Charlotte Bingham: MI5 and Me Sunday, Aug 26 2018 

Something a bit different from author Charlotte Bingham, in the form of a delightful memoir of her time working as a secretary in the 1950s for MI5.

When her father must admit his boring and aloof parent is a spy, and the subsequent model for John LeCarre’s George Smiley, her astonishment is real.

So is her perplexing father’s idea that the series of middling jobs she’s had need to go, and something worthwhile and patriotic take its place.

Welcome to the Mayfair headquarters and the typing pool under the formidable Dragon. Used to her false eyelashes and heavy makeup, Lottie soon finds those things will be left behind her, as will swearing and nice long lunches.

Bingham had a front row seat to a time when Russian agents were around every corner, actors were recruited as spies, and her fellow debutantes found a new code of behavior to follow.

Filled with humor, where readers can see the bones of her comedy writing with her husband, Terence Brady, Bingham also writes dramas, screenplays, and multiple novels, following in her father’s footsteps, as the 7th Baron Clanmorris wrote crime novels when he wasn’t dabbling in MI5 events.

Advertisements

Two Historicals: Marco Vichi and Tessa Arlen Friday, Jun 15 2018 

Auntie M has two from very different eras to recommend:


The lastest Bordelli mystery from Marco Vichi, Ghosts of the Past, take readers back to Florence of 1967, a year after the flood that devastated the area and claimed Bordelli’s conscience.

The Inspector’s new case revolves around the murder of Antonio Migliorini. The wealthy businessman was loved by all who knew him–so who could have wanted him dead?

That’s the question Brodelli must answer, and it will take him to unusual places. The victim was killed with the thrust of a fencing foil to his heart. Some jewelry was stolen,, perhsaps to muddy the waters, but no other forensic evidence is on hand to help the detective.

Revisiting the victim’s past days find Bordelli crossing paths with a war friend, Colonel Arceri, whom he invites into his home. That sets off a chain of events that will lead to Bordelli finding the murderer in a most unexpected way.

The series is filled with Bordelli’s dreams, his memories and recollections, and his yearning for the beautiful Eleanora. There is humor, too, and Florence and its environs come alive under Vichi’s talented pen, set within a complex mystery.

Tessa Arlen’s Lady Montfort series takes readers to WW1 England in Death of an Unsung Hero.

Lady Montfort has convinced her husband to offer their dower house for soldiers suffering from what is now called PTSD, with her no-nonsense, practical housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, serving as the hospital’s quartermaster.

Such a good deed comes under scrutiny when Sir Evelyn Bray is found dead in the garden from blunt force trauma to his head. Add in the local farming community’s disapproval of this easy way out for men they consider cowards, and the two women become afraid the War Office will close their hospital in an upcoming visit.

It doesn’t make sense to either woman that someone would want to murder a soldier suffering from amnesia, unless it’s to kill him before that memory fully returns. With his brother due to visit, his death is tough news to break.

When a local man is arrested, to the women’s chagrin, it adds impetus to their resolve to find the real killer. Readers also gain more knowledge of Lady Montfort’s family. With the war on, Edwardian values became more relaxed, especially for women, and this is illustrated well.

The historical details are well-researched, and eccentric characters add to the texture of the mystery. A high note is the relationship between the two women of different social stratas, and how well they work in concert, bringing their individual strengths to a murder investigation.

Kate Rhodes: Hell Bay Sunday, Mar 11 2018 

Kate Rhodes’ Alice Quentin series are a favorite, so it was with great interest that Auntie M turned to the debut of her new series, set on the Scilly Island of Bryher, Hell Bay.

Still grieving the death of his long-time undercover partner, saddled with her dog, Shadow, DI Ben Kitto returns to the remote island to rest and decide if he can continue to be a detective.

With his reclusive Uncle Ray, a boatbuilder, still on the island, and knowing the majority of the small population from his youth, Ben has a few months to decide if the resignation his boss refused goes into effect or not.

But he’s barely settled back into island life when the teenaged daughter of high school friends is found on the beach at Hell Bay, and soon he’s asked to become Senior Investigating Officer on the case.

Sixteen year-old Laura Trescothick was saving to attend drama school with her boyfriend, Danny Curnow. He soon finds out neither set of parents were happy with the youths plans or relationship.

With a two-day storm having cancelled all ferries to the island, Ben knows Laura’s killer must still be on the island. There are enough suspects to make it interesting, and enough secrets being held.

Rhodes skillfully draws the isolated locale for those who haven’t been to the area off Cornwall’s Lands End. And in Benesek Kitto, she’s drawn an interesting figure readers will want to follow. Highly Recommended.

Happy Holidays 2017 Wednesday, Dec 27 2017 

Auntie M hopes you’ll enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate!
Thanks to all the readers who enjoy the reveiws all year long.

Remember her own award-winning mysteries, The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, with the most recent, The Golden Hour, and the first Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, Death Unscripted, are all available on Bridle Path Press and Amazon as trade paperback, in Kindle format, and in Audible books.

