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Archive for the tag “cosy crime”

Guest Post by Robert Crouch ~ @robertcrouchuk

It’s a lovely sunny Saturday morning, made even better by Robert Crouch who has come to pay a visit to my blog to tell me all about the joys of writing a series.  I have really enjoyed the Kent Fisher Mysteries series so far and will soon be reading Robert’s latest book, ‘No Mercy’.

Over to Rob now.

 

The joys of writing a series

When I began I had no idea if I could write one novel, let alone a series.

I’d never written a murder mystery before.

Plot seemed the logical place to start. A whodunit where the reader had to work out the killer required a clever plot, full of twists and red herrings.

It also required a detective to solve the mystery. Miss Marple, Inspector Morse, Kinsey Millhone all sprang to mind. Did I want a detective inspector or a private eye? Each brought its own challenges.

How would my detective stand out from the myriad of fictional and TV detectives? The choices were limitless, it seemed. Male or female? Young or old? Loner or team player? Maverick or by the book?

Then I considered flaws. Every detective had to have one, maybe more. Drinking, gambling, infidelity and broken marriages were common flaws that made detectives more human and sympathetic.

How about personal traumas? This was an emerging trait to make readers care more for detectives and lead characters. There were wives or children who disappeared, siblings who were killed or committed suicide, colleagues who died, detectives with addictions or mental health problems.

It soon became apparent that creating characters was more challenging and interesting than developing a twisting plot. And as no character lives or works alone, a strong supporting cast was essential – more so if you wrote about private eyes, who usually worked alone.

It took me several years for my protagonist Kent Fisher to ‘leap off the page’ as one agent demanded. I didn’t make things easy by shunning both private eye and detective inspector in favour of an amateur sleuth.

I wanted someone for today’s world – a person who cared as much about the environment and animals as he did about justice and fair play. He cared about his health, eating sensibly, exercising regularly.

Not very rock and roll, you might say, but this guy was also a hunt saboteur. He chained himself to trees to stop developers destroying the countryside. Though not a policeman, he was still a law enforcement officer – an environmental health officer (EHO), like me. He preferred animals to people and only had to get up in the morning to attract trouble.

As EHOs don’t investigate murders, he had to be drawn in by accident – literally in the case of his first outing.

This allowed me to give readers an insight into environmental health and the world he occupied. The characters around him took shape – like Danni, the fast track boss who felt threatened by him. Her PA, Kelly, was the font of all knowledge and gossip, delivering some of the funniest lines I wrote. His assistant Gemma helped him solve the murder and provided an unrequited love interest.

To make up for not having a police team to help him solve murders, his best friend Mike was once a Scenes of Crime Officer.

With the exception of Gemma, they were minor players in No Accident, the first Kent Fisher mystery. It was his show. Yet readers and reviewers were as interested in the characters as the plot. Some liked Gemma and wanted her and Kent to get together. Others thought she was bad for Kent and urged him to stop dreaming about her.

Then there was Columbo, the West Highland white terrier rescued by Kent. Readers loved this little guy, who seemed to steal most of the scenes he was in. Come the follow up, No Bodies, Columbo even had a hand in capturing the killer.

The story followed the original template, except Kent’s animal sanctuary and family issues grew in importance. We saw more of the world he lived in. Gemma played the same role once more, but with more authority and confidence, prompting readers and reviewers to be more vocal about their relationship.

The third novel, No Remorse, showed another part of environmental health, developing new characters. Danni was still there, struggling to manage Kent, but their relationship was developing and changing as more was revealed about their pasts. Kent had a new love interest to challenge his feelings for Gemma and vice versa.

Suddenly, as I began to think about each new murder mystery, the characters, work and animal sanctuary dominated my thoughts and planning. There were stories, running threads and unresolved issues to consider and continue.

By now readers and reviewers seemed to enjoy the backstory and characters as much as the murder mysteries. Kent, who had started out as the kind of maverick EHO I could never be, developed as a character, revealing the defining insights from his past.

With each novel, he becomes less like me and more his own person.

The same could be said of the characters, who develop with each story. The relationships change and shift as characters face new challenges. New characters have joined the cast, such as Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman, who investigates as a police officer, adding a new dimension and conflict.

