Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Reading in - oh my! September to November!

Oh, dear, with all the preorders and things I haven't posted any reviews for ages! No wonder I seem to have a backlog on my review file ...

Anyway, here we go: no pictures this month as I'm pressed for time, but just click on the links!

Anna Penrose, The Body in the Wall: I liked the older main character and the setting very much, enhanced by the fact that the author lives in a similar place and runs a bookshop just like the main character. And we’re tantalised by the main character’s criminal record – something for which she was jailed but which she would do again! As the plot builds and the police inspector grows ever more annoying, the main character is more and more sympathetic and the story more enjoyable. And who could not love a book with a swimming cat called Mackerel?

Ben Aaronovitch, Tales from the Folly: A collection of short stories that smacks of being all the bits he had lying around unpublished, but nonetheless fun. As he has carefully pinpointed where they belong in the series – or outside it – it was good to revisit those parts of the over-arching narrative, and for some reason it really highlighted the foxes, which I shall enjoy going back to. Clever things, foxes.

Chris Longmuir, Web of Deceit: I enjoy this author’s historical mysteries, too, but really enjoy her contemporary police procedurals set in Dundee, with their closely woven over-arching plot concerning Teasers Nightclub. This one is a lovely portrayal of people over-confident on the outside and terrified inside, and the misunderstandings that occur when people assume they are the centre of attention. Lovely.

Sharon Penman, The Queen’s Man: It took a few goes for me to get into this but I think this was probably my fault, not the book’s, for this time it gripped me very nicely. I liked the portrayal of the aging Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the story sits fairly easily in its historical setting with just a few anachronisms and a good atmosphere. The hero becomes likeable quite quickly and his social discomforts were sympathetically portrayed. There are heaps of fascinating historical details and some good action – and a very endearing dog, which all helps!

Sharon Penman, Cruel as the Grave: It would be wise, I think, to read these from the start, but the over-arching plot of Justin doing his bit for Queen Eleanor has a counterpoint here in an investigation of the death of a young woman assaulted in a churchyard. Justin’s new friends in Cheapside assume he will help them and indeed he does, bringing his expert colleagues in to sort out the mystery. There are very occasional modern clunks here: mostly the plot runs smoothly and one can abandon oneself to the twelfth century very convincingly.

Andrew Raymond, The Bonnie Dead: Rather grim start – a serial killer has been abducting children. He has vanished for a while, and now seems to have reappeared, and the police officer who devoted his career to catching him is brought back from Ultima Thule (or Paisley) to help with the case. Not many laughs here to relieve the tension, but it does build well and the final scenes are very exciting, with a satisfying ending. Glasgow is subtly portrayed and nicely done. This is a new writer to me and I might well go for another one.

JD Kirk, Here Lie the Dead: While I like the Hoon books I sort of wish he had not barged his way back into this series: he’s just a bit too much of a loose cannon amongst the delicate balance of Dave, Hamza, Tyler, Sinead and Ben. Setting him aside, the case is an interesting one and of course I enjoyed the ghastly wedding party, almost too easy to loathe.

Alex Scarrow, Old Bones, New Bones: I meant to come back to this series earlier, having enjoyed the first one in both setting (Hastings) and character (bereaved but not too traumatised Boyd and his nice daughter and dog, and the team). There’s a reality to the injuries, if you know what I mean – even in book 2 he’s still remembering his ear injury from book 1. The plot here was good, too, a serial killer mystery, and if the ending was not altogether a surprise it was still very well done, with a nice little postscripty bit that just gave the flourish to the book.

S.G. McLean, The Bookseller of Inverness: It’s very difficult not to picture Leakey’s bookshop as I read this. It took me just a little while to get into it (my fault, I fear), then we were off, in a very realistic 18th century Inverness with all kinds of interesting characters. A really excellent book, full of pace and action and sense of history.

Alex Walters, Human Assets: I’ve got to the stage where I preorder Alex Walters’ books even if I don’t know which series they belong to – and this turned out to be a standalone, which pulled me in straight away with a death on an allotment (always a risk). With the follow-up apparent suicide of a Cambridge student, only son of an angry police officer, we suddenly fall into the world of espionage and mystery, and it’s not clear who, if anyone, is on the side of the angels and who is just unbearably naive.

