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

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda la Plante

17th April 2022.

Jane Tennison joins the Flying Squad, or the Sweeney as they’re better known, to become their first female detective. Not that the all-male squad, used to roughing it out with the villains, welcome her.

It’s the late 1970s, when women in the police force were supposed to concentrate on filing and admin, not solving crimes. But Tennison’s made of stern stuff and soon settles into her new job when a security van robbery doesn’t quite go to plan, leading to a shooting. With few witnesses able to identify the masked men, it’s not going to be easy. And despite being put in charge of house to house enquiries, Tennison soon gets a lead.

At times impulsive and confrontational, she doesn’t endear herself to her boss, who’s looking to replace her with a male detective at the first available opportunity. But she’s good at her job, dogged and clever.

Like the previous books in the series, the author gently draws you into the story and then let’s Tennison loose. The characters are sharply drawn, the attitudes spot on for the period and the narrative never lets you drift. There’s always danger with every step Tennison takes, whether it’s from the villains, her boss and colleagues, or her family.

There’s grit, realism, drama and humour in this novel, which keeps you turning the pages as the tension and stakes rise to an exciting climax.

Description

Jane Tennison has worked hard to become the first female detective ever post to the infamous Flying Squad, or ‘the Sweeney’. But the Dirty Dozen is a notorious boys’ club, and Jane’s new colleagues make it clear that they don’t think a woman is up to the dangers of the job.

Dealing with some of London’s most ruthless armed criminals, who think the only good cop is a dead cop, is no joke. Determined to prove she’s as good as the men, Jane discovers from a reliable witness that a gang is going to carry out a massive robbery.

But she doesn’t know who they are, or where and when they will strike . . .

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda la Plante

Chain Reaction by Bill Kitson

12th April 2022.

Another intriguing novel in the Mike Nash series begins with the discovery of two severed fingers in a hotel. As the team start their investigation, a spate of muggings demands their attention. Then the team is put under further pressure when several local women are declared missing.

Then two youngsters, using a holiday cottage to get to know each other better, make a gruesome discovery and the pressure ratchets up a few more notches. A brutal serial killer is operating in the area and time may be running out for a fifth missing woman.

Nash also has some personal troubles to contend with, leaving him feeling lonely and depressed. Until he makes a breakthrough in the investigation and it’s all go for a dramatic climax.

While previous novels have been more focused on a single criminal, this one highlights how CID often deal with several investigations at once. The backstory issues also take greater prominence and provide more interest, thanks to the author’s skill in making me care for the characters he’s created.

It all adds up to another memorable novel in this excellent series.

Description

Two severed fingers are discovered by workmen at the Boar’s Head hotel. It looks like they’ve been there some time . . .

Detective Mike Nash must find out what grisly goings-on took place at the ivy-clad, upmarket hotel on the Harland Estate.

ARE THEY CONNECTED TO A SPATE OF BRUTAL MUGGINGS IN HELMSDALE?

Then local women start going missing, and the heat is on for Nash and his team.

Who is terrorizing this quiet market town?

Chain Reaction by Bill Kitson

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

Guardian of Lies by John Pye

26th March 2022.

In the third Doug Taylor novel, the death of a former scientist sets off a chain of events that take him into the murky world of the secret services, foreign agents and espionage. At the heart of the story is a simple David and Goliath story as Taylor and his partner, Kim Harding, take on ruthless assassins as they hunt for the location of a formula for a nerve agent that kills within seconds.

Throw an investigative reporter into the mix and the scene is set for a thriller that takes Taylor and Harding the length of Britain, as they try to remain one step ahead of the foes that pursue them and the formula. It’s an exciting thriller that’s made all the more chilling by its basis in many real events

The complex plot has all the surprises and jeopardy you’d expect from a thriller, including an exciting climax off the coast of Scotland. There’s so much going on, there’s little time for characterisation as events plunge the characters into jeopardy at every turn.

It’s a hugely enjoyable journey that never gets out of control. Nor does it stretch credibility as all the events have a disturbing element of realism about them, which result in a memorable thriller.

Description

A death in the family and an unremarkable house burglary suddenly catapult Taylor and Harding outside their comfort zone and into the murky world of the Security Services. The interest of MI5 and connections to a horrible death thirteen years earlier take the two detectives on a bizarre journey to an unknown destination with a frightful history.

A risk-taking journalist uses criminal methods to try to get to the big story first, but has no idea exactly what he is getting into or of the dreadful consequences of his actions.

Foreign agents, espionage and high powered thrilling action take the narrative forward as an issue of serious national security emerges. The fact that the story is based on many real events is all the more breath taking.

Guardian of Lies by John Pye

Murder at Midnight by Faith Martin

In the 15th book of the series Hillary Greene continues in her role as a civilian officer in a cold case review team. She’s now assisted by two new recruits – a young, enthusiastic Goth and a successful millionaire from the dot.com era, who wants to put something back into society. Or does he have more sinister plans?