But as the first draft of Kent Fisher #6 is completed, the backstory continues to produce subplots, challenges and emotional conflict that keep the stories fresh and moving forward, while remaining loyal to the classic whodunit.

Work continues to get in Kent’s way, but reflects the challenging times of public spending cuts and underfunded services. His relationship with Gemma has more twists and turns than many of the murder plots. Columbo continues to enchant readers and steal every scene he’s in. The animal sanctuary continues to grow and develop.

When I started, I envisaged one, maybe two novels. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think the characters would grow and develop to add a second layer of interest to make my stories as well as my protagonist distinctive.

Thanks to the series, I’ve grown to love the characters. I care deeply about what happens to them. They are like a family to me and matter as much as the complex murder plots I create.

Without these guys, there would not be a series.

 

 

‘No Accident’ the first book in the Kent Fisher Mystery series is currently only £1.99 on Amazon.  Here is the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A former gangster is dead. It looks like an accident. Only Kent Fisher suspects murder.

When the police decide Syd Collins’ death is a work accident, they hand over the investigation to environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, a man with more baggage than an airport carousel.

He defies a restraining order to enter Tombstone Adventure Park and confronts the owner, Miles Birchill, who has his own reasons for blocking the investigation. Thwarted at every turn, Kent’s forced to bend the rules and is soon suspended from duty.

He battles on, unearthing secrets and corruption that could destroy those he loves. With his personal and professional worlds on a collision course, he knows life will never be the same again.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Accident-Kent-Fisher-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B0747S2YMP/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=no+accident+by+robert+crouch&qid=1589011625&sr=8-1

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

 

Links

Website – https://robertcrouch.co.uk

Twitter – https://twitter.com/robertcrouchuk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor

Instagram – @robertcrouch_author

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HFPCYOM

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone ~ @farragobooks @missjennystone

I am absolutely thrilled to be closing this blog tour.  I was actually down as taking part in it today and would like to thank the publisher for letting me stick to my original date.

‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone is the first book in the Cherry PI Mystery series.  It is being published tomorrow the 2nd April 2020 in paperback and as an eBook by Farrago Books and will also be available as an Audiobook and Audio CD.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy of ‘Cherry Slice’.  You will find out what I thought about this book in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

In Cherry Hinton’s first case, she discovers that it takes a reality TV star to catch a reality TV murderer.

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of three million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it, didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love…but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knicker-less in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

Until Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns Cherry’s world upside down. Is Martin innocent? How is infamous gangster Leon Solent involved? Is Expose to blame, and is there a killer still on the loose?

Cherry is the only one in a position to find out.

 

My Review

The first thing that caught my eye was the cover. Isn’t it just pure gorgeousness? I love the bright pink and as for that cake. Heaven! I could quite easily lust over it. Now, I’m not really a fan of reality TV, although I did watch two series of a certain show many years ago now. Why then did I want to read this book? Well, apart from the fact that I loved the cover and could spend literally hours staring at that delicious looking cake, I was intrigued when I saw that murder was involved.

What an entertaining and light-hearted read this was. I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy this book. It is just what I needed with all that is going on at the moment and it actually helped me to take my mind off things. I loved the author’s style of writing and the humour throughout the story.

I absolutely adored Cherry Hinton. To me she was pure class. After losing her job as an investigative reporter Cherry decides to make a fresh start. She opens a bakery and creates the most wonderful and mouth-watering sounding cakes, her mind working overtime with new ideas. A woman with many talents, she soon finds herself involved in investigating a murder. Was the wrong person convicted and will she discover the truth?

I was most interested to see where Cherry’s investigation would take her and admired her skills and how she worked things out with a bit of assistance from others.

I didn’t really take to any of the contestants who took part in Big Blubber as such. The only person I remotely liked was Jodrell Banks.

If you are looking for something to take your mind off the current world situation and you like cosy crime, then I highly recommend ‘Cherry Slice’.  It is like a breath of fresh air reading this book. I am so excited that there will be a second book in this series and am very much looking forward to reading it.

This is the first title by Farrago Books that I have read, and I am seriously impressed. I will definitely be checking out more of their books.

