Book of the Week, detective

Book of the Week: A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia

So this week’s BotW is the latest in my quest to find more historical crime series.  As regular readers are well aware by now, if there are two things that I love, in book terms, it’s murder mysteries and the inter-war period.  Witness my previous ravings about my beloved Lord Peter (sidenote, I’ve just treated myself to the Radio play collections from Audible and it is glorious), Daisy Dalrymple, Phryne Fisher et al.  So during my Kindle store virtual rummagings I often pick up books that I think might scratch that itch.  This was one such purchase.

Part of the cover of A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia

A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia deals with the murder of one Ticky Maltravers.  And never was someone more aptly named.  Ticky is a tick of the highest order.  For although it appears that he’s really popular, underneath the surface something rather unpleasant is going on.  When Ticky drops dead after a meal to celebrate his birthday, newspaper man Freddie Pilkington-Soames finds himself involved – on two fronts.  Firstly his mother was in the taxi with Ticky when he died, and secondly Freddie is chasing the story to try and hold on to his job.

Freddie is Bertie Wooster on the outside, but much, much cleverer on the inside – a bit like Albert Campion in some ways, who is described on occasion as having a foolish face which leads people to underestimate him.  And that makes for an engaging read.  Freddie is straddling the two worlds in the book – the high society trying to hold on to their secretes and the forces of justice and the press.  And because of his job, Freddie has a legitimate reason to be involved in the case which, as I’ve mentioned before, is often a stumbling block for the crime solver in series like this.

I believe Freddie was a side character – a comic one – in Benson’s other series, but although I’ve read one book of hers, it was a while ago and the details have faded.  But based on how much I enjoyed this, I’ve clearly been missing out.  I’ve added the rest of the Freddie books to my Kindle watchlist, and the other series – the Angela Marchmont mysteries – too.  I was really impressed with how good this was – and for a while I thought it might be one of the forgotten Golden Age books that I’ve picked up on offer. I put that down to the fact that it comes across as a mix of PG Wodehouse and one of the Queens of Crime – witty but with a solid, slightly grubby murder.

My copy was on Kindle (I even paid for it)  – and it’s still only 99p at time of writing this – but it’s also available on Kobo or as a paperback, although I suspect that will be a special order job rather than one you can pick up in the bookshop.

Happy reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: February 5 – February 11

A strange week of reading all in all.  I finished a bunch of books that I had started the previous week, but then started a load more that I didn’t manage to finish – either because of work and real life commitments or because I was so far into them they broke my rules about not taking books with less than 100 pages to go to work with me.  Oh and I’m trying to pace myself and make A Spoonful of Murder last, because otherwise I’ve got a *really* long wait for the next Wells and Wong book!

Read:

The Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

The Song of the Abbey by Elsie J Oxenham

A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia by Clara Benson

The Lark by E Nesbit

Medal Up by Nicole Flockton and Fiona M Marsden

Started:

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

Dimsie Among the Prefects by Dorita Fairlie Bruce

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

The Unfinished Palazzo by Judith Mackrell

Five ebooks (all on sale) bought on Sunday in a moment of weak willpower related to working all weekend!

Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: Duke of Pleasure

I was still suffering from the after effects of my virus from hell last week, so not a lot of reading got done – as you can see from yesterday’s Week in Books post.  But luckily one of the books that I did finish hit the spot.  My brain is still a bit fried and over tired, so apologies that this post is going to be shorter than usual.

Copy of Duke of Pleasure

Duke of Pleasure is the eleventh book in the Maiden Lane series – but only the second one of them that I’ve read.  The Maiden Lane series – or at least the ones of them that I’ve read – are set in the early to mid eighteenth century (around the 1730s) and have characters from the ton mixing it with the less fortunate in the East End and the Stews.  Duke of Pleasure sees Hugh Fitzroy, the titular Duke (of Kyle) on an errand from the government to break up a secret society known as the Lords of Chaos.  When Hugh is ambushed in an alley, he’s helped out of trouble by the legendary Ghost of St Giles – who turns out to be a woman.  Alf has survived on the streets by disguising herself as a man.  During the day she’s a street urchin, dealing in information, but by night she’s a masked vigilante flitting across the rooftops.  When Hugh hires Alf to work for him, how long with Alf be able to maintain his disguise as his two worlds collide?

Regular readers to my posts about romance will be aware that one of my favourite historical romance tropes is people in diguise.  Usually it’s women dressed as men – Twelfth Night, Heyer’s These Old Shades – ocassionally it’s the other way around – Heyer’s Maskeraders – but really, I’ll read anything about people in disguise.  And this scratched that itch nicely for me.  It’s a bit overblown at times – a bastard son of the king working as a spy can have that effect – but I just couldn’t put it down.  Alf is a great character and I liked Hugh’s complicated family and backstory.  It all wrapped up very quickly in the end, but the set up for the next book was intriguing.  I got this one from the library – I can only hope they’ve got a few more!

You should be able to get hold of this from your preferred purveyor of romantic fiction – Amazon have it in Kindle and paperback – but I suspect you may have to have a rummage for it in the bookshops.

Happy reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: January 29 – February 4

So the good news is that I’m not poorly any more, the bad news is that I’m still exhausted after being poorly.  So not a lot read this week, because once I was back at work I was mostly just sleeping to try and get myself back to normal.

Read:

Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Murder on the Rocks by Shean Reilly Simmons

Ballet Shoes for Anna by Noel Streatfeild

Coffin, Scarcely Used by Colin Watson

Started:

The Song of the Abbey by Elsie J Oxenham

The Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

Medal Up by Nicole Flockton

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

The Unfinished Palazzo by Judith Mackrell

And we went to York for the weekend, and I *may* have spent some money in the charity bookshop on old Girl’s Own hardbacks.  So four books bought.

books, stats

January Stats

Another January, another slightly tweeked Stats post – this time to add in the second reading challenge I’m doing this year.

New books read this month: 33*

Books from the to-read pile: 18

Ebooks read: 14

Books from the Library book pile: 1

Non-fiction books: 4

#ReadHarder categories completed: 3

Pop Sugar categories completed: 2

Most read author: Angela Brazil

Books read this year: 33

Books bought: 5 – 4 ebooks and 1 book

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf: 515 (I don’t have copies of all of these!)

*Includes some short stories/novellas/comics (6 this month)