Olga Wojtas, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Weird Sisters: This has to be the best of the series yet – a take-off of the Scottish Play with some really hilarious jokes – I did like the witch with the hair, which made me think of the crime author in question before her name was even mentioned. Frank is one of those characters that has the reader shouting ‘Oi! Pay attention!’ to our heroine – and makes a lovely cat.

Cecilia Peartree, It’s a Long Way from Pitkirtly: I was made slightly anxious by the title, as I love Pitkirtly, but I need not have feared – in short order most of the gang are settling in by Loch Rannoch, and chaos follows. ‘Was his inner monologue starting to sound like Amaryllis? He fervently hoped not.’ Loved it as always.

M.J. Lee, Where the Dead Fall: Well plotted and a good read, but he needs to take more care of his health and his family! The whole opening set-up is excellent and is followed through very well.

M.J. Lee, The Irish Inheritance: It’s difficult, to start with, to like anyone much in this – they all seem uncharitable. But the mystery is intriguing. How does a man come to appear on a child’s birth certificate seven years after his own death? I think this is an older book than some of this author’s, and the writing is not as crisp and accurate as the later series, but it does draw one in.

Jason Vail, Bag of Bones: I do enjoy this series set in and around Brother Cadfael’s books, as it were – the right historical period and close geographically, but never actually touching. Here I was a bit thrown by Simon de Montfort being referred to as Montfort, rather than the more usual de Montfort, but the rest was sound and great fun.

David Gatward, Corpse Road: Marks for ‘disorientated’ instead of ‘disoriented’! I was quite upset by the murder, because I felt so sorry for the victim, but the setting and plot are as engaging as ever, and the team are growing together. Jim is excellent, and Fly is of course wonderful. Looking forward to the next one.

J.D. Kirk, Southpaw: violent start, but where’s the surprise in that? This one is brutal, though, and the follow-up, Westward, is just the same, with a continuation of the over-arching plot. Southpaw has a satisfying conclusion, though, despite the carry-over into Westward. Full marks for mentioning Queen Camel – I’ve spent a lot of time in Somerset and that’s one of the places that pings memories for me. Then up to Westward proper, and a good rural landscape, and we have elements of Skyfall, with some more laughs.

Alison O’Leary, Summer CatBlues: There was more time away from the cats in this one but plenty spent with Carlos and his adopted family, and enough menace from the baddies to chill a bit. I love this series, which is not as cute as the titles would imply – a hefty helping of reality for an apparently cosy book.

And here? Well, I'd started the next Hippolyta, then had to stop to do the first 10,000 of something else that I was going to start in January anyway, and now probably won't be able to start till April, so once I've finished the Hippolyta I might have start what I was going to start in April ... or I'll just go and have a cup of tea and sit in the corner for a bit and consider the world ...

Monday 17 October 2022

Two exciting pre-orders now out!

Here's a great Christmas treat - six cosy and / or historical mysteries, including one about Hippolyta, on pre-order now! Only 90p / 99c till at least 4th. November.

Merry Little Mysteries: A Holiday Cozy & Historical Mystery Anthology by [C.H. Sessums, Katherine H. Brown, Lexie Conyngham, Katherine Moore, Carmen Radtke, Donna Schlachter]

Merry Little Mysteries

Murder Takes the Train by Katherine Brown
The quaint, mountain town of Riverbend Junction has only one train in and one train out for transportation. The town hasn't been home for two of the three Belle sisters since they moved away several years ago, but when they return home for Christmas a murder derails the train and all of their plans for getting back to their regular lives. Can the women put their heads together to track down the killer or will they find themselves steam-rolled into a murder charge?

The Children's Party by Lexie Conyngham
Edinburgh, 1828: Mrs. Fettes, competitively charitable, needs help to run a New Year party for poor children. But when things don’t go according to plan, it’s her daughter Hippolyta who has to solve the mystery and save the day – and the dog.

Feliz Navi-dead by Katherine Moore
Jingle-bells and jealousy. A treacherous treat. Can Eve save her friends’ lives from being wrecked?

A Dash of Deceit by Carmen Radtke
‘Tis is the season to be jolly, and Eve Holdsworth intends to make the most of her first Christmas in her new home. Helping her friends at the “Green Dragon” with baking and selling mince pies and gingerbread on the Christmas market is the icing on the cake - until a cantankerous customer is poisoned, and fingers point at everyone close to Eve. She has to cook up a plan fast if she wants to take the heat off her friends and unmask a clever culprit … “A Dash of Deceit” is the second cozy Eve Holdsworth mystery set in the idyllic British countryside, after “Let Sleeping Murder Lie”.

