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Damaskcat (UK)
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A Hundred Thousand Dragons, (A Jack Haldean Mystery)
A Hundred Thousand Dragons, (A Jack Haldean Mystery)
Price: 2.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hundred Thousand Dragons, 2 April 2014
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Jack Haldean must confront something he regards as shameful which happened during World War I when two men from his past converge on his present life. An apparent car crash and a dead body bring both his friends from the police – Superintendent Ashley and Inspector Bill Rackham into the story. Hidden treasure and a trip to the Middle East not to speak of an excursion into the use of various codes including Playfair produce some scenes reminiscent of Dorothy L Sayers’ ‘Have His Carcase.’

I enjoyed this mystery story with its frightening denouement in the desert. I found the background of the early days of flying made interesting reading. It made me realise how relatively safe and easy air travel is today. I like the characters in this series – Jack himself and his cousin Isabelle with her unconventional (unconventional for that era) attitudes to life and adventure.

If you like crime stories without too much violence and with plenty of adventure, where the villains are really villains and the heroes aren’t actually too perfect then this may be the series for you. The books can be read in any order and this is number four in the series.


As if by Magic (A Jack Haldean Mystery)
As if by Magic (A Jack Haldean Mystery)
Price: 2.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As If by Magic, 1 April 2014
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Jack Haldean is intrigued by one of his friend’s Bill Rackham’s cases as it involves someone Jack was in the RFC with during World War I. George Lassiter is convinced he saw a murder taking place when he broke into the kitchen and ate some sandwiches.

As George was suffering from flu and malaria at the time is was felt he could be imagining the murder – especially when there was no trace of the body. Jack offers George a place to stay and help with tracing a legacy due to him which seems to have been claimed by someone else.

By trying to help George, Jack finds himself in personal danger soon realises that human being are easily fooled by how things appear to be. This complex mystery kept me reading when I couldn’t concentrate on much else and I think it is probably the best of this entertaining series that I have read so far. It is set in the nineteen twenties and shows how much people were affected by World War I years after the war had finished.

If you like vintage crime with interesting characters and backgrounds then try this series. The books can be read in any order and this is number three in the series if you want to read them in order.


Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Jacobin)
Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Jacobin)
Price: 5.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Playing the Whore, 30 Mar 2014
This is an interesting look at the work of prostitutes, lap dancers, pole dancers and pornographic film actors. It looks at the situation primarily in America and includes comments from people in the industry and how they feel about the work.

I found it particularly fascinating in that it looks at the attitudes of the general public to the sex industry and asks why sex in marriage is acceptable but paying for sex and receiving payment for it suddenly makes it something shameful for the women who provide the service but not for those who use the service.

I found this an intriguing, thought provoking and down to earth book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in sociology and the way society in general views certain activities. It is written in an accessible style and can be read by the general reader as well as those studying sociology or gender issues.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.


Margery Allingham's Mr Campion's Farewell: the Return of Albert Campion Completed by Mike Ripley
Margery Allingham's Mr Campion's Farewell: the Return of Albert Campion Completed by Mike Ripley
by Mike Ripley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr Campion's Farewell, 30 Mar 2014
Albert Campion is staying in the Suffolk village of Lindsay Carfax investigating some strange goings on and some suspicious deaths in the past. His niece, Eliza-Jane, an artist, lives there and she has just been lucky to escape with minor injuries after falling over a trip rope which has been placed near the top of a flight of steps.

The village seems strange with a secret passage linking several buildings which everyone knows about. The Carders – a mysterious society - appear to run the place and have an obsession with the number nine.

Campion himself is soon in danger and he finds he has to draw on old contacts to try and find out what is going on. Can he unravel the mystery before anyone, including himself, is killed? I enjoyed this interesting sequel to Margery Allingham’s novels featuring Albert Campion and I feel the author has captured the spirit of the character in this interesting story.

I thought the book was well written with some interesting background, not just in the village itself but in the other locations. I didn’t know many of the facts mentioned about the significance of the number nine. If you enjoy Margery Allingham’s Campion stories then you may enjoy this one too.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.


Northanger Abbey (Austen Project 2)
Northanger Abbey (Austen Project 2)
by Val McDermid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Northanger Abbey, 30 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whether or not people like sequels, prequels, spin offs or modern retellings of classic literature is always going to be a personal thing I think. I find them interesting and like any other genre there are good and bad amongst them. In ‘Northanger Abbey’ Val McDermid has done a good job of setting the story in twenty first century Edinburgh at the time of the Festival. I think she has captured the atmosphere of the Festival extremely well.

I was less convinced by some of the characters though I did like Henry Tilney – a lawyer in this incarnation – and ‘Cat’ Morland – still a vicar’s daughter and immersed in reading vampire fiction. Isabella Thorpe (Bella) is just a nasty piece of work however you look at her and whatever century she is set in. We’ve all met versions of Bella. John Thorpe translates into a petrol head who is always boasting about how quickly he got from A to B.

