Something always goes wrong! In some strange way, part 3 of my blog went live immediately just when I found out how to schedule. So you may see Parts 3, 1, and 2 in that order. This is the last one which hopefully will go out on 19th December.

I’ve never understood why some people just don’t read. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hand, even before I began school. Books take you backwards and forwards in time, to places you will never go or have never visited. They teach you, stretch your mind and open up the whole universe.

Why not give someone a book this Christmas, maybe even one of mine!

TAINTED WINE   Linda Watkins

This was an intriguing story for how can you defend an accused when every bit of evidence points to her guilt? I couldn’t work out how the investigator could ever wriggle out of this one.

The body of a vintner is found among the vines at the renowned Fauchér Winery, a corkscrew lodged deeply in his throat. The primary suspect – Jessica Fauchér, heiress to the winery fortune, The San Francisco law firm of Jacobs, Felder, and Smith takes on the task of representing the young heiress and Steve Daniels, who works for them as an investigator, is assigned the task of determining her guilt or innocence. Is she a cold-blooded murderer or just a victim of circumstance? Will the revelations Steve uncovers about her past foreshadow an even darker future? And, will Steve get caught in the web of lies that is being spun around him?

MEANS TO DECEIVE    Alex Craigie

I am a great fan of this independent writer and this is her third book, although I’ve just discovered she published a novella this autumn which I downloaded immediately. Means to Deceive is a psychological thriller another of my favourite genres.

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

THE BAG CARRIER  Stephen Leather

Years ago I was an avid fan of Stephen Leather and then somehow he slipped off my radar. Then I rediscovered his books and I’ve read several this year. I’ve chosen the Bag Carrier as it shines an uncomfortable but probably accurate picture of modern-day Britain. Food for thought.

A dead body in the prayer hall of a mosque isn’t the best start to the day for anyone.
But for Detective Inspector Harold Porter it’s all in a day’s work – he’s a Murder Detective with the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crimes Command.
The problem is that DI Porter has been given a new partner – a young Muslim detective by the name of Mohammed Salim Nasri.
Nasri and Porter are both British and they are both cops, but they look at the world – and the case – from completely different viewpoints.


All the books in last week’s post were all historical based, but that’s not the only genre I enjoy. The books I’m including are those that not only do I remember but ones where I can leave the bed unmade, the dishes abandoned in the sink and let the whole world go by as I feverishly turn the pages, or in my case, click on my kindle.

SIX CANVASES   Thomas Bauer

Set in New York, this is a good page turner in the traditional fashion. It kept me turning the pages and guessing right up until the end.

A Manhattan art dealer becomes obsessed with an artist dying young and the enigmatic woman he loved. When he discovers strange canvases the artist hid in his attic, he embarks on a quest to solve the mysteries of the artist’s life. The small fishing village the artist lived in, the beautiful Cory Forbes, and the canvases take him on a journey that leads him to the brink of murder.


I guess the title gives the game away, but it did not detract from the narrative told by a master storyteller. Some authors just have that special way with words and he is one of the masters.

Jeannie Ferrami, a scientific researcher investigating the behaviour of identical twins who have been raised separately, uncovers a perplexing mystery; identical twins who were born on different days, to different mothers, in different places. One, Steve, is a law student, and the other, Dennis, a convicted murderer. As Jeannie works with Steve on her project she finds herself falling in love with him, but their world is shattered when he is accused of a monstrous crime.


A book by a seasoned writer, with extensive research into the period of World War II. It’s a solid reminder that there is good and bad on both sides of a war.

January 1944—a senior member of the French Resistance betrays his comrades to the Abwehr and Gestapo, but who?

Within hours, the Germans arrest hundreds of suspected resistance fighters and incarcerate them in the infamous Amiens prison.

When a Resistance spy inside the prison informs his leaders, Dominique Ponchardier and Boniface Monier, of German plans to conduct mass executions within weeks, they are helpless to respond.

Part 3 next week


I have been keeping a spreadsheet of all the books I read for several years. There is a column for the download, one for when I’ve read it, when I’ve written a review and finally posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

The books in my next few blogs are those I have highlighted as great reads, stories I will remember, and they have to be special as I’ve exceeded my Goodreads challenge of 80 books this year and that’s not counting those I’ve read and privately reviewed for Readers Favorite.

THE DARK MONK  Oliver Potzsch

I love this series, set in the middle Ages in Bohemia (yes I had to check that out on the map). This writer takes you back into the past and makes it all come to life.

Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl, his headstrong daughter, Magdalena, and the town physician’s son team up with the priest’s aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.  a seventeenth-century Bavaria and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.

THE BEGGAR KING     Oliver Potzsch
The only problem I have with this series is the rather dull covers. I would not have chosen to read these books if I hadn’t downloaded the first one on sale. I am so glad I did. This is the third book in the Hangman’s Daughter series. I recommend them all.
1662: Jakob Kuisl, the hangman of Schongau, receives a letter from his sister calling him to the imperial city of Regensburg, where a gruesome sight awaits him: Her throat has been slit. When the city constable discovers Kuisl alongside the corpse, he locks him in a dungeon, where Kuisl will experience first hand the torture he has administered himself for years.


