End of Summer Beach Reads: Robertson, Korman, Ballard Friday, Sep 2 2016 

Auntie M has three lovelies coming your way, perfect for the Labor Day beach weekend:

BakerStJ
Michael Robertson’s Baker Street Mystery series have a devoted following of the two brothers who receive and answer the mail for 221B Baker Street addressed to Sherlock Holmes. The hijinks continue in The Baker Street Jurors.

With barrister Reggie Heath finally off on his honeymoon, solicitor Nigel Heath is keeping the office running smoothly. Well, maybe not that smoothly. He’s actually been living in the office after his American adventure and its accompanying romance ended badly. It’s up to Lois, their receptionist/legal secretary/admin. assistant/ barrister’s clerk to keep him topped off with coffee, working on the wills and other legal papers that cross his desk and having an occasional shower to get him out of his depression.

Then Nigel receives a jury summons–but in that day’s mail, so does Sherlock Holmes! Nigel promptly makes a paper plane of Sherlock’s summons and sails it out the open window. He does, however, turn up to do his duty, and is immediately drawn to one of the young female jurors. This might not be too bad at all, he thinks.

But it couldn’t be worse when he’s assigned as an alternate juror to the case of the century: National hero Rory McSweeny is on trial for the murder of his wife, the victim of a horrendous beating with McSweeny’s own cricket bat. On the verge of leading England’s team to another international championship, the papers have been full of outraged talk mostly pro and con about the accused man playing in the games.

It’s not a case for the faint-hearted as the jurors start having unfortunate accidents. One of the alternates seems to be more than closely acquainted with the sayings of Holmes, too. And then the judge is persuaded that the jury must travel to Devon to see the site of McSweeny’s alibi, and things take a decided turn for the worse. Before it’s over there will be accidents during a storm, rumors of secret tunnels, and a locked room murder. Bright and sparkling with that Robertson irony.

killer-punch-killer-wasps-mystery-by-amy-korman-0062431137

The Killer Wasps Mysteries bring the four friends–antique dealer Kristin, tiny Sophie, Bootsie and Holly–back together for another outing. The annual Tomato Show is at the country club, and their goal is to outdo their nemesis Eula, just in the annual Tomato Show, but also in the tennis tournament.

But then a valuable painting of a pastoral scene disappears from the country club, and everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. What are the four friends to do but investigate? They secretly hope Eula is to blame, but can only find evidence of another crime: buying her tomato plant entry from a New Jersey dealer.

And as if the gals haven’t enough on their plates, a new Mega Wine Mart plans to open in their little village, cutting a swath right through their forest. Everyone’s in favor of cheap wine, but to take out their forest for it takes the cake. It’s not bad enough that Sophie is going through a tough divorce, and the details of that one will bring a smile to your face, she’s also hoping for a proposal from her loving Joe.

It’s enough to drive a gal to drink! A charming cozy series~

miss dimple_MECH_01.indd

Mignon Ballard bring her two series heroines together in a charming cozy set in the small Georgia town of Elderberry in Slightly Bewildered Angel.

It’s 1944 and schoolteacher Dimple Kilpatrick and her town do their best to help with the war efforts, while worrying about the ones they care for serving in the armed forces and trying to cope with rationing. Things are made worse when the boardinghouse cook, Odessa Kirby, who helps Miss Dimple’s friend Phoebe Chadwick run the house on a shoestring, has to leave to care for a relative.

But all is not lost when on the doorstep they find Augusta Goodnight, whose wise ways with cooking and even cleaning soon save the day. Then the shy Dora arrives, hoping to stay on the library’s porch, toting her things in a paper bag. She brings out the town’s charitable spirit and soon she’s being fed and cared for.

Miss Dimple is suitably shocked when Dora is found dead in the church, and Augusta persuades her she must find the culprit. She enlists her friends to search for clues, even traveling to Dora’s hometown, where her horrible married life is exposed. It will be up to Augusta to convince Miss Dimple to follow the threads that will solve the mystery that will change Miss Dimple’s life.

A heartwarming cozy with exacting period details and the the meeting of Ballard’s two sleuthing heroines.

Advertisements

Sophie Hannah: A Game for All the Family Sunday, May 22 2016 

GameFamily
Auntie M had previously mentioned Sophie Hannah’s standalone, A Game for All the Family, in a thriller post last fall. But it’s available now in the US and worthy of a second look for those of you who are hooked on this writer’s wicked imagination.

