Murder Now and Then by Faith Martin

27th May 2022.

In another absorbing murder mystery, Hillary Greene has yet more problems in the background as one of her team looks like he’s heading for trouble. As well as investigating a ten year old murder, there are three other murders that could be linked in some way.

It all adds up to another entertaining and exciting outing in what is a terrific series that consistently delivers intriguing investigations and plenty going on with the various cast members.

I hope there are more novels to come.

Description

Former Detective Hillary Greene and her cold case team are taking a fresh look at the unsolved murder of Michael Beck, found bludgeoned over the head and dead in a river near his home in 2012.

Just twenty-two at the time, he’d recently finished a history degree and had his whole life ahead of him. Everyone said he was a pleasant sort of lad with a passion for the past, quietly living with his parents until he could afford a place of his own. But it quickly turned out that there were at least two people who might have wanted him dead.

The first, his recently-jilted girlfriend Mia de Salle, hadn’t taken the break-up well. The second, his former tutor Dr Timothy Durning, had been accused of sexual harassment by Michael. But the original team could find no forensic evidence linking either of their prime suspects to the crime, nor witnesses placing them in the area when Michael was killed.

Hillary, however, is determined to find fresh leads. But while she and her team get to work, in the city of Oxford two men from the city’s criminal underbelly have been viciously murdered in the last six months.

Are the recent murders and her own cold case linked? More than a decade later, has the same killer struck again? And if so, what’s the connection between the mild-mannered young man and the underworld criminals?

It’s up to Hillary to stop a killer getting away with murder — both now and then.

Murder Now and Then by Faith Martin

Bit Player by Janet Dawson

25th May 2022.

The Jeri Howard series keeps getting better as the private investigator delves into an investigation that’s both close to home and further back in time than she’s gone before. The murder of actor, Ralph Tarrant, in Hollywood in 1942 takes centre stage when Jeri’s grandmother is implicated by an elderly film buff in a memorabilia store. While Jeri doesn’t believe her grandmother even knew the actor concerned, she has to investigate.

It’s a difficult investigation as many of the players and witnesses have died. But a few remain, along with letters that begin to paint an intriguing picture of a house occupied by four bit players, all determined to become actresses in the movie industry.

As piece by piece, Jeri’s persistence begins to uncover what really happened in 1942, more murders occur in the present as memorabilia collectors start dying. Is there a connection with the murder in the past? Is Jeri in danger as she closes in on the truth?

It’s a vivid and fascinating investigation that kept me turning the pages from start to finish in one of my favourite novels in the series.

If you haven’t tried this series, you should go back to the first book and enjoy the absorbing and often unique investigations that make Jeri Howard such a compelling read.

Description

MURDER MAKES A COMEBACK – READY FOR ITS CLOSEUP!

Was Jeri Howard’s grandmother a murder suspect?

That’s a mind-boggling prospect.

The Oakland private investigator has a chance encounter in a movie memorabilia shop, where the odd little man behind the counter drops that bombshell. Now Jeri is on a quest to find out the truth.

Back in 1941, Jerusha Layne was an actress in Hollywood. Her dreams of movie stardom never came true. Instead, she works as a bit player, an actress who speaks a few lines in the background while the big stars emote in front of the cameras. She ekes out a living and shares a tiny cottage with three other aspiring stars, talking about parts as they eat meals in the MGM commissary. The changing cast of roommates is not always a good fit, though, and this leads to friction – and grudges.

British expatriate actor Ralph Tarrant has the reputation of a ladies’ man. He puts the moves on Jerusha, but she rebuffs his unwanted advances. Then the actor is found dead, shot in his Hollywood bungalow. The cops have few suspects. But rumor and innuendo lead the police to question Jerusha and her housemates.

Jeri’s determination leads her to Los Angeles, where she reads the file on the cold case. Tarrant’s murder was never solved, she discovers when she delves into the seamy side of Golden Age Hollywood. Is the killer still out there? What really happened?

This case is personal. Oakland’s most persistent private eye is determined to learn the truth, even if it means tracking down her grandmother’s long-ago housemates and reading all those letters Jerusha wrote to her younger sister, Aunt Dulcie, who is still alive.

Murder never goes out of style. A man who collects Hitchcock movie memorabilia dies at his home. Are old movie posters so valuable that someone would kill for them?

Does this present-day crime have links to the past?

Bit Player by Janet Dawson

The Aura by Carrie Bedford

23rd May 2022.

