Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Watching Edie

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Published by Harper Collins

Hardback Edition

28th July 2016



Edie is the friend that Heather has always craved. But one night, it goes terrifyingly wrong. And what started as an innocent friendship ends in two lives being destroyed.

Sixteen years later, Edie is still rebuilding her life. But Heather isn’t ready to let her forget so easily. It’s no coincidence that she shows up when Edie needs her most.

Edie or Heather?
Heather or Edie?

Someone has to pay for what happened, but who will it be?

This book reminded me of the film Single White Female that I remember watching so many times when it came out – I even had the exact same hair cut and colour as the main characters! Anyway, I digress, but Watching Edie certainly has some female stalker vibes going on right from the start.

Working through dual narratives, we enter the lives of the once popular Edie and the girl no one wants to be friends with, Heather. As luck would have it, these two strike up a friendship that no one could have predicted, until one day they aren’t friends any more.  Moving forward sixteen years and Edie is slightly disturbed by the reappearance of Heather in her life.  Pregnant Edie then gives birth to her baby daughter and suffering from post natal depression and unable to care for baby Maya, she invites Heather back into her life.

That’s when things progress with a rapidity Edie is unable to control and soon the only person she has left in her life is Heather, or is it?  This is a cracking read, full of twists and turns and you never really know just who to trust.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Crossing Places

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
Published by Quercus
2nd June 2016
Paperback Edition

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child's bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier - or are the bones much older?

DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth's expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.

But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she's getting ever closer to the truth...

This is my second Elly Griffiths read but my first of the Ruth Galloway books.  I will admit now, that on the reading of just this first novel, I have subsequently purchased the next 7 books in the series to pour through so that should instantly say how much I enjoyed this book, be prepared for a mass update of reviews on here!

I love a good crime novel and a good ending too and this had everything for me.  I loved the setting of Norfolk and maybe this worked well for me as I have never been there but the images of the fens and the desolate landscape was really detailed for me and I liked that.  Ruth is my age, of not tiny proportions and single - again I felt as a character this was wholly realistic and I liked that in her; she is an independent woman that is constantly being questioned as to whom she is dating, or why she doesn't yet have children and are her cats her substitute babies?!

Ruth is an archaeologist and upon the discovery of a body in the Fens, is called by DCI Harry Nelson to identify the bones.  DCI Nelson has his own cross to bear, he was in charge of a missing child case a decade ago and the body has never been recovered.  Could these bones be hers by any chance? 

Unfortunately for Nelson the answer is no, and he has to put his past case behind him when another child disappears.  He maintains links to Ruth though as her bone expertise and local area knowledge are of benefit to him, plus there is also an air of 'je ne sais quoi' about Ruth which intrigues him.

Each character is well constructed and believable and whilst there aren't many in the story itself, I didn't guess 'whodunnit' until I was almost at the end of the book.  There is also a continuity in the book, which I won't give away here, to make the reader want to pick up the next book to follow.

If you are a lover of crime fiction and haven't discovered the Ruth Galloway series, go do so.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Murder Bag

The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons
Published by Arrow
1st June 2015
Paperback Edition


Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable.

Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row.

Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power.

As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer’s reach getting closer to everything - and everyone - he loves.

Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life ...

This is the first instalment in Tony Parson's crime series featuring DC Max Wolfe.  As we are used to in many a crime novel, our detective is a broken man but in a change from the norm, he is not an alcoholic but a man who has lost his wife and has a young daughter to care for and protect.  I actually liked this addition to Wolfe's character, as a single parent you get to know him more personally than some other central characters in crime novels.  His daughter Scout and Mrs Murphy who looks after her make a nice addition to the story.

There are a lot of deaths in The Murder Bag and whilst initially there isn't anything apparent to link the murders of an investment banker and a homeless man, Wolfe is initially stumped.  Then more deaths occur.  A link is made between a group of men who were former students at a private school called Potter's Field, but the big question is, who is trying to kill these men, and for what reason?

