Five on Friday with Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths

Today I’m delighted to feature author Elly Griffiths whose books I’ve been reading and acquiring for a while. However, you may not be aware that Elly began writing under her her own name – Domenica de Rosa. Her books cover multi genres featuring crime, mystery and romance – so something for everyone.


Image courtesy of Sara Reeve

Author bio

Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her Stephens and Mephisto series is based in 1950s Brighton. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.

So over to Elly:-


Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen. Like Ruth, I’m a huge Springsteen fan. I could have chosen any of his songs but I’ve gone for this one because it contains the line ‘I’m sick of sitting around here trying to write this book’.

Every Day I Write the Book by Elvis Costello

Va Pensiero from Verdi’s Nabucco. I’m half Italian and love Italian opera. This aria, about longing for your homeland, is sometimes called the unofficial Italian anthem and Verdi himself was a symbol of Italian unification (his name was meant to stand for Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia).

The Internationale. The older I get the more international I feel.

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. Because ‘every little thing’s gonna be all right’.


Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.

My cat

The sea


My Fiat 500

Bruce Springsteen


Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much

Remember to write in your diary

People don’t change so accept them as they are

You know those photos you hate now? One day you’ll love them

Keep writing!


Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

I’m distantly related to Dante

I’ve kept a diary since I was 11

I used to write Starsky and Hutch fan fiction

I swim in the sea all year round

I’m a keen horse-rider


What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

Swim with dolphins

See the horses at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna

Visit Las Vegas

Visit India

See the Great Barrier Reef (before it disappears)


Thanks so much for joining us Elly. How exciting to be distantly related to Dante, writing literally is in your genes. Starting with your diary, you were clearly destined to write and luckily for us you didn’t stop. Good luck with achieving your bucket list!




Elly’s Books

Click on the image for an unaffiliated buying link


The Stranger DiariesThe Stranger Diaries

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…


The Ruth Galloway Mysteries


The Stone CircleThe Stone Circle (Book 11)

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.


The Dark AngelThe Dark Angel (Book 10)

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.


The Chalk PitThe Chalk Pit (Book 9)

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the stories both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast community of rough sleepers living in the old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim.


The Woman In BlueThe Woman in Blue(Book 8)

When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in Walsingham’s graveyard, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear that a horrible crime has been committed, and DCI Nelson and his team are called in for what is now a murder investigation.

Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that she is now a priest. She has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.

Then another woman is murdered – a priest. As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…


The Ghost FieldsThe Ghost Field (Book 7)

When DCI Harry Nelson calls Ruth Galloway in to investigate a body found inside a buried fighter plane, she quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot. DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea.

Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger remaining Blackstocks.

Then human bones are found on the farm and, as the greatest storm Norfolk has seen for decades brews in the distance, another Blackstock is attacked. Can the team outrace the rising flood to find the killer?


The Outcast DeadThe Outcast Dead (Book 6)

Ruth has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, which was once a prison. The body may be that of Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged for the murder of five children.

DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-ago killers. Investigating the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that their mother is responsible.

Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson.


A Dying FallDying Fall (Book 5)

Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, spends a lot of time looking at death. But now death has found her, with the news that her long-time friend and ex-colleague Dan Golding has been killed in a house fire.

Ruth’s grief soon turns to suspicion of arson when she receives a desperate letter from Dan, sent the day before he died. He had made a ground-breaking discovery that he was sure would change archaeology forever – and was petrified of the consequences.

Ruth feels compelled to travel north to investigate further, alongside DCI Harry Nelson who is also drawn into the case. But where Ruth goes, so does her young daughter, Kate. This time, the risks are even higher.


A Room Full of BonesA Room Full of Bones (Book 4)

It is Halloween in King’s Lynn, and forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is attending a strange event at the local history museum – the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But then Ruth finds the body of the museum’s curator lying beside the coffin.

Soon the museum’s wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but DCI Harry Nelson isn’t convinced, and it is only a matter of time before Ruth and Nelson cross paths once more.

When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth’s friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the Aboriginal ritual of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths – and be the key to their own survival.


The House at Sea's EndThe House at Sea’s End (Book 3)

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in by a team of archaeologists investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, when they unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. They seem to have been there a very long time. Ruth must help discover how long, and how on earth they got there.

Ruth and DCI Nelson are drawn together once more to unravel the past. Tests reveal that the bodies have lain, preserved in the sand, for sixty years. The mystery of their deaths stretches back to the Second World War, a time when Great Britain was threatened by invasion.

Ruth thought she knew the history of Norfolk – she’s about to find out just how wrong she was, and how far someone will go to keep their secrets buried.


The Janus StoneThe Janus Stone (Book 2)

Dr Ruth Galloway’s forensic skills are called upon when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, uncover the bones of a child – minus the skull – beneath a doorway. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? Ruth links up with DCI Harry Nelson to investigate.

The house was once a children’s home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the place. He tells him that two children did go missing forty years before – a boy and a girl. They were never found.

When carbon dating proves that the child’s bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is desperate to put her off the scent by frightening her to death.


The Crossing PlacesThe Crossing Places (Book 1)

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a prehistoric 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…


The Stephens and Mephisto Mysteries


The Vanishing BoxThe Vanishing Box (Book 4)

What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Read the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto to find out.

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…


The Blood CardThe Blood Card (Book 3)

Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.

Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . .


Smoke and MirrorsSmoke and Mirrors (Book 2) 

Brighton, 1950s, mid-winter. Two missing children are found buried under snow in this chilling new case for DI Stephens and Max Mephisto. Max’s star turn in Aladdin has been overshadowed by the murder ­­of two local children. With fairy tales in the air, it’s not long before the press have found a nickname for the case: ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The missing girl, Annie, used to write plays and perform them with her friends. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric actor types who have assembled for the pantomime?

Once again Edgar enlists Max’s help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection?


The Zig Zag GirlThe Zig Zag Girl (Book 1)

Brighton, 1950.

When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.

The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.

Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.

Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in the killer’s sights…


Writing as Domenico de Rosa


One Summer in TuscanyOne Summer in Tuscany

Patricia Wilson’s carefully composed ads for the writers’ retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo’s melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello.

Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.


The Secret of Villa SerenaThe Secret of Villa Serena

A heartfelt, witty story of one woman’s journey from heartbreak to adventure, full of gorgeous Italian flavour.

Emily Robertson looks like the woman who has it all: the lovingly restored Tuscan farmhouse, the three beautiful children, the successful, attentive husband. But when her husband dumps her by text message, she has to face up to some stark home truths. How will Emily cope, stranded in the countryside with no man, no money, dodgy phrasebook Italian and a psychotic cleaner? Her eldest girl is out of her depth with the local seducer, her middle daughter is dangerously underweight, and her darling baby is fast becoming a brat. But soon Emily finds herself being drawn into the village of Monte Albano, and discovering a more genuine Italy, darker and more intriguing than she had ever imagined.  She and her children are outsiders no more – and if she can get over a slightly embarrasing obsession with her youthful first love, an attractive stranger might be about to show her the time of her life…


The Eternal CityThe Eternal City

Gaby, the youngest of the de Angelis sisters, always secretly knew she was her father Enzo’s favourite; so when Enzo dies on the day her own daughter is born, her life is turned upside down.

In the emotional aftermath of the funeral, it emerges that her father has asked that his ashes be taken back his native city, Rome. Suddenly, Gaby and her new family are thrown headfirst into the wider de Angelis clan, and all of their conflicting ideas and opinions.

As the family journeys to Rome to say a final goodbye to Enzo, emotions run high; but none higher than Gaby’s, as she comes face to face with the man she once thought she would marry, and is forced to question everything of which, until now, she was so sure.


Return to the Italian QuarterReturn to the Italian Quarter

Sophie is only a quarter Italian. But that quarter is her charismatic grandfather Cesare, and he has instilled in her a great love of her Italian heritage. So when a journalist starts to investigate Cesare’s war record, Sophie reluctantly questions just how proud she should really be. She embarks upon a journey into the past which takes her from nineteenth-century Naples to London’s Italian quarter and one of the war’s forgotten tragedies. And along the way she also learns something very important about herself…


Keep up to date with Elly via:-



Her website











Five on Friday with Dominic Nolan @NolanDom @headlinepg

Today I’m delighted to introduce Dominic Nolan. I had the pleasure of meeting Dominic at a Headline publishing event in January. I’ve just finished his debut novel Past Life and  it’s a cracking read, but not for the faint hearted. The good news for anyone who has also read it, Boone and Barb will be back next year.

5FFpic(Dominic Nolan).jpg


Author Bio

Dominic grew up and still lives in North London. He worked various day jobs, ranging from call centre operator to fraud investigator, before selling his first novel, Past Life – the story of Boone, a detective who suffers a catastrophic loss of her memory and, struggling to reintegrate herself back into her past life with her husband and teenage son, decides to reinvestigate the missing person case that led to her getting hurt in the first place.

So over to Dominic:-


Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?


You Don’t Miss Your Water – Otis Redding
Love Otis, and this William Bell cover is my favourite of his songs. Something about the slightly off-key opening – the Stax house bands were brilliant at that sort of thing.

Be My Baby – The Ronettes
A hangover from the compilation tapes my parents used to play in the car on family holidays when I was a boy. That Wall of Sound genius burrowed into my skull, and was reinforced in my teenage years when I discovered Mean Streets and Scorsese’s use of the track.

Ms Fat Booty – Mos Def
Inelegantly titled slice of hip hop brilliance from an era of rap that was key to me. Also makes splendid use of a sample of another favourite of mine – Aretha’s “One Step Ahead.”

Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel
Another keystone song from my young adulthood, when so many influences get ambered into your soul.

Metamorphosis: One – Philip Glass
I hardly ever listen to music when I write (I work better to the white noise of a fan, for some reason), but Glass’s hypnotic, stripped back piano work here is a rare exception. Perhaps something about the subtle repetitions and variations running through this, but I could listen to it endlessly.


2. Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.


Books – an obvious choice for a writer, I suppose. I like writing surrounded by my books, and am in no way a peripatetic writer. I like writing at my desk, on my laptop, with my books. None of this coffee shop lark, or on a train, or in a hotel. I am resolutely a creature of habit, and my books are part of that.

Tea – any great British endeavour has been built on a nice cup of tea. Essential fuel for getting the words flowing of a morning.

My agent – this might be cheating as she’s also a friend, but the fierce and fabulous Nicola Barr of the Bent Agency has been the biggest influence on my writing life. She’ll claim I give her too much credit, but she championed me for almost a decade before we sold a book to a publisher. That kind of support is priceless.

Football – I’m strictly an armchair fan these days, but believe deeply in the power of psychic orisons channelled through the television/wireless/internet to the boys on the pitch, sometimes coherent, other times not so much.

Sleep – sleep’s bloody great, isn’t it? I like as much of it as I can get. Anything less than eight hours leads to barbarity. Your body refreshes itself, fixes ailments, and gives you weird dreams. Perfectly happy to spend a third of my life doing it.


 Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?


Not really. For me, the things that happen to us along the way are all essential in making us who we are now and getting us to wherever we are. And right now, I’m publishing my first novel, which is exactly where I want to be, for all the good and bad things that have occurred along the way.

I thought about small specific things – like, when you and your brother are playing football in the living room when the parents are out, make you sure you move Mum’s valuable antique figurine into the kitchen first. But then, who’s to say if knocking that figurine’s head off didn’t have some unforeseen butterfly effect that shaped my future after that?

I wouldn’t risk changing a thing.


Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.


I wanted to be a film-maker when I was younger, and spent my late teens and early-twenties messing about with 8mm and 16mm cameras (this was just before the digital tide), making unspeakably shit short films that will never be allowed see the light of day again. Cinema is still my first artistic love in many ways, and my fondness for old Hollywood pictures shines through in Past Life, I hope. What people might not know, is I have a particular love for old musicals. Gene Kelly is your actual American genius, and Jacques Demy’s work with Michel Legrand is a gift to cinema.

I can field strip and clean an assault rifle. At least, I used to be able to; it’s been a while. When the zombie apocalypse happens, I think I’ll swiftly get back into the groove.

A confession: I don’t get on with fiction being read aloud. I’m not a fundamentalist about it – people love audiobooks, and they’re an essential part of the industry, but I’ve never listened to them, and have no desire to listen to writers reading their own work out either. I think fiction should be heard in those whispering little voices in the back of your mind, the ones you could never articulate out loud; there’s an intimacy to it that is better internalised.

I like organising cupboards and shelves. Possibly I was a quartermaster in a previous life, but messy cupboards drive me crazy. Fellow travellers on the Headline New Voices Tour will attest to my particular interest in re-stacking/organising luggage on trains. I cannot be stopped.

Although Past Life is the first book of mine published, I wrote several previous novels which editors in their wisdom/folly chose not to pick up. It is the process of writing itself that I always loved, though, so I was content to plough on unpublished for years. Moral of the story – a published writer is often a persistent one. Never give up doing what you love.

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?


I’d like to cross an ocean on a ship (in my head, I’d be charging around a luxury vessel like Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve, but I suspect the reality would be me throwing up in a windowless room aboard a freighter).

Speaking other languages and playing musical instruments are akin to alien knowledge to me. I’d say I’d love to learn either, but I don’t think I possess the patience or fortitude. It’s a romantic idea, though.

To move into a house big enough to fit all the books I intend to buy.

Witness Liverpool win the bloody league title again (bellows at the television).

The big one: to continue to enjoy the privilege of being published – to get all the stories in my head out onto the page and into books in people’s hands. That would make the rest of life pretty much a continuous dream.


Thanks so much for taking part and sharing with us Dominic. I was beginning to think you might be channelling my OH with a fondness for tea, football and sleep, but then you mentioned liking organising shelves and cupboards! I hope you get to achieve the items on your bucket list, though is there ever a house big enough for books? Based on Past Life I would hope the ‘big one’ is a given. 




past lifePast Life by Dominic Nolan

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?


Keep up to date with Dominic via



Five on Friday with Claire Chase @ClareChase_

Today I’m delighted to welcome writer Clare Chase. Clare writes gripping mysteries and while her latest series is described as cozy, don’t make the mistake of thinking them twee and gentle. They are engaging, contemporary, police procedurals, with a great female lead in Tara Thorpe. If you haven’t yet discovered Clare’s books then I urge you to do so.


Clare Chase standard.jpg


Author Bio:-

Clare Chase writes mysteries set in her home city of Cambridge and is fascinated by the location’s contrasts and contradictions. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium. As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

So over to Clare


Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. My mum used to play this album on long car journeys – often when we were travelling to Aldeburgh in Suffolk to visit my grandmother. Listening to it now still gives me a feeling of excited anticipation.

The Little Sweep by Benjamin Britten. This is an opera especially for children, and relates to Aldeburgh too, where the composer lived. I can remember going to a wonderful performance of it at Snape Maltings. I love the music, the story’s compelling and there’s some audience participation too!

What Time is Love? by KLF. This was played frequently at the weekly Churchill College disco where I met my husband. I’m back on the dance floor when I hear it!

The Carol Symphony by Victor Hely-Hutchinson. This is a real crossover piece that links my childhood to my adult life. I got to know it because it was used in the TV and radio adaptations of the magical children’s story The Box of Delights by John Masefield. I loved both the book and the dramatisations and read, watched and listened to them repeatedly. When I had children of my own, my uncle and aunt gave me the DVD of the TV series, and we watch it every year – even though we’re all well and truly grown-up now! The music has that wonderful, mystical eerie feel that some Christmas compositions have – bits of it give me goosebumps!

The Shocking Miss Emerald by Caro Emerald. My children gave me this album for Mother’s Day a few years ago. I’d heard them singing songs from it, but never listed to Caro Emerald herself before! It’s classy, fun and sassy and will always remind me of my son and daughter. (I secretly wish I was glamorous like Caro too, so there’s a bit of aspirational appeal there!)


Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without

Books – in any format. There’s nothing like escaping with an enthralling read! And then there are various volumes I use for research too – from Blackstone’s police training manuals to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s guide to forensic science, From Crime Scene to Court. (Thanks, Andrea – a fantastic birthday present!)

A notepad and pen – for scribbling down story ideas and to-do lists when I’m on the move.

My laptop – once I start work on a novel, I go straight to the keyboard.