‘Cherry Slice’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Slice-PI-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07R1PY7R7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585726831&sr=1-1

 

About Jennifer Stone

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime) at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/missjennystone

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/220958.Jennifer_Stone

Guest Post by Angelena Boden ~ @matadorbooks

It is a real privilege to have Angelena Boden visiting my blog today and brightening it up as always.  Angelena’s new novel, ‘Love Bytes Back’, the second book in the Edna Reid Investigates series, was published as an eBook on the 14th February 2020 by Troubador Publishing and it sounds like a cracker of a read.  This lady really deserves to do well.

Angelena has written a very personal and truly beautiful post for my blog which I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.

 

FINDING LOVE AT SIXTY

In the years following a protracted and intensely painful divorce in the late 90s, I lost all sense of self-worth and vowed to give men a wide-berth. Still smarting from being robbed of trust and money, I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship, and couldn’t imagine that changing.

As my two daughters grew and became independent, finally leaving the nest for university and high-powered jobs, I felt an increasing sense of isolation and loneliness. The house echoed with silence and I slid into a depression, preferring to soothe myself with junk food and sleep rather than make an effort to get out there and meet people.

As the months crawled towards my sixtieth birthday, I ended up at the doctor’s surgery, shaking and in flood of tears. She suggested various local groups as a way of breaking the deadlock of my empty weekends. A friend, who was a member of an online dating site regaled me with her experiences, some of which made me laugh while others filled me with horror.

I couldn’t imagine being so bold but with nothing to lose, I scrolled through some dating sites and liked the look of one that was for the over sixties. There were no calls to download an App or “swipe right” so I registered my details and paid for a trial month with no obligation. From there, I was hurled into a world of loonies, losers, fantasists and desperados. Some had clearly faked their profiles, others got down to business and asked me for money. So much for a troll-free site.

When I received a “nudge” from Ken, whose interests matched mine I felt hopeful. We chatted for hours and seemed to share similar interests- rambling in the countryside, art, and books. That was until I met him in a sixteenth century pub, complete with oak beams and a roaring fire.

I looked cautiously round to see if I could identify him and was about to approach a smartly dressed man with a signet ring on his little finger, when a man with a beer belly hanging over his trousers bellowed out my name and grinned when I turned round. He reeked of smoke. To be polite I ordered a coffee, exchanged pleasantries with him and wished him well before hot-footing it to the exit.

My daughter was worried about my online safety because of the increase in scammers, but also my physical safety. When I did venture out on another date, I had to inform her of my whereabouts (talk about tables turning), take my own car, park in a well- lit place and have my phone fully charged. In the end it was all too much effort so I gave it up and accepted the reality that relationships held none of the promise of those at thirty or younger. The men who strayed across my path were on the prowl for younger women or wanted a clone of their deceased wife. This was my experience and maybe not typical.

They say when you stop looking, love will find you and I can vouch for that. I was working away when I received a text from an old family friend. I’d known him for thirty years but we’d lost touch. He was letting me know that his long term partner had died. We agreed to meet up and walked miles through the Shropshire countryside, catching up on the lost years. Our friendship was filled with lots of laughter, surprises, and conversation. It was easy, fun and safe.

We married five years ago but agreed to live independently during the week and meet up at weekends. Semi-detached living isn’t for everyone but for it’s a good option when you’re older and set in your ways. It also keeps the stars twinkling!

 

Book Blurb

When lonely widow Kitty Merriweather moves to Derbyshire’s Hope Valley, she joins the Silver Rose online dating site because it offers a safe place for the over sixties to find romance.

There, she meets the enigmatic Harvey, a scientist working on a conservation project in Bali who promises her “hot days and stormy nights.”

Love blooms quickly but Kitty breaks all the rules laid down by the agency, putting herself at risk. When little things don’t add up she dismisses them as being unimportant. Nothing matters more than her plans for them to live happily ever after.

When she confides in her new friend, Edna Reid, octogenarian and former café owner, Kitty gets angry at Edna’s implication she is likely the victim of a scam.

The more Edna hears about Harvey, the more she is convinced he’s only interested in Kitty for her money.

Using her knowledge of computers Edna finally uncovers the truth, but where does black magic and murder fit into this intriguing cosy mystery?