The detail of the deaths are quite gory and the book does twist and turn but as a crime fan, I did enjoy it and am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.  My only quibble is that Parson's feels the need to use every acronym used in the police force within his book, and to then explain what they mean as well. Maybe if it was so important we could have had a glossary at then end?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Monday, 1 August 2016

Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
Published by Virago
27th August 2015
Hardback Edition

As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother, the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage - but it was in facing up to this reality that she took charge of her own destiny.

Scandalizing high society with her errant behaviour, she left her husband and became the first woman ever to hold a professional racehorse trainer's licence. After falling in with the notoriously hedonistic and gin-soaked Happy Valley set, Beryl soon became embroiled in a complex love triangle with the writer Karen Blixen and big game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (immortalized in Blixen's memoir Out of Africa). It was this unhappy affair which set tragedy in motion, while awakening Beryl to her truest self, and to her fate: to fly.

I loved Paula McLain's novel The Paris Wife when it first hit the shelves back in 2011 and I have had a copy of this to read and review for about a year now but have to admit that I was waiting for what felt like the right time to sit and devour it.  That occurred last week whilst on holiday and I instantly knew that this was the book for me to read, and I am so glad I did.  Based on the life of Beryl Markham and set principally in Africa in the 1920s, this follows her childhood, marriage and career as well as her love affairs, and of those around her too.

Beryl moved from the UK to Kenya as a toddler and it wasn't long before her mother yearned to return back to her native soil.  Beryl, already in love with her new surroundings, decided to stay with her father and remained in Africa for most of her life.  Growing up with the natives she certainly didn't have the conventional upbringing of a white English child at that time.  At the age of 16 she married but this was not to be the love affair she had possible dreamt of.  In order to escape her husband Beryl begins training horses and becomes very successful at it. 

The lives of some of the expats in Africa at this time are certainly well publicised and intricately linked and two of the principal characters in this story Denys and Karen are most widely known from the movie Out of Africa starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.  Beryl is no stranger to gossip by this time and her antics cause her marriage and career to be jepordised more than once.

This book focuses much less on her flying career, which didn't take off (pardon the pun) until the mid 1930s when she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic from the East to West coast and more of what led up to this occurring.  I have to admit, I was hooked from page one and have now ordered Out of Africa in both book and dvd format, as well as Beryl's autobiography West with the Night as this book left me crying out for more.

I really do recommend this.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Published by Bantam Press
14th July 2016
Hardback Edition

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

Situated in New York City, Anne and Marco have been invited for dinner next door by their neighbours Cynthia and Graham. There is however one catch - no children allowed.  That being the case, Anne and Marco employ a babysitter to watch Cora whilst they go out.  During the night however, baby Cora disappears and no one knows where she has gone, or more to the point, who has taken her.  What the reader does need to be aware of is that Cora's babysitter called in sick, and the seemingly devoted parents decide to go to the party equipped with a baby monitor and a 30 minute rota of popping back to their house to check on their daughter.

Whilst there may be a smidgen of the Madeleine Mccann to this synopsis, I do think that is possibly the only parallel here.  Anne certainly doesn't seem to be having as much fun as Marco is at the dinner party and her shock on discovering Cora has vanished seems to be genuine.  However once the police are involved their stories become less believable and reliable as the evening turns into day and we get other narratives entwined. 

Anne's parents are incredibly rich so could Cora's disappearance be a kidnapping but then who would have known that she was in the house alone that evening?  Why was the security light by their house off and just what was Cora wearing when she disappeared?  Suddenly things aren't quite as clear-cut as they initially seemed, and it's not just Anne and Marco who are under suspicion but their neighbours motives are questionable too.  Just how well do we know those around us?

Suspend disbelief at times, and The Couple Next Door is a good thriller to lose yourself in for a few hours.  As for me, I'd never to go a party and leave my baby home alone.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x