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.

A Quiet Life in the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 1)

It is 1908 and Lady Emily Hardcastle and her maid Florence Armstrong are renting a house in the country intending to settle down to a quiet life.  They have had a an adventurous life together – as gradually emerges during this and subsequent books in the series and they’re hoping for something a but more sedate.

But fate has something else in store for them when they come across a dead body in the woods soon after they move in.  Lady Emily is by nature curious and Florence likes to know what is going on so they soon become enmeshed in the investigation.  They soon discover that life in the country may appear peaceful but there is a great deal in the way of feuds and criminal activity going on under the surface.

What really lifts this novel out of the ordinary is the unusual relationship between Emily and Flo.  They are friends more than mistress and servant and Flo doesn’t hesitate to tell Emily if she thinks she is wrong.  I laughed out loud at the dialogue and really enjoyed Flo’s narration of the story. I can also recommend the audio edition of this book as the narrator really brings the characters to life.

Intrigue in Capri (Kindle Single) (An Amory Ames Mystery)

Amory Ames and her husband Milo are on holiday in Capri and enjoying some relaxation when Amory notices a woman arriving at their hotel who seems quite mysterious and she overhears her saying that she needs help.  Then an article in a newspaper, some missing pearls and a mysterious disappearance ignites Amory’s curiosity.  Milo is less curious but knows Amory cannot leave a mystery alone.

This is an entertaining short story which includes the opening chapter of the fourth book in this series which is published in September 2017. I have read and enjoyed the previous three books in this well written and entertaining mystery series and I’m sure I shall enjoy the fourth book.

A Little History of Philosophy

I have at various times in my life attempted to get to grips with philosophy with not altogether happy results.  This is the best book I’ve read/listened to on the subject.  Nigel Warburton makes some very complex ideas accessible and interesting in this book.

Starting with Socrates – who constantly questioned how we live and paid with his life for his questions – the author takes the reader through the history of philosophy up to the present day.  Each short chapter deals with an individual philosopher, their life and work.  He does this in a relatively light-hearted way which really brings the ideas and the peoples to life.

If you have struggled with philosophy as a subject then do try this book and you may find you are interested in reading more about the individuals discussed.  I found the book accessible and interesting as well as entertaining.

Pause: How to press pause before life does it for you

If you feel that you are running fast just to stand still then make time in your busy schedule to read this book. So many people use the description ‘busy’ as a badge of honour rather than treating it as a wake up call to examine their lives and cut down on the ‘busy’ work.

This book doesn’t contain all that much which is new in the self help arena but it is focussed on encouraging you to slow down, meditate and concentrate on what is important in your life. Do you really need to check your phone a hundred times a day? Will the world fall apart if you only read emails twice a day? There is a useful one page summary at the end of the book which will remind you of the things you can do to help you slow down.

If you are rushing around all the time and not achieving very much then do try this book as it could change your life for the better. It is a beautifully produced book with plenty of space on the page as well as lots of inspirational quotations to make you think. I particularly liked the section on micro pauses and will be using some of those in my daily life. Remember if you don’t slow down life may enforce a pause on you through physical or mental breakdown.