A Mistletoe Mystery by Donna Schlachter
Can sisters Holly and Ivy Christmas discover who seeded their spruce trees with dwarf mistletoe? And are the neighboring ranch brothers, Tom and Bob Jolly, behind this? Or victims as well?

A Christmas Wish Before Dying by C.H. Sessums
Vangie Guillory’s hands are full getting The Mystery Book Nook ready for the final shopping event of the season. The last thing she needs is to find out her best customer was involved in a hit-and-run accident. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg when the old man begs her to help him with one last wish before his time runs out.

And at the same time (because I like to keep busy) we have

The Contentious Business of Samuel Seabury

Samuel Seabury has travelled a long way from war-torn Connecticut, seeking consecration as the first Episcopal Bishop in America. Turned away in England, he ventures further into Scotland, and up to Aberdeen, his last chance. But even there the path is not straight: how far will some people go to prevent his consecration? Threats? Impediments? Or murder?

Friday 30 September 2022

Shroud for a Sinner and autumn newsletter

Murray 13, Shroud for a Sinner, is available for preorder now - paperback available shortly!


Meanwhile, the autumn Letho Observer should be hitting your inboxes - let us know at contact@kellascatpress.co.uk if it doesn't appear!

Friday 9 September 2022

Reading in August

Well, the first full day of the reign of King Charles III. It's quite hard to think straight, but I'd better do my usual post.

Old Bones Lie (Detective Clare Mackay #6)

Marion Todd, Old Bones Lie: This has a good start, two prison officers, their prisoner, and their wives, all going missing at once. The writing seems more relaxed than the previous book I read (not the previous one the series – think I’ve skipped one or two) and I enjoyed it much more. Have to say I think my favourite character is the unflappable Jim, who never seems to be off-duty but just turns up and sorts stuff out (there seems to be a similar Jim, a PCSO, in the David Gatward books - every police station needs a Jim!). But I’m afraid Claire has gone down in my estimation – ketchup with fish and chips? No, and particularly not with fish and chips from Tailend in Market Street. Just no. Stop it now.

A Shetland Winter Mystery (The Shetland Sailing Mysteries Book 10)

Marsali Taylor, A Shetland Winter Mystery: This series grows more political in a good way, and here there is some debate over windfarms. The mystery moves a little slowly but in a satisfying way, and in my opinion culminates in Cass’s high-level escape – benefitting from her mast work on tall ships. Domestically this is also a very pleasing book.

The Last Smile in Sunder City (The Fetch Phillips Archives #1)

Luke Arnold, The Last Smile in Sunder City: No idea how I happened on this one – perhaps I just thought the cover looked a bit Rivers-of-London-ish. It’s not, but it is fantasy with some crime. All magic has been destroyed by a clumsy human attempt to take control of it, and erstwhile magical creatures are having to find new ways of living in a different world. In the middle of this, an elderly vampire teacher has gone missing, and his school would like him back. We’re somewhere between Raymond Chandler and Terry Pratchett here, with a dark occasional humour and a fascinating backstory. It took me a while to get moving on it though I kept going back for more – the last thirty percent, though, sped by. Intriguing.

A Harvest Murder (The Ham Hill Murder Mysteries #3)

Frances Evesham, A Harvest Murder: I was hesitant at the start where there were some very long sentences that were a bit confusing for dim people like me. But it began to take shape – might have been easier if I’d started at the beginning of a series like a sensible person. It’s more cosy than my usual style of read, but the plot was good and the characters were pleasant to spend time with, and I enjoyed it. I might well return when I need a cosy again!

Not Forgotten

Nicola Clifford, Not Forgotten: Triggering Corrs songs with the title but a gripping start, as Stacey’s policeman partner vanishes, and the officer in charge of the case is convinced that he has gone voluntarily. Fortunately all Stacey’s chums at the station conspire to continue investigating behind this chap’s back, and soon we’re beginning to think he’s a wrong ‘un. These do need a little suspension of disbelief (ambulances still appear with the promptness of fairy godmothers, and every female giggles at the least provocation, not to mention very intelligent police officers knowingly endangering both an operation and a civilian in one go) but are good enough reads.

