I am absolutely thrilled to have added a new author to my bookshelf! I didn’t find out until the end that this was actually the third in the series of DI Sam Clayton books. It works perfectly as a standalone but now I am intrigued as to what I missed (off to hunt for them…)
A woman is discovered murdered, impaled by her cello. Other members of the orchestra are targeted and an accidental death in the recent past is revealed to be murder too.
Musical politics are at the centre of the case that Clayton and his team need to investigate. There is also a personal worry as Clayton’s girlfriend is in the choir associated with the orchestra…
Play Dead was an excellent police procedural novel. The police team is at the heart of the book and their investigation takes place before our eyes. There is humour and banter as you would expect from a team and this gives a degree of realism without the hierarchical tensions that are often rife in police books.
The police characters are well developed and author Anne Penketh has made Clayton is particularly easy to like. The suspects are all acting suspiciously so I had no idea who was responsible for the murders. All of the investigation loose ends are tied up by the end of the book whcih I personally find more satisfying than open ended novels.
There is plenty of scope for more books as Clayton’s personal life has unfinished threads and Norwich is a big place, lots of potential crimes!
Play Dead (Detective Sam Clayton #3) by Anne Penketh
A SLEEPY ENGLISH CITY IS ROCKED BY A SERIES OF MURDERS TARGETING MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL ORCHESTRA.
WHO IS KILLING OFF MUSICIANS WITH THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS?
Detective Inspector Sam Clayton is called in to investigate three victims with ties to the Norfolk Festival Orchestra.
Musician Kristina Manning is impaled by her cello spike.
The disgraced conductor is found with his head stuffed into a piano. He’s on the brink of death.
A trumpeter dies, poisoned by his mouthpiece.
Will Clayton’s new girlfriend, Melissa, a singer in the NFO, be next on the murderer’s list?
Is there a serial killer with a musical edge on the loose? And what does the disappearance of former orchestra member Lauren Garner have to do with it?
A MYSTERY WITH A STUNNING TWIST AND A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP A MURDER SPREE
PLAY DEAD is the third in a new series of page-turning crime thrillers set in an atmospheric part of Norfolk. Perfect for fans of LJ Ross, Mel Sherratt, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.
What readers are saying about ANNE PENKETH
“Five out of five stars!” Michelle K
“I had a hard job putting this one down as it had me fully engaged and wanting more.” Dawn J
“This book was brilliant from start to finish, it was totally gripping from the first page. I read this book in one sitting, it was so good I didn’t want to put it down.” Lynn G
“Great book to read on holiday with a satisfyingly twisting storyline.” CH
“A real page turner.” Barb D
“It had many twists which kept me guessing. I would never have worked out the ending.” Shamiela A
“Riveting read.” Penny B
“Sam Clayton is not your average hard-boiled detective. He has problems of his own as he sets out to find a serial killer.” Meg B
Detective Inspector Sam Clayton leads the investigation into the North Norfolk murders, joined the police straight from school as a beat bobby in Manchester before rising through the ranks of the CID. He was transferred to Norwich after being promoted to DI following a high-profile case investigated by Lancashire Constabulary.
Detective Sergeant Julie Everett is an intuitive officer who was promoted to detective sergeant from her home town of Ipswich where she had a background in child protection. She is discreet about her personal life among colleagues, particularly about the tragedy which haunts her. She has to deal with a high-pressure job while raising her child who moved with her to Norwich.
ALSO BY ANNE PENKETH
THE DI SAM CLAYTON SERIES
Book 1: MURDER ON THE MARSH
Book 2: THE BAD SISTER
Book 3: PLAY DEAD
Anne Penketh – Author Bio
I’m a Lancashire lass but for most of my career, I’ve been a foreign correspondent. I’ve reported from all over the world on some of the most cataclysmic events of our time, including the Egyptian revolution and the collapse of the Berlin wall.
While in London I was diplomatic editor of The Independent, but these days I’m based in Paris and concentrating on fiction writing. The third in a series of crime novels featuring Detective Inspector Sam Clayton, Play Dead, is out now. My first novel, Food Fight, was published in 2015.
I’ve reported from Paris mainly for The Independent and The Guardian, but I also contributed to France24 television and Monocle radio. As a freelancer, I’ve written for The New Zealand Herald and The National (Abu Dhabi), as well as the LA Times, the New York Times, the Radio Times, the Oldie, Monocle magazine, Quartz, and Spark News.
Between 2009 and 2012, I headed the Washington office of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), a trans-Atlantic NGO focused on nuclear disarmament.
During my ten-year stint on The Independent I was one of the few journalists to report from Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, I was a staff foreign correspondent with the French news agency, AFP, which posted me to Moscow during the incredible Gorbachev years. I also reported for AFP from France, and New York where I covered the United Nations.
