My pick of May 2020’s Kindle deals

Here’s this month’s list of suggested buys. Usual rules apply – all books I include are those I’ve either read and recommend, books that are patiently waiting to be read, or they’re ones I’d happily to add to my reading list. Therefore, it’s a list that’s skewed towards what currently appeals to me so feel free to look at the complete list on Amazon here.

 

Vanished brideThe Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Yorkshire, 1845, and dark rumours are spreading across the moors. Everything indicates that Mrs Elizabeth Chester of Chester Grange has been brutally murdered in her home – but nobody can find her body.

As the dark murmurs reach Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, the sisters are horrified, yet intrigued. Before they know it, the siblings become embroiled in the quest to find the vanished bride, sparking their imaginations but placing their lives at great peril . . .


Dead WrongDead Wrong by Noelle Holten

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…


 

The Conviction of Cora BurnsThe Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

To believe in her future, she must uncover her past…

Birmingham, 1885.

Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?


 

BlacklandsBlacklands by Belinda Bauer

Steven Lamb is 12 when he writes his first letter . . . to a serial killer

Every day after school, whilst his classmates swap football stickers, twelve-year-old Steven digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. His uncle disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery – but his body has never been found.

Steven’s Nan does not believe her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it’s too late – even if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son.

So Steven takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored psychopath . . .


 

ExposureExposure by Helen Dunmore

The Cold War is at its height, and a spy may be a friend or neighbour, colleague or lover.

At the end of a suburban garden, in the pouring rain, a woman buries a briefcase deep in the earth.

She believes that she is protecting her family.

What she will learn is that no one is immune from betrayal or the devastating consequences of exposure.


 

WinteringWintering by Katherine May

Wintering is a season in the cold. It is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsiderHowever it arrives, wintering is usually involuntary, lonely and deeply painful.

In Wintering, Katherine May recounts her own year-long journey through winter, sparked by a sudden illness in her family that plunged her into a time of uncertainty and seclusion. When life felt at is most frozen, she managed to find strength and inspiration from the incredible wintering experiences of others as well as from the remarkable transformations that nature makes to survive the cold.

This beautiful, perspective-shifting memoir teaches us to draw from the healing powers of the natural world and to embrace the winters of our own lives.


 

Natural CausesNatural Causes by James Oswald

Edinburgh is horrified by a series of bloody killings.

Deaths for which there appears to be neither rhyme nor reason, and which leave the city’s police stumped.

DI Tony McLean is focused on the investigation, but his attention is drawn by a chilling cold case:

A young girl, ritualistically murdered.

Her remains hidden for sixty years.

It seems impossible that there could be any connection between the cases, but McLean starts to wonder . . .

Because if it’s true, they might be facing an evil beyond anything they ever imagined.


 

Songs of Love and WarSongs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore

Their lives were mapped out ahead of them. But love and war will change everything…

Castle Deverill, nestled in the rolling Irish hills, is home to three very different women: flame-haired Kitty Deverill, her best friend and daughter of the castle’s cook, Bridie Doyle, and her flamboyant English cousin, Celia Deverill.

When war breaks out, their lives will change forever.

Wrenched apart by betrayal and swept to different parts of the globe, their friendship will be tested a thousand times over. But one bond will keep them together forever: their fierce and unwavering longing for Castle Deverill and all the memories contained within it.


 

Second Love of My LifeThe Second love of my Life by Victoria Walters

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer…

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?


 

Max the Miracle DogMax ; the Miracle Dog by Kerry Irving

In 2006, a traumatic car accident changed Kerry Irving’s life forever.

Suffering from severe neck and back injuries, Kerry was unemployed and housebound, struggling with depression and even thoughts of suicide. He went from cycling over 600 miles a month to becoming a prisoner in his own home.