My MP3 player – I listen to downloads and podcasts when I can’t sleep, so I’ve become a bit reliant on it!

Marmalade – I love the dark, thick-cut bitter sort, spread generously on toast! (Though recently, someone gave me a recipe for a gin cocktail which used it as an ingredient too. (Credit to Margaret – I was surprised at how good it was!)

Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Hold your own – be less scared and self-conscious.

Always ask questions if you’re in doubt – you look more stupid (as you’ve now repeatedly proved) if you try to bluff your way instead…

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Save your energy for what really matters.

Listen to the opinions of others carefully – advice can be invaluable. But then make up your own mind.

Your mother worries about you, even if she seems like the most liberal of all your friends’ parents. It’s no coincidence that she’s downstairs each time you come home at 3 a.m., having a cup of tea because she ‘just happened to be thirsty’. You always knew how much she cared, so you might have worked this one out for yourself, without older me telling you!

Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you

I’m not massively shy in real life, but posting on Facebook make me strangely anxious. (I want to join in though, and I enjoy seeing what other people are up to, so I keep on going!)

I love buildings – walking around cities with interesting architecture is one of my favourite pastimes.

Colours have a big effect on my mood. The right sort of sea green makes me happy!

I really like visiting castles and historic stately homes, but curl up with embarrassment if I’m accosted by members of staff in period costumes, acting in character!

I lived in New Zealand for six months as a child.

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

To arrive in New York on an ocean liner. (It’s not really the cruise I’m after, just the actual arriving and then some time in the city!)

To explore some ancient pathways. I love the thought of past generations tramping the same historic routes. I’d like to choose a few and follow them myself, finding out about the stories that go with them as I travel. (This desire has been heightened by reading Robert Macfarlane!)

To study A level psychology. So far, I’ve bought a text book! I find the subject fascinating, and I’d like to know more about it to support my writing too.

To learn more about architecture and its history. I used to work at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture, helping to administer research grants there, and I’ve got lots of books on the subject, but I’m still far too ignorant. I’d really like to attend some lectures or classes.

To go on a photography course. I love street photography – little vignettes that tell a story, and snapshots in time that convey the atmosphere of a place – but I don’t get the results I’d like when I try it myself!



Thanks so much for taking part Clare, I think I could spend a lovely day with you walking around and looking at architecture. History and buildings are two of my favourite things too! I love the advice to your younger self, and your mother sounds lovely. I hope you get to cruise into New York, but if that’s not an option, take the plane, it’s a fascinating place – with lot’s of opportunities for street photography with architecture and history – multiple ticks on the bucket list. 


Clare’s Books


Death Comes to CallDeath Comes to Call (A Tara Thorpe Mystery Book 3)

Frost sparkles on the bare winter branches, as night falls over the quiet country lanes bordering the fens. But nestled beneath an ivy-covered bough, a body lies pale in the bright moonlight…

When a promising local artist disappears, the victim’s brother begs Detective Tara Thorpe to take the case. It seems there’s no evidence of foul play… he simply disappeared without a trace.

Tara agrees to do some digging… never mind that her unorthodox approach to policing has got a few of her colleagues’ backs up. Amongst them is her former supervisor Detective Patrick Wilkins… he’s had enough of Tara calling the shots and will do anything to knock her down. She must be careful.

At least she has an ally in their boss, Detective Garstin Blake. He’ll always back her hunches. If anything, they work together too well… at least, that’s the rumour around the station these days.

When a body of a young woman is found frozen near the fens, Tara’s evidence suddenly becomes key to solving a high-profile murder. Is their missing artist still a victim… or in fact a clever murderer with a deadly plan?


Death on the RiverDeath on the River (A Tara Thorpe Mystery Book 2)

The winter light dapples a gently winding river, and the breeze rustles a bank of reeds as the first snowflakes begin to fall. But the river’s smooth surface conceals a watery grave…

When a body is pulled from the deep and watery fens on the outskirts of town, everybody assumes it was a tragic accident. But Detective Tara Thorpe, newly joined and determined to prove herself, suspects there’s more to the story.

Tara is desperate to investigate further, but her supervisor Patrick Wilkins has other ideas. He would rather die than let this ambitious upstart show him up – even if it means some digging in Tara’s carefully concealed past to keep her under his thumb. After all, it’s not like he can report her – everyone knows that his boss Detective Garstin Blake and Tara have a history…

When another body is found, it becomes clear that there’s a killer on the loose. Could the murders be linked to the secrets that Tara has been keeping from her team… and can she solve the case before another innocent dies?


Murder on the MarshesMurder on the Marshes (A Tara Thorpe Mystery Book 1)

The sun rises on a lush, stone courtyard, where birds sing and ferns shade an ancient, burbling fountain. But in the fountain’s murky depths, a young woman’s body grows cold…

As the sun rises, a beautiful young professor – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a locked and empty Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat.

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on the doorstep of Tara’s little cottage the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die.


One Dark LieOne Dark Lie (London and Cambridge Mysteries Book 3)

The truth can hurt, and sometimes it leads to murder …
After becoming embroiled in a murder investigation, Nate Bastable and Ruby Fawcett have decided to opt for the quiet life. But crime has a habit of following them around.

When her work dries up, Ruby finds herself accepting a job researching and writing about Diana Patrick-John, a colourful and enigmatic Cambridge academic. Simple enough. But then there’s the small fact that Diana was found dead in suspicious circumstances in her home – the very place where Ruby has now been invited to stay.

