The Museum Murder by Katie Gayle

Thanks to Sarah Hardy of Bookouture Books-on-Tour for the invitation to read and review the second book in the Epiphany Bloom mystery series. Regular readers of my blog may remember that I reviewed The Kensington Kidnap in December 2021 (see review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/12/04/the-kensington-kidnap-by-katie-gayle/). This book was published in the UK yesterday by Bookouture, who kindly supplied a digital review copy for me to read and review.

Synopsis:

Epiphany ‘Pip’ Bloom, would-be detective and London’s unluckiest woman, finds herself in a real costume drama when she unearths a theft at a fashion museum.

The missing dress is a proper piece of Hollywood history, worth a fortune. And as Pip investigates, she finds the museum staff all had reasons to want the garment gone. From fancy boutiques to sketchy back alleys, Pip discovers the fashion world is not all glitz and glamour as she hunts down her prize.

As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Pip also has her growing feelings for her housemate Tim to contend with, a family of cats to feed and her mother keeps phoning about a shipment of llamas arriving any day now from South America.

But there’s no time for distractions because Pip’s not the only one after the dress. And for the most dedicated collectors, a piece like this is worth any price – even murder…

A laugh-out-loud, light-hearted cozy mystery for fans of M.C. Beaton, T.E. Kinsey and Joanne Fluke, that will have you reading late into the night.

My thoughts:

After over two months in lockdown in the winter in the UK, it was good to meet Pip again. When we left her at the end of The Kensington Kidnap, she was working for Boston Investigations. However, in true Pip style, she is now looking for another job so that she can pay her rent and continue living with her flatmate Tim.

As the synopsis above mentions, this time Pip finds herself looking for a missing iconic dress with a number of suspects to chat to and a suspicious death. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is a cosy mystery with comedy moments, as we hear from Pip’s mother and find out more about why Pip has been asked to leave previous jobs.

Pip’s sister makes a reappearance, with her mixed up phrases, as do other characters from the Kensington Kidnap. However it would be possible to read this without reading book one because they are separate mysteries.

This book was a fun read, escapism from the real world and we all need that at the moment. Happy to recommend to all fans of cosy mysteries and amateur detective novels. Available in ebook and paperback formats now.

Author Bio:

Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.

https://www.facebook.com/KatieGayleWriter
https://twitter.com/KatieGayleBooks

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3chaM1l

Apple: https://apple.co/3qzldlV

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3mTY1MV

Google: https://bit.ly/33QqdsO

The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper

I’m pleased to share my review for The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper which will be published by Manilla Press in the UK tomorrow. Thank you to the publisher, Zaffre Books and Reader’s First for a copy of the book. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes wilt under the California sun.

At some point during the long, long afternoon Joyce Haney, a seemingly happy housewife and mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind only two terrified young children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

With the stifling heat of Tangerine and the gripping pace of Little Deaths, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and, ultimately, underestimated.

My thoughts:

This was a book of many genres, including a mystery (Joyce is missing), racial history (the treatment of Ruby and her family) and social history (the stay at home because your husband told you to era). I must admit that when I first started the book I wasn’t sure about whether I was going to enjoy it, but quickly I was drawn into the world of Sunnylakes, California where women didn’t appear to have a voice and I didn’t want to put it down.

Mick (Detective Blanke) has moved to California to escape the furore that his affair with a woman linked to one of his cases caused. He meets Ruby Wright for the first time at the police station when she was arrested after the disappearance of her employer, Joyce Haney. Mick and Ruby were the stand out characters for me in this book, neither fit in with the Sunnylakes residents but both were determined to find out the truth about Joyce.

The story moves along at a cracking pace, with the occasional chapter heading back in time to allow Joyce to fill us in on what happened on the day she suddenly vanished. The book is full of flawed characters, many of whom are pretending to be someone they aspire to, rather than celebrating their own unique personalities and interests. I will never be able to look at a pot of geraniums in the same way, after reading this.

I’m used to reading about how the UK, where I was born and still live, is full of class divisions. However, this book suggests that California was as bad, or even worse in 1959. Life was very different in 1959 to 2021 in terms of sexism and racism.

The investigations into Joyce’s disappearance lead to a number of suspects and I must admit I kept changing my mind, due to the excellent suspense created by Inga Vesper. This is a no spoiler review, so I won’t be giving clues about what happened to Joyce. However I would like Miss Ruby Wright to have her own series of books, she was my favourite book character of January 2021.

This is an impressive debut novel, full of twists and turns and would be perfect for lounging by the pool on a summer holiday. I’m looking forward to reading more by Inga Vesper in the future and I’m happy to recommend this book to readers of my blog.

The Kensington Kidnap by Katie Gayle

I’m pleased to share my thoughts about this new novel being published by Bookouture. Thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me to join

Synopsis:

A missing teenager, a mysterious cult and a case of mistaken identity – just another day’s work for Epiphany Bloom.

Epiphany ‘Pip’ Bloom is down on her luck. She can barely afford cat food, and just because Most has three legs doesn’t mean he eats any less. So she absolutely can’t afford to mess up her latest temp job. But when she walks through the door of the private investigation firm, her new boss mistakes her for a missing persons expert. He then charges her with finding Matty Price – the teenage son of two A-list celebrities – who has mysteriously disappeared from his home in Kensington.

It ought to be a disaster, but Pip reckons it’s actually an opportunity. She’s always been curious (nosy, her mother calls it) and has an uncanny knack for being at the wrong place at the right time (she doesn’t want to know what her mother thinks of that). After years of trying to find something she’s good at, has Pip managed to walk straight into the job she was born to do?

She owes it to herself and poor missing Matty to find out.

But searching for Matty takes Pip into the strange, intimidating world of the rich and famous. And it soon becomes clear that some of these people’s love for themselves doesn’t extend to their fellow humans.

As Pip investigates further, she realises the question isn’t whether Matty ran away – it’s whether she will find him alive and make it home safely herself…

An absolutely brilliant, light-hearted cozy mystery for fans of M.C. Beaton, T E Kinsey, Lauren Elliott and Joanne Fluke, featuring an irresistible new heroine.

My thoughts:

Having read the synopsis to the book, I hoped the book would live up to the ‘hype’. I’m thrilled to say it does because Pip is a fun character, with a heart of gold but also she is a magnet for disasters. All the way through the story, we find out why she never holds job down for very long. I loved the way these ‘excuses’ were subtly dropped into the story, and they made this reader smile.

I’m hoping this will be the first of a series. Pip has been given the job to find a missing teenager due to a mix up, and she is determined to solve the case. With the help of her gorgeous landlord, her parenting blogger sister and some new friends, she starts to work out where Matty may be hiding or being held.

This story flowed so well, as Pip got herself further into the investigations and discovers that she isn’t the only person pretending to be someone else. I’m thrilled to have discovered another new fantastic author to follow in 2020, and look forward to reading more in the future.

Author Bio:

Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet. 


https://twitter.com/KatieGayleBooks

Buy Links:Amazon: https://bit.ly/396HfGh

Apple: https://apple.co/33eKAi1

Kobo: https://bit.ly/35pAIF0

Google: https://bit.ly/2FobH1R