A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin @HarperFiction #histfic #regency #romance #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin. This is a brilliant read for those who like a good Regency period romance. If you are a fan of “Bridgerton”, a recent NetFlix period drama, then you are going to really enjoy this book.

My huge thanks to Harper Fiction for my e-copy that I requested to read and review via NetGalley.

The season is about to begin—and there’s not a minute to lose.

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one—not even a lord—will stand in her way…

MY REVIEW

Set in 1818 England, Kitty Talbot has one thing on her mind. THat is snagging herself a rich husband. Now, before you think she is a money-grabbing wench, she is doing this out of duty and for the benefit of her sisters. However, can she fit into the Ton and society without looking out of place?

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it has all the glamour and societal expectations but it is one full of learning curves for Kitty. Coming to London she is well out of her league, she knows what she wants but she doesn’t revolve around the high society echelons. You cannot just walk up to a Countess. Lord or Lady, you have to be properly introduced. This is a problem for Kitty as she hasn’t any connections, well she does have the connections of her Aunt, but they could be, well dubious!

This is a fun read and one that I really enjoyed, there are reasons for Kitty’s actions and when she catches the eye of a certain young, some to be rich, the gentleman then she thinks all she has to do is convince him and his family of her respectability. One problem, he has an older brother!

I did like Kitty, she is a feisty young woman who is determined, to say the least. The downside to her is that she doesn’t have the ‘breeding’ for what she is to embark on. But, to be fair she learns to hold her own. there are some wonderful battles she has to deal with and her ‘breeding’ does stand her in good stead for the most part.

The storyline at times reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice as well as the TV series Bridgerton ( I have only watched the 1st one!). It felt like a mix of history with the excitement of a modern story but in costume. This is a fun read, but it also does highlight society of the time. It does have the feel of a Young Adult story at times.

Enjoyable, fun, and fast-paced story that I really enjoyed and I would happily recommend.


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The Game by Scott Kershaw @HQstories #NetGalley #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Game by Scott Kershaw. The cover and the snappy synopsis definitely caught my eye when I requested it.

My huge thanks to HQ for granting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

[text message]

DEAR PLAYER,

THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST IS IN DANGER.

TO SAVE THEM, YOU MUST PLAY THE GAME.

THE RULES ARE: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER.

IF YOU LOSE, YOUR LOVED ONE WILL DIE.

ALL PLAYERS ENTER ALONE.

DO NOT SHARE THIS MESSAGE. DO NOT SEEK HELP.

WELCOME TO THE GAME.

YOU’VE JUST STARTED PLAYING.

[end of message]

MY REVIEW

I have to admit it was the cover that first caught my eye with this book. Snappy title, simple graphic and the line – The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

This is a mystery thriller, that does have a crime element to it, but it is more about the mystery of The Game. What is The Game, who runs it, why is this being done and what would you do to keep those you love safe and alive!

There are 5 players in this game, they are unconnected, they are oblivious to each other and they have travelled from the US, France and Uk to meet up so they can learn more about The Game. The consequences are not as clear cut as I originally thought they might be. There was a curiosity to both stories but I was never fully aware of what was occurring until further into the story. The author does pace this story so well, it is one where some players are on a time limit, and this increases the tension of the story.

There is a lot more to this story than the synopsis gives away. The suspense of wondering if any of the players will do something stupid or brave is an ever[present one.

The players are normal people, with normal lives. Because they have been drawn from different countries it makes any connection unlikely. I liked how the author introduced each player and then kept referring back to things in the past. I soon found that I got to know who was who especially when they do meet up to actually continue The Game.

This is intriguing, I liked the time element and the mystery that was underlying all the way through. It is a thriller and I really enjoyed the story. The characters are not all likeable, but this is down to how the author portrays them. I look forward to reading more by this author and I would happily recommend this book.

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Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth @PenguinUKBooks #PublicationDay #NetGalley #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth. This is a wonderful historical fiction story about a Black Actress in London, that has its Publication Day today.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House for my e-copy of this book via NetGalley.

