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Book Review: Susanna Gregory Death of A Scholar (Matthew Bartholomew #20)

Death of a Scholar: The Twentieth Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew (Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew) - Susanna Gregory

Death of A Scholar is the 20th novel in the Matthew Bartholomew series by author Susanna Gregory.  in 1358 Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to help his sister mourn the death of her husband.  But he is soon distracted by a spate of burglaries in the town and the creation of a new foundation, Winwick Hall, which threatens the old colleges.  A storm is brewing between the colleges and when one leading member of the Guild is murdered Matthew assists Brother Michael into investigation these fatalities.


A historical novel set in the 1300's in Cambridge, England this novel is really Inspector Morse meets Cadfael.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Mukul Deva Weapon of Vengeance

Weapon of Vengeance - Mukul Deva

Weapon Of Vengeance is a standalone novel by author Mukul Deva.  Ruby Gill is a rogue MI6 agent.  Her mission is to destroy the Palestinian-Isreali peace conference being held in New Delhi.  She is the daughter of a Palestinian mother and Indian father who now just happens to be head of the Indian anti terrorist force.  Ravinder Gill believes his long lost daughter has simply arrived for a reunion but soon begins to suspect that she maybe the terrorist he his hunting for.


The novel is interesting for being a non western perspective on the problems in the Middle East and terrorism.  Read the full review here



Book Review: Robert Goldsborough Murder in The Ball Park (Nero Wolfe #56)

Murder in the Ball Park - Robert Goldsborough

Murder In The Ball Park is the 58th novel in the Nero Wolfe series and the ninth to be written by author Robert Goldsborough.  Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are hired by the widow to look into the murder of a senator while at a baseball game.  The prime suspect is a New York mobster but as Wolfe and Archie investigate they discover a lot more suspects and motives.


Having, to date,  never read any of the original Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout I am at a difficulty when comparing the two so don't really know how well Robert Goldsborough has captured the Nero Wolfe of the originals in this novel.   Read the full review here.


Book Review: Richard Montanari The Stolen Ones (Byrne and Balzario #7)

The Stolen Ones - Richard Montanari

The Stolen Ones is the seventh novel in the Byrne and Balzario series by author Richard Montanari.  Detectives Bryne and Balzario are called in to investigate when a man is found murdered by having a stake through the back of the head.  Only when they identify him he doesn't seem to exist and after searching his house they find some explicit photos that will lead them on a trail that will seem them connect with the Estonian police force and a mental hospital Cold River.


This was an enjoyable novel marked really by two different styles throughout the book.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Eva Dolan Long Way Home (Zigic and Ferreira #1)

Long Way Home - Eva Dolan

Long Way Home is the first in the Zigic and Ferreira series by author Eva Dolan.  A man is found burned to death in the shed belonging to the Barlow's.  Identified as Jaan Stepulov the police learn that the man had been living in the shed and terrorising the home owners and they become the prime suspects.  But as the investigation continues the police realise that the man has connection to a gang underworld that also may be involved.


This novel takes us into the heart of the immigration issues affecting the town of Peterborough, which are real.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Seth Lynch Salazar (Salazar #1)

Salazar - Seth Lynch

Salazar is the first novel in the Salazar series by author Seth Lynch.  Private detective Salazar is hired by Marie Poncelet to find a missing man Gustave Marty.  What at first seems to be a simple missing persons case turns deadly for Salazar when someone tries to kill him for trying to find a man who doesn't want to be found.


In plot terms this is a fairly traditional private eye novel.  It has all the right elements to it and could actually have done with a bit more.  Read the full review here


Book Review: John Brooke The Unknown Masterpiece (Inspector Aliette Nouvelle #4)

The Unknown Masterpiece - John   Brooke

The Unknown Masterpiece is the fourth in the Inspector Aliette Nouvelle series by author John Brooke.  A security guard for an art gallery is found murdered in a  gay gathering area on the French side of the Rhine.  The case becomes linked with a murder on the Swiss side of an art restorer when a damaged painting is also found at the scene.


This book takes us into the world of art at the heart of Europe.  The action takes place between France and Switzerland concentrating on the Basel area.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Parker Bilal The Golden Scales (Makana #1)

The Golden Scales: A Makana Mystery - Parker Bilal

The Golden Scales is the first novel in the Makana series by author Parker Bilal.  Private detective Makana is hired by a wealthy businessman to locate a missing football player.  About to start the case he also meets an Englishwoman whose daughter disappeared in Egypt 17 years ago but keeps returning in the hope she maybe found.  As Makana tries to find out what happened to the football player he begins to realise that the cases are linked.


