It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Another week gone and not much in the way of reading to show for it with only one book finished, A Paris Apartment. This book was a little disappointing as I didn't like the main female character that much, but I did enjoy the part of the novel about Marthe de Florian set during La Belle Epoque.

However, I also read a delightful short story from Kaye Dobbie, May's Rose, which was first published in The Australian Women's Weekly magazine back in 1996, under her pseudonym Lilly Sommers and originally titled Haunted by Roses. This short story was free to those signing up for her newsletter and those already on her list.

This week I made the momentous decision to shelve Barnaby Rudge for the time being. No progress was made with it last week. It sat on my coffee table, but I couldn't bring myself to pick it up and read more.  I'm not ready to classify it as a DNF just yet so it will stay on my coffee table for a while longer.


This week I'm still reading From This Valley and hope to follow with Daughter of Mine and then For Two Cents I'll Go With You.  I've read many novels set during World War I, mostly from the British perspective, so this will be a change for me.

What I Read Last Week

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

When April Vogt's boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.
Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April's quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It's about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.
It's about discovering two women, actually.
With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. Having left behind in the States a cheating husband, a family crisis about to erupt, and a career she's been using as the crutch to simply get by, she feels compelled to sort out her own life too. When the things she left bubbling back home begin to boil over, and Parisian delicacies beyond flaky pâtisseries tempt her better judgment, April knows that both she and Marthe deserve happy finales.


May's Rose by Kaye Dobbie

The deep red rose cast its spell on her, drawing her back into the past, and showing her a future.









What I'm Reading Today

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

From This Valley by Murray Harvey

The year is 1876, and Trooper Ryan Price Meade is a deserter from the US Army 7th Cavalry Regiment who strikes north, fleeing the Montana Territory just as Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer closes in on Little Bighorn. A deeply troubled young man, Meade finds himself in Canada’s Northwest Territory, only to be confronted with all he has lost and come face to face with a ghost from the past—one that will alter the course of the rest of his life.




What I Hope To Read Next


Daughter of Mine by Fiona Lowe

The three Chirnwell sisters are descended from the privileged squattocracy in Victoria’s Western District — but could a long-held secret threaten their family?
Harriett Chirnwell has a perfect life — a husband who loves her, a successful career and a daughter who is destined to become a doctor just like her.
Xara has always lived in Harriet’s shadow; her chaotic life with her family on their sheep farm falls far short of her older sister’s standards of perfection and prestige.
Georgie, the youngest sister and a passionate teacher, is the only one of the three to have left Billawarre. But is her life in Melbourne happy?
Despite all three sisters having a different and sometimes strained bond with their mother, Edwina, they come together to organise a party for her milestone birthday — the first since their father’s death. But when Edwina arrives at her party on the arm of another man, the tumult is like a dam finally breaking. Suddenly the lives of the Chirnwell sisters are flooded by scandal. Criminal accusations, a daughter in crisis, and a secret over fifty years in the making start to crack the perfect façade of the prominent pastoral family.


For Two Cents I'll Go With You by Marcia Maxwell

In the spring of 1917, Walter "Pat" Lusk sits at his desk shuffling papers and dreaming of glory on the battlefield. Frustrated, he's convinced the Great War will remain forever out of reach until one day his friend Aubrey arrives with the thrilling news that the United States has finally declared war on Germany! With his path to adventure now clear, Pat immediately enlists in the Army, where he trains as a surgeon's assistant. Sent to France with Evacuation Hospital No. 4, will Pat finally attain the glory he seeks treating desperately wounded soldiers through the war's darkest days? Will he ever win over the redoubtable Nurse Oberholtzer? Will the Armistice bring peace to the boys of Evac 4, or does a time of even greater testing await Pat and his friends?

Book Review: Secret of the Cannon by Gordon Landsborough

It’s ages since I’ve read a western. The synopsis of this one piqued my interest because of my love of the Napoleonic era and anything associated with it. What? This is a western. What has it to do with Napoleon? As the title suggests - a cannon. A cannon, with a history dating back to the Napoleonic Wars, that ended up in the hands of Santa Anna, taken across the Mexican border into Texas to protect white settlers from the Comanches and then abandoned, supposedly spiked to prevent it being used again.