She looks foward to a week of down time with family and Doc, and her two Aussie Doodles, Seamus and his little sister, Fiona.

See you next year with some whopping good reads!

Pat Hale:The Church of the Holy Child Wednesday, Oct 4 2017 

From Fearful to Fearless: The Path of Self-Promotion

The Gesture of No Fear

Okay so in truth, I haven’t quite made it to the fearless end of the path. In fact, I’m just starting out, but I’ve already learned a few things and I’ll share what I know so far.

My new book, The Church of the Holy Child, was released on September 25th. Exciting, right? Yes, very. After all the writes and re-writes, there it was in print, in my hand. The only drawback . . . with release, comes promotion.

It’s both a blessing and a curse to publish with a small press. Because my publisher is small, communication is excellent. If I have questions, I get answers within hours. I have plenty of say when it comes to editing and the cover art and the process in general. Working with a small press is like being part of a family.

The downside? I’m responsible for much of the book’s promotion. For some people, getting out in the public eye and selling yourself as well as your book is a piece of cake. But I have a hunch I’m not alone when the mere thought of self-promotion puts my heart in overdrive and my stomach simulating the twists and turns of Space Mountain.

Fast forward to the C3 Conference I attended in Maryland a couple of weeks ago where I was scheduled to take part in four panels and moderate one. (Obviously, the scheduling was out of my control.) And since my publisher, Intrigue Publishing, put on the conference, I couldn’t very well back out. It was a great opportunity to get myself and my book noticed. The panels were only forty-five minutes long. I could do anything for forty-five minutes. At least that became my mantra for the weeks prior to the conference.

But what happened when I sat on my first ever panel surprised me. My fellow panel members were all a little nervous (even the bigger names). They joked about it, were kind and supportive and I felt like one of them instead of the new kid. The most surprising thing of all was that the panel and the audience were interested in what I had to say. And I answered the moderator’s questions with ease because I knew better than anyone about my writing process and why my characters did what they did. And somewhere in the midst of it all I realized I was having fun and that my heart had settled back to its normal beat.

On the last panel of the last day, Jeff Markowitz, a wonderful writer who I can now call my friend, said to the audience. “You just have to go out there every day and be fearless.”

That’s the mantra I’ve taken away from the C3 conference along with new friends and contacts and a little more confidence than I had when I got there. Most writers are quiet people, introverts. And the idea of self-promotion can bring on overwhelming anxiety. But what you tell yourself really does matter.

Remember, you are the expert on your work. You can do anything for forty-five minutes. As my grandmother always said, “Tell ‘em who you are.” And above all, be fearless.

http://www.patriciahale.org

http://facebook.com/patricia.hale.102

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/patricia-hale

Archer Mayor: Trace Thursday, Sep 28 2017 

Archer Mayor’s long-running series with Vermont Bureau of Investigator Joe Gunther continues with the 28th installment in Trace.

This one has Gunther off scene for much of the action. He’s invovled in taking his mother to a special Missouri clinic for a scary case of Lyme Disease. So it’s left to the members of his team to sort out the latest cases.

Willy Kunkel’s case starts when a child finds three teeth–just those bloodstained teeth–on a railroad track. The team member most likely to work outside the box finds Homeland Security involved in that one, after a device destined for a military installation is discovered. This is where his rule-bending will prove necessary.

Lester Spinney, the by-the-book investigator is asked to take on a cold case of a hero state trooper, a supposed traffic stop gone bad, which may not be all it seems when new evidence skews the original investigation. He will need all of his patience and determination to figure this one out.

And Sammie Martens, the reasonable one, will need all of her usual resourcefulness to solve the case of a dead woman, by all acounts an lovely young woman, who happens to be the roommate of the daughter of the medical examiner, said ME being Gunther’s girlfriend. What was she running from?

Gunther’s absence, while being felt, allows readers to get closer to the team while the suspense rises for each detective.

This Vermont countryside comes alive under Mayor’s talented pen, as do his team and even the moments of Gunther in his mother’s rehab. The whole book glistens with reality: of the setting, of the characters and their private lives, and of the way they interact together. There are forensic details, too, of interest, but the details that hold the story together involve Gunther’s team and how they are changed by the end of the book.

A great addition to a fine series.

Jo Furness: All the Little Children Thursday, Sep 7 2017 

Jo Furniss’ debut novel will leave readers shattered, thinking long and hard after its emotional ending. All the Little Children brings them a strong female protagonist who faces horrific circumstances and choices.

It’s supposed to be a wonderful camping trip in the Shropshire woods when Marlene sets off with her sister-in-law Joni and their assorted children. With her husband moving out that same weekend, this is designed to upset her children less, instead of watching their father pack his bags.

Things rapidly deteriorate when it appears something has killed the local villagers. And the resourceful Marlene soon finds it’s not restricted to that area.

