The Corpse in the Snowman

cover120770-mediumby Nicholas Blake
source: Ipso Books via Netgalley

Sex. Money. Drugs. Take your choice.

In middle of a cold snap, with snow swirling round the imposing Easterham Manor, Nigel and Georgia Strangeways enter the warmth of the Victorian estate. But upon their arrival, the couple quickly learn that all is not as cozy as it seems. The whole house is pervaded by a sense of foreboding: a room is haunted, the cat is possessed, and the specter of the enigmatic Elizabeth Restorick looms.

Confounded by the guests’ strange reactions to the very mention of Elizabeth’s name, Nigel never gets the chance to form his own opinion of the young woman. The next morning, Elizabeth Restorick is found hanged and naked in her room, a hint of a smile playing on her painted lips.

Could her apparent suicide be more than just that? Would this beautiful girl, sensuous, compassionate, full of vitality, have taken her own life? Or did someone take it from her?

With too many loose ends to count, planted evidence, and motives mounting, Nigel must delve into Miss Restorick’s colourful past to solve this tragic mystery. 


A very enjoyable read! Hooked me right off the get go. A country house, snowed in, solid characters, twists and turns, what more could you ask for?  This is my second Nigel Strangeways mystery, don’t you just love the name! I’m glad Ipso books are reprinting these Golden Age mysteries again for a whole new generation to enjoy.

I prefer the older cover for the book though…

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This fulfills the “Pseudonymous Author” category under “What” in the gold era Just the Facts Notebook @My Reader’s Block.  Nicholas Blake was the pseudonym for Cecil Day-Lewis.  Also counts for Cloak and Dagger.

Coffin, Scarcely Used

by Colin Watson           first published in 1958, reprinted 2018 by Prelude Books

cover128992-mediumIn the respectable seaside town of Flaxborough, the equally respectable councillor Harold Carobleat is laid to rest. Cause of death: pneumonia. 

But he is scarcely cold in his coffin before  Detective Inspector Purbright, affable and annoyingly polite, must turn out again to examine the death of Carobleat’s neighbour, Marcus Gwill, former prop. of the local rag, the Citizen. This time it looks like foul play, unless a surfeit of marshmallows had led the late and rather unlamented Mr Gwill to commit suicide by electrocution. (‘Power without responsibility’, murmurs Purbright.)

How were the dead men connected, both to each other and to a small but select band of other town worthies? Purbright becomes intrigued by a stream of advertisements Gwill was putting in the Citizen, for some very oddly named antique items…

Witty and a little wicked, Colin Watson’s tales offer a mordantly entertaining cast of characters and laugh-out-loud wordplay.


A fun, humorous murder mystery. My favorite kind! A solid plot and fun characters. What more could you ask for?

I enjoyed the the camaraderie between Purbright and Sgt. Love. Several mysteries going at once, some type of shady business going between a group of upright citizens and throw in two murders to boot. One by electrocution and one by poison. It ticks all the boxes!

Thanks to Netgalley and Prelude Books for a free copy of this book with no strings attached for a positive review.


This fulfills the “Set in a small village” category under “Where” in the gold era Just the Facts Notebook @My Reader’s Block.   Also counts for Cloak and Dagger.

The Address

by Fiona Davis
My source: Netgalley

cover111665-mediumFiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota—New York City’s most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else…and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her “cousin” Melinda—Camden’s biological great-granddaughter—will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in…and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives—and lies—of the beating hearts within.


This book was wicked good! I pretty much read it in two sittings, couldn’t put it down. Murder mystery, identity mystery, two time periods, illicit love affair, oh and The Dakota apartment building as almost a character! I was fascinated learning the historical details of the building and ended up on a search to find out more online about it. If you like historical fiction then you HAVE to read this. The dramatic ending was not what I expected at all!

Thank you Penguin Group Dutton for allowing  me to read and review this awesome book for you!

Read up on Dakota here and check out the apartments that are for sale right now inside it here.

