#BookReview : Season of Blood by Jeri Westerson : @jeriwesterson @severnhouse @NetGalley

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A Medieval Mystery from Jeri Westerson, “Season of Blood” is available in hardback and eBook formats.  Published by Severn House Digital

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256.0 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (24 Dec. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077NH7L86

Synopsis:

A missing Holy Relic. A mysterious and beautiful woman. Two murdered monks: Crispin Guest tackles his most intriguing investigation to date.

1390. Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. Two monks lie murdered, their Holy Blood relic stolen: a relic that is said to run liquid for the sinless and remain stubbornly dry for the sinner. Unwilling to become involved in a bitter dispute between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, the disgraced former knight Crispin Guest attempts to return the relic to Hailes where it belongs, but somehow it keeps returning to his hands no matter what.

My Thoughts:

This is my first visit with this author and I read this book as a stand alone.  It is set in 1390 and we are introduced to Crispin Guest and his apprentice and side kick Jack Tucker.  They have been approached by a mysterious lady for their help in finding her niece. But along with that a monk dies on Crispin’s door step and in his possession is a religious Blood Relic artefact.

This is the 10th instalment in the Crispin Guest mystery series.  As this is the first I had read by this author, I was intrigued as to how well I would get on with an established series.  For me, I am pleased to say, it worked very well, there are hints and mentions of past stories but not enough to detract from this one.  This book has a very good “well researched” feel to it.  It is one of those books that feel right for the time it is set in and Jeri has some great description to back that feel up.  It is a well paced story that has some very unexpected twists, it is one of those books that you are never quite sure who is telling the truth, creating a good edginess to it.  The characters are quick to remember and identify as they are introduced gradually.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and I think a good introduction for me to this author, even though I have started at the wrong end of the series. I would recommend this to readers who like a good medieval murder, mystery read.  Some good twists, plots and characters.   It has been well researched and written.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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I’m Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he’s an ex-knight turned private eye. You might want to think of him as a Medieval Sam Spade and these mysteries as Medieval Noir. That’s what makes these novels different. They’re full of hard-hitting action and characters with dirty little secrets. Then there’s the added twist dropped in the middle of murder: a relic with mystical powers. They always seem to stir things up, whether it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on or can’t wait to get rid of.

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#BookReview : Mr Campions Abdication by Mike Ripley : published by @severnhouse from@NetGalley

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“Mr Campions Abdication” by Mike Ripley and published by Severn House Publishing.

It is available as a hardback or an eBook.

Synopsis:

So where exactly did Albert Campion stand on the Abdication?’ ‘Behind the throne, slightly to the left?’ suggested Commander Charles Luke.

Margery Allingham’s Mr Campion finds himself masquerading as technical advisor to a very suspicious but glamorous Italian film producer and her crew hunting for buried treasure that never was in the Suffolk village of Heronhoe near Pontisbright which used to host trysts between Edward VIII and Mrs Wallis Simpson.

‘When it came to the Abdication Crisis in ’36 those dirty week-ends in Heronhoe were quickly forgotten, except not by the Prince. The story goes – that when he married Mrs Simpson, in 1937 that would be, he actually sent a valuable thank you gift to Heronhoe. That was what became known as the Abdication Treasure although there’s no record of anything going to Heronhoe Hall, or of anybody ever receiving anything from the Duke of Windsor and nobody anywhere claims to have actually seen anything resembling treasure.’

‘So how is Albert Campion involved? You said the treasure doesn’t exist.’

‘It doesn’t,’ Lord Breeze said firmly, ‘and I have been instructed to tell you to tell Campion, that unless he wants to risk embarrassing Buckingham Palace, he’d better lay off. There’s no such thing as the Abdication Treasure, so there’s nothing to find and Campion had better make sure he doesn’t find it!’

My Thoughts:

Set in the 1970’s, Albert Campion has turned TV producer with an Italian filming company.  The film is to be about Edward and Mrs Simpson and their time at Heronhoe Hall.  The hall is the site of a historical dig, at the time it was hoped to be par with the famous dig at Sutton Hoo, but unfortunately it did not produce significant finds.  But there was a rumour that Edward had left a treasure at Heronhoe, it was known as the “Abication Treasure”.  A mystery, as no one knows who received it or if it was recieved at all. But Campion, with help of friends, family and archaeologists start sleuthing to discover the truth.

I really loved the way this book started and it had me hooked for a number of chapters, but I found that by the time I got to the middle the story started to become a little repetitive. With the same questions being asked of different people but receiving pretty much the same answers.  It felt to me, a little too padded out in the middle, but then towards the ends few chapters, it picked up again.

