Taking a break

Jillysheep is taking a break. I am in the process of selling my house and buying a much smaller property so I have lots to do in real life. I hope to return to reviewing at some point but I can’t give a definite date at present. Thank y you to all my readers and I will return as soon as I feel able to do so.

Killing Me Softly (Inspector Gil Mayo Mystery series)

Superintendent Gil Mayo and DI Abigail Moon are struggling to combat the growing problem of illegal drugs in the hitherto peaceful town of Lavenstock.  They just need a breakthrough. Their attention is diverted from the problem when a local financier is found shot dead near his home.  At first it looks like suicide and that seems understandable as he had severe money problems.  Then the post mortem reveals that he has been murdered.

Gradually it becomes clear he had some very shady business associates who could have wanted him dead – not to speak of his nearest and dearest who could have had more personal motives for wanting him out of the way.  I really enjoyed the way the links between the people associated with the dead man were built up in this book – I thought it was very cleverly plotted.

Throughout the book there are short chapters written from the point of view of someone who is clearly being held captive and these really do increase the tension in the book as it isn’t clear who the person is and why they’re being imprisoned.  It isn’t until almost the end of the book that it becomes clear precisely who this person is, where they are and why they’re being held captive.

This is an excellent addition to this well written and absorbing police procedural series and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a relatively traditional crime novel with interesting and likeable police characters and believable criminals and victims.

A Species of Revenge (Inspector Gil Mayo Mystery series)

This crime novel is much darker than previous books in the series but nonetheless enjoyable and well written.  A dead man is discovered on some allotments not far from Ellington Close.  At first it seems to have no connection with that small community in and around the close but then another murder is committed near the close in the woods and it seems residents have secrets they don’t want to share with the police, but would they kill to keep them hidden?

DI Abigail Moon and Superintendent Gil Mayo are struggling at first with the investigation and it seems as though the case has gone cold very quickly until the second murder is committed and then they start to see the links.  I found this an absorbing read and it kept me fully occupied over two days as I had to know what happened.

The book is part of a well written police procedural series with a low key style and likeable police characters. If you prefer your crime novels without too much graphic violence then you will probably enjoy this book and this series.

A Death of Distinction (Inspector Gil Mayo Mystery series)

Jack Lilburne is a pillar of the community.  He is head of a young offenders’ institution and has just been awarded an OBE.  When he is killed by a car bomb in front of his own house everyone is shocked and horrified.  Of course the first suspects are current and former inmates of the institution though it becomes clear that he was actually liked and respected.

When another death is discovered Superintendent Gil Mayo starts to think that there is much more going on than simple dislike.  This is a well plotted and well written police procedural crime novel.  The author brings her characters to life – especially the police personnel – and the reader wants them to succeed. The tense and exciting conclusion is especially well done.

The book is part of a series but the books in the series can be read in any order.  Currently (2017) not all the books in the series are available as ebooks.  If you prefer your crime novels without graphic violence and bad language then this series is worth trying.


An Accidental Shroud (Inspector Gil Mayo Mystery series)

Nigel Fontenoy – a jeweller – is found dead in an alley behind a down at heel pub.  His cousin Jake Wilding, cannot satisfactorily account for his whereabouts at the relevant time and the body was moved using one of the trucks belonging to his building company.  Did he do it?  DCI Gil Mayo have their doubts even though it seems Nigel was asking for a loan he had made to Jake to be repaid.

The case proves much more complicated than it at first appears to be and gradually Mayo and his team uncover more and more secrets of the past and the intertwining relationships of the people who are close to Nigel’s life and work.

Marjorie Eccles writes well and brings her characters to life and the plot provides enough surprises to keep most readers guessing.  I am enjoying this series of police procedurals and recommend them to anyone who prefers their crime novels low key and without too much graphic violence. The series can be read in any order.

The Company She Kept (Inspector Gil Mayo Mystery Series Book 6)

A woman’s body is found on the moor by a lorry driver. She has been strangled. A man receives a manuscript which shows him that an incident in his past is about to be revealed. An anonymous letter received by the police talks in oblique terms of a murder fourteen years ago. How can these events possibly be connected?