A Game For All The Family, shows Hannah’s deft hand at psychological thrillers, as well as her ability to create an intriguing story from the most seemingly innocuous bits of people’s lives that somehow escalate before the reader’s eyes into full-blown terror. This is the genius of her writing.

Justine Merrison is moving with her family to escape London and her high pressure job to the lovely Devon countryside, home to Dame Agatha, by the way. She has huge plans to do nothing at all, at least for a while, but the family is no sooner moved in than teen daughter Ellen withdraws and exhibits a change in her personality.

It seems Ellen has written a story that describes a grisly murder set in the family’s gorgeous new home and just happened to name a character after herself. What starts out as a school assignment morphs into the story of someone else’s family.

Then her good friend is expelled from school for a trifle and when Justine goes to the school to ask the head to reconsider, she’s told the student doesn’t exist–and that he never attended the school. Who is going crazy–Ellen or the school?

And then anonymous calls start, and Justine finds herself accused of sharing a murderous past with a caller whose voice she doesn’t recognize. Being caught up in this strange story will ultimately affect Justine, Ellen and their entire family, especially when Justine realizes it will be up to her to stop their torment.

How this falls out is part of the fun of reading the unique novel where Justine must find out just whom she’s supposed to be in order to stop the threat to her family. Twisted and entertaining.

John Bainbridge: A Seaside Mourning Friday, Dec 4 2015 

John Bainbridge and his wife Anne are historians and researchers extraordinaire who use their own history in the Inspector Abbs mysteries. Here’s the story of the background to A Seaside Mourning
Seaside

The Background to A Seaside Mourning
Our Victorian murder mystery is set in the fictional town of Seaborough, a small resort in Devon. The plan was to think hard about coming up with a suitable name. However around the same time we were researching John’s family history. When we found that one of his ancestors had the unusual first name of Seaborough, it seemed exactly right.

In the novel Seaborough is in East Devon, an area often overlooked by holiday-makers who travel to the better-known parts of the English Riviera and the South Hams. It is a timeless landscape of rounded hills, old hedgerows, meadows and heaths; villages with thatched cottages and a few quiet seaside resorts. Their railway stations and branch lines are long gone.

The unspoilt coastline has red sandstone, zig-zag cliffs gradually fading to chalk near the county border. Together with the neighbouring county of Dorset, they make up the Jurassic Coast, Britain’s first Unesco natural world heritage site. We know the area well from walking the old footpaths and exploring the villages of my forebears. One of my ancestors was a Victorian police constable, probably much like the ones in the story.

Walk through the streets of any British seaside town, trace back the architecture and you’ll most likely find the beginning was a fishing village. The rise of the seaside resort – offering buildings and entertainment designed to attract tourists – gradually began in the eighteenth century. At that time the concept of an annual holiday for the masses didn’t exist. The wealthy tended to travel abroad on the classical Grand Tour or over-winter on the Continent. Working people had neither the money nor paid leisure to explore new places.

From the mid-1700s physicians began questioning whether sea-water might have healing properties similar to those of spa water. An enterprising Sussex physician Dr. Richard Russell set up a house for patients in the fishing village of Brighthelmstone in 1753. ‘Taking the waters’ at inland spa resorts was fashionable and money was to be made from rich invalids – and hypochondriacs – so there may have been some self-interest involved!

Dr. Russell published works on the rejuvenating powers of sea-bathing and drinking salt water, claiming his treatments cured enlarged glands and all manner of ailments. As well as swimming, his patients were immersed in baths of salt water and encouraged to ‘promenade’ in the sea air. This quickly became prevalent medical opinion.

Just as today, landowners and speculative builders were quick to spot a business opportunity. Scarborough on the coast of Yorkshire had the best of both worlds. Mineral water had been discovered there in the early seventeenth century and they had a flourishing spa by the beach. Wheel out the bathing-machines and the town was well-placed to develop into England’s earliest seaside resort.

Villages along the south coast in particular offered a mild climate and an easier journey from the capital. They began to throw up lodgings suitable for well-to-do visitors. Theatres and assembly rooms were built, promenades and sea-front gardens laid out. New resorts advertised their picturesque scenery, carriage tours and health-giving benefits.

