Sundays in bed with …….. The Murders at Fleat House

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week the book by my bed (or on the sofa) is The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley.

Blurb from the book:
When a young student is found dead at a private boarding school, its elite reputation is at risk. The headmaster is determined to write the death off as a tragic accident – but Detective Jazz Hunter will soon suspect that a murder has been committed.

Escaping her own problems in London, the beautiful and isolated landscape of rural Norfolk had felt like the ideal place for Jazz to hide. But when it becomes clear the victim was tangled in a web of loyalties and old vendettas that go far beyond just one student and as the body count begins to grow, Jazz knows that she is running out of time.

All roads lead back to the closed world of the school. But Fleat House and its residents refuse to give up their secrets so easily – and as her investigation gathers pace, Jazz realises that that they are even more sinister than she could possibly have imagined.

This is Lucinda Riley’s last published novel after her death last year although she actually wrote it over a decade ago in 2006. It is her only crime novel and so is very different to her more famous Seven Sisters series. I am really enjoying it and can see that the character of Jazz Hunter could easily have become the focus of a new crime series. However, if the author had gone down the route of writing crime fiction, we might never have had the Seven Sisters books and that would have been a real loss.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Stacking the Shelves

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It’s Saturday and the sun is shining again. I think we’ve have more sunshine so far in February than in the whole of last December. Welcome to the weekend and Stacking the Shelves. Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

My STS posts are generally my library books. The library is where I get most of my books and I hope that maybe I can inspire other people to use their local library. Our libraries are constantly under threat of closure but the more people that use them, the less likely that is. My library is also how I manage to read a lot of newly released hardbacks as I can order them. Sometimes they can take quite a while to arrive if a title is really popular though.

This week was a bumper week for my book reservations arriving in the library. All three crime novels are ones that I have requested and then one fantasy novel that is on my TBR!!

This week’s library haul

Something to Hide by Elizabeth George
This is the latest outing for Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers although Lynley is now acting Detective Superintendent so not really Inspector anymore. I love these novels and can’t wait to read this next instalment

Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza
I only discovered Robert Bryndza last year but really enjoyed his writing style and the character of Kate Marshall, the ex-police detective turned private investigator. This one about a missing journalist sounds intriguing.

A Murder inside by Frances Brody
I have read all of Frances Brody’s previous historical crime novels about Kate Shackleton set in the 1920s but this is the first in a new series. This time, it’s set in 1969 and features Nell Lewis who is the newly appointed governor of a women’s prison. That’s definitely a new scenario so I’ll be interested to see how this new series gets up and running.

The Last Graduate by Naomi Norvik
This has been on my TBR since it came out last September and I was very surprised to see it just sitting on the library shelf yesterday as Leics aren’t brilliant at stocking fantasy books. I loved A Deadly Education even though I hadn’t expected to so I’m looking forward to the sequel.

I’m really looking forward to reading all of these as well as ticking off another couple on my NetGalley shelf.

What have you added to your bookshelf this week?

Murder at St Anne’s – a review

Murder at St Anne’s by J R Ellis

Winter, snow, murder – and a centuries-dead suspect

With all of the above ingredients, how could you not want to read this book?

Blurb
In the chilly depths of a Yorkshire winter, a well-liked rector is found bludgeoned to death in her own church. With no sign of a murder weapon, local superstition quickly pins the blame on the ghost of a medieval monk believed to haunt the building…

Well accustomed to unusual murder investigations, DCI Jim Oldroyd takes on the case, along with his assistant, Sergeant Andy Carter, but they are hampered at every turn by the deepening snow and the threat of the supernatural. Even as possible motives and opportunities begin to reveal themselves, Oldroyd struggles to find a better suspect than the hooded phantom.

Has Oldroyd really found himself in the midst of a Gothic ghost story or is there a very real killer at large? Spectre or otherwise, it soon becomes apparent that the murderer is not yet finished. And, for Oldroyd, it’s about to become personal…

This is the latest in the Yorkshire Murder series featuring DCI Oldroyd and his team and is an atmospheric murder mystery set in the depths of Winter. Perfect reading for a chilly December or January evening. A popular female vicar is found brutally murdered in her church in Knaresborough and Oldroyd and his team are called in. The murder has alarming similarities to a local ghost story dating back to the 16th century. The spooky atmosphere is reinforced by the heavy snowfall which forces DCI Oldroyd and his sergeant to spend the night in the church. However, their night is not a peaceful one. Did Oldroyd really see a ghost?

As ever with J R Ellis, the story is brilliantly plotted with various characters who could all be possible suspects. The police team are a likeable bunch and it’s nice to have police officers who appear to have a happy home life. The relationship between Oldroyd and his sergeant is a friendly one and the two have a good rapport. I also like the continued inclusion of his sister who is also a vicar in these stories. There is a strong sub-plot about the resistance of some church goers to women priests which adds a nice current day feel to the ghostly story.

The wintry setting really adds to the story and the book conveys the beauty as well as the inconvenience of heavy snow. I also loved the M R James quotes at the start of each chapter which really add to the atmosphere. The one thing that felt out of place were the conversations between the archdeacon and the bishop. These seemed a little heavy handed and out of keeping with the rest of the story.

This is a great murder mystery and I definitely recommend it. Although it is the 7th in this series, it can be read perfectly well as a stand alone. It’s definitely worth reading if you enjoy crime stories and police procedurals.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review.