Would You Fight For Your Right to a Night at the Opera Now?

SEAT 97’ by Tony Bassett

SEAT 97: wrong place, wrong time: the mystery of a very public murder
A man who had it coming, or mistaken identity?

People are finding their seats for a soul concert when a shot rings out. David Barron crumples to the floor. Next to him, journalist Nick Colton and his wife, Greta, step in to help.

The assassin quickly escapes from the building. Realising this might be the scoop of his life, Nick rushes after him.

Although the man evades him – perhaps a good thing, seeing as he is holding a gun – Nick is determined to find the killer. Despite the misgivings of the police.

So who was David Barron and why was he shot? Why was he holding the lethal ticket for Seat 97?

Can you work out the mystery?

This is a totally gripping standalone crime mystery set in London that will keep you guessing.

There is definitely something of the Eric Ambler/John Buchan about former journalist Tony Bassett’s latest novel.

These masters of the espionage genre were superseded by Alfred Hitchcock and those new-fangled talkies and, latterly, by one of the new big beasts operating in the field today, Charles Cummings.

Here, Bassett comes up with a perfect scenario for this type of novel: the unassuming couple on a night out to the theatre witnessing a shocking and violent death. But was it murder or misadventure? Well, the unlikely hero better find out – and off we go.

Bassett has already published seven novels and this latest outing is ample evidence that you are in a safe pair of hands. The events spiral for our protagonists excitingly and Bassett generates a feeling of impending tension which could explode at any minute.

Overall, ‘Seat 97’ may represent the worst night out at the theatre since the Lincoln’s, but it certainly represents value for money in the excitement stakes.

Purchase Links

Author Bio – Tony Bassett

A former Fleet Street journalist, has had seven crime novels published so far.

This latest book, Seat 97, introduces Nick Colton, a journalist who is swept up into a murder investigation. It is a standalone novel which may possibly lead to a series. The book is published by London-based independent publishers The Book Folks, who specialise in crime fiction.

Tony is best known for his Midlands series of crime novels featuring DCI Gavin Roscoe and DS Sunita Roy (Murder On Oxford Lane, The Crossbow Stalker, Murder Of A Doctor and Out For Revenge, all published by the Book Folks).

He first developed a love of writing at the age of nine when he and a friend produced a magazine called the Globe at their junior school in Sevenoaks, Kent. When he reached his teenage years, growing up in Tunbridge Wells, his local vicar staged one of his plays, about Naboth’s Vineyard.

At Hull University, Tony was named student journalist of the year in 1971 in a competition run by Time-Life magazine and went onto become a national newspaper journalist, mainly working for the Sunday People in both its newsroom and investigations department.

His very first book to be published, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway, was released in December 2018. It concerns a Kent couple who harbour a stowaway and then battle to clear his name when he is charged with murder.

Then, in March 2020, the spy novel The Lazarus Charter, was released. It involves foreign agents operating in the UK. The book has kindly been endorsed by Marina Litvinenko, widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, and by Stan and Caroline Sturgess, parents of the innocent mother-of-three poisoned with novichok in Salisbury in 2018.

Tony has five grown-up children. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists. He lives in South-East London with his partner Lin.

Social Media Links –





A Tasty Treat

‘A Contest to Kill For’ by Evie Hunter

The competition is fierce….

Desperate to try and rebuild the reputation of Hopgood Hall, owners Alexi Ellis and Cheryl and Drew Hopgood agree to host a realty TV baking show, spearheaded by their arrogant but enigmatic head chef Marcel Gasquet. Hopefully the ratings will bring in bookings to the struggling hotel and Cosmo, Alexi’s antisocial feral cat, is hoping to get a starring role too!

The temperature is high…

Fiery and hot-headed, Marcel’s antics makes for brilliant television, but off-screen trouble is brewing. One of the contestants, femme fatale Juliette Hammond, makes it clear that she will do anything to secure the winning prize – even if it means sweetening up the prima donna chef.

The results are deadly!

So when Juliette is found dead, all eyes turn to Marcel. Has his fiery French temper got the better of him or has someone else fallen victim to Juliette’s devious ways?

With the reputation of the hotel in tatters and Marcel’s liberty on the line, Alexi needs answers and fast.  And the only person she can turn to for help is her old friend and private eye Jack Maddox.  Jack’s working his own case, but he can’t refuse Alexi and he knows more than anyone that this murder could cost them everything!

Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/ContestToKillForsocial

In my other life I have, this year, been teaching Home Economics. Because, well I said I’d help out and that is how small schools are staffed. So, English teacher to donning the chef’s whites I went. Hardly my natural zone, but needs must when the devil vomits in your kettle. In order to facilitate this, I have watched a quite simply Herculean quantity of Masterchef episodes. UK edition? Completed it, mate. Celebrity incarnation? Tick. Professional? I-Player rung dry. Singaporean, New Zealand, Australian and Celebrity Australian for a little international flavour: I have watched a lot of Masterchef.