 

About Angelena Boden

Angelena has spent thirty- five years as an international training consultant and counsellor, specialising in behavioural management, communication skills and conflict resolution. She has a Masters in Social Science from Birmingham University, and diplomas in Transactional Analysis, teaching, training, coaching and mentoring. Now retired, when Angelina is not dog walking, babysitting, landscape painting or reading astrology charts for clients, she writes the “Edna Reid Investigates” series of cosy crime novels, which are set in the Peak District. She is also a champion for Autumn Voices, a website dedicated to promoting creative pursuits of authors over 60.

 

Links

‘Love Bytes Back’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2VZZPt0

Website – https://www.angelenaboden.com/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Death in Dulwich’ by Alice Castle

‘Death in Dulwich’ was published on the 6th September 2017 by Crooked Cat Books. It is the first book in the London Murder Mystery series. I was invited to take part in this blog tour by the lovely Emma Mitchell and I am delighted to be closing the tour along with two other bloggers. Read on for my review.

Beth Haldane has her hands full, what with a bouncy young son, her cat and making ends meet. She adores her home in plush London suburb Dulwich, but things there aren’t cheap. So when Beth gets a job as assistant archivist at top local school Wyatt’s she is thrilled, though she does fear that she won’t be up to it. Little does she know what is about to happen though.

Beth makes a hideous discovery on her very first day at work and finds that she is a prime suspect. She sets out to clear her name by doing some investigating herself and along the way encounters a number of characters. Even in the nicest of places the nastiest secrets can lurk.

When I was asked if I wanted to take part in this blog tour I jumped at the chance. I liked the sound of this book, plus I don’t live all that far from Dulwich so naturally I was interested.

I really enjoyed reading ‘Death in Dulwich’. I knew from the very first page that I would like it. The words flowed easily and I found that this was an easy story to follow. The author even mentioned a particular supermarket in two different places, both of which I know.

I liked Beth Haldane from the very start. She came across as such a lovely person who hadn’t had it very easy. In taking the job at Wyatt’s she would be gaining experience and bringing a little bit more money in. Naturally she wanted the very best for her son, Ben. It’s always hard when you start a new job, but the last thing you expect is for a colleague to be murdered on the first day you’re there. But that’s exactly what happened to Beth.

I admired Beth for carrying out her own investigation especially as she was risking her own safety. I had my suspicions of who the killer was but at the same time there did seem to be other people who had a motive.

If you like cosy crime then ‘Death in Dulwich’ is for you. It’s a classic whodunit. The second book in the series is being published next year and I am very much looking forward to it.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Alice Castle
Alice Castle had a long career as a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph before becoming a novelist. After a day writing about her prime suspects, she loves nothing better than curling up with a murder mystery at night. Alice grew up in south London and, after a brief stint in Brussels (where her first novel, Hot Chocolate, is set) she is back where she belongs, dreaming up more adventures for her heroine, amateur detective and single mum Beth Haldane. She is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats, and writes about parenting on her mummy blog, DD’s Diary www.dulwichdivorcee.com. Her latest book, Death in Dulwich, is being published in September 2017 by Crooked Cat Books.

 

Links

‘Death in Dulwich’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Dulwich-London-Murder-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B071WSGCQ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504018484&sr=8-1&keywords=death+in+dulwich

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Dulwich-London-Murder-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B071WSGCQ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504018484&sr=8-1&keywords=death+in+dulwich

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Death in the Dales’ by Frances Brody

Blog Tour Poster

‘A Death in the Dales’ is Frances Brody’s seventh crime novel featuring Kate Shackleton.  Last year I read and reviewed her previous book, ‘Death of an Avid Reader’ which I really enjoyed.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.

 

Book Blurb

A murder most foul

When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe . . .

A village of secrets

But it just so happens that Freda’s nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.

The case of a lifetime

As the present mysteries merge with the past’s mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn’t the holiday Kate was expecting.

 

~~~~~

Competition

Like the sound of this book?  Well in that case I’m pleased to tell you that one very lucky person has the chance to win a copy of ‘A Death in the Dales’.  To enter all you have to do is tell me who your favourite fictional investigator/detective is.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 16th October 2015.

A winner will be randomly picked within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to the publisher who will send out the prize.

 

Good Luck! 🙂

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