In plot terms this is a fairly standard private detective novel.  It has all the plot twists and turns and plot outline that come from a traditional PI novel a la Raymond Chandler.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Live and Let Die (James Bond #2)

Live and Let Die (James Bond) - Ian Fleming

Live and Let Die is the second novel in the James Bond series by author Ian Flemming.  James Bond heads to Harlem on the trail of notorious gangster and agent of SMERSH when gold coins from an ancient treasure start turning up and financing Soviet spying operations.  It will lead him to a deadly enemy and the beautiful Solitaire. 


The problem with reading the Bond novels after watching the films is that the films tend to dominate the perception of the character and the storylines Read the full review here


Book Review: Camilla Lackberg The Ice Princess (Hedstrom and Falck #1)

The Ice Princess: A Novel - Camilla Läckberg

The Ice Princess is the first novel in the Hedstrom and Falck series by author Camilla Lackberg.  A young woman Alex is found murdered by Erica Falck returning home after the funeral of her parents.  Patrik Hedstrom is assigned to investigate as does Erica who decides to write a book on Alex at the request of her parents.  They find that the murder links to dark secrets of the families past.


This novel is quite British in a way in the sense that it is almost like a cozy mystery series being set in a single town with a group of suspects Read the full review here


Book Review: Stav Sherez The Black Monastery

The Black Monastery - Stav Sherez

The Black Monastery is a standalone novel by author Stav Sherez.  Successful crime fiction author Kitty decides on an impulse she needs to get away on holiday and ends up on the Greek Island of Palassos.  However, her holiday turns nasty when she is attacked soon after arriving on the island in an event organised by a stalker Jason who has arrived before her and becomes involved in an investigation into murder when two teenage boys are found dead on an altar in a closed monastery.


This novel was an excellent read that keeps you turning the pages.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Elizabeth Haynes Human Remains

Human Remains - Elizabeth Haynes

Human Remains is a standalone novel by author Elizabeth Haynes.  Police analyst Annabel discovers the body of her next door neighbor who has died of natural causes but in a state of decomposition.  On a whim she decides to investigate how many other bodies have been discovered in a similar state and discovers, shockingly that the number has dramatically increased in the past year in a way that looks suspicious but struggles to get her police colleagues to look into the matter.


Do you know your neighbors?  That is one of the central themes of this book.  It takes a look at how society tends to be individual and doesn't have a sense of social responsibility in looking out for those who might be vulnerable Read the full review here


Book Review: RN Morris The Dark Palce (Silas Quinn #3)

The Dark Palace - R N Morris

The Dark Palace is the third novel in the Silas Quinn series by author RN Morris.  Silas Quinn of the Met's Special Crimes Unit is asked by the Admiralty to keep an eye out for suspicious German characters who may be spies for their home country.  The investigation links to a premiere of a new motion picture that Silas Quinn is reluctant to attend and the event is interrupted by a horrific incident.  The investigation takes a disturbing twist when members of the London establishment start receiving packages with the strangest contents. 


 The book is set in April 1914 when anti-German sentiment was at its height in the UK and this something captured by the author. Read the full review here


Book Review: Dorothy Cannell Murder At Mullings (Florence Norris #1)

Murder at Mullings: A 1930s country house murder mystery - Dorothy Cannell

Murder at Mullings is the first novel in the Florence Norris series by author Dorothy Cannell.  Edward Stodmarsh is Lord of Mullings and after the death of his first wife marries Regina Stapleton a notorious schemer who insists on bringing her 'ornamental hermit' to live at the house who seems innocent enough until a violent murder occurs and then he doesn't seem so innocent.


If you like cozy mystery series then this could be one for you.  Read the full review here


Book Review: Adrian Magson The Watchman

The Watchman: A Marc Portman Thriller - Adrian Magson

The Watchman is the first novel in the Marc Portman series by author Adrian Magson.  Marc Portman is a shadow, a close protection expert he officially doesn't exist and doesn't belong to any agency.  He is hired by MI6 to protect a negotiator heading to Somalia in order to conduct negotiations for the release of UN hostages held by pirates in a black op.  But as the negotiators arrive he and his MI6 handlers realise that negotiation is not something the Somali's have in mind.


With this novel Adrian Magson creates a great action hero..  Marc Portman is technically a mercenary but is a mercenary with a conscience and won't work for terrorists.  He came to MI6's radar because he helped rescue a businessman while in Columbia without being asked.  Read the full review here


Book Review: JF Freedman: Turn Left At Doheny * * * *

Turn Left at Doheny: A tough-edged crime novel set in Los Angeles - J.F. Freedman

Turn Left at Doheny is a standalone novel by author JF Freedman.  Down on his luck hustler Wycliffe returns home to Los Angeles to visit his dying brother in order to swindle him out of his estate.  However he finds himself bonding with his brother and soon meets a glamorous woman offering him a taste of the high life but soon finds out they are hustlers and that he is being set up for something but he doesn't know what. 


This is a wonderful hard boiled crime novel in the style of James M Cain with its various manipulations going on at every level. Read the full review here