Jane Austen satirised this new enthusiasm in her last unfinished novel, Sanditon. Interestingly Reginald Hill did a witty take on Sanditon – one of his lovely literary jokes – in his Dalziel and Pascoe novel A Cure For All Diseases. Sidmouth in East Devon is a possible contender for Austen’s Sanditon, though several resorts also fit the clues. It’s most likely that Jane Austen was thinking of more than one place. The Austens enjoyed holidaying along the Channel coast. Their stays at Lyme Regis in 1803 and 04 famously inspired part of the setting of Persuasion.

Fashion played a part in putting a watering-hole on the map. When George III’s physicians recommended he try the sea cure in 1788, he chose the village of Weymouth on the Dorset coast. Liking its sheltered sandy bay, he returned many times, making Weymouth one of England’s oldest seaside resorts.

His son, later the Prince Regent, vastly preferred Brighthelmstone, nearer London. Under his patronage it expanded rapidly to cater for his younger and wilder set. It has never lost its stylish and racy reputation. The spelling changed to suit its pronunciation and a new saying became widespread. The wealthy patient often tried the cure of Doctor Brighton.

Some towns started out as the vision of a single developer. In the 1780s a wealthy merchant called Sir Richard Hotham bought up land around the Sussex fishing village of Bognor. He intended to design a purpose-built resort modestly named Hothampton and entice the King away from Weymouth, making himself a second fortune. George III never obliged and the town reverted to Bognor soon after Sir Richard’s death. He did leave the townspeople several fine terraces and a splendid park.

New resorts received a boost to their fortunes when the Napoleonic wars closed the Continent to travellers. Prosperous invalids and people living in seclusion often settled by the sea in smart new villas for the gentry. Lady Nelson came to live at Exmouth in East Devon, after Nelson’s association with Lady Emma Hamilton became public knowledge.

Hunstanton in Norfolk came about as the scheme of one man, though much later. In 1846 Henry Le Strange, an architect and local landowner built a hotel on an empty headland as the flagship of his new town. A typically enthusiastic Victorian ‘entrepreneur’, he gathered investors to fund a railway line from King’s Lynn to his planned site, which was named after the nearby village of Old Hunstanton. It took another 16 years before the railway arrived and further building work began.

Many resorts can date their growth to the arrival of the railway. It became the custom for middle-class Victorian families to send their children to the seaside with nannies and nursery-maids. The first pleasure pier had been constructed at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, as early as 1814. Almost a hundred more followed, mostly in England and Wales. The Bank Holiday Act of 1871 gave workers four days off – five in Scotland. On Whit Monday and in August, railway companies laid on ‘Bank Holiday Specials’ for the day-trippers pouring into popular resorts. At last accessible for the pleasure of ordinary working people, the seaside resort as we know it today had arrived.

In A Seaside Mourning, Seaborough is expanding. It is autumn 1873 and the town has its railway branch line. New houses are going up and some businessmen are keen for a pier and other amenities to be developed.

Many of the characters are on the make, jostling for more money and social position. Some are fighting for security in a precarious society shadowed by the workhouse. Even Inspector Josiah Abbs is not safe. This was an age when policemen were not considered gentlemen. A detective was treated as a distasteful necessity, an embarrassment who should call at the tradesmen’s entrance.

Abbs cannot summon suspects to interview if they are his social ‘betters’ and he must catch a murderer without making enemies. Dismissal without a character is always a threat. He and his young side-kick Sergeant Reeve are both outsiders in Devon. They don’t quite know what to make of one another yet but they’re determined to solve the case somehow…

Our novel “A Seaside Mourning” is now available in paperback and on most eBook readers. Just click on the link below for more information:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ebooks/dp/B00JEHLABI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1444989962&sr=1-1&keywords=seaside+mourning

And with Christmas on the way, If you enjoy curling up by the fireside with a seasonal mystery, you might like to try our Inspector Abbs novella A Christmas Malice. Set in 1873 during a Victorian country Christmas in Norfolk, our introspective sleuth has a dark puzzle to be solved. As is traditional at this time of year, there will be hope and a happy ending of a sort.

Fine Crime Fiction for Fall Reading Monday, Sep 21 2015 

Auntie M has been reading up a storm this summer and brings you some of the finest crime novels out there for your perusal. These have things in common, which is why these particular novels are grouped together: darn fine stories supported by great writing. Enjoy~

ToyTaker
Luke Delany’s third DI Sean Corrigan police procedural will grab you from its creepy opening. The Toy Taker starts out strong and never lets up, with Corrigan’s team at Scotland Yard covering the sickest criminals that roam the metropolitan mecca.

