The start of brand-new Cozy Crime series! Welcome to Hopgood Hall.
An unlikely duo…
When investigative journalist, Alexi Ellis, falls victim to cutbacks, she and Cosmo, her anti-social feral cat, head for beautiful Hopgood Hall, where they plan to lick their wounds in the boutique hotel run by her old friends, Cheryl and Drew Hopgood.
A missing woman…
But when she arrives Alexi discovers Cheryl and Drew both distraught. Their close friend, Natalie Parker, who recently settled in the area, has gone missing. Alexi’s sure the woman has just taken a trip somewhere, but she still has a nose for a story and agrees to look into it.
A case to solve!So too does ex-Met Police detective turned private eye, Jack Maddox. Natalie Parker had been using his sister’s online dating agency and Jack needs to find her before his sister’s business is ruined.
Reluctantly, Alexi, Jack – and Cosmo! – join forces to find out what happened to Natalie. But soon they discover secrets that someone desperately wants to make sure are never revealed!
Perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Frances Evesham and Emma Davies.
I think most of us have been there, haven’t we? Escaping to the metaphorical arms of friends when our business or personal life has gone the way of all things?
And there’s something especially true with journalists: fat can twist on a dime and what was once pearls can become swine overnight with little in the way of warning.
When that happens to Alexi in Evie Hunter’s ‘A Date to Die For’, there is at least the comfort of having a mysterious disappearance to investigate, alongside her protective giant cat and private eye, Jack Maddox.
All good clean fun. I’ve read some of Evie Hunter’s work for Boldwood before, https://pajnewman.com/2022/06/06/best-forelock-forward/ and she is a writer with real talent. Hunter weaves her tales with satisfying twists and turns and, although on the face of it this novel has a fairly traditional structure: mysterious disappearance, lovely rural location, small-ish cast of suspects, Hunter handles her ingredients like the competent authorial chef she truly is.
If you like a modern turn on traditional fare, then ‘A Date to Die For,’ will leave you pleasingly sated and is an excellent novel for this time of year as the gloom of winter is lifting, let Hunter take you on a tour.
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 and cozy crime 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.
A 1970s debate on equality is overshadowed by a deadly secret…
Spring 1970. Sussex University is hosting a debate about equality for women. But when one of the debating group goes missing, attention turns away from social injustice to something more sinister.
It seems every one of the group has something to hide, and when a second tragedy occurs, two of the delegates – amateur sleuth Janie Juke, and reporter Libby Frobisher – are prepared to make themselves unpopular to flush out the truth. Who is lying and why?
Alongside the police investigation, Janie and Libby are determined to prise answers from the tight-lipped group, as they find themselves in a race against time to stop another victim being targeted.
In ‘A Notable Omission’ we meet Janie at the start of a new decade. When we left Janie at the end of ‘The Invisible Case’ she was enjoying her new found skills and success as an amateur sleuth. Here we meet her a few months later, stealing a few days away from being a wife and mother, attending a local conference on women’s liberation to do some soul-searching…
“My daughter Lucy wishes to spend her next long vacation on a kibbutz. Or perhaps I should say, as she’s at the University of Sussex, another kibbutz.” (Jim Hacker, Yes Minister, season 2)
There was something in those red bricks, wasn’t there? Sussex had the reputation alluded to in that episode of the greatest sitcom ever (fact: not opinion. Honest) My own alma mater, Stirling, was the place where the Queen was egged. Malcolm Bradbury and Tom Sharpe built literary careers on skewering the absurdities of the new universities and their idiosyncrasies.
And here, Isabella Muir reintroduces our heroine, Janie Juke librarian-turned-amateur sleuth Janie is a young Miss Marple, here married and back on the prowl as she attends that famously louche institution, thrusting the stifling Sussex atmosphere of the respectable classes with those long haired, rebellious students.
Picking up mere months after The Invisible Case, https://pajnewman.com/2021/02/09/aunty-and-niece-on-the-case, Muir continues her rich vein of form. Rattling along and wearing the writer’s love of Agatha Christie on her sleeve, the crime fighting duo of Juke and reporter Libby Frobisher are always welcome on the winter nights.
Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of family life in southern England in past decades – specifically those years from the Second World War through to the early 1970s. Researching all aspects of life back then has formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. It was during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing when Isabella rekindled her love of writing fiction and since then she has gone on to publish seven novels, six novellas and two short story collections.