And, I’m not going to lie, I understand the temptation to bump off some of the “characters” who present this format internationally.

So, apart from the fact that I had very much enjoyed Evie Hunter’s opening instalment in this series, ‘A Date to Die For’ this latest outing for Alexi, her dilapidated country house owning chums Cheryl and Drew and her chunky monkey sleuthing feline companion Cosmo really appealed for the opportunity to take out any lingering frustrations with celebrity chefs from my in-depth cooking research.

And Hunter, of course, does not disappoint. Her characters have texture – since the debut of the protagonists the world has moved on – they have changed and grown and are dealing with new arrivals. What Hunter maintains is the easy of interaction between them as well as a plot which zooms along reaching a nice rolling boil before satisfyingly concluding like a well-paced meal.

This is another successful outing for the Hopgood House crew and I look forward to dining at their table again in the future.

Author Bio –

Evie Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and is now redirecting her talents to produce dark gritty thrillers for Boldwood. For the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wendy.soliman.author

Twitter https://twitter.com/Wendyswriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wendy_soliman/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/EvieHunter

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/evie-hunter-572c1816-05f2-47c2-9c13-6d10a229670b

Historical Resonance

‘The Body at Carnival Bridge’ by Michelle Salter

How deadly is the fight for equality?

It’s 1922, and after spending a year travelling through Europe, Iris Woodmore returns home to find a changed Walden. Wealthy businesswoman Constance Timpson has introduced equal pay in her factories and allows women to retain their jobs after they marry.

But these radical new working practices have made her deadly enemies.

A mysterious sniper fires a single shot at Constance – is it a warning, or did they shoot to kill? When one of her female employees is murdered, it’s clear the threat is all too real – and it’s not just Constance in danger.

As amateur sleuth Iris investigates, she realises the sniper isn’t the only hidden enemy preying on women.

Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/CarnivalBridgesocial

I very much enjoyed the opening instalment in Michelle Salter’s novels involving Iris Woodmore, Murder at Waldenmere Lake

I described Salter’s novel as being in the “best traditions of the cozy crime genre” and I still stand by this judgement with Iris’ return in ‘The Body at Carnival Bridge’. I understand why, in these divisive times, there are people who have issues with contemporary novelists inventing characters who buck the trend of their historical periods and so we have a world of women and people of colour powering through social divides at a time in history when this was a significant barrier.

However, I’ve always been of the view that this is a distraction and distortion. One of the big issues is that you can often find real historical people who broke the moulds and have been written out of history and so fictional counterparts getting the airtime these pioneers deserved is rather charming.

Secondly, I think watching these characters interacting in their worlds and overcoming their challenges is entertaining.

These thoughts were pootling along in my head while I read this. Iris Woodmore might have found the real world even more stacked against her than she does in the novels but I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between her and potentially under fire industrialist, Constance Timpson.

This is yet another Golden Age-style romp from an author with the historical cajones to back up her lively world of deception and murder and a protagonist of suitable charm and nosiness to get herself into – and out of – plenty of entertaining trouble.

Author Bio –

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleSalterWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichelleASalter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellesalter_writer/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/MichelleSalterNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-salter

Without This, Nothing Else Matters

‘Caring Conservationists Who Are Changing Our Planet’ by Kate Peridot.

Travel around the world and discover the stories of 20 conservationists and the endangered animals they are helping to save, including the orangutang, blue whale, Indian tiger, rhino, honeybee, Komodo dragon and sea turtle. Positive, uplifting and packed full of information, with 20 fun activities for children to try, this book will show children no one is too small to make a difference.  

When I was about nine years old, my Mum took me to London Zoo. We didn’t really do things like that very often and London was big and far away and expensive and a rare luxury.

I’ve never forgotten that trip. It was the late 80s and Zoos were moving away from being the preserve of manically depressed gorillas staring mournfully out of inadequate cages and towards being research and conservation centres, the way the public want them to be today.

Something was awoken in me for sure. And I badgered my Mum to sign me up to the World Wildlife Fund (the original WWF) right there in the park. I suspect that we could scarcely afford this but she acquiesced because, well, she is my Mum and she was/is lovely and I was spoilt.

I moved quite far from an interest in nature as I grew up but, in the last 10-15 years, that interest has come back with a passion. Children – of all ages, classes, and background are interested in the natural world but we lose it so quickly.

In this lavishly illustrated book, Kate Peridot aims to introduce to some of the most famous conservationists who have tried to make a difference and increase awareness. There’s a beautiful breadth of figures featured and a range of activities which could act as excellent introductory tasks for inquisitive young minds.