There are a lot of things about this book I enjoyed.  There is a lot of historical references, the characters are great, a real mixed bunch from varied backgrounds.  The plot was intriguing and at the start I really enjoyed it, and also the end, but as I have mentioned the middle section just didn’t quite do it for me. I also found that I kept forgetting the decade this was set in, and had to remind myself that it was the 70’s.

This is a book that had potential for me to love, but just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  I would recommend to readers of historical crime, thriller, mystery.  I do actually look forward to reading more by this author.

I wish to thank Severn House Publishing and NetGalley for my eARC of this book.  My views expressed here are unbiased and my own.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (10 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727887351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727887351
  • Purchase link to Amazon UK

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#BookReview The Price of Silence by @D_GordonSmith published by @severnhouse via @NetGalley

“The Price of Silence” by Delores Gordon-Smith is available in hardback and also eBook.  Published by Severn House Publishers and available for purchase.

Synopsis:

A thrilling World War One spy story from the author of the acclaimed Jack Haldean series.

Working for the British Government as a secret agent, Anthony Brooke wants to expose the people responsible for blackmailing innocent people and gruesome murders. But when the gang plots a kidnap, Anthony finds himself in the race to reach the little girl before they do. However, Milly will not be easy to retrieve, for she is in a Belgian convent, in German-occupied territory.

To rescue her, Anthony must go behind enemy lines, crawl under the wire, face ruthless German guards and break into a convent. But, even if he can save her, what possible use could an orphan girl be to a violent gang? Anthony must find out soon, as countless more lives than just the little girl’s are in danger…

This is Dolores Gordon-Smith’s tribute to John Buchan and the Thirty Nine Steps, now celebrating its centenary. All references and similarities are intentional.

My Thoughts:

A story set in London in the main during World War I.  Anthony Brooke is recruited to work for the British Intelligence Service.  What begins as a murder enquiry takes a decidedly nasty turn, as a viscous blackmail plot is uncovered, as well as kidnapping.  A perilous trip into Belgium to gather more information leads to more questions than answers.

A very enjoyable murder / mystery read, with the back drop of WWI.  It includes mentions of how lives have been changed, the living conditions, the economic climate and the suffering, not just here but also in Europe and especially in Belgium.  This was a section I found really interesting, how the lives of people are touched by war.  As women are leaving paid service as maids, cooks, cleaners etc to work in factories, particularly the munitions factories, it show the change in the social side of the country.  Better wages for factory jobs, also better working hours with more time off.  This is not the view of all, the old stalwarts who remain in service see this as a lack of respect and loyalty.

The plot has been cleverly thought out and put together and twisted around actual historical figures and events, the author has let her imagination well in this respect.  It has a very convincing and mysterious plot with many twists and turns. I did like the characters and found them memorable quickly, even when the plot caused them to change their names for undercover work.  It is set at a very good pace than is consistent throughout.  The descriptions of settings had been executed to a good standard giving  a good insight into the various locations.

 

As I read this I had a sense of Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings in Anthony Brooke, not exactly the same but similar in some instances.  It also had a similar feel and structure to it, and came across as very logical, a sleuthing mystery.  I did see that this is the authors tribute to John Buchan’s;  39 Steps, but it was many years ago that I read that book, so I cannot comment on this.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a period crime / mystery read.  Some good historical elements, characters, plot and well written.  This is my first meeting with this author and it will not be my last.

I wish to express my thanks to Severn House Publishing, Delores Gordon-Smith and NetGalley for approving my copy of this eARC.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (10 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727887262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727887269
  • Amazon UK
  • Amazon US

About The Author:

I live in a small town near Manchester with my husband, five children, three cats and two dogs. I’ve always been fascinated by the Twenties.

The four years of the First World War had ripped away the old securities and expectations and, when it was over, things were never the same again. Everything changed, from politics to fashions. Skirts rose to the knee and women cropped, bobbed or shingled their hair. Music took a new direction; listen to the clarinet solo of Rhapsody in Blue, the urbane, polished sophistication of Cole Porter and Noel Coward, the wistful longing of Jerome Kern and the “crazy rhythm” of Jazz.

Popular fiction (Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy L. Sayers are three of my favourites) reflected the new age. The classic detective story, where an ordered world is plunged into chaos and then re-invented, is the perfect vehicle to celebrate the energy of this brave new world.

Follow the author on Twitter  Website

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