On a Dublin city street, packed with afternoon shoppers, a young woman appears, naked, traumatised and bearing burn marks.
Tom Reynolds, now Chief Superintendent, is no longer head of the murder squad. But when it transpires the woman escaped from a house fire started deliberately and that there are more victims, Tom is sucked in. What begins as a straightforward case of arson, soon becomes something much more sinister.
After having a quick catch up with his daughter Maria, a junior doctor, Chief Superintendent Tom Reynolds was about the leave the hospital where Maria worked, when he overheard snippets of a conversation between two porters. A naked and distressed young woman covered with burn marks and signs of smoke inhalation, was seen walking through the city centre and had been brought to the hospital.
The murder squad soon discover that the woman escaped from a house fire where there were no other survivors and it was apparent the fire was no accident. Although Tom is no longer heading the murder squad, he is drawn in to the investigation. Initially it seems like a clear case of arson, but as more is uncovered the investigation takes on much darker implications with murder, a missing baby and people trafficking.
It seems the house, in an up and coming area near to the Dublin International Financial Services Centre, was hiding a dark secret and the girl in the hospital was too scared to talk. Another girl connected to the incident was hiding out at her parents’ house.
In the bathroom, Nina sat in the tub, knees tucked up to her chest, her arms wrapped round them. She’d poured half a bottle of L’Occitane Cherry Blossom bath gel in and the white, scented bubbles covered her body as the water level rose.
Nina breathed deep, letting the steam clear the acrid taste in her mouth and the burning sensation in her lungs. Letting the water wash away the filth.
She knew her parents would want answers and she didn’t know how long she could hold them off.
What I enjoy most about this series, apart from Jo Spain’s wonderful storytelling, are the characters. Tom Reynolds is a regular, happy family man with no hang ups. Characters continue to develop and the rest of the cast are very well portrayed and likeable. Except for the one bad penny that turns up again.
The plot is intriguing, well thought through with twists and drama threaded through the police procedural aspect. Unraveling the mystery of the house fire survivor, who is scared and traumatised, and connecting her to other incidents, the murder squad open the door to a dark and dangerous world. As with the rest of the stories in the Tom Reynolds series, Jo Spain’s writing is assured and easy to read with relevant issues at the forefront.
Aoife McMahon has narrated the whole series and done a brilliant job of bring the characters to life, giving them all distinct voices and personalities.
Jo Spain is the author of the bestselling Inspector Tom Reynolds series and several international No. 1 bestselling standalone novels. Her first book, With Our Blessing, was a finalist in the 2015 Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller. Jo, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, writes TV screenplays full-time. Her first crime series was broadcast on RTE in 2018 and she’s currently involved in a number of TV developments including adaptations of her own novels. Jo is working with Dynamic L.A., True North & Mystery Productions Iceland, Yellow Films Finland, West Road Pictures England and NDF Germany. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four young children. In her spare time (she has four children, there is no spare time really) she likes to read. Her favourite authors include Pierre Lemaitre, Jo Nesbo, Liane Moriarty, Fred Vargas and Jodi Picoult. She also watches TV obsessively. Jo thinks up her plots on long runs in the woods. Her husband sleeps with one eye open.
Published: August 2019 by British Library Publishing
Category: Classic Crime, Murder, Mystery, Book Review
Jim Teasdale has been drowned in the Dumb River, near Ely, miles from his Yorkshire home. His body, clearly dumped in the usually silent (‘dumb’) waterway, has been discovered before the killer intended — disturbed by a torrential flood.
With critical urgency it’s up to Superintendent Littlejohn of Scotland Yard to trace the mystery of the unassuming victim’s murder to its source, leaving waves of scandal and sensation in his wake as the hidden, salacious dealings of Jim Teasdale begin to surface.
First published in 1961, The Body in The Dumb River has been reissued by the British Library Crime Classics. I’ve read and enjoyed a few of these classic crime novels, this is the first by George Bellairs. I didn’t realise the Littlejohn books were such a long running series but this book quite easily reads as a stand alone.
Category: Classic Crime, Murder, Mystery, Book Review
One minute, silly Heather Badcock had been gabbling on at her movie idol, the glamorous Marina Gregg. The next, Heather suffered a massive seizure. But for whom was the deadly poison really intended?
Marina’s frozen expression suggested she had witnessed something horrific. But, while others searched for material evidence, Jane Marple conducted a very different investigation – into human nature.
Having veered more towards the books featuring Hercule Poirot, I don’t think I read this one. Although I did see and enjoy the film adaptation with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson the outcome escaped me, and I enjoyed the book more even more.
Category: Historical, Medical, Mystery, Crime, Book Review
Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.
In this sequel to The Way of All Flesh, which I really enjoyed, we find Will Raven in Europe, studying and learning, becoming a fully qualified doctor.
Category: Psychological, Thriller, Murder, Mystery, Supernatural, Book Review
The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…
Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?
I Am Dust is a story of two halves which are brought together seamlessly as the story evolves—the events of 2005 and the impact they have on the present day. During that summer three friends and aspiring actors played a dangerous game, experimenting with an Ouija board, while rehearsing for their school production of Macbeth.
Category: Crime, Murder, Mystery, Police Procedural, Book Review
Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.
She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.
Ruth and Kate are now living in Cambridge with Dr Frank Barker and, although Ruth enjoys her job teaching at St Jude’s college, she still misses Norfolk and her cottage on the edge of the Saltmarsh.
I’ve been binge listening to this series and somehow missed book one but it didn’t really matter with regard to getting to know the characters and their backstories. Detective Inspector Rowan Jackman leads the team. He’s a private person from an affluent background, well respected and liked, and is good at motivating his team. His passion is horses. Detective Sergeant Marie Evans is a widow who lost her husband in a motorbike accident. She’s able to assess situations and people with accuracy and is nicknamed Super Mario by her colleagues. Marie’s passion is motorbikes.
Category: Murder, Mystery, Domestic Noir, Book Review
Death stalked the Vale.
In every corner, every whisper.
They just didn’t know it yet.
Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.
In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.
The small and affluent gated community of Withered Vale is home to six sets of neighbours and Olive Collins, a long time resident of the area and whose small cottage was surrounded by the other, more recently built houses.
Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Audiobook, Book Review
A silent vow.
A silent life.
A silent death.
Spain, 2020. When ex-pat fugitive Jack Cleland watches his girlfriend die, gunned down in a pursuit involving officer Cristina Sanchez Pradell, he promises to exact his revenge by destroying the policewoman.
A phone call from a concerned neighbour sets in motion a chain of events that results in bloodshed and ruined lives.