The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. My thanks to the publisher Harper Collins for accepting my request to review this book.

Let’s see what it is all about…

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot – the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in 1930’s London.

Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

Hercule Poirot is accused by four different people of writing letters that accuse them of murder. The problem is that Poirot did not send the letters, he has no idea how sent them, but he does think that something more sinister and dangerous could be afoot…

I have not read the previous two books in this series and to be honest this one reads very well as a stand-alone. I think this mirrors the way Christie herself wrote, each of her books could be picked up and read in any order.

So did this mysterious tale feel right? Actually yes it did, there was a lot of misdirection, clues that only came clear at the end, a series of possible characters who could have dunnit and who had the motive and of course there is a body.

I enjoyed the slower pace of this mystery novel and felt that the author did a really good job of creating a story with the infamous Poirot. Various mannerisms, quirks, and phrases felt right.

The plot is one that I was happy to sit back and watch (so to speak) as it worked its way through to the grand unveiling of the guilty party and the reasons why.

I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books, though it was several years ago now, and I found there were some good similarities between Sophie Hannah’s Poirot and the original. It was an enjoyable read and ones that I think would appeal to fans of cosy mystery and also of Christie fans as well.

Sophie Hannah
Photo taken from the authors Goodreads Page.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets. 

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley @lucyfoleytweets @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. It is hard to miss a cover this bright and also there has been a lot of publicity for this book on social media. These two things are what attracted me to read the synopsis and then to request a review e-copy from the publisher Harper Collins via NetGalley.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close? 

The synopsis for this book does a really great job. A story of friendship that once held these people together through their younger days but now appears to be heading towards its best by date.

I really enjoyed the style this book has been laid out in. It has quick chapters that flit back and forth between the groups’ arrival at a Scottish Lodge, there pasts and then forward to the day that a body is discovered.

Another alternating factor is that of the characters, as their chapters also change as sections are told from them and fro their own perspective. The gave additional insights into each character, so I got to see them as they think they are seen and also how they are actually seen. The characters give memories, events, relationships and also interactions that gradually builds up a picture of how this group came together and what keeps them in touch with each other.

With all the toing and froing, you would think it would get a little bit confusing, but this is really not the case. I soon discovered that I was able to easily keep up with this and the reading was understandable.

I really liked the way the author kept the ID of the victim secret all the way through the story. This gave me a chance to try and work out who the victim was. I could say that I worked out who it was, but the truth of the matter is that there were several people who I guessed, so in actual fact, I didn’t really guess at all. Oh and the perpetrator, well I didn’t guess that one either.

This is a story that had a feel of Agatha Christie about it, I say this because of its isolated setting and that it was closed off to outsiders which meant it had to be one of the group. Also, there were the pieces of the puzzle being brought together at the end.

I really enjoyed this story, the style in which it was written and it worked really well for me. It is a murder/ mystery/ whodunit/ who was the victim style that I think would appeal to a variety of readers. It isn’t a hard crime book but more towards a cosy mystery. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Lucy Foley
Picture Credit
From the Authors Goodreads Page

I live in London, but love traveling – both in real life and on the page (hence the appearance of some far flung locations in my writing). 

My latest novel is The Invitation – set in the film world of the 1950s, along the Italian Riviera. 

My debut novel, The Book of Lost & Found, published in early 2015.

You can find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter

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Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review for Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. My thanks go to Harper Collins UK for accepting my review request for this e-book that I received via NetGalley.

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. 

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!

This is the 8th book in the Tortall series, but book 1 in the Numair Chronicles. This book, as it happens, turned out to be the right choice for me as I had not read anything in the series or by this author before.

In the Imperial University of Carthak there are three students who are ahead of others in their age group and also those older in terms of their abilities. They are Varice, often referred to as the “kitchen witch”. Prince Orzone was known as the “left-over Prince” and then the youngest Arram Draper. It is Arram’s story that is experienced in this book. The three students form a friendship that is needed, singly they would probably stand out more and be loners, open to bullying, insult, and attack. Together they are strong.

The story follows their progress through their studies. It focuses mainly on Arram and how he and his fellow students’ magical gifts are developing. Arram’s magic stands out more as it seems to be more natural, wild and if not careful, uncontrollable. Yes, this is a story about magical abilities but it has so much more to it than that. At times it has a historical fiction feel to it with mentions of Emperors, Royalty, Slavery, Gladitorial battles, and traitors.