I thoroughly enjoyed this cosy mystery, featuring architect Kate Benedict, who discovers she has a gift that often seems to be more of a curse. She can see the aura of people who are about to die. Naturally, she doesn’t believe what she sees, or its implications. But the deaths of several people soon have her agonising about what she sees and whether she can intervene to save these people.

When she foresees the death of Rebecca Williams, Kate’s struggles become a need to find out who murdered her friend. From this point, the story becomes more of a traditional murder mystery.

At first, I was a little sceptical that the psychic side of Kate could be used as a skill or helpful aid as she solves murders. But it wasn’t used like that. If anything, Kate’s struggles to come to terms with the implications of her ‘gift’ and the responsibilities it seemed to place on her made fascinating reading.

With excellent characterisation, a gentle pace and enough twists in the plot as the investigation progressed, this was a great introduction to a series I look forward to enjoying.

Description

SHE KNOWS WHO’S GOING TO DIE!
BUT NO ONE WILL BELIEVE HER…

Life spins out of control for London architect Kate Benedict when she sees a dancing aura above certain people’s heads that seems to signal death. Suddenly she’s psychic. But that can’t be! Psychic’s not acceptable in her circle, where the supernatural is strictly for the superstitious. And yet…people are dying. People close to her.

Kate’s tentative attempts to talk about her new-found metaphysical gift are met with eye rolls, so much so that she can’t even tell the nice Scotland Yard detective who’s investigating the death of a close friend, Rebecca Williams. And now Rebecca’s neighbour has an aura.

So what’s Kate to do but try to save him by turning detective herself? A break-in and attack on her boyfriend confirm that the murderer’s catching on that Kate knows too much. But he (or maybe she) has no idea that what Kate knows is a little on the paranormal side.

The Aura by Carrie Bedford

Hillary’s Back by Faith Martin

4th May 2022.

In the 18th book of a consistently entertaining and enjoyable crime series, Hillary’s life has changed. She’s mourning the death of her partner and trying to break in a new recruit to the cold case team. When she’s presented with the unsolved murder of a universally disliked man, she knows she’s up against it.

But Hillary’s made of stern stuff and soon sets about solving the case in her usual, inimitable way.

Without the characters and fascinating backstories of old, it takes a little time to get into the new characters as they settle into their roles. But these are minor niggles in an otherwise entertaining murder investigation.

Description

Eighteen months after Hillary suffered a personal tragedy, she is throwing herself into her work to try to get over it.

Former soldier Gareth Proctor joins her team and finds himself quickly growing to enjoy his new environment.

The first cold case he works on is the murder of Andrew Feeley.

In 2012, this twenty-one-year-old was found dead in the woods near his home, killed by a single stab wound to the chest from his own knife.

Andrew was extremely unpopular. He was a drug dealer, pimp and bully. His stepdad was one of the main suspects, as they hated each other and often came to blows. Other suspects include Toby Truman and his mother Debbie. Andrew was responsible for getting Toby hooked on drugs.

Given Andrew’s criminal background, his murder is thought to be drug-related.

But Hillary’s not buying it — she knows it’s personal. And a search of the Feeleys’ garden turns up some chilling evidence.

Hillary's Back by Faith martin

Hillary’s Final Case by Faith Martin

18th April 2022.

The story continues where the last one finished. Jake, who works for Hillary, is prepared to risk his life to find out what happened to his missing sister. As he could bring down a major criminal in the process, the police decide to use him and the progress he’s made to their advantage.

The Crime Review Team announces it’s revisiting a number of disappearances among local women, many of whom were drawn into prostitution to fund drug addiction. Was Jake’s sister one of these women?

Throw in a change of leadership for the team with a new boss and a change in Hillary’s life, and all the ingredients are there for another riveting story that doesn’t disappoint. While Jake’s story and actions take centre stage, there’s still a murder to be solved and some unpleasant surprises to come.

As with previous stories, the characters and relationships are first rate, the investigations intriguing and twisting, and at the centre, Hillary Greene commands centre stage, taking everything in her stride.

The standard and quality of the writing and storytelling have remained consistently high throughout the series, making the books compelling and always entertaining.

Description

Can Hillary finally close the case of the missing young women?

Can she take down one of Oxfordshire’s most wanted criminals?

Can she handle her new boss?

Can she help one of her team get answers on his long lost sister?

And will she really get married and leave her beloved boat?

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a cold-case consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve.

Hillary's Final Case by Faith Martin

Mystery on Hidden Lane by Clare Chase

8th April 2022.

