Review: Murder on Madison Square by Victoria Thompson

Description (from cover): “Former policeman Frank Malloy is frustrated when a woman requests his private detective services to implicate her wealthy husband in adultery, the only legal grounds for divorce in New York state. Although Mrs. Bing seems genuinely distressed about her marriage and desperate to end it, she refuses to tell Frank the reason she absolutely must divorce her husband and admits she has no legal grounds. Frank explains he won’t manufacture evidence for her and sends her on her way.

The following week, Frank and Sarah happen to be attending the first ever auto show in Madison Square Garden when they meet the woman’s husband, Alfred Bing, who has invested in a company that produces one of the electric motorcars on display. A few days later, the newspapers report that millionaire Alvin Bing has been found dead, pinned beneath one of the wheels of his very own motorcar. But who was driving it? The obvious suspect is Mrs. Bing, but Frank and Sarah find that nothing is as it seems in their puzzling, dangerous search for truth.”

My Thoughts:

Just by taking a look at my blog, you can tell that I have long enjoyed reading this series. I remember when I first started reading historical mysteries and that this series was highly recommended to me. I have followed this series and the characters for many years now, so when a new installment is released, it is like catching up with old friends. This book was no different. We see the world changing in this book with automobiles becoming more popular and replacing the horse drawn carriage and more and more people buying them for their convenience. Frank Malloy has long owned a gas-powered automobile, but he is always curious about how the technology is changing and how advancements are being made. When a woman comes to see him at the detective agency about providing evidence of adultery so she can divorce her husband, Frank sticks to his principles and turns the case down. She leaves upset that Frank won’t help her and he thinks that is the end of the matter. Little does he know that he is soon to be embroiled in a murder mystery involving the same woman and her husband that she wanted to divorce.

Frank and Sarah attend the first auto show in Madison Square Garden and end up meeting the woman’s husband, Mr. Bing. He is an investor in the electric powered automobile and is very eager to show off his investments to customers at the fair. Later that evening, he is ran over by his own automobile and killed at the auto show. Mrs. Bing approaches Frank again and now asks him to help her solve the mystery of her husband’s murder. Frank and Sarah eagerly accept the case and start their investigation. Mr. Bing’s past comes back to haunt him and stirs up more trouble for Frank and Sarah. Apparently, Mr. Bing had a lot of secrets and a lot of people wanted him dead. It is up to Frank and Sarah, along with the help of Gino and Maeve, to find the murderer before someone else ends up hurt or worse, murdered.

This was another smashing read by Victoria Thompson. I simply cannot get enough of Frank and Sarah and love their stories and mysteries. Thompson has a way with making a well-established series seem fresh and never boring. I can never put her books down and always recommend this series for historical mystery lovers as a must-read series. I feel that I am never disappointed with her books and highly anticipate the next release in the series. Another well researched book by a historical mystery master. You will not be disappointed with this book or any of the others in this series.

Overall Rating: 5 stars

Author: Victoria Thompson

Series: Gaslight Mystery #25

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Pages: 348

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale

Description (from cover): “A gripping and compelling novel based on the true story of fearless reporter Nellie Bly, who will stop at nothing to prove that a woman’s place is on the front page.

In 1887 New York City, Nellie Bly has ambitions beyond writing for the ladies pages, but all the editors on Newspaper Row think women are too emotional, respectable and delicate to do the job. But then the New York World challenges her to an assignment she’d be mad to accept and mad to refuse: go undercover as a patient at Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for women.

For months, rumors have been swirling about deplorable conditions at Blackwell’s but no reporter can get in–that is, until Nellie feigns insanity, gets herself committed and attempts to survive ten days in the madhouse. Once inside, Nellie befriends her fellow patients who help her uncover shocking truths about the asylum. It’s a story that promises to be explosive–but will she get out before rival reporters get the scoop?

From USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale comes a witty, energetic and uplifting novel about a woman who defied convention to become the most famous reporter in Gilded Age New York. Perfect for fans of hidden histories about women who triumph.”

