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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster by Karen Lee Street

Published by Point Blank,
14 September 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-78607-030-2 (PB)

Very cleverly the author has made C. Auguste Dupin Edgar Allan Poe's friend instead of his creation as the great detective.

We meet Poe on board ship bound for London from Philadelphia in 1840, and he is recovering from a bout of seasickness and rather too much to drink. He has told his wife Sissy he is travelling on business, but he is actually bound to discover the truth behind old letters that suggest his grandparents are behind the actions of the London Monster.

He meets his friend Dupin as arranged who has agreed to help him solve the mystery.

Interspersed between the narrative are the letters which were written by his grandfather Henry and his grandmother Elizabeth between 1788 and 1790. Poe is determined to prove they had nothing to do with The Monster who slashed ladies' dresses cutting through to their derrières!

As they delve deeper into who can be responsible for the former crimes, someone seems bent on making Poe pay for his predecessors supposed atrocities. There are several attempts on his life and he has many narrow escapes which make exciting reading.

More and more letters are surreptitiously delivered to Poe and the later ones tell of a Rhys Williams being arrested and sent to prison for the crimes. Can he really have been responsible and not Poe's fore bearers? Why is someone making sure Poe receives all these old letters and what do they hope to gain by his death?

It becomes a frantic race for Dupin and Poe to discover his tormentor before he or she is successful in their quest to kill him.

A beautifully written book with a clever concept making Dupin Poe's friend.

It is interesting to read from the Author's Note that the London Monster did actually exist and was thought to have carried out over fifty attacks on attractive young ladies between 1788 and 1790.

I love the dialogue between the characters, it gives a real feeling of the 1800's. Recommended for lovers of historical London with plenty of crimes thrown in!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Karen Lee Street was born in Philadelphia, but has lived in London for most of her adult life, and currently resides in Newcastle, Australia. She is the author of Writing and Selling Crime Film Screenplays (2013), short story collection Tattoos and Motorcycles, and Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster (2016), the first in a Poe/ Dupin mystery trilogy. Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru will be published in May 2018. Karen has a PhD in Writing from the University of South Wales and has worked for many years in the European film industry.
twitter: @karenleestreet

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

‘A True and Faithful Brother’ by Linda Stratmann

Published by The Mystery Press,
2 March 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-7509-6994-9

It is 1882 and, in the past two years, Frances Doughty’s private enquiry work has become increasingly successful and her detection skills and those of her assistant, Sarah, have sharpened and their contacts have increased. After her last extremely dangerous case, Frances has decided to abandon the detection of serious crimes and make her living tracking down missing people and pets and investigating and drawing up family genealogies. When Mr Fiske requests her to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the wealthy philanthropist Launcelot Dobree from a locked room during a meeting of the Bayswater Literati Freemasons’ Lodge, Frances agrees. She tells herself that the missing man is sure to turn up unharmed, so this is not a dangerous crime, and she wishes to oblige Mr Fiske, a good friend. However, Frances’ main reason for agreeing is that Launcelot Dobree’s family has a connection with her own and she needs to follow this through to explore her own heritage.

The investigation into Dobree’s disappearance soon takes a dark turn and Frances knows that she is moving back into a world of danger and violence but, for personal reasons, she is determined to carry on, even though it is clear that innocent witnesses may have been killed, let alone a detective who is drawing too near to the truth. Frances’ work leads her close to knowledge of the Freemasons’ secret ceremonies. It also causes her to fall foul of Inspector Payne, a dour police officer who suspects Frances of involvement in the crimes that they are both investigating. Soon Frances’ worst fears are justified, and her life is in danger from the criminals she is pursuing.

A True and Faithful Brother is the seventh in the series featuring Frances Doughty. It is a fascinating story with numerous twists in the multi-layered plot and skilfully laid clues. The characters are all well portrayed and Frances is a very likeable heroine. As always, Linda Stratmann’s research is immaculate and the world she portrays is totally believable. A True and Faithful Brother is an engrossing read and one that I would thoroughly recommend.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Linda Stratmann was born in the city of Leicester on 4 April 1948. Linda attended Medway Street Infants and Junior School, in the days of the eleven plus, and from there went to Wyggeston Girls Grammar School. Her earliest ambition was to be an astronomer, and she read and wrote a great deal of science fiction. She also read biology, zoology and medicine, and seriously considered a medical career. But by her teens, she had developed an absorbing and life-long interest in true crime, probably taking after her mother who loved to read about famous trials.  Linda I took her A levels and went to Newcastle University in 1971, graduating with first class honours in psychology three years later. She then joined the civil service, and trained to be an Inspector of Taxes.  In 1987, unable to resist the pull of London she moved there, married her second husband, Gary in 1993. In 2001 she left the civil service, and started a new career as a freelance writer and sub-editor, and in 2002 was commissioned to write her first published book on the history of Chloroform.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats, the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book Strangers and Angels published 28 November 2017 is set in Victorian England.  Also published in 2017 is her fourth novel in her scene of Crimes Series Karma and the Singing Frogs.  

To to read a review of Karma and the Singing Frogs, click on the title

Jane A Adams -Tonight 22 February 2018

An evening with crime author
Jane A Adams –
Thursday 22nd Feb 7.30 – 9.30pm

Kibworth Library

Popular crime author Jane A Adams returns to Kibworth Library to talk about her latest book, Fakes and Lies in the Naomi Blake series, and also the paperback release of her Henry Johnstone novel, The Murder Book.
Jane also teaches creative writing, is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is no stranger to Kibworth Library, having participated in the Crime Panel at the library in 2017.
Tickets are available from the library, £5 including complimentary wine or soft drink.