Book Review: The Eleventh Commandment #JohnSingerSargent #VernonLee

This is the fourth book in the John Singer Sargent/Violet Paget mystery series. The amateur sleuthing pair of artist John and writer Violet, who wrote under the name Vernon Lee, make a great combination. These lifelong friends are drawn into an archaeological mystery when John receives a package from an acquaintance, Moses Shapira. Shapira had recently been accused of promoting a fake manuscript of the ten commandments, with an eleventh commandment added! Is the package of leather strips that John received an original, or is it a fake? Not long after receiving the package, John and Violet learn of a suicide that could actually be a murder. In alternating chapters, we follow Moses Shapira as he discovers and tries to verify the manuscripts, and Violet and John as they investigate a possible murder and the origin of those same artifacts. This book can be read as a standalone.

The duo of John and Violet as amateur investigators is delightful. Their friendship and Violet’s insight make for an entertaining read. Their travels revolve around the arts and their investigation. Violet is an excellent narrator, and the book includes snippets about her work and John’s paintings. The fact that they were real-life friends who traveled extensively makes the books even more authentic. The mystery is intriguing and multi-layered. With Moses, we travel with Bedouin guides into the deserts of the Middle East, searching for treasures. With Violet and John, we visit Rotterdam and search for clues into a mysterious death. This is a captivating and multi-layered mystery with absolutely endearing main characters.

I received a free copy of this book from Word by Word Press via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Burns’ varied writing experience includes more than twenty years in business and agency public relations and communications, including video scripts, radio commercials, annual reports, newsletters and executive speeches.  She managed the media coverage of the 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II to San Francisco, and was the producer of a local television morning talk show, Body and Soul.  She has run her own consulting business twice, alternating with corporate positions, and is currently pursuing several writing projects.

Mary’s creative fiction writing began with a short story that won a prize at the 2000 Mendocino (California) Coast Writers Conference.  Two other short stories garnered first places (see them at www.coffeehousefiction.com and www.jerryjazzmusician.com). She was an invited participant at the 2004 Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference in Lake Tahoe, California. Her first historical novel titled J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE, was published in July 2010 by O-Books Publishers, UK. She has just completed her fourth book in the JOHN SINGER SARGENT/VIOLET PAGENT MYSTERY SERIES.

For more information please visit Mary’s website.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON|AMAZON UK

LINK TO THE ENTIRE SERIES (CLICK IMAGE BELOW)

Book Review: The Twist and Shout Murder #HistoricalNovelSociety

Here is the first of seven reviews I did for the May issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. This is a fun, cozy mystery set in the 60s.

BOOK REVIEW

First in the Swinging Sixties mystery series, this is a light cozy murder mystery set in the small town of Camden, Texas, in 1962. Dot Morgan’s career choices as a young woman seem to be nurse, teacher, or secretary. Dot wants to go to business school, but it’s difficult for women to get admitted, so she opts for secretarial school. While attending classes, she encourages her father to run for city council. He ends up running against Anson Manning, the wayward son of the town’s wealthiest family. Dot decides to join the Camden Ladies’ Club to try and gain political support for her father’s campaign. Unfortunately, she gets everything but help and is faced with a murder mystery when one of the town’s elite is found dead.

This is an entertaining read full of small-town politics, gossip, and scandal. Dot is a strong character who dreams of a career in business, a tough goal for women in the 1960s. The supporting cast is engaging and fun. While some of the characters are over the top, anyone who has lived in a small town knows that this is pretty close to reality. The mystery has some twists and turns, and I felt transported to the 1960s through music, movies, and social references. For example, Dot eats at a hamburger stand with golden arches for the first time and sees The Music Man in the theater. The ‘60s are just beginning, and so is this series. I look forward to more installments.

I received a free copy of this book from Historia via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE

Teresa Trent writes the Piney Woods and the Pecan Bayou mystery series from Houston, Texas where she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that is woven through them all.

