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Dead Wicked, By Helen H. Durrant


Dead Wicked book cover

The 10th book in the Calladine and Bayliss series, Dead Wicked sees the two lead detectives re-evaluating their personal and professional lives. Calladine has been acting DCI but doesn’t want to be stuck behind a desk so requests to return to his usual role. Bayliss’s partner walks out on her and their son but she instantly starts up a relationship with new member of the forensic team.
The case is nasty: drugs, murder, blackmail and ransomware. One of the main suspects is newly released from prison after a crime involving Calladine’s cousin. The new murders are in the same method as the old case. Can Calladine stop the killer before his own mother becomes the next victim…?
Calladine and Bayliss are very human and their personal issues bring a relatable and natural tone to the book. The arrival of a new DCI, Greco from one of Durrant’s other series, brings a new professional dynamic to the police team.
The murders are grisly and the computer hacking makes the book bang up to date. I have only read Dead Guilty (book 9 in the series) so am unsure if the historic crimes are ones that have been dealt with in earlier books.
I absolutely loved this book until the final chapter and epilogue which I felt needed a little more exploration of the motive and interrogation of the killer, but this didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment. It was a quick read as I literally couldn’t put it down! The action was fast paced, the momentum kept up with the short chapters and I was completely engrossed in the plot. I can’t wait for more of this series!


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DEAD WICKED (Calladine & Bayliss #10) by Helen H Durrant
Looking for a brilliant best-selling crime mystery with great detectives?
The first victim is found on waste ground. His tongue has been cut out and stuffed down his throat.
Then another body is found dumped in a lake up in the hills. The same gruesome murder method is used.
And guess who the detectives’ new boss is? The incredibly difficult Stephen Greco.
Meanwhile Ruth Bayliss’s personal life is falling part and someone is targeting local businesses with ransomware.
The prime suspect is a criminal Calladine thought he’d seen the last of.
Discover an absolutely unputdownable crime thriller from a best-selling author.
If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.
DEAD WICKED is book ten of a new series of detective thrillers featuring D.S. Ruth Bayliss and D.I. Tom Calladine.
What readers are saying about the series
“I read it in one sitting.” Aileen
“This books has lots of twists and turns throughout and with a cracking ending to this brilliant book.” Nessa
“Really enjoyed this book.” Nerys
“Kept me guessing till the end.” Anna Maria
“I finished it in twenty-four hours and enjoyed every page.” Joan
Tom Calladine is a detective inspector who is devoted to his job. His personal life, however, is not so successful. Having been married and divorced before the age of twenty-one has set a pattern that he finds difficult to escape.
Ruth Bayliss is in her mid-thirties, plain-speaking but loyal. She is balancing her professional life with looking after a small child.
The fictional village of Leesdon is on the outskirts of an industrial northern English city. There is little work and a lot of crime. The bane of Calladine’s life is the Hobfield housing estate, breeding ground to all that is wrong with the area that he calls home.


author Helen H Durrant

Helen is one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation and began writing when she retired from her job at a local college. Born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish the family settled in a Pennine village between the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. It is an environment which has shaped her stories.  Writing is a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps her busy, and tuned in.
Helen has grown-up family and five grandchildren.
Twitter: @hhdurrant
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/helenhdurrant/about/?ref=page_internal


#StayClassyMama 90

Hello and welcome to the #StayClassyMama linky.
Urrrgghhh plodding onwards towards the summer holidays where things will be…oh, exactly the same as the last 15/16 weeks (can’t keep track!) I hope you are all still staying healthy and safe! Thank you for joining us as we try to maintain some normality during this strange year!
I am thrilled to be joined by new regular hosts, Karen from Cats, Kids, Chaos and Sophie from Mummy of a Square Peg! And we have a new badge for 2020, please make sure you update it on your blog! Sorry but your link will be deleted if it does not have a badge or backlink.
Have you any parenting hacks, recipes or gift ideas to link up with us?
Please have a read of the rules and make sure you have our badge on your post or page. If you didn’t have any comments last week then it is because you did not have a badge or link to one of the hosts 🙁

Let your blogging friends know about the link up and encourage them to join us!


  • Add 1 or 2 posts (old or new), any topics welcome but a focus on the highs and lows of parenting is preferable: what meals and recipes have worked or not? what new toys have you discovered? where have you taken the kids this week? have you done a craft and got glitter everywhere? what gorgeous item of clothing is covered in snot?
  • The linky will open at 7am on a Thursday and close at 11pm on a Friday
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Death at the Dance, by Verity Bright


Death at the Dance book cover


Lady Eleanor Swift is still trying to fit in to her new role as the lady of the manor. She attends a masked dance, trips over her dress and discovers a jewel theft and murder. The chief suspect is her love interest Lancelot but can she clear his name and find the real thief and killer…?
Death at the Dance is a light hearted murder mystery set in the 1920s so it has a classical Agatha Christie feel. It is the sequel to A Very English Murder but would work as a stand alone novel.
The characters really pull the plot along and I admit that I had almost lost interest in the plot itself as it is quite slow to develop, and we have little personal knowledge of the theft or murder except for their impact on the lead characters so it stays in the background. The murder victim is not someone we care about an the subsequent investigation does not invoke our sympathy for his untimely death. I felt that there could have been more inquiry into the jewel thefts to make this more prominent.
The gender, class and social distinctions are entertaining to read and make for interesting characters dynamics. The relationship and witty conversation between Eleanor and Clifford is simply divine. The subtlety and sarcasm in their exchanges is funny and has a natural feel which lifts the quality of the book. I really enjoyed the subversion of the usual role stereotypes and the obvious affection they have for each other.
The love triangle between Eleanor, Lancelot and Inspector Seldon adds an extra dimension and subplot. Eleanor’s surveillance of Lancelot’s friends allows us to witness another dimension to 1920s society: the sense of entitlement and ebullience of the upper classes in the interwar years. Eleanor is rightly disdainful of the group’s behaviour and I like her even more for being confident in herself.
Overall, Death at the Dance was an enjoyable book. I hope that there will be more development of the relationship between Eleanor and Lancelot in the next book as it was tricky with him in a prison cell!

