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Felonious Ink, Our Blog

Review: Blotto, Twinks and the Bootlegger’s Moll

We just had to share this fabulous review of Blotto, Twinks and the Bootlegger’s Moll, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of Suspense Magazine:

Author Simon Brett should be congratulated, because this book #4, is even more entertaining and engaging than all the Blotto & Twinks that have come before.

This time out, the Dowager Duchess of the family has decided that the only way to take care of the hardships at Tawcester Towers, including finding a way to get money in order to keep the place up, is to marry off her younger son, the Honourable Devereux Lyminster (commonly known as Blotto), to a super-rich American.


Booklist Review, Past and Other Lies

From this month’s issue of Booklist, a review of Maggie Joel’s The Past and Other Lies:

Lies and secrets of the life-altering sort mark the lives of three pairs of sisters in successive generations. Although the narrative moves about chronologically between the 1920s, 1940s, 1980s, and the present, the pattern is established with Bertha and Jemima Flaxheed and betrayals that culminate in a death during England’s general strike of 1926. Bertha’s daughters, Caroline and Dierdre, reach maturity during WWII, when family secrets previously only hinted at are revealed during the bombing of London. In 1981 Dierdre’s daughters, Jennifer and Charlotte, keep a suicide attempt secret for decades until revealing it in an all-too-public manner. Here, in her first novel, Joel focuses more on the why of events than the facts that define them, a tactic used successfully in her second novel, The Second-Last Woman in England. But in her debut, momentum occasionally flags, and questions remain, except in the account of the Flaxheed sisters, which is drawn to a highly satisfactory conclusion. With this track record, Joel’s third novel should be highly anticipated.

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Review of The Second-Last Woman in England

From City Book Review, a new review of Maggie Joel’s The Second-Last Woman in England:

“It starts as a devastatingly accurate recreation of life in the upper reaches of British society in 1952-3, nicely capturing the paper-thin hypocrisy of those in positions of influence. It also skewers the class divide between the wealthy and those employed as servants. Although the life of service was withering after the end of the war, some were still forced into the work, finding little thanks and even less pay for their trouble. So this novel takes a snapshot of two families, one wealthy, the other poor, and explains why a wife should pick up her husband’s gun and shoot him dead in front of a room full of witnesses. What terrible thing did the husband do to deserve such an end? The answer is a fascinating commentary on the times.”

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Ghost Song, by Sarah Rayne

Curl Up with Ghost Song

A review of Sarah Rayne’s Ghost Song from the e-zine Curled Up with a Good Book:

“Ghost Song will scare you, titillate you, and keep you turning pages until you find out exactly what happens to Toby Chance, a successful songwriter who eerily disappears in 1914. He is inextricably connected to the Tarleton Music Hall, the ‘ugliest building Robert Fallon had ever seen.’ Dark shadows lie down every corridor, and just as many mysterious characters … a delightful read.”

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Herrings on the Nile, by L.C. Tyler

Denver Post: L.C. Tyler’s Herring on the Nile “seriously funny”

A review of LC Tyler’s Herring on the Nile by Tom Schantz of the The Denver Post:

“The antihero of LC Tyler’s four-book Edgar-nominated series puts pen to paper only when the bill collectors gather. …. But bills must be paid, so he hits upon the idea of taking a cruise down the Nile to spark his less-than-fertile imagination. After all, it worked for Agatha Christie. Once again Elsie, his faithful agent, accompanies him and it doesn’t take long before Ethelred (the most unready of all writers) finds himself dealing with a very real murder. It’s an affectionate send-up of the genre by a writer who, unlike Ethelred, is adept at turning a phrase and planting a clue. It may not be a serious mystery but it is seriously funny.”

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Cleveland Plain Dealer: Second-Last Woman in England “compulsively readable”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reviews Maggie Joel’s The Second-Last Woman in England and finds it “compulsively readable”:

“It’s not as if we aren’t warned – by page 3 of the prologue, we learn that on Coronation Day in London of June 1953, Harriet Wallis will shoot to death her husband, Cecil. The next 331 pages explain in grim, compulsively readable detail, what leads up to this event, making Harriet the “second-last” woman to be hanged in England. The upper-middle class Wallises, their strange children, a relative and a nanny with a secret will all figure in this story, and it’s a tribute to the author that we keep reading, knowing what a sad ending awaits.

Review here


Harriet Klausner Reviews The Second-Last Woman in England

A review of Maggie Joel’s The Second-Last Woman in England By Harriet Klausner of The Mystery Gazette:

“In May 1953, Great Britain is filled with energy for the future as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth is coming. Mr. Cecil Condor Wallis watches the gala from his home in South Kensington on his new television set. Family and friends are there also; as he and his wife Harriet host a coronation party. At precisely the moment that the newly crowned ruler steps on balcony at Buckingham while the thousands at the scene sang God Save the Queen and many more watching on TV, Harriet shoots Cecil six times. … This is an enjoyable historical thriller that opens up with the murder followed by what led to the homicide. Harriet is like the rest of the country as life has begun to return to normal after the Depression and war, and the pending coronation brings fervor of renewal. Although the storyline never matches the opening psychological suspense, fans will enjoy reading this engaging tale wanting to know why.”

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The Second-Last Woman in England, by Maggie Joel

Library Journal reviews Second-Last Woman in England

Library Journal reviews Maggie Joel’s The Second-Last Woman in England in the voice of Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess Violet! (no, seriously):

“It all starts with the purchase of a console television, so it’s no surprise that things end badly. The television is to ensure that the Wallis family, their friends, and anointed neighbors can watch the coronation on June 2, 1953, of that Windsor girl in the ease of their comfortable South Kensington home. Just as the newly crowned queen steps out onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Mrs. Wallis fires six bullets into her husband and is duly tried and found guilty, becoming the second-to-last woman in England to be executed. Once the author has our attention, the story slowly and with totally convincing and elaborate detail portrays the pressure cooker that is that ‘ideal’ 1950s London home.”

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