This latest novel, ‘A Notable Omission’, is the fourth book in her successful Sussex Crime Mystery series, featuring young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. The early books in the series are set in the late 1960s in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, where we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. This latest novel in the series is set along the south coast in Brighton in early 1970, a time when young people were finding their voice and using it to rail against social injustice.
As well as four novels, there are six novellas in the series, set during the Second World War, exploring some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.
Isabella’s love of Italy shines through all her work and, as she is half-Italian, she has enjoyed bringing all her crime novels to an Italian audience with Italian translations, which are very well received.
Isabella has also written a second series of Sussex Crimes, set in the sixties, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.
Isabella’s standalone novel, ‘The Forgotten Children’, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.
‘Genuinely hilarious, charmingly intelligent’ – The Irish Times
‘Assured, astute and wickedly funny’ – Woman’s Way
‘Witty and charming and very, very funny’ – The Irish Examiner
When Clooney Coyle promises Vonnie Gallagher they’ll be friends for life, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. The lonely and eccentric Vonnie quickly becomes obsessed with the kind-hearted but insecure actor, and her misguided crush soon develops into something much more sinister, which leaves Clooney’s career in tatters.
But when fate takes a strange turn and elevates the pair into an overnight celebrity couple, Clooney must decide whether to embrace the fame he has longed for since childhood or end the ridiculous charade before Vonnie’s jealous – and murderous – inclinations spiral out of control.
Domhnall O’Donoghue’s third novel is a delightful romp through a heightened world of the celebrity lifestyle.
Laugh out loud funny in all the right people, the novel also examines the effect that the often shallow expectations of the public have on the private lives of the people behind the headlines.
O’Donoghue has a lightness of touch with his characters and a pleasing knack of raising the stakes for his protagonists as their world spins out of control.
At it’s heart though, is a sweet tale of lifelong friends and the toll that can take on both parties.
Bad people, doing bad things? Sometimes. ‘Crazy for You’ has an atmosphere of ‘The Sopranos’ crossed with Eurovision by way of ‘Father Ted’ and ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and what’s not to love about that?
Hailing from Navan, Co. Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT. He now works as a journalist, author and actor.
In 2016, Tirgearr Publishing released Domhnall’s first novel, ‘Sister Agatha: The World’s Oldest Serial Killer’ (‘We loved it’ – ‘Woman’s Way’). Pink Spear, an American, Emmy-winning production company, holds the TV and film rights.
Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house, released Domhnall’s second and third novels, ‘Colin and the Concubine’ (‘Hilarious’ – RTE.ie) and ‘Crazy for You’ (‘Genuinely hilarious, charmingly intelligent’ – ‘The Irish Times’).
For four years, Domhnall enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at ‘Irish Tatler Man’. Thanks to this role, he interviewed high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Kevin Spacey and Chris Pine. He writes a monthly column for ‘Woman’s Way’ and is a features writer for ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’, the world’s largest Irish-interest magazine.
As an actor, Domhnall appeared as Pádraig in TG4’s award-winning series ‘Ros na Rún’ for nine seasons.
Agatha Christie meets ‘Downton Abbey’ in the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane Mystery series opener.
Can Fiona catch a killer and find a decent cup of tea before her moustache wax melts?
1917. New York.
Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperon duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?
From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in German with one of her own countrymen!
And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.
When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.
But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby . . .
If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart.
In the best spirit of the Golden Age detective fiction, Kelly Oliver’s opening instalment of her new series, the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane Mysteries.
Oliver is an accomplished author – her Pet Detective Mysteries are particular favourites of mine – and she is clearly a very busy lady (Professor of Philosophy too? Slow down, Prof, you’re showing the rest of us up).
Here, the Tennessee-based writer is ticking a number of my boxes – transatlantic travel, Golden Age setting, spies and espionage chicanery. What’s not to like?
Oliver has crafted an engaging cast of characters for such a cosy, escapist adventure. There’s a healthy dose of the appropriate period attitudes for Figg to navigate and we can only imagine the frustration which women of her ability must have felt at the shoddy nature of their treatment.
If you are looking for a tidily written, transatlantic romp in the best traditions of the old school, ‘Chaos at Carnegie Hall’ belings on your to be read pile.
Kelly Oliver is the award-winning, bestselling author of three mysteries series: The Jessica James Mysteries, The Pet Detective Mysteries, and the historical cozies The Fiona Figg Mysteries, set in WW1. She is also the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is bringing new titles in the Fiona Figg series to Boldwood, the first of which, ‘Chaos in Carnegie Hall’, will be published in November 2022.