My Thoughts:

This is the beginning of a series featuring intrepid female news reporter Nellie Bly. In this book we meet Nellie and watch her struggle with trying to find a position as a newspaper writer in New York City. Nellie has recently arrived from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and she has been writing for the Pittsburgh Dispatch for several years, but she really aspires to see her name on the front page of a major newspaper. Spending several months trying to find a job on Newspaper Row and being constantly turned away because she is a woman, she is desperate to make a name for herself. When the opportunity presents itself for her to find a way to be committed to Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for women, she takes the bull by the horns and takes on the challenge of a lifetime.

At this time, little is known about the treatment and lives of the patients confined to the asylum. No reporter has ever been allowed on the premises and no one knows what the day-to-day life is like. Nellie is determined to report to the world all of the details. She is astonished by the living conditions, how the women are treated and the lack of attention to medical care and basic every day needs. Nellie is determined to expose the asylum for what it is and to shine a light on the injustices of the women confined there. Nellie’s story sends shockwaves through New York City and beyond and she seeks to use her voice to improve the conditions for the inhabitants so that they have a chance for a better life behind the asylum’s walls.

In this book, I felt that the author did a great job of telling Nellie’s story and sticking to the real facts of her life. The author did a wonderful job of creating a voice for Nellie that resonates well with the reader. Nellie was an interesting character to read about and to see how she bucks the constraints against women in the Gilded Age. It’s hard to imagine the struggle in our age as women are heavily engaged in the work force, but this author did a great job of showcasing how Nellie Bly was responsible for helping to break the glass ceiling for women everywhere. A delightful read that I couldn’t put down. I look forward to the future installments in this series and how Nellie continues to make a name for herself throughout history.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Author: Maya Rodale

Series: Nellie Bly #1

Publisher: Berkeley

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Pages: 334

Genre: Historical Fiction

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Three Debts Paid by Anne Perry

Description (from cover): “A serial killer is roaming the streets of London, and Daniel Pitt’s university chum Ian, now a member of the police, is leading the search. The murders happen on rainy nights, but Ian knows the victims must have something in common beyond the weather. He turns to Miriam fford Croft, Daniel’s good friend and now officially one of the first female pathologists in London, to tap her scientific know-how to find details he and Daniel have missed.

With Miriam involved in the murder investigation, Ian passes Daniel the case of Nicholas Wolford, their former university professor. Charged with assault after reacting violently to an accusation of plagiarism, Wolford, a proud, boastful man, is loath to admit he was in the wrong. But Daniel must defend him — whether he likes him or not.

As the murders continue with no clue as to who is committing them, Miriam, Daniel, and Ian find themselves questioning everything. Is the “Rainy-Day Slasher,” as the newspapers have dubbed the killer, really just one person? Or have the investigators stumbled into a more complicated web of deceit? The answer may lie closer than anyone could have expected.”

My Thoughts:

Anne Perry has long been a favorite of mine. You can just tell by viewing all of the books and series I have reviewed on this blog to get an idea of how much I really enjoy her books. This book is the fifth installment in Perry’s Daniel Pitt series. In this book, Daniel has been engaged to defend his former professor in a case where he has committed assault against another writer for the allegation of plagiarism. Wolford is a loose cannon and Daniel struggles to rein him in throughout the case. Simultaneously with this case, the Rainy-Day Slasher has been killing innocent people on the streets of London during rainy weather as the name suggests. All of the victims seem to be unconnected, but why has the killer targeted them and who is behind the crimes?

Miriam fford Croft, a friend of Daniel’s, has now returned home from training to become a pathologist. This murder spree is her first official case and she struggles with her own self-doubts as to whether she is doing her job correctly and whether she can catch the murderer before he harms someone else. In this book, we do not have as much courtroom drama as the previous installments of this book as the author focuses on the murder cases and Miriam’s new career as a pathologist. While I enjoyed reading this book, I felt that it lacked the previous excitement of the previous installments in this series and felt that it was really a book focused on character development for the series overall.

The ending was a little incomprehensible and seemed a little bit of a stretch and rushed. While this wasn’t a favorite read of mine in this series, I found it refreshing to be back with the characters and to see how their stories have evolved since the beginning of this series. I am hoping the next installment will bring back the courtroom drama that really drew me into this series in the first place. Not a terrible read, just not one of the better ones of this series. I am curious to see where the author plans to take these loveable characters next.

