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Which Testament?: Extract

A Testament to Murder Book Cover A Testament to Murder
A Murder Will Follow Mystery Book 1
Vivian Conroy
Cosy Crime
Canelo
18th February 2019

Book Blurb: Suspenseful from the first page to the last, A Testament to Murder is perfect for fans of And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and Crooked House A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize...  At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever. Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize. As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…

A 1920s murder mystery to keep you guessing

“Anna!” Kenneth ran up to the figure in white who was cutting a few roses at the back of the garden. “I didn’t see you at breakfast. I was worried that you had left anyway.”

She didn’t look at him as she reached out for another soft yellow rose, resting it in the palm of her hand a moment, before cutting it and putting it with the others in the basket on her arm.

“Anna?” Kenneth studied her tight profile. “Is something wrong?”

“Of course not. I had breakfast in the kitchen earlier with the other servants. I was only at dinner last night because Mr Bryce-Rutherford wanted to make his revelation.”

“He can’t let you eat with the servants. You’re not like them.”

“How would you know?” Anna asked, but he saw the smile tugging at her lips.

Encouraged, he continued, “I’ll ask Uncle Malcolm if you can eat with us every day. I bet he’ll think it’s a great idea. He must like you. He doesn’t have any people around him who are…” Young, fresh, breathtaking. “Who can cheer him up. I think he needs that. He thinks he’s dying. But perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps he’s only depressed because everything is so sad here and everybody treats him like an invalid. We could make things different for him.”

“You honestly think he isn’t dying?” Anna asked. A frown hovered over her eyes.

Kenneth shrugged. “I would feel ill if everybody treated me like I was ill all of the time. Theodora with her things that he has to eat because they are good for him. And that darkened room. He needs to do something fun.”

Anna held his gaze. “Can we take him on our boat trip?”

Kenneth suddenly saw his whole boat trip where he would impress Anna with his skills and his strength ruined by the presence of a nagging old man. Or worse even, an old man who would look at him with knowing eyes, smirking at the schoolboy trying to win a woman of the world.

He said quickly, “I think that would be too dangerous. The sea could be rough and rock the boat. What if he fell out of the boat and drowned?”

Anna’s eyes were a deep endless blue. “Yes,” she said slowly, “what if…”

Here outside the house her smooth skin didn’t seem so porcelain-like but had more of a tan, a healthy glow, blending out her freckles. Her hands moved with quick determination as she chose just the right rose to snip off and put in her basket.

One threatened to slip off from the top of the bunch and she grabbed it. “Ouch!” She retracted her hand and a drop of blood sat on her fingertip. She stared at it with a pained expression.

Kenneth pulled out his handkerchief and offered it to her. She used it to dab at the blood, leaving a bright red stain on the handkerchief. She smiled at him as she handed it back to him. “Thank you. How clumsy of me.”

Kenneth put the handkerchief back in his pocket and studied the blue skies above. “We could go boating now. Uncle Malcolm doesn’t need you right away.” He said it in a blunt, confident tone.

Anna looked doubtful. “I promised to bring in these roses and arrange them for him in a vase.”

“Theodora can do it. There she is.” Kenneth pointed at the drab figure in grey which had come out of the house and stood on the terrace.

“She doesn’t like me,” Anna said. “I don’t know why. I take good care of my patient.”

Kenneth shrugged. “Some people think they can do everything better. That’s just the way they are. Let me take the basket to her. You go get a cardigan or something. It can be chilly on the water.”

Anna suddenly laughed out loud. She handed him the basket and the cutting tool and then threw her arms up in the air and cheered. “Ken, you’re a doll.” She ran off around the house to where the kitchen entrance was.

Kenneth stood motionless, his cheek burning as if she had leaned in and kissed him there and then. He thought she might have wanted to do that if Theodora hadn’t been watching them.

He turned to the woman with resentment clawing at his stomach. That ugly old witch had to ruin everything for everyone. If anybody ought to die here, it ought to be her.

He carried the basket to her, holding the tool out like a weapon.

Theodora was studying the view and only noticed him at the last moment. She yelped and clutched her hands together. “Kenneth! What are you doing?”

“Here are some roses for Uncle Malcolm. I thought you would like to arrange them in a vase and take them up to him.” Kenneth held the tool and basket out to her. “He’ll appreciate all the trouble you go through for him.”

Something lit in those dull eyes over the long, forever sniffing nose. She said in a surprised tone, “That’s very kind of you, Kenneth.”

He shrugged. Her eyes made him uncomfortable as if she could see right through him. “I think you care very much for him. And he needs that.”

The eyes lit even more. “Yes, he needs that.” Theodora ran a finger over the soft petals of one of the roses. “Even if he will never admit it.”

Kenneth pulled back his shoulders and repeated something he had heard his mother say to her friends, “A man will never admit he needs a woman.”

Theodora nodded. “How true. You’re extremely intelligent for your age.” She cast a long loving look at the roses and then turned away. Before she entered the house, she called to him, “Remember one thing though: Anna can’t swim.”

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Armed with cheese and chocolate, Vivian Conroy sits down to create the aspirational settings, characters with secrets up their sleeves, and clever plots which took several of her mysteries to #1 bestseller in multiple categories on Amazon US and Canada. Away from the keyboard, Vivian likes to hike (especially in the Swiss mountains), hunt for the perfect cheesecake and experience the joy in every-day life, be it a fiery sunset, a gorgeous full moon or that errant butterfly descending on the windowsill.