Eve Mallow is a freelance obituary writer who likes to visit the subject’s home and interview those who knew him best. When she arrives in the quiet village of Saxford St Peter, she discovers the subject of her obituary was murdered. While determined to continue with her obituary, she can’t help investigating the murder as well, bringing her into conflict with the local police.

Populated with colourful characters, this is a cosy mystery that gently pulls you along as each discovery Eve makes adds another suspect to a growing list. Her imagination often fills in a few blanks as she searches for the motive behind the killing.

Then a second murder ramps up the tension and puts Eve herself in danger. Being a stranger to the village, can she count on anyone to help her? Who can she trust when so many residents have motives to kill the world famous cellist she’s writing about?

Eve is a likeable, sensible and determined character, who has her own issues to contend with as she digs deeper into the mystery. While she seems to go to a lot of trouble to write an obituary, the story remains interesting and entertaining as it heads for a dramatic climax and reveal.

This is the first book in the series and I’m looking forward to reading the next to see how the author develops Eve through another murder mystery.

Description

When Bernard Fitzpatrick drowns in a river close to his home, the village mourns a tragic accident… and amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is on the case.

Obituary writer Eve is looking forward to her new assignment, as well as spending a few days in the sweet little village of Saxford St Peter, walking the country lanes with her beloved dachshund Gus. But it turns out that it’s Bernard’s death that she’ll need to investigate, not his life. On the day she arrives, news breaks that the world-famous cellist was the victim of a grisly murder. Could this quaint English village be hiding a dark secret?

As Eve starts to interview Bernard’s friends and colleagues, she finds that he’d ruffled more than a few feathers. In fact, from the landlords of the Cross Keys Inn to his own seemingly devoted secretary, there’s barely a person in town who doesn’t have some reason to hate him… is one of the friendly villagers really a cold-blooded killer?

Eve hoped Saxford St Peter would be the perfect escape from her busy city life. But there is darkness even in the most sunlit of settings. And when a second body is found, Eve realises she’s spoken to every single suspect. Her notebook contains all the clues she needs. But will she be able to crack the case and identify them… before they realise she’s on their trail and make her their next target?

Mystery on Hidden Lane by Clare Chase

What She Left by H.K. Christie

5th April 2020.

When I started this first novel in the PI Martina Monroe series, the main character seemed a little far-fetched with her childhood links to the grieving daughter, who lived next door to the private investigator’s long lost best friend. Then to top it all, the detective assigned to the murder case had crossed swords with Monroe on a previous investigation. And did I mention she’s a recovering alcoholic?

But to be fair, the author soon fleshed out Monroe and pulled me swiftly into an intriguing investigation about secrets that her friend’s family wanted to protect at any cost. The investigation took her from California to Pennsylvania on the east coast as she uncovered the small details that brought her closer to the truth, making her a target. By now, she’d realised Detective Hirsch was not to blame for past failures and the two of them join forces to solve the murder.

As the stakes and tension increased, I had to keep turning the pages, now thoroughly engrossed in the original and well written plot as it hurtled towards an exciting climax.

I’m glad I stuck with the story and I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series.

Description

She’s on her last chance. When the bodies start piling up, she’ll need to save more than her job.

Martina Monroe is a single bad day away from losing it all. Stuck catching insurance fraudsters and cheating spouses due to a DUI, the despondent PI yearns to return to more fulfilling gigs. So when a prospective client asks for her by name to identify an unknown infant in a family photo, she leaps at the opportunity and travels to the one place she swore never to go: back home.

As the pressure mounts and the temptation of booze calls like a siren, Martina digs into the mystery and discovers many of the threads have razor-sharp ends. And forced to partner with a resentful detective investigating a linked suspicious death, the haunted private eye unravels clues that delve deep into her past… and put her in a dark and dangerous corner.

Can Martina and Detective Hirsch unlock the truth before they’re drowned in a sea of secrets?

What She Left is the first book in the nail-biting thriller series starring Private Investigator Martina Monroe and Detective August Hirsch of the Cold Case Squad. If you love stories with high-stakes games, jaw-dropping twists, embattled seekers struggling to do right, and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ll love the Martina Monroe series.

What She Left by HK Christie

Murder in Mind by Faith Martin

6th April 2022.

In the 16th book in the series, events within her team occupy Hillary Greene as much as the murder of Sylvia Perkins, an elderly woman with no enemies. It’s another cold case, given to her by her boss and lover, who will be moving to a new job in a couple of weeks.