BUY LINK: AMAZON AMAZON UK

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Murder of Mr. Wickham–A Jane Austen inspired cozy mystery

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

BOOK REVIEW

A Summer House Party. A Murder Mystery. Two Young People Investigate. I’m already in. Now add in almost ALL of Jane Austen’s leading characters! Not only I am in but I’m sure all the Jane Austen enthusiasts are dancing with glee. This was so well done!!! I love that the Darcys of Pride and Prejudice have been married 22 years when this book begins. And I love that their son has been brought in as a new character, along with Juliet Tilney, daughter of Catherine and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey. I love that there is a touch of “enemies to friends” romance thrown in. And I love that this transports me back to 1820. The idea of a house party turned murder investigation–and nobody can leave–is an intriguing, Agatha Christie-style twist. The unofficial investigation done by the very proper Mr. Jonathan Darcy and the spirited Juliet Tilney is captivating to watch. This book is everything a Jane Austen devotee will love, with a touch of Agatha Christie and a dash of adventure thrown in. This is a nostalgic, intriguing, captivating, and fun collision of the worlds of Jane Austen. I hope to see a sequel.

I received a free copy of this book from Knopf Doubleday via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

ABOUT JANE AUSTEN

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817. As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma(1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.

MY INSTAGRAM REVIEW

Self-Published Saturday: Review of Framed by Gail Meath

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to highlight self-published and Indie books and help the authors with the daunting task of marketing. Below is a review of Framed, Book 2 in the Jax Diamond Mystery series by Gail Meath. I must disclose before you read the review that I edited this book.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Things get pretty sticky for PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, when their best friend, a cop, is framed for murder. And not just anyone’s murder. The victim is the fiancée of the most notorious gangster in the city, Orin Marino, Jax’s worst enemy.

Laura Graystone, the budding Broadway Star and Jax’s new squeeze, proves to be an ingenious partner as they sift through clues trying to find the real murderer. But when Jax is pinched for another crime, Laura and Ace are forced to go undercover.

Hang on to your seat as Jax, Laura and Ace take you on another crazy, whodunit ride during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is who they seem, and those who do, aren’t. Anything goes during an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.

BOOK REVIEW

Jax, Laura, and Ace are back, and the adventure starts immediately when Jax’s best friend Tim, a cop, is framed for murder. Can Jax clear Tim’s name or will he go down too? Laura is on hand to help, and Ace is more involved than ever as they face off with Jax’s enemy Orin Marino and try to find the real killer.

These three characters are becoming so dear to me. Jax is smart, rough around the edges, and extremely loyal to his friends. Laura is a capable and multi-talented woman who refuses to sit in the background for her own safety. Ace is the smartest dog on the planet. All three of them together make the perfect team. The character development of secondary characters also shone in this one, as we got to learn more about the fiery Carla and her falsely accused cop husband Tim. The descriptions of the clubs and lounges of the 1920s transport us there instantly, and we learn how speakeasies worked in the time of prohibition. Ace was even more involved in this novel, and I adored it. He takes the book to greater heights and makes us all fall in love with him. The music of the era is highlighted, as Laura sings some of the great songs of the period.

Packed with mystery, history, and canine heroism, this book will keep you entertained and guessing until the end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

The subgenres of her books vary from action-packed westerns, plot twisting murder mysteries and biographies of powerful women who defied the strict rules of society fighting for the freedom of their countries. Her romances may exclude steamy sexual scenes, yet the intensity between heroine and hero will satisfy your deepest fantasies.

Outside of writing, she spends loads of time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

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BUY LINKS

Amazon Amazon UK B&N

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Spotlight: Framed by Gail Meath #CozyMysterieswithDogs #GermanShepherds #NewYorkCityMysteries

Framed, Book 2 in the Jax Diamond Mystery Series, is releasing tomorrow! Be sure and pick up your copy at the links below. If you haven’t read Book 1, Songbird, you can see the review, an interview with the author, and buy links here.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Things get pretty sticky for PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, when their best friend, a cop, is framed for murder. And not just anyone’s murder. The victim is the fiancée of the most notorious gangster in the city, Orin Marino, Jax’s worst enemy.

Laura Graystone, the budding Broadway Star and Jax’s new squeeze, proves to be an ingenious partner as they sift through clues trying to find the real murderer. But when Jax is pinched for another crime, Laura and Ace are forced to go undercover.

Hang on to your seat as Jax, Laura and Ace take you on another crazy, whodunit ride during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is who they seem, and those who do, aren’t. Anything goes during an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Amazon UK

B&N

Blog Tour and Book Review: Entitled by Gill Merton

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In 1971, Nan Douglas and her toddler twins arrive on the remote island of Inniscuiilin, long-lost family of the eccentric Miss Campbell. For fifteen years they all live quietly up at the Big House, until the twins start planning their future – forcing Nan to confront their past…

Because someone, somewhere believes that the twins aren’t twins. That they’re not even Nan’s children. And that Nan isn’t Nan.

