Tag Archive | Britain

“A Death in the Dales” by Frances Brody

“A Death in the Dales” is the first book by Frances Brody that I have read.  I wasn’t sure that I would like a British mystery, especially because the colloquial speech of Britain is so different.  Phrases and words were foreign to me and forced me to search for the meaning of the words, foods, and other jargon that was new to me.  I loved it!  Because this book is set in one of my favorite time periods and is full of murder and mystery, I am determined to read more books by Frances Brody.  I found that the story line was not as important to me as what I learned about British life in the 1020’s.  I read because I love to read, I am twice blessed when I read a book and learn so many new things.

The character of Kate Shackleton, private investigator, is a strong woman, but still feminine.  Her insights in dealing with suspicious characters are very revealing of her intellect.  I especially enjoyed the minor characters in this novel.  They were quite charming in their own way.  I thought that the way they were presented gave me more suspects for the misdeeds and made the book much more interesting.

I would like to thank NightOwlreviews.com for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free print copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

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“In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite authors.  She wrote the Royal Spyness Myusteries, the Constable Evans Mysteries, and the Molly Murphy Mysteries.  I have read most of these and you will fine reviews on my blog.

I have just read “In Farleigh Field”, which takes place in England during the Blitz.  At one of the fields on Lord and Lady Westerham’s estate, a man dressed as a soldier is found dead.  Apparently the man parachuted into the field, but the chute failed to open, plunging him to his death.  Although the man is dressed like a soldier from the same unit that is occupying part of the Westerham mansion, Farleigh, something is not quite right.

Ben, Jeremy, and Pamela have been friends since childhood.  Pamela is one of the daughters of the Westerhams and Jeremy is the son of another lord of the realm who lives nearby.  Ben Creswell is the son of the local vicar and definitely not in the same social set as his friends.  Pamela and Ben works for MI5 and Pamela is a code-breaker at Bletchley Park.  Neither one knows that the other is involved in the war effort.  Jeremy has been shot down over Germany and is languishing in a prison camp.

This book, even though fiction, gave me a thrill a minute.  The clandestine investigation kept promising and delivering.  The possibilities of betrayal by one of Britain’s own was extremely interesting, especially since I had heard of some British who supported Hitler’s regime and were prepared for Britain to surrender.  I love the way Ms. Bowen incorporates historical fact in her novels.  I’m sure much research goes into each and every word she writes.  Although I have read many of her books, this one, “In Farleigh Field” is my favorite to date.  I sincerely hope that she is working on another novel in this same vein.  I will be looking for it.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in stories about World War II.  I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com and was asked to do an honest review.

“The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom” by Alison Love

“The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom” by Alison Love is a novel of the love between Olivia, a British ballroom dancer and Antonio, an Italian singer.  They meet by chance at the Paradise Ballroom, which is a not-so-nice club in London.  This is in the days before the war with Germany is official.  Rumors of war permeate the Soho area where Italian immigrants live.  Mussolini has set up a Fascist government in Italy and a group is formed in London whose members are pro-fascism.  Olivia is just trying to make her life better and when she meets Bernard, Antonio’s patron, she eventually marries him.  Since her husband is Antonio’s patron and is providing singing tutoring for him, they meet again and a romance begins. Antonio has a pregnant wife and family, whose members are pro-Mussolini, and are therefore under the radar of the British government.  When war is declared Britain rounds up all German and Italian men and sends them to internment camps.  They are separated from their families and most do not know where they’ve been sent.  Olivia and Antonio are of course separated as well.  The rest of the novel deals with the consequences of the actions of Olivia, Antonio and their families during and after the war.  If you enjoy reading about peoples’ loves and loyalties, you will really enjoy reading this novel.

I received a print copy of this book from BloggingforBooks.com in return for my honest review.

“Brighton Belle” by Sara Sheridan

“Brighton Belle” by Sara Sheridan was quite an interesting story set in the 1950’s in Brighton, England.   Mirabelle Bevan was a pseudo-secretary for Big Ben McGuigan, whose business was to recover payments of debts for clients.  She had been part of the intelligence service during the war and found that it was hard not to pursue that instinct in her current position.  Something is afoot with Big Ben.  He has taken sick days, but when Mirabelle attempts to find him at home, it is as though he’d not been there for a while.  She decides to work on his last commission, which was to find money loaned to Romana Laszlo.  One thing leads to another and she is in the middle of a conspiracy that someone is trying to get money out of the continent and launder it through nefarious means.  Vesta, one of her fellow secretaries in the building where her office is located wants to help.  They end up in a lot of trouble, but also find out a lot of information to turn over to the police.

This story was at times difficult to follow because people were not who they purported to be.  One murder led to another and Mirabelle and Vesta find resources they didn’t know they had in solving the murders without becoming victims themselves.  I did enjoy this work probably because it followed activities related to the war and its aftermath.

I was sent a free Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com and Kensington Books  in return for my honest review.

Maggie Hope Mystery Series by Susan Elia MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal has written five books in the Maggie Hope Mystery series.  I read book number five first, “Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante” and was hooked on the series.  Since then I have read book number one, “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary”; book number two, “Princess Elizabeth’s Spy”; book number three, “His Majesty’s Hope”; and book number four, “The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent”.    I highly recommend reading them in chronological order.  The books follow each other in content and time so it is much easier to grasp the historical significance in each novel’s plot.

I find Ms. MacNeal’s writing to be top notch and her understanding of this historical time period to be well researched.  Towards the end of each book, I found myself pacing my reading because I was not looking forward to finishing the book.  I enjoyed each and every one and will be anxiously awaiting the release of her next novel in the series.

“Manna from Hades”, by Carola Dunn

“Manna from Hades”, by Carola Dunn is a light-hearted mystery set in the Cornwall countryside.  Eleanor Trewynn has worked overseas with her husband for years.  After his sudden death, Eleanor retires to the village of Port Mabyn.  She lives in the second floor of her home and provides the downstairs for a charity shop.  She scouts the countryside for items that can be provided to the unfortunate in the community.  On one of her treks, she returns with a car full of items.  She discovers a briefcase that she did not remember having.  She opens the case and finds if full of jewelry, so she puts it in her safe in her living quarters thinking that whoever left the briefcase did so by mistake and will return for his jewels.  Eleanor feels a bit puzzled by this find, but decides that whomever it belongs to will miss is and eventually it will find its rightful owner.

Her little dog, Teazle discovers a body one morning as she is opening up the shop.  She thinks she recognizes him, but upon further determination, finds that he is a stranger.  Of course the local constabulary is called and they begin their investigation.  Detective Sergeant Megan Pencarrow is Eleanor’s niece and along with Detective Inspector Scumble and of course Eleanor, they try to find out who the murdered man is, why he was murdered and who did it.

If you like the British way of speaking and going about the day, you will enjoy this mystery.  I found it to be a light-hearted murder mystery, full of suspects and intrigue.

I received a free print copy of this book from Minoaur Books and Night Owl Reviews in return for my honest review.