Delany’s experience as a former CID investigator serves him well and makes the story jolt into reality when a young boy is discovered missing from his bed one morning in a tony London suburb. There’s no sign of an intruder and no alarms were tripped; there are no signs of a struggle. Corrigan has a knack of being able to put himself into the mind of the criminal he’s seeking, a device that seems to have left him in this installment, frustrating him, his wife, and his colleagues.

The action doesn’t let up, even when another child is taken. What is the hold this predator has over the children who appear to have gone willingly with a stranger? Tautl written and gGuaranteed to keep you up late at night.

SongDrownedSouls
After the huge success of Bernard Minier’s The Frozen Dead, Auntie M was not the only reader looking forward to the sequel featuring Commandant Martin Servaz of the Toulouse Crime Squad. A Song for Drowned Souls
is the kind of crime novel that presents a fascinating look at the lives of the perpetrator and of the team on the hunt.

A young man is found, stunned, sitting by a swimming pool where dolls float on its surface. He’s discovered his teacher, drowned in her bath in a horrific manner, and is arrested for her murder. Servaz is called by his former college lover, Marianne, and immediately rushes over and takes over the investigation. The arrested boy is her son and she implores Servaz to clear Hugo.

To do so, he must reopen old wounds of his time at the Marsac school in the Pyrenees at the elite school where the victim taught. He will run into former students now teaching there during the case and find a former friend and competitor for Marianne’s affections figures in the case. Servaz’s daughter has just started in the prep division there and her presence will provide both a distraction and a boon to his investigation as it soon becomes apparent there are ties between students at the school and the murdered woman.

Miner examines the way the past haunts our present in a way that is chilling and highly believable.

Even if you’ve never visited the area, Minier will have you breathing in the scent of the trees in this evocative thriller that takes police procedurals to a new height. Highly recommended.

Open Grave
Kjell Eriksson’s Ann Lindell series continues with an unusual installment, not your usual hurried murder investigation at all, in Open Grave. The idea here is one more of a series of incidents that may or may not lead to murder. And the tension is palpable.

An aging professor has just won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, yet instead of rejoicing, the announcement brings problems to the doctor’s upper-class neighborhood. There are jealousies amongst his colleagues, some who are his neighbors, and even his housekeeper of decades seems to be on on the verge of leaving. What is there about the man that causes this reason for celebration to bring out the worst in people?

Eriksson spools out the story of the participants by delving into their pasts as unusual incidents start to happen. When Inspector Ann Lindell tries to sort out what is happening, her own past rears its head into the carefully arranged present she’s trying to fashion. And the expected outcome is far from the ending twist. The author knows human nature and describes it well in this psychological study that is subtle and character-driven.

run you down

Julia Dahl’s first crime novel, Invisible City, garnered multiple award nominations and is still nominated for more. It was a highly rated debut for Auntie M last year so she was looking forward to its newest, run you down, featuring young reporter Rebekah Roberts.

Rebekah’s ties to the Hasidic community started in the first book, her interested piqued by trying to find the mother she doesn’t know after Aviva Kagan abandoned her as a baby to be raised by her Christian father. Not sure she’s ready to meet the woman she’s finally found, Rebekah is drawn into Aviva’s community in Roseville, NY, by a man who contacts her about his young wife’s mysterious death.

Pessie Goldin’s body was found in her bathtub, an apparent accident or unmentionable suicide–but her husband believes she was murdered. As she investigates, Rebekah will find others like her mother who left the ultra-conservative sect and formed their own group. Some rage about the restraints they were forced to live under in their old community. And others find themselves inexplicably mixed up with groups who would kill without a clear thought for the lives and beliefs of others.

Dahl does a lovely job of letting Rebekah tell readers her story from her point of view as an outsider to a culture she’s trying to understand, while developing a wallop of a story that is its own mystery. One aspect Auntie M particularly enjoyed was seeing the protagonist’s growth and maturity in her job and in her personal life, which adds to the compelling aspect of the mystery. Don’t miss this one.

Slaughter Man
Auntie M enjoyed UK author Tony Parson’s foray into crime novels with The Murder Man, which introduced DI Max Wolfe, his daughter Scout, and their personable dog, Stan. With The Slaughter Man,
Max returns to investigate a heinous crime that jumps off the page from the Prologue describing the horrific slaughter of an entire family, except for the youngest child, apparently kidnapped.