Only Nan herself can prove them wrong – but it’s a gamble. Win or lose, she’s still at risk of losing her beloved family.

BOOK REVIEW

This can be described as a mild psychological thriller, and if there were a genre called psychological cozy, I’d put it under there, although that might sound absurd. This novel is both enraging and engaging. It’s about what happens when the extremely privileged few rear their ugly heads and once again take and use whatever and whoever is not theirs to take or use. However, it’s also about a small island town and its inhabitants. It’s a story about a woman whose life and plans are turned upside down, and what she does afterward. I enjoyed the Island of Inniscuiillan and its residents as well. I was enraged at the behavior of some who think their wants and needs surpass those of others. It raises the questions: “Is revenge ever warranted?” and “How far is too far?”

Recommended for fans of thrillers and cozies, as this is somewhere in the middle.

4.5 stars. Rounded up to 5 on sites with no half-star option.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Gill Merton is the non de plume of five writers based around Edinburgh and the Lothians: Simon Bramwell, Coreen Connell, Sheila Corrigan, Anne Hamilton, and Elizabeth Nallon.

Entitled is their first collaborative novel, adapted from an original short story by Sheila Corrigan, and was made possible by funding from The National Lottery Awards For All.

Earlier publications include: The Writing Group:  an original stage/radio play (First recorded 2017)and A Way With Words: an anthology of prose and poetry (Pilrig Press, 2015)

Follow them as Gill Merton on Twitter

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Self-Published Saturday: Loveda Brown: The Lover’s Knot #HistoricalMystery #Freebook

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published authors with one of their most daunting tasks of all–marketing. If I can help even a little bit, I’m happy to do it. Below is a book description, review and buy links for Lover’s Knot, the fifth book in the Idyllwild Mystery Series by Jolie Tunnell.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Loveda Brown is a bridesmaid in the tiny mountainside town of Idyllwild, California, as yet the Wild West of 1912, but with the wedding only three days away, a guest drops face-first into the chicken salad. Is it misdiagnosis or murder? Between a fortune teller, a nosy newspaper reporter, four physicians, and an overbearing aunty, Loveda wanders a maze of deceit to uncover the killer before the bride pays the ultimate price for a secret in the groom’s past.

BOOK REVIEW

Loveda Brown, Lover’s Knot is the fifth book in a series but can easily be read as a standalone. Although I had not read any books in this series before, I was easily swept into this novel, with its quirky cast of characters and compelling storyline. Loveda is a strong woman at a time when men ruled the roost, and she is quick to sniff out a mystery. When a woman dies under suspicious circumstances, Loveda is not content with the explanations of the men present and sets out to investigate for herself. Full of fun, intrigue, twists, turns, and even some fortune-telling, this book will keep you entertained. I found the writing to be exceptional. It grabs you and takes you on an adventure that can be both humorous and perilous. I felt transported back to 1912 to this tiny town in the west. Will I seek out the rest of this series to read? That’s no mystery. You bet I will.

My only slight criticism is on the cover. The cover itself is very pretty, especially when displayed in a set with the other books in the series. But the author’s name is too small and hardly visible. I suggest the author make her name larger on the cover. And that’s my only critique. Shout your name out, Jolie! You’re a talented writer.

I downloaded this book via Kindle Unlimited, but this book is FREE to everyone until midnight tonight! Get your copy while you can!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jolie Tunnell brings the past to life in a historical mystery series with a voice all her own. Author, freelance writer, blogger, and professional mom, she lives in Southern California with her hubby, five kids, and a pear-shaped cat. Minus the murders, Idyllwild has been her summer retreat for years.

Cozy up with a cuppa and enjoy her mountaintop mysteries with a feisty small-town community, hidden villains, and the unsinkable Loveda Brown. She offers readers a historical whodunnit with the flavor of turn-of-the-century Wild West.

Visit her website to find her blog, newsletter, sales calendar, and upcoming new releases!

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BUY LINKS

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Link To Buy Entire Series

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

New Release: Songbird by Gail Meath is out today. #NewRelease #HistoricalMystery #Songbird #GermanShepherds

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.

But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.

Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.

Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.

LINKS TO BUY

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Be sure and check out this great cozy historical mystery, the first in a series about Private Detective Jax Diamond and his German Shepherd partner, Ace. If you enjoy historical cozy mysteries, you will love this one.

