Book of the Week, mystery

Book of the Week: The Three Dahlias

I had a lovely week off last week and read some good stuff, but interests of not repeating myself, today’s pick is a book I finished on Monday. Yes I know it’s cheating, but the book is really good so I’m sure you’ll let me off!

The three Dahlias of the title are three actresses who have played or are about to play the same character – a legendary heroine of golden age detective fiction. They’re spending a weekend at a fan convention organised at the stately home the author lived in. But then there is a suspicious death and they have to work together to find the killer.

I mean could this be any more up my street? Honestly it ticks so many of boxes of things that I like: A murder mystery set in a country house! A classic crime connection! A group of actresses! A convention! It almost seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t. It was really, really good. I was 100 pages in before I even realised it. I really liked the way the narrative switched between folllowing the three different actresses and I think it did really well at making each of them seem distinct. I did have the murderer figured out (or at least narrowed down) but I couldn’t figure out why so it had me partly fooled.

I loved the golden age crime tie in – from what you can work out, Dalhia is a bit of 1930s Phryne Fisher type character – glamorous and rule breaking and with a police man in tow (but written at the time) – and like some of the Golden Age detectives, the series went on being written for many years, although wisely the books didn’t move through time at the same pace as the author! And each chapter starts with a quote from one of the books and it works really well – making you want to read a Dahlia book without really ever telling you much about their plots!

A sequel is coming later this – which is both excellent news and really interesting to see if the formula can work again! I will be keeping my eye out for it for sure.

My copy of The Three Dahlias was part of my post Christmas book buying spree, so I think it should be fairly easy to get hold of in your format of choice.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 16 – January 22

So last week was the annual January trip, and this year we stayed in the UK and did lots of sightseeing, rather than going abroad and sitting on a beach. So the list isn’t quite as long as it can be for a week away, but we had a blast, I’m super relaxed and I have a bunch of new ideas too. So a total win really.

Read:

The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews

This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle

Murder Most Fowl by Donna Andrews

Death Spins the Wheel by George Bellairs

The Charity Shop Detective Agency by Peter Boland*

Started:

Exes and O’s by Amy Lea*

The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn*

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

Oh an absolute tonne. Nine just on the holiday, and then a couple more before we left… Oopsies.

Bonus photo: out of control fringe, that can’t be entirely blamed on the wind, but here I am at Lands End last week, hopefully looking as happy as I felt (also quite cold).

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.

Book of the Week, cozy crime

Book of the Week: A High-End Finish

New year (yes it’s still a new year even if we’ve hit the middle of the month), new cozy crime series for me and something different to talk about in today’s BotW. And you know I love a cozy crime series. So here we go.

A High-End Finish is the first in a series of cozy crimes featuring Shannon Hammer, a contractor specialising in Victorian homes in her town of Lighthouse Cove on the Northern California coast. In this first book, Shannon finds a dead body in the basement of a house that she’s working on – and becomes a suspect in a murder inquiry as she went on a blind date with the victim a few days earlier – and was heard threatening him after he wouldn’t take no for an answer. The town’s new police chief doesn’t seem inclined to believe that she had nothing to do with the murder, so Shannon starts investigating herself with the help of her friends, her nosy neighbours and a crime writer who has just moved to town.

This is a really nice set up for a new series but because there are a lot of characters to introduce and backstories to set up, the detecting is not quite as well developed as you would like and I thought the solution was a bit, ho hum. BUT I really liked Shannon, her friends and the town itself so I forgive it – because first books in series are often like this – either they don’t do a good enough job of setting up the side characters or the mystery isn’t as good as you want it to be. This usually settles down in book two – especially if it’s an established author starting a new series (which Kate Carlisle is). Luckily I picked up the next book in the series (in fact the whole series so far) second hand last month (as seen in Books Incoming) so it’s a good thing I liked them and I can also go straight on to book two to see if the problems get ironed out.

It is nice to have a home improvement/contractor theme for a cozy series though – as previously mentioned, I’m a bit cookery cozied out, and as I’m not usually into the supernatural sometimes it feels like there aren’t a lot of choices for me beyond that. Still hopefully these will keep me busy for a few weeks (at least).

As previously mentioned, my copy of A High-End Finish came via one of my Facebook book groups, but they’re available on Kindle and Kobo as well as in paperback. As they’re American Mass Market Paperbacks though, you may have trouble finding them in stores in the UK – so your best bet might be ordering from Book Depository or similar.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 9 – January 15

Another insanely busy week with a lot going on. But I started a new cozy crime series and continued the Meg Langslow binge so it’s all going well in the grand scheme of things!

Read:

Owl Be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews

A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews

Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh

Better Late than Never by Jenn McKinlay

A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle

Started:

Death Spins the Wheel by George Bellairs

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

The Charity Shop Detective Agency by Peter Boland*

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

A couple of books bought. As a special treat to myself!

Bonus photo: a few boxes from my parents’ garage arrivedcontaining a lot of old school and uni work. Astonishing how much work I actually did at uni, considering most of my memories are of hanging out in the student radio station!

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Cheats edition

So I don’t really have a book to recommend this week because as I said yesterday it was quite a week and I mostly reread Meg Langslow. So instead have a link to my thoughts on Terns of Endearment in a recommendsday last year and to Gone Gull which I technically finished the week before but was a BotW the first time I read it!