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Death at the Dance book description:
A masked ball, a dead body, a missing diamond necklace and a suspicious silver candlestick? Sounds like a case for Lady Eleanor Swift!
England, 1920. Lady Eleanor Swift, adventurer extraordinaire and reluctant amateur detective, is taking a break from sleuthing. She’s got much bigger problems: Eleanor has two left feet, nothing to wear and she’s expected at the masked ball at the local manor. Her new beau Lance Langham is the host, so she needs to dazzle.
Surrounded by partygoers with painted faces, pirates, priests and enough feathers to drown an ostrich, Eleanor searches for a familiar face. As she follows a familiar pair of long legs up a grand staircase, she’s sure she’s on Lance’s trail. But she opens the door on a dreadful scene: Lance standing over a dead Colonel Puddifoot, brandishing a silver candlestick, the family safe wide open and empty.
Moments later, the police burst in and arrest Lance for murder, diamond theft and a spate of similar burglaries. But Eleanor is convinced her love didn’t do it, and with him locked up in prison, she knows she needs to clear his name.
Something Lance lets slip about his pals convinces Eleanor the answer lies close to home. Accompanied by her faithful sidekick Gladstone the bulldog, she begins with Lance’s friends – a set of fast driving, even faster drinking, high-society types with a taste for mischief. But after they start getting picked off in circumstances that look a lot like murder, Eleanor is in a race against time to clear Lance’s name and avoid another brush with death…
Fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Downton Abbey will adore this tremendously fun cozy whodunnit, full of mystery, murder and intrigue!
Author Bio:
Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.
Twitter:  @BrightVerity
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/2YIyEEf



Easy apple turnovers

A taste of my childhood: apple turnovers! I haven’t has any apple turnovers in about 20 years as I have never found a gluten free version 🙁 Time to make some then!
I could have made my own pastry and filling (could I, really?!) but when there is an easy alternative, it seems silly not to use them!

apple turnovers

1 pack of puff pastry (mine in gluten free)
1 can apple pie filling
25 g caster sugar

ingredients for apple turnovers

Preheat the oven to 200F
Unroll the pastry and cut into squares.

unrolled pastry

Dollop a tablespoon of apple pie filling into one corner of each square.

filling and pastry

Fold up and try to seal the edges or crimp with your finger or a fork
Sprinkle a little caster sugar on each turnover.
uncooked apple turnovers
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

baked apple turnovers

Allow the apple turnovers to cool; they can be enjoyed warm or cold.


The Dead of Winter, by Jean Rabe

Less than an hour after her election as sheriff, Piper Blackwell has a frozen corpse as her first case. Conrad Delaney has been artfully arranged on the Christmas display at the front of his house and no one had noticed he’d been there for days. Shortly afterwards another local victim is found, also displayed like the cover of a Christmas card with a festive mug at the scene. Piper discovers the culprit purchased 11 cups: does that mean 11 victims…?
Piper has personal issues as her father, the previous sheriff, has cancer. She has returned from the army to care for him and uses her knowledge from the military police to tackle her first civilian case. She has a tough act to follow and her new colleagues are not happy at the prospect of a young and inexperienced woman being in charge.
The third person narrative used inThe Dead of Winter allows us to see the police characters as well as the Christmas Card Killer perspectives. Piper develops in confidence over the course of the book and she is a likeable lead especially in the face of the resentment at work and the sadness in her private life.
There is some forensic detail alongside the police procedure, investigation and interrogations. This is a little stomach churning but delivered factually so is not overly unpleasant. However, the victims all seem like nice people which makes the revulsion at their murders more intense.
The small town setting and the Christmas elements of the book make it feel believable and realistic although I admit that the motive of the killer felt slightly extreme. The humanity and natural emotional instincts of the characters is really well written so that readers can identify with their actions.
I look forward to seeing how Piper moves forward from the dramatic climax of The Dead of Winter and will be reviewing the next in the series later this week…

The Dead of Winter book cover

The Dead of Winter book blurb
In a deceptively peaceful county, a murderer hides in plain sight…
Fifty-eight minutes into her first day on the job, twenty-three-year-old Sheriff Piper Blackwell is faced with a grisly murder—the victim artfully posed amid decorations on his lawn. Drawing on former military training, Piper must prove herself worthy of the sheriff’s badge, and that won’t be easy.
Chief Deputy Oren Rosenberg, Piper’s opponent in the recent election, doesn’t like her and wants her to fail. She doesn’t like him either, but she needs Oren to help catch the killer before another victim is discovered. Too late!
As Piper leads the manhunt, another crisis hits close to home. Her father, the previous sheriff, is fighting for his life, and she is torn between family and duty. Facing personal and professional threats, Piper has to weather a raging storm, keep the sheriff’s department from crumbling around her, and reel in a killer during the most brutal winter sleepy Spencer County, Indiana, has experienced.

author Jean Rabe

About the author
USA TODAY Bestselling author Jean Rabe tosses tennis balls to her cadre of dogs when she isn’t writing. She has three dozen novels and about a hundred short stories to her credit. Jean lives in a tiny town surrounded by railroad tracks, the trains providing music to type by. She loves role playing games, board games, card games, visiting museums, playing fantasy football, watching football games, and loves dogs.