I started my journalistic career in Canada, arriving with two suitcases to seek my fortune in Montreal, from where I reported for British newspapers before getting a job on the Montreal Gazette.
Before that, I was a postgraduate student at University College London whose French department nurtured my lifelong love of French literature and culture.
Cassie Gynne heads to Florida in 1883 following the death of her father. She meets her aunt in jail after an eventful arrival but this is just the beginning for the unconventional pair! Her aunt’s enemy is dicsovered dead at the bottom of a tower and Cassie is sure it is murder but regrets pressing for an investigation when her aunt becomes the prime suspect…
A Deception Most Deadly is an historical cosy murder mystery set in America in the 1880s.
Cassie and her aunt Flora are thoroughly modern women. Both are feisty and independent with a healthy splash of the eccentric as well. They find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation and Flore is quickly accused of being the prime suspect. Cassie begins her own search to clear her aunt’s name and uncovers awhole host of secrets and lies.
I found the pace of the plot varied with some patches where little happened, and others where the twists and turns occurred relentlessly fast. I was kept guessing as to the culprit and motive until the very end.
The tone of the book is gently humorous, witty rather than laugh out loud funny. However, there are some wonderful turns of phrase that the author uses that made me smile. There is an emotional side to the book as well as Cassie is dealing with her grief for her late father as well as having entanglements of the heart, but will she choose the right man…?
A Deception Most Deadly is quite a quirky book in terms of the style of writing as well as the lead characters.
A Deception Most Deadly: An utterly addictive historical cozy murder mystery (A Cassie Gwynne Mystery Book 1) by Genevieve Essig
Florida, 1883. Cassie Gwynne is looking for a fresh start when she steps off the steamship at Fernandina harbor for the first time. She’s trying hard to be a proper lady, for once. She’s styled her unruly hair, shined her boots, and even purchased a whole new fashionable (or at least fashionably priced) wardrobe. However, she’s certain finding a body is not very ladylike behavior…
While out exploring the beautiful island with her Aunt Flora, Cassie stumbles across the body of Peanut Runkles, town grump and her aunt’s neighbor, lying at the foot of the harbor pilots’ lookout tower. To make matters worse, because Peanut and Flora have been quarreling for years over everything from Flora’s eccentric ideas to her pet pig’s fondness for Peanut’s vegetable patch, Flora is immediately arrested for murder.
Desperate to save the only family she has left, Cassie vows to prove Flora’s innocence and untangle the mystery herself, no matter how much the surly local sheriff disapproves. Cassie’s brilliant mind and nose for a clue lead her on an investigation that takes her all around the island, and even earns her a valiant furry friend in Esy the kitten.
But how does the mysterious ledger Cassie finds hidden in a secret drawer in Peanut’s desk connect to the crime? Cassie is determined to dig up the truth, but can she catch the killer before her time on the island comes to a deadly end?
This warm and witty cozy mystery will transport you to the island city of Fernandina and introduce you to a feisty heroine far before her time! Perfect for fans of Verity Bright, T E Kinsey and Deanna Raybourn.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense I’d eventually try to be a writer. One need only examine my childhood, as any therapist will tell you, and look for the signs: On family vacations my poor mother, already on her last nerve as my father, the Botany Professor, drove us around winding mountain roads with one eye on the ground vegetation, constantly screamed at me to “stop reading and look at the scenery.” I assigned my books call numbers and insisted my friends “check them out” from my “library” (the fines for late returns were steep but, as it turned out, largely unenforceable). I wrote plays about forest fairies and figures from classical mythology and petitioned for special dispensation so I could stage them on the playground during lunch. My favorite school task was diagramming sentences.
So, when, many years later, I scaled back my other work to spend more time writing, no one really should have been surprised. Concerned for my sanity and financial well-being, maybe, but not surprised. And am I ever glad I did. I am truly blessed, and I make an effort every day to remember that.
What else… I’m half-Chinese and Florida-raised, Yale- and UVA- educated, and Chicago…buffed and polished? In any case, I now proudly call New Orleans home, and when I’m not writing or getting lost down research rabbit holes, I spend my time practicing law, shooting pool, performing operas and musicals, ogling old buildings, acting for film and television, futzing with inventions that address highly specific and possibly only-annoying-to-me problems, traveling, ranting at bartenders about the evils of straws, riding horses, and petting strange cats (though, since we’ve recently welcomed home a new kitten friend, Musette, I might need to cut back on that last).
DI Bernie Noel is called upon to investigate a violent sexual assault that left the victim for dead. Meanwhile she is struggling to deal with issues in her personal life as she approaches her 20 week pregnancy scan whilst her lover and fellow officer is suspended from work.