With hope all but lost, Kerry’s wife encouraged him to go on a short walk to the local shop. In the face of unbearable pain and overwhelming panic, he persevered and along the way, met an adorable yard dog named Max. As the Spaniel peered up through the railings, Kerry found comfort and encouragement in his soulful brown eyes. This chance encounter marked a turning point in both their lives.

In Max, Kerry found comfort and motivation and in Kerry, Max found someone to care for him. This is their remarkable, inspiring story.


 

All Creatures Great and SmallAll Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

This edition contains If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet.

Fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, to the young James Herriot 1930s Yorkshire seems to offer an idyllic pocket of rural life in a rapidly changing world. But from his erratic new colleagues, brothers Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, to incomprehensible farmers, herds of semi-feral cattle, a pig called Nugent and an overweight Pekingese called Tricki Woo, James finds he is on a learning curve as steep as the hills around him. And when he meets Helen, the beautiful daughter of a local farmer, all the training and experience in the world can’t help him . . .

Since they were first published, James Herriot’s memoirs have sold millions of copies and entranced generations of animal lovers. Charming, funny and touching, All Creatures Great and Small is a heart-warming story of determination, love and companionship from one of Britain’s best-loved authors.


 

All in Her HeadAll in her Head by Nikki Smith

Her life is a pack of lies. But what if she is the liar?

Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work.

She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why.

Then the mention of one name brings a whole lifetime of memories rushing back in.

Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.


 

Hour of NeedHour of Need by John Carson

Everybody has secrets…some more deadly than others…

Years ago, DCI Harry McNeil lost his father, himself an ex-police officer. Now, Harry’s estranged brother is back on the scene after their mother’s second husband died. Harry’s father and step-father were at opposite ends of the spectrum and now that Bobby Dixon is dead, family rivalries come to a head.

After the funeral, Harry and DS Alex Maxwell get a shout. A man has been brutally stabbed at home and dies from his injuries. He was an ordinary man, working an ordinary job, leading an ordinary life.

So why was he murdered in an obvious hit?

Dealing with people from his past threatens to get in the way of the investigation, but Harry can’t let things cloud her judgement. As he peels back the layers of the victim’s life to uncover the truth, another victim turns up and leads Harry down a road he never expected to go down.

They’re going up against a vicious killer who knows no boundaries. And working to an agenda that nobody sees coming…


 

The HeatwaveThe Heatwave by Kate Riordan

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was troubled. Elodie is dead.

Sylvie hasn’t been back to her crumbling French family home in years. Not since the death of her eldest daughter Elodie.

Every corner of the old house feels haunted by memories of her – memories she has tried to forget.

But as temperatures rise, and forest fires rage through the French countryside, a long-buried family secret is about to come to light.

Because there’s something Sylvie’s been hiding about what really happened to Elodie that summer.

And it could change everything.


 

ChildThe Child by Fiona Barton

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.


 

Aria’s Travelling Book ShopAria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin

This summer will change everything!

Aria Summers knows what she wants.

A life on the road with best friend Rosie and her beloved camper-van-cum-book-shop, and definitely, definitely, no romance.

But when Aria finds herself falling – after one too many glasses of wine, from a karaoke stage – into the arms of Jonathan, a part of her comes back to life for the first time in years.

Since her beloved husband died Aria has sworn off love, unless it’s the kind you can find in the pages of a book. One love of her life is quite enough.

And so Aria tries to forget Jonathan and sets off for a summer to remember in France. But could this trip change Aria’s life forever…?


 

Everything You AreEverything You Are by Kerry Anne King

One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.

When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?

Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.


 

Blood DetectiveThe Blood Detective by Dan Waddell

As dawn breaks over London, the body of a young man is discovered in a Notting Hill churchyard. The killer has left DCI Grant Foster and his team a grisly, cryptic clue. It’s not until the clue is handed to Nigel Barnes, a specialist in compiling family trees, that the full message becomes spine-chillingly clear. It leads Barnes back more than one hundred years – to the victim of a demented Victorian serial killer. When a second body is discovered Foster needs Barnes’s skills more than ever. The murderer’s clues appear to run along the tangled bloodlines that lie between 1879 and now. And if Barnes is right, the killing spree has only just begun . . .


