First published in 1944 Fell Murder sees E.C.R. Lorac at the height of her considerable powers as a purveyor of well-made, traditional and emphatic detective fiction. The book presents a fascinating ‘return of the prodigal’ mystery set in the later stages of the Second World War amidst the close-knit farmerfolk community of Lancashire s lovely Lune valley.
The Garths had farmed their fertile acres for generations and fine land it was with the towering hills of the Lake Country on the far horizon. Garthmere Hall itself was old before Flodden Field, and here hot-tempered Robert Garth, still hale and hearty at eighty-two, ruled his household with a rod of iron. The peaceful dales and fells of the north country provide the setting for this grim story of a murder, a setting in fact which is one of the attractive features of an unusual and distinctive tale of evil passions and murderous hate in a small rural community.
I loved this mystery! This is the second classic crime that I’ve read from this author and the writing is just so rich and descriptive that I just feel like I’m there on the farm with the characters. And the Garth family is a fascinating group of personalities. This is a shorter book than the mysteries we get today but it really packs a punch and lacks not at all in twists and turns. The villain is not immediately obvious and the means of murder are vicious. This story has everything a good mystery should have and I highly recommend it. If you’ve never tried a classic crime novel E.C.R. Lorac is a great place to start.
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Rowland Sinclair Mystery Series #7
Wealthy Rowland Sinclair, an artist with leftist friends and a free-wheeling lifestyle, reluctantly agrees to a charity race. He’ll drive his beloved yellow Mercedes on the Maroubra Speedway, renamed the Killer Track for the lives it has claimed. His teammates are a young Errol Flynn and the well-known driver Joan Richmond. It’s all good fun. But then people start to die…
The body of a journalist covering the race is found murdered in a House of Horrors. An English blueblood with Blackshirt affiliations dies in a Maroubra crash. Reporters stalk Rowly for dirt while bookmakers are after an edge. When someone takes a shot at him—it could be anyone. Then the police arrest one of Rowly’s housemates for murder.
This is the second book I’ve read from this series and I have to say that the character of Rowland Sinclair and his various companions continue to grow on me. Ms. Gentill has crafted some incredible personalities for the lead characters which all work together to keep the reader engaged and at times on the edge of their seat. While this book is not a thriller it does contain some harrowing moments, this time centered around a racetrack which by its very nature is a threat to life and limb. There’s also a coven of witches coming out to play and complicate the mystery, and a quirky young lady trying get break in to the art world. Although I was never a big fan of the actor Errol Flynn, his appearance in this story helps to draw you into the time period. Overall, I found this to be a fun romp through Australia in the years between the wars and look forward to more installments in this series.
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England, 1586. Tensions rise as threats to the realm abound. Traitors are plotting for Mary Queen of Scots to depose Elizabeth I and take the throne. Rumors of a Spanish invasion by sea mount daily. And the body of one of Sir Francis Walsingham’s agents is found floating in the Thames as other agents face enemies armed with crossbows and vials of poison.
Nicholas Holt, a spy in Walsingham’s employ, narrowly averts the same fate while setting off in pursuit of the killer–or killers. And when he surprises a suspect in the company of a Spanish agent, he believes he’s close not only to solving the case but preventing an act of high treason.
But soon, the attacks begin to threaten Nick’s circle of friends. As those he loves face mortal peril, Nick must unravel the tangled plot, all the while steering a careful path through the fierce rivalry between Walsingham’s agents and those of the Queen’s favorite, the upstart Earl of Essex. Now it’s a race to the breathless conclusion as Nick desperately searches for the answers that can save the day–and a vestige of loyalty that can save his own life.
When I picked up this book, I was honestly shocked to find myself in Medieval England. I had completely forgotten why I originally selected this one and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. It turns out that this story took me on a rollicking adventure across London. And the tour was guided by the handsome Nicholas Holt. This is a different kind of investigation because it’s in medieval times and Nicholas doesn’t have all the fancy tools that we have today but it forces you to pay more attention to the characters and their motives. My favorites were Nicholas and Rivkah. I also really enjoyed Annie as a counterpoint to Nick. The author did an excellent job of bringing Nicholas’s part of London alive and incorporating the differences between wealthy parts of the city and the impoverished parts. I found the politics of the time that influence the events to be really interesting too. This story is very much driven by the characters themselves, no gun fights or high speed chases, but that’s why it was such a good read.
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Music researcher Phineas Fox has been enjoying his latest commission, gathering background material for a biography of Franz Liszt. But although he has – as anticipated – uncovered plenty of scandal in the 19th century composer’s past, matters take a decidedly unexpected turn when his investigations lead to Linklighters, a newly-opened Soho restaurant built on the site of an old Victorian music hall, and unearth evidence of a possible murder involving the notorious music hall performer known as Scaramel.
Just what was Liszt’s connection to Scaramel … and, through her, to the infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper? As he delves further, Phin’s enquiries uncover clues to a fascinating and extraordinary story – and plunge his own life into jeopardy.
This is the 4th book in this series, but the first one I have read. I found Phineas Fox to be a delightful character. The story here I thought was very unique, with 3 different story lines taking place but they all come together in the end. I’m not sure how much of the story is historically accurate but the historical parts felt real to me. There’s a supporting cast of great characters. The movement between the 3 stories keeps you engaged in trying to figure out the mystery. There are some thrills also to keep you on the edge of your seat and a good dose of London fog to give you that little chill down the spine. This was a great read and I hope to have a chance to read more from this series.
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It’s so nice to see my new friend Madeleine Karno again! She’s back with a new mystery and her handsome fiancé. It’s June 1894 and the French president has been assassinated triggering riots in the streets. When the body of a young woman is found in an alley the next morning, Madeleine is called and finds herself with a possible Jack the Ripper copycat roaming the streets. Then she receives word that she has been accepted as the first female student at the local university. While she will be learning from the best, her professor will test her limits in every way possible. Meanwhile, her fiancé is facing charges and their future is starting to look very uncertain.
There is a lot going on in this story and I love how the author is able to balance all the parts of the storyline and weave them together seamlessly. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and guessing till the end. The character of Madeleine continues to develop in this 2nd installment of the series and my affection for her just continues to grow. She is not just smart and well-educated but a caring and empathetic individual as well. She can distance herself enough to be able to expertly carry out an autopsy but turn around and cry for the victims. I really like the depth of this character. Finally, I like how the author places her character in a historical setting but manages to incorporate issues such as homosexuality and women’s rights into the story without disturbing the history. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, then I definitely think you need to.
This book releases on Dec. 5, 2017 in the U.S. and U.K. but can be pre-ordered now. Links are listed below.
Alinefromabook’s rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars!!
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A review copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Atria Books in exchange for an honest review.