Speculation is rife that the victim, estate manager Alex Sterling (44), was found by Lady Beatrice (35), the Countess of Rossex, niece of King James. Lady Beatrice, who has finally come out of hiding following her son’s departure to boarding school, has been managing the project to refurbish and redesign the Events Suite at Francis Court, alongside Perry Juke.
Heading up the murder investigation is Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam. Rumour has it that he and Lady Beatrice have a fractious history…
Awful man! How dare Fitzwilliam suggest Lady Beatrice’s sister is the number one suspect for Alex’s murder. It could be any one of the staff who were on-site that morning. Well, she’ll show Mr High and Mighty Fitzwilliam! With her attention to detail, her clever dog Daisy, Perry’s imagination, and his partner’s contacts at Fenshire CID, they’ll find the murderer before him.
Unless the murderer finds her first…
Early on in ‘Spruced Up for Murder’, Helen Golden’s delightful tale of murder amongst the minor aristocracy, there is a scene where a mother needs to channel her best stiff upper lip impression as her son departs for boarding school.
I well remember the handshake I was given as my parent drove away leaving me at my public school and the sight of my mother dabbing at her eyes as the car pulled away.
It is an image which has been much in my mind lately due to her increasingly diminished health the caring role I have now assumed. There’s an entire circle of life thing going on which seems to fit with the autumnal weather, the turning of the leaves doing some form of work for the pathetic fallacy as they turn their golden hues, die and descend to the ground.
All of which is adding an air of poignancy to a jaunty little novel which nips along with pacy plotting and a dash of humour which makes the medicine of murder go down sweetly. Short, punchy chapters, characters who say things like, “oh my giddy aunt,” and the internecine squabbles between the fairly haughty Countess of Rossex and our Chief Inspector Fitzwilliam make this a perfect mystery for the rapidly cooling nights by the fire.
Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.
I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.
It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes
Changes are coming to the riverside town of Ryemouth, and while some of the community are excited by new beginnings, others are finding it hard to let go of the past.
A new 14-episode audio soap with a cast of loveable characters you’ll want to laugh and cry along with.
Susan and her boyfriend Dave can’t wait to open their new café and deli, The Old Engine Room. But Susan’s dad, George, is not so thrilled. He’s never approved of Dave, who used to hang out with the wrong crowd. Can the happy young couple win George round?
Mary and Ruby have been friends since the first day of infant school, even though their lives have turned out very differently. Mary has a contented family life with husband George and daughter Susan. Poor Ruby has never been so lucky in love. Then she meets her teenage crush in surprising circumstances. Mary has her doubts about the charming Paul. Will Ruby finally get her own happy ever after?
Dave wants to put his past behind him. His dream is to make a success of the business, and one day be a good husband and father, like his own dad, Mike. Yet, he’s forced to keep a secret from everyone he loves. Who should he turn to for help out of a tricky situation?
When the community comes under threat from developers, can everyone put their differences to one side to defend the town they love?
Riverside is full of romance, heartbreak and secrets, as well as gentle wit and humour.
The Riverside audiobook drama is based on the popular weekly magazine serial written and created by Glenda Young.
‘Riverside’ is an intriguing piece of work. A quiet and subdued little soap opera, written well with a suitably efficient pace. It’s origin in weekly serial magazines evident in the topics and interactions between the well-drawn characters.
Of course, one of the reasons that people like soap operas is that they deliver drama and entertainment but often touch on topics and trends in the life of a nation without making it seem like medicine. Riverside is often a story of the de-and-re-industrialisation of this country. Of the way that people feel alienated by the replacement of “real” jobs in heavy industry with service industry employment specialising in artisan barista coffees.
For listeners who like their characters likeable, flawed and earnestly well-intentioned, this slickly produced and well-acted slice of life audio drama, may be right up your waterway.
Author Bio –
Ian Skillicorn is a publisher, producer and writer. He has written the script for the Riverside audiobook drama based on Glenda’s stories and characters. He also directed and produced the audiobook. Ian’s publishing imprint, Wyndham Books, publishes best-selling fiction by some of the best-loved novelists in the UK and Australia. He was a podcasting trailblazer, producing streaming audio programmes in the early 2000s well before the podcast revolution.
Glenda Young is a best-selling author and award-winning writer. She’s written Riverside, a weekly soap opera published in The People’s Friend magazine since 2016. Meanwhile, she is the author of two successful book series – gritty sagas set in a northeast mining village in 1919, and cosy crimes set in modern-day Scarborough. She has also written official TV tie-in books for ITV’s Coronation Street.