My favourite genres are historical novel, most especially set in England during the time of the Tudors and this one is a little different detailing the consequences of the closure and plundering of the religious houses under Henry VIII. Again Arnopp is a writer who transports you back in time as you join the pilgrimage and suffer the same trials on the march.

Arden Priory has remained unchanged for almost four hundred years when a nameless child is abandoned at the gatehouse door.

As Henry VIII’s second queen dies on the scaffold, the embittered King strikes out, and unprecedented change sweeps across the country.
The bells of the great abbeys fall silent, the church and the very foundation of the realm begins to crack.

Determined to preserve their way of life, novitiate nuns Margery and Grace join a pilgrimage thirty thousand strong to lead the king back to grace.

Check out the next three books in my next blog.


I should apologise now for the basic layout of this blog.  I have not blogged much this year (I’m blaming long Covid for my lack of energy and motivation) and I still haven’t got my head around all the blocking and boxing and the pages of instructions are just too time-consuming.  Hey, I could be reading more books instead!

Also, this list is in no particular order, so books in part one ad part four are of equal value.


I enjoy books set in any part of the world if the story is good, I bond with at least one of the characters and care about them and if it keeps me on the edge of my seat and guessing – how will they ever resolve this?

Patrick Rooper, an investigative journalist and ex-Navy SEAL, is looking forward to his upcoming wedding when a rich socialite walks into his office and offers a lucrative assignment. To retrieve a document from the Swiss Alps seems easy enough for someone with Patrick’s accolades, but unbeknownst to him, the undertaking poses an existential threat to someone powerful—someone desperate to stop him at any cost.

DEADLY ENVY    Sarah Stuart

From her well-known series of stars, incest and the bright lights, Stuart has now turned her hand to murder thrillers and DCI Croft is now one of my favourite detectives. He’s down to earth, believable and makes for an enjoyable read.

DCI Croft returns from a family holiday to find his house has been burgled. An armed raid at a jeweller has ended in tragedy, with the owner shot dead. Was it a robbery gone wrong or revenge? Kidnap, suicide pacts, murder, and theft – can DCI Croft stop the crime wave before he finds himself in the chief superintendent’s firing line, literally!

TIMOTHY    Rosemary Sheppard

I was a little hesitant to pick up this book, as Sheppard is a local author and I was worried I’d not enjoy Timothy. Was I wrong! It’s an amazing book, written with great skill. It takes you into the mind of a psychopath, twisting and overturning the morals and rules that most of us live by. But when you cover it up so well, who could guess what lies in the mind of someone you might know?

The story of how a boy, Timothy, born to a penniless mother in war torn London grows to become a charming, attractive, lying womaniser and murderer, including his views on the people he comes into contact with and the situations in which he finds himself. 

Since my last book choices come out after Christmas Day, I’d like to wish all my readers, their families and friends a safe, happy and healthy holiday wherever in the world you might be.

Conundrums and Contradictions

Audrey makes some excellent observations here so just had to share.

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

I have been known to question writing “rules.” (See how those quote marks sneaked in?) Sometimes I wonder why… Am I a knee-jerk rebel, one who thinks any piece of written schlock is good as long as it was written sincerely? Do I really think writers who follow rules and comb through their works-in-progress for transgressions are “sheeple,” churning out lifeless overworked prose?

I hope not, but…

One thing I’ve realized: I react negatively to words and phrases I see trotted out repeatedly and without question. Phrases like “Show, don’t tell,” “Kill your darlings,” and “Never use [insert word(s) here].”

Such writing rules are triggers for me.

Now I’ve admitted all that, here are some thoughts that won’t go away…

Why is it OK for established writers to flout the rules? And don’t say it’s because they do it well. If prologues and backstory are bad, they’re bad, no matter…

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Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Paranormal Romance Staci Troilo

A delightful suprise, to be featured in Sally.s Smorgasbord blog. Thank you so much Sally. I had to re-blog it of course! I won’t buy A Year in the Life of Lwah Brand as I know that story well, but I am ingtrigued by Staci’s book and will go look it up. 🙂

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.

In this first part of the summer fair, I am sharing books that are the first in a series in both adult and children’s books along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.

The first book today is A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A Psychological Thrillerby Lucinda E. Clarke and can certainly recommend its gripping story line.

About the book

Leah’s nightmare began the day the dog died.

A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Equality by Noelle Granger

The real problems and challenges of being a woman in the modern world.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Noelle Grangershares her experiences as a young professor at a time when equality and respect were not freely given within the academic environment.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Equality by Noelle Granger

I’m a bit older than most people in the blogosphere, having been born at the end of WWII and growing up in the 50s. Life then was family-oriented, patriarchal, and had no electronic distractions except for the arrival of a TV in the house…

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Writing is an illness?

You couldn’t make this up!

Have We Had Help?

So, science has just worked out that anyone who shows any kind of creativity is suffering from a mental disorder. Where do they get these notions from?Lala land?

In a recent article on the BBC:  entitled “Creativity closely entwined with mental illness” it was pointed out that writers have a higher risk of anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse, according to a team of researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institute, led by Dr Simon Kyaga.

It went on to say that anyone who is in the least bit ‘creative’ is almost twice as likely to kill themselves; far more than the general population. According to the researchers, creativity is often part of a mental illness, with writers being particularly susceptible.

Thanks a lot folks; that maybe explains why I am so driven to write. It’s a funny thing but I’ve never ever thought of writing…

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