A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple) (Miss Marple Series Book 10)

Jane Marple is on holiday in the Caribbean paid for by her nephew Raymond West. She loves the weather and it is working wonders with her rheumatism but she is just a little bored. Nothing much happens in paradise but her curiosity is piqued when Major Palgrave, who is telling her a story about a murderer, suddenly puts the photograph away that he was going to show her and looks as though he’s seen a ghost. The next day he is dead and Miss Marple is in her element as she recognises the types of people among her fellow guests who remind her of people in her home village of St Mary Mead.

I particularly liked some of the characters in this well written mystery especially the irascible Mr Rafiel and his attendants as well the Hillingdons and Dysons who seem to be friends who do not always get on well together. There are plenty of clues and plenty of red herrings before the murderer is finally revealed by means of some clever deductions by Miss Marple and Mr Rafiel.

This is not St Mary Mead but it is entertaining reading with an interesting background and Miss Marple proves herself to be as resourceful as ever even if her age is catching up with her.

The Forty Rules of Love

I picked this book at random when I couldn’t decide what to read next and found it interesting and thought provoking. Ella is almost forty, has three children and an unfaithful husband. She is beginning to feel that she has missed out on life somehow. She takes a job as a reader for a literary agency. Her first manuscript is an historical novel set in the thirteenth century and explores the relationship between the poet Rumi and a wandering dervish called Shams.

Ella is unexpectedly affected by the novel and starts an email correspondence with the author which will change her life in ways she cannot possibly predict. Ella’s story is interspersed with the novel she is reading. I thought the book was well written and it held my attention as I wanted to find out what happened to Ella and I found the Sufi background interesting. I knew little about Sufism before I read this book and it has made me want to know more.

This is a book which will repay rereading as there is so much in it about life and love and it is impossible to take in everything on first reading.

Realms of Glory

This is the third and final book in Catherine Fox’s marvellous Lindchester series.  It is the darkest of the three but there are still plenty of amusing bits and marvellous one liners and descriptions.  I have just re-read the first two books – Acts and Omissions and Unseen Things Above – to refresh my memory about the characters and I really enjoyed reading all three books back to back.

How is the new Bishop getting on?  Will Matt become the next Bishop of Barcup and how will Jane feel being Mrs Bishop if that happens?  Can Freddy May really settle down and be happy at last?  How are Father Ed and the wayward Neil and what about ‘Father’ Wendy and the three legged greyhound -Pedro?  I really feel as though I know these people having just spent three books with them.  I also feel rather differently about the Church of England but not in a bad way.  There are plenty of good things about the Church revealed in the books.

Is there too much about politics and terrorism?  Maybe but also the various catastrophes of 2016 provide a solid background for the lives of the characters in this book.  Here are people with all their human fallibilities struggling with the big events of life including love, death and birth.  Sometimes they fail disastrously but more often than not they turn out to be pure gold and the reader’s faith in the essential good in human nature is restored – or at least this reader’s faith was restored.

I cried tears of laughter and tears of sadness over this book just as I did over the first two.  They are definitely among my favourite books and will be re-read frequently.

Smoke and Mirrors (A Miss Barnum Mystery)

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley

Evie Barnum is in charge of her brother’s museum in New York which is full of fascinating artefacts as well as some interesting people who are on show to the visitors.  She enjoys her work but her interesting and peaceful life is disrupted when an old friend from her past appears asking for her help.  Evie’s instinct is to stay away from anything connected with her past but it seems she will have to get involved when the friend is found dead beside one of the exhibits in the museum.

When Jeffrey, the Lizard Man is accused of the murder and disappears Evie sets out to find him as she knows he can’t be guilty.  I had thought I would enjoy this book as it sounded like my sort of historical crime novel but unfortunately it didn’t hold my attention.

It is well written and I thought the background of the museum was interesting and clearly well researched.  I didn’t warm to Evie  unfortunately so I found it a bit of a chore to read the book.  Maybe it was the wrong book at the wrong time for me and I’m sure others will enjoy it.

Product Details

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley

This is an entertaining, well written and relatively light hearted romance with a bit of a hard centre because the heroine is kidnapped.  Emma Ruskin is fed up with her teaching job so she decides to apply for the job of governess to a ten year old girl – Poppy.  Poppy’s family seem to despise her including the handsome Gavin.  But in spite of this Emma likes her new job – and Gavin.

Then both Poppy and Emma are kidnapped and held to ransom and suddenly everything is deadly serious.  Will they be rescued in time?  Emma puts her faith in Gavin working out where they are in time.

I like this author’s style and I thought she really brought the dysfunctional family to life – especially their bickering. I warmed to both Emma and Poppy as well and wanted things to work out for them. This was an entertaining light read and it kept me occupied for an afternoon in a very pleasant fashion.

A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia (A Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventure Book 1)

Freddy Pilkington-Soames is probably a character you either love or hate.  I love him.  He’s Bert Wooster with more brains and no Jeeves to help him.  Ticky Maltravers appears to be very popular until someone decides to poison him at a dinner party.

Freddy – a newspaper reporter when he isn’t being a man about town – has a close encounter with the corpse which he’d much rather forget.  Unfortunately his mother keeps tampering with the evidence and looks like being arrested for the crime so Freddy feels duty bound to try and extricate her.

I enjoyed this entertaining ‘Golden Age’ mystery and it is a fitting successor to this author’s Angela Marchmont series.  Freddy himself will already be familiar to readers of that series – now he has a series of his own.  If you enjoy crime stories set in, or written during the 1920s and 1930s then this book is worth a try – it is the first one in the series.


The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side (Miss Marple) (Miss Marple Series Book 9)

Gossington Hall – where the body was discovered in the library in a previous Miss Marple story – is now the home of film star Marina Gregg.  When she opens the newly refurbished house for a local fete the villagers are curious to see how the house looks now.

One of the locals is poisoned at the reception Marina Gregg holds for the local pillars of the community and it seems clear to many that the film star herself could have been the intended target.  Miss Marple has to rely on the excellent testimony of her friend Mrs Bantry as she was not present at the time.

The death results in Scotland Yard being called in to investigate and Miss Marple is one of the first people that Desmond Craddock consults.  In this story we see Miss Marple in another guise.  She is getting older and her nephew has paid for the annoying Miss Knight to keep her company.  But Miss Marple does not react very well to having her freedom curtailed however well meaning the intention.  It seems at one point that the next murder might be committed by Miss Marple herself.

This is a well constructed plot and the clues are there for the observant reader.  I felt there were many tragic elements to the story and the motivations are well drawn as are the characters.  If you want crime novels in the classic mould then there is no one better than Agatha Christie in my opinion.