It’s New Year’s Day when this occurs and the day after this wealthy family is found inside their gated-community home, all dead from a most unusual method: a cattle gun, used to stun cattle before butchering. When Max visits Scotland Yard’s Black Museum for background, he comes across a murderer who used just this method three decades ago and was dubbed The Slaughter Man by the press. Could the man, now released from prison, be on a murdering rampage? And why this particular family?

The happy family included two teens and parents who were former Olympians. There’s history here and Max is determined to find out how the past of the parents has led to this slaughter, always aware that as time goes by, his chances of finding the kidnapped boy alive grow dimmer.

Auntie M marveled at Max’s ability to withstand physical punishment, but Parsons does a good job illustrating his physical prowess and workouts at a local boxing club to balance what could be seen as super-human. For Max is definitely a very human detective, devoted to his daughter and her safely and happiness, and this makes him a very real character who leaps off the page and who readers will follow anywhere he takes them. Highly recommended.

GameFamily
<a
Sophie Hannah seems to be everywhere, and Auntie M says this with all due respect and admiration. Last year's The Telling Error has been published in the US recently under the title Woman with a Secret and was previously reviewed on this blog on February 1st. It’s the tale of a woman keeping a secret and brings back the unusual husband-and-wife detective duo of Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer, an interesting and intriguing pair, and if you haven’t made their acquaintance yet, now’s the time to do it.

Hannah was also the author of the new Hercule Poirot novel authorized by Agatha Christie’s estate, The Monogram Murders, notable for her outstanding voice of Poirot, which so many readers miss. Now she has a standalone in A Game For All The Family, which shows her deft hand at psychological thrillers, as well as her ability to create an intriguing story from the most seemingly innocuous bits of people’s lives that somehow escalate before the reader’s eyes into full-blown terror.

Justine Merrison is moving with her family to escape London and her high pressure job to the lovely Devon countryside, home to Dame Agatha, by the way. She has huge plans to do nothing at all, at least for a while, but the family is no sooner moved in than teen daughter Ellen withdraws and changes personality.

It seems Ellen has written a story that describes a grisly murder set in the family’s gorgeous new home and just happened to name a character after herself. What starts out as a school assignment morphs into the story of someone else’s family. Her good friend is expelled from school for a trifle and when Justine goes to the school to ask the head to reconsider, she’s told the student doesn’t exist and that he never attended the school. Who is going crazy–Ellen or the school? And then the anonymous calls start, and Justine finds herself accused of sharing a murderous past with the caller whose voice she doesn’t recognize.

How this falls out is part of the fun of reading the unique novel where Justine must find out just whom she’s supposed to be in order to stop the threat to her family. Twisted and entertaining.

Sisters in Crime: Four Mysteries Sunday, Nov 9 2014 

As a member of Sisters in Crime, Auntie M has found a community that sustains her when facing that blank white page that proscribes the daily writing life. A huge part of that organization is the support the members give each other on so many facets of writing, from craft to legal issues, from deadly poisons to process to marketing and blog tours.

So today she’s highlighting four Sisters (and a Mister!) who have books for your reading pleasure.

truthbetold Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Jane Ryland series echoes the author’s own history as an investigative reporter. In Truth Be Told, the award-winning author brings her insider’s knowledge to a different kind of case: middle-class families caught in the housing foreclosure debacle who are evicted from their homes.

At the same time, her relationship with Boston police detective Jake Brogan has hit a snag. The long-awaited vacation they’d planned has to be cancelled when someone suddenly confesses to the twenty-year old murder called the Lilac Sunday Killing, the unsolved case that haunted Jake’s grandfather. With evidence mounting that the confession might be phony, Jake delves into his grandfather’s basement files on the original case.

With the strain of keeping their personal lives separate from their jobs, and that line crossing more than either of them expect, things heat up when murders start to occur in the supposedly empty homes of evicted families. Enter the daughter of a bank president, a young woman with her own special accounting system, and the cases take off, each from their own perspective.

Ryan does a nice job of bringing these two story lines together while Jane and Jake struggle to hold onto their relationship in the midst of misunderstandings and the differences of their jobs as they each try to figure out who’s behind the murders, and why someone would confess to a murder they didn’t commit.

demon-3
G. M. Malliet’s Max Tudor series takes readers to the charming English village of Nether Monkslip, where the former MI5 agent has carved out a new life for himself. In A Demon Summer, the heat isn’t the only thing that has Max sweating: he’s soon to be a parent with his beloved Awena, and has yet to tell his Bishop of that development.

