Hello, Book Lovers!

 

Just like the previous episode, I’ve been saving the books up in piles on the floor in my office from shopping trips between October 2019 and March 2020, when my physical book buying ban began. Since then, I’ve fallen off the bandwagon and “forgot” about my book buying ban. As the title suggests, all the books in this haul feature female amateur sleuths who are amateurs and are not professional Detectives or police officers. For the sake of clarity, I do not include characters like Eve Dallas from the In Death Series.

 

And, I’ve managed to stop myself from reading these books before I haul them for you.

 

Mystery and Thriller Novel Related News

This next mystery related piece of entertainment is not necessarily new, but it’s new to me. The other day I downloaded Clue or Cluedo, depending upon where you are in the world, on my Nintendo Switch Lite. Cluedo for Switch is great as a single-player vs the AI but not so great on the two-player mode, especially if the second player has not purchased the game. My husband and I tried the two-player version and played it together on my Switch Lite. However, in the end, he ended up purchasing the base game for Cluedo at £14.99 and upgrading the game by purchasing the VIP pass for an extra £9.99 to get other variations. At present, I’m loving this more than animal crossing, but I have recently recent my island and got my dream scenario on the first try.

 

A Quick Disclaimer

All of the books in this haul were purchased with my own money and not gifted to me by publishers, publicists, or agents. And, all opinions are my own. The book descriptions read in this haul were sourced from Amazon by my virtual assistant.

Book #1 – Secrets at St Bride’s by Debbie Young

The first book in this haul is Secrets at St Bride’s by Debbie Young*. This book is the first novel in the staffroom at St Bride’s series. I purchased this novel because it was written by an independently published author, and it’s in a genre I love. And, the cover art is beautiful. On top of that, It’s a cozy mystery. Secrets at St Bride’s was Shortlisted for The Selfies Award in 2020. For those of you who are not aware, The Selfies Award is given to the best independently published adult fiction in the UK.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

When Gemma Lamb takes a job at a quirky English girls’ boarding school, she believes she’s found the perfect escape route from her controlling boyfriend – until she discovers the rest of the staff are hiding sinister secrets. Even McPhee, the school cat, is leading a double life. Tucked away in the school’s beautiful private estate in the Cotswolds, can Gemma stay safe and build a new independent future? With a little help from her new friends, including some worldly-wise pupils, she’s going to give it her best shot…

 

Perfect for anyone who grew up hooked on Chalet School, Malory Towers, St Clare’s and other classic school stories.

 

Book #2 – The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox by Claire Gradidge

The next novel in this haul is a historical mystery called The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox by Claire Gradidge*. I purchased this novel in my local WH Smith, thinking this was a part of another series, but it’s by a different author. Honestly, I thought this book was a part of The Mitford Murders series, and as you can see by the cover art, it has a very similar cover design to that series. Obviously, the publishers are trying to market this book to those readers; and, it’s clearly worked. But, I can’t complain too much because I purchased this novel at half price for £3.99. By the way, The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox is a debut novel.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

Jo arrives the day after the Luftwaffe have bombed the town. The local pub, The Cricketers’ Arms, has been completely destroyed, and rescue teams are searching for the remains of the seven people known to have been in the pub at the time the bomb hit. They are shocked, however, to uncover eight bodies, not seven.

 

The eighth, unidentified, body is that of a teenage girl, whom no one in the town claims to know. Who is she, how did she get there, but most importantly – who killed her?

 

Teaming up with a local coroner and old friend, Bram Nash, Jo sets out to establish the identity of the girl and solve the riddle of her death.
In doing so, she also uncovers her own personal mystery.

 

Book #3 – Resort to Murder by TP Fielden

Resort to Murder* is the second Book in the Miss Dimont Mystery series. The protagonist, Miss Dimont, is the reporter for the local rag, the Riviera Express. And that’s what lured me into the series, along with the cover design. I love this vector image or illustration style of cover, which is typical of the cozy mystery genre. Another reason why I purchased this book is that I already have book one on my shelf.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

Death stalks the beaches of Devon. With its pale, aquamarine waters and golden sands, the shoreline at Temple Regis was a sight to behold. But when an unidentifiable body is found there one morning, the most beautiful beach in Devon is turned into a crime scene.

 

For Miss Dimont – ferocious defender of free speech, champion of the truth and ace newspaperwoman for The Riviera Express – this is a case of paramount interest and the perfect introduction for her young new recruit, Valentine Waterford. Even if their meddling is to the immense irritation of local copper Inspector Topham…

 

Soon Miss Dimont and Valentine are deep in the investigation – why can nobody identify the body, and why does Topham suspect murder? And when a second death occurs, can the two possibly be connected?