As she begins to uncover Diana’s secret life, Ruby’s sleuthing instinct kicks in, leaving her open to danger and retribution. But can she rely on Nate to support her? Especially when his behaviour has become increasingly distant and strange, almost as though he had something to hide …


A Stranger's HouseA Stranger’s House (London and Cambridge Mysteries Book 2) 

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most? 
When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?


You Think You Know MeYou Think You Know Me (London and Cambridge Mysteries Book 1)

Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad …
Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.
But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …
Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – can Seb’s behaviour be explained away as the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?


You can follow Clare via:-



Her website





Death’s Dark Veil by Patricia Dixon @pbadixon @Bloodhoundbook #bookreview

Death's Dark Veil

Published 5th March and available to purchase here


My Review

The dark, gothic prologue sets the scene for a story that is both compelling and chilling, but I never imagined just how dark the journey was going to be.

It reminded me of the Philip Larkin poem This be the Verse with its oft quoted line – “They f**k you up, your mum and dad”. Well the central characters in this book have all been right royally messed up by weak fathers, cold, controlling mothers and abusive stepfathers. Little wonder they turned out as they did.

By turn we are introduced to Georgie, Ivy and Kenneth. Georgie proves to be a bit of a handful and when her manipulative and promiscuous ways are discovered she’s shipped off to London out of harms way. Ivy is subservient and timid until events spiral beyond her control and see her leave home with hatred in her heart and a desire for retribution Kenneth is the second son of a mother who having lost her beloved first son and heir, finds Kenneth weak and wanting.

With the swinging sixties in full flow, Georgie and Kenneth find themselves unexpectedly drawn together in London and decide to live at Tenley House, Kenneth’s sinister, childhood home. Unfortunately while he is now the master, his mother has other idea’s. In fact his mother has poisonous views on most things, including his relationship with Georgie and his young adopted daughter Vanessa. Enter Sadie, who is the answer to Georgie’s prayers as she oversees the household, tangles with Kenneth’s toxic mother and looks after Vanessa when Georgie and Kenneth are not at home. But then people start dying…

I was drawn in from the very beginning, but I will admit that I did worry it might be too dark for me – it wasn’t. It introduced me to a side I didn’t know I had and I enjoyed it. It had a mix of light and shade, that kept the story line from being too bleak and I loved Georgie’s London life. From the first meeting I hadn’t expected to like Georgie, but she grew on me quite quickly. Like the other main protagonists she was definitely a product of her upbringing and lived on her wiles – not always legally. However, she had an empathy and compassion that redeemed her. She was a bright spirit in the gloomy house and just wanted people to be happy.

Unfortunately being happy, meant different things to different people and that is where the story took a darker turn. As the air of menace grew, I thought I knew how it would play out, but I was so wrong. My mind clearly isn’t as twisted as the author’s as I totally misread the signs and certainly never imagined how things would end.

Probably not the book to buy your mum for Mother’s Day (unless she likes dark, devilish reads) but certainly recommended for anyone who like sinister, twisted and murderous psychological thrillers.

I’d like to thank the author and publisher for providing an advanced reading copy, however that no way influenced my review.


Five on Friday with Louise Beech @LouiseWriter

Today I’m delighted to play host to Louise Beech. Louise writes heartfelt, emotive fiction in which Hull features as a setting. As a Hull lass myself, this is how I first became aware of Louise when I chanced across and read The Mountain in my Shoe. Since then I’ve bought all of her books and I’m keen to investigate the change of genre direction with her latest book Call me Star Girl.



Author bio:-

Louise has been writing since she could physically hold a pen. It’s her safe place; where she escapes and finds therapy and joy. But it took ten years, four novels, and a few tears to finally get the dreamed-for book deal. Louise’s debut, How to be Brave, was published in 2015. It was a Guardian Readers’ Pick. The Mountain in my Shoe followed, and then Maria in the Moon, which the Sunday Mirror called ‘quirky, darkly comic and heartfelt.’ The Lion Tamer Who Lost is now out and is a Love Reading Star Book. Call Me Star Girl is out in April 2019.

So over to Louise


Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?


Vincent by Don Maclean is about Van Gogh and is a powerful song for me. I remember it playing when I was a child, and my dad telling it was about the man who painted the sunflower picture on our wall. I couldn’t understand that it was just a print and not the real thing.

I listened to every album by The Weeknd while writing Call Me Star Girl – his songs are a mix of dark, crude and sometimes beautiful lyrics with the most haunting melodies.

My sexual awakening was to Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon on Top of the Pops in 1983 aged 12. He was singing Is There Something I should Know? And I knew I was in love…

Blondie’s Atomic is one of my fave retro tunes to dance to – Debbie Harry was so sexy and ahead of her time.

I’m not averse to a bit of classical music either – and I love listening to film theme tracks while I’m writing. One of my faves is from the movie Interstellar.

Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.


I couldn’t not write. Writing is my world. I get agitated when I can’t do it for long lengths of time.

Swearwords. I’m a bugger.

Sleep. I’m horrible if I don’t get enough.

Lists. I make lists for everything. I make lists for my lists.

Crap TV. It helps me fall asleep. So that’s sleep again. Ideally I need twenty-one hours…


Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?


Stop thinking you’re fat/ugly/worthless. I look back at pictures of myself and now, with time and maturity, I see a cute, pretty girl who had zero confidence. I’d love to go back and give her some.

Don’t give up with the writing. It will happen. (Obviously I didn’t give up, but I’d like my younger self to know that it’s all going to happen one day.)

Tell your English teacher she has no idea what she’s talking about.

Don’t listen to your parents.

You are right. Your instinct is right. Always listen to it.


Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.