This is kind of mystery that isn’t built on action but on thoughtful investigation, as Max is sent by the Bishop to Monkbury Abbey after it seems their fruitcake was the vehicle used to try to poison the 15th Earl of Lislelivet. Tasked with discreet inquiries just at the time he’d rather be home and planning his marriage, Max nevertheless takes the job seriously and sets off to the remote abbey, home to nuns who are part of the order of the Handmaids of St. Lucy.

Amidst rumors of buried treasure regaling that of the Holy Grail, Max finds the cloistered order living their lives plainly, bound by rules and bells calling them to prayer. Along with the Lord back for a second visit are a philanthropic American family, an art gallery owner and a photographer, all sharing the guesthouse when Max arrives to begin his investigation.

There will be tales of funds going missing or misappropriated, of poison berries, or family tragedies–and then the Lord’s body is found down the well and Max must kick his investigation into overdrive. A device Malliet uses is chapter epigrams from The Rule of the Order of the Handmaids of St. Lucy. Great fun and with a Poirot-like ending where the little grey cells of Father Max have figured out what’s really happening behind the abbey’s walls.

murderhoneychurch Across the pond, Hannah Dennison, author of the Vicky Hill mysteries, debuts a new series with Murder at Honeychurch Hall.

The Devon setting, home to Agatha Christie’s Greenway and where she grew up, seems like a character in this humorous opener featuring Katherine Stanford, known to as Kat, a television celebrity leaving that life behind, who thinks she’s getting ready to launch the antique business she’s always wanted to run. Her partner and newly-widowed mother, Iris, has a huge surprise that throws a wrench in Kat’s plans: instead of going into business in London with Kat, Iris has bought a seriously dilapidated carriage house on the grounds of Honeychurch Hall, hundreds of miles from London.

With her partner David away for the weekend, Kat drives to Devon to see what kind of fix Iris has gotten herself into after breaking her hand, and discovers a host of characters that pale beside the ones Iris has been writing in her racy romances.

This is a modern-day Upstairs, Downstairs in some respects, with a lot of humor thrown into the mix as Kat at arrives at the Honeychurch Hall Estate on the River Dart and becomes involved in a family struggle to keep the estate intact as opposed to selling to developers. Iris’ part in all of this conflict is a puzzle to Kat, and its revelation will let Kat realize she doesn’t really know Iris at all.

The changes extend to Kat, with the vision she had for life after her television show needing to be rewritten. She begins to reconsider her fiancé, still married to Kat’s nemesis, and dragging his feet on the divorce. Devon proves to be anything but the boring out-of-the-way backwater Kat was expecting. There will be ghosts, an older countess and a young girl, the early death of the Lord’s first wife, as well as a Detective Inspector named Shawn who gets thrown into the mix when the manny goes missing– a DI whose phone ring tone is a steam engine. Things heat up with a murder as Iris’ past comes into play, and Kat decides she needs to rethink her future plans. This is the set up for a continued series in a delightful setting.
unwillingaccomplice
The mother/son writing team of Charles Todd have written their sixth Bess Crawford mystery that marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. An Unwilling Accomplice finds the nurse and sleuth home on leave and assigned to accompany a wounded solder to Buckingham Palace for the King’s award.

Bess is smarting from the apparent loss of a patient, facing an inquiry by the army and her nursing service. But the fact that the hero was wheelchair-bound and shouldn’t have been able to leave his hotel on his own hasn’t seemed to clear her. She was assigned to care for the ailing Sergeant Wilkins when his orderly heads back to the battle lines. What she doesn’t expect is for her patient to go missing when she leaves him at his hotel room for the night. With the mores of the era, it isn’t proper for a woman, even a nurse, to stay in the man’s room overnight. But how and when did Wilkins go missing?

With Bess’ professional credentials being called into question, she faces scrutiny from her boss as well as having to answer to the local police as to why she simply let a man go missing.

Then her lost hero is found: Wilkins has been sighted in Shropshire, with a witness claiming he’s committed murder. Bess swings into action to find Wilkins and tries to get to the bottom of his actions. Constricted by the mores of women traveling alone and hampering her investigation, she enlists family friend Simon Brandon to help solve the mysterious disappearance, restore her reputation, and clear her name. It’s the only way to save her own reputation–before a possible deserter kills again.

The Todd’s bestselling series featuring Ian Rutledge also carries their accurate historical illustration of the era. This latest entry continues that atmospheric and realistic portrayal of this time period with vivid details and a complete grasp of setting.