A Year in the Life of Leah Brand

Lucinda E Clarke, A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: This is a psychological domestic noir thriller, with a good deal of ‘No, don’t do that! Why did you marry him?’ from the start, and fluid, intriguing writing that is hard to put down. While I could guess at some of the solution, the ending was quite enough to make one want to go on and buy the next book to find out more.

The Botanist (Washington Poe #5)

M.W. Craven, The Botanist: Poe continues his social education of Tilly in this excellent next instalment of the series, where a killer is disposing of people society has no real problem with seeing dead. Clever plot, more of a howwasitdone than a whodunnit, and the ending was very neat.

The Healing

Joy Margetts, The Healing: A soldier, wounded in a battle he had no intention of surviving, finds himself recovering in a monastery. There are so many unanswered questions at the beginning of this book you have to read on, and if the soldier himself is grumpy, you do want to know why, and the monks are lovely, good-humoured and clever. This is an overtly Christian book with Bible passages included – if I have a gripe it is that they are from a translation I don’t much like, but otherwise it’s a very well-written, beautifully researched, and well-plotted book, and I’m eager to read the next in the – not sure it’s a series, as such, but the family!

The Patient Killer (DCI Morton #4)

Sean Campbell, The PatientKiller: There are some oddities in the English here (I’m really fed up with unnecessary prepositions as in ‘parked up’ or ‘swapped out’), and Americanisms, but I enjoyed this. An intriguing plot, quite interesting tension amongst the investigating officers, and a good pace – I was always ready to get back to it each reading-time! The last quarter or so is devoted to the final trap of the guilty party, which is always quite tense and here is well done.

Callum and The Other

Alan McClure, Callum and the Other: The second in this fast-paced, chatty, fantasy series for teenagers. Life is moving on for Callum and his pals, but they are thrown back into the mysterious experiences they had in the previous book and face a new threat to their village and to the future. Tapping into many of the things that worry teenagers these days, this book gives hope for our own futures, as well as the incentive to put in a bit of work to get things right.

The Ring Breaker

Jean Gill, The Ringbreaker: Something of a young adult book but definitely suitable for older adults, too! This is a skilfully written, beautifully researched coming-of-age story set in Viking Orkney, after the death of Jarl Magnus. I loved the persistent imagery of the cormorant, and the way the skaldic verse was woven into the story. Hlif, too, is a strong and interesting character shining a powerful light on Viking domestic life, while the warriors about them, including Jarl Rognvald, are well defined. Everything from fighting to stone masonry is convincingly portrayed, and from the practical to the mystical a scene in Maeshowe brings its known history to life and touches on the magical. A rich and compelling read.

That last one is part of the reason there might not be another Viking book for a bit - I feel distinctly outclassed!

Anyway, Murray 13, Shroud for a Sinner, is with beta readers and should be out soon (unless they really don't like it!)

The Contentious Business of Samuel Seabury, a kind of standalone sequel to The Slaughter of Leith Hall, is scheduled for 14th. November, all being well.

And I'm now writing a Hippolyta prequel novella for a Christmas collection - and it is not going well! But I need to press on, as contracts have been signed.

Monday 15 August 2022

Blog tour: Operation Turquoise: The Mavericks

 On the blog tour today for this quick but exciting thriller!

One is a brave soldier, the other a deadly terrorist. A camera will decide which man survives.

The Major is a seasoned field agent, and neutralizing a target is routine for him. But everything about 
Operation Turquoise, from the target to the weapon, is disturbingly unconventional. Alone in a foreign country, the Major must execute each stage of his mission with utmost precision. There is no Plan B.

Mystery / thriller novelist Rani Ramakrishnan is from Coimbatore, a beautiful city in Tamil Nadu, India. In each of her series, readers can experience a different genre of commercial crime fiction.

Featuring members of a single family, The Mohammeds Mystery Thriller Series delves into mainstream crime in modern India. The Quack House Series has women’s fiction stories filled with suspense. The Mavericks is a Special Forces action thriller series.

When she is not penning grey characters or unconventional storylines for her books, she can be found writing nail-biting short stories for ardent readers in her book club, True Fiction. To become a part of this community visit, https://truefictionstories.substack.com/. All are welcome to join. Entry is free. 

Outside writing, her interests range from current affairs to fitness. She loves spending time with her family, which includes four cats, among others. 