My middle names are Jane, Lady M, and Puffbrains.

I can’t drive.

I was conceived on Valentine’s Day, and it was my mother’s first time.

Despite generally smiling, I have a lot of anxieties.

I once told my sister’s father-in-law that she had slept with a horse, thinking he was someone else. Don’t ask. Or do if you ever meet me and we have time…


What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?


If you mean things I still haven’t done yet rather than things that were once on there that I’ve achieved…

Have one of my books win a major prize or be made into film, or both.

Maybe get a tattoo but not one hundred percent sure, hence why I haven’t so far…

Explore a lot more of the world – the Far East for example. I love travelling.

See my children make great lives for themselves.

Get a new washing machine.


Many thanks for sharing with us Louise. I will admit here I was already to amend The Weeknd to The Weekend, being the dinosaur that I am and then thought I’d better check. Just as well I did.  I quite get the swearing thing, I’m a bugger for it too. You’ve certainly got us all intrigued with the horse story, you know that’s the first thing I might have to ask if we ever meet. I really hope you get to achieve your bucket list, certainly more than the new washing machine.  


Louise’s Books 

Click on the image for a non affiliated buying link


Call Me Star GirlCall Me Star Girl

Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…


The Lion Tamer Who LostThe Lion Tamer who Lost

Be careful what you wish for…
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?


Maria in the MoonMaria in the Moon

Thirty-on-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…


mountain-in-my-shoeThe Mountain in my Shoe (see my review here)

A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself.

On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.

Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.


How To Be BraveHow to be Brave

All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.

When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued.

Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.

You can keep in touch with Louise via:-


Her Website









February Book Haul

Reading in Heels February Book Selection


The Charmed Life of Alex MooreThe Charmed Life of Alex Moore by Molly Flatt

How would you feel if everything in your life suddenly started to go . . . right? 

She has it all – until she loses it.

Six months ago, Alex Moore was stuck in a dead-end job, failing to unleash one grand plan after another. Then, seemingly overnight, she launched her dream start-up and became one of London’s fastest rising tech stars. At thirty, her life has just begun. But Alex’s transformation isn’t easy for those around her. Her friends are struggling to accept her sudden success, her parents are worried that she’s running on empty and her fiancé is getting cold feet.

Then weird things start to happen. Muggings, stalkers and even a claim that she murdered a stranger. But when Alex visits the Orkney Islands to recharge, weird turns into WTF. Because there she discovers the world’s oldest secret – and it’s a secret that Alex’s stratospheric rise has royally messed up.


Kindle Purchases


The BirthdayThe Birthday by Carol Wyer

One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home… 

Two years later, Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that still keeps her awake at night…

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?


The SympathizerThe Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.


The Blood RoadThe Blood Road by Stuart MacBride

Some things just won’t stay buried…

Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers.

When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…


The Corfu TrilogyThe Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

Three classic tales of childhood on an island paradise – My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell – are available in a single edition for the first time in The Corfu Trilogy.

Just before the Second World War the Durrell family decamped to the glorious, sun-soaked island of Corfu where the youngest of the four children, ten-year-old Gerald, discovered his passion for animals: toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and octopuses. Through glorious silver-green olive groves and across brilliant-white beaches Gerry pursued his obsession . . . causing hilarity and mayhem in his ever-tolerant family.

Durrell’s memories of those enchanted days gave rise to these three classic tales, loved by generations of adults and children alike, which are now available in one volume for the first time.


Stone and WaterStone & Water by Roy Uprichard

In August 2016 I walked north from Porto on the Camino Portuguese, to Santiago de Compostela. The route that made the deepest impression came just after Pontevedra: The Spiritual Variant, or Stone and Water Route, added to the Camino itinerary in 2013.

Its meditative paths led me through a region of lavish fertility; of vineyards and green pastures; of forested hillsides, remote glens and living waters. By following it, I discovered a place of history, myth and Celtic resonance with Ireland.

I offer these words from a desire to share something of its wonder and so that you, too, might be tempted to walk its paths.


The House Of YorkThe House of York by Terry Tyler

When widowed single mother Lisa Grey meets wealthy businessman Elias York, romance blossoms. Alas, she is marrying into a complicated family. Her new sister-in-law doesn’t want to know her, middle brother Gabriel’s marriage flounders under a cloud of infidelity and gambling debts, while the youngest, Richard, keeps his dark secrets well hidden—and his wife suffers in silence.

Lisa and her mother are bonded by a powerful intuition, but on some subjects they dare not voice their fears; neither can explain the terror Lisa feels whenever she walks through the doors of the ancient, imposing York Towers.

Love and loss, abduction, incestuous desires and murderous intent form the basis of this compelling saga in which horrors float just beneath the surface, culminating in a shocking outcome.

The House of York spans the years 1993 – 2014; history lovers may be interested to know that the story is inspired by events from the era of the Wars of the Roses.


The Emperor of ShoesThe Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in southern China, where his father runs their family-owned shoe factory. Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, but as he explores the plant’s vast floors and assembly lines, he comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line. When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, his sympathies begin to shift. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow labourers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?


Death on the RiverDeath on the River by Clare Chase

The winter light dapples a gently winding river, and the breeze rustles a bank of reeds as the first snowflakes begin to fall. But the river’s smooth surface conceals a watery grave…

When a body is pulled from the deep and watery fens on the outskirts of town, everybody assumes it was a tragic accident. But Detective Tara Thorpe, newly joined and determined to prove herself, suspects there’s more to the story.