 

The Frances Garrood CollectionThe Frances Garrood Collection

Cassandra’s Secret

Cassandra Fitzpatrick’s family isn’t quite like everybody else’s: her house is always full to bursting with the various misfits her mother houses as lodgers. The creative and chaotic household is all she has ever known and loved, until something awful happens that changes everything.

Cass loves her mother deeply, but, as she gets older, she becomes more and more aware of her flaws. Will Cass have to distance herself from her family to find happiness? Or is she destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps? As Cass reflects on her memories, she must lay the ghosts of the past to rest and make peace with the secrets that have haunted her adult life…

Women Behaving Badly

Alice is a harried single mother dealing with a teenage son, an irresponsible ex, and a noncommittal lover. Mavis is juggling caring for her elderly, confused mother alongside her long-standing affair with a hypochondriac father-of-two. And Gabs is a high-class escort who’s fallen in love with someone completely unattainable.

All three women are behaving in ways very much frowned upon by the Catholic Church. But their priest, Father Cuthbert is determined to reform them. As the three women strike up an unlikely friendship, each re-evaluates what is most important them. And it seems the not-so-holy trinity of Alice, Mavis, and Gabs can’t be ‘cured’ that easily…

Ruth Robinson’s Year of Miracles

Six months ago, Ruth Robinson had a regular job, a monthly salary and a comfortable flat to go home to. After quitting her job ready to go travelling, a momentary lapse of judgement put a major spanner in the works… Now Ruth has a baby on the way, and no place to call home…

With the father of her child AWOL and her parents less than impressed, Ruth decides to move in with her eccentric uncles. And when the Virgin Mary appears in their hen house, it is clear Ruth’s unplanned pregnancy isn’t the only ‘miracle’ she’ll be encountering this year…


 

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Laura Pearson

What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?

All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.

Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.

That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?


 

The Mistress Of SpicesThe Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Tilo, an immigrant from India, runs a spice shop in Oakland, California. While she supplies the ingredients for curries and kormas, she also dispenses wisdom and the appropriate spice: for Tilo is a Mistress of Spices, a priestess of the secret magical powers of spices.

To those who visit her shop, Tilo prescribes coriander for the restoration of sight, chili for the cleansing of evil, fenugreek for the pain of rejection. But when a lonely American ventures into the store, a troubled Tilo cannot find the correct spice, for he arouses in her a forbidden desire – which if she follows will destroy her magical powers.


 

Want to PlayWant to Play by P J Tracy

Want to play a game?

A small American town.

A brutally cold autumn.

A killer is at work.

Two bodies are found; two slayings that the police treat as unrelated. But games-creator Grace MacBride knows different.

The murders are exact copies of those in a game she’s designing – one that already has hundreds of eager players.

As the copycat killings mount up, Grace knows that she is both suspect and potential victim.

And with the serial killer getting closer, she is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse . . .


 

Fatal InheritanceFatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
Out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.

Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.

But under the heat of the sun, all is not as it seems. Now, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before things spiral out of control…


 

The Quiet Side of PassionThe Quiet Side of Passion by Alexander McCall Smith

It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between ‘gossip’ and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie’s little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil’s father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious.

Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the ‘Review of Applied Ethics’Along with the work involved for its impending next issueshe really needs to get her house in order and tend to the demands of her niece, Cat. Thankfully, the arrival of Antonia, the exuberant Italian au pair, will take care of urgent chores. And the hiring of Claire, a diligent if unsettlingly beautiful new assistant at the ‘Review’, surely means that Isabel can breathe, at least a little.

But her sharp observation and assured role as confidante soon have Isabel doubting all her recent decisions. What’s more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?