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Author: Anne Perry

Series: Daniel Pitt Mystery #5

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Pages: 296

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Murder on Teal’s Pond by David Bushman & Mark T. Givens

Description (from cover): “A brilliantly researched reinvestigation into the nearly forgotten century-old murder that inspired one of the most seductive mysteries in the history of television and film.

In 1908, Hazel Drew was found floating in a pond in Sand Lake, New York, beaten to death. The unsolved murder inspired rumors, speculation, ghost stories, and, almost a century later, the phenomenon of Twin Peaks. Who killed Hazel Drew? Like Laura Palmer, she was a paradox of personalities–a young, beautiful puzzle with secrets. Perhaps the even trickier question is, Who was Hazel Drew?

Seeking escape from her poor country roots, Hazel found work as a domestic servant in the notoriously corrupt metropolis of Troy, New York. Fate derailed her plans for reinvention. But the investigation that followed her brutal murder was fraught with red herrings, wild-goose chases, and unreliable witnesses. Did officials really follow the leads? Or did they bury them to protect the guilty?

The likely answer is revealed in an absorbing true mystery that’s ingeniously reconstructed and every bit as haunting as the cultural obsession it inspired.”

My Thoughts:

I am going to preface this review with stating that I know nothing about Twin Peaks and I have never watched the television series. I certainly have heard of Twin Peaks, but didn’t really have any substantial knowledge going into reading this book. I was selected to read an early advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and what really drew me into selecting this book was the fact that it was true crime and based on a real murder mystery. Little did I know that the murder featured in this book was the backstory used in Twin Peaks.

Hazel Drew was in her early twenties when her body was found floating in Teal’s Pond located in Sand Lake, New York in 1908. She was working as a domestic servant for a middle-class family in Troy, New York when she abruptly quit her job. None of her family and friends knew why she quit her job or where she went after doing so. In the next few days, Hazel would travel, see some friends, and ultimately be found dead floating in Teal’s Pond by campers. No one had any clue as to how she ended up dead and who murdered her. Her family and friends were investigated by the police and while there were some promising developments at the time, the case still remains unsolved today.

This is a non-fiction read but flows and reads as fiction. I thought the writing was very well done and engaging and it kept my attention throughout. There were some parts that were repetitive, but nothing that took away from the telling of this story. The authors go further and make their own determinations as to what happened and who killed Hazel Drew. Of course, we really don’t know the real story of what happened to Hazel Drew, but the authors provide a good scenario for what could have happened to her on that July evening in 1908. This was a fun and intriguing true crime novel that I am glad that I have the privilege to read and review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Authors: David Bushman & Mark T. Givens

Series: N/A

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Pages: 335

Genre: Nonfiction

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Key to Deceit by Ashley Weaver

Description (from cover): “London, 1940. After years of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor–well, to themselves, anyway–Ellie McDonnell and her family have turned over a new lead as they help the government’s war effort. It’s true that the straight-laced Major Ramsey didn’t give them much choice, but still, Ellie must admit she doesn’t miss breaking and entering as much as she might have thought. What she does miss is the challenge of unlocking an impossible code and the adrenaline rush that comes from being somewhere she shouldn’t.

So when Major Ramsey turns up unannounced with another job, she can’t say no. A woman’s body has been found floating in the Thames, with a bracelet locked onto her wrist, and a cameo locket attached to it. It’s clear this woman was involved in espionage, but whose side was she on? Who was she reporting to? And who wanted her dead?”

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Electra McDonnell mystery series by Ashley Weaver. While I haven’t reviewed this series yet on this blog, I have reviewed other books by this author. I really like this author’s way of writing as she leaves mystery surrounding her main characters. With Ellie’s character, we learn more with each book about her parents and how Ellie’s mother was imprisoned and charged with her father’s murder. Not much is known about her father’s murder and the facts and circumstances surrounding it, but the author feeds little nuggets throughout this series to keep the reader engaged and curious. I would love to find out more about this storyline and hope that the author provides some more information along the way.