Purchase this book

Amazon US
Overdrive
Peguin Random House
IndieBound

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

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Published by Atria

Description:
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

If you’ve followed my blog for long you know I have loved all of Fredrik Backman’s books, beginning with A Man Called Ove. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry was a little slow with a strange make believe between two of the main characters and I almost gave up on it. Let me tell you, NEVER give up on a Backman book! Always, always by the time you finish it’s wonderful and the story stays with you. No one writes characters quite like him. Beartown is another wonderful story. Hockey is a huge part of the story, I’m not into hockey so at first it was a little slow for me. But, I know a treasure is coming, so I keep reading. I have to say, several days after I finished the book it seems even sweeter. Does that ever happen to you?

A story about moral failure, the dangers of crowd mentality, and coming of age, but mostly about the fragility of human nature . Set in Sweden, the incredible imagery puts you there in this small Swedish town in love with hockey. I loved it!

Here are a few quotes I love from the book 

“When Amat was born, she lay with him on her chest in a narrow bed in a little hospital on the other side of the planet, no one but them in the whole world. A nurse had whispered the prayer in his mother’s ear back then – it is said to have been written on the wall above Mother Teresa’s bed – and the nurse hoped it would give the solitary woman strength and hope. Almost sixteen years later, the scrap of paper is still hanging on her son’s wall, the words mixed up, but she wrote them down as well as she could remember them:

If you are honest people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.

The final lines his mother wrote on the sheet of paper on his wall read as follows: What you create, others can destroy. Create anyway. Because in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and anyone else anyway.

Immediately below that, written in red crayon in the determined handwriting of a  primary school student, it says: They say I’m to little to play. Become good player any way!

Another one: “David is at home, lying on his kitchen floor. He’s thirty-two years old and his red hair is so unruly it looks like it’s trying to escape from his head. He got teased about it when he was little; the other kids pretended to burn themselves on him in class. That was where he learned to fight. He didn’t have any friends, which was why he was able to devote all his time to hockey. He never bothered to acquire any other interests, which is how he’s managed to become the best.

I love the description of David’s hair!

Robbie Holt  –  “While he was growing up everyone kept telling him he was going to turn professional, and he believed them so intensely that when he didn’t make it, he took it to mean that everyone else had let him down, as if somehow it wasn’t his own fault. He wakes up in the mornings with the feeling that someone has stolen a better life from him, an unbearable phantom pain between what he should have been and what he actually became. Bitterness can be corrosive; it can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean, until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.

And mother Kira and daughter Maya… Teenage years offer a brief period of equality after childhood, before the balance shifts and Kira become old enough to worry about her parents more than they do about her. soon Maya won’t be Kira’s little girl anymore, and then Kira will be come Maya’s little old mom. It doesn’t take a lot to be able to let go of your child. It takes everything.

Read a little about Fredrik Backman HERE.

Excellent read! Thanks to Atria and Netgalley for letting me read an advance copy of this wonderful book! Its publication date is April 25th. You can purchase a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

And Now We Know…

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Biography/Memoir

A little while ago I told you about Paul Fronczak , a man who was abandoned as a toddler and thought to be, and raised as, the kidnapped son of Dora and Chester Fronczak, and the book coming out soon about his journey to the truth.  Well I got an advance copy from Netgalley last week and I couldn’t put the book down!  

The mystery of who Paul really is, why he was left in a stroller in front of McCrory’s and who his real family are. Plus the mystery of the biggest manhunt in Chicago history with the kidnapping of the one day old infant. Throw in the ancestry and DNA hunting and you have a fantastic puzzle and human interest tale.

The Foundling is a touching and inspiring story about a child lost and faith found, about the permanence of families and the bloodlines that define you, and about the emotional toll of both losing your identity and rediscovering who you truly are. It also pulls in the emotional toll taken on the Fronczak’s , losing a newborn to kidnap and raising a son your never quite sure is yours or not. Excellent read on many levels. Thank you to Howard Books for allowing me this advance copy! The book will be released on April 4, 2017. 

Purchase the book @ Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indie bound

A Sweet Novella

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and LongerAnd Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very touching novella about losing a loved one to dementia. Having gone through that with my mom it was a little hard for me to read. But as always, Mr. Backman left you with a wonderful uplifting feeling. A beautiful story of love and loss.

This gem is available for purchase Tuesday, November 1, 2016.  Thanks to Atria Books for surprising me with a copy to preview. Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors. Looking forward to his next novel, Beartown, coming out next spring!

Peggy Ann