Texan, Careless O’Connor, from the United States Federal Bureau, is assigned to find the Santa Anna cannon before it falls into the hands of the Comanches. Major Abigay claims that the cannon was spiked and is now useless, but O’Connor needs to see for himself even if it means travelling into Indian territory. Others are also after the cannon, making O’Connor’s assignment all the more dangerous.  Why is this cannon so important? Is it made of gold as some suspect? Only O’Connor knows the secret of the cannon.

This is a very traditional western and has all the elements associated with that particular genre: an enigmatic loner who makes women’s hearts flutter, the U.S. Army, Comanches, good guys, bad guys and even a little romance thrown in too.


Secret of the Cannon is a good, old fashioned adventure story, entertaining from the start to the action packed ending. At 102 pages it is short, but the perfect length for a lazy afternoon or evening read.

This is just one of several novels featuring Careless O’Connor. I’m looking forward to reading more of his exploits and also some of Gordon Landsborough’s other westerns that are being re-issued with eye catching covers.

Thank you to Endeavour Press for providing a review copy via Net Galley.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Another week has flown by and I can't say what I did with my spare time. The garden beds are still full of weeds and I've noticed a few extra cobwebs around the place (actually, more than a few).

While a bad week for gardening and house cleaning, it was a good reading week. I finished three books: The Currency Lass, The Bishop's Girl and The Silent Boy. I had no intention of reading The Silent Boy just yet as I was half way through various other books, but I made the mistake of turning to the first chapter, reading the opening lines and a day later I’d finished it! I've loved all Andrew Taylor's historical crime/mysteries I've read to-date, but The Silent Boy was particularly engrossing and it is now my favourite of his books. The Currency Lass, Tea Cooper's latest, is a lovely romance. I expected to enjoy it and I did. The Bishop's Girl, a dual time frame mystery, has a sad ending, but was very satisfying. Progress is still slow with Barnaby Rudge with only a few more pages read. I'm losing interest in this novel and so may end up setting this book aside if the story doesn't improve.

As well as Barnaby Rudge, this week I'm reading From This Valley. I've not read many novels set in Canada and so far I'm enjoying where this story is going.

Up next is A Paris Apartment or Daughter of Mine

What I Read Last Week

The Bishop's Girl by Rebecca Burns

The body had no name. It was not supposed to be there...
Jess is a researcher on a quest to give the one-hundred-year-old skeleton, discovered in the exhumed grave of a prominent bishop, an identity. But she's not sure of her own - her career is stalling, her marriage is failing. She doesn't want to spend hours in the archives, rifling through dusty papers in an endless search for a name. And when a young man named Hayden makes clear his interest in her, Jess has to decide what is most important to her.




The Currency Lass by Tea Cooper

As her father's only heir, Catherine Cottingham expects to inherit their sprawling property in the Hunter Valley. What she doesn't understand is why her father is trying to push her into a marriage to the pompous and repulsive Sydney businessman Henry W. Bartholomew.
When the will is read it becomes clear money, or the lack of it, lay behind her father's plans. Catherine is mortified — as a married woman all her possessions will pass to her husband, the overbearing Bartholomew. Her only alternative is to wait until her twenty-first birthday and inherit the property in her own right, but can she elude such a determined man until then?
A chance encounter with a travelling circus and its fiery lead performer, Sergey Petrov, offers the perfect solution and Catherine escapes to the goldfields. But there is more to the circus than spangles and sawdust and Catherine finds herself drawn into a far-reaching web of fraud and forgery...


The Silent Boy by Andrew Taylor

Paris, 1792. Terror reigns as the city writhes in the grip of revolution. The streets run with blood as thousands lose their heads to the guillotine. Edward Savill, working in London as agent for a wealthy American, receives word that his estranged wife Augusta has been killed in France. She leaves behind ten-year-old Charles, who is brought to England to Charnwood Court, a house in the country leased by a group of emigre refugees. Savill is sent to retrieve the boy, though it proves easier to reach Charnwood than to leave. And only when Savill arrives there does he discover that Charles is mute. The boy has witnessed horrors beyond his years, but what terrible secret haunts him so deeply that he is unable to utter a word?