 

The Summer QueenThe Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick

Eleanor of Aquitaine’s story is legendary. She is an icon who has fascinated readers for over eight hundred years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive – until now. Based on the most up-to-date research, bestselling novelist Elizabeth Chadwick brings Eleanor’s magnificent story to life, as never before.

Young, vibrant, privileged, Eleanor’s future is golden as the heiress to wealthy Aquitaine. But when her beloved father dies suddenly in the summer of 1137, her childhood ends abruptly. Forced to marry the young prince Louis of France, Eleanor is still struggling to adjust to her new role when Louis’ father dies and they become King and Queen of France. Leaving everything behind, the vivacious Eleanor must face the complex and faction-riddled French court. She is only 13.

Overflowing with scandal, politics, sex, triumphs and tragedies, The Summer Queen is the first novel in a stunning trilogy from award-winning and much-loved author Elizabeth Chadwick


 

A Tap on the WindowA Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

On a rainy night, a man gives a teenage girl a lift home, but the girl he picks up isn’t the same one he drops off . . . Bestseller Linwood Barclay hooks the reader from page one with this suspense masterpiece

When Cal Weaver stops at a red light on a rainy night while driving home, he ignores the bedraggled-looking teenage girl trying to hitch a ride – even when she starts tapping on his window. But when he realises she’s one of his son’s classmates, he knows he can’t really leave her, alone, on the street.

But nothing prepares him for the consequences of trying to help her out. The next morning he’s gone from Good Samaritan to Murder Suspect, and with one girl dead and another missing, he’s suddenly at the centre of a deadly puzzle that reaches right to the heart of the town – from its bullying police force to its strangely furtive mayor – and finally to one family’s shocking secret.


 

Kingdom of the BlindKingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will. The bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional – until a body is found.

But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension delves deeper, and he takes increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Gamache begins to see his own blind spots – and the terrible things hiding there . . .


 

Driving Over LemonsDriving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart

Meet Chris Stewart, the eternal optimist. At age 17 Chris retired as the drummer of Genesis and launched a career as a sheep shearer and travel writer. He has no regrets about this. Had he become a big-time rock star he might never have moved with his wife Ana to a remote mountain farm in Andalucia. Nor forged the friendship of a lifetime with his resourceful peasant neighbour Domingo…not watched his baby daughter Chloe grow and thrive there…nor written this book.Fate does sometimes seem to know what it’s up to.Driving Over Lemons is that rare thing: a funny, insightful book that charms you from the first page to the last…and one that makes running a peasant farm in Spain seem like a distinctly good move. Chris transports us to Las Alpujarras, an oddball region south of Granada, and into a series of misadventures with an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, New Age travellers and ex-pats. The hero of the piece, however, is the farm that he and Ana bought, El Valero — a patch of mountain studded with olive, almond and lemon groves, sited on the wrong side of a river, with no access road, water supply or electricity.Could life offer much better than that?


 

Bay of SecretsBay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley

Spain, 1939

Following the wishes of her parents to keep her safe during the war, a young girl, Julia, enters a convent in Barcelona. Looking for a way to maintain her links to the outside world, she volunteers to help in a maternity clinic. But worrying adoption practices in the clinic force Sister Julia to decide how far she will go to help those placed in her care.

England, 2011

Six months after her parents’ shocking death, 34-year-old journalist and jazz enthusiast Ruby Rae has finally found the strength to pack away their possessions and sell the family home. But as she does so, she unearths a devastating secret that her parents, Vivien and Tom, had kept from her all her life.


 

The White TigerThe White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Balram Halwai is the White Tiger – the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor for him to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. As he drives his master to shopping malls and call centres, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he will never be able to gain access to that world. As Balram broods over his situation, he realizes that there is only one way he can become part of this glamorous new India – by murdering his master.

