Author: Amanda Mason
Published: September 2019 by Zaffre
Category: Dual Timeline, Paranormal, Drama, Book Review
1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurrences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .
Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there. But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?
Told in a dual timeline with the chapter headings ‘Then’ and ‘Now’, the story revolves round a remote, ramshackle farmhouse. In the present a small research team of three are hoping to discover what caused the strange happenings at Iron Sike Farm several decades ago when Cathy Corvino and her five children lived there. Using a book written at the time by her late father as a reference, one member of the team has emailed Cathy, wanting her to join them and recount her recollections of the time she lived at the farm. Cathy is in the early stages of dementia, living in a residential home, and her daughter Lucy (formerly Loo) doesn’t want her mother troubled. She agrees, against her better judgement, to help the team instead.
When Cathy and her husband Joe moved into Iron Sike Farm all those years ago it was to lead a healthier and simpler life, but it proved much more difficult than they’d imagined. Joe, feeling overwhelmed, quickly made his painting an excuse to be away from the farmhouse, so everything fell to Cathy and the tension soon mounted. All the paranormal activity seemed to centre around Loo and her elder sister, Bee. They were the main focus of the investigation, the other three children were in evidence but not a great part of the story.
The haunting began quietly once the Corvino family had settled into their new home; the girls heard it first, the knocking inside the walls.
The chapters are from several different—past and present—perspectives, sometimes confusing and proving a little difficult to keep track of all the characters. It becomes obvious a tragedy had occurred but is only revealed as Lucy confronts the past. As children, Lucy and Bee felt isolated. They were homeschooled so didn’t meet any other children. Boredom, frustration and mischief was magnified to a degree that it’s unclear what is actually happening at the farm, who or what was causing poltergeist activity. The arrival of the paranormal investigators gave the girls something to focus on but also caused friction between them.
The middle of the book had too much exposition for me and could have been shorter and tighter, keeping up the momentum. The story wasn’t particularly scary, more mysterious, and creepy in parts, raising questions that I wanted addressed.
The beginning and ending thirds of the story are good, atmospheric, with tense moments and secrets, and also the unsettling relationship between Loo and Bee, who was the dominant personality, at the heart. The family dynamics are well observed and the past and present threads merge smoothly.
I chose to read and review The Wayward Girls based on an advance reader copy via NetGalley
Author: Carol Hedges
Published: August 2019 by Little G Books
Category: Historical Crime Fiction, Victorian, Police Procedural, Book Review
It is 1866, the end of a long hot summer in Victorian London, and the inhabitants are seething with discontent. Much of it is aimed at the foreign population living in the city. So when a well-reputed Jewish tailoring business is set aflame, and the body of the owner is discovered inside, Detective Inspector Lachlan Grieg suspects a link to various other attacks being carried out across the city, and to a vicious letter campaign being conducted in the newspapers.
Trouble is brewing in the capital as the London Season nears its end. Detective Sergeant Jack Cully and Detective Inspector Lachlan Greig are investigating an outbreak of vandalism attacks on businesses owned by anyone classed as an immigrant.
Author: Agatha Christie
Performed by Hugh Fraser
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Released on Audible November 2006
Category: Murder, Mystery, Classic Crime, Audiobook, Review
Mrs. McGinty is dead and everyone suspects James Bentley, her slightly shifty lodger, but Superintendent Spence is suspicious enough to ask for Hercule Poirot’s assistance. Soon, the seemingly simple situation turns into a complex web of lies and hidden identities.
I couldn’t resist this when it came up on Audible. One of my favourite Agatha Christie stories, despite the lack of Captain Hastings, but compensated by a superb narration and comic timing from Hugh Fraser. There’s chances of a few more finding their way into my Audible library.
Author: Jane Cable
Published: August 2013 by Matador
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Supernatural, Book Review
When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent café owner, Owen Maltby.
When her husband left her for his secretary, Alice Hart packed up and moved to Yorkshire with William, the spaniel. Her mother and step-father have emigrated to Spain and Alice is more than ready for a fresh start and to move on with her life.