The Mitford Scandal, Jessica Fellowes

I love the covers of this series of novels by Jessica Fellowes! The blue here is gorgeous! All art deco, beautiful, vibrant. Not unlike the eponymous Mitford sisters around whom the novels revolve. This is the third outing for Louisa Cannon, previously nursery nurse to the younger Mitford sisters and friend to Nancy Mitford in…

The Anarchists’ Club, Alex Reeve

In the spirit of anarchy, I chose to read this book – the second of the Leo Stanhope series – without having read the first. I know! ANARCHY starts from this! Being honest, I don’t think it mattered a jot: Reeve introduces his transgender Victorian protagonist essentially from scratch with enough – possibly too much…

A Map of Days, Ransom Riggs

Some series just don’t know when to die. But I guess, if you get acclaim – and money – for it, why stop? Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine‘s series was enjoyable enough as a piece of popcorn reading. And the books were better than the awful film – but that’s not saying much. In the first…

The Pisces, Melissa Broder

Why is it that the words of female sexuality – and of female anatomy – are either rendered taboo or fetishised in our society ? Vagina. Clitoris. Vulva. Menstruation. Compared to “cock”, there is a different quality in these words. A frisson of shock and challenge. And that is a frisson which Broder does not…

The Soul of Discretion, Susan Hill

Trigger Warning: child sexual abuse and rape. Ah, Susan Hill, you seemed to have taken a different direction with this book from the rest of the Serrailler series. Had the gentility of Lafferton started to wane for you? Was there only so much you could do with the cloistered – and I choose that metaphor…

The Mystery of Three Quarters, Sophie Hannah

Hercule Poirot. Arrogant and dandy and moustache firmly in place. An extended cast of somewhat two-dimensional characters. A convoluted and contrived plot – very contrived in this instance. Very contrived. Let’s face is, when the plot of a novel revolves around the construction of a battenburg cake, that novel is – for fear of being…

Faithful Place, Tana French

Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is a delight, but has sometimes only vague connections to the eponymous Murder Squad. In The Woods, the first novel, centred on it; but the follow-up The Likeness, centred on Cassie Madox from the first book who is now in Domestic Violence rather than murder and being supervised by…

Touch, Claire North

Poor Claire North. She brought out The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as I read Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life; I pick up Touch just after reading A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. And both times, she comes a slight second in similar and comparable fantasy scenarios. Imagine being able to switch your…

The Word Is Murder, Anthony Horowitz

Sometimes you want to like a book just so damn much that it feels like you’re the failure when you end up not liking it. So it was for me with this novel. Now there is no doubt that Horowitz can plot a cracking crime story: Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, Magpie Murders are all testimony…

The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley

There is something very frustrating about this book. It was so close to being great that the fact that it wasn’t great is so disappointing. The premise sounded brilliant: members of a religious community go on a retreat to an isolated location; suspicious and sinister villagers mill around; a young boy is being prayed for…