This is a well written police procedural crime novel featuring DCI Gil Mayo and his team. They know the victim’s friends are lying but are they also telling part of the truth as well? There are plenty of surprises in store for the reader and I definitely didn’t work out who the murder victim was from fourteen years ago.

If you like well plotted police procedurals then do try this series. There is little graphic violence or bad language and the books in the series can be read in any order.

Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.

This is a collection of essays on various topics including the election of Donald Trump, transgender rights and rape culture. As ever Penny is witty and darkly humorous as well as deadly serious. You may not always agree with what she says but you can’t help examining your own thoughts on any subject she chooses to attack.

She is not afraid of attacking the status quo and asking why things are as they are and why they can’t be different. I was particularly interested in the essays which discussed the way women are treated online. How behaviour which is generally deplored when exhibited by migrants for example, is suddenly acceptable if directed against women who dare to question the rights of white males.

The author exposes the widespread misogyny on the internet and in real life. It certainly made me angry and reminded me of various discussions I have had on the internet with the supposedly more rational sex. If you think equal rights is alive and kicking, read this book and realise how much more work still needs to be done even in the Western world.

Death Around the Bend (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 3)

This is the third book in the Lady Emily Hardcastle mystery series.  Emily and her maid Flo have been invited to stay at Lord Riddlesthorpe’s country house for a week of parties and motor racing as he has his own small circuit and is a racing car enthusiast.  The year is 1909 and both Flo and Emily feel in need of a holiday after a hectic few months.

But their relaxing holiday soon takes a turn for the sinister when in the first race one of the drivers dies in a crash.  The local police treat it as an accident but Flo and Emily soon uncover sabotage to the car and as they start to question the rest of the guests and the staff it seems as though there is something dangerous going on.

This book and this series are lifted out of the ordinary by the unconventional relationship between Emily and Flo.  They have been through many adventures together and are friends as well as employer and employee and their dialogue is often spiky and very amusing.  Having read the first three books almost back to back I am looking forward to reading more adventures involving the intrepid duo who seem to manage to stumble across murder in some of the most unlikely places.

Late of this Parish (Inspector Gil Mayo Mystery Book 5)

This is a well written and intriguing police procedural mystery featuring DCI Gil Mayo.  He is an interesting character – a widower with a grown up daughter and a relationship with a colleague though they do not live together.  Not all of the first four books in the series are available as e-books yet but hopefully they will be before too long.

A retired Anglican priest is found murdered in church. Who could have wanted him dead and why did they kill him in church just before Evensong when his body will definitely be discovered?  Who is the Sara mentioned in his diary?  His daughter, Laura, who lived with the dead man doesn’t think he knew anyone called Sara.

The mysterious Sara is just one of the conundrums which Mayo and his time need to unravel before they can track down the murderer.  I have read other books by Marjorie Eccles and enjoy her writing style and this book is no exception.  If you want a well written police procedural without graphic violence then do try this series.  The books can be read in any order.

In the Market for Murder (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 2)

Unpopular farmer Spencer Carradine dies in a pub on market day – face down in his beef and mushroom pie.  Lady Emily Hardcastle and her maid Florence soon here about the death and are naturally curious especially as one of their neighbours was present at the scene.  Then there seem to be ghostly activities at their local pub and some trophies are stolen from the rugby club.

Emily and Florence are asked by Inspector Sutherland, who is busy with Spencer Carradine’s death and various other crimes whether they will investigate the theft.  He was very impressed with their activities in the first book in this series – A Quiet Life in the Country.  Naturally the redoubtable duo can’t resist investigating the murder as well.

If you enjoy historical crime novels then I can thoroughly recommend this book and the first one in the series – A Quiet Life in the Country.  Emily and Florence are friends as well as employer and employee because they have been through a great many adventures together – which are hinted out throughout this story and its predecessor.  They have picked up many useful skills as well and people are prone to underestimate both of them.  The dialogue has plenty of humour and Florence tells their story with panache.  I can recommend the audio book as well.