What I'm Reading Today

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

From This Valley by Murray Harvey

The year is 1876, and Trooper Ryan Price Meade is a deserter from the US Army 7th Cavalry Regiment who strikes north, fleeing the Montana Territory just as Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer closes in on Little Bighorn. A deeply troubled young man, Meade finds himself in Canada’s Northwest Territory, only to be confronted with all he has lost and come face to face with a ghost from the past—one that will alter the course of the rest of his life.




What I Hope To Read Next

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

When April Vogt's boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.
Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April's quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It's about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.
It's about discovering two women, actually.
With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. Having left behind in the States a cheating husband, a family crisis about to erupt, and a career she's been using as the crutch to simply get by, she feels compelled to sort out her own life too. When the things she left bubbling back home begin to boil over, and Parisian delicacies beyond flaky pâtisseries tempt her better judgment, April knows that both she and Marthe deserve happy finales.


Daughter of Mine by Fiona Lowe

The three Chirnwell sisters are descended from the privileged squattocracy in Victoria’s Western District — but could a long-held secret threaten their family?
Harriett Chirnwell has a perfect life — a husband who loves her, a successful career and a daughter who is destined to become a doctor just like her.
Xara has always lived in Harriet’s shadow; her chaotic life with her family on their sheep farm falls far short of her older sister’s standards of perfection and prestige.
Georgie, the youngest sister and a passionate teacher, is the only one of the three to have left Billawarre. But is her life in Melbourne happy?
Despite all three sisters having a different and sometimes strained bond with their mother, Edwina, they come together to organise a party for her milestone birthday — the first since their father’s death. But when Edwina arrives at her party on the arm of another man, the tumult is like a dam finally breaking. Suddenly the lives of the Chirnwell sisters are flooded by scandal. Criminal accusations, a daughter in crisis, and a secret over fifty years in the making start to crack the perfect façade of the prominent pastoral family.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Two books (A Paris Secret and The Paris Time Capsule) that I hadn't intended to read last week bumped up my total for the week to five. Rather than return them to the library tomorrow unread, I decided to make them my weekend reads. These books were inspired by the discovery of a Paris apartment that had been left undisturbed for over 70 years. Two very different imaginings of the story behind this apartment and the treasures it contained, but both very credible and enjoyable reads.

I also enjoyed The Sculthorpe Murder, but not sure I liked the partnership of Lavender and Woods enough to seek out the first two books of the series. The other mystery read last week was Ann Granger's A Better Quality of Murder. I have now read all the books currently available in her Victorian mystery series and hope there is a new one soon.

My final book for the week was Lydia Syson's World War II novel, That Burning Summer. This was a very interesting read as it is told from the perspective of three young people rather than adults.

This week I'm still reading Barnaby Rudge. I don't remember other books by Dickens that I've read being so hard to get into. I can only manage a chapter or two before I set it aside. At this rate it will be marked "currently reading" for quite a while. On the other hand, The Bishop's Girl is off to a great start and I'm racing through it.

Next on my list is Michelle Gable's, A Paris Apartment, because I'm still captivated by that abandoned apartment! Then I'm hoping to read The Currency Lass by Tea Cooper set in Australia and From this Valley by Murray Harvey set in Canada.


What I Read Last Week

The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office.
Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.
Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime.


The Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

In 2010, New York photographer Cat Jordan fights against her difficult past. But when a stranger dies in Paris, Cat finds herself the sole inheritor of an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been abandoned for seventy years since its mysterious owner, Madame de Florian, fled on the eve of the German invasion in 1940.
A stash of love letters belonging to the owner’s grandmother, the infamous Belle Epoque courtesan Marthe de Florian, and the appearance of the beautiful and mysterious Isabelle de Florian’s grandson, Loic Archer, leads Cat in search of the reasons why Isabelle kept her Paris apartment a secret until her death, and why she left her entire estate to Cat.
As Cat unravels the story, she too embarks on her own journey, realizing that the secrets in the apartment may finally unlock the future…


A Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.
High-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long.
Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?


A Better Quality of Murder by Ann Granger

London is shrouded in a pea-souper fog. Wandering in that fog, for reasons not fully established, was the beautiful Allegra Benedict, wife of an art dealer. When the fog clears, her murdered body is discovered in Green Park. How much does frightened little Miss Marchwood know? Is there any connection with charismatic preacher, Joshua Fawcett? Who - or what - is the River Wraith who preys on the prostitutes working the riverside on foggy nights?
Lizzie Martin and Ben Ross are now married and have set up home near to Waterloo Station. Ben, officially, and Lizzie, unofficially, must investigate.


That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.

What I'm Reading Today

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

The Bishop's Girl by Rebecca Burns

The body had no name. It was not supposed to be there...
Jess is a researcher on a quest to give the one-hundred-year-old skeleton, discovered in the exhumed grave of a prominent bishop, an identity. But she's not sure of her own - her career is stalling, her marriage is failing. She doesn't want to spend hours in the archives, rifling through dusty papers in an endless search for a name. And when a young man named Hayden makes clear his interest in her, Jess has to decide what is most important to her.




What I Hope To Read Next

The Currency Lass by Tea Cooper

As her father's only heir, Catherine Cottingham expects to inherit their sprawling property in the Hunter Valley. What she doesn't understand is why her father is trying to push her into a marriage to the pompous and repulsive Sydney businessman Henry W. Bartholomew.
When the will is read it becomes clear money, or the lack of it, lay behind her father's plans. Catherine is mortified — as a married woman all her possessions will pass to her husband, the overbearing Bartholomew. Her only alternative is to wait until her twenty-first birthday and inherit the property in her own right, but can she elude such a determined man until then?
A chance encounter with a travelling circus and its fiery lead performer, Sergey Petrov, offers the perfect solution and Catherine escapes to the goldfields. But there is more to the circus than spangles and sawdust and Catherine finds herself drawn into a far-reaching web of fraud and forgery...


From This Valley by Murray Harvey

The year is 1876, and Trooper Ryan Price Meade is a deserter from the US Army 7th Cavalry Regiment who strikes north, fleeing the Montana Territory just as Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer closes in on Little Bighorn. A deeply troubled young man, Meade finds himself in Canada’s Northwest Territory, only to be confronted with all he has lost and come face to face with a ghost from the past—one that will alter the course of the rest of his life.




A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

When April Vogt's boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.
Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April's quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It's about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.
It's about discovering two women, actually.
With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. Having left behind in the States a cheating husband, a family crisis about to erupt, and a career she's been using as the crutch to simply get by, she feels compelled to sort out her own life too. When the things she left bubbling back home begin to boil over, and Parisian delicacies beyond flaky pâtisseries tempt her better judgment, April knows that both she and Marthe deserve happy finales.

Book Review: Coachman by Sue Millard

A while ago I read a gem of a book by K.M. Peyton entitled The Right-Hand Man, about a four-in-hand driver (my review here). A four in hand is a carriage pulled by a team of four horses with the reins arranged in such a way that a single driver can handle them. The excitement and romance of it captured my imagination and when I came across Sue Millard’s book dealing with the same subject, I knew this was one I had to read as well. This was the book that launched my 2017 reading year.

Young coachman, George Davenport, when jobs become scarce in Carlisle, seeks employment in London and is hired as a stage coachman by William Chaplin, one of the largest coaching business proprietors based in the capital.

George is cheeky, confident, good at what he does, but also a little naive, which makes him very endearing. Coaching is in his blood and the thought of driving anything other than a four in hand is unthinkable.

George’s ambition is to drive a mail coach and participate in the annual Mail Coach Procession. But it is 1838, the year of Queen Victoria’s coronation, and a time when the railways are slowly taking business from the coaching trade, heralding the demise of an industry.

When his fiancée, Lucy, joins him in London, George finds himself with all the problems inherent with providing for a family, at a time when he is in danger of losing his position as a coachman. Not only does he have to deal with these worries, but also with the unwelcome advances of his employer’s frustrated daughter, Sarah.

Sue Millard has a long association with horses and carriage driving and has used her expertise to create an informative and entertaining narrative around a mode of transport that is long gone. Coachman is a fascinating insight into the organisation and resources needed to run such an enterprise, and the calibre of the men required to drive the coaches. I didn’t envy them working in all types of weather, night or day, dealing with disgruntled passengers, bad roads or any mishaps that occurred.

