Book review – Over My Dead Body: Murder at #Eurovision by Christoph Fischer

Source: Book review – Over My Dead Body: Murder at #Eurovision by Christoph Fischer 

for reading and reviewing my book. Please check out his lovely, upbeat and warmly entertaining blog for book and movie reviews.

The Eurovision Song Contest, as befits a singing competition marking it 65th anniversary this year, is a great many things – gloriously and deliciously over the top, a great promotional vehicle for aspiring singers or those looking to revive their career, as camp as Christmas and a brilliant way to sew the seeds of togetherness and inclusivity.

But could it also be a hotbed of murderous passions and vengeful intrigue?

In Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision (A Bebe Bollinger mystery) by Christoph Fischer, it is all that and more as mysterious shadowy figures, impelled by grudges unknowable, seek to mar the contest with all manner of strange goings-on and yes, the requisite murder or two.

Very much embodying a cosy mystery genre vibe, which feels like a rewardingly fun mix of Agatha Christie, Murder She Wrote and Law and OrderOver My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision takes you behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest music events, celebrating everything that makes the contest such a compelling thing to watch and makes people do anything they can to be there and be a part of it.

Of course, what would a novel of this ilk be without clashing egos and sullied objectives that have little to do with Eurovision’s founding ideals of love, humanity and care for your fellow human being, and a whole lot to do with far more base motivations/

“Bebe was indignant at the tone but she had to wholeheartedly agree. She was more than a one-trick pony and she had to prove it.

‘Then what do you suggest I do next?’ Bebe asked. Fred turned around to reveal an ice bucket with an open bottle of Bollinger champgane.

‘Celebrate,’ she said and poured Bebe a glass. ‘Let your hair down, be yourself and let the world see you’re having fun. People love someone in a good mood.’” (P. 23)

Well, it would not be a murder mystery worthy of the name, and Fischer, who brings the story alive with a breathless vivacity borne of a clear love of the contest and a passionate fan’s love of its inner and outer workings, pours all kinds of clashing intent into a narrative rife with red herrings, deflections and a slew of people, all of whom could have orchestrated many of the events that take place.

Having that large of field of possible wrongdoers in the midst of an event with a thousand motivations for them to act improperly – fame and ambition are ruthless motivators and let’s be honest, while you might genuinely love what an event like this represents, there’s always a less than altruistic sliver in all of us – means that Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision has a tremendous amount to draw on.

And draw on it Fischer does, in ways that will leave you utterly and happily enthralled and also, surprisingly, feeling quite snug and warm, an unexpected state of being that has its genesis in a story that for all its fraught vibes and peril, is filled with characters you can help but root for.

Chief among them, as the series name might suggest, is Bebe Bollinger, a 60-year-old British singer who has recently staged a comeback thanks to a Best of album and judiciously chosen social and traditional media appearances, and who has ventured to the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, held in Malmö, Sweden, in the hopes of basking in the glory of a very high profile event.

Christoph Fischer (image courtesy author)

Bebe does have an ego, like any longstanding celebrity worth their salt, but she is likeable for all that, happy to get publicity but also philosophical that what you want PR-wise is not always what you get.

Even at Eurovision where you can’t help but trip over promotional opportunities, whether it’s helping to host the British telecast, making a documentary about being an insider at the event or being seen with the right people, mostly that year’s entrants, in all the right places.

But Bebe ends up doing just fine even as she joins her friends, Tom, a Eurovision blogger who is contest royalty and ex-policewoman Beth, who together are trying to work who is causing lighting rigging to almost crush people on the stage, shooting poison darts into people or causing entrants to come a cropper when their staging props prove to be more foe than friend.

There’s a lot going on, whether its mystery-solving or career-boosting but Bebe rises consummately above it all, fashion disasters notwithstanding, and Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision continues on its merrily undemanding way – it is one of those good and perfect things; a novel that is happy to entertain and does it superbly well – you come to love the star who is one of the people who actually deserves the trappings of fame and celebrity that come her way.

“Bebe wiped the dust off her dress and watched the events unfold with horror. Daniela pulled a slim dart-like object from the man’s chest and handed it to a security guard before dragging the unconscious presenter by his feet away from the balcony’s edge. Ushers were taking charge of the situation and pushed back the reporters and camera crews who by now had turned away from the music spectacle and were trying to get a good shot of the man on the floor. The security guards scanned the the crowd while speaking over their walkie-talkies.” (P. 134)

You honestly can’t help but love Bebe, who like Jessica Fletcher, finds herself over and over in just the right, or should that be, wrong places, and is all “darling, fabulous to meet you” charming in ways that dazzle and entice.

