Sunday, 23 December 2018

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan - Book Review - Vintage Murder Mystery

First Published:  1949
Re-Published by Vintage:  12 Nov 2015

A Classic Mystery for the Festive Season, Mulled Wine, Mince Pies ....... and Murder

Mordecai Tremaine, former tobacconist and perennial lover of romance novels, has been invited to spend Christmas in the sleepy village of Sherbroome at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame. 

Arriving on Christmas Eve, he finds that the revelries are in full flow - but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.

Midnight strikes and the party-goers discover that it's not just presents nestling under the tree...there's a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas. 

With the snow falling and the suspicions flying, it's up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit - and prevent someone else from getting murder for Christmas.

The scene is set .... a country house at Christmas, snow falling, an eclectic cast of characters including an amateur sleuth, smouldering drama, resentments and secrets .........

Our protagonist with the wonderfully sounding name of Mordecai Tremaine, having already helped the police solve one murder recently, is taken into the confidence of the local constabulary who want him to inveigle himself with the house guests in order to try and discover who the killer may be.

An undercurrent of tension flows through the story as Mordecai's easy manner has them giving him information that they don't want the police to know as the truth is slowly revealed over the course of the Christmas holidays.

Set in the 1940's, I really enjoyed the careful writing style and sixty something bachelor Mordecai is an interesting character, he wears a pince-nez, reads romantic stories, has a sentimental soul and enjoys weighing up all the house guests.

This murder mystery is a great addition to the vintage 'golden age' of crime fiction.

My thanks to Dead Good Books for giving me the opportunity to read this vintage novel.  You can read the first chapter of Murder for Christmas on their website

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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft - Book Review

Published:  4 October 2018
Publisher:  Avon Books

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.
To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?
Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

A Christmas Gift opens with debt collectors knocking at Georgine's front door as she runs out of the back door!  She runs to her job at Acting Instrumental, a brilliant Performing Arts College where she loves putting on the shows.

When a new volunteer helps her with preparing for this year's Christmas show, she is not prepared for what impact it has on her.

The show is the main focus of the story, how detailed it all is, it was so illuminating to discover how it is all put together, the music, the acting, the stage direction, the props, I found it totally fascinating and enjoyed learning some of what goes into putting a stage production on.

The story was a real mix of family misunderstandings, relationships, past mistakes, friendships old and new, secrets and lies.  There's romance and music with a cast of characters who were well-developed.

Sue Moorcroft kept me guessing till the end as to how all the issues were going to be resolved.

This is sure to delight anyone who enjoys a festive read which also deals with more serious issues - which I thought were handled very sensitively.

My thanks to Avon Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Christmas Gift is available from

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Saturday, 8 December 2018

Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale - Blog Tour & Book Review

Today, I am delighted to be part of Emily Harvale's blog tour for her new book Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Rowthanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources ...... please check out my review below .....

It’ll take a miracle to make Juliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you need some Christmas magic. 

The last person Juliet Bell expects to see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow.Especially with the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twenty years ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consisting of one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’s wrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken to one another since.

Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit his grandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene of one of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty years and he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At least with his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work. 

But Juliet’s sister, Zoe and Harrison’s brother, Luke have some surprises in store for their elder siblings, and so it seems does Fate. After Harrison risks his life to save Juliet, the least she can do is be nice. The problem is, Harrison is hotter than the log fire in The Mistletoe pub, and when she’s surrounded by twinkling lights and softly falling snow, it doesn’t take long for her to realise she’s in love with the man she thought she hated. Even if he doesn’t appear to be in love with her. 

Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row is the kind of book that surrounds you in a lovely, soft, comfy blanket and you just don't want to step out of it into the real world.

I loved the village's name of Mistletythe, with the mistletoe trees, the local pub leading down to the river and the little bridge over the river, and the big house The Grange looking over Mistletoe Row.

This was a joy to read, with wonderful characters, friendly locals, family secrets and misunderstandings.

It was also lovely to catch up with some of the characters from Emily Harvale's earlier story Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove though you don't need to have read that book as the storyline doesn't involve them.

The writing was at just the right pace, it was entertaining and it left me with a big smile on my face!

Definitely one to get you in the Christmas mood and keep you there all through the holidays!

About the Author

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing... and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She's an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, "I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings." When she isn't writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both.

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