Claire McGowan Mark Bailey

Review: The Killing House (Paula Maguire 6) by Claire McGowan (2018)

The Killing House (Paula Maguire 6) by Claire McGowan


The Killing House by Claire McGowan
The Killing House by Claire McGowan

Trade Paperback: 336 pages

Published 5th April 2018

Publisher: Headline

ISBN: 978- 1472228246


Renovations at an abandoned farm have uncovered two bodies: a man known to be an IRA member missing since the nineties, and a young girl whose identity remains a mystery.

Paula Maguire returns to Ballyterrin from her new London home for a wedding and Paula helps to discover who the girl is and why no one is looking for her.

An anonymous tip-off then claims that her own long-lost mother is also buried on the farm.

When another girl is kidnapped, Paula must find the person responsible before more lives are destroyed. But there are explosive secrets still to surface. And even Paula can’t predict that the investigation will strike at the heart of all she holds dear.



I really enjoyed this and read it in a day.

The story is as gripping as it has been in the previous novels and there is some nice cutting from the past (Paulas mothers disappearance) to the present (the investigation at the Farm and Paulas search for her mother).

It is said by the author at the end that this is the last in the series and a lot of loose ends have been tied up – we will miss Paula and her fellow characters but there is a conclusion to matters.



Christopher Fowler Mark Bailey

Review: Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler (2018)

Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler


Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler
Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler

Hardback: 400 pages

Published 22nd March 2018

Publisher: Doubleday

ISBN: 978- 0857523440


BRYANT & MAY: HALL OF MIRRORS is the fifteenth book about Arthur Bryant, John May and their Peculiar Crimes Unit.


We are back in time to 1969.

Ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall including the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May who are undercover and in disguise tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones (a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial).


The scene is set for what could be a perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. The good times are coming to an end with the house’s penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat owner intent on selling the estate (complete with his own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire.

The weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards with army manoeuvres closing the only access road. When a falling gargoyle fells another guest the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line discovering that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…


The dark humour that one expects of a Bryant & May novel is there with us seeing a much younger Bryant & May than we are used to (so we see a slightly less odd Arthur).

The realistic view of the swinging sixties gives a nice level of social commentary which combines with expected very intricate plot with lots of twists, turns and misdirections provides an excellent read.


Ben Aaronovitch Mark Bailey

Review: The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch (2017)

Ben Aaronovitch – The Furthest Station


The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch
The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

Gollancz, Hardcover, 128 pages

Published: 28th September 2017

ISBN13: 978- 1473222427

This is a novella in the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch.


There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call – PC Peter Grant as odd stuff is his specialty.

But it is more than just going ‘bump’ – traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute with them being accosted by strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message.

What is making solving this harder is that despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter. This is making the follow up interviews rather difficult.

So aided by Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition but Nightingale may be needed for heavy artillery.


This is a nice little side episode in the Peter Grant series whilst we wait for the next novel – the main series plot of Lesley or the Faceless Man isn’t progressed but we get a good view in the day-to-day sleuthing of Peter Grant with enjoyable characters and laugh-out-loud moments.

Abir Mukherjee Mark Bailey

Review: A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham 2) by Abir Mukherjee (2017)

A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham 2) by Abir Mukherjee

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

Vintage, Paperback, 384 pages

Published 15th March 2018

ISBN13: 978 1 784704773 (Paperback)

 It is India, 1920 – an India which is changing but history is still ever present.

Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force are at the talks about the establishment of the Chamber of Princes – not for security but to meet the son of a Maharajah who was at school with Sergeant Banerjee.

They set off with him back to the Grand Hotel to discuss “a matter of delicacy” when Crown Prince Adhir is assassinated – they catch his murderer but the real question is who was behind the murderer.

Thus they set off to the fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore – home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun for the funeral. Here they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict as Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination but become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives.


Like its predecessor ( A Rising Man ) this is a well-researched book with Calcutta and India beautifully and atmospherically described.

The relationship between Sam and his Indian Sergeant is strengthening and they provide a complementary skill set to tackle the investigation of the crime.

This is, once again, both a very good historical novel and a very good thriller and the next book in the series is pre-ordered in Hardback.