Left For Dead is the third book to feature Bernie and her team. I have previously reviewed the second book in the series: Broken Girls.
Bernie is a workaholic, completely dedicated to finding justice for the victims of crime. But her own wellbeing is at the forefront of her mind during this case as she is forced to slow down and rely more upon her team. Her case is revealed to be inextricably linked to that of her partner Anderson which gives her extra incentive to find the truth and reverse his suspension.
The plot pace is quite fast during the first half of the book, with many twists and turns. It then slowed down as the complexity becomes apparent. Professional politics come into play as various teams get involved in the angles of the case.
I enjoyed the merging of the personal and the professional throughout the book and think Bernie is a great lead character. She has both strength and vulnerability, giving others the opportunity to be themselves.
Left For Dead is an enjoyable police procedural novel and I look forward to seeing what life holds for Bernie next.
The detective stared at the young woman lying on the bed. She almost looked peaceful, her face like porcelain. Despite everything she had been through, she was still beautiful.
When DI Bernie Noel hurries to Keira Howard’s hospital bedside, she knows that Keira has been lucky. Barely conscious and badly injured, at least she is alive. Convinced that Keira’s attack is the latest in a string of increasingly violent assaults on young women in the area, the next victim might not be so fortunate. So she vows to find the man who did this, and to stop him before anyone else gets hurt.
Spurring her team into action, she quickly hones in on a prime suspect. But then he suddenly dies while on police watch, and Bernie’s investigation goes into freefall. When Bernie’s superiors won’t let her take the case any further, her gut instinct tells her there’s much more to his death than meets the eye. If it was murder, who would want him dead, and why? So she determines to set out on her own to find out what happened.
But the closer Bernie comes to discovering the truth, the more she is putting her own life in danger. And with Keira finally strong enough to talk her about her attack, Bernie worries she may be at risk yet again. There’s someone out there who has killed to stay safe in the shadows; can Bernie stop another senseless death, and save Keira, before it’s too late?
An utterly compelling crime thriller full of twists and suspense, perfect for fans of Val McDermid, Angela Marsons and Cara Hunter.
Joy Kluver has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. More recently she’s been escaping the madness of motherhood by turning her hand to crime novels. A book blogger, she’s also part of the First Monday Crime team and if you’ve been to any of their events it’s likely you’ve eaten one of her cookies. She also organises author talks for her local library. Joy lives in SW London with her husband and three children. ‘Last Seen’ is her debut novel and the first book in the DI Bernadette Noel series.
Joy is represented by Anne Williams at the Kate Horden Literary Agency.
Josie Quinn has been on leave since the death of her beloved grandmother Lisette. On the day before she is due to return to work, she finds a woman’s murdered body in the cemetery. The victim is the mother of a child killed in a bus crash and the driver is about to go on trial. Josie has the unpleasant task of investigating the lives of the other bereaved parents but they are in danger too…
Her Deadly Touch is the 12th book to feature Josie Quinn and her team. There are no spoilers about events in previous books except for the death of Lisette.
The grief described throughout the book is hugely emotional and made even more so by the author’s note at the end. Survivors’ guilt as well as the incessant ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ plays on the minds of many of the characters.
Josie has a vulnerability in this book that hasn’t been so apparent in previous books. Her inner strength that has got her through previous intense situations has been shaken by her guilt. She appears much more human in this book as her emotions take control, however she is still determined to catch the killer.
The plot kept me guessing until the very end. The range of suspects are all credible culprits as secrets unravel and more murders ensue. Picking apart the lives of the crash victims’ parents is tough work emotionally for Josie as she struggles with her own grief. There are plenty of twists and this allowed me to make lots of incorrect guesses about the killer and their motive.
Her Deadly Touch is an engaging and enthralling mystery although I was left with a feeling of overwhelming sadness (sign of a good writer when you care about the characters!)
The woman is kneeling at a gravestone, her hair blowing in the breeze, a bunch of wilting yellow daffodils on the grass beside her. Her eyes are fixed on the ground and her mouth is parted in a silent prayer. But the wax dripping from her cold blue lips means it’s already too late to save her…
On her first day back with the Denton PD after a major trauma, Detective Josie Quinn is on the hunt for a missing woman, Krystal Duncan, the mother of one of five children killed in a devastating school bus crash. Hours later, Josie finds Krystal’s body beside her daughter’s grave, her lips sealed together forever with wax.
Forensics match the wax to one of the candles lit in memory of the sweet little souls who died, giving Josie her first lead to a support group made up of the parents who lost children in the crash. Painstakingly dissecting the lives of these grieving couples, it’s clear to Josie that each of them is hiding something about the day of the accident—but whose secret is worth killing for?