The three friends have very different backgrounds and ideas, they have different subjects that will help them in their respective futures, whatever their futures may be…

This is a fair paced story and I found it really easy to get into, the characters were very quick to become memorable as I read. Mixed in amongst the learning, magic and daily life are mentions of various gods. Some make themselves known and in their respective forms, and if I were to meet one I wouldn’t hang around. The story has a very nice flow to it, I guess what I mean is that it is very easy to involved in, relate to some of the dilemmas of the students and just to be able to follow the story and enjoy.

As I said earlier, this is the first time of reading anything by this author and I can definitely say it will not be the last, I am looking forward to reading further books in this series and then I am eager to reading the follow on series. It does have the feel of a new series to it, groundwork, history, all the building blocks are being laid down, as many first in a series books do. It is a series I am very interested in and will continue with. I think this is one that readers who don’t often read fantasy would get on very well with, yes there is magic, but there are other things as well. Ideal for fantasy readers and I think general fiction readers as well, and one I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from the Author’s Page on Amazon UK

Tamora Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania and her parents were originally going to call her Tamara, but the nurse who filled out her birth certificate had never heard of that name before and accidentally misspelled it. However, Tamora likes her name and in case you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it sounds just like a camera. She was a passionate reader from an early age, devouring encyclopedias, Dr. Seuss books, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Writing helped Tamora get through her parents’ divorce and in her junior year at college she sold her first story and went on to publish The Song of the Lioness, originally with adult readers in mind, but found success when she turned it into a quartet for teenagers. The rest, as they say, is history! Tamora lives in New York with her husband.

Author Links – Amazon Author Page

Purchase Link – Amazon UKTwitterWebsite

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Fools and Mortals by @BernardCornwell : published by @HarperCollins

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“Fools and Mortals” by Bernard Cornwell. Published by Harper Collins. Publication date 19th October 2017.

Synopsis:

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

My thoughts:

Set in Elizabethan England, at a time when static playhouses are still in their infancy, as the days of players touring the country will gradually decline.  The story focuses on one playhouse and it’s players known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.  It is here where the reader in introduced to Richard, a small time actor who has followed his estranged brother to London.  His brother is the script writer William Shakespeare and scripts are becoming a valuable commodity.  Because the audiences are now going to the playhouse then there is a need for more plays.  It is at this time that William is creating A Midsummer Nights’ Dream and also Romeo and Juliet.

Richard is where the focus of this story lies, we are told why and how he decided to follow his older brother to London as well as his experiences of acting, living and social conditions  This is at a time when the playhouses are being targeted by the Pursuivants, who have the belief that what they the players do is all a lie, cheat and are generally considered to be rogues and criminals, luckily for us Queen Elizabeth and other notable aristocracy of the time were big supporters and so we have access to theatres today.

This is a really good read with a lot of historical research.  Cornwell is well-known for his historical fiction books, they tend to be more battle based.  This is a shift away from that style, this is has a real different feel to his previous works.  It is lighter and entertaining, but still shows the huge amount of research as his other books.  There are many characters to get to know, but once that is done the story becomes very addictive and a page turner.

Cromwell has included a very interesting “Historical Notes” addition at the end of the book, here he discusses the origins of the playhouse as well as the historical figure he has used in the story.

If like me you like historical fiction genres, then this is a book I would recommend.  It has a great cast of characters, that will lead the reader through jealous rivalries, romance, betrayal as well as having some great historical content.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins for my eARC copy of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

  • ISBN: 9780007504114
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 19/10/2017
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 384

Links:

Author Website

Harper Collins UK

Purchase from :  Harper CollinsAmazon UK   | Amazon US

About the Author:

1227 Born in Essex in 1944 Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Not surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. In 1979, his life changed when he fell in love with an American.

Judy couldn’t live here, so I gave up my job and moved to the US. I couldn’t get a green card, and for 18 months the only thing I could do was write novels. The result was his first book about 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle.

Today he has 20 Sharpe adventures behind him, plus a series about the American Civil War, the Starbuck novels; an enormously successful trilogy about King Arthur, The Warlord Chronicles; the Hundred Years War set Grail Quest series; and his current series about King Alfred.

Bernard Cornwell owns houses in Cape Cod and Florida and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

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