She is the consummate professional, whether it impressing with an impromptu duet with Britain’s 2013 entry Bonnie Tyler or interviewing entrants with little to no notice during the British telecast of Eurovision, but she is also at heart a decent if flawed human being and it’s that likability that endears her as a character and makes Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision such a divertingly entertaining read.

Obviously if you’re a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, you will benefit from all that fun insider knowledge but Fischer does an adroit job of holding back the curtain and explain what Eurovision is and what it entails in a way that makes the book brilliantly accessible, even if you’re never watched the contest in your life.

As much a love letter to the contest as to murder mysteries down through the ages, Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision is like a great big warm murderous hug that takes all the plotting, murder and sleuthing very seriously while giving us likable characters (clearly not all are that easy to like or we would have a villain or two, right?), some delightfully convoluted plotting and air of glittery fun that nevertheless remembers that even at the heart of the most enjoyable and carefree events, human nature lurks and the results can be, as Hart to Hart sagely observed, MURDER.


Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen

Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen

Today I have the great pleasure to share a post by Mary Clark, a very talented writer friend of mine about her latest memoir “Into the Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen”.

Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen, by Mary Clark


Mary Clark just published this book about her experiences running the poetry program at a midtown Manhattan church. This takes place before the time period in her other memoir Community: Journal of Power Politics and Democracy in Hell’s Kitchen. This book is about the transition from the arts to community work.


A young, aspiring writer comes to St. Clement’s Church on West 46th Street in New York City looking for a job in the theater. Soon she is helping run the church’s poetry program. The New York Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s features many well-known poets of the 1970s and 80s as well as up-and-coming and marginalized poets. The poetry scene, occurring alongside Punk Rock and the waning days of experimental dance and theater, is part of the last grassroots artistic era in the United States.

Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey takes place in the rough-and-tumble Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side. This story is set in a neighborhood that reflects the passion of the times. By 1980, both the arts scene and New York neighborhoods are on the verge of change. The author’s life in the arts weaves in and out of the neighborhood’s narratives. She must make a choice between two possible lives.

St. Clement’s Church has a storied history in the arts, beginning with the American Place Theater in the 1960s to the present day. Cameo appearances in this memoir are made by Robert Altman, Amiri Baraka, Daniel Berrigan, Karen Black, Raymond Carver, Cher, Abbie Hoffman, Spalding Gray, Al Pacino, and Paul Simon. Erick Hawkins, June Anderson, and Daniel Nagrin dance through.

Poets and writers include Carol Bergé, Ted Berrigan, Enid Dame, Cornelius Eady, Allen Ginsberg, Daniella Gioseffi, Barbara Holland, Bob Holman, Richard Howard, Maurice Kenny, Tuli Kupferberg, Eve Merriam, Robin Morgan, Sharon Olds, Alicia Ostriker, Alice Notley, William Packard, Robert Peters, Rochelle Ratner, Grace Shulman, and Kurt Vonnegut. Mentioned or discussed: Joseph Bruchac, Gregory Corso, Emily Dickinson, David Ignatow, Joy Harjo, Rashid Hussein, Kim Chi Ha, Denise Levertov, Audre Lorde, Anais Nin, Ron Padgett, Pedro Pietro, Muriel Rukeyser, and Anne Sexton, among others. Along the way, I recommend poems that can be found online.

New Novel – Emmet and Me

I just posted about the Llandeilo Lit fest Programme and here is one of the new books being introduced at the festival. Coincidentally an author whose work I know and whom I’d highly recommend.

Sara Gethin

So, the editing is done, the typeset is being prepared…

a beautiful and atmospheric cover has been designed by the wonderful lettering artist, Ruth Rowland, and my new novel ‘Emmet and Me’ will be published on 20th May.

It’s a story set in the landscape of 1960s rural Ireland. Ten-year-old Claire has moved to Connemara from Cardiff and is a misfit at her new school. Emmet is an inmate at an industrial school ‒ a place where life is harsh and often cruel. They share a love of books and horses, and become secret friends at primary school, but their forbidden friendship has a devastating effect on both of them.

In the weeks between now and publication day, I’ll blog about the inspiration behind ‘Emmet and Me’, about my research and the real lives that I aim to reflect in the novel.