The case takes an agonizing turn when the body of another young mother is found near the site of the bus crash. Someone connected to the accident is out for revenge. As the members of the support group are picked off one by one, every second counts for Josie to save the lives of these loving parents who have already suffered the loss of those they treasured most…
An absolutely gripping and totally unputdownable crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Be warned, this book will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.
Lisa Regan is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series. Lisa is a member of Sisters In Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S. with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.
Teenager Callum Young is missing and then his body is discovered, sparking a murder inquiry. DS Sara Hirst embarks on the investigation and is thrown into a web of drugs and lies. But who killed Callum and why…?
Into Deadly Storms is the second book by Judi Daykin to feature Sara and her team but it is the first that I have read, It works perfectly well as a stand alone novel and there were no spoilers about events or the case in the first book.
Sara Hirst’s character has lots of potential but I felt like she didn’t shine in this book. Her relationship with her boyfriend is struggling due to their work commitments and both feel resentful. She hasn’t spoken to her mother since her father’s funeral and then her stepdad gets in touch with bad news. Her colleagues and her relationships with them take second place to the main murder plot and I wonder if these were established more fully in the first book.
Another main character is Sophie, a teacher at Callum’s school who bought drugs from him. Her descent into despair and desperation prove a distraction to Sara and her team. In contrast is drugs gang leader Lisa London: ruthless, determined, downright scary!
The character I felt most in tune with was Danni, a young woman whose boyfriend’s drug involvement leads to her being a mule. She then uses her own initiative to find favour with the gang boss Lisa. Danni wasn’t a particularly likeable character but she showed more emotion and felt more realistic than any of the other characters in my opinion.
With a plot of drugs and murder, there are some unpleasant parts to the book. There is violence and some forensic detail but not a great deal. The focus of the plot is upon the three main strands of plot: Sara’s investigation, Danni’s drug running and the downfall of teacher Sophie. Three women with very different experiences and aspects to the murder of Callum.
Into Deadly Storms is an interesting and intriguing read overall.
Into Deadly Storms (Detective Sara Hirst #2)
DETECTIVE SARA HIRST RETURNS IN THIS CRACKLING, TWISTY THRILLER SET WITHIN THE MYSTERIOUS BEAUTY OF NORTH NORFOLK.
The half-naked body, wrapped tightly in an old groundsheet, is a bit too long to fit comfortably in the back seat of the car. But he manages to shove it in anyway. Too risky to dump in the sea. There’s a wood nearby. No one will be around right now. Won’t be found till morning.
Anyway, no one will care if the kid doesn’t show up to school. Not some little piece of scum like this . . .
A missing troubled teen.
A body in the woods.
Too many leads.
Detective Sara Hirst faces her toughest case yet in Into Deadly Storms.
Fans of Joy Ellis, J.M. Dalgliesh, Matt Brolly,Rachel Lynch and Angela Marsons, get ready for your next favourite detective.
READERS CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF JUDI DAYKIN:
“OMG, this was one of the best first books I have ever read.” Denise
“I loved this first book.” Greta
“A really good read.” Barbara
“Sara Hirst is a great character.” Nerys
“What an astonishing debut crime novel.” Hazel
In her mid-thirties, DS Sara Hirst has left a successful career in London’s Metropolitan Police Force and taken a new post in Norfolk Police’s Serious Crimes Unit. Unfortunately, her welcome on the team is far from warm, and Sara will have to work hard to prove herself when the discovery of a body on her first morning leads to all kinds of difficulties.
A patchwork of tiny rural villages, with quaint coastal seaside resorts and peppered by farms, on a bewildering network of small back lanes. There are no motorways here, and sometimes it feels like your nearest neighbour lives in Holland.
Bounded on one side by the Norfolk Broads and the Wash on the other, its greatest feature is the boundless skies. The weather changes before your eyes. To many, it seems like a fairytale, a cherished memory of childhood holidays. In reality, these are small hard-working communities, where people tend to mind their own business, and it’s easy to keep a dark secret.
ALSO BY JUDI DAYKIN
DS SARA HIRST SERIES
Book 1: UNDER VIOLENT SKIES
Book 2: INTO DEADLY STORMS
Yorkshire born, Judi has lived, worked and made theatre in Norfolk for the last forty years. She completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), and her debut novel was shortlisted for the Little, Brown UEA writer’s prize in 2019.
‘I love the beautiful, vast skies and watery landscapes of Norfolk. Our home in a village on the north coast can feel wonderfully remote, even though the nearest town is only a few miles away. I can’t imagine living anywhere better than this.’
Judi is also a working actor, and has been known to twiddle the knobs on the sound desk for the variety shows at Cromer Pier. She runs her own theatre company, Broad Horizons, specialising in commissioning new plays recovering and retelling women’s stories.