In this book, Ellie is approached by Major Ramsey for another espionage job. A woman’s body has been found in the Thames and he needs her help unlocked a locked bracelet that is found on the body. It appears that the lady was murdered because she was an undercover spy for the Germans and helping them with their war efforts against Britain. The story was engaging and while it lacked the suspense that the first novel had, it was still an enjoyable read. We follow Ellie, her family and friends, along with the ever exhausting Major Ramsey, throughout the investigation where they don’t always use above board methods to accomplish their tasks.

I have really come to enjoy Ellie’s character and past storyline. I think that this will be a series that I will follow for some time. I enjoy the author’s way of making the main character not so perfect and it really makes her very likeable. There is a lot of promise with this series and as I stated, I will be eager to read every installment in this series. A great historical mystery set during WWII in London which really shows how the Blitz destroyed the city’s buildings, but not the spirit of its people. Another fantastic read by Ashley Weaver.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Author: Ashley Weaver

Series: Electra McDonnell Mystery #2

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Pages: 269

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Loyal Friend by A.A. Chaudhuri

Description (from cover): “She has your back. And may stab you in it.

Wealthy, pampered Susan is living the perfect life in leafy Kingston. She’ll never let anyone see the darkness she’s concealing behind the diamonds and rose.

Grace is new to the group, seemingly the perfect wife and mum. Yet no one knows the truth of what’s happening behind closed doors.

Loner Natalie hides the pain of her childhood behind a carefully ordered life. But how long can the past stay hidden?

Three unlikely friends, brought together for a weekly class run by beautiful, friendly instructor Jade.

But when Jade goes missing in mysterious circumstances, the group starts to unravel. And as their darkest secrets come to light, it seems that no one can be trusted. Even their closest friends…

A heart-in-your-mouth thriller that builds twist after twist, culminating in an unforgettable ending. This shocking, tense and gripping read will delight fans of T.M. Logan, B.A. Paris and Big Little Lies.”

My Thoughts:

It seems that I have been on a more psychological thriller kick here lately with my reading choices. I picked this up for review on NetGalley because it looked so good and I love a good mystery with a lot of suspects and this one seemed a perfect fit. In this book, we follow four friends, Natalie, Susan and Grace who all attend Jade’s fitness class. When Jade suddenly goes missing under mysterious circumstances, Natalie, Susan and Grace who all have secrets of their own come under suspicion during the investigation. It seems that Natalie, Grace, Susan and Jade all have secrets from their pasts that could come back to haunt them and put them under the direct spotlight of the police.

I liked this book. It kept my attention and even though I felt I predicted some of the plot twists in advance, it was still a good read. This story is told from each of the characters’ points of view, including Jade who is missing. We see glimpses of their pasts and their current lives come through, however there is not enough information to put everything together. It seemed that just when I felt like I had a handle on who might be the culprit, something would make me suspect another character and switch the storyline in a completely opposite direction. The ending was totally unexpected and fantastically well-done from a mystery standpoint.

This is the type of book where you don’t immediately connect with any of the characters. They all seem to be unlikeable in their own ways, but you spend the majority of the book trying to piece together their pasts and whether it plays into the current situation. It seems everyone has their own secrets and the author toys with the reader because you really don’t want to like them, but you can’t help but feel for them at the same time. If you like a good story told from several points of view with a lot of twists and turns, then this is one you should put on your reading list.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: A.A. Chaudhuri

Series: N/A

Publisher: Hera

Publication Date: June 23, 2022

Pages: 341

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Bridesmaids by Victoria Jenkins

Description (from cover): “Holly is getting married, but not before a celebration weekend with her closest friends. After a night of arguments, a body is found floating in the swimming pool of their secluded cottage. Holly must fact up to the truth–one of her bridesmaids is a killer, but which one?

New beginnings. Old rivalries.

Best friends. Bad blood.

Five bridesmaids. One body.

Fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and The Wife Between Us will love this pulse-racing psychological thriller. Once you start reading, you will not be able to stop!”