I’ll talk about my writing process, and…

View original post 284 more words

Review: “Adventure in Mythopeia” by John Dolan

Today I present you another regular author on this blog: John Dolan and his hilarious epic “Adventure in Mythopeia”
Part Douglas Adam, part Tom Sharpe this massive novel sparkles with ideas and humour.
The first part focuses on a bunch of small criminals in Wales. They are likeable, mostly harmless and get into all sorts of trouble with bigger crime bosses. They are very distinct characters and make for a fantastic start to this fast flowing novel. Notable is a tarot card reader on the periphery who introduces a mystic element that will be picked up later.
The second part introduces a young/old man who wants to experience the world and find adventure before his life comes to an end. He finds adventures not too far away from home in the library near where his aunt lives. Mysticism and sorcery come into play, while suddenly characters from the first part appear in this new world.
In the meantime there is a political storm brewing that always pops up in the background.
Well, from the outset there is a prophecy from the tarot card and in most bizarre ways we’re heading there.
Enough said about the plot. This is intelligent, imaginative, entertaining and well crafted writing. The plot and the diverse characters also always full of surprises and if you still don’t know John Dolan from my other blog posts and reviews, it’s high time you did check him out.

Official Blurb:

“It was neither the best of times, nor the worst of times. It was somewhere in the middle. ”

O’Breasail – publican, drunk and ex-Arsenal footballer – is up to his neck in debt to the Chinese gangster Mingzhu Tang. With time running out, the desperate Irishman goes for a tarot card reading at Driscoll’s Circus hoping to find a way out of his predicament.

Meanwhile, the world is descending into anarchy and his nephew Jason is considering quitting his job as a male escort.
Plus, there’s the little matter of the sheep…

So begins a modern-day epic drawing on the Greek Myths, Don Quixote, the Quest for the Holy Grail and Carl Jung’s treatise on UFOs. Packed with dark humor and eccentric characters, Adventures in Mythopoeia will take you on a madcap journey of criminality, enchantment, laugh-out-loud gags and British weather.

Bring your umbrella.

John Dolan


“Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants.”

John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between Thailand and the UK.

He is the author of the ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ mystery series and the ‘Children of Karma’ mystery trilogy.

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

A very special Rodeo Classic over at the Carrot Ranch in honour of blogger, author, poet and friend to so many of us, Sue Vincent.. Sue has cancer and yet continues to shine with her writing and to support her fellow authors. This 99 word or syllable rodeo has an amazing prize of $100 and a book of Sue’s to enjoy. It is also a way to donate $5 to a fund raiser. Even if you are not entering the challenge, you can still help raise awareness by re-blogging the original post from Carrot Ranch, buying Sue’s latest book, which incidentally looks like a great read, or re-blogging posts from her blogs. (words by Sally Cronin)

Originally published at:

by H.R.R. Gorman

Here at the Carrot Ranch, we take the business of 99-word literary art seriously. Those who participate in the Ranch prompts or yearly Rodeo saddle up to TUFF (The Ultimate Flash Fiction) it out and train new Rough Riders as we go. Now, the Ranch is hosting a new event to sharpen minds, welcome new hands, and celebrate one of our own the best way we know how: our first ever Rodeo Classic.

In this Rodeo Classic, we’re here to celebrate a stalwart center of many blogging corners, Sue Vincent. Sue has variously contributed to the community here at the Carrot Ranch, through communication with many other bloggers, and run her own famous #writephoto weekly blog prompt. You can (and should!) follow her on her blogs, The Daily Echo and the shared blog France & Vincent. She has inspired us to become better writers and shown us the power of mystery and myth. We also suggest taking a perusal at her book corral and Amazon pages!

The Rodeo and Prizes

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic serves as a special challenge. Riders will have to condense the following photo into a story of 99 words (or, if you prefer, a poem of 99 syllables). Writing 99 words has never seemed TUFFer!

Each story needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Poems must have distinctive theme, movement, and rhythm; no rhyme scheme is necessary, but neither will rhyme be punished. Go where the prompt leads you – any genre is acceptable, but keep it family friendly and related to the photo. If you haven’t wrangled here at the Carrot Ranch before, you can find some prize-winning 99-word flash from the 2020 Rodeo or the 2019 Rodeo at these links. Don’t cheat with 98 or 100 words or syllables! We’ll only accept 99 word or 99 syllable entries written in English! (We’ll be using to count words and to count syllables so everyone has the same standard).