 

Book #4 – A Quarter Past Dead by TP Fielden

The next book in the haul is A Quarter Past Dead*, which is the third Book in the Miss Dimont Mystery series.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

 

Murder can strike at any hour…

 

It’s the late 1950s in tranquil Temple Regis, Devon. For holidaymakers, it’s a glorious time of breathtaking scenery, picnics on beaches, and flocks of tourists on their summertime holidays.

 

But for Miss Judy Dimont, this is all a trifle dull. As a reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express, she needs scandal and intrigue – and one morning, as the clock strikes the quarter-hour, she gets it.

 

A woman has been shot dead in one of Buntorama’s upmarket holiday huts, the toffee-nosed rival hotelier next door is rubbing his hands with glee, and Judy and her trusty moped, Herbert, are off like a shot to survey the scene of the crime. But nobody can tell her who the dead girl is, and there’s no clear motive.

 

To have a story to write, Judy must solve the case – and the intrepid Miss Dimont will leave no pebble unturned until the truth is out!

 

Book #5 – Blood of an Englishman by M. C. Beaton

While roaming around St Pancras before the lockdown back at the end of 2019, I purchased Blood of an Englishman by M. C. Beaton* at a book store called Hatchards. For those of you who are not aware, the investment fund Elliot Advisors who owns Waterstones and Hatchards has acquired Barnes and Nobel. Back to the haul, this book is the twenty-fifth book in the Agatha Raisin series.

 

My love for this series has reached a point where if I see a story in the series, and I love the title, then it’ll end up in my shopping cart. I can’t help myself. In the next episode of The Book Nerd Podcast, I will discuss the Agatha Raisin novels vs the television series.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

Even though Agatha Raisin loathes Christmas panto, her friend Mrs Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, has persuaded her to support the local am-dram society in their festive offering. Stifling a yawn at the production of Babes in the Wood, Agatha watches the baker playing an ogre strut and threaten on stage until a trapdoor opens… followed by a scream and silence!

 

Surely this wasn’t the way the scene was rehearsed? When it turns out the local baker had been murdered most horribly, Agatha puts her team of detectives on the case.

 

And they soon discover more feuds and temperamental behaviour in amateur dramatics than in a professional stage show – and face more and more danger as Agatha and her team get too close to the killer…

 

Book #6 – Agatha Raisin: Dishing the Dirt by M.C. Beaton

Dishing the Dirt by M. C. Beaton* is Book 26 in the Agatha Raisin series. What prompted me to purchase this was the title. I didn’t even read the blurb.

 

In saying that, here’s a bit about the book:

 

A therapist had moved into the village of Carsely, and Agatha Raisin hates her. Not only was this therapist, Jill Davent, romancing Agatha’s ex-husband, but she had dug up details of Agatha’s slum background. Added to that, Jill was counselling a woman called Gwen Simple from Winter Parva, and Agatha firmly believed Gwen to have assisted her son in some grisly murders. However, Agatha has no proof that Gwen had done so.

 

A resentment is different from a dislike and needs to be shared, so as the friendship between James and Jill grows stronger, the more Agatha does to try to find out all she can about her.

 

When Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days later, Agatha finds herself under suspicion – and must fight to clear her name.

 

Book #7 – Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton

Next is Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer by M. C. Beaton*. This book is the twenty-ninth instalment in the series.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

The idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna is best known for the medieval church of St. Ethelred and its bells, which are the pride and glory of the whole community. As the bell-ringers get ready for the visit of the dashing Bishop Peter Salver-Hinkley, the whole village is thrown into a frenzy.

 

Meanwhile, Agatha convinces one of the bellringers, the charming lawyer Julian Brody, to hire her to investigate the mystery of the Bishop’s ex-fiancée: a local heiress, Jennifer Toynby, who went missing years ago and whose body was never found…

 

Meanwhile, the bodies in the village just keep on piling up: the corpse of Larry Jensen, a local policeman, is discovered in the crypt. Millicent Dupin, one of a pair of bell-ringing identical twins, is murdered near the church. And Terry Fletcher, a journalist and (briefly) Agatha’s lover, is found dead in her sitting room! Agatha widens her investigation, and very soon, her main suspect is the handsome Bishop himself.

 

But could he really be behind this series of violent killings, or is it someone who wants to bring him—and his reputation—down?

 

Book #8 – Beating About the Bush by M. C. Beaton

As you’ve probably guessed, the next book in the series is Beating About the Bush by M. C. Beaton*. I promise this is the last Agatha Raisin novel in this haul. This thirtieth instalment in the series was purchased in hardback from at Hatchards in St Pancras. Honestly, I love hardback novels. They look so beautiful, and this one is no exception. And, just for those of you who are curious, I purchased these four books on the same day.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems. The factory mystery soon turns to murder, and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity before bringing her ridicule and shame.

