I’m very excited as one of my favourite writers branches into my favourite genre. Looking forward to bringing you more news about this.
Today’s book review is for Christoph Fischer’s – Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision. Christoph is another of my favorite authors who took the plunge into writing cozy mysteries with Book 1 in this series, The Body in the Snow. Christoph is also a prolific historical fiction writer, one of my favorite genres to read, and he never disappoints, not matter what genre he writes in. What a gift to be able to write as a multi-genre author. If you’re looking for a fun, easy read with colorful characters and a whodunit that will keep you guessing til the end, you will enjoy this book.
On her return from a cruise ship gig Bebe Bollinger learns that fellow Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler has decided to enter a European Song comptition for the UK. While Bebe jealously watches the pre-publicity trail for ‘Eurovision’ in Malmö, a string of ‘odd accidents’ endangers several participants of the competition. This stirs her desire for playing detective again but also a curiosity to check out the suitability of Eurovision for her own career.
Follow Bebe’s continued search for fame and a comeback before it’s too late, step into the weird world that is Eurovision fandom and see how Bebe gets on with her naughty daughter and deals with those evil TV presenters.
My 5 Star Review:
Another fun read in this cozy mystery series, Book 2 of the Bebe Bollinger series. Although this book is part of a series, both books could definitely be read as standalones. Each of the books takes us into the life of flamboyant almost ‘has been’ singer Bebe Bollinger, looking to make her musical comeback after the peak of her fame began to fade.
In Over my Dead Body, that’s exactly what Bebe plans to avoid when she decides to kill two birds with one stone by going to visit the annual Eurovision music contest being held in Sweden. When Bebe’s friend Tom the blogger, convinces her to join him in Malmo for the event to put herself back in the limelight and gossips to her that mysterious accidents have been occurring on the set, Bebe decided it would be a great idea to get herself some publicity while getting another chance to put her amateur detective skills to work.
Fischer has a fun writing style in this book and brings us some wonderfully painted colorful characters and descriptions of the goings on, enlightening us to what Eurovision represents. As well as being introduced to some of the characters taking part in the competition, Fischer brings back Beth, ex-cop and friend who she invites into her private investigation, as well as her troublesome daughter Helena who seems to know where to find her mother no matter what country she is in.
This book is a quick-paced. fun read and I do hope Mr. Fischer will be coming out with a new story about Bebe again. Bebe could probably have her own TV series with the no shortage of pickles she gets herself into.
Get the book at: https://amzn.to/2K4GRcy
A lovely Sunday interview with one of my favourite mystery writers and a truly lovely lady. N.A. Granger aka my friend Noelle.
I had the pleasure of meeting my guest today at the Bloggers Bash in 2017 and discovered a delightfully charming person and also had the privilege of meeting her husband. Noelle Granger is the author of the Rhe Brewster crime thriller series and has recently published Death in a Mudflat
Before we discover more about my guest, here is the official word about Noelle Granger.
Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, MA, in a rambling, 125 year old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming and she was one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation.
She graduated from Mount Holyoke college with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents,the last 28 years of…
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A woman’s life is endangered when she learns her father was a member of the
Since separating from her philandering husband, Boca Raton writer Becks Ruchinsky has struggled to build a closer relationship with her quirky and contentious father, Tootsie, who lives in a retirement home. One evening, as she and her father are relaxing on the home’s front porch, an elderly woman accuses Tootsie of having murdered her husband fifty years earlier.
Tootsie admits to ratting on the man, who’d cheated their Jewish syndicate boss out of thousands of dollars, but denies killing the widow’s husband. He also admits to having friends in the Jewish mafia and shares stories about his experiences. But the more time she spends with her father, the more convinced Becks becomes that Tootsie is lying about his involvement. Determined to discover the truth about her dad’s past, she sets out on a journey to undercover his darkest secrets. She learns he worked for the Jewish mafia –running numbers for the Cuban lottery, beating up Nazi sympathizers, and smuggling arms to Israeli independence fighters. When she learns that he murdered his best friend and, possibly, his own brother, she must decide if she can accept his criminal past – or cut him out of her life.