Crowds gather at Crillick’s Variety Theatre, where curiosity is satisfied with displays of intrigue and fear. They’re here for the star of the show – the Great Amazonia warrior. They needn’t know this warrior is in fact Zillah, a mixed-race actress from the East End fooling them each night with her thrilling performance.

But something is amiss, and when Crillick’s new act goes missing Zillah feels compelled to investigate, knowing the fates that can befall women in Victorian London.

From the bustle of the West India Docks to the coffee houses of Fleet Street to the parlours of Mayfair, Zillah’s journey for answers will find her caught between both sides of her own identity, and between two men: her wealthy white admirer, and an African merchant appalled by her act.

Will Zillah be forced to confront the price of her own performance? And in risking everything can she also save herself?

Featuring a defiant heroine for our times and a theatrical world of fragile dreams and ruthless ambition, THEATRE OF MARVELS shines a light on the experience of being Black and British in Victorian London through one woman’s journey to live her life on her own terms.

MY REVIEW

Zillah is a young woman of mixed race. Her mother has given her the best chance in life she can, as a free person, not a slave. This is set in the Victorian era of London and the author has created a vivid picture of what life may have been like for someone like Zillah.

Working as an actress, she isn’t happy that her role is to play a warrior from the Amazon, especially when she has never left London. Zillah was born in the slums of St Giles and a job is a job. She does however start to realise that maybe her painting herself up, dancing and chanting on stage may not be right.

This story is about how a young girl is discovering more about herself and the world she lives in. In some ways, she does live a sheltered life, she has a job, and a place to live and while she has worries she does have the basics. It is when she starts to see other people and listen to their opinions and what they are fighting for that sZillah herself wants to make her own contribution.

This is a time of exploitation, slavery and manipulation. The world is changing and not everyone wants to keep up or change with it. The author does such a great job with descriptions of sights sounds and smells that this did become a very immersive story. I genuinely cared about what Zillah was faced with and what decisions she had to make.

Trying to do the right thing isn’t easy, but when you are still struggling to understand what is going on it makes it hard. But the thing about Zillah is her determination, it is something that grows with her and it was great to read of her finding the courage to join the campaign for better laws and freedoms.

This is a historical fiction story, I did think it had more of a Young Adult feel to it as the story does focus on Zillah, her realisation that there are things in the world that are not right, it is her journey of self-discovery and empowerment. It is a story that does have some serious themes, but the author doesn’t go into too much detail which was rather nice from a reader’s point of view. It is an interesting and evocative read and one that I would recommend reading.

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Nine Lives by Peter Swanson #crime #mystery @FaberBooks #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Nine Lives by Peter Swanson. This is a really enjoyable crime mystery book that I had requested from NetGalley. My thanks to Faber & Faber for granting my request to read this title.

If you’re on the list you’re marked for death.

The envelope is unremarkable. There is no return address. It contains a single, folded, sheet of white paper.

The envelope drops through the mail slot like any other piece of post. But for the nine complete strangers who receive it – each of them recognising just one name, their own, on the enclosed list – it will be the most life-altering letter they ever receive. It could also be the last, as one by one, they start to meet their end.

But why?

MY REVIEW

When a letter arrives with nine different names on it and one of them is your own. What would you do? Well for the nine recipients of the letters, seeing their names on a random list doesn’t necessarily alarm them or bother them. Just a prank maybe or something that has been mistakenly mailed. One of the recipients works for the FBI, she is intrigued by this list and seems to think one of the names sounds familiar.

This is a slower-paced story and one where the author introduces the nine letter recipients and gives the basics about them. Nothing seems to link them and they all seem like random strangers. The author gradually ups the suspense throughout this story and it isn’t until the final 20% of the book that things suddenly become clear.

Given that the characters are unknown to each other, there is something that obviously links them. This is the letter with their names on it. One death doesn’t really mean anything, but when a second and then a third person on the list turns up dead, well there is something obviously more going on.

