Anne Bonny Q&A with #Author Simon Brett ~ The Liar In The Library ~ @blackthornbks #NewRelease #CosyMystery #CosyCrime

The Liar In The Library by Simon Brett

Synopsis ~

Fethering has everything a sleepy coastal town should: snug English pubs, cosy cottages, a little local library – and the occasional murder . . .

Bestselling author Burton St Clair, complete with soaring ego and wandering hands, has come to town to give a talk. But after his corpse is found slumped in his car, he won’t be leaving. Jude is the prime suspect; she was, after all, the last person to see Burton St Clair alive. If she is to prove her innocence, she will have to dust off her detective skills and recruit her prim and proper neighbour (and partner-in-sleuthing) Carole to find the real culprit.

Q&A ~

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) The Liar in the Library is one in my series of Fethering Mysteries, set in an English village on the South Coast and featuring investigators ex-civil servant Carole and healer Jude. In this book a rather self-important writer (one who believes his own publicity) is murdered after giving a talk at Fethering Library.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea, to writing and finally to publication?

A) When writing a crime series, the most important first element is the setting and I had for some time wanted to write a crime novel set around a library. Once I had that, of course, it brought with it a cast of characters – librarians, customers, etc. Then I had to work out how my series characters, Carole and Jude, would become involved in the investigation. After that, it was just a matter of working out a plot and writing the thing.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I would recommend anything by Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh and Raymond Chandler. With each of them, what I admire is the economy of their writing and their ability to use humour for more than just being funny. I also admire P.G. Wodehouse for the gleeful way he plays with the English language.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a child, I enjoyed Enid Blyton, Malcolm Saville and Pamela Brown. I also liked historical novels by authors like Geoffrey Trease and Raphael Sabatini. And I read most of Agatha Christie.

Q) What are you currently reading?

A) I’ve just finished – and greatly enjoyed – The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) The most exciting moment of my literary career was when I heard that my novel, A Shock to the System, was going to be made into a feature film, starring Michael Caine.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My wife Lucy supported my decision in 1979 to give up my day job as a television producer and has been a great source of strength to me ever since. I am also deeply indebted to Michael Motley, who was my agent for over forty years, and to Lisa Moylett, who is my current agent.

Simon Brett

Anne Bonny #BookReview Murder At The Grand Raj Palace by @VaseemKhanUK 5* Genius #CosyCrime #CrimeFiction #India @MulhollandUK ‘Perfect escapism and a cracking cosy crime mystery!’

#4 cover
Murder At The Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan
My own copy

In the enchanting new Baby Ganesh Agency novel, Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick investigate a murder at Mumbai’s grandest hotel.

For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world’s elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj.
The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder…

When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead – the day after buying India’s most expensive painting – the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Chopra is called in – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead.

Accompanied by his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, Chopra navigates his way through the palatial building, a journey that leads him steadily to a killer, and into the heart of darkness . . .

My Review:

‘It was said that the Grand Raj Palace owed its existence to an insult’

The novel opens with the history of the Grand Raj Palace. A history that is rotted in the British colonialism. The hotel was then and is now, revered as a symbol of India’s ambition and self-worth. I love how the author has cleverly weaved historical details into the story and the novel itself is scattered with them.
It really adds to the beauty of what makes this series to great!

What also makes this series so great is the brilliant characterisation of Chopra and Poppy. They compliment each other perfectly and in this particular case poppy gets a mystery of her own to solve.
Their relationship and the way it flows from the page, makes for brilliant reading. With them both playing the role of ‘investigator’ in this novel, we the reader are in for a double treat!

‘The thought of confronting his wife when her temper was up was as attractive to him as placing his head into the mouth of a ravenous tiger’

Chopra is summoned to the hotel by a former police colleague Rohan Tripathi. After the death of American billionaire and hotel client Hollis Burbank. It is a case that will lead Chopra into the murky side of the side industry. Burbank was found with a knife in his chest in his hotel room. On the wall written in blood are the words ‘I am sorry’.
But what is Burbank sorry for? What is his motive for suicide?

Irfan, Chopra and Poppy’s adopted son and previous street urchin, makes a brief appearance in the novel. He is still tainted by his previous life and at 10yrs old has experienced far too much for a child. We hear Poppy’s thoughts on parenting and they every much echo my own.
‘The true definition of parenthood was the ability to love, to care, to put the welfare of another before one’s own’

Whilst Chopra persists to look into hotel security and deal with Lisa Taylor of the art auction house. Poppy determined not to be forgotten on her 25th wedding anniversary, makes herself and Irfan guests of the hotel. Where she stumbles upon a mysterious case. The case of the missing bride.

‘Everything is illusion,
and no one is who we believe they are’ – Chopra

It would appear that Burbank’s secrets lead deeper into India’s past and deeper within the ruthless and competitive art world.
But can Chopra solve the case?

There is a brilliant opening to a chapter on page 222. Where the author details the colonial history and India’s railway system. It is some of the finest writing, I even took a photo of it on my phone to save. I think that has been the niche of this particular novel, Vaseem Khan’s ability to merge the past and the present and write a brilliant story.

There is also a devious monkey, which adds a comedy element into the plot!
I found myself giggling whilst poor Ganesh shoulders the blame.

My favourite part of the novel is Poppy’s development as a main character. There is a particular scene where Poppy sticks up for herself and Irfan and it just reminded me that Poppy can hold her own. Poppy is a modern woman and the mystery she solves suits her character perfectly.

Perfect escapism and a cracking cosy crime mystery! 5* Genius!

Vaseem Khan
Vaseem Khan