The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter also explores the impact our parents’ relationships have on our own. Throughout the book, Becks challenges her father on his infidelity toward her mother and becomes frustrated by his refusal to acknowledge that what he did was hurtful to his entire family. She’s upset when Tootsie minimizes her husband’s affair and encourages her to take him back. Ultimately, Becks realizes that she cannot forgive her husband for cheating until she comes to terms with her father’s infidelities…and her mother’s willingness to put up with them.
A gripping and thought-provoking murder mystery, this award-winning novel explores the colorful and precarious world of the 1940s and 1950s Jewish mafia . . . and the limits of familial love.
Praise for The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter
Whatever you might think you’ll find in a book entitled The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter, forget it. Joan Lipinsky Cochran has crafted an engaging, multi-layered family saga cum mystery where a fifty-something woman and mother of two grown sons suddenly discovers that the comfortable, predictable life she has been living is nothing but a sham. Her attempts to make sense of her impossible new reality are both touching and gripping, making for a truly unique literary experience.
Les Standiford, author of Center of Dreams and Last Train to Paradise
A compelling and well-written family drama. Cochran beautifully captures a daughter’s angst and frustration with a father who’s determined to hold onto his secrets even when his family members’ lives are at risk. These are characters you want to be friends with . . . and a few you hope never to run into in a dark alley.
Sharon Potts, award-winning author of The Other Traitor
A gripping family drama in which a daughter has to confront the mystery of her father’s criminal past. Gritty and realistic and hard to put down. Well done!
Deborah Shlian, author of Florida Book Award Gold Medal Winner for Rabbit on the Moon
A fascinating and engrossing read. The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter examines questions of trust and loyalty through the dual eyes of a father with a hidden past and a daughter who is gradually discovering her father’s secrets – and wishes she hadn’t. It’s a story of heartbreak and loss told with humor and grace.
Rabbi Ilene Schneider, award winning author of the Rabbi Akiva Cohen Mysteries and of Talking Dirty – in Yiddish
About Joan Lipinsky Cochran
Pirates have fascinated people for several centuries. They were the terrorists of their age, these sailors of the early eighteenth century who went ‘On the Account’ hoping to gain a fortune often led a short, but exciting life. Albeit one supplemented by rum and debauchery. Theirs was a harsh life, overshadowed by the presence of death by injury, illness or the hangman’s noose. But the lure of gold, the excitement of the Chase – and the freedom that life aboard a pirate ship offered, was worth the risk.
Helen has written a series of nautical Voyages based around her fictional pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his ship, Sea Witch, but her latest UK release in paperback is a non-fiction book – Pirates: Truth and Tales published by Amberley Press, which explores our fascination with the real pirates and those who are favourites in fiction. Today, Helen drops anchor for another interesting addition to her on-line two-week Voyage around the Blogs with a pirate or two for company…
The ‘Golden Age’ of piracy. The early 1700s, the Caribbean, the Spanish Main and the get-rich-quick lure of treasure. Not via the illusive map with ‘X marks the spot’, however, as very few pirates buried their ill-gotten-gains on deserted islands. Most of the profit from what they plundered from their unfortunate sea-going victims was frittered away in the brothels and taverns of Tortuga, Port Royal and Nassau, the most popular harbours to drop anchor. At least until the hangman came along.
Not all pirates were successful, a few were downright inept, a couple retired with an amassed fortune, although even they had their hopes of a quiet life ashore as a Gentleman thwarted. Henry Morgan among them, (yes he of the Rum Label fame.) Morgan was, in theory, a privateer – which meant he had a government-granted license to plunder the Spanish, or whomever England happened to be at war with, so basically, the Spanish! Eventually, Morgan was made Governor of Jamaica and he raked in a nice little earner from taxing the goods the pirates brought in to sell. There was so much wealth in Port Royal – known for a time as the ‘wickedest place in the world’ – that even the humblest servant could afford to buy trinkets and luxuries. Morgan fell out of favour with the government though, and ended his days as a ‘has been’, although many mourners who remembered those bygone better days lined the route of his funeral procession. Several years later an earthquake struck Jamaica and an entire section of the town sank beneath the sea. Morgan’s grave along with it.
Captain William Kidd claimed he had been commissioned as a privateer, originally as a pirate hunter, although evidence against him showed otherwise and he was hanged at Wapping on the River Thames. The evidence seems circumstantial and was probably brought about because Kidd failed to bring home a fortune for his sponsors.
