Anne Bonny #BookReview Murder In Belgravia & A Death In Chelsea by @LynnBrittney2 5* @TheMirrorBooks #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #London #ADeathInChelsea #Mayfair100

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Murder In Belgravia by Lynn Brittney
Review Copy

Synopsis:

The first in the exciting new Mayfair 100 series of nostalgic crime sagas.

Set against the backdrop of WW1, Mayfair 100 is the telephone number for a small, specially formed crimebusting team based in a house in Mayfair, London in 1915. Just 10 months into the First World War, the City is flooded with women taking over the work vacated by men in the Armed Services.

Chief Inspector Peter Beech, a young man invalided out of the war in one of the first battles, is tasked with investigating the murder of an aristocrat. The man’s wife, a key witness and suspect, will only speak to a woman about the unpleasant details of the case. After persuading the Chief Commissioner to allow him to set up a clandestine team to deal with such situations, Beech puts together a small motley crew of well-educated women and professional policemen.

As Beech, Victoria, Caroline, Rigsby and Tollman investigate the murder, they delve into the seedier parts of WWI London, taking them from criminal gangs to brothels and underground drug rings supplying heroin to the upper classes.

Will the Mayfair 100 team solve the murder? And if they do, will they be allowed to continue working as a team?

My Review:

The novel opens with a confession and a problem…
Lady Harriet makes an emotional and desperate confession to murder. However, due to her society class and position, she refuses to elaborate unless she is allowed to speak to a female. This causes quite a conundrum for Chief Inspector Peter Beech, as there are no females currently on the staff.

Eventually, Peter is able to negotiate the formation of a new team, which will include an unlikely bunch of amateur detectives. Met Commissioner Sir Edward Henry is reluctant to agree, believing females have no place in the police force. Can the team prove him wrong?

The team is formed, it includes Caroline aka Dr Allardyce a young woman who has already defied her class, taking a role in the medical profession treating women. PC Billy Rigsby aka ‘The Creek’ a young and novice police officer. Retired Detective Sargent Arthur Tollman re-recruited back to the police force due to lack of man power with the war. And finally Caroline, a lawyer with an eye for mystery and an old flame of Peter’s.

‘Times had changed with a vengeance and the police force had a long way to go to catch up’

Lady Harriet’s physical condition worsens and it becomes apparent to Caroline and Peter, that she would have lacked the physical wellbeing and strength to commit the murder of her husband Lord Mucheson.
So who killed the Lord?

The team must dig into the private lives of the Lord and Lady and their serving staff. Can they gain the trust of the upper classes and the serving staff? Or will the culprit remain at large?

The historical depth within the novel is insightful, accurate and really enhances the story as a whole. We learn about the impact of the great war on the mental wellbeing of the returning soldiers, the injured and the families left waiting for answers.
Recently I watched author Marlon James give a talk at Oxford Uni about JRR Tolkein; within the talk he breaks down the difference emotionally and on the male psyche between the great war and world war 2. It is easy to see, how this could provide ample inspiration for historical fiction writing and Lynne Brittney does not disappoint, at all!

The novel also touches upon the discrimination women faced in the early days of their relationship with the Met. Ironic really, given that now in 2019 the met is now ran by a female!

Rich in historical detail with a real sense of the era. 1915 is brought alive on the page and I was so pleased to learn this is the first in a new series! 5*

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A Death In Chelsea by Lynn Brittney
Review Copy

Synopsis:

Set against the backdrop of WW1, Mayfair 100 is the telephone number for a small, specially-formed crime fighting team based in a house in Mayfair.

A call comes through to Mayfair 100, where the intrepid team of investigators eagerly await their next case. A society gossip queen has been found hanged in her room in mysterious circumstances. Her enemies are numerous – and her family are convinced she was murdered.

Can the group uncover the truth?

My Review:

The novel offers a brief introduction for those readers whom may not have had chance to devour Murder In Belgravia. It does cover the necessary facts, but I am glad I had the chance to read the first in the series as there is four individual characters that form the team and each have great background stories.

July 1915, Chief Inspector Peter Beech is summoned to the office of the met commissioner. There he is introduced to the case which forms the basis of this novel The death of society ‘it girl’ Lady Adeline Treborne. Her mother the Duchess of Penhere, believes it to be a murder…
Adeline was estranged from her family due to the scandalous nature of her profession.
‘Whoever heard of a society columnist who never actually went to any of the events she wrote about’

We are briefly introduced to a new team member Miss Mabel Summersby. I really loved the introduction of a new female team member and I hope the author continues to layer the novels with more intriguing characters.

