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review 2016-05-24 18:06
Open Road Release
Heaven Knows Who: The Trial of Jessie M'Lachlan - Christianna Brand

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley and Open Road Media

I hadn’t heard of the Sandyford Murder case until reading this book. In the 1860s, in Glasgow, a young woman by the name of Jess M’Lachlan was accused of murdering her friend, Jessie M’Lachlan (no relation). The case was in part tried in the press, leading to a public outcry that influenced the case.

Brand’s detailed book about the case not only gives background into the central players, but also evaluates the evidence. She also includes detailed layouts of the scene of the killing.

Jessie M’Lachlan was in service to the Fleming family, and one of the issues of the case is whether Fleming senior had anything to do with the murder. In part, the case highlights issue of class, something that Brand does deal, as well as gender, something that Brand could have had more analysis of. Brand’s primary focus seems to be on the case, and the pros and cons of each side. Brand does give detail about how hog tied M’Lachlan’s defense was because of her changing stories.

While Brand cannot solve a case of such long standing, she does a wonderful job of detailing the living conditions of the time. In fact, this detail brings another layer to the story. How much, one wonder as reading this, have things really changed? Does not society still wash its hands of the poor?

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review 2015-04-02 14:01
Green for Danger (Inspector Cockrill #2) by Christianna Brand
Green for Danger - Christianna Brand



bookshelves: spring-2015, mystery-thriller, wwii, published-1944, britain-england
Read from February 21 to March 31, 2015



Description: Set in a military hospital during the blitz, this novel is one of Brand's most intricately plotted detection puzzles, executed with her characteristic cleverness and gusto. When a patient dies under the anesthetic and later the presiding nurse is murdered, Inspector Cockrill finds himself with six suspects--three doctors and three nurses--and not a discernible motive among them.


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photo 2014-01-06 18:10
Happy Birthday, Sherlock!

Happy birthday, Sherlock Holmes! January 6 marks the birth of literature’s legendary detective (he’d be one hundred sixty today!). To celebrate the sleuthing genius’s contribution to the mystery genre, we’ve gathered ten mysteries influenced by the brain-work of the detective himself. These novels and story collections either feature Sherlock or are written in a distinctly Sherlockian style—smart detectives with a tad of the eccentric, who solve crimes through Holmes’s trademark method of detection: “an observance of trifles.”

Source: www.openroadmedia.com/blog/2014-01-06/Happy-Birthday-Sherlock.aspx
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review 2013-10-29 01:47
A great book from a somewhat forgotten author
Cat and Mouse: A Novel - Christianna Brand

Christianna Brand's Cat and Mouse is a book that has haunted me since the first time I read it 30 years ago or more.  Maybe it was just because I was much younger but "haunted" is indeed what this book has done to me.  Just thinking about it creates a creepy atmosphere around me!


I found this in an old brown edition from The Detective's Book Club.  It made the story look intriguing from the start. I knew nothing about the story or the author and I dove right in. 


The heroine, Tinka Jones, gives advice on beauty to readers of a girl's magazine.  She answers their letters and particularly notes the letters of a girl named Amista who talks about her village and the guy she's in love with. Her letters are enough to make Tinka take her vacation to Wales to meet Amista.  Just one problem, when she arrives there, no one knows who Amista is. As she struggles to find out who wrote the letters, the atmosphere become unsettling and Tinka begins to doubt what she thought she knew. The ending is not to be missed and I had no idea what was coming.  Boy, do I love that in a book!


The atmosphere of this mystery is exactly what you would expect from a visit to a desolate house in rainy Wales. You can feel the gloom and the chill and the shadows closing in on you. Such a perfect read if you have a rainy afternoon to spend with a book.  It's a forgotten classic in my opinion and Christianna Brand is a master of the mystery well worthy of modern re-reads.

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review 2011-02-17 00:00
Nurse Matilda - Christianna Brand,Edward Ardizzone My review is under the Nanny McPhee title
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