Dave McClelland has enjoyed a busy career in Film, TV, theatre and radio, in both the UK and Canada. Recent television credits include Coronation St, Emmerdale, Doctors, Broken, and Compulsion, and he’s recently worked in the horror movie Black Daruma, to be released later this year. Dave worked as a radio host with CBC whilst living in Canada, and since returning to the UK, he’s put his voice to work in radio dramas, audiobooks, and voiceovers.
Melanie Crawley is an actor and voice artist. She recently produced and performed in the political theatre project ‘Next Left: Test Track Trace’ at Theatre Deli Sheffield, the northern UK tour of ‘Tannie & Tannie’ by Claudine Bennent and in various ‘All Female Shakespeare’ productions at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester. She has narrated around 50 audiobooks from her studio in Sheffield where she also works as a corporate and commercial voice artist and as an actor for radio / audio comedy and drama. Her most recent audio projects include ‘The Age of Love’ a podcast for ‘Festival of the Mind’ by Christopher Green, ‘Sketch Up’ a series of comedy radio sketches which she also performed at Leicester Comedy Festival. For screen, Melanie’s recent projects include ‘Truck’ part of the Council Culture Online TV series and ‘Tea and Cake’ one of the ‘Monarchy Monologues’ for Act Your Age. She writes, performs and produces the narrated audio-drama podcast: Low Light.
Lisa Armytage is an experienced actor in film, tv and theatre, and an established audiobook narrator. After a season with the National Youth Theatre, she trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, soon afterwards emigrating to Australia. She is best known as Dr Beverley Marshall in the iconic Aussie soap, ‘Neighbours’, and the lead female role in the Australian romantic movie ‘Cool Change’. Also in Australia, Lisa was a main cast member in the TV mini-series ‘The Lancaster-Miller Affair’ and ‘Miraculous Mellops’ and took guest roles in ‘’Cop Shop’, ‘Cell Block H’, ‘The Flying Doctors’, ‘Police Rescue 2’, ‘A Country Practice’, ‘Sky Trackers’, ‘Heartbreak High’ and ‘All Saints’. Since returning to the U.K in 2003 Lisa returned to working in theatre before narrating a wide range of audiobook genres. She has recently completed her third audiobook for best-selling British-Australian novelist Anna Jacobs, and has voiced animations and dramas, of which ‘Riverside’ is the latest.
As a Voiceover Artist, Gerard Fletcher can be heard currently voicing ads on TV and commercial radio stations worldwide (as well as major supermarkets) and has narrated 2 audio books and documentaries for BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Paramount and History Channel.
He is also the calming onhold voice of many major companies including DPD, The National Trust and Halfords and The Sheffield Tram!
He’s a musician and has published works for commercial sound libraries and theatre.
Trained at LAMDA. TV includes “The Crown” Series 5 (Netflix), “Sherwood” (BBC), “Get Even” (BBC/Netflix), “Emmerdale” (ITV),”Girlfriends” (ITV), “Happy Valley” (BBC), “Coronation Street”(ITV), “In the Club” (ITV), “The Accused” (BBC) “The Street” (BBC), “Shameless” (BBC). Feature Film: “Gold” (2018), “The Messenger”.
Gerard has performed in radio drama (BBC Radio 3, 4 and 4 Extra and Wyndham Books) and presented Screwfix’s YouTube channel for 2 years!
Glen McCready trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art where he graduated with honours. Screen credits include Signor in Years and Years (BBC), Henry Bowater in Hotel Portofino (Britbox Original) and Jack in the indie feature Above the Clouds. Stage credits include Eddie in Blood Brothers and Sgt Trotter in The Mousetrap (both in the West End). Glen works extensively as a voice actor with numerous credits in animation (including Granitface in the animated feature Dragon Rider), video games (including Maximillian in Evil Genius 2 World Domination), audiobooks (including Conan Doyle’s The Lost World), audio drama and radio drama.
As an award winning voice artist and actress, Penelope Rawlins is known for her work in animation, audio drama, narration, video games, audiobooks, theatre, radio and television.
Known for her authentic children’s voices – Penelope can be heard on Netflix in Rainbow Rangers (voice of Lavender and Indigo), in Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, voicing Jackson Jet on the Kartoon Channel, CBBC in Ninja Express, Amazon Prime in Uma & Devan Namaste! and the title role of Mini Wolf. Other animation includes Mighty Smighties, Captain Virat, Pomi & Nar, Hubert & Takako, The Amazing Adventures of Kika & Bob, Lulu Zipadoo and the voices of Princess Rhea and Princess Hera in the popular series SpacePops.