I did like this slower pace, it is one of those stories that feels like nothing is really linking or moving but in subtle ways, things are developing. The author lays down the foundation and then builds them, adding more details to the remaining characters until the end of the book.

This is a crime based story but it felt more like a crime mystery than a crime thriller. Discovering the reasons, the motives and the underlying cause of the list made this a quite addictive read. It is one I would be happy to recommend.

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Fair Game by R.D. Nixon @TerriNixon @RandomTTours @HobeckBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Fair Game by R.D. Nixon. This is the second book I have read in this Clifford & MacKenzie series. It’s nice to occasionally step away from police procedurals and read a book about an Investigating Agency.

My full review for the first book Crossfire can be found HERE

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher Hobeck Books.

It’s autumn in Abergarry.
The nights lengthen, the weather turns, and the atmosphere darkens as the community is rocked by a brutal roadside murder: a loan shark’s ‘bag man’, Craig Lumsden, is found bludgeoned to death in his car in the early hours of the morning.

The season for murder.
The case seems simple enough. and the fingers quickly point to the most obvious suspect. But things are rarely as simple as they seem…

A murder that’s too close to home.
Too close for comfort, and definitely too close for complacency for private investigators Maddie Clifford and Paul Mackenzie. Delving into the case brings at least one of them face-to-face with danger… Will life in Abergarry ever be the same again?

MY REVIEW

This is the second book in the Maddie Clifford and Paul Mackenzie series, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the previous book, Crossfire. While Maddie and Paul are part of an investigation agency, they are also caught up in something closer to home. A 25-year-old prank with fatal consequences starts this story off. It then gets dangerous and lives are on the line as the author turns up the tension.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, but I did need my wits about me for the many characters in this one. I did occasionally forget who was who, and thankfully I could remember the name Paul MacKenzie as he is referred to in both his first name and surname.

The other thing that kept me on my toes with this story was the complexity of the plot, it was one I could follow while I was reading it, but given the larger cast, it would be very confusing trying to summarise it. This is not a bad thing as it meant for me I had to concentrate more and therefore found myself more immersed in the story.

The storyline is mainly present day, it involves close friends, relatives, family and acquaintances. Thinking back on the story I do believe pretty much everyone has a part to play and I there is one or two characters that I really did have a soft spot for. Not main characters as such, but very definitely important to the story.

You will have to forgive my vagueness for this review, I did mention that it was complex but at the same time I don’t want to give anything away.

The author has created a wonderfully tense story, it is full of danger, apprehension, doubt, mistrust and it takes time for the whole truth to come out. The storyline itself is slow to completely reveal itself, but the pacing increases as I got further and further into it.

The ending was interesting, it did answer the questions and also raised eyebrows. I really enjoyed this one, as I write this review I can see this one being very good if it was made into a TV mini-series. I do think that there are many details that would transfer so well. This is an atmospheric crime thriller, tense, dark, devious and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

R.D. (Terri) Nixon is a prolific writer, with thirteen books under her belt now. In
addition to this crime series, she also writes historical fiction, family sagas and
mythical fiction. When she’s not writing, Terri works in the Faculty of Arts,
Humanities, and Business at Plymouth University, where she is constantly
baffled by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

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If She Wakes by Erik Therme @ErikTherme @ZooloosBT #crime #mystery #domesticthriller #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for If She Wakes by Erik Therme. This is the second book in the Harlow series and it works as a standalone very well indeed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous mystery, crime, thriller story.

Who do you trust when everyone is lying?


My name is Tess Parker.
Two days ago, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law, Torrie. Before she slipped into a coma, she asked my husband and me to care for her four-month-old son, Levi.


Yesterday, a woman claiming to be Torrie’s estranged sister knocked on our door. But Torrie has no siblings . . . or so she said. She and my brother were only together a short time before he left, and Torrie has clearly been keeping secrets.