For this rodeo, we’re offering a $100 grand prize. Five runners up will each receive one paperback from Sue Vincent’s collection of published books (those who live in a region where the paperback is unavailable may receive an e-book instead). No fee necessary to enter but this is a fundraiser so we kindly ask for a suggested donation of $5 per entry (no more than two entries allowed per writer). The contest will close at midnight on Friday, February 19th, 2021. Winning entries will be announced and read at on March 22, 2021. Top entries published at Carrot Ranch. We will not accept entries previously published (even if published on your own blog), so keep them tucked away for now.

Judges: Geoff Le Pard, Anne Goodwin, and Charli Mills. First-Pass readers: H.R.R. Gorman, Sue Spitulnik, D. Avery, and Sherri Matthews. List of judges and readers will update as needs may change depending on the volume of entries and continued judge availability. Entries will be anonymized prior to judging.

$5 suggested donation to enter. You may enter no more than twice. You are welcome to donate more than the suggested entry feeAll proceeds go directly to Sue Vincent and Family. Use this link to donate:Donate to EnterFull or Pen Name(required)E-mail(required)Optional URL LinkTitle + Byline + 99-word story(required)submit

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic Parade

All Rodeos need a parade, just as the Carrot Ranch yearly rodeo has done. The Rodeo Classic parade will be a parade like no other – and we don’t need to wait until the end of the contest or announcement of winners to do so. It’s time to celebrate with gusto and march down the main street of Carrot Ranch central.

Sue Vincent

As mentioned above, Sue Vincent is a poet who has acted as glue for the community for over a decade now. She has honed her poetry and prose to a beautiful finish, and her adventures through ruins and the English countryside have inspired many of us throughout our blogging journeys. Recently, Sue has run into a spot of trouble with a bit of small cell lung cancer. With Covid complicating all medical procedures and the ability to speak with others (especially for those with respiratory illnesses), some of the best comfort can come from online interactions. You can read more about Sue’s situation on the series of posts beginning here.

The Parade, however, will march on through many different avenues. Sue’s literary art will be on full display throughout the month of February. Here’s some ways you can help participate in the parade and make the Rodeo Classic even better!

  • Advertise the Rodeo. Advertise this rodeo on your own blog, tweet it, forward on Instagram, post on Facebook, wherever you can! The graphic at the top of this page can be used freely as part of the campaign. The more participants, the merrier. We’d like to advertise the contest to people who may not already be familiar with our or Sue’s literary community, so put up the posters far and wide!
  • Reblog a post from Sue’s blogs. Go to The Daily Echo and/or France & Vincent and take a gander at some of the things there. Choose a post, or two, or seven, and reblog it with a comment on why you did so. Feel free to advertise the contest when you do.
  • Purchase one of her books. You can find a link to Sue’s books here and choose the Amazon page appropriate for your region.
  • Review that purchased book! Read the book and post a review. There’s many places to put it, but we suggest Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog as a start.
  • Comment or like her posts. Comments brighten anyone’s day, and Sue’s blog is filled with posts ripe for commenting. The Rodeo Organization Team will be reblogging some of her posts, so keep an eye out for those if you want some suggestions!

We look forward to seeing you in the stands, on the back of a bull, or maybe even clowning about.


The Rodeo Organization Team

Review: “I am Here to Kill You” by Chris Westlake

Here is a new release from one of my favourite authors: Chris Westlake – not a stranger to this blog as you can see:
New Release: “30 Days in June” by Chris Westlake

New Release: “At Least the Pink Elephants are Laughing at Us” by Chris Westlake

Welsh Wednesdays: Re-release of one of my favourite Welsh books: “Just a Bit of Banter, Like” by Chris Westlake

I AM HERE TO KILL YOU: A psychological crime thriller by [Chris Westlake]

Here is the blurb of his latest novel:

Charming. Charismatic. Beautiful.
And deadly?

The members of a local support group in a sleepy welsh town are captivated by the new arrival, Sheena Strachan. Each member of the group has a reason for attending. Some hide dark, sinister secrets, and for others it is the highlight of their week.

But what are Sheena’s motives for attending?

The group’s leader, Rose, unexpectedly stops attending meetings. She goes into hiding, and quickly becomes an outcast. And then she is arrested for her estranged husband’s murder.

Did Sheena really have no involvement in his killing?

With Sheena at the helm, the group goes from strength to strength, both in numbers and commitment. But their behaviour is changing. No story is to leave the room. They trust nobody. Men are the enemy. The residents of the previously peaceful town start turning against each other.

Was this Sheena’s plan all along?