There will be a band of Wild Children, accidents, and deaths as this little troupe try to reach safety. There will be threats from within and without the woods, and those whom readers would think would be helpful turn out to be some of this group’s worst enemies for their own reasons.

It would be difficult to describe the action more without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say that there are moments of high tension that are relieved with tender moments. Marlene and the rest of the characters spring off the page as literally drawn, very human with foibles and warts and hearts.

The ending allows for a sequel readers will assume is on the horizon as Marlene must decide if she will save her own children or save them all.

The Golden Hour: The 4th Nora Tierney English Mystery Saturday, Sep 2 2017 

Auntie M is excited to let readers know that her newest in her award-winning Nora Tierney English Mysteries, THE GOLDEN HOUR, is now available on Audible for readers who prefer to listen to their books.

The narrator for the series is the wonderful British actoress Nano Nagle, and she outdid herself with this book, which is not the usual Whodunit? but a Cantheystophim?

Readers will note the difference at once, as they are aware of the villain early on. Nora is househunting for a proposed move back to Oxford. She and Declan are cementing their relationship. But someone’s stalking Nora, just as Declan is handed a most unusual case: the death of a young art restorer that has international implications for all of England.

That means THE GOLDEN HOUR is available in trade paperback (and for signed copies, which make great gifts, please order through Bridle Path Press–www.bridlepathpress.com); in Kindle, and in Audible.

J. D. Tafford: Little Boy Lost Wednesday, Aug 23 2017 

J. D. Tafford departs from his Michael Collins series to introduce Justin Glass, a mixed-race lawyer trying to get out from the depression that has plagues him since his young wife’s death. Raising his daughter alone, he’s also under the shadow of his political family. His black senator father, a civil rights proponet, and state congressman brother are pressuring him to run for office. His law practice suffered greatly after his wife’s death, and Justin is squeaking by as a public defender, while he and his daughter live in the carriage house of his white mother’s family home with her judge father.

Into his sweltering St. Louise office on a hot summer day comes an 8 yr-old girl with a jar full of change. Tanisha Walker wants to hire him to find her missing brother. With racial tensions high in the area between the African-American and the mostly white police department, Glass reluctantly takes her case and soon finds himself on the receiving end of police mistreatment. It’s a rude awakening, but doesn’t prepare him for when the brother’s body is found buried in the woods, along with over a dozen other teens.

Soon Justin finds many missing teens’ families lined up outside his offic asking for help for locating the “Lost Boys,” the media’s name for the missing boys. The common thread at first is that all had been troubled youths. As he juggles issues with his daughter at school and tries to make decisions about his future, he hires an assistant who smartens his office and gets him organized. And then his searching turns up another commonality that will leave Justin in jeopardy, and all bets are off.

Tafford covers topical issues without over-preaching. His own legal background makes the court system echo with reality. St. Louis simmers in the hot summer and readers will feel they are immersed in the city and in a great mystery.

Stephen Leather: Light Touch Sunday, Aug 13 2017 

The prolific Stephen Leather had two books out last week: the paperback version of Takedown, his stand-alone, and the newest Spider Shepherd thriller.

In Takedown, Charlotte Button, ex-MI-5, has been seen before in Leather’s series, and is now tasked with taking out a rogue Special Forces soldier. He’s already hatched one deadly plot. What she needs to do if figure out his next plan and stop him before he can act.

She has help in the form of Lex Harper, who assembles a team who are capable of stopping the rogue soldier before the massive attack they fear he’s planned. Readers of the Shepherd series will know Lex, and here they’ll see another side to him.

Having these two previously seen characters in their own book brings a fresh look to this kind of adventure-filled thriller.

While this is whirling, Charlotte finds that two of three flash drives, hidden in secret places, have been stolen. Containing information on dirty government operations from the past, their loss means her life is on the line if they can get to the third. Who is after her and why?

And while you’re investigating this one in case you missed it when it first came out, Light Touch brings Dan “Spider” Shepherd back with a tough case that is topical and swiftly paced.

MI5 send Spider in when one of their undercover operatives stops giving them information on a drug lord with international smuggling on his resume. Spider needs to find out if Lucy Kemp has shifted to the dark side in her dealings with Marcus Meyer.

It’s an intriguing and delicate situation, made all the more difficult when he finds an SAS assassin is planing revenge killings for his sister’s overdose. Only Spider can find and stop Matt STanding and conviince him there’s another way to deal with all of this–Spider’s way.

With a theme built around trust, this is a filled with action and twists, with little rest on the horizon.

Leather’s skills in action have been noted by the cinema world, too.

Two of Leather’s novels have been adapted for film: The Chinaman, one of Leather’s Mike Cramer series, has been made into the movie THE FOREIGNER which opens this fall starring Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. TANGO ONE has been made with Vincent Regan and Sophie Colquhoun, directed by Ssacha Bennett, and is awaiting a release date.

Next Page »