That’s part of the appeal of these novels. Alongside the murder investigations, there’s always intrigue in the backstory. Whether it’s Hillary’s relationship with her boss, which seems to be reaching some defining moments, or the new millionaire ‘wonder boy’, as he’s nicknamed, there’s plenty to capture the imagination.

The stabbing of Felix Olliphant at a millennium party defeated the original investigation, which hit dead ends at every turn. Hillary’s review of the case fares no better as the team interview old witnesses and suspects. Then, at the eleventh hour, she makes a breakthrough and solves the murder. It’s a little sudden, but well plotted. The story ends with a welcome note of intrigue, preparing the reader for the next novel.

If you like a cosy mystery with likeable characters, intriguing plots, and a gentle pace, this series is well worth following.

Description

Felix Olliphant was found stabbed to death at a New Year’s Eve costume party for the turn of the millennium. Seemingly liked by everyone, motives for his murder are hard to find. There was one suspect, but no evidence.

Hillary struggles to solve this baffling case. And she has to contend with a new colleague, Jake Barnes. Young and rich, he says he wants to give something back to the community, but Hillary has her doubts.

Will Hillary finally be defeated by this cold case and will she lose her boss and love interest to a new job?

Murder at Midnight by Faith Martin

Good Friday by Lynda la Plante

23rd March 2022.

Jane Tennison is leaving the London underground when she spots a rucksack, left against a wall. When she calls out to the man who left it, he runs. Moments later, a bomb explodes. This is 1970s London and the IRA bombing campaign.

Tennison is soon caught up in the investigation and finds herself the main witness who can identify the bomber. Only it’s not that simple, as this twisting, always riveting, story shows. Tennison is a gutsy, determined detective, but she’s a woman among many men, most of whom believe she should type up reports.

She soon shows them that’s not the case as the tension, drama and excitement build when a second bombing is feared and the race to find to find the bomb begins. It’s a tense, emotional thriller, delivered with finesse.

Description

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not.

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force?

Good Friday by Lynda la Plante

The Bleeding Heart Killer by Bill Kitson

14th March 2022.

In the 11th DI Mike Nash novel, four people are brutally murdered in quick succession. All have been tortured and had their hearts removed. With no forensic evidence and nothing to connect the victims, it looks like a long, slow investigation.

Mike’s personal problems, along with the reappearance of an old flame, don’t improve his mood, and when a rogue reporter publishes details only the police and killer know, the top brass believe Mike and his team to be the source of the leak.

But with his usual aplomb and detective skills, Mike, ably assisted by Clara and the team, slowly pieces together the details. But time is running out for one more victim and there’s still the small matter of proof to contend with.

Once again, the author delivers another fast moving and addictive crime story that’s different, but compelling. As with previous novels in the series, Mike Nash and the team punch well above their weight, despite personal issues and difficulties, to solve the case.

Another winner.

Description

Detective Mike Nash thought that moving back to Yorkshire from London would give him a quieter life. Little did he know . . .

Four victims.
Four murders.
No connection.
Except their hearts have all been removed.

Detective Mike Nash races against time to find a link between these grisly crimes. Who is wreaking a trail of destruction and what do they want to prove? There is one more victim to go . . .

Thrilling from the first page, this is a book which never lets up with the surprises.

the Bleeding Heart Killer by Bill Kitson

Unholy Murder by Lynda la Plante

14th March 2022.

This is the first book I’ve read by Lynda la Plante, though I remember Jane Tennison from the TV show ‘Prime Suspect’, back in the 1990s. This novel is set before that when Tennison is still a detective sergeant.

When a coffin is unearthed on a building site that was once a convent, it looks like an old burial, until forensic examination and a post mortem reveal scratch marks inside the coffin. Murder is soon identified as the cause of death and Tennison starts a complex investigation of an old murder that involves the Catholic Church and a local builder.

It’s well written, dramatic and gripping from the first page to the last. All the main police characters are well drawn, but Tennison is outstanding as a dogged, uncompromising detective who won’t be side tracked. She also has a softer, vulnerable side which can get her into trouble as she mixes business with pleasure.

Emotions runs high, mistakes are made, the hierarchy of the church closes ranks, and Tennison makes as many enemies as she makes friends, but this only adds to the realism and difficulties involved in any murder investigation.

While this is the seventh book in the series, it stands on its own as a first rate police procedural set in the 1990s. I’m off now to enjoy some more of Tennison’s investigations.

Description

A coffin is dug up by builders in the grounds of an historic convent – inside is the body of a young nun.

In a city as old as London, the discovery is hardly surprising. But when scratch marks are found on the inside of the coffin lid, Detective Jane Tennison believes she has unearthed a mystery far darker than any she’s investigated before.

However, not everyone agrees. Tennison’s superiors dismiss it as an historic cold case, and the Church seems desperate to conceal the facts from the investigation.

It’s clear that someone is hiding the truth, and perhaps even the killer. Tennison must pray she can find both – before they are buried forever . . .

Unholy Murder by Lynda la Plante