My Thoughts:

Holly is going on her “hen” weekend for her upcoming wedding. Five of her friends will be joining her at a secluded cottage with all of the latest amenities to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. Holly is excited to be spending some time away from wedding planning to catch up with her friends. What she doesn’t realize is that every single one of her friends has a secret and it appears that all the secrets will come out this weekend. Friends will become enemies, lies that have been covered for years will make their way to the surface and at the end of the weekend someone will be dead. So much for a relaxing and fun weekend.

This book is told through the narratives of the different characters involved in the story. I really enjoyed how the author used each of the characters and their own secrets to evolve this story. It seems everyone is not who they would appear to be and there were a lot of exciting revelations throughout this book. This was a fun read and while a little overwhelming at times trying to keep up with everyone and their secrets, I found it to be a quick and enjoyable mystery read. I was left wondering who was going to end up dead until the very end and it was a little shocking as I totally did not see that coming.

Overall, this was a great psychological murder mystery where the reader is trying to figure out the mystery when every single character has the motive and opportunity for murder. The ending wasn’t wrapped up in a tidy little bow, but such is life and the author did a great job of making the ending realistic based on the story. I really connected with a few of characters while reading this book, but by the end I really didn’t like any of them, but that was the clear intention of the author. This book really makes you think about whether you really know the people you are friends with and what secrets are they keeping in the dark?

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: Victoria Jenkins

Series: N/A

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: May 23, 2022

Pages: 275

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Description (from cover): “In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning–it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.”

My Thoughts:

The first thoughts that come to my mind as I write the review for this novel, is “WOW! What a great read!” I was utterly shocked at how much this book grabbed my attention and did not let go until the very end. I read this book in one day because I simply could not put it down. The twists and turns had me literally gasping aloud and on the edge of my seat. This book is a murder mystery with many winding plot twists. All the reader knows is that one of the main characters is a murderer and they all have their own reasons for committing the crime. The reader is left guessing literally until the very last pages of this book. Let me say that I did not see the ending coming even though the author tells us at the very beginning that one of the main characters is the murderer.

This book will stay with me for a while. I read a lot of mysteries. Pretty much every book I read is a mystery, so for me to say that this book took me by surprise, it is a big deal. Gentill is a remarkable writer who engages her readers from the very first page until the very last page. The setup of this book is a little different and it is hard to describe for me in words, but I would suggest that the reader just roll with it and take it for what it is. You will not be disappointed. Basically, there are two different stories in this novel that overlap slightly but together create a mystery masterpiece.

Typically in my reviews, I outline the storyline of the book, but with this one it just wouldn’t feel right for me to detail the story on this blog. I feel like I would be doing the book an injustice and might give away some of the twists and turns that really make this book truly unique. All I can say is when this book is released in June of this year, run and get your hands on this one as it was phenomenal in every single way. I have a feeling this book will be a huge hit and everyone will be talking about it. I am absolutely honored I had the chance to preview it and read it early. From a chronic mystery reader, I give this book a huge standing ovation and cannot wait to see what the author writes next.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Sulari Gentill

Series: N/A

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Pages: 292

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: An English Garden Murder by Katie Gayle

Description (from cover): “Meet Julia Bird: recently single, reluctantly retired, and… an amateur sleuth?

Julia Bird has left London for a fresh start in a picturesque Cotswold village, and the rustic charm and cosy fireplaces of her little cottage are everything she’d hoped for. But when she tears down the old garden shed to make way for a chicken coop, she unearths much more than she’d bargained for…the body of a young woman, apparently buried for decades, thrusting Julia into a baffling mystery.

With only one copper on the case in Berrywick, Julia decides to solve the who and whodunnit herself, taking her wayward puppy Jake along for the ride. And so begins a whirlwind tour of the village–from the dotty 90-year-old to the delightful doctor and the village gardener, it seems everyone has something to hide.

Soon, Julia is convinced she has discovered the killer’s identity until Jake, a true Labrador, finds a new love of the local lake’s waterfowl and instead ends up catching her chief suspect…drowned. Back at square one, with potential culprits galore, Julia–newly nicknamed the Grim Reaper–despairs at ever solving the murders.

But as Julia ruffles feathers village-wife, the clock is ticking. There is someone in the village who has killed twice already. Will they be prepared to make it third time lucky to keep their secret safe?”

