Review: In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is probably best known for her Royal Spyness Mysteries series and her Molly Murphy Mysteries. She typically writes cozy mysteries, so when this book came across my desk for review, it sounded like something completely new for her which is why I decided to try it.

I’ve been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately and welcomed a little break. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this one. The title suggests more literature, ‘A Novel of World War II’ says more literature rather than mystery to me. But yet the description sounded more mystery. Either way, I liked what I saw for the description and ultimately said yes to the book.

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy.

The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal (summary from Goodreads). (more…)

Review: A Study In Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas

For some reason, over the last few months I’ve repeatedly seen the Lady Sherlock series popping up on my Twitter feed. I am a sucker for Sherlock Holmes inspired mysteries so when I saw this come up so often, I gave in and decided to read it!

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind (summary from Goodreads).

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Review: A Study in Death (Lady Darby Mystery #4) by Anna Lee Huber

After reading the third Lady Darby book, I hoped this one would return to better investigations as the third book investigation left me feeling a little on the wanting side. While it was still a four star book for me, I simply felt like I needed more out of the next book. The relationship between Gage and Kiera saved the third book for me so I was hoping this one would improve the series.

I am happy to report that this book had a lot more mystery and it was a bit darker which I liked. It reminded me of the earlier mystery that Gage and Kiera worked on so in that regard I was much more invested in the whodunit element of the story.

Scotland, 1831. After a tumultuous courtship complicated by three deadly inquiries, Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancé in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning—and very pregnant—sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness.

Commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband.

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Review: Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine

One of the things that caught my eye about this book was that it’s marketed to fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams. Both of these authors have a very unique and lyrical storytelling style and their books are typically family sagas or dramas with hints of romance.

So when I read this marketing description I was totally intrigued by this book and wanted to read it. I also loved that this book sounded highly atmospheric and suspenseful, though it’s set in North America it is about a Scottish heiress who unexpectedly encounters her childhood friend in North America in 1890, five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night of a double murder.

Nineteen-year-old Evelyn Ballantyre has rarely strayed from her family’s estate in the Scottish Borderlands, save for the occasional trip to Edinburgh, where her father, a respected magistrate, conducts his business—and affairs of another kind. Evelyn has always done her duty as a daughter, hiding her boredom and resentment behind good manners—so when an innocent friendship with a servant is misinterpreted by her father as an illicit union, Evelyn is appalled.

Yet the consequence is a welcome one: she is to accompany her father on a trip to North America, where they’ll visit New York City, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and conclude with a fishing expedition on the Nipigon River in Canada. Now is her chance to escape her cloistered life, see the world, and reconnect with her father.

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Review: A Grave Matter (Lady Darby Mystery #3) by Anna Lee Huber

While my reviews of the Lady Darby mysteries are rather spread out, that does not mean that I read them sporadically. On the contrary, I read them in rather rapid succession but decided to spreat out the reviews so as not to overshadow other books that I had on my review calendar.

The Lady Darby mysteries have won a place in my heart as a beloved lady detective series, all thanks in part to the electric romance between her and Gage, and all the Gothic elements that I adore in books.

In this latest book, the Gothic element was a rather macabre burglary of sorts……stealing long dead skeletons. I loved the dark deserted graveyards and Abbeys, in remote locations of Scotland, paired with the creepy implication that perhaps the bodies rose from the dead.

Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her dear friend, Lady Kiera Darby is in need of a safe haven. Returning to her childhood home, Kiera hopes her beloved brother Trevor and the merriment of the Hogmanay Ball will distract her. But when a caretaker is murdered and a grave is disturbed at nearby Dryburgh Abbey, Kiera is once more thrust into the cold grasp of death.

While Kiera knows that aiding in another inquiry will only further tarnish her reputation, her knowledge of anatomy could make the difference in solving the case. But agreeing to investigate means Kiera must deal with the complicated emotions aroused in her by inquiry agent Sebastian Gage. (more…)

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