Twitter: @VivWrites

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Books and Coffee – great!

Little Book Cafe: Amy's Story Book Cover Little Book Cafe: Amy's Story
Little Book Cafe
Georgia Hill
women's fiction romance
harper impulse
19 Oct 2018

Escape to the seaside for a new three-part series for fans of The Canal Boat Cafe and Willow Cottage

Amy, the manager of The Little Book Café, is a hopeless romantic who had her heart broken, but quietly refuses to give up on love.

With her friends Tash and Emma, not to mention their shared love of books and delicious cake from the café next door, Amy might just find the courage to fall for a real life romance this time…

Amy's Story is the final instalment of The Little Book Cafe series so wrap up warm this Autumn and treasure this wonderful book.

This cafe is actually next door to the bookshop even though you can purchase coffee and cakes inside the bookshop. I found this rather confusing as I could not decide where the coffee came from.. but as the premises were jointly owned..

This book is set in a fictional south coast UK town which is all too nice and neat for reality – where these towns are struggling and not so nice any more – but some of the economic difficulties were mentioned as were the lack of anything for youngsters to do – which led them to petty vandalism.

 A cosy book that lacked any ‘bite’ with a very ‘soft’ style. Very much in older style of traditional romances which include a Cinderella hiding from the world in baggy clothes etc with a weight problem – she thinks. And a rescuer.

Sweet but could have been better.

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Books/book review/Fantasy/humour
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Some very different Xmas and Klaus ideas

Dear Santa - Get Bent Book Cover Dear Santa - Get Bent
Series: Operation Reindeer Retrieval #1
Viola Grace
Xmas, fantasy, humour
Viola Grace
(28 Oct. 2015)
Kindle

Dasher gains life as a human, but she is missing a connection. She wants a mate and is willing to do whatever it takes to find one.

One of nine reindeer that pulls Santa’s sleigh, Dasher wants nothing more than to find a partner, a mate, someone to be with. With the restrictions in the workshop, she has only one choice—she goes to the human world and starts trying men on for size.
The down side to mating with a human is that they don’t remember her the following day. The depressing point is that none of them have the stamina to keep up with her and there are no second chances. Every time is the first time with a human.
When she is assigned to a shop that needs an emergency audit, she enjoys the thrill of digging through the messy paperwork, and she has plans for the proprietor. One time might be enough if it was with him.
Argus has been sent to bring back a reindeer, but the woman with smouldering dark eyes is more than he was banking on. She seems nice, but he wants her naughty.

Had to look up the book title phrase in the Urban Dictionary but basically it means ‘I’m off!’ add rude words. A sweet and fun story but needed to be longer to develop characters and back-story.        





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Let’s all go on an adventure?

The Age of Misadventure Book Cover The Age of Misadventure
Judy Leigh
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Avon Books UK
February 18, 2019
368

The gloriously funny new novel about living life to the full, whatever your age, from the author of A Grand Old Time. 55-year-old Georgie Turner doesn’t need a new man. Her daughter, aunt and sister are the most important people in her life (and the most infuriating). But it seems the older they get, the further apart they drift. Georgie’s never been a fan of her sister Bonnie’s husband, so when she learns her brother-in-law has been up to no good, Georgie sees an opportunity to bring the women of her family back together. Along with her 21-year-old daughter and 80-year-old aunt, she packs Bonnie into the back of her car and they leave Liverpool to hide out on the coast of Sussex. With the help of some sun, sea and bottle or two of prosecco, this will be an adventure they’ll never forget. But could the right man find Georgie while she’s stopping the wrong man finding her sister? A gorgeously fun and uplifting novel, perfect for fans of The 100 Year Old Man and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Yes, all 3 of us – let’s leave Liverpool and go to Brighton…

Why? Well, there’s the rub – we need to get out of town quick, ‘cos a bad man is after us…

But we can borrow this really smart flat with lovely views. Just one problem – we can’t leave it, because someone’s very stupid husband made a very bad and very dodgy deal and now they are after us to pony up. Which of course we can’t. So we need to stay hidden. 2 sisters and an elderly, but game Aunty.

I wish this story had been quite as amusing as it would seem from the description. I did think that Nan was brilliant but found the sister weak and whiny and very shallow with nothing at all humorous about her. The potential elements were there for a really great story that would make a brilliant film. But it just missed its mark for me.

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Comfort is offered

Gift from the comfort food cafe Book Cover Gift from the comfort food cafe
Comfort Food Cafe
Debbie Johnson
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Harper Collins
(18 Oct. 2018)

Cosy up at the Comfort Food Cafe for a romance that isn’t just for Christmas…

*Don’t miss out on the new Comfort Food Cafe novel and return to Budbury for a Christmas to remember*

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindness at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

I have read this entire series about the Budbury cafe (by the sea) and it makes me feel warm and cosy inside and want to join in their fun.

Each book gives us a view of the village and its inhabitants from their different story viewpoints, even when the timeframe and occasion is the same. We learn more about them each time, as the stories focus on one ‘pair’ in each book.

This book, as ever, has a happy ending with a matched pair and a father – or two -for a young boy.

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