I enjoyed everything about this novel. The dialogue, often filled with banter, added humour and a sense of camaraderie, but most memorable are the historical details that enriched it and transported me to Victorian England, into the everyday lives of the characters. George's games of cribbage with Cherry, his friend and fellow coachman, and the coach's guard tootling a few bars of a bawdy song, The Young Coachman, on his key-bugle when he realises that Sarah Chaplin is flirting with George, particularly spring to mind. Sue Millard also includes more serious issues in her tale, which reflect the attitudes and prejudices of the era.

Coachman is a wonderful snapshot of life in Victorian England at a time of change and how a young man learns some valuable lessons regarding the importance of honesty, love and friendship!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Conjunctivitis scuppered my reading last week. While I was able to read print books, I found it difficult to read ebooks comfortably so set A Burning Summer and The Sculthorpe Murder, my current reads, aside for the time being. Likewise Barnaby Rudge, due to its tiny print


The two books I did complete were from Ann Granger's Victorian mystery series. I'd started this series at book five, followed by books four and six, and decided that it would be a good idea to read the first three books as I was enjoying this series so much. After book three, it's back to my ebooks and Barnaby Rudge now that my eyes are getting better.

What I hope to read next is a book that has been sitting in my TBR pile for a while and is another mystery, The Bishop's Girl by Rebecca Burns


What I Read Last Week

The Companion by Ann Granger

When Lizzie Martin arrives in London in 1864 to become a lady's companion, her first impressions are disturbing. She's barely out of the station when her cab encounters a wagon carrying the remains of a young woman recently dead.
 At her new home, Lizzie learns that her predecessor, Madeleine Hexham, disappeared without a word of warning. Despite rumors of immoral behavior surrounding the girl's departure, Lizzie is soon persuaded that there's a deeper mystery here. Her suspicions are tragically confirmed when Inspector Benjamin Ross delivers shocking tidings.
 Lizzie is determined to unravel the truth about the lost Miss Hexham. As, too, is Ben Ross: a man who cares about justice, whatever the class of victim. But they must tread carefully, as a cornered killer is the most dangerous of all.
..


A Mortal Curiousity by Ann Granger

It’s 1864 and Lizzie Martin is leaving London for the south coast of England to be the companion of Lucy Craven, a teenager who lives in seclusion with her aunts and has recently lost an infant daughter to illness. En route, Lizzie meets Doctor Lefebre, a slightly off-putting gentleman headed for the same destination. Lefebre, it turns out, is an alienist hired by Lucy’s family to determine whether the young woman is mad. And he discloses something shocking: Lucy Craven doesn’t believe her daughter is dead; she insists the baby was stolen from her.
In Hampshire, complications mount. Late at night, Lizzie hears furtive voices outside, there’s a gentleman farmer whose demeanor with Lucy seems unusually familiar, and, while Lucy proves a bit moody, she hardly seems deranged. The girl’s aunts are clearly withholding something. . . . These tensions come to a head when a man is found dead in the garden, stabbed with a knife from the aunts’ home.
Lizzie calls upon her beau, Inspector Benjamin Ross. Together, they find themselves entangled in a mystery as bewildering as any they’ve faced.


What I'm Reading Today

A Better Quality of Murder by Ann Granger

London is shrouded in a pea-souper fog. Wandering in that fog, for reasons not fully established, was the beautiful Allegra Benedict, wife of an art dealer. When the fog clears, her murdered body is discovered in Green Park. How much does frightened little Miss Marchwood know? Is there any connection with charismatic preacher, Joshua Fawcett? Who - or what - is the River Wraith who preys on the prostitutes working the riverside on foggy nights?
Lizzie Martin and Ben Ross are now married and have set up home near to Waterloo Station. Ben, officially, and Lizzie, unofficially, must investigate.


That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office.
Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.
Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime.


What I Hope To Read Next

The Bishop's Girl by Rebecca Burns

The body had no name. It was not supposed to be there...
Jess is a researcher on a quest to give the one-hundred-year-old skeleton, discovered in the exhumed grave of a prominent bishop, an identity. But she's not sure of her own - her career is stalling, her marriage is failing. She doesn't want to spend hours in the archives, rifling through dusty papers in an endless search for a name. And when a young man named Hayden makes clear his interest in her, Jess has to decide what is most important to her.