Tara is desperate to investigate further, but her supervisor Patrick Wilkins has other ideas. He would rather die than let this ambitious upstart show him up – even if it means some digging in Tara’s carefully concealed past to keep her under his thumb. After all, it’s not like he can report her – everyone knows that his boss Detective Garstin Blake and Tara have a history…

When another body is found, it becomes clear that there’s a killer on the loose. Could the murders be linked to the secrets that Tara has been keeping from her team… and can she solve the case before another innocent dies?


Time Will TellTime will Tell by Eva Jordan

Writer, Lizzie Lemalf, and her loving but somewhat dysfunctional family are still grieving over the loss of a much-loved family member. Lizzie is doing her best to keep her family together but why does the recent death of a well-known celebrity have them all in a spin? The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another.

Lizzie begins searching for answers only to find herself being dragged back to the past, to 1960’s London to be exact, and to the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets but how can the past hold the key to a present day celebrity death? They say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell…


Running Like a WrinklyRunning Like A Wrinkly by Karen Guttridge

Karen Guttridge was smug. At the age of 56, she was sitting in her doctor’s office after a morning of Well Woman checks. She’d been fending off the worst of the menopause for years and now calmly awaited his verdict on her invincible body.
‘You have osteopenia,’ he said.

Despite the fact she’d never actually heard of it, she vowed to beat this, to take it on.
He looked up. ‘Do you like to hike? Or jog?’
Karen decided she was going to be a runner. Just like that. It wasn’t the monumental decision most folks face. You see, she’d always liked exercise. Not adrenalin-fuelled leaping off cliffs stuff but walking, tennis, netball, that sort of thing. So a bit of running – how hard could it be?

Forgetting that a particularly travel packed year lay ahead, Karen launched her plan. Join her as she dodges snakes, ants, caterpillars and naked man orchids whilst suffering a dog bite, swallowing insects and running away from glaciers.
Finally managing to drag herself through a handful of 5K races, Karen was definitely beginning to get the hang of this and might have even completed a 10K too if it hadn’t been for Elsa from Frozen.

Running Like a Wrinkly follows Karen’s often hilarious determination to keep on running whilst battling menopausal sleep deprivation, dehydration, fatigue and anxiety. From migrating eyebrows, dodgy eyesight, unruly body parts and an unsuspecting foray into the world of sex toys, this is a light hearted yet informative look at running as we age. You’re never too old or too slow.


The BlueThe Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice.

When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelein, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…

The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage.

With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue?


Tricks of the TradeThe Tricks of the Trade by Euan B Pollock

Stewart Scott is a first year trainee in one of Edinburgh’s oldest law firms.

Out of his depth, he is constantly working just to stay in the game and match the talents of the other first year trainees. But a chance to shine comes Stewart’s way when he is given the opportunity to partake in an investigation.

A client of the firm has recently died. The deceased, Major Robertson, left a substantial estate, and the terms of his will stipulate that his considerable wealth will go to his family – unless the Major died by suicide, whereupon his estate will be donated to a charity. And the conclusion, thus far, has been suicide.

Heading up the investigation into the Major’s death is Sebastian Dakar, practicing Zen master and the most unlikely detective that Stewart could imagine. But upon their arrival at the Major’s family home, Stewart begins to realise that perhaps the case of the Major isn’t as cut and dried as first thought.


Amazing GraceAmazing Grace by Kim Nash (due 10th April)

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?


HOLIDAYHoliday by Joanna Warrington

Lyn wakes on her 50th birthday with no man and middle age staring her in the face. Determined to change her sad trajectory Lyn books a surprise road trip for herself and her three children through the American Southwest and Yellowstone.

Before they even get on the plane, the trip hits a major snag. The children have invited Lyn’s estranged partner to join them. Now, the two adults and three children have to keep up appearances and pretend to be a happy—if somewhat demented—family on their trip. Along the way, amid the mountain vistas, secrets will be revealed and a hurtful betrayal confronted in this sweet, funny family saga.


ScrublandsScrublands by Chris Hammer

In an isolated country town ravaged by drought, a charismatic young priest opens fire on his congregation, killing five men before being shot dead himself.

A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals don’t fit with the accepted version of events.

Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking discovery rocks the town. The bodies of two backpackers – missing since the time of the massacre – are found in the scrublands. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is the one in the spotlight.

Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to uncover a truth that becomes more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town’s secrets stay buried.


The Distance Between UsThe Distance Between Us by Georgie Capron

Happy children, happy husband, happily ever after?

Tasha knows that she should count her blessings: married for eleven years, mother to three healthy children, she should be content with her lot. However, feelings of frustration have settled over her like a dark cloud. Despite living under the same roof and sharing the same bed, Tasha has never felt so distant from her husband, Charlie. She feels worn down by the mental load of motherhood, drowning in the never-ending chores that keep the family and household afloat. Most of all she worries that her once happy marriage is slipping away from her.

Tasha longs for something to change, but when change comes calling will it really be the answer she was hoping for? And is it possible to fall in love with the same person twice?

A modern day love story about family, marriage and risking it all to have it all.


Death On DartmoorDeath on Dartmoor by Bernie Steadman

Life is good for DI Dan Hellier until the discovery of two headless, handless bodies buried in a bog on Dartmoor.

But how can he identify the victims when nobody has reported them missing?

The tension mounts when the death of a young man plunges Hellier into the murky world of the Garrett family. Could the peaceful, family-run Animal Rescue Centre really be a cover for murder and other criminal activity?

Hellier is about to learn just how far people will go to get what they want. And this investigation will challenge Hellier’s decisions as he races to catch a murderer before it’s too late.