The White Tiger presents a raw and unromanticised India, both thrilling and shocking – from the desperate, almost lawless villages along the Ganges, to the booming Wild South of Bangalore and its technology and outsourcing centres. The first-person confession of a murderer, The White Tiger is as compelling for its subject matter as for the voice of its narrator – amoral, cynical, unrepentant, yet deeply endearing.


 

It's Raining MenIt’s Raining Men by Milly Johnson

Best friends from work May, Lara and Clare are desperate for some time away. They have each had a rough time of it lately and need some serious R & R, so they set off to a luxurious spa for ten glorious days. But when they arrive at their destination, it seems it is not the place they thought it was. In fact, they appear to have come to entirely the wrong village …

Despite the strange atmosphere, the three friends are determined to make the best of it and have a holiday to remember. But will this be the break they all need? Or will the odd little village with all its secrets bring them all to breaking point?


 

Diary of a SomebodyDiary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston

Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part hilarious description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is a stunningly original novel from Twitter sensation, Brian Bilston.

It’s January 1st and Brian Bilston is convinced that this year, his New Year’s resolution will change his life. Every day for a year, he will write a poem. It’s quite simple.

Brian’s life certainly needs improving. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, he seems to constantly disappoint his long-suffering son, and at work he is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and management jargon. So poetry will be his salvation. But there is an obstacle in the form of Toby Salt, his arch nemesis at Poetry Club and rival suitor to Liz, Brian’s new poetic inspiration.

When Toby goes missing, just after the announcement of the publication of his first collection, This Bridge No Hands Shall Cleave, Brian becomes the number one suspect. If he is to regain his reputation and to have a chance of winning Liz, he must find out what has happened to Toby before it is too late.


 

he Path to the SeaThe Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick

Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.

For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.

Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even though the family she adored was shattered there.

And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.

As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.


 

A Thousand Roads HomeA Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington

Meet Tom…

Or Dr O’Grady, as he used to be called. When you pass him on the street, most people don’t even give him a second glance. You see, Tom isn’t living his best life. Burdened by grief, he’s only got his loyal dog, Bette Davis, for company and a rucksack containing his whole world.

Then there’s Ruth and her son, DJ, who no longer have a place to call home.
But Ruth believes that you can change the world by helping one person at a time – and Tom needs her help…


 

Old BaggageOld Baggage by Lissa Evans

What do you do next, after you’ve changed the world?

It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade.

Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement.

Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.


 

The Zig Zag GirlThe Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

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…


 

Dear Mrs BirdDear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce

London, 1941. Amid the falling bombs Emmeline Lake dreams of becoming a fearless Lady War Correspondent. Unfortunately, Emmy instead finds herself employed as a typist for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird refuses to read, let alone answer, letters containing any form of Unpleasantness, and definitely not those from the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted.

But the thought of these desperate women waiting for an answer at this most desperate of times becomes impossible for Emmy to ignore. She decides she simply must help and secretly starts to write back – after all, what harm could that possibly do?


 

This Lovely CityThis Lovely City by Louise Hare

The drinks are flowing.
The music is playing.
But the party can’t last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.


 

The QuakerThe Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

A city torn apart.
It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.

A detective with everything to prove.
Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.

A killer who hunts in the shadows.
Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…


 

The House at Sea's EndThe House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths

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 LidoThe Lido by Libby Page

Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers…

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.

Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.


 

The CarerThe Carer by Deborah Moggach

James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss.

Then something extraordinary happens which throws everything into new relief, changing all the stories of their childhood – and the father – that they thought they knew so well.


 

The MerciesThe Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Winter, 1617. The sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. A young woman, Maren, watches as the men of the island, out fishing, perish in an instant. Vardø is now a place of women.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of the island to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In her new home, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs . . .


 

A Silent DeathA Silent Death by Peter May

A SILENT VOW

Spain, 2020. When ex-pat fugitive Jack Cleland watches his girlfriend die, gunned down in a pursuit involving officer Cristina Sanchez Pradell, he promises to exact his revenge by destroying the policewoman.