The crew of a ship known as Bachelor’s Delight amassed a good bit of wealth between them, but again their claim of being privateers was challenged and the wealth was confiscated by King William and Queen Mary. They put it towards building a college in Williamsburg, Virginia. Although not the original building, the William and Mary College is still there today – founded on pirate loot.
Several of the famous pirates we know of hanged: Charles Vane, ‘Calico’ Jack Rackham and his crew – although not the two women who sailed with him. Anne Bonney and Mary Read had their execution delayed because they were pregnant. Mary died in gaol, but we don’t know what happened to Anne. Stede Bonnet hanged, as did the captured crew who sailed with Edward Teach – Blackbeard. Teach himself died in a ferocious battle with the Royal Navy. After the fight, his corpse was found to have several gunshot and cutlass wounds. The body was decapitated then flung overboard, with the head displayed aboard as a trophy. He is said to haunt the area of the Ocracoke where he died. Apparently, his ghost is looking for its head.
Hanging, back then in the eighteenth century, was regarded as a family day out, a festival day where traders could guarantee good sales from the people who came to gawp at the victim: man or woman, pirate, thief, murderer – or alas a poor soul caught for ‘indecency’. Homosexual men were hanged along with the criminals, their sexuality regarded as a crime.
The one to be hanged was expected to put on a good ‘show’. Any quivering cowards were booed and pelted with detritus, those who had an air of swaggering bravado were cheered and heartily applauded.
Hanging was not a pleasant way to die; until the ‘long drop and short stop’ was introduced it could take anything up to twenty minutes to slowly strangle to death, a process quickened if family or friends hanged on to the victim’s legs and torso. And yes, that is where the term ‘hangers on’ comes from.
What the condemned wore was also important. Many a pirate headed for the gallows dressed in style and finery, with French lace at cuff and throat, plumed hat and colourful ribbons braided into the hair. The better quality these clothes and trinkets, the better advantage for the executioner, for he would later sell them for a handsome profit. One woman, Hannah Dagoe, arrested for stealing in 1763 cheated the hangman out of his extra money by stripping off her clothes as she was taken to the gallows, tossing bits of finery to the admiring crowd and arriving at the place of execution with very little on. She then further insulted the hangman by kneeing him in the groin as he put the noose in place and jumped out of the cart, breaking her own neck.
The rope itself, after it had done its job, would be cut into short lengths and sold as souvenirs by the hangman, who was more often than not a criminal himself, reprieved with the condition that he executed others. For this reason it is very rare to have the hangman’s name or identity recorded.
The sixth Sea Witch Voyage of my nautical adventure series (or the seventh if you count a prequel e-format novella, When The Mermaid Sings) featuring ex-pirate Captain Jesamiah Acorne is in process of being written. (Mid-2018, publication intended by early 2019.) It is entitled Gallows Wake. But which character is to face the threat of the noose, I am not revealing…
Trouble follows pirate captain Jesamiah Acorne like a ship’s wake. Can a white witch tame him, or will the sea or the noose claim him first?
© Helen Hollick
Pirates: Truth And Tales published in paperback in the UK July 2018 and November 2018 in the US – but available for pre-order.
Buy the Books: Amazon Author Page (Universal Link)
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One name ‘picked from the hat’ in December will win a £10/$10 Amazon gift voucher.
Subscribe here: http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick
Main Blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com
Discovering Diamonds: https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.co.uk/
Follow Helen’s Tour:
These links will take you to the Home Page of each blog host – Helen says thank you for their interest and enthusiasm! For exact URL links to each article go to Helen’s website: www.helenhollick.net which will be updated every day of the tour.
30th July: Cryssa Bazos https://cryssabazos.com/ Dropping Anchor to Talk About Pirates
31st July: Anna Belfrage https://www.annabelfrage.com/my-blog/ Ships That Pass…
1st August: Carolyn Hughes https://carolynhughesauthor.com/blog/ Pirates of the Middle Ages
2nd August: Alison Morton https://alison-morton.com/blog/ From Pirate to Emperor
3rd August: Annie Whitehead https://rwranniewhitehead.blogspot.com/ The Vikings: Raiders or Pirates?