Death on the CoastDeath on the Coast by Bernie Steadman

Can DCI Dan Hellier decipher the twisted mind behind the ritualised burning of homeless men on Devon’s beaches before more people are sacrificed?

When images from the burning appear all over social media, Hellier realises that he is dealing with a cult and a mystery that will lead back to the Irish Troubles.

Hellier will battle a bitter man who has plotted revenge for more than twenty years, without a care for the lives he will destroy.



If The Shoes FitIf the Shoes Fit by Pauline Lawless

‘Calling All Shoe Addicts’, said the advertisement that triggered a response in four very different women, each at a difficult time of her life.

Niamh, at 23, the mother of a five-year-old and twin girls aged four, is desperate to have a home of her own. She longs to escape the house of her vicious mother-in-law but her charming, irresponsible husband and the mountain of debts they have makes this seem ever more unlikely.

Amber, former air stewardess whose husband Dermot left her for a younger woman, has lost all her confidence and is drowning her sorrows with alcohol.

Tessa, beautiful former model, paid the price for living life in the fast lane when she almost died from a heart attack. Her reliable friend, George, persuaded her to come and live with him in Ireland. She now realises that she’s made a dreadful mistake.

Rosie, recently widowed, can’t come to terms with the loss of the man she loved so much. Life without him doesn’t seem worth living.

All of them, needing a way out, find it with the Italian designer shoe company, ‘If The Shoes Fit’. This leads them to a new career, great friendships and a life-changing experience.


Killer IntentKiller Intent by Tony Kent

When an attempted assassination sparks a chain reaction of explosive events across London, Britain’s elite security forces seem powerless to stop the chaos threatening to overwhelm the government.

As the dark and deadly conspiracy unfolds, three strangers find their fates entwined: Joe Dempsey, a deadly military intelligence officer; Sarah Truman, a CNN reporter determined to get her headline; and Michael Devlin, a Belfast-born criminal barrister with a secret past.

As the circle of those they can trust grows ever smaller, Dempsey, Devlin and Truman are forced to work in the shadows, caught in a life-or-death race against the clock, before the terrible plot can consume them all.


Gallowstree LaneGallowstree Lane by Kate London

Please don’t let me diePlease don’t.

When a teenage boy steps out of the shadows of Gallowstree Lane and asks a passer-by for help, it’s already too late. His life is bleeding out on the London street.

The murder threatens to derail Operation Perseus, a cover police investigation into the Eardsley Bluds, an organised criminal network. Detective Kieran Shaw can’t and won’t allow that to happen. But fifteen-year-old Ryan has other ideas. He’s witnessed the death of his best friend, and now he wants someone to pay…

As loyalties collide, a chain of events is triggered that threatens everyone with a connection to Gallowstree Lane.


The Day We MetThe Day we Met by Roxie Cooper

Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they’re both with other people…

Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.

Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?

When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything…

Ten years. Two people. One epic love story.







Five on Friday with Harriet Tyce @harriet_tyce @headlinepg @jenniferleech1 ‏@Wildfirebks

This week I’m delighted to host Harriet Tyce, who I was lucky enough to meet recently. Her debut novel Blood Orange is deservedly garnering a lot of praise so it was great to find out a little bit more about the person behind the name, and be able to share that with you.

171110 Harriet Tyce copyright Charlotte Knee Photography 07726543901 -69.jpeg

Copyright Charlotte Knee Photography

Author Bio:-

Harriet Tyce was born and grew up in Edinburgh. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 1994 with a degree in English Literature before gaining legal qualifications. She worked as a criminal barrister for ten years, leaving after the birth of her first child. She completed an MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at UEA where she wrote Blood Orange, which is her first novel.

So over to Harriet:-

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Summer Lovin’ from Grease – my brother and I were obsessed with this song when we were little.

Just Like Heaven by The Cure – takes me back immediately to being 14 and going through all the ups and downs of being a teenager.

Lost Weekend by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – drinking my way through my early twenties. There were some lost weekends.

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli – our wedding song to which we danced incredibly badly.

Bohemian Like You by The Dandy Warhols – when my son was little he was obsessed with the film Flushed Away, and this song from its soundtrack became his favourite. I could practically sing it backwards even now…


Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.





Internet delivery services


Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?


Don’t attempt a Princess Diana haircut – it’ll look terrible.

Get up earlier.

You don’t always have to finish the bottle.

Just because he looks like Robert Redford does not make him a good thing.

You don’t have to be the last to leave the party.


Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.

I’ve trained as a chef.

I don’t like crowds.

I cry at adverts.

I’m allergic to cats although I love them.

I can play the flute and the piano at Grade 8 standard.

What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?

See the Northern Lights.

Dive with manta rays in the Pacific Ocean.

See the cherry blossom and autumn leaves in Japan.

Follow the course of Odysseus across the Greek islands.

Eat cheese fondue in the Alps.


Thanks so much for taking part Harriet. Some sage advice for your younger self. I had my own Princess Diana faux pas, thankfully not as long lasting as a haircut, but the pictures still remain to remind me of a hideous red and white tri-angle patterned blouse with a Lady Di tie neck! I suspect many of us have also had a  ‘Robert Redford’ scenario  -we live and learn! Very impressed with your musical ability, at least when you are the last to leave the party you can keep people entertained (assuming a piano or flute is to hand). I hope you get to achieve some, if not all on your bucket list and wish you all success with Blood Orange.  


Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce (see my review here)

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….


You can keep in touch with Harriet via:-



Her website


Join me next week for Five on Friday with Louise Beech