Review: The Paris Spy (Maggie Hope Mystery #7) by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Maggie Hope mystery series is part mystery and part spy….probably heavier on the spy side but it has murder mystery elements woven in for variety. Some might argue that this series isn’t sure what it is….is it spy or mystery but in my opinion, I like the variation. It keeps thing exciting for me, having a character solve murders in one book and then go on a spy mission in another book.

I’ve been a fan of this series for some time now and though I haven’t loved every book, I love Maggie as a character and always excited to see where life will take her next.

Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners.

Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown.

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Review: Arrowood by Mick Finlay

I absolutely love the tagline of this book: London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

That totally caught my eye when I was scanning Netgalley in search of new books to read this summer. An anti-Sherlock Holmes sounded refreshing and new. I have been watching the TV show Sherlock (which if you haven’t watched it, go right now to Netflix and start!) and I love the modern take on it, so I thought that something like an anti-Sherlock read would be complimentary.

The Afghan War is over and a deal with the Irish appears to have brought an end to sectarian violence, but Britain’s position in the world is uncertain and the gap between rich and poor is widening. London is a place where the wealthy party while the underclass are tempted into lives of crime, drugs and prostitution. A serial killer stalks the streets. Politicians are embroiled in financial and sexual scandals. The year is 1895.

The police don’t have the resources to deal with everything that goes on in the capital. The rich turn to a celebrated private detective when they need help: Sherlock Holmes. But in densely populated south London, where the crimes are sleazier and Holmes rarely visits, people turn to Arrowood, a private investigator who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime. Arrowood understands people, not clues (summary from Goodreads).

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Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane (A Wrexford and Sloane Mystery #1) by Andrea Penrose

While combing through the catalog of titles on Netgalley, I happened to come across this one and admittedly, was captivated by the cover. I am not really sure why, I mean it’s not like it’s really that new and eye catching….I feel like I’ve seen a ton of books with similar titles that I was passed by in favor of something more eye catching.

But for some reason I paused on this one long enough to read the summary. Again, nothing terribly fresh but yet it sounded like just the thing I was looking for…..something predictable. I was dying to read another British detective mystery novel and this sounded like just that. So I clicked on request and once it was approved, I started in on what I expected to be a run of the mill detective novel.

The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back.

As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect (summary from Goodreads).

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Review: India Black (Madam of Espionage #1) by Carol K Carr

This book has randomly surfaced on my Goodreads recommendations page and Twitter feed for the last few years now.

I personally love the cover and thought it sounded like an intriguing read. Well recently I saw someone else on Twitter reading it and I suddenly felt like it was time to check it out.

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator (summary from Goodreads).

So I guess the whole ‘deadly game’ bit had me thinking this was going to be more of a murder mystery but it wasn’t. This was more of a heist than a murder mystery by far. The whole novel is spent trying to track down a mysterious black case of English documents rather then trying to solve a murder.

It was much different than what I was expecting. I was actually kind of disappointed that this was all that happened throughout the novel though.

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Review: Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon #1) by Dan Brown

Is Dan Brown’s writing terrible? Yes. Are his stories far fetched and unbelievable? Yes. Are the books poorly researched? Yes. Did that stop me from reading this book in a frenzy? Absolutely not!

I will fully admit, I loved The Da Vinci Code. I didn’t care how unbelievable or bad the writing, the story itself was so good that I was reading well into the night, every night. I simply had to know what happened next.

That was at least 10 years ago that I read that book, so I felt like I was long overdue for a Robert Langdon mystery. For some reason, the mood just struck me and I decided it was time to check out the first book in the Robert Langdon series, Angels and Demons.

When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol—seared into the chest of a murdered physicist—he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati … the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy—the Catholic Church.

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