Book Blast: Hanging Murder by A. J. Wright

We are blasting it up today for one of the Lancashire Detective Mysteries, Hanging Murder, sent to me by the publicist.

We can all stand on principles until evil pays us a visit…

The year is 1894 when Mr Simeon Crosby, a retired executioner, comes to Wigan with his wife and brother to give a talk on his life’s work.

Whilst he has an eager following, there are also many people who strongly object to Crosby’s profession and do not wish his melancholy shadow to be cast over their town. Protests have been organised and threats have been made.

Detective Sergeant Brennan is tasked with overseeing the security of the controversial visitor and all seems to be going to plan… until a murder is committed on the night of Crosby’s talk.

As Brennan and his brawny constable Fred Jaggery begin their lines of inquiry, they become overwhelmed with suspects and frustrated at the ambiguity of the evidence.

And then a second body is found.

Brennan soon discovers that both victim and killer can take many, sometimes indistinguishable, forms.

Hanging Murder is one of A.J. Wright’s Lancashire Detective Mystery series of cleverly crafted Victorian whodunits, which also includes Sitting Murder and Elementary Murder.

Praise for A.J. Wright:

‘This is an absolute gem of a historical crime novel – cleverly and intricately plotted, very well-written and convincingly evoking all the social problems of a late-Victorian industrial town’ – Crime Review

‘Excellently plotted, with some breathtaking moments, as pieces of the dark past come into the light’ – Chris Nickson, best-selling author of the Richard Nottingham Mysteries

‘A.J. Wright has composed a clever tale indeed in his novel, “Sitting Murder”. The grey and gloomy place that was Victorian Britain is wonderfully rendered by the author in this fast-moving mystery novel’ – L.J. Shea, bestselling author of The Raven’s Augury

‘A network of loves, hates, intrigue and suspense’ – Roger Silverwood (best-selling author of DI Angel Mystery Series)

‘…the book vividly depicts the tensions and ramifications of the miners’ strike. The mystery is equally strong: the plot is fast-paced and cleverly strewn with red herrings and subtle clues. Highly recommended’ – Historical Novel Society

In 2009 A. J. Wright won the 2010 Dundee International Fiction Prize for his Victorian murder mystery Act of Murder. His writing is inspired by his two major interests: all things Victorian and classic works from the Golden Age of crime fiction. He lives near Wigan.

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

I never tire of this series, with Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 38th in line to the throne of England, solving mysteries in the 1930’s. Time passes and life goes on throughout the timeline of this series, but each installment is fun and well-plotted. This one was no exception. Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

Description

Georgie and Darcy are finally on their honeymoon in Kenya’s Happy Valley, but murder crashes the party in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

I was so excited when Darcy announced out of the blue that we were flying to Kenya for our extended honeymoon. Now that we are here, I suspect he has actually been sent to fulfill another secret mission. I am trying very hard not to pick a fight about it, because after all, we are in paradise! Darcy finally confides that there have been robberies in London and Paris. It seems the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya. Since we are staying in the Happy Valley—the center of upper-class English life—we are well positioned to hunt for clues and ferret out possible suspects.

Now that I am a sophisticated married woman, I am doing my best to sound like one. But crikey! These aristocrats are a thoroughly loathsome sort enjoying a completely decadent lifestyle filled with wild parties and rampant infidelity. And one of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, has the nerve to make a play for me. While I am on my honeymoon! Of course, I put an end to that right off. 

When he is found bloodied and lifeless along a lonely stretch of road, it appears he fell victim to a lion. But it seems that the Happy Valley community wants to close the case a bit too quickly. Darcy and I soon discover that there is much more than a simple robbery and an animal attack to contend with here in Kenya. Nearly everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead and some will go to great lengths to silence anyone who asks too many questions. The hunt is on! I just hope I can survive my honeymoon long enough to catch a killer. . . .

Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson

If you know me, you know I like a suspenseful read that keeps you guessing! I will say that I figured out this one pretty early on, but I enjoyed reading it and especially liked how it went back and forth in time from the past to the present day. It’s the perfect summer read for a little excitement!

Some readers may find content of sexual abuse (not graphic) disturbing.

Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

Description

From Catriona McPherson, the Agatha-Award winning author of Quiet Neighbors, comes a clever, spine-tingling standalone Gothic thriller.