My Thoughts:

This book really reminds me of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series by M.C. Beaton. This book takes place in the Cotswolds just like Agatha Raisin and well the Cotswolds seems to be such a lovely place. I have always wanted to visit there and I love it when I can read a mystery that is set in such an idyllic place. I adore the small English village murder mystery as they seem so relatable for some reason. The small town where everyone knows their neighbors and gossip runs abound seem to always get my attention. In this book, newly single Julia Bird has left London to start a new life in Berrywick after retirement. Not much information is given about Julia’s mysterious past and why she left her job as a social worker, but I am hoping that the author expands a little on this back story in the upcoming books in this series. There seems to be a hint of a story there, but the author decided not to give too much away in this book.

Julia is new to Berrywick and quickly sets about exploring her new village. She meets some new friends and adopts a Labrador puppy. She befriends the local contractor and sets about tearing down an old shed on her property to build a chicken coop. During this process, a body is found and it appears that the body has been there for many years. No one in the town remembers anyone missing and they have no clue who could have been murdered. Julia is determined to find out who the body belongs to and why they were buried under a shed on her own property. When Julia stumbles across two more bodies during her investigation, she becomes concerned that her new idyllic village might not be as peaceful as she hoped.

I really enjoyed reading this book and thought that the author did a great job of setting the scene of a small village and village life. I felt the ending was a little rushed, but overall this was a great quick read and I am glad that I had the opportunity to read it prior to the publication date. If you love Agatha Raisin, Midsomer Murders, Hamish Macbeth, and like series, this is probably a new series you do not want to miss. Julia’s character is hard not to like and I am curious to see what trouble she finds herself in moving forward with the series and how her new life in Berrywick plays out.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Author: Katie Gayle

Series: Julia Bird Mystery #1

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: May 5, 2022

Pages: 262

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Traitor in the Ice by K. J. Maitland

Description (from cover): “Winter, 1607. A man is struck down in the grounds of Battle Abbey, Sussex. Before dawn breaks, he is dead.

Home to the Montagues, Battle has caught the paranoid eye of King James. The Catholic household is rumoured to shelter those loyal to the Pope, disguising them as servants within the abbey walls. And the last man sent to expose them was silenced before his report could reach London.

Daniel Pursglove is summoned to infiltrate Battle and find proof of treachery. He soon discovers that nearly everyone at the abbey has something to hide–for deeds far more dangerous than religious dissent. But one lone figure he senses only in the shadows, carefully concealed from the world. Could the notorious traitor Spero Pettingar finally be close at hand?

As more bodies are unearthed, Daniel determines to catch the culprit. But how do you unmask a killer when nobody is who they seem?

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Daniel Pursglove mystery series by K. J. Maitland. I reviewed the first book, The Drowned City, on this blog previously. The problems I had with that book are prevalent in this book as well. The books in this series tend to be long, very descriptive and a little chaotic at times with the switching back and forth between storylines. I will say that I did enjoy this book more than the first book as it was easier to read for me this go around. Nonetheless, the ending left me scratching my head a little bit trying to figure out all of the storylines and what exactly happened. I still am not quite sure.

In this book, we see the return of Daniel Pursglove who has been sent to Battle Abbey to act as a spy. He is told to make himself a part of the household and find out if there are priests being hidden there and whether the residents are attending Mass instead of the required Protestant services. Pursglove quickly avails himself to the household and soon finds himself an integral part of the household. In the small town surrounding the Abbey, there is a creature that has been wreaking havoc on the town at night. Animals are missing or killed, strange noises and fear has been walking the streets at night and the villagers are up in arms.

In the middle of the drama at the Abbey and the hysteria of the small town, Pursglove soon finds himself embroiled in more mysteries than he can handle and he is not sure which one is more dangerous. He has to constantly be on his toes as everyone is not who they seem and there is a murderer lurking in the shadows. This book was a better read than the first one, however I struggled to understand what was happening at times and I felt the ending didn’t really conclude the mysteries.

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Author: K. J. Maitland

Series: Daniel Pursglove Mystery #2

Publisher: Headline Review

Publication Date: March 31, 2022

Pages: 461

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.