Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain #DirtyLittleSecrets @QuercusBooks @SpainJoanne @MillsReid11

Dirty Little Secrets - Jo Spain

In a rather privileged gated estate called Withered Vale,a woman’s body is found in her cottage. Apparently she has been dead for three months and nobody of this small estate noticed anything. So Detective Frank Brazil and Detective Emma Child start their investigation into the death of Olive,one of the first inhabitants of this small community even before it became the living space for six more or less affluent families(singles,couples and families with children). Very quickly both detectives realise that all of the inhabitants have small(large and big)secrets and that kind Olive was perhaps no so kind and treasured as some would like them to believe. Each of these secrets are important on different levels but they do lead to weakened positions and uncomfortable situations. But the questions remains,who killed Olive?

Every chapter is told by a different inhabitant (including the deceased Olive) and it works perfectly,it keeps you guessing who the culprit is (as the whole lot are basically suspects) and the ending is definitely a surprise.

A very good mystery with strong and well developed characters,two very likeable detectives, Frank,close to his retirement and Emma,an ambitious young wolf.

Just sorry to hear that Frank is retiring…


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Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin

Darkest Before the Dawn - Mike Martin

Newfoundland. A small town is confronted with the murder of a young loner and an attempted suicide of a young teenager. Sergeant Winston Wildflower and his(small)team have to solve this murder while he also has to take care of a B&B that he,his wife and their baby are starting up.

Well,I know this is supposed to be a cosy/cozy but this one definitely didn’t work for me. The mystery is hardly a mystery at all and the showdown is more than a bit of a let down.So what is left is endless talk about babies,their burbs,their noises and their diapers,detailed lunches(apparently Sergeant Winston finds time to go home for lunch notwithstanding the murder case),walks with the dog,tea/coffee breaks with goodies,shopping lists for a dinner party,the elaborated preparation of this menu and a detailed testimony of the tender love between husband and wife(and their baby).As this constitutes about 80% of the story it is hardly a mystery.

That said,I liked the characters(the sergeant and his team are well developed and very likeable )but I don’t think I belong to the targeted audience…


A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy

A Testament to Murder - Vivian Conroy

Malcolm Bryce-Rutherford ,a very unpleasant and very sick man,has invited several guests,both family and,well not exactly, friends to his beautiful house on the French Riviera. He announces to his puzzled audience that he will draw up a different will every day. If he dies the person who is mentioned in that ” daily” will inherit the whole estate. Of course there are risks,not in the first place for Mr. Malcolm himself but also for the beneficiary. If Malcolm dies he or she could become the number one suspect. Nobody has any doubt that a murder will be committed but the victim comes as a bit of a surprise,followed by another murder and some strange mishaps. Luckily the neighbour,a retired Scotland Yard man,is there to solve these crimes.

The story and setting(a weekend party in an isolated manor house)has strong links to Golden Age (and Agatha Christie ) mysteries. And it works up to a certain point but it is a tad long winded and the “denouement “(in real Poirot style,all the suspects in the drawing room)and the gathering of evidence leading to this great revelation is missing something. Very hard to say what exactly but there it is…


Ruin Beach by Kate Rhodes

Ruin Beach - Kate Rhodes

On Tresco,one of the many islands of Scilly, a young professional diver is found murdered in a famous (or infamous) cave. The year before another young woman was found drowned in the same place. Coincidence? D.I. Ben Kitto,a local man, back after a spell in the big Metropolis, has to find the culprit of this horrendous murder. Very soon the place is awash with rumours about a mythical Roman shipwreck. And as this is a close and small community,there is no lack of suspects…

It is a good murder mystery, a good storyline(although a bit long winded ),a fabulous setting and most of the characters are believable and well elaborated except D.I. Kitto ,it feels as if this character is not quite finished yet. Perhaps a firmer editing?

And then there is the dog,admittedly Kitto is not the willing and voluntary owner of Shadow but still…I don’t think he calls the dog even once by his name,the dog gets wounded but after some very basic treatment Shadow just limps on…Weird…