Go to My Grave is both a classic ‘country house mystery’ and a thriller. Atmospheric, with mind-bending twists, a narrator who may or may not be reliable, and an ending that will take your breath away and leave you astonished.” —Louise Penny

Donna Weaver has put everything she has into restoring The Breakers, an old bed and breakfast on a remote stretch of beach in Galloway. Now it sits waiting—freshly painted, richly furnished, filled with flowers—for the first guests to arrive.

But Donna’s guests, a contentious group of estranged cousins, soon realize that they’ve been here before, years ago. Decades have passed, but that night still haunts them: a sixteenth birthday party that started with peach schnapps and ended with a girl walking into the sea.

Each of them had made a vow of silence: “lock it in a box, stitch my lips, and go to my grave.”

But now someone has broken the pact. Amid the home-baked scones and lavish rooms, someone is playing games, locking boxes, stitching lips. And before the weekend is over, at least one of them will go to their grave.

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

I bought this title as a present for myself because I had heard about it online (and it was already past Pub Day!). If you know me, you know I love WWII stories, and this one was so interesting and intriguing. It focused on a group of female spies in Europe during the war and their activities. It was based on true accounts.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Highly recommended for those who like stories from this era!

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

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Description (via Net Galley)

A Note From the Publisher

If you read me, you know I LOVE Rhys Bowen’s books — Molly Murphy Mysteries, Royal Spyness mysteries, Tuscan Child, In Farleigh Field, etc. etc. This novel is a stand alone, historical fiction piece, that reminded me a bit of In Farleigh Field, as it was a war story. I loved Emily’s character and found the historical piece so interesting — young women volunteering to work on farms in the British countryside as “land girls’. She is quite resourceful and plucky, though when she becomes pregnant she certainly has to make some decisions as to where her future will lie. There is a bit of mystery, too, as to the history of the cottage where she lives and its former inhabitant. All in all it was a great read and I hope Ms. Bowen continues to writes historical stand alones!
Thank you for my review e-copy!

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

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Description (via Net Galley)

We all know that I love a suspenseful read! Winter is the best time to pick up a thriller and to try to reason out who the killer is. I was a bit worried that this one might really bother me since the victim is a teen, but I was okay as it was certainly troubling/disturbing/sad but not overly graphic. (see tags for possible triggers)
A great read while cuddled up in bed! Thank you for my review e-copy!

Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army by Edoardo Albert

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I received an electronic copy of CONRAD MONK AND THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY from the publisher, and it was an entertaining read. Conrad is not the most scrupulous of people, and he’s pretty funny as he makes his way around, keeping his own needs first and manipulating others at will. The time period was one I don’t read too often, and I found it well done and interesting.

Definitely entertaining, Conrad Monk is a protagonist you won’t soon forget!

Thank you for my review copy!

MEET THE NINTH CENTURY CAD, REWRITING HISTORY (from the publisher)

Conrad is a monk, but he has become a monk through trickery and against his will. So, it is fair to say that his heart isn’t really in it.
Conrad is also clever, charming, entirely self-serving, self-absorbed and almost completely without scruple — but in Anglo-Saxon England, when the Danish invaders come calling, those are very helpful attributes to have.
And so it comes to pass that Conrad finds himself constantly dodging death by various
means, some reasonable, some… less so. His tricks include selling his brother monks into
slavery, witnessing the death of a king, juggling his loyalties between his own people and the Danes, robbing corpses and impersonating a bishop.
By his side throughout is the gentle and honourable Brother Odo, a man so naturally and
completely good that even animals sense it. He is no match of wits for the cunning Conrad, but can he, perhaps, at least encourage the wayward monk to behave a little better?

Conrad and the Great Heathen Army takes the reader on a hugely entertaining and highly informative trip through the Anglo-Saxon world, in the company of a persuasive and likeable — if frequently despicable — tour guide. It is a story that combines painstakingly accurate depictions of history with a fast-moving and often hilarious plot, and as such is bound to appeal to lovers of history, historical fiction and character-driven fiction alike.

MEET THE AUTHOR
Edoardo Albert is a writer of Sri Lankan and Italian descent based in London. He has written a number of full length novels, as well as shorter stories for publications ranging from Daily Science Fiction to Ancient Paths.