLE below -
Published by Quercus, 3 October 2013. ISBN:
An Italian crane driver in the pay of the Camorra is winching one of
their ‘special’ containers onto a ship when his crane misfires and drops it on
the quay below, spilling out the bodies of worn out Chinese workers and a
number of black bags containing other victims of the Camorra.Among them are a mother and son, the
Forlanis.Assistant Public Prosecutor
Sabrina D’Avalos is given the investigation, and soon discovers there are links
between the Forlani family and the unexplained aspects of her father’s
assasination at the hands of the Camorra’s pet killer, Urs Savelli.
This book’s a winner on two
counts – the feel of a Scandinavian noir
with the enjoyment of a well-realised Italian background.The book was inspired by a real-life account
of the Camorra, one of Italy’s
powerful secret societies. The action is constant, the sinister Camorra an
ever-present adversary, and the ending satisfying, though more violent than I
expected.Sabrina is generally a
likeable heroine, though more rash than is always plausible, and her
alliance-shifting colleagues are well-drawn.
A fast-moving thriller set in
an interesting background.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Steffen Jacobsenis an
orthopaedic surgeon and consultant. This is his third novel. He was inspired to
write When The Dead Awaken by Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction book Gomorrah,
about the Camorra and by his travels around Italy. When The Dead Awaken is perfect
for fans of The Killing, The Wire and The Godfather. Jacobsen’s bestseller
Trophy has been number one in the Danish bestseller chart. He lives in Denmark
with his wife and children.
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a
newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's
scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a
qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published
plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's
suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own
8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.Marsali also does a regular monthly column
for the Mystery People e-zine.
Published by Matador, 2014. ISBN:
Chrissie Fersen, who only a few months previously was pregnant and in love, has
now travelled to Glasgow in Scotland with her brother Edward for a break, following
a traumatic time. When Edward is called into work, Chrissie continues her
sightseeing alone and wonders into a neighbourhood of elegant three storey
houses. Staring at the buildings she experiences a feeling of familiarity. Then
in a basement window she sees what can only be a woman being murdered. Running
to escape the sight and sounds that surely must be in her head she finds
herself in front of a library. She starts by researching murders in Sauchiehall
Street going back 50 years.
In the library she meets Billie Vane who
helps her by producing back copies of the Glasgow Herald.Eventually Chrissie tracks the murder back to
1862, and the death of a servant girl.But what has a murder more than a hundred years ago got to do with
her?How can she recognise a house in
Glasgow when she has never visited Glasgow before? These two unlikely people
seek the truth to the murder. But as they investigate to find the truth they
put themselves in danger. Could the events of the past have tentacles linking
to the current day?
Thus intriguing and absorbing this mystery contains a fey element that
captivated this reader’s attention. Well-written with good characterisation
this fascinating mystery will keep you turning the pages. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes
Alan Veale saysit was around twenty years
ago that I first read a book by Christianna Brand entitled Heaven Knows Who. This was a contemporary account of the trial of
Jessie McLachlan, and the events preceding it. I was immediately struck by the
dramatic 'twists' in this factual story, and by the intriguing questions it
posed about who had really committed the crime. Because it was a true story, it
struck me that there would undoubtedly be descendants alive today who may even
be ignorant of the involvement of their infamous ancestors - and that prompted
the creative instinct within me to look at the potential to write another
version of the story, but from a modern day viewpoint. But my writing
experience was limited to the theatre, and I could not think of a practical way
to put such a drama on the stage, so I put the project to the back of my mind
for a while. Along came children, other projects and lots of new challenges,
but I never lost interest in Jessie's story (as I liked to call it), and at one
time I tried to write a screenplay version - even taking my research as far as
a visit to the murder scene in the mid 1990's. The project never properly got
off the ground though, and it was not until I took early retirement from the
civil service in 2009 that I felt the time had come for a serious attempt at
turning the story into a novel. It took another year before I hit the keyboard
properly, and several more visits to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Inverness
(plus a holiday in New York) to complete the necessary research.
Promoting The Murder Tree began in
earnest on 16 October with a launch in my adopted home town of Lytham.
Independent booksellers Plackitt & Booth hosted an evening event complete
with alcohol... Talks in libraries have followed,
with enthusiastic readers keen to question me about every aspect of writing and
publishing. Glasgow is also getting a lot of free publicity! For more
information, visit my web page:
Published by Sphere, 2 February 2014. ISBN:
March 1665.War has been declared on the Dutch, so it’s a
disaster when England’s
new flagship, HMS London, is scuttled
on her maiden voyage ... and what link does this have with the death of a
fortune-telling courtier in a fashionable brothel?Secret agent Thomas Chaloner has two weeks to
This lively historical
who-dunnit has a huge cast of characters, ranging from Prince Rupert (dashing Cavalier turned
middle-aged grouch), through Temperance the brothel keeper and the wonderfully
crazy 5th Monarchists, down to Grisley Pate and his enormous family,
all drawn with Dickensian humour.The
atmosphere of Restoration London was evoked by numerous small touches: the
ever-present mud, the darkness lit by flickering torches, the abrupt changes to
country in what’s now central London.The plot moves along at a leisurely pace,
with corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending.Although this novel is well through the
Chaloner series, that wouldn’t matter to a new reader, and Gregory’s many fans
will enjoy meeting the series characters again.
An amiable period romp.
Susanna Gregory was
raised in Bristol.