With all that’s going on around her, Hillary manages to solve the murder within a week. But her concerns for team member Jake won’t go away. While her right-hand man, Jimmy, has been keeping tabs on Jake, neither of them know what he’s up to.

It all adds up to another intriguing and exciting novel, where for once, the backstory seems to take precedence. But that’s the beauty of a series with strong characters that you care about. Can’t wait to find out what happens to all the various strands of the story in the next book.

Description

Seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Perkins was found battered to death in her home in 2010. The murder weapon was suspected to be a fire poker and it seems she was quite popular with older gentlemen.

Her grandson Robbie inherited everything, but he can’t be placed at the scene of the crime.

WHO KILLED THIS HARMLESS OLD WOMAN AND WHY? AND WHAT SECRETS WAS SHE HIDING?

Hillary also has a new boss and a baffling cold case to contend with, not to mention a marriage proposal to consider.

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a cold-case consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve.

Murder in Mind by Faith Martin

Murder Mile by Lynda la Plante

4th April 2022.

This is another gripping instalment in the Jane Tennison series. She’s now a detective sergeant, keen to investigate two murders which happened within a few yards of each other. On the surface, they have nothing in common other than the location of the bodies, but Tennison is not so easily swayed.

It doesn’t take long before she’s immersed in the investigation, sensing possible collusion between a police officer and a relative of one of the victims. Never one to hold back, she speaks her mind, antagonising her immediate superior as the investigation takes a turn for the worse with another murder.

Are the powers that be looking in the wrong places? Have they misread the evidence?

As the hunt for the killer deepens, Tennison is pushed out on a limb. Does she trust and follow her instincts or does she do what she’s instructed to do?

After a slow start, the story gains momentum, with tension building on all fronts as Tennison tries to deal with her doubts, her instincts and her desire to apprehend the killer. The characters are sharply drawn and the attitudes of the time put under the magnifying glass. The plot is intricate and cleverly developed, leading to an unexpected, but satisfying climax.

This is an entertaining and addictive series, not only for its razor sharp look at 1970s policing and the way it treated female officers, but for the way crimes have to be solved without DNA analysis and many of the forensic tests taken for granted today.

Description

February, 1979, ‘The Winter of Discontent’. Economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain.

Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London’s toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: two bodies in as many days.

There are no suspects and the manner of death is different in each case. The only link between the two victims is the location of the bodies, found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. Three days later another murder occurs in the same area. Press headlines scream that a serial killer is loose on ‘Murder Mile’ and that police incompetence is hampering the investigation.

Jane is under immense pressure to catch the killer before they strike again. Working long hours with little sleep, what she uncovers leaves her doubting her own mind.

Murder Mile by Lynda la Plante

Ruthless Cross by Barbara Freethy

29th March 2022.

When a federal judge and friend is murdered, FBI Agent Flynn MacKenzie must investigate. While there’s a possible conflict of interest, his knowledge of the art world and the judge make him the best investigator for the job. Naturally, being a romantic suspense novel, he’s going to fall for the girl, Callie Harper, stepdaughter of the judge, making his otherwise complicated life even more complicated.

Did I mention his father was an art thief who ran out on the family twenty years ago?

While it sounds formulaic, the story is told with such heart and emotion, it’s impossible not to be swept along. The main characters are sharply drawn and well-portrayed, with that potent mixture of strength and vulnerability to make them real. While the plot seems to play second fiddle at times to the characters, it soon picks up momentum when Flynn and Callie discover secrets and edge closer to the truth and the murderer.

It all ends with an exciting climax and revelation that keeps you guessing. While I’m sure I’m not the target reader for this type of story, it’s quality story-telling with a high emotional quota that kept me turning the pages to the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Description

Everyone has a secret. Some are worth killing for…some are worth dying for…

The son of an art thief, FBI agent Flynn MacKenzie is no stranger to deception, but when the brutal murder of a federal judge unravels an intricate and shocking web of lies, he finds himself tangled up in personal life-changing secrets and in the arms of a woman he isn’t sure he can trust.

Callie Harper not only wants justice for her stepfather, she also wants to protect her family. Staying close to Flynn seems like the smart option, until she starts to fall for the man who could hurt everyone she loves.

The lines between good and bad, guilty and innocent, are blurred. Callie and Flynn quickly realize their search for the truth could take them somewhere they don’t want to go…if they can stay alive long enough to get there.

Ruthless Cross by Barbara Freethy