I did enjoy reading this version of ‘Northanger Abbey’. It has the light-heartedness of the original and it retains the classic – and rather sweet – love story. What I didn’t like, even though it is probably authentic, was the language used in the dialogue.


Mad About the Boy? (Jack Haldean Murder Mystery)
Mad About the Boy? (Jack Haldean Murder Mystery)
Price: 0.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad About the Boy?, 29 Mar 2014
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Jack Haldean is staying at Hesperus, the country house belonging to his Uncle and Aunt, Sir Philip and Lady Rivers. They are celebrating their Silver Wedding anniversary with a large party. The celebrations are marred by the death, apparently by suicide, of one of the guests. Jack is not convinced that it is suicide and he is concerned about various other events which seem suspicious.

This is a complex story with many strands and some exciting chases, both by car and on foot. I thought it was well written and the characters were well drawn as is the nineteen twenties background. Jack Haldean, in this second book in the series, is turning into a likeable character with more depth to him than many amateur detectives in fiction.

If you like crime stories set in this era that you are likely to enjoy this series. They can be read in any order.


The Riddle at Gipsy's Mile (An Angela Marchmont Mystery)
The Riddle at Gipsy's Mile (An Angela Marchmont Mystery)
Price: 1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Riddle at Gypsy's Mile, 27 Mar 2014
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Angela Marchmont is on her way to stay with friends on Romney Marsh in Kent when thanks to a combination of thick fog and sheep on the road her Bentley with chauffer, William, at the wheel, lands in a ditch. Neither of them are hurt but while they are scrambling out of the ditch, Angela finds the body of a young woman.

Naturally she is curious about the body especially when it seems clear that it is a case of murder and it is being investigated by her friend Inspector Jameson of Scotland Yard. This is a typical Golden Age mystery with plenty of intertwining strands and plenty of people with secrets they need to keep. The book is well written with excellent dialogue and plotting as well as interesting characters.

Angela herself is really growing on me and I’m looking forward to reading more of the mysteries in which she manages to involve herself. If you enjoy Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh et al then I’m sure you will enjoy Clara Benson. This is the fourth book in the series.


Done to Death (A Lillian and Ada Mystery)
Done to Death (A Lillian and Ada Mystery)
by Charles Atkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Done to Death, 26 Mar 2014
Lilian and Ada are two senior citizens who have a habit of stumbling into murder cases. This time the case is a famous TV presenter, Leonore Parks, who is shot while she is getting ready for her show. Ada and Lilian find themselves in the middle of a reality TV show and yet another murder.

This is a complicated plot with rather too much about the nastier side of reality TV for my taste. It did keep me reading to find out who had committed the murders and why though I wasn’t wholly convinced by the motivation of the murderer.

I liked Lilian and Ada – two very resourceful ladies – but I did not like the background to this story.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.


Fete Worse Than Death, A (A Jack Haldean Mystery)
Fete Worse Than Death, A (A Jack Haldean Mystery)
Price: 2.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fete Worse than Death, 25 Mar 2014
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Jack Haldean, successful crime author, is staying with some relatives and attends a fete. Someone who was in the RFC during the war approaches him and he is reminded of how much he disliked the man. When Boscombe, the man concerned is found dead in the fortune teller’s tent it soon becomes clear that there is more to the case than meets the eye and the ramifications may involve his own family and put Jack in danger.

The plot involves betrayal during World War I and some very dodgy going on in nineteen twenty one too. The plot is complex and while I had worked out who the murderer was quite early on I still found the untangling the plot of interest to me and there were a couple of twists which I definitely didn’t see coming. I thought the characters were well drawn and believable and I liked the nineteen twenties background.

The tension gradually built up to the ending which had me reading faster and faster to find out what happened. This is a well written crime story and I recommend it to anyone who likes Golden Age detective fiction and its modern imitations. It is the first in a series of mysteries featuring Jack Haldean.


The Mystery at Underwood House (An Angela Marchmont Mystery)
The Mystery at Underwood House (An Angela Marchmont Mystery)
Price: 1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery at Underwood House, 24 Mar 2014
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Louisa Haynes asks Angela Marchmont to look into why her husband’s brother and sisters have all met untimely deaths in her home, Underwood House. Angela very quickly gets the idea that she could be poking a stick into a hornet’s nest and wonders seriously whether to refuse. Then she meets her friend Inspector Jameson of Scotland Yard who asks her unofficially to take on the task.

This is an entertaining and complex mystery written in the nineteen twenties and featuring the Haynes family who are constantly at each other’s throats. This state of affairs is not helped by the provisions of their late father’s will which seems designed to create discord rather than harmony. Angela soon finds out rather more than she needed to know about the whole family and the deeper she digs the more secrets she uncovers. She finds herself in danger too and must risk all to finally unmask the killer.

A well written and at times amusing mystery with a sufficiently complex plot to keep most readers guessing. I though the characters were believable though some are less than likeable. They are never cardboard cut outs and all behave in plausible ways given their circumstances and upbringing. I’d recommend the Angela Marchmont mysteries to anyone who likes Golden Age crime fiction. They can be read in any order.


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