Self-Published Saturday/Repost of Songbird

Self-Published Saturday (SPS) is my effort to help self-published and indie authors with the heavy task of marketing their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to marketing and more. This is my effort to take a bit of that load and help promote their books on a Saturday. Please share these books on your social media, so all of your followers can see these great books as well. Today’s first review is of Songbird, a wonderful cozy historical mystery by Gail Meath set in New York City, 1923.

Following the review is a short Q&A with the author, Gail Meath.

FULL DISCLOSURE

I am the editor of this particular book. I wanted to make sure you had full knowledge of that before you read my review. My review is honest and my opinions are my own. This was my first editing adventure, and I want to thank Gail Meath for allowing me the opportunity. I am planning to start freelance editing next year and am doing a few editing jobs right now free of charge in order to gain experience. So let me know if need any help!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Normally I come up with a paragraph describing the book on my own. But Gail Meath’s description is so good I couldn’t possibly come up with anything better, and it’s so clever I wanted to share it with you. So here is the book description written by Gail Meath.

**********************************************************************

Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.

But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.

Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.

Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fantasically fun cozy mystery set in 1923 New York. The characters don’t just jump off the page, they pull you into their world. Jax’s sidekick, Ace, the wonderfully charming German Shepherd, will make his way into your heart in no time. The setting in 1923 New York City is well described and transports us back to that place and time. The portrayal of Coney Island makes you feel as if you are there, hanging on for dear life in the Steeplechase or winning a prize in the baseball toss. The mystery is so well done, with puzzles and red herrings that will keep you guessing. The main characters are complex and interesting. Jax, private investigator and former cop, has his own secrets to keep, and Laura’s talents are revealed to expand way beyond singing.

There is a sweet romance, but the complex and fascinating mystery is the star of the show, along with the lovable Ace. I highly recommend this book, the first in the Jax Diamond Mysteries series, to all mystery fans and to anyone who loves reading about our canine friends.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Songbird will be released November 11, 2021.

Q&A WITH GAIL MEATH

Songbird is a fun cozy mystery, and a little more lighthearted than your complex and wonderful previous historical novels, such as Agustina De Aragon and Countess Jacqueline.  Where did you get the inspiration for Songbird

 A while back, I found and fell in love with the cover, and I knew that I had to write a book around it.  Over the summer, I had so much fun researching the Roaring Twenties era; the story just became a reflection of how I envisioned life on Broadway back then.  And it was a nice break from writing about the struggles of war.   

The series is set in 1923 in New York City.  Did you face any challenges in setting a mystery during this time and place?  

Choosing New York City made research easier than other places since it is one of the largest cities.  And I found tons of information regarding historical restaurants, speakeasies, theaters, etc.  There was so much more I wanted to include in the book, but I didn’t want to distract from the story.

Your description of Coney Island is fascinating and the rides sound like deadly fun.  Seriously, I’m not sure how anyone survived some of these rides.  Was there a lot of research material available for 1923 Coney Island?  

Like the rest the city, there was a great deal of research, but none of the articles tells you more about the Coney Island Amusement Park than the video I found.  It is a hoot!  Note from Bonnie: Please check out the link here of old 1920s Coney Island rides. You won’t want to miss it, and you will also be wondering how anyone survived! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wz5vZmU8Dc&t=47s

One of your main characters is a German Shepherd, and he is delightful!  Was it challenging to make an animal a major part of the story, and do you have any dogs yourself?  

I am an avid animal lover and have a little Boston Terrier now.  Years ago, as soon as I married and moved to the country, I adopted Gretchen, the most beautiful, loyal and loving friend I’ve ever had.  She even saved my son’s life once.   She is still sorely missed, so it was very easy and fun finding a place for her as Ace in this book.

Was Gretchen a German Shepherd?

Yes, Gretchen was a shepherd, and she looked just like the pic I have of Ace under the covers in the book.

It appears there will be a sequel to Songbird.  Can you confirm that? 

 BLACKSTONE, Jax Diamond Mysteries – Book 2, should be ready in March and takes place in New England, but I’m not done with BROADWAY yet (Book 3)

Thank you Gail, for another great interview and for answering my questions today on short notice!