Adeline’s post mortem brings more mystery to the case and we are left to wonder, who do you solve the death of a woman, many had motive to kill?
Is Adeline the most hated person in all of London?
The team must dig into the pasts of Adeline’s family and those that knew her.

This novel shines a spotlight onto the working relationship between team members Tollman and Billy. I really loved the mix-up of the old and new police tactics and their ability to create funny moments within the novel.

The novel covers differing themes to Murder In Belgravia with blackmail, hidden desires, secrets and hushed up crimes playing a central role in Adeline’s career success…

A real sense of the team spirit and impressive characterisation. 5*

LB
Lynn Brittney
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 5* #HistoricalFic #ww2Lit @panmacmillan ‘This is a story of sisterhood, maternal instincts and the power of women’

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My own copy – Kindle
Synopsis:

Bravery, courage, fear and love in a time of war.

Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Vivid and exquisite in its illumination of a time and place that was filled with atrocities, but also humanity and strength, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale will provoke thought and discussion that will have readers talking long after they finish reading.

My Review:

The Nightingale falls in my favourite historical fiction era, ww2. I had heard great things about the novel, with many fellow readers recommending it to me. I have since, also devoured The Great Alone, by the same author.

The Nightingale centres around the story of two sisters and the novel tells the story of their journey through world war two. Their stories take place in occupied France and is extremely moving.
I had to relay the entire novel to my husband after reading! I was so taken aback at finally closing the door on both Vianne and Isabelle.

‘The father who went to war was not the one who came home’

Vianne and Isabelle may have had different childhood experiences, but ultimately what pains one, pain the other in a different way. They are both still, in some way grieving for the loss of their mother. While Vianne has thrown herself into married life. Isabelle has thrown her efforts into teenage rebellion. The each carry a sense of abandonment from their father, a man that never fully returned from the first world war.

‘What was love when put up against war?’

When the Germans invade Paris, each sister must make a choice of how they will choose to survive. It will be the choice they have to live with for the rest of their lives…

‘French women do not ask Nazi’s for help’ – Isabelle

Vianne’s husband is called up to service, which eventually will lead him to a POW camp. Leaving Vianne to decide how best she and her young daughter Sophie will cope in the now occupied Loire Valley. Whilst Isabella aspires to join the Free French Movement and fight back against the Nazi’s.
Each choice, will cost each woman dearly, in ways they can never have foreseen.

The location of occupied France is incredibly atmospheric. It also brings it home to you, the fear French women lived under, with Nazi’s at their doors. I have visited Jersey and the various monuments to the occupation. I think this maybe added to my enjoyment of the novel, but also my terror.

This is a story of sisterhood, maternal instincts and the power of women to survive. Highly recommended for book groups, also as a gift for your mother/sister or female relative. 5*

KH
Kristin Hannah
Website

Anne Bonny #BookReview Fade To Grey by @JohnelWilliams #LegalThriller #CrimeFiction @noexitpress ‘Modern and diverse crime fiction 4*’

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Fade To Grey by John Lincoln
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Gethin Grey is the man you call when there’s nowhere else to turn. His Last Resort Legals team investigates miscarriages of justice. But Gethin is running out of options himself: his gambling is out of control, his marriage is falling apart and there’s no money left to pay the wages…

Izma M was sent down years ago for the brutal murder of a young woman. In jail he’s written a bestseller and become a cult hero, and now the charismatic fading-film-star Amelia Laverne wants to bankroll Gethin to prove Izma’s innocence. For Gethin – low on luck and cash – the job is heaven sent.
But is Izma M really as blameless as his fans believe?

My Review:

Fade To Grey is a fascinating legal thriller that tackles the issue of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system. Focusing around the case of Ismail Mohammed/ Izma M/ Tyrell Hanson, who is now a prominent civil rights leader from his jail cell. He currently serves his sentence for the murder of a white girl, despite there being no real evidence to convict him. Is he innocent or guilty as charged?

Gethin Grey runs Last resorts legal team, they invest in miscarriages of justice and are made aware of the case by Amelia Laverne, who wishes to bankroll the quest for justice for Izma.