Penelope has voiced over 300 audiobooks and was nominated by Audible for Narrator of the Year. Favourite titles include; Gorillas in the Mist, Journey to the River Sea, The Turn of the Screw, Homeland: Carrie’s Run, Homeland: Saul’s Game (based on the CBS television series).
An extensive list of computer games and Warhammer titles, Penelope voiced Maleneth in series 1 and 2 of Realmslayer, opposite Brian Blessed’s Gotrek. As a stage actress for many years in regional and national theatre, Penelope played opposite Tommy Steele in Chaplin: The Musical. National tours include: Brief Encounter, Butterflies Are Free, Present Laughter, The Railway Children, The Lady Vanishes and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Radio dramas for the BBC include: Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, The Professor, The American Senator and Portrait of a Lady.
She wrote and produced her first play Pigeons in 2019 which sold out at the Hen & Chickens Theatre, London to 5 star reviews.
Becky Wright is best known for her many years on The Archers, playing Nic Grundy.
Toby Laurence is Freddie Pargetter in The Archers.
Social Media Links –
Dave McClelland = twitter.com/mcclellanddave
Melanie Crawley = @melaniecrawley
Lisa Armytage = @LisaArmytage
Glen McCready = @McCreadyGlen
Penelope Rawlins = @PenelopeRawlins
Toby Laurence = @TobyLaurence
Giveaway to Win 5 x Audio copies of Riverside (Open to UK/US)
*Terms and Conditions –UK/US entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Nestled high in the Tuscan hills lies Villa Volpone, home to renowned crime writer Jonah Moore and his creative writing course. It’s also the last place retired DCI Dan Armstrong expected to spend his retirement! Dan’s no writer, but maybe this break will help him to think about the next chapter in his own life story?
A gruesome murder…
But only days into the course, Jonah Moore is found stabbed to death with his award-winning silver dagger! And Dan finds himself pulled out of retirement with a killer to catch.
Eleven possible suspects.
The other guests all seem shocked by Jonah’s death, but Dan knows that one of them must be lying. And as he and Italian Commissario Virgilio Pisano begin to investigate it quickly becomes clear that everyone at Villa Volpone has secrets to hide…
But can Dan discover who the murderer is before they strike again?
I’ve never met TA Williams but I can’t help thinking that I would get on with him. I respected his courage to unapologetically write romantic as a man and not be embarrassed by that. I like reading them and still feel like an outlier for doing so.
I’ve reviewed a couple of Williams’ earlier novels in this genre, ‘A Little Piece of Paradise’ and ‘A Chance in a Million’. These are two impressively accomplished examples of their genre (you should definitely check them out if this is your sort of thing.)
Another thing I definitely have in common with Mr Williams is a love of Italy. La Dolce Vita – yes please. I would happily have been zipping about on a Vespa in a well cut suit on my way for a tiny coffee under sunny skies if I wasn’t a pasty middle aged Englishman in dreary Britain.
And now he’s branching out into crime fiction. Well, yes please, grazie mille!
‘A Murder in Tuscany’ is just as accomplished, entertaining and well written as we have come to expect from Williams. There’s the Agatha Christie-style limited suspect line up, there’s the exotic location, putting readers in mind of Donna Leon or Michael Dibden and there’s the easy going charm of the flowing prose which is all Williams.
As the nights draw in and the fire goes on, I’ve really enjoyed curling up with DCI Dan Armstrong and Oscar as the retired detective finds himself pulled back into the fray of another murder.
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’, will be published in October 2022. Trevor lives in Devon with his Italian wife.
Having left the army to recover from a traumatic experience, Captain Jane Reed is on her way to Venice to assist Lady Veronica Cooper, a world-famous writer who has lost her mojo. Plagued by grief and sleepless nights, Jane soon finds a kindred spirit in Veronica, coping with her own loss after the death of her husband.
When the two relocate to Veronica’s villa in the countryside to escape the summer tourists, Jane meets the rest of the Cooper family – including Veronica’s brooding son, David. With his own tragic past, David has resigned himself to a life of solitude. Jane finds herself determined to bring joy back into his life, even if it means finally spilling her secrets.
Can Jane and David help each other heal, and find love in the process, or are some scars too deep to treat?