PRE-ORDER SONGBIRD

Amazon US

Amazon UK

COVER RATING

I love this cover. You instantly know you are in the 1920’s, and Ace and Jax are represented by the cards in the left corner. Very well done. The cover was done before the book, which is unusual, but as Gail stated above, it served as inspiration for the story.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: August 21, 2021

It’s Saturday, and I’ll be reviewing only Self-Published/Indie books all day. Saturday is exclusively Self-Published/Indie. Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie authors market their books. As I always say, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope is that this feature will give them a little help. Please remember that if you decide to review the book, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else you review the book. This is so important for Self-Published authors. Today I am featuring the wonderful Alice and Trudy mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph, set in post World World II Yorkshire. I actually reviewed Books 2 and 3 for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. I haven’t written a book review for Book 1 yet, but I’m including a book description. My reviews for books 2 and 3 are below. They can all be read as standalones.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Fleeing an abusive husband, Trudy finds herself helping to run a private hotel (The Avalon Hotel) for elderly guests. But only a couple of weeks after her arrival, Alastair Mackie, one of its owners, is poisoned. Suspicion falls on Trudy and on Alastair’s wife, Alice.

Together, Trudy and Alice struggle to find the identity of the killer, or even a reason for the murder. They are helped along the way by Ben, a man from the moors, and by dear Doctor Taylor himself, beloved by the elderly residents of the hotel.

Only slightly in the way are Colonel Starr, who has difficulty telling one war from another, Calvin Hunt with his shocking remarks, the name-dropping Mrs Shand and the frequent fainter (but artistic) Fay Bowen. Oh! I almost forgot Miss Harriet – she is easy to overlook.

While Alice tries to discover the secret behind the killing, Trudy must fight with a husband who is determined to force her back.

Set in a large Victorian house in Yorkshire in 1947, this novel introduces readers to a new pair of detectives – Alice, raised in a country mansion by aristocratic parents, and Trudy, daughter of a butcher from the market.

BOOK REVIEWS

In England in 1947, Princess Elizabeth prepares to marry Phillip Mountbatten. And at the Avalon Private Hotel, sweet, elderly Miss Harriet is planning to marry John Prentiss. But there are obstacles in the way. Neither John nor Miss Harriet is particularly interested in wedding planning, there are issues agreeing on a church, and to top it all off, somebody wants to kidnap Miss Harriet! Alice, Trudy, Kenneth Wilson, the local police detective, and the guests at Avalon band together to try and keep the wedding on track and protect Miss Harriet. Tidbits from Elizabeth’s wedding are dropped throughout the book. This is the second in the wonderful Alice and Trudy Mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph.

This is an entertaining read which alternates between the perspectives of Alice, the owner of the Avalon, and Trudy, who helps her run the hotel. In addition to wedding plans, we are caught up in the other residents—Fay, who is using her considerable talent as an artist to sketch the local dogs; Colonel Starr, whose mind is generally geared to military matters; Mrs. Shand, who does some uppity criticizing of the wedding planning, both royal and non-royal; Calvin, the elderly flirt; and Sophie, who tries to help out in every situation. Alice’s aristocratic family makes appearances, as do Ben, a local man, his dog Yan, and others.

This is a sweet, mild cozy mystery, softer and more comfortable than most. It is a relaxing read about post-World War II England. I loved the characters, especially the elderly hotel guests. Fans of weddings, cozy mysteries, and postwar novels will enjoy this book.

In post-World War II Yorkshire, Alice and Trudy are taken aback when Jeremiah Bickerstaff, the formidable patriarch of the rich and powerful Bickerstaff family, makes the surprising decision to move into a vacant room at the Avalon hotel while recovering from a stroke. Despite begging, conniving, and groveling from his family, he will not move back home. This makes things difficult for Trudy, as Bickerstaff is the grandfather of her abusive ex-husband, Jeremy. Then another young man enters the picture. He bears a strong resemblance to the Bickerstaff grandsons. Is he a long-lost heir? When a death happens on the premises, one of the elderly tenants is quick to point the finger. Was it an accident, or something more? This is the third book in the Alice and Trudy mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone.

The elderly Avalon gang is back in another delightful mystery adventure. Led by hotel owner Alice and manager Trudy, the aged but active residents lend a hand and plenty of opinions after Mr. Bickerstaff joins their ranks. This series is such a delight to read. I truly enjoy all of these characters, especially Colonel Starr, who thinks everyone should join the Army, and Mrs. Shand, who is always ready with a comment, whether you want to hear it or not. You will laugh at the hijinks of this hilarious crew of lively lodgers. Fans of cozy mysteries will want to rent a room at the Avalon hotel, and stay long-term.

OVERALL COMMENTS

This is a warm hug of a cozy mystery series with characters who keep you chuckling. You will want to continue coming back to the Avalon Hotel.

BUY THE ALICE AND TRUDY MYSTERIES ON AMAZON

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