After graduating from university, she spent three years in Leeds,
as an officer in the West Yorkshire Police, before taking up an academic
career. She has served as an environmental consultant, doing fieldwork with
whales, seals and walruses during seventeen field seasons in the polar regions,
and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology. She is the
creator of the Thomas Chaloner series of mysteries set in Restoration London as
well as the Matthew Bartholomew books, and now lives in Wales with her
husband, who is also a writer.
Marsali Taylor grew
up near Edinburgh,
and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time
teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland
ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history,
and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history
of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring
in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.Marsali also does a regular monthly column
for the Mystery People e-zine.
Published by Corsair, 21st March
2013. ISBN: 978-1-47210-653-7
I’d better begin with a health warning.
book came to the wrong review site. By no known definition could it be
described as crime or mystery. You don’t even have to open it to learn this;
there’s an enormous clue on the cover – it won two awards, the Hugo and the
Nebula: major prizes both, but for science-fiction and fantasy. And you’re
still not convinced, google the author and you’ll find she is an established
and acclaimed writer of fantasy, with no track record in crime fiction.
isn’t even cross-genre. Well, it is – but Young Adult crossed with fantasy
rather than crime crossed with anything. The only nod towards crime is the
psychological, or possibly psychic, damage the protagonist has suffered at her
mother’s hands. And maybe the bullying she encounters at school, but that seems
to be normal behaviour, however unacceptable.
the other hand... Woman cannot live by crime fiction alone. Twenty pages in, I
was hooked. I loved it. I ached to know how it would finish, but I didn’t want
it to end.
slightly weird, but slightly weird appeals to me, speaks to me, in fact. Mori,
the fifteen-year-old narrator, doesn’t so much believe in magic and fairies as
assume their existence as demonstrable and unremarkable fact. She casts spells
and they work, or, if you prefer, after she casts them, the things she expects
to happen actually do happen.
written, quite beautifully, in the form of a diary covering ten life-changing,
coming-of-age months in Mori’s life. Right from the start she hints at the
tragedy in her past: a few months earlier she and her twin sister set out to
stop their mother from using black magic for her own selfish and terrible ends,
and the price of their success was her sister’s life and her own physical
well-being. Part of the story’s charm is the slow, subtle unfolding of this
backstory, which ultimately leads to her mother’s attempt at revenge, and a
huge decision for Mori herself.
has often been the case in the small amount of fantasy I’ve read, many of the
characters are two-dimensional, but somehow in this context that’s how it
should be. It’s as if Mori is viewing them as figures on a moving canvas, not
connecting or interacting with them. When she does encounter people she can
connect with – her warm and loving South Welsh relations, a lively book group
she discovers, or magicks up, depending how you want to see it – they fill out
and become real.
herself is a glorious mix of insecurity, certainty, desperation, hope,
self-doubt – the whole adolescent nine yards with added physical disability,
and a passion and appetite for books which I struggle to rival. At the end,
when she proved herself more powerful than the controlling mother who caused
such damage, and began to see a way out of the labyrinthine tangle of being a
teenager, I wanted to cheer.
fiction it’s not. A wonder and a joy, as it was described by the leading critic
quoted on the cover, it certainly is. If I hadn’t already fallen in love with
it, a couple of lines of page 329 would have clinched it: They could take
the money from building enough nukes to kill all the Russians in the world and
give it to libraries. What good does an independent nuclear deterrent do,
compared to the good of libraries?
that say it all?
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Jo Walton is a
Welsh-Canadian fantasy and science fiction writer and poet. Born in December
1964.She won the John W. Campbell Award
for Best New Writer in 2002 and the World Fantasy award for her novel Tooth and Claw in 2004.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house
groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.
Published by Head of Zeus, 9 August 2013.
Thomas H Cook is new to
me, but since reading Sandrine I have
read two more of his novels and am devouring a third. It's long time
since I read such literate, perfectly-pitched prose, perhaps not since Donna
Tartt's The Secret History. The
narrator is Professor Sam Madison, not a likable man, who looks down on and
disassociates himself from everyone around him. He is married to the
beautiful, talented, enigmatic Sandrine, also a professor at the same
university where he teaches.
home one evening, he finds his wife dead in bed, the victim of an apparent
suicide. But the police are not so sure, and Sam finds himself in court,
on trial for murder. This is a courtroom drama with a difference: over
the course of nine days we learn just about everything there is to know about
Sandrine and Sam, from the early days of their courtship to the present
day. Gradually, Sam begins to suspect that Sandrine has rigged her own
suicide to look like murder – by himself. Has she? And if so,
he, didn't he? Did she, didn't she? Cook keeps us on tenterhooks
until the very end of the book. I thoroughly recommend this book … and
Reviewer: Susan Moody
Thomas H Cookis the
author of eighteen books, including two works of true crime. His novels have
been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity Award and the
Dashiell Hammett Prize. The Chatham
School Affair won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel in 1996. His
true crime book, Blood Echoes,
was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1992, and his story
"Fatherhood" won the Herodotus Prize in 1998 and was included in Best
Mystery Stories of 1998. His works have been translated into fifteen languages.
Susan Moodywas born in Oxford is the principal nom de plumeof Susan
Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her
suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served
as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was
elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous
courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France,
Australia, the USA and Denmark.In addition to her many stand alone books,
Susan has written two series, on featuring PI Penny
Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie