The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning


22806394-AA34-438F-B7E6-456C5B452391From Netgalley & the Publisher:

From the author of The Song of the Jade Lily comes a thrilling story of a family secret that leads to a legendary treasure.

Why would someone bury a bucket of precious jewels and gemstones and never return?

Present Day. When respected American jewelry historian, Kate Kirby, receives a call about the Cheapside jewels, she knows she’s on the brink of the experience of a lifetime.

But the trip to London forces Kate to explore secrets that have long been buried by her own family. Back in Boston, Kate has uncovered a series of sketches in her great-grandmother’s papers linking her suffragette great-grandmother Essie to the Cheapside collection. Could these sketches hold the key to Essie’s secret life in Edwardian London?

In the summer of 1912, impoverished Irish immigrant Essie Murphy happens to be visiting her brother when a workman’s pickaxe strikes through the floor of an old tenement house in Cheapside, near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The workmen uncover a stash of treasure—from Ottoman pendants to Elizabethan and Jacobean gems—and then the finds disappear again! Could these jewels—one in particular—change the fortunes of Essie and her sisters?

Together with photographer Marcus Holt, Kate Kirby chases the history of the Cheapside gems and jewels, especially the story of a small diamond champlevé enamel ring. Soon, everything Kate believes about her family, gemology, and herself will be threatened.

Based on a fascinating true story, The Lost Jewels is a riveting historical fiction novel that will captivate readers from the beginning to the unforgettable, surprising end.

I’m a sucker for mysteries that involve jewels, and this one did not disappoint. The story is captivating and well-plotted, blending history and the present day in a way that keeps you turning pages.

I was unfamiliar with the “Cheapside Hoard” of jewelry unearthed in 1912 by workmen excavating a cellar in London. The author has taken that piece of history and woven a fascinating story about how those jewels ended up in that cellar, and what happened to some of them when unearthed. That history is blended with an emotional love story that spans decades.

Full of appealing characters, a cracking good mystery, and a solid dose of history, this will appeal to fans of Kate Morton, Elizabeth Lowell, and M.J. Rose.

Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Published By: Harper Collins Publishers
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves


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On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.

Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.

As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past.

This is Cleeves (and Vera) at her best with snappy dialog, well-drawn characters, and the gorgeous Northumbrian scenery we’ve come to expect in the series. Cleeves take time to further develop not only Vera’s character but also DC Holly Jackman, who is becoming an increasingly interesting character. Cleeves brings the rural English village and country manor to life in a way that feels real. This isn’t the idealized village of Christie or Beaton, but one of gritty, sometimes boring real life.

Fans will surely read this one in a single sitting as I did. If you haven’t read Cleeves’ “Vera” books before, start at the beginning and work your way up to this one.

Recommended.

Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Published By: St. Martin’s Press Minotaur Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Lineage Most Lethal by S.C. Perkins


978ED838-924E-4337-A09E-5F02906CBE90From Netgalley & the Publisher:

Lineage Most Lethal is the captivating second mystery in S. C. Perkins’ Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster grapples with murders in both the past and present.

It’s the week before New Year’s Eve and genealogist Lucy Lancaster is mixing work and play quite nicely at the boutique Sutton Hotel in Austin, Texas. After two months of research she’s finalizing her presentation for hotel heiress Pippa Sutton, her latest client.

Lucy has just arrived back at the hotel after a day of research when a strange man comes staggering toward her. She barely has time to notice his weak, sweaty appearance and broken tooth before he presses a classic Montblanc pen into her hand, whispers, “keep them safe,” and collapses at her feet, dead.

Lucy only knows one person who might be able to explain the significance of the pen: her grandpa, who is a collector. But Grandpa has an odd reaction to the sight of the pen, and Lucy can’t help but feel that it might have something to do with his experiences during World War II.

When Lucy becomes convinced that her hotel room has been searched and that there’s more to the pen—and her grandpa—than meets the eye, she begins to draw connections from the present-day deaths and suspicious behaviors to a group of spies in World War II. Secret codes, old grievances, and traitors seem to hide behind every corner, and as Lucy begins to connect the dots someone seems determined to make sure the Lancaster line ends once and for all.

Genealogy fans will enjoy this new cozy mystery in the Ancestry Detective series. I loved the first chapter where genealogist Lucy instructs a starry-eyed but confused family researcher in the proper way to treat old gravestones. Important information, folks!

The story is interesting and clever in places, especially in the backstory of Lucy’s grandfather. The writing is breezy and uncomplicated, and the solidly plotted mystery is enhanced with lots of information on family history research and a cast of likable characters.

This will be a good book to read while on your porch this summer. Recommended.

Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Published By: St. Martin’s Press; Minotaur Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase


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From Netgalley & the Publisher:

An isolated forest estate.
A family with a terrible secret.
The discovery that changes everything.

