Tag Archives: mystery

Book Review: Poisoned Waters by Ermisenda Alvarez

Book-Cover-Poisoned-WatersPoisoned Waters is set in the 1950s on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. Helen Gardener is murdered during the voyage. The novel follows the stories of seven unfortunate characters and how they are affected by the death of Helen Gardener. Was it merely an accident? Mr Phillips, the owner of the ship, and sponsor of the cruise, rules with an iron fist, in search of something or someone.

Lies spiral out of control as the suspects try to survive the final days on board. Conflicted by their sense of morals, greed, and lust, they realise what kind of people they really are. Who will rise? Who will fall? Who was Helen’s murderer?

I was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy of this novel, which also has the honour of being the first full e-book I’ve read! I know I know, I really need to get with the times ūüôā I read it over several lunch breaks at my day job, and found myself looking forward to finding out what was going to happen next as my clock ticked towards 1pm. The characters are well crafted, and you manage to find sympathy towards some of the seemingly ‘bad guy’ characters.

The book reminded me of a classic ‘who-done-it’ in the style of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ or similar books that are frequently adapted in the UK for addictive Sunday night TV shows. Very rare for me, I didn’t actually guess who had killed Helen Gardener, so that was a great surprise. All in all this is a cleverly woven tale of murder, betrayal and passion, and I would definitely recommend it.

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This post has been part of the Poisoned Waters Blog Tour. Poisoned Waters is a thrilling mystery set on a trans-Atlantic cruise where a murderer walks amongst passengers.

preview on Amazongoodreadsmark copy


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Filed under Book Review, Crime fiction

Book Review: The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro

The Debutante Kathleen Tessaro

Escaping from heartache in New York, artist Katie returns to London to stay with her Aunt Rachel, owner of a niche valuation and auctioneer house.  Rachel hopes to help Katie deal with her despondency by asking her to assist employee Paul with the cataloguing of the contents of an old house by the sea.  Paul has his own torment to deal with and is reluctant to share time with a stranger, but despite his protests, he is obliged to do so anyway.

Endsleigh, the house they are sent to, was home during the 1930s to the Blythe sisters, society’s most celebrated debutantes of the time. ¬†One of the sisters, Diana went missing, and it is this mystery that Katie is determined to solve. ¬†The story follows Katie’s efforts to find out more about the sisters and the events that unfolded at Endsleigh all those years ago. ¬†Interspersed¬†with this are letters that were sent by Diana during the 1920s and 30s, which give a glimpse into her life and loves.

I have read one of Kathleen Tessaro’s previous novels, her debut Elegance, and found The Debutante to be just as¬†sumptuous¬†and engaging. ¬†I love a good mystery, and especially one set during one of my favourite eras. ¬†All of the characters, modern and past, were well developed by the author , so I empathised with them and understood the motivations for their actions. ¬†The use of the letters was a brilliant tool, enabling readers to see actions from the point of view of the key players in the past actions, rather than just through the eyes of those looking back. ¬†I read the book in one sitting, because it was a well flowing, easy read, though that is not to suggest that it is in the realms of ‘chick lit’ fluff, because it is certainly classier than that. ¬†The writing was divine, and the conversations in the book were believable. ¬†I also loved the Author’s note at the end of the book where she describes her influences for the story, and how she overcame problems during the writing of it, which gave a great insight into the life of a writer.

Kathleen Tessaro has a new book out in April 2013, which I have added to my ‘to read’ list – The Perfume Collector – and hope it is as enjoyable to read as The Debutante was.


The Literary Owl rating: 8/10

Read with: a glass of champagne and some jazz playing on the stereo.

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Filed under Book Review, General Fiction