Book Cover

A Rising Man 

by Abir Mukherjee

Calcutta, India 1st of April 1919 is where this remarkable novel begins. Captain Sam Wyndham a survivor (barely) of the hell in the second Battle of the Marne finds himself at the doors of the Imperial Police Force (Bengal Division).  

As a former policeman and CID operative, he is in Calcutta at the behest of Commissioner Taggart, his former superior (military intelligence during the war), who has a “need of good detectives”. 

Soon, Captain Wyndham and the brilliant Sergeant Banerjee become involved in a story of intrigue and death. The continual repression during the Raj, and racial intolerance, resulting in threats of revolution, are woven throughout the fabric of the tale.

This complex and well written novel moved me to further explore the British colonial presence in India. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series.  


Review by L.C.M. 



Georgette Heyer Novels

An Introduction

The recent Netflix’s series, Bridgerton, set in Regency England, sent me on a mad dash to find my Georgette Heyer novels. Though she may not be a familiar name, Georgette Heyer essentially established the historical romance genre and subgenre of Regency romances. Her first novel, The Black Moth, published in 1921, was written for her younger brother, who suffered from a form of hemophilia.

I discovered Georgette Heyer as a teenager and though the author also wrote some contemporary detective fiction from the mid-1930’s onward, she is remembered for her successful Regency romances. Some favorites of mine: The Talisman Ring, Fredricka, The Nonsuch, These Old Shades and The Devil’s Cub. Inspired by Jane Austen’s “comedy of manners” novels, Georgette Heyer did meticulous research on the Regency period.

Using vocabulary and phraseology of the time, these novels are fun first-rate Regency romance literature – or as a character in Heyer’s novel might say, “Of the first stare.” I love the language! What rich imagery it conjures calling someone a “a clodpole” or “a dirty dish.”

In the future, I will review a few of the above titles. Until then, why not try them yourselves?


Review by Gwendolyn Van Hout Knechtel



Cover Oranges and Lemons

Oranges and lemons

by Christopher Fowler

   Detectives, Bryant and May are at it again in another complex, and amazing mystery. Fowler’s tales can be a bit bloody but they’re also witty and fun. Fortunately, his imagination and knowledge of London, past and present, knows no bounds.  I’ve been hooked since the beginning of the series. Because the author can tweak the mind with historical and juicy tidbits, that one could easily miss, and since the plots are delightfully quirky, I am looking forward to a reread of all their adventures.  

     This novel becomes complex and more mystifying when a killer explains how and why they’ve become proficient at murder. Interspersed with the continuing killer’s reflections, excerpts from Bryant’s “Peculiar London’ and the walking tour guide”, and amusing vignettes involving Peter Land, director ‘extraordinaire’, the tale commences with Part One, The Bells of St. Clement’s. Then there is more ringing of the bells, bells, bells.  

     We are further intrigued by a crushing moment when Michael Claremont “the nations upholder of procedural civility in Parliament” has a van’s load of oranges and lemons spill on him. Fortunately, he is not killed. However, later victims are not so lucky. 

     The Peculiar Crimes Unit, (PCU), eventually flex their collective muscle; even though being de-mobbed and their building is literally being torn apart. In spite of the chaos, the members of the PCU prove again they’re an unforgettable team. You’re in for fun, humor and a great read. The only caveat being, that as in life, nothing is quite what it seems.                                        

Review by L.C.M.