England, 1970. On the one-year anniversary of the Harrington family’s darkest night, their beautiful London home goes up in flames. Mrs. Harrington, the two children, and live-in nanny Rita relocate to Foxcote Manor, ostensibly to recuperate. But the creeping forest, where lost things have a way of coming back, is not as restful as it seems. When thirteen-year-old Hera discovers a baby girl abandoned just beyond their garden gate, this tiniest, most wondrous of secrets brings a much-needed sunlit peace, until a visitor detonates the family’s tenuous happiness. All too soon a body lies dead in the woods.

Forty years later, London-based Sylvie is an expert at looking the other way. It’s how she stayed married to her unfaithful husband for more than twenty years. But she’s turned over a new leaf, having left him for a fresh start. She buried her own origin story decades ago, never imagining her teenage daughter would have a shocking reason to dig the past up–and to ask Sylvie to finally face the secrets that lead her back to Foxcote Manor.

Readers of Lisa Jewell and Simone St. James will delight in this haunting, touching story of mothers, daughters, and belonging–and the devastating lies families tell themselves in order to survive.

Eve Chase has given us this summer’s Family Upstairs with this twisted, tangled tale of love, loss, infidelity, betrayal, and the power of family.

The story moves between present time and a fateful summer of 1971. At the center of the story is Big Rita – nanny to a troubled family in 1971 and mother to the present-day protagonist. Rita’s story is unfolded gradually – the heartbreak and horror of that 1971 summer juxtaposed against the family disruption in in the present-day and Rita’s own health.

The full complexity of the connection is not revealed until later chapters, and Chase does a remarkable job of weaving in little hints of what’s to come here and there throughout the narrative. She strings you along so that you simply can’t put this book down. Several chapters end with a mini-cliffhanger, and I found myself skipping ahead to find out what happened, then going back and reading through.

As she did in Black Rabbit Hall, Chase has constructed a complex story that is rife with unbridled emotion held in check until it isn’t. She writes relationships with a deft hand and develops her characters in ways that evoke a visceral response. Recommended.

Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Published By: Penguin Group Putnam
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths


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Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway changed her life—until a convicted killer tells her that four of his victims were never found, drawing her back to the place she left behind.

Everything has changed for Ruth Galloway. She has a new job, home, and partner, and she is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried—but only if Ruth will do the digging.
Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travelers to their deaths.

Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?

Ruth Galloway is back in a new mystery that picks up a couple years after The Stone Circle. Fans of the series might be disconcerted to find Ruth in Cambridge living with Frank and raising Kate away from Nelson. For all appearances, she has moved on.

That notion is quickly dispelled as Ruth is drawn firmly back into a case with Nelson and rest of the Kings Lynn squad. They have also had some changes, with Clough promoted to lead his own team in Cambridge. There are lots of complicated emotions and motives here, both for Ruth and Nelson and for the intriguing cast of characters wrapped up in the ever-present murder mystery.

I was pleased to find Ruth once again written as a strong, capable, independent woman who is more than one side of a complicated triangle with Nelson and Michelle. I also found 9 year old Kate to be a delight. Griffiths has skillfully balanced the emotional, personal relationships of the story with a cracking good mystery that had me guessing right up to the very end. Griffiths’ books are ones I constantly recommend, and this one is no exception. Recommended.

Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Cold Kill by Rennie Airth


cover181403-mediumAn American actress arrives in London to find herself the target of a ruthless assassin in this compelling standalone thriller.

Actress Adelaide Banks is swapping her native New York for London to spend Christmas with her widowed Aunt Rose. Rose wrote in her note that she was off to Paris for a few days and would be back in time for Addy’s arrival. But when Addy reaches Rose’s Knightsbridge address, no one’s home, and she has two unexpected callers . . .

Where is Rose, and what has she got herself entangled in? Dragged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse on the snowy streets of London, Addy finds herself navigating a dark underworld of ruthless assassins, rogue agents and international crime. Can she survive long enough to uncover the truth?

I’ve been a fan of Rennie Airth’s John Madden series since River of Darkness debuted in 1999, so was curious to read this new stand-alone novel. I found a feisty female lead and a clever plot made even more captivating by the cast of memorable characters and a surprising ending. What a treat!

Airth steps away from Madden’s post-WWI world and ventures into international intrigue with a modern story that is every bit as good as his earlier work. I often envision stories on the screen, and could easily see John Madden in a BBC mystery series on television. Cold Kill, however, is a full-on, big screen spy thriller on par with the Bond and Mission: Impossible franchises. Will appeal to fans of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Published By: Severn House
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

 

Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper


cover180817-mediumA cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.

Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this look at the early days of Australian settlement alternated with Australia at the end of World War I. Written using the familiar convention of alternating chapters in different time periods, the story does require some close attention to keep track of which year you’re in with which characters.

The story revolves around a cursed opal that provides the red thread connecting the mid-19th century story to the WWI era. The two best things here are Fleur and Bert, who will worm their ways into your heart. This is a mystery, historical fiction, and a love story – everything that will appeal to fans of Kate Morton and MJ Rose (albeit without Rose’s supernatural additions). A good summer read. Includes discussion questions for Book Clubs.

Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Published By: Thomas Nelson
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Killer Deadline by Lauren Carr

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“Lauren Carr’s books are never boring, that’s for sure. They entertain,
give us a good mystery to dig into, keep the reader guessing, give us a
few good laughs and make us eager for the next book. Warning: Lauren
Carr’s series are addictive, so be ready to read more than just one
book!” – Laura Fabiani, Library of Clean Reads

Join us for this tour from April 20 to May 22, 2020!Book Details:

Book TitleKiller Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr

Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  232 pages

Genre:  Mystery/Cozy Mystery

Publisher:  Acorn Book Services

Release date:   April 23, 2020

Content Rating: G. This is a true cozy mystery. No sex. No on-stage violence. No swearing. Just good clean fun!


“Here we go! Carr is a master storyteller who always offers a plot full of twists and turns, a bit of humor to offset the dark, and a unique cast of characters. In Killer Deadline that cast includes – handsome Ryan, her first love (who is now her step-brother); a mysterious social media friend called Nerdy Guy; Elmo, a super smart dog, a boxer, she rescued who has become asocial media star and has a penchant for cleaning; a TV station full of suspicious employees; and more.
“This book is a wonderful read to pick up at the end of a long day. It truly is a “cozy murder mystery.”  I promise, it’ll draw you in right from page one and keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last page. I can’t wait for the second book in this  series.” – Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:

Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.

Fans of cozy but sassy mysteries will thoroughly enjoy this adventurous romp. Nikki Bryant is an appealing, trendy, and bold character in the vein of Kate Carlisle’s Brooklyn Wainwright.

The plot is suspenseful and inventive, blending an old mystery (the death of Nikki’s father) with a new one (the murder of Nikki’s childhood nemesis) in an engaging way that keeps you turning page after page.

Sometimes I find the protagonists of modern cozy mysteries to be extremely annoying, especially when a female character who has been written as smart and articulate suddenly starts making really stupid decisions. That doesn’t happen here. Nikki Bryant promises to become a favorite sleuth. Check this one out!

 

Order Your Copy Today!

Meet the Author:Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Killer Deadline marks Lauren’s first venture into mystery’s purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~Pinterest


Tour Schedule:

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Murder on Pleasant Avenue by Victoria Thompson


cover178623-mediumWhen Gino Donatelli is accused of a brutal murder, beloved sleuths Sarah and Frank Malloy have to catch a killer who is out to destroy their innocent friend’s life in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

A victim is found, brutally murdered and the police are certain they’ve caught the killer. Their only suspect: Gino Donatelli.
Frank and Sarah know Gino is innocent but the police have a one-track mind. Once Frank struck it rich and left their ranks taking Gino with him, there has been a simmering resentment in the department. And now, someone has pulled out all the stops to make it look like Gino is the only one who could have committed the crime. With the clock ticking and evidence mounting against their friend, Sarah and Frank will try to unravel a treacherous plot before Gino is sent up the river for good.

Fans of Sarah & Frank Malloy will thoroughly enjoy this latest entry in Thompson’s Gaslight series.. This time, our friends use their deductive skills to help out old friend Gino Donatelli when he is accused of a heinous crime. Thompson comes through again with a clever plot, engaging writing, and wonderful descriptions of the relationships cultivated by the Malloys and the denizens of 19th century New York. While this can be read on its own, it is much more enjoyable if you’ve read the previous series entries.

Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Published by: Berkley Publishing Group
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey


cover178794-mediumA debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection.

In August 1939, thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright arrives at Lockwood Manor to oversee a natural history museum collection, whose contents have been taken out of London for safekeeping. She is unprepared for the scale of protecting her charges from party guests, wild animals, the elements, the tyrannical Major Lockwood and Luftwaffe bombs. Most of all, she is unprepared for the beautiful and haunted Lucy Lockwood.

For Lucy, who has spent much of her life cloistered at Lockwood suffering from bad nerves, the arrival of the museum brings with it new freedoms. But it also resurfaces memories of her late mother, and nightmares in which Lucy roams Lockwood hunting for something she has lost.

When the animals appear to move of their own accord, and exhibits go missing, they begin to wonder what exactly it is that they might need protection from. And as the disasters mount up, it is not only Hetty’s future employment that is in danger, but her own sanity too. There’s something, or someone, in the house. Someone stalking her through its darkened corridors . . .

I seem to be reading a lot of gothic mysteries lately…the genre is definitely making a comeback!

Here we have all the elements needed for a first-class, spooky gothic thriller – intrepid heroine who is made of sterner stuff than is believed by those around her; a creepy country house; a tragic inhabitant; a prickly, horrible mystery; and a horrifying climax followed by a new beginning.

There is, however, a refreshing difference here. In the old 1970s gothics, the tragic inhabitant of the creepy country house was invariably a man. Here, it’s Lucy. The beautiful, delicate, sleep-deprived daughter of the master of the house. The story spun around Lucy and Hetty is delicate and charming, a piece of lace on the grimy, icky cloth of the horrible mystery, and one that gets ripped off, preserved, and sewn into something beautiful.

The story is captivating and creepy, the writing skillful and eloquent. Well done.

Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy