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review 2016-08-24 20:07
Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal
A Front Page Affair (Kitty Weeks Mystery) - Radha Vatsal



Radha Vatsal is a scholar and a talented storyteller, evident in her strong historical mystery debut,A Front Page Affair, just released this summer.


Capability Weeks (“Kitty” to her friends) and her father (a well-to-do, self-made mogul) live well in 1915 New York City. Kitty, a young addition to the New York Sentinel’s Ladies Page, covers a July 4th society soiree and becomes unintentionally tied to a murder and what looks like a plot to endanger the delicate international balance. 


Read the rest here

Source: benjaminlclark.com/2016/08/23/review-front-page-affair-by-radha-vatsal
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review 2015-10-21 22:59

Finished the first Cadfael book. Have heard of this series (of course) but never read any of the books. It was great! Will definitely pick up others in time – like when waiting on another series book to come out, or just nothing in the old TBR pile is sparking.  Apparently there are 20 books in this series, and everyone recommends reading them in order, so this is where you start.


Fantastic story, wonderfully written.  No wonder Brother Cadfael is one of the most popular historical mystery series, even spinning off a television series (I think).  I may need to track those down too.  


Within the first few pages of this first book of the series, I knew Brother Cadfael would be a character that I’d want to follow through many more stories.  


What I liked:
Peters captures what I suspect to be a lot of historical/ cultural nuances in simple, effective ways.  There’s a huge amount of research behind this, but we’re not drawn out into these huge sweeping encyclopedia entries in an attempt to build this distant time and place around the modern reader.  We jump straight in as a fly on the wall, watching and listening, wholly transported.  I also liked that the religious aspects of the story were handled in a sympathetic, but I think also very honest way.  The mystery itself wasn’t overly complicated, but that’s part of what made it ring true to me.


Brother Cadfael is also a very interesting character.  Peters obviously wrote this with an eye toward several more books, with many hints and winks at his colorful past.  

A big recommend from me if you’re into history, mystery, or even books like Game of Thrones.

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review 2015-02-02 00:57
The evil that lurks beneath the surface
Cold Betrayal: An Ali Reynolds Novel (Ali Reynolds Series) - J.A. Jance

Another really good book in this series. I always get sucked into these books, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I am a huge fan of Sister Anselm. She's a whippersnapper! This story got my ire going for sure.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine for the March 2015 issue. http://affairedecoeur.com.

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review 2015-01-14 14:25
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7) by Alan Bradley
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley

The last book had warned us readers, and this book confirmed our fears along with that of Flavia. She gets banished, to Miss. Bodycote’s Academy in Canada, to start her “training” which according to Aunt Felicity would fulfil her destiny, just like her mother. Flavia reaches Canada, accompanied by two “pills” called Dr. amd Mrs. Rainsmith. Mr. Rainsmith puts up his name in Flavia’s bad books as soon as he introduces himself,

“Dogger had once warned me to be wary of any man who introduced himself as “Mr.” It was an honorific, he said, a mark of respect to be bestowed by others, but never, ever, under any circumstances, upon oneself.”

On reaching Bodycote, Falvia gets assigned to a room called Edith Cavell. No sooner does she settles into her bed, she starts getting slapped, and then no sooner had she stopped and started the deduction process to find “why”, the assault-ress manages to bring down a body of a woman, which was hidden inside the chimney. As the head slides down the floor, the Chimney Sweepers come to dust, to clear away the puzzle regarding the dead woman, missing students and ghosts.

Flavia misses her village and her family, and Dogger. And we miss them as much as she does. But, to keep us away from our sadness we get to meet some entertaining students with nice names, a teacher suspected of homicide, a wheelchair bound mistress who keeps stuffed animals, birds and skulls in her laboratory and lastly a principal, who loves to punish her students in unimaginable ways.

Flavia transforms from a happy-go-lucky, and sometimes sad girl, into a “banished” adolescent far away from home, who realises that no letters are coming from home, except from Dogger. Who realises that the truth must be reached through facts, and only facts and that emotions should be kept at bay. And she also comes face to face with deep sadness. As such faced by a little girl who is far away from home, with no letters to look forward to, and no laboratory turn to.

“Magic doesn’t work when you’re sad.”

Flavia might have been heading towards new territory, but Alan Bradley stays rooted in his original position and presents us with a taut fast paced mystery, once a spy thriller and the next moment a gothic murder mystery, with “lights out after dark”, ghosts in the hall, and dead bodies never discovered, and if discovered, they are found stuffed inside chimneys. And he doesn’t disappoint when it comes to twists too. Not one, but two twists remain to be served in the last course.

P.S. Isn’t Dame Agatha Christie the greatest of them all?? Sometimes she looks to me like that Blues guitarist whose licks are sampled by everyone but no one gives him the credit for being a master musician. I think it’s for once and all that the tag attached to Christie, saying that she is a great plotter and a horrible writer, should be dropped. If she was a horrible writer then why would she be “sampled” hither and tither, and even if she IS a horrible writer, she still will remain the best. The Queen.

As Flavia said,

“Could I, by sheer chance, have stumbled upon one of those classic killings, such as those written about by Miss Christie, in which the murderer mocks the police by carrying out killings that mimic nursery rhymes or fairy tales?”

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review 2014-12-18 02:35
Satan's Fire (Hugh Corbett #9) by Paul Doherty
Satan's Fire - Paul Doherty

Satan’s Fire written by Paul C. Doherty and featuring Sir Hugh Corbett, a clerk in the court of Edward I of England starts when the King visits York to meet the French envoy, to discuss the terms of marriage between the King’s son and the daughter of the King of France, Phillip III. No sooner had he reached York, than there was an attack on his life, which ultimately is revealed to be a threat from the Old Man of the Mountain and the Assassins. He asks Sir Hugh to investigate the threats as he is convinced the Knight Templars are involved in a conspiracy against him. Sir Hugh himself receives a threat from the same source as he starts to dig for the truth with the added responsibility of finding out a counterfeit who is using Gold to make and circulate coins without the King’s permission.

If compared to the Matthew Shardlake novels of C.J. Sansom, (though it can’t be done) some distinctive points of difference arise. One, unlike Matthew, Sir Hugh definitely remains in the good books of the King, and he himself holds a lot of power. Two, the plot was like a mystery novel with a touch of political conspiracy, which made this book an outright Crime novel, unlike Sovereign (Shardlake novel #3) which had a lot of political conspiracy and turned into a political thriller from being a mere murder mystery. And lastly, the period differs. Sir Hugh is walking when the English are fighting the Scots, the Pope still holds control over Edward I, unlike Matthew whose life saw a different type of anarchy in England, the Reform.

Personally I liked Satan’s Fire more, as I prefer a straight Mystery novel where the murder remains the main plot. The solving of the crime involves clues and twists, which this book had in abundance. And most important, and ironically this has nothing to do with crime, this book involved the Crusades which still remains one of the most favourite topic of History for me.

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