Thursday, 19 November 2020

Review: The Ship of Death (The Anglian Detective Agency Series #4) by Vera Morris

I won this book in a competition run by the publisher. I was thrilled because I love reading murder mysteries and the author is new to me, so I might not otherwise have discovered it!

The Ship of Death is the fourth in the series about the Anglian Detective Agency and is set on the Suffolk Coast in the early 1970s. The team are currently investigating a spate of vandalism at a bird sanctuary. Running alongside this is the story of the Breen brothers of Rooks Wood Farm. Their mother has recently died and their father died several years earlier in mysterious circumstances. The older brother is wondering how he can cope with the dual responsibility of trying to keep the farm going while looking after his younger twin, who has a genetic condition causing learning difficulties. When one of the farm workers is found murdered, the Anglian Detective Agency is enlisted to help.

The Ship of Death is a twisty murder mystery with a very authentic setting. I loved the story about the twins, Daniel and Caleb - Daniel's struggles to keep the farm going at the expense of his personal life, and the misery he feels when his estranged uncle turns up and begins to come between him and his brother. It's unusual to read a book set in the 70s (which I am just about old enough to remember!); the sexist attitudes of a couple of characters made me wince, along with the way poor Caleb was treated. Laura was my favourite character, along with Bumper the dog, but I think I suffered from not reading the earlier books - I did get a little confused as to who-was-who in the earlier chapters.

Recommended for anyone who loves traditional detective stories, particularly fans of authors such as Lesley Cookman.

Thank you to Headline Accent for my copy of this book, which I won via a competition and reviewed voluntarily.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

I'm a huge fan of Ruth Ware and was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of her latest, One by One. I was particularly pleased because the wintery setting makes it an absolutely perfect read for this time of year.

One by One is set in one of those exclusive skiing resorts in the Alps. The shareholders and directors of a hip new social media app called Snoop have gathered at a luxury chalet to discuss a prospective buyout. With the group already split, tensions are running high when a massive avalanche hits, isolating them from the outside world. No Internet, no phone signal, the power cuts out and the pipes begin to freeze, but it takes two deaths before they begin to realise that someone might be deliberately picking them off, one by one...

The story is told from two points of view: Liz, who is a minority shareholder in Snoop but feels hopelessly out of her depth, and Erin the housekeeper - who has a few secrets of her own. The story has a slow burn start to allow for a proper introduction to all the characters, but once the avalanche hits the tension really tightens. The last quarter of the book, involving a cat-and-mouse chase through the snow, is extremely exciting. I'm amazed I still have any fingernails left!

One by One (as you might have guessed) is a 'locked room' murder mystery with an affectionate nod to a couple of Agatha Christie's bestsellers. Fans of Ruth Ware's earlier books, particularly In a Dark, Dark Wood, will love it. Recommended, especially on a snowy winter's night...

Thank you to Ruth Ware and Vintage Books (Random House) for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

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