My review: 

A short, exciting read with an Indian government agent as the hero, fighting a terrorist group who, reminiscent of the Free French in the Second World War, communicate with broadcast poetry. The hero is young and enthusiastic and loves his job, which is quite refreshing in literary espionage circles – he is also somewhat naif, which adds nicely to the tension. What will he learn? Which of his assumptions will come crashing down? There’s perhaps a little too much description of the organisation for my liking – I’d prefer the plot to move on, but I know that in this genre many readers like rich technical description. All in all, action-packed!

@BookReviewTours, @author_rani on Twitter and @b00kr3vi3ws, @author_rani on Instagram #TheMavericks1.

Thursday 4 August 2022

July's reading

 A couple of things I can't include here yet, a beta read and a blog tour read, but here's the rest!

The Body Under the Sands (Inspector Blades, #1)

James Andrew, The Body Under the Sands (The Yorkshire Murders, Vol.1): Rather a depressing start, with two young lads, one injured during the war, looking for a bit of fun and female companionship in a seaside town and ending up charged with the murder of a visiting woman. It’s an odd book, with undeveloped, damaged characters who all have their memories of the trenches, or of naval conflict. There’s some perception of society at the time, the pressures on maids and ex-soldiers and landladies. The police have a minimal part to play here, and we finally discover the identity of the killer with a look through their eyes at the end. It was not a quick and easy read: I have the first four in the series and will see what the next one is like.

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #17)

Louise Penny, The Madness of Crowds: I don’t think I’m reading these in order, but it doesn’t really matter – one can pick up bits of the overarching plot as required. This is set in a post Covid Three Pines and that situation is taken a step further forward – an academic is promoting the idea of helping the stricken healthcare system by mandatory euthanasia, not just of the old and sick, but also of any child with birth defects. As usual, this is a thought-provoking and sensitive book, and the setting is as lovely as ever.

The Shetland Sea Murders

Marsali Taylor, The Shetland Sea Murders: The action, to a great extent, takes place on Foula, a tiny island in the archipelago with a community that is both close-knit and mobile, living, in some cases, half their lives elsewhere. I very much enjoyed the insight into this place and the resultant locked-room mystery, in the company of Cass and Gavin as usual. With this as with the previous book in the series, politics seem to be creeping in – not in a bad way, but more so than before.

Southpaw (Robert Hoon Thrillers, #2)

J.D. Kirk, Southpaw: The second Hoon book, as raucous as before and very funny but not at all without emotion, carefully handled. I still prefer the camaraderie of the Logan books, as well as the Scottish setting, but these are very entertaining.

Darkness Rises (Jeffrey Flint Archaeological Mystery #1)

Jason Monaghan, Darkness Rises: Apparently I bought this over a year ago and had no recollection of it. That’s the trouble with Kindle – with a real book I could glance at the back and remind myself, but with this I had only the front cover to go on and I don’t think it really conveys the nature of the book, which is a missing girl mystery investigated by an archaeologist and a reporter. These seem to have been written back in the eighties which is amusing in itself, as the reader tries to place the technology and indeed the social mores. I felt it was a slow book in some ways and yet there’s a good deal of action, and I looked forward to coming back to it each time. The lead characters are fairly sympathetic. There is, I should warn people, the violent death of a dog, but it was somewhere between self-defence and a mercy killing – not nice, but it sort of made sense. And though we see some of the villains’ activities, we’re strung along very competently, or I was, anyway.

The Consortium: Crime fiction from the heart of Wales (The Welsh crime mysteries Book 2)

Nicola Clifford, The Consortium: We’re back in the Welsh mountains with Stacey and Ben, and unfortunately some of the more unconvincing aspects of the first book carry on here – not least the arrival, in seconds, of an ambulance in the back of beyond, and its immediate departure without any attempt to stabilise the patient for a long and bumpy journey. The indiscretions of the police are a bit disheartening, as are the indiscretions of members of the press. The setting is still lovely and the plot is pacy, but a little two-dimensional – or I could just be tired.

Murder by the Book: mysteries for bibliophiles, ed. Martin Edwards: A good selection of mostly golden age fiction here, some very well known writers (Michael Innes, Ngaio Marsh) and some barely remembered. The tenuous connexion is books and writing, but that really doesn’t matter. Edwards has contributed nice little introductions to each story which really do enhance the collection.

The Locked Room (Ruth Galloway, #14)

Elly Griffiths, The Locked Room: It’s very strange to read this book set just before and into the first lockdown in the U.K. It’s always a little odd to find oneself reading something set in a history with which one is familiar, but this, just like the times we lived through then, is weird, and in some ways touching and in  others nostalgic. The quiet streets, the pre-Zoom days, the silent supermarket queues – well, strange. The plot is of course excellent and the continued character development is perfect. What next, though? And more of Whittaker, please!

And an update on what I'm doing ... The Contentious Business of Samuel Seabury is with a final reader and will, I hope, make an appearance during the autumn. 

Murray 13, Shroud for a Sinner, is four-fifths drafted! At the moment it's looking as if it might come out before Samuel Seabury, but one never knows.

Tuesday 5 July 2022

Reading in June

Lucky me this month - James Oswald, J.D. Kirk, Alex McKay, David Gatward and Cecilia Peartree! some other good ones, too, including a few new writers to me.

Criminal Classes (Pitkirtly Mysteries Book 24)

Cecilia Peartree, Criminal Classes: another brilliant outing for Amaryllis and her sister Clementine, and all the rest of the mildly eccentric Pitkirtly population. This one deals with cybercrime and is just as winning as any of the others. What does a cherry picker do, anyway? (no, it's all right, I do know).

The Snow Day Murders (Edward Crisp, #2)

Peter Boon, The Snow Day Murders: The return of Edward and Noah, and their village under the cliffs is cut off by snow, leaving them to investigate the murder of the vicar’s wife. This is classic British cosy – no recipes or crochet patterns but a good honest mystery with limited blood and gore. I’d have liked a bit more Noah in this one, I have to say, but there’s promise for the next book.

City of Scars (DCI Logan Crime #14)

J.D. Kirk, City of Scars: More cackling laughter and drama with Logan’s squad here, and a couple of tragic deaths to contend with. Kirk’s momentum is amazing – still producing the goods at such a speed.

Best Served Cold (DCI Harry Grimm, #2)

David Gatward, Best Served Cold: The second in the Wensleydale series with Grimm in charge, this is a story with its roots in the past and some nasty killings in the present. The team is coming together, including the irritating Matt and the nicely understated Jim. Perhaps we’ll get to find out just why the crime scene investigator is so grumpy at some point? Lovely setting, and I hope he buys his wellies.

A Parting Gift (The DI Alec McKay Series)

Alex Walters, A Parting Gift: A nasty killing in a chalet park at the end of the holiday season. The Black Isle setting is lovely and I very much like the detective and his team as always.

The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing

Mary Paulson Ellis, The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing: Clever, agitated writing, conveying quickly present day Edinburgh or 1918 France in sharp imagery. I’m not sure why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped to: perhaps it was simply that I was not quite in the mood for it. I know the author loves her Dickens and you can feel that here, not in the plotting, perhaps, but somehow in the … in the mood of the book? It feels steeped in Dickens’ writing but not in his era. I love Dickens too and this should have appealed to me. I will try the second one when I’m in a different mood: there’s lots here to appreciate, and I feel the fault is in me.

All That Lives

James Oswald, All that Lives: Back with the gang again and the dreaded Mrs. Saifre is trying to build her Edinburgh empire despite Tony’s instinctive efforts to stop her. Madame Rose makes her appearance – maybe not as much as I expected or hoped – and the plot’s a good one. Lots more emphasis on Janie in this book, and I’ve heard speculation that the focus will move gradually to her. I’m not sure how I feel about that: I’m very fond of Tony and the cats who protect him – not so much of Emma, who has always seemed a bit high maintenance.

The Bangalore Detectives Club (Kaveri and Ramu #1)

Harini Nagendra, The Bangalore Detectives Club: A charming trad historical crime novel, neither cosy nor noir, set in the Bangalore of the 1920s ish. New bride Kaveri and her lovely husband Ramu, a doctor, set about investigating a murder when their milkman is suspected, with the help of the local police officer who appreciates Kaveri’s brains. Good fun, and seems to suit the time well.

Slow Horses (Slough House, #1)

Mick Herron, Slow Horses: This is fun: tongue in cheek account of the place spies go when they make mistakes. It’s not glamorous, but the plot is nicely woven, sometimes humorous, and quite exciting – a good read.

Meanwhile, I'm almost, almost halfway through Murray 13, Shroud for a Sinner. There's also that kind of a sequel to The Slaughter of Leith Hall which is now with beta readers and might appear relatively soon! More news about that when the launch is more definite - there could be some unique giveaways coming!