Here we are treated to a romance mired in some fairly traumatic background. The opening sequence of the novel is set in Fallujah and, it is fair to say, one can certainly understand why Captain Jane Reed might feel the need to decompress afterwards.
It is often interesting to reflect that romantic fiction is dismissed as “light”. Here Williams works hard to create suspense in the reader and every degree of heat is reflected in the sweat on the brow of the protagonist.
Of course, Venice is another area known for its heat and Williams again does a fantastic job of rendering the magic of that spectacular city.
Characters each dealing with their own inner turmoils collide as the pathetic fallacy of the weather, the beauty of the surrounding and the quality of the food act as motifs which reoccur throughout this highly readable holiday novel.
I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing escapist romance is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.
‘Could there be a world of interest and adventure beyond the Midlands? A world of confidence, sex and excitement? A better life – a better me?’ These are the questions Gerard Philey grapples with over New Year, 1995. Sitting in his rented Black Country room, reflecting on his thankless teaching job and miserable love life, he courageously decides to abandon his humdrum existence and embark on a quest for Euro-fulfilment, fun and fitness on the Continent.
After a shaky start in Brussels, events manoeuvre him to Amsterdam where chance encounters shift his world well and truly into fifth gear. He samples the trials and tribulations of new relationships, alongside managing a sex shop in the city’s Red Light Area – on top of the challenges of fat-free living and international travel!
Through his bittersweet diary, we see how Gerard steers a laugh-out-loud course through farcical episodes and fanciful characters…and how entanglements from past and present draw him unwittingly into a criminal underworld where events ultimately take their toll.
It has been a while since I was able to get away on a proper foreign holiday. Rather like the eponymous Gerard Philey of Brendan James’ charming debut novel, I spend my days helping to educate the next generation of souls. Although they do not – as yet – choose to decorate me with chewed up pieces of ‘Paris Match’ as his do, I certainly recognise the ennui of the listless educational professional he describes!
One of my fondest ever memory is of a holiday I took alone to France as a newly qualified teacher. I was able to nap and write and drink wine in the sun and utilise my less-than-adequate language skills to procure decent food at a bargain price. It was pure Peter Mayle (a hero of mine I’ve written about before)
This novel is a bit like a hybrid of a ‘A Year in Provence’ meets ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’ and is very much enjoyable accordingly. James is a writer of assured quality and the wryly amusing encounters his put upon hero endures brings to mind the work of Tom Sharpe and the tortures he regularly put poor Wilt through.
A read that zips by like a galloping Eurostar, this is one for the traveller in your life. Happy holidays!
Brendan James is the author of the new comedy novel, “Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary: Quest for a Life”. Though this is his first novel, he has a large number of non-fiction publications (under the name Brendan Bartram) as a former university lecturer and researcher. A passionate linguist and Europhile, he spent a number of years working in the Netherlands, France and Germany. He lives in the West Midlands with his husband.
With the unsolved murder of a homeless boy still preying on his mind, DI Gus McGuire is confronted with a similar murder, a missing teen and no clues.
Does the answer lie with an illegal dark web site where ‘slaves’ are auctioned off? Or with an online forum for teens?
How can Gus keep people safe when unjust bias rears its head and being different could cost you your life…?
I’ve only been to Bradford once. I was about eight years old and it was the sort of Keystone Cops holidays my parents specialised in: we travelled to Bradford from some god-forsaken location, the car got a puncture, my Dad’s tooth fell out when biting into a flowery bap twinned with a concrete breezeblock, we couldn’t the KwikFit which had the car.
My overwhelming memory, however, was the Film and Television Museum. It had, what was then, the only IMAX cinema in the UK and a chance to try and be a newsreader, reading an autocue. I couldn’t do it. I cried.
They also had a gigantic copy of that famous mugshot photo of Myra Hindley. After getting my mum to explain who she was, I tootled off but that night, I came down in floods of tears, scared that this real life monster was going to get me.
‘Unjust Bias’ clearly shares DNA with this earlier novel. Mistry’s hard-bitten representation of the city is here. Her predilection for shifting narrative stances from first to third and back again depending upon the character focus of the chapter is there and her obvious interest in the on-going psychological effects of the world upon these people is baked through the stories like logos through a stick of rock.
These are not happy-go-lucky, easy readers with a cozy element. These are dark and realistic depictions of a hard world and bad things happening to people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But Mistry is a very fine writer and her Bradford is becoming a character in the way that Rankin’s Edinburgh is central to understanding the events.
Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Liz has completed a PhD in Creative Writing on Diverse voices in crime fiction.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.