Today, another of Torrie’s “sisters” has come to town. Both say the other is lying about who they are.


Neither of them is telling the truth.
Both of them want Levi.

MY REVIEW

This is my first time reading this author and what a really good twisted crime, thriller mystery this book was. It also had a very good psychological edge to it.

The life of Tess hasn’t been the happiest, it has left her mentally and emotionally scarred. She has the support of her husband, and together they are existing in their marriage. When an accident leaves Tess’s sister in law in hospital it is down to Tess and her husband Josh to look after 4-month-old Levi until Torrie is able to leave the hospital.

This started well and the author quickly engaged me with a pretty fast-paced story. What appeared to be a simple story of an accident soon developed into something more twisted. The story of Tess is gradually incorporated into the story and it was definitely needed to explain her state of mind and also the dynamics of her relationship with Josh, Torrie and also baby Levi.

Tess comes across as quite emotionless but as I learnt more about her I realised why. It gave reason to her cold attitude and also to her mental health. This story does touch onto the mental health side of things in various forms and the author has done a wonderful job with this. It gives the overall story a psychological edge to it that makes for a gripping read. It also added several twists, some I saw coming but others I didn’t expect at all.

This is a fast-paced story, it is intriguing and one that I read in one sitting. I was able to see a different side to several of the characters and for some it made me change my view of them. Not everyone is as you think they are.

This is one for those who like a twisted crime thriller and mystery read. It is one I would recommend reading and I look forward to reading more by this author. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harboured runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways – HERE

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The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris #NetGalley @HarvillSecker #victorianmystery #truecrime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris. This is a very interesting Victorian mystery that is based on a real case.

I requested this book via NetGalley and I was approved to read this from the publisher, Harvill Secker.

An astonishing real-life locked-room murder mystery set in Victorian Dublin, packed with gripping, perplexing twists. This meticulously researched true-crime tale reads like a quintessential Victorian thriller and is perfect for fans of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.

One morning in November 1856 George Little, the chief cashier of the Broadstone railway terminus in Dublin, was found dead, lying in a pool of blood beneath his desk. His head had been almost severed; a knife lay nearby, but strangely the office door was locked, apparently from the inside. This was a deed of almost unheard-of brutality for the peaceful Irish capital: while violent crime was commonplace in Victorian London, the courts of Dublin had not convicted a single murderer in more than thirty years.

From the first day of the police investigation it was apparent that this was no ordinary case. Detectives struggled to understand how the killer could have entered and then escaped from a locked room, and why thousands of pounds in gold and silver had been left untouched at the scene of the crime. Three of Scotland Yard’s most celebrated sleuths were summoned to assist the enquiry, but all returned to London baffled. It was left to Superintendent Augustus Guy, the head of Ireland’s first detective force, to unravel the mystery.

Five suspects were arrested and released, with every step of the salacious case followed by the press, clamouring for answers. Under intense public scrutiny, Superintendent Guy found himself blocked at almost every turn. But then a local woman came forward, claiming to know the murderer….

MY REVIEW

This is a well-researched account of the death of George Little. He worked as a cashier for the Broadstone Railway in Dublin and his death occurred in 1856. This was a case that confounded detectives as the room was locked from the inside and initial observations were confusing.

This is quite a good read and one that I did find very interesting as it took me back to a very different way of investigating crime. The laws were very different from today and the way things were undertaken to solve showed how things have changed over the years.

This was interesting for a number of reasons as it showed various aspects of society at the time, living conditions and also how the proceedings could be hampered by newspaper reports. I really enjoyed the way the author laid this book out, it made for following what could have been a very confusing account, much easier to follow. Questions led to more questions, sometimes leading to dead ends. There were various suspects and yet it took many months for things to finally come to a conclusion, even then it was not altogether clear cut.