One mystery, however, stands out more than all the others.

Who is here to kill who…?

I AM HERE TO KILL YOU is a compelling psychological thriller that explores the potential power and devastation of manipulation.

The thriller grabs our attention with a gruesome seduction / murder scene, but then goes back in time to tell how we got there. The backstory is told in segments with changing point of views: Sheena, who is new to town; Katherine, Rose and Apinya, who go to a women’s group where they share their secrets and where Sheena soon becomes a prominent member; and then the husbands and love interests Ray, Bernard, Grant and Daniel.
While the changing perspective makes it initially a little difficult to settle in, it is a well chosen tool to keep the mystery buzzing. Once I found myself drawn in I couldn’t put the book down. The plot and characters are excellent. Just when you think you know where this is going another surprise pops up and shifts focus and suspicions in a different direction. The book is full of hints and clues but always keep back enough to keep ambiguity and mystery.
While we know that Sheena is a baddie of sorts, we know nothing of her motives or of her past with the members of the community. Likewise, we get small glimpses of insights into the other characters and what drives or worries them, but not enough to fully comprehend the connections and implications.

The female characters are very enjoyable to follow, the changes they go through and the character developments throughout the book are quite impressive and the ending is pretty sensational.
I really enjoyed this book and hope there’ll be another soon.


Chris Westlake

After completing a Creative Writing course in 2010, Chris Westlake’s short story, Welsh Lessons, was awarded 1st place in the Global Short Story Award (not bad for the first writing competition he had entered). He followed this up with 1st place in the Stringybark Erotic Fiction Award and 2nd place in the HASSRA Literary Award.

Chris has written three novels. 30 DAYS IN JUNE is his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second thriller, on schedule to be completed in 2020. He is determined to write many, many more – his main regret is that he didn’t start writing earlier.

Chris considers himself to be a developing author. He is always looking to improve, to make his next novel even better than the last. He is continuously experimenting with different styles, different genres.

You can discover more about Chris on his website,

You can contact Chris at


I’m currently somewhat quiet on the writing and reviewing front but I haven’t severed my ties with the wonderful world of blogs.

So let me introduce you to some of the blogs:
Today Mike Steeden who has a witty way with words, who blends blunt with eloquent, thoughtfulness with humour and politics with art.

Please check out his blog and his very reasonably priced books on Amazon.

A Time-Travelling Tale that ends well

Christmas Day, 2842CE. A universe aeons away goes ‘phut’: In no more than a picosecond, complete darkness. The only sound, that of a whispering zephyr. In its wake, a pseudo macrocosm’s ever-decreasing guttural burps fading away into a soundless zilch. Left behind, ruination’s nothingness. The crumpled scum perished. Once relishing in a perverse, now empty, endlessness, lovely Lily’s mission is over and done with.  

A field south of Paris, 1938CE: As of the newborn moment, looking skyward, a sparkling flash of disco-dancing stars, glittering like pale turquoise precious gems on a black velvet backcloth, she rediscovered her sanity. Heavenly bodies magical frolics short-lived, a momentary spectacle foretelling serendipity had taken her back home. Pure-blooded time had slumbered far too long. Quick-witted incandescent celestial prima ballerinas now tripping the light fantastic, just for her. An extravaganza that put menacing iniquity to shame, for it had had its tedious chance and failed abysmally.

Paulette Mahurin announces her new book: Where Irises Never Grow

Paulette is a great friend and amazing writer. I’m excited to share her good news!


With courage, depth, and passionate insight, bestselling author Paulette Mahurin captures the horrors of the German occupation of France. Where Irises Never Grow tells the story of how one book that escaped Nazi confiscation moved through time holding a cryptic note. Unraveling its mystery brings the reader to Lyon, France. It is there war, in all its bloodstained pathos, is witnessed through the escalating cruelty of the Vichy regime. Particularly impacted is the Legrand family. Thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil they struggle to help the Resistance while maintaining deceitful relations with the government. As the Nazis move toward occupying southern France, the duplicity unravels along with all the Legrands are protecting. Their struggle is raw. Uplifting. Nothing is held back in depicting the horrors inflicted on innocent people by the corrupt tyrannical despots. But this is more than a story of war. It is a story of friendship and loyalty. Of love and sacrifices. And choices for ultimately it is a story that shines a light on the fundamental urge by decent human being to do right by another, to stand tall no matter the risk when millions stood silent. Where Irises Never Grow will linger in the readers gut and mind long after the last page is finished.