 

To add to her woes, Agatha finds herself grappling with growing feelings for her friend and occasional lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Then, as a possible solution to the factory murder unfolds, her own life is thrown into deadly peril.

 

Will Agatha get her man at last? Or will the killer get her first?

 

Book #9 – Sail Away by Celia Imrie

Sail Away by Celia Imrie* is a stand-alone women’s detective fiction novel. Judging by the reviews, I think some readers expected women’s fiction or a light-hearted read. And thus, these sentiments were reflected in their rating of the book on Amazon. I believe this occurred because the author writes “women’s fiction”, and her stand-alone novels are either humorous women’s fiction or sit within the cozy mystery genre. Based on the blurb at the back of the book, the story feels a bit cozy to me, but I’ll soon find out.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

The phone hasn’t rung for months. Suzy Marshall is discovering that work can be sluggish for an actress over sixty–even for the star of a wildly popular 1980s TV series. So when her agent offers her the plum role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest in Zurich, it seems like a godsend. Until that is, the play is abruptly cancelled under suspicious circumstances, and Suzy is forced to take a job on a cruise ship to get home.

 

Meanwhile, Amanda Herbert finds herself homeless in rainy Clapham. The purchase of her new apartment has fallen through, and her children are absorbed in their own dramas. Then she spots an advertisement for an Atlantic cruise and realises that a few weeks onboard would tide her over and save her money until her housing situation is resolved.

 

As the two women set sail on a new adventure, neither can possibly predict the questionable characters and strange dealings they will encounter nor the unexpected rewards they will reap.

 

Vividly evoking the old-world glamour of a cruise ship–and the complex politics of its staff quarters–Sail Away is at once a hilarious romp and a thrilling adventure.

 

Book #10 – Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes

Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellows* is the second book in The Mitford Murders Mystery series. And you can find this novel and series in the historical mystery genre. Since I purchased the book, it was renamed to ‘The Mitford Affair.’ This new name is more appropriate for the series than the original name.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

As the glamour of the Bright Young Things crashes into the world of the Mitford sisters, their maid Louisa Cannon finds herself at the scene of a gripping murder mystery.

 

Meet the Bright Young Things, the rabble-rousing hedonists of the 1920s whose treasure hunts were a media obsession. One such game takes place at the 18th birthday party of Pamela Mitford but ends in tragedy as cruel, charismatic Adrian Curtis is pushed to his death from the church neighbouring the Mitford home. The police quickly identify the killer as a maid, Dulcie.

 

But Louisa Cannon, chaperone to the Mitford girls and a former criminal herself, believes Dulcie to be innocent and sets out to clear the girl’s name . . . all while the real killer may only be steps away.

 

Book #11 – The Mitford Scandal by Jessica Fellowes

The last book in this haul is The Mitford Scandal by Jessica Fellows*. And, it’s the third novel in The Mitford Murders Mystery Series. Just like the other two books, this novel is a historical mystery set in the 1920s.

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

The year is 1928, and after the death of a maid at a glamorous society party, fortune heir Bryan Guinness seizes life and proposes to eighteen-year-old Diana, the most beautiful of the six Mitford sisters. The maid’s death is ruled an accident, and the newlyweds put it behind them to begin a whirlwind life zipping between London’s Mayfair, chic Paris and hedonistic Berlin. Accompanying Diana as her lady’s maid is Louisa Cannon, as well as a coterie of friends, family and hangers-on, from Nancy Mitford to Evelyn Waugh.

 

When a second victim is found in Paris three years later, Louisa begins to see links with the death of the maid. Now she must convince the Mitford sisters that a murderer could be within their midst . . . all while shadows darken across Europe, and within the heart of Diana Mitford herself.

 

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this female amateur sleuths book haul. If you like listening to book haul’s, I have others just like this. I’ll list these episodes in the show notes in your favourite podcasting app and on the blog post. As always, I have an important question for you. Do you like book hauls devoted to an entire sub-genre or category? 

 

I want to hear from you.

 

Let me know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below or under the post over in the The Book Nerd Reader Club Facebook Group.

 

Thank you for listening and happy reading, everybody.

 

Amelia xx

 

* DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. The commission helps support the blog and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for your support. 🙂

Amelia D. Hay
Amelia D. Hay

I’m Amelia. I write mystery and thriller novels under the pen name A. D. Hay and I’m the author of Missing the first book in the James Lalonde series. I’m the host of the Book Nerd Podcast and The Authorpreneur Podcast. Right now, I’m editing my soon to be published mystery novels, The Candidate, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity. When I’m not writing, hosting my podcasts or coaching aspiring authors, I love to travel around Europe with my Husband Roland, drink tea, and eat pizza.

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