The research is meticulous and there are some great footnotes to show how things have changed over the years. The facts have been used well and incorporated into a narrative of events. This makes for a practical and analytical read, showing the stories of those involved but without emotion. At times it felt like reading a newspaper article. I think this style is good for a true crime read, not that I have read that many, but it was a style I enjoyed.

This is a slower book and there is some overlapping, but this I think is expected given the era of the crime. We are lucky to have computers to cross-reference, double-check and back-up as well as have a much more advanced technology to assist with identification. There are mentions of major changes to the law to show a comparison between then and now.

This is a good read and one for those who enjoy true crime and especially historical crime. Well laid out, a good pace and some very interesting facts. I do think it could have been a little shorter in length but that is just my opinion. I would happily recommend this one.

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

You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Veste @HodderBooks #NetGalley #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Vesta. I have seen many good reviews about this author but never read any of his books. I saw this title available for request on NetGalley and was delighted to be approved to read it.

A DEVOTED MOTHER
Sam Cooper has a happy life: a good job, a blossoming relationship. Yet, there’s something he can never forget – the image seared into his mind of his mother, Laurie, dying when he was a child. His father allowed his grief to tear them apart and Sam hasn’t seen him in years.

A LOVING WIFE
Until an unexpected call from Firwood hospital, asking Sam to come home, puts in motion a chain of devastating events. On his deathbed, Sam’s father makes a shocking confession.

A LIAR?
Who was Laurie Cooper? It’s clear that everything Sam thought he knew about his mother was wrong. And now he’s determined to find out exactly what she did and why – whatever the cost.

What happens if you discover you’ve been lied to by your own family for twenty-five years?

Sam Cooper is about to find out. 

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author, I have seen many reviews about his books and decided to give his latest one a go.

This is a crime, thriller mystery read that is full of tension and suspense from the very beginning right through till the end. A page-turner for definite and one full of intrigue. As the synopsis suggests it is Sam Cooper who is the main focus of this story. He has not had the best relationship with his father. After an accident in which Sam’s mum and little brother died, all Sam has known is his dad. So when his dad mentions Sam’s mum Laurie still being alive he doesn’t know what to think.

This is a book that starts with Sam, unhappy but getting on with life. After hearing that his mum may be alive he goes through various emotions. Guilt is something he has lived with since the accident, and there is a certain amount of resentment towards his dad.

Sam leaves the UK to travel back to the US, his arrival is something that shouldn’t be fraught with danger. What Sam doesn’t know is the full facts of what went on 25 years ago, and more importantly what preceded the events that led to the accident.

This is a book that I needed to keep my full attention with as I got used to the differing timelines and the characters. Having a timeline that flits back and forth is great for adding detail, and the author does a wonderful job of trickling the information through. It fills in gaps and also leaves questions. This is ideal to keep the story flowing and it definitely kept me engaged.

The pace of this story felt quite quick and it suited the theme as Sam suddenly finds himself in the midst of something he was totally unaware of and definitely unprepared for. The title is so good for this story, it definitely takes on a more sinister message than I originally thought.

This is a tense storyline that explodes onto the page, has the main characters racing and running for answers and their lives. A really good action read with plenty of suspense and one for readers who like a good twisted crime thriller book.

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

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M McManus #YAFiction #crime #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M McManus. I read this one at the beginning of January and have only now got around to writing this post up. But, I have finally caught up with the review backlog now.

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand new pulse-pounding thriller. When three old friends re-live an epic ditch day, it goes horribly-and deadly-wrong.

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Back in middle school they were best friends. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch school and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Why did they stop hanging out, anyway?

As soon as they pull out of the parking lot Cal knows why. Ivy’s already freaking out about missing class, and heartthrob Mateo is asleep in the backseat, too cool to even pretend like he wants to be there. The truth is they have nothing in common anymore.

At least they don’t until they run into the fourth student ditching school that day. Brian “Boney” Mahoney is supposed to be accepting his newly won office of class president. Which is why Ivy follows him into an empty building, only to walk into the middle of a murder scene. Cal, Ivy, and Mateo all know the person lying on the ground of that building, and now they need to come clean. They’re all hiding something. And maybe their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all. 