A SILENT LIFE

Cristina’s aunt Ana has been deaf-blind for the entirety of her adult life: the victim of a rare condition named Usher Syndrome. Ana is the centre of Cristina’s world – and of Cleland’s cruel plan.

A SILENT DEATH

John Mackenzie – an ingenious yet irascible Glaswegian investigator – is seconded to aid the Spanish authorities in their manhunt. He alone can silence Cleland before the fugitive has the last, bloody, word.


 

The Love LetterThe Love Letter by Lucinda Riley

Keeping secrets is a dangerous game . . .

1995, London.

When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, so devastating that it could rock the English establishment to its core . . .

Joanna Haslam is an ambitious young journalist, assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral. The great and the good of the celebrity world are there. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind, the contents of which others have been desperate to conceal for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realizes that there are other forces attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does.

*This title was originally published as Seeing Double.


 

A Patchwork FamilyA Patchwork Family by Cathy Bramley

Can Gina Moss swap an easy life for a happy one?

Gina has been going with the flow for years – she’d rather go with the flow than face any conflict. She runs her childminding business from her cottage at the edge of The Evergreens, a charming Victorian house and home to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age.

But when The Evergreens is put up for sale, Gina and the other residents face losing their home. To protect her business and save her elderly friends from eviction, Gina must make a stand and fight for the first time in her life.

As Gina’s ideas for saving The Evergreens get bigger and bolder, she starts to believe it might just be possible. The only thing is, does she believe in herself?


 

Her Husband's MistakeHer Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…


 

Broken GreekBroken Greek by Pete Paphides

‘Do you sometimes feel like the music you’re hearing is explaining your life to you?’

When Pete’s parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 1960s in the hope of a better life, they had no money and only a little bit of English. They opened a fish-and-chip shop in Acocks Green. The Great Western Fish Bar is where Pete learned about coin-operated machines, male banter and Britishness.

Shy and introverted, Pete stopped speaking from age 4 to 7, and found refuge instead in the bittersweet embrace of pop songs, thanks to Top of the Pops and Dial-A-Disc. From Brotherhood of Man to UB40, from ABBA to The Police, music provided the safety net he needed to protect him from the tensions of his home life. It also helped him navigate his way around the challenges surrounding school, friendships and phobias such as visits to the barber, standing near tall buildings and Rod Hull and Emu.

With every passing year, his guilty secret became more horrifying to him: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British. And the engine of that realisation? ‘Sugar Baby Love’, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Tragedy’, ‘Silly Games’, ‘Going Underground’, ‘Come On Eileen’, and every other irresistibly thrilling chart hit blaring out of the chip shop radio.

Never have the trials and tribulations of growing up and the human need for a sense of belonging been so heart-breakingly and humorously depicted.


 

NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women’s stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.


 

Silent PatientThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago.

When she shot her husband in the head five times.

Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word.

It’s time to find out why.

 

 


 

StrangersStrangers by C L Taylor

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.


 

So that’s my pick of the crop – Happy Reading!!

27 comments

  1. Wow, that’s quite a list! I remember reading The Mistress of Spices years ago and loved it. Wonder what happened to my copy? Some great books on here. In very tempted…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. I’ve harvested a few tasty looking titles from your crop. Was The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan on one of your previous lists? I can’t remember where I saw it but I’ve just finished reading it and it was excellent – a bit darker than I usually go for but well worth reading – so thank you if it was here I found it.

    Like

  3. What a bounty of riches here Jill!
    I have purchased two of these this week: “Path to the Sea” and “A Silent Death”.
    I have read and enjoyed eight of these titles.

    I would very much like to purchase the Rowan Coleman title but sadly this one and her “The Girl at the Window” are not available in Canada.
    Also not available is “The Carer” by Moggach – I only read on Kindle so sadly this one is out for me as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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