4th August: Tony Riches http://tonyriches.blogspot.co.uk/ An Interview With Helen Hollick (and maybe a couple of pirates thrown in for good measure?)
5th August: Lucienne Boyce http://francesca-scriblerus.blogspot.com/ Anne and Mary. Pirates.
6th August: Laura Pilli http://fieldofbookishdreams.blogspot.co.uk/ Why Pirates?
7th August: Mary Tod https://awriterofhistory.com/ That Essential Element… For A Pirate.
8th August: Pauline Barclay http://paulinembarclay.blogspot.com/ Writing Non-Fiction. How Hard Can It Be?
9th August: Nicola Smith http://shortbookandscribes.uk/ Pirates: The Tales Mixed With The Truth
10th August: Christoph Fischer https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/ In The Shadow Of The Gallows
11th August: Debdatta http://www.ddsreviews.in/ What Is It About Pirates?
12th August: Discovering Diamonds https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.co.uk/ It’s Been An Interesting Voyage…
13th August: Sarah Greenwood https://www.amberley-books.com/blog Pirates: The Truth and the Tales
14th August: Antoine Vanner https://dawlishchronicles.com/dawlish-blog/ The Man Who Knew About Pirates
Helen moved from London in 2013 and now lives with her family in North Devon, in an eighteenth century farmhouse. First published in 1994, her passion now is her pirate character, Captain Jesamiah Acorne of the nautical adventure series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (UK title A Hollow Crown) the story of Saxon Queen, Emma of Normandy. Her novel Harold the King (US title I Am The Chosen King) explores the events that led to the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, set in the fifth century, is widely praised as a more down-to-earth historical version of the Arthurian legend. She has written three non-fiction books, Pirates: Truth and Tales, Smugglers in Fact and Fiction (to be published 2019) and as a supporter of indie writers, co-wrote Discovering the Diamond with her editor, Jo Field, a short advice guide for new writers. She runs the Discovering Diamonds review blog for historical fiction assisted by a team of enthusiastic reviewers.
Helen is published in various languages.
As a writer of historical fiction I couldn’t agree more. For me, too, this is
“a reminder of how quickly history can change course and how quickly masses can be mobilized to do what seemed unthinkable a year or so earlier.”
Who would have thought two years ago that a U.S. president would publicly side with a Russian leader against NATO, the EU, and the intelligence communities of the U.S.? And that tens of millions of Americans (mainly Republicans who had long been hawkish on America’s global rivals) would immediately back him up?
Let this be a reminder of how quickly history can change course and how quickly masses can be mobilized to do what seemed unthinkable a year or so earlier.
A chance to meet the wonderful author Joy Lennick in an interview about her fascinating life and publishing adventures
Please welcome my guest this week, author Joy Lennick who shares her love of the 20th century, her adventures she has encountered during her 30 years as an author, her favourite colour and music.
Before we find out more… a little bit about Joy.
About Joy Lennick
Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…
Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.
Given a choice of centuries to live in which would it be and why?
As I’m fascinated by Georgian architecture and dress, plus something indefinable…
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John Hazen is one of my favourite indie authors as my many previous blog posts on him should prove. I’m delighted to announce his new release in the Fava series: “Zyklon”, which I had th epleasure of reading ahead of its release.
“Zyklon” is a gripping thriller with depth and plenty of rather contemporary themes and issues in it. For that alone it is worth reading.
Remarkable here is the figure of Reverend McKenzie, a controversial, Islam hating outsider in the presidential candidate race.
Our main heroine, Fran, is a journalist who has become a news anchor, chosing an easier albeit somewhat more boring life over investigative journalism. Her predecessor is covering the campaign of presidential candidate Peter Kent. While the focus on the campaign trails, a sinister serial killer, the so-called Zyklon murder, grabs our attention by killing five descendants of Nazis with Zyklon gas.
Fran can’t resist to get involved in the investigation.
The story is complex with an inter-woven plot that links the murder and the campaigns, but it also links the present investigation with the previous thriller “Fava”, explaining some of the backstory and characters, which gives a rewarding sense of continuity and character development.
The themes are all very relevant to current affairs but this novel is far from a black and white scenario as one might expect. It’s fast paced with plenty of surprises and twists, character evolvement and character depth, humanity and morals.