MY REVIEW

This is the second book I have read by this author and it is another very twisted and intriguing read. Three friends decide to try and recreate a day from years ago, it was a day they all adored. Now they are older and decide to take the day off from college and hang out. The last thing they expect to find in an art studio is one of their classmates dead!

This is a story that I did initially find slower, to begin with, the author takes time bringing the characters of Cal, Matteo and Ivy together, but once she does she then begins to add subtle twists that gradually develop into something a lot bigger as the story develops.

Rather than going to the police, the three teens run. It makes sense to them because the police arrive just as they discover the body and one of them has a reason for not being friendly towards the victim.

This is a story that gradually grew on me, the author kept adding more twists and characters as deepening the plot. It definitely has that YA feel to it especially as it is students of a US college system. There are various references to college life and I do think the thought processes of those involved felt right as I read this.

I did enjoy the latter third of the book as things suddenly started to connect, the last quarter definitely sped up to a faster pace. This is when various things landed and I found myself suddenly seeing the bigger picture. A mystery that is not as simple as I first thought it may be kept me reading to discover the truth.

This is a crime mystery that is aimed at Young Adult readers, while it is not a thriller as such there is plenty of intrigue. It is one that I would happily recommend. 

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The Shadow of the Empire by Qiu Xiaolong #historicalfiction #mystery #NetGalley @severnhouse #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Shadow of the Empire by Qiu Xiaolong. Years ago I enjoyed reading the Judge Dee series by Robert Van Gulik, so when I saw this title from Severn House on NetGalley I was curious.

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The legendary Judge Dee Renjie investigates a high-profile murder case in this intriguing companion novel to Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder set in seventh-century China.

Judge Dee Renjie, Empress Wu’s newly appointed Imperial Circuit Supervisor for the Tang Empire, is visiting provinces surrounding the grand capital of Chang’an. One night a knife is thrown through his window with a cryptic note attached: ‘A high-flying dragon will have something to regret!’

Minutes after the ominous warning appears Judge Dee is approached by an emissary of Internal Minister Wu, Empress Wu’s nephew. Minister Wu wants Judge Dee to investigate a high-profile murder supposedly committed by the well-known poetess and courtesan, Xuanji, who locals believe is possessed by the spirit of a black fox.

Why is Minister Wu interested in Xuanji? Despite Xuanji confessing to the murder, is there more to the case than first appears? With the mysterious warning and a fierce power struggle playing out at the imperial court, Judge Dee knows he must tread carefully . . . 

MY REVIEW

It was quite a few years ago when I came across Robert Van Gulik’s Judge Dee mystery books featuring Judge Dee. So when I saw that Judge Dee had made another appearance I was definitely eager to read it.

This is set in 7th Century China, and Judge Dee is about to set off for a new post when he receives a file that concerns the murder of a handmaid. A renowned poetess is charged with her murder but things don’t quite add up as she has given two different accounts. Dee’s interest is piqued and so he starts to look into this case during a stopover in the area before continuing his journey.

The author has done a great job with this story, it is a slower-paced one which is fitting for the era it is set. What I really liked was how the author had mixed in tradition, custom, religion and beliefs as well as the way of life at the time.

Xuanji, the accused poetess is a courtesan and has written several poems that Dee has read. Using her poetry as a ruse to get to know more about Xuanji and hopefully gain more knowledge to find the truth. This story does mention some treatments of prisoners, court beatings and conditions. It is an insight into China in the 7th Century which works as part of the story as well as gives the reader more information about the case.

While this is a slower-paced story, it is still very engaging. The mystery of the case deepens as the story develops and becomes more intriguing as you realise that there higher powers at play in the background. I really enjoyed the style and the historical aspects of this story.

This is one for those who like historical fiction and mystery novels. I do like the more sedentary pace as it does fit so well with the setting. It is one I would happily recommend. 

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