‘I’ll bet if he’d been a nice middle-class white boy the case never would have got to court’

Gethin prioritises his cases in five categories from the no hopers to the good cases, to the guilty.
Izma’s case sends mixed messages. He denies the brutal murder of Hannah Gold, but DNA evidence confirms the two had sex prior to her death. Gethin and his team will have to dig into the original case notes, if they hope to find evidence of Izma’s innocence.

‘Bad luck and prejudice could easily be enough to see an innocent man convicted’

The team at Last Resorts offer an interesting blend of characters. They add more drama to the investigation as they bring their skills to the table.
Modern and diverse crime fiction. 4*

JL
John Lincoln
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Silent Patient by @AlexMichaelides 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #TheSilentPatient @orionbooks @orion_crime

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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Review Copy
Synopsis:

ALICIA
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

My Review:

“Alicia Brenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband”

Alicia Brenson has already faced justice for the seemingly random murder of her husband. She has remained in psychiatric settings and has never spoken a word since the murder 6yrs ago. But why does the woman who has it all, murder the man she professes to love?

“I wanted to fix her” – Theo Faber
Enter psychologist Theo Faber, who transfers from Broadmoor with the sole intentions of freeing Alicia from this world of silence. He begins his therapies with little and no response. Theo is facing a backlash from the staff at The Grove, as they disapprove of his methods. But nevertheless, he persists, in his endeavour of helping Alicia. Why does Theo see Alicia as in some form a victim?

The seven-year itch, never seemed so sinister…

Eventually, Theo has some success in discovering a diary, written by Alicia. But what he discovers will shatter his enter world
“No crazy thought allowed”

The novel has a brilliant ending and is a stark reminder, there is always two sides to every story. I actually found the writing style very reminiscent of Sarah Pinborough and was left thinking ‘how do you even write like that?’. A HUGE 5* from me.

AM
Alex Michaelides
Twitter
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A Gift For Dying by @mjarlidge 4* #NewRelease #Thriller #AGiftForDying #ICanSeeDeath

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A Gift For Dying by M.J. Arlidge
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

My Review:

‘We’ve got I live one here’
Adam Brandt is an on-call forensic psychologist at the Cook County jail in Chicago, which put him in contact with various professionals and criminals alike.

This will be where he comes to meet Kassandra ‘Kassie’ Wojeck. When she is brought in, after a public altercation with federal prosecutor Jacob James. Kassie is 15yrs old and with a rap sheet a hardened criminal would be proud of. Kassie’s relationship with her mother Natalia is virtually non-existent due to Kassie’s criminal activity.

The bringing together of Adam, Kassie and Jacob would usually not remain of any significance. That is until… Jacob is missing and Detective Gabrielle Grey’s brought in to investigate, everything just got 100% more complicated.
Detective Grey is convinced the disappearance is a gang related crime, due to gangbanger activity in the local vicinity and Jacob’s chosen profession.
But is it really that open and shut?

‘Nobody becomes a detective in Chicago for an easy life’ 

When Patrolman Dwayne Reid, pulls over local gangbangers and finds Jacob’s mutilated corpse inside the book. The case appears solved!
But Kassie has something to share…
‘I can see death’

Kassie has a special vision, which she desperately tries to explain to Adam. Whilst at the same time, she is unaware she is seriously incriminating herself!!!
As Kassie’s past and Adam’s personal life are further exploded as the two grow closer. Adam is still unsure, if he can trust this tearaway teen. That is until Kassie makes a SHOCKING admission, one that had me gasping at the pages and shouting “they have to make this into a film!!!!” (Page 186 – reference).

When another body is found and can be tracked back to Kassie. She will have to work hard to convince Adam she is telling the truth. But is she? Does Kassie have genuine visions? Or are they a ruse?

Kassie really drew me into the story. She is young, friendless and lonely. She has a strained relationship with her mother and her father is dead. She finds little comfort/support in life and this made me warm to her character. But at the same time, I didn’t trust her and could fully understand Adam’s predicament.

A Gift For Dying is a gripping and tense story, surrounding the Chicago Butcher.
Can Kassie prevent the killer adding more lives to his tally? or are her visions due to her own fragile mental health?
You’ll be racing across the pages to discover the truth. 4*

MJA
M.J. Arlidge
Twitter

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