Hazen has a knack for subtlety and nuances, unpredictable turns and a intelligent and sensitive writing style. I’m a big fan of all of his novels so far and cannot recommend this enough. A true gem.
Bio: John Hazen came to writing novels relatively late in life, but once he started he hasn’t looked back. He was born and raised in Massachusetts but has lived in the New York City/New Jersey area for the past forty years. Degrees from Rutgers, The New School and NYU buttress a lifelong passion for learning and a love of history. Inspired by Lynn, his wife of over thirty-five years, he pursued the dream of becoming an established author and is now working on his fifth book. John and Lynn love to travel, and the experiences of those travels find their way into his writing. John’s reading tastes are eclectic, ranging from histories to classic novels to an occasional piece of modern trash. His absolute “must reads” are Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potterseries and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time.
Website – www.johnwhazen.com
Twitter – @john_hazen
Facebook – email@example.com
Journey of an American Son – http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/journey-of-an-american-son?rq=journey or
Sometimes a short article can say more about an author and their work than a page of great reviews and marketing slogans.
Geoff Le Pard is a gifted author (I featured him on my blog a few times), a fascinating and remarkable man (great cook, obscure beard colourer) and this is a lovely post he wrote about his departed mother who’s featured in his new book.
I’m thrilled to welcome Geoff Le Pard to my blog home today. Anyone who writes about family gets my undivided attention. There’s nothing like family!
His new book Apprenticed To My Mother was released on Tuesday 12th June.
He’s written a lovely moving anecdote about his dear departed mother, Barbara’s funeral and her brother Ted especially for this Author Spotlight.
When I came to write my memoir of the period between my father’s death and my mother’s, I started by focusing on the two funerals. My father’s was the first where I played any significant role, and mostly I wanted to make sure whatever happened, it met Mum’s approval. With Mum’s, since my brother and I were now orphaned I felt freer to let it reflect how I imagined it could be the best recognition and, in my judgement, celebration of a life well lived. My brother was…
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This takes place in England and the style of writing seems to reflect that in some of its writing style and a serious tone/ perspective on a family dealing with Alzheimer’s. Hanna returns home and has opposing ideas how to deal with her Mother’s decline. She prefers distraction and varied experiences vs. Dad who is very much into protective mode and daily routine. Each member chooses how they wish to deal with the reality of the disease, none of which change the decline of Biddy, the wife/mother. The toll of everyone ‘s health and mental well being becomes a heavy burden and responsibility.
Lately, I’ve been reading several novels dealing with Alzheimer’s to help with my friend’s family who is dealing with this. It is devastating and affects everyone in the family differently. It has been researched and the insight to be gained by reading these novels is a learning experience for anyone, whether or not touched by Alzheimer’s.
This book had an extremely relevant topic, which will touch many people who read the novel. I have very little first hand knowledge of Alzheimers but the difficulties and frustrations of dealing with a sufferer came across loud and clear in the storyline. Biddy’s family are divided about the kind of care that she should receive and each deals with her condition in very different ways. Some are hands-on, some challenge poor Walter, Biddy’s husband about the style of care he has opted for and some just stay away. It’s a very sad novel and probably a real reflection of what it’s like to watch a loved one slip away at the hands of such a disease.
Of all the characters, I felt that Biddy herself was the most well drawn. I wanted to like Hanna but for that, she needed much more depth. There was an unrealism about the airline thread and I think much more could have been made of that, to stop it just being a book about the disease with more action played out on the journalist issue. It felt as though there were threads in the novel which weren’t grasped hold of, as though the characters wanted to have a mind of their own and were denied it. Without giving spoilers, there were possible relationships that could have been exploited to add another angle and a bit more interest. I felt like the epilogue was a bit of a slap in the face. It was a diary of events that told me more than I got throughout the whole novel. One thing I really struggled with was the lack of contractions in speech. It felt really wooden because real people don’t speak like that.
It has the potential to be a great story, but needs a tidy up with stronger plot lines outside of what Biddy does each day and how Walter does or doesn’t cope with it. The research about Alzheimers is faultless. The reader is left in no doubt how cruel the disease is or the conflicts which rage for carers, not to mention the outside pressures and physical realities for them. With a bit more umph, this novel can be something a carer picks up and finds light relief in, whilst understanding that the author knew exactly how they were feeling.