A full colour delight for the eyes, I have a couple of young nephews who will be getting this for their birthdays. Without their engagement in these issues, nothing else is going to matter anyway.

Purchase Links

Author Bio –

About Kate

Kate is an author of both fiction and non-fiction children’s books. Originally from London, she now lives with her family in the South of France. She writes wild and adventurous stories about animals, people and STEM that encourages a can-do spirit, a quest for knowledge and a sense of adventure. 

Caring Conservationists (Walker Books) is her first non-fiction children’s books. A further nine books are in production launching between 2023-2025. Find out more about Kate and her books at www.kateperidot.com .

Social Media Links –



No Sign of a Damp Squib Under Cloudy Tuscan Skies

‘Murder in Florence’ by TA Williams

Also on the tour today, Being Anne and Chick Lit Central

A brand-new cozy crime series set in gorgeous Tuscany…It’s murder in paradise!

A glamourous film star…

Life as a private investigator in the suburbs of Florence isn’t always as glamourous as Dan Armstrong imagined it to be, until he is asked to investigate a recent spate of violent attacks on a Hollywood movie set in Florence. The star of the show, movie-star royalty Selena Gardner, fears her life is in imminent danger…

Foul play on set…

As Dan investigates, he discovers secrets and scandals are rife within the cast and crew. But with no actual murder, Dan believes these attacks could simply be warnings to someone…until the first body is found.

A dangerous killer on the loose.

Now Dan and his trusty sidekick Oscar are in a race against time to catch the murderer. But the more Dan uncovers, the more the killer strikes and Dan finds himself caught in the line of fire too! Is this one case Dan and Oscar will regret?

A gripping new murder mystery series by bestselling author T.A. Williams, perfect for fans of Lee Strauss and Beth Byers.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3YyhANi

I previously wrote in positive terms about the first in this series of books featuring Armstrong and Oscar, Murder in Tuscany.

If, like me, you like Italy and dogs – especially Labradors – then TA Williams has certainly hit upon a winning formula. As it happens, I do like both of these things so colour me delighted.

This is further accentuated if you happen to enjoy narrators with wry, lightly humorous voices, which Mr Williams again delivers on. What’s not to like from a protagonist who observes, “I’m sure Philip Marlowe never had water soaking his underpants.”

This neatly encapsulates what is so strong about Williams’ work – the characters are grounded and real in the ways they interact with the world while the metanarrative is in dialogue with the influences of the author, so Raymond Chandler meets Donna Leon who interacts with Agatha Christie and Michael Dibden.

Spring is definitely springing as I write this and, of course, poor Armstrong begins the novel exposed to the less picture postcard aspects of Tuscan weather, but this is a novel which will hold off even the heaviest April shower and spread some good cheer.


Author Bio –

T A Williams is the author of over twenty bestselling romances for HQ and Canelo and is now turning his hand to cosy crime, set in his beloved Italy, for Boldwood. The series will introduce us to retired DCI Armstrong and his labrador Oscar and the first book, entitled ‘Murder in Tuscany’, was published in October 2022. Trevor lives in Devon with his Italian wife.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAWilliamsBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/TAWilliamsNews

An Iris Wading in Deep Water

‘Murder at Waldenmere Lake’ by Michelle Salter

A murder shocks the small town of Walden. And it’s only the beginning…

Walden, 1921. Local reporter Iris Woodmore is determined to save her beloved lake, Waldenmere, from destruction.

After a bloody and expensive war, the British Army can’t afford to keep the lake and build a convalescent home on its shores yet they still battle with Walden Council and a railway company for ownership. But an old mansion used as an officer training academy stands where the railway company plans to build a lakeside hotel. It belongs to General Cheverton – and he won’t leave his home.

When the General is found murdered, it appears someone will stop at nothing to win the fight for Waldenmere. Iris thinks she can take on the might of the railway company and find the killer. But nothing prepares her for the devastation that’s to come…

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3vDssgr

There’s a lot of water which has flowed under a lot of bridges in the name of progress and development, especially in Hampshire and the south east.

What attracted me to reviewing this novel? Well, I grew up around those parts. The protagonist is a small town, provincial newspaper reporter and I’ve written my share of those kind of pieces for local rags. There’s a nice little historical parallel as we move one hundred years beyond the period setting and encounter the same problems continuing.

And I’ve had my share of “experiences” with local authorities and their particular delights.

Michelle Salter has written a novel in the best traditions of the cozy crime genre. The heroine is engaging, the first person narration allowing you to sit alongside her as she uncovers her clues and moves towards the thrilling denouement.

If you are in the market for a warming beverage of a book which will sweep you along like streams flowing to Hampshire lakes, then Murder at Waldenmere Lake is a perfect choice.

Author Bio –

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleSalterWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichelleASalter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellesalter_writer/

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-salter