Have a great day everyone!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 2 – January 8

Well. It’s been a week and half, metaphorically speaking I mean, it’s only seven days since the last week in books post. Anyway, I spent five nights away from home, not all of them in the places I expected to spend them thanks to a boiler issue, and had a super busy week at work on top of all that. And the list reflects that – although I have made a load of progress on the long runners even if I haven’t finished them (yet). Oh and I have no ideas what I’m doing for Book of the Week tomorrow, so wish me luck! Anyway, let’s see what this week brings…

Read:

Toucan Keep a Secret by Donna Andrews

Lark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donna Andrews

Resting Scrooge Face by Meghan Quinn

Best of Luck by Kate Clayborn

Terns of Endearment by Donna Andrews

Started:

Better Late than Never by Jenn McKinlay

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

The Charity Shop Detective Agency by Peter Boland*

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

Two ebooks bought and another preordered. Relatively restrained!

Bonus photo: as seen on my Insta, here is my Christmas cactus, flowering for the first time! This was actually grown from a cutting taken from a plant that my mum has, which was a cutting from a plant that belonged to my granny’s sister, which was a cutting from a plant belonging to my granny’s mum. So absolutely no pressure to keep it alive…

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.

Book of the Week, graphic novels

Book of the Week: Death of a Necromancer

So the first BotW of the new year is the last book that I finished in the old one. Which is sort of cool I think. Anyway, this is a slightly more obscure pick too so that’s fun as well.

Death of a Necromancer is a graphic novel that follows the town of Tibbin and their resident Necromancer Dr Victoria Hedgewood. At the start of the story we see Ralph resurrected after a work place incident and then we jump ahead to a town that seems to be almost more zombie than living. But what do the newly living dead lose in the transition? And is it worth is? Ralph is becoming less and less sure, but Victoria and the town seem dead set on going full steam ahead.

I loved Nick Bryan’s Hobson and Choi mystery novels a few years back and have been watching his graphic novels ever since. Death of a Necromancer is a really engaging read – the story is clever and the art is really, really attractive and (this may sound weird) I love the lettering. This was the subject of a kickstarter campaign to get published – which I backed and that’s how I got my copy (and some extra goodies) – so I don’t actually know how easy this is to get hold of. I know Nick is selling it at conventions he goes to, but beyond that, I’m not sure. But if it does come your way, it’s worth a look.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 26 – January 1

What does a week off work and time to read look like? Well a list pretty much like this. My big old binge read of the Donna Andrews series continues and I’ve basically given up on getting anything else done until I finish it. Which given that I’m already in the 20s, might not be that far away! This week is back a more normal life so expect the list to change accordingly!

Read:

The Good, The Bad and the Emu by Donna Andrews

Rivers of London: Deadly Ever After by Ben Aaronovitch et al

The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews

Heartstopper Vol 4 by Alice Oseman

The History of Europe in Bite-sized Chunks by Jacob F Field

Die Like An Eagle by Donna Andrews

Born Lucky by Rita Coatts

Zionism: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Stanislawski

Death of a Necromancer by Nick Bryan et al

Gone Gull by Donna Andrews

The Finch Before Christmas by Donna Andrews

Started:

Best of Luck by Kate Clayborn

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

The Charity Shop Detective Agency by Peter Boland*

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

Five books bought – two which you saw in the Christmas Books Incoming and then three more later in the week. All actual books

Bonus photo: New Year’s Eve chez nous – a roaring fire and some good books. Exciting.

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 19 – December 25

It’s Boxing Day here at the end of a very emotional Christmas week. Big changes at work just before Christmas mean a longer Christmas break for me than usual, so I’m clinging on to that. And Christmas Day was lovely. I’m still on a Meg Langslow binge though… will I ever finish those long runners?!

Read:

To Get to the Other Side by Kelly Ohlert*

The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews

Some Like It Hawk by Donna Andrews

The Many Dates of Indigo by Amber D Samuel*

Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews

Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews

Started:

The Charity Shop Detective Agency by Peter Boland*

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

Several books received (watch this space) and the new Rivers of London graphic novel but that’s it…

Bonus photo: what else could it be but a Christmas tree?

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: December 12 – December 18

Ah. Oh dear. Well it’s not really oh dear because I have enjoyed myself. But I have been burning through the Meg Langslow reread – because I was still poorly (or at least not 100 percent) and it was so cold outside and they’re such lovely comfort reads. Of course this means I have no idea what I’m writing about tomorrow! Never mind. It’s nearly Christmas and you’re allowed a treat!

Read:

A Clutch of Constables by Ngaio Marsh

No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews

The Penguin who Knew too Much by Donna Andrews

Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews

Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews

Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews

The White Priory Murders by Carter Dickson

Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews

Started:

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

The Many Dates of Indigo by Amber D Samuel*

To Get to the Other Side by Kelly Ohlert*

Well, I bought a stack of second hand copies in a cozy crime series and they arrived – does that count? And I bought the Patrick Radden Keefe because it was on a kindle deal.

Bonus photo: shamelessly using one of mum’s picture this week as I barely left the house – but here is the Dachshund in the snow – I treated myself to a Christmas hoodie this year that says “Dachshund through the snow” so I’m going to claim this is a festive photo too!

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.