Book Review : Death in the Tunnel by Miles Burton

 A devilishly ingenious conspiracy


When Sir Wilfred Saxonby is found shot dead in a first-class compartment of the 5 p.m. train from London’s Cannon Street to Stourford, the police initially feel it is suicide committed when the train passed through a tunnel. Further investigation by Inspector Arnold of Scotland Yard, with the help of his friend, Desmond Merrion, an amateur in criminology, reveal a plot of mind-boggling conspiracy. Thus a murder investigation begins.

This story focuses primarily on how the crime was committed to find the culprit. The theories are formulated by Merrion for Arnold to follow up.

It’s like one of those double-barrelled equations, when as soon as you know the value of x, you can find the value of y, and vice versa.

Using this postulation of x and y and with the assumption of suspects A and B, the genius of a plot unfolds.

This book was originally published in 1936, in the era of Agatha Christie. Miles Burton is one of the pseudonyms used by Cecil John Street(1884-1965). If you are a Christie fan, you will find the writing of Street much different. This book does not delve into the human psyche to understand the characters’ motivation. It digs into creating a hypothesis to reconstruct the sequence of events that may have supposedly occurred eventually leading to the death of Sir Saxonby, to find the culprits. If you know how it was done, then its easy to find who could have done it by gathering relevant evidence. The book consists of long narrations in the form of the thoughts of the two investigators where they try to figure out the rigmarole of the conspiracy. Devising a theory and finding the evidence to support it, is the mechanism used by them. Readers are transported back in times of steam engines and telegrams. If you are a fan of detective fiction, this British Library Crime Classic is a must read.

Using Kindle Unlimited, you can read this eBook for free.



Book Review: 7 Mystery & Suspense Short Stories by J. A. Menzies


Author: J. A. Menzies

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: MurderWillOut Mysteries

Publication Year: 2016

ISBN: 9781927692226

I have read a couple of books written by author J. A. Menzies, Shadow of a Butterfly – The Case of the Harmless Old Woman and Shaded Light – The Case of The Tactless Trophy Wife and I must say that I am a fan of her mysteries. Her new release is a collection of stories – 7 Mystery & Suspense Short Stories. With each story, the author has written a note as to where the idea of the story initiated in her mind and how the story developed.

These are seven well-crafted, riveting mysteries that keep the readers guessing.

The first story Revenge So Sweet is full of intriguing twists and turns so much so that when I felt I know what would happen next, the story takes another turn. It is about a middle-aged woman Beth who is on a mission of revenge.

Just out for a drive is a tale of a young hitchhiker who is picked up by an old man with a mission.

They Can’t Take That Away From Me is a story about a troubled young man, who on his 21st birthday, realizes who and what he is.

Dying with Things Unsaid is a story of a fifty-four-year-old dying woman, Mary Kline. She realizes that she needs to tell her children about a crime she’s kept hidden for many years.

The Day Time Stood Still is about a real estate agent, who discovers something from her past when she pays a visit to a house she’s agreed to sell.

Living on the Edge is a tale of four men awaiting the end in a palliative care ward of a hospital.

The Case of the Sneezing Accountant is a short police procedural mystery. If not for a fortunate sneeze, there could have been a murder. Detective Paul Manziuk and his partner Jacquie Ryan have to decide which of the four suspects threw the knife.

The plot ideas of the seven stories are diverse and interesting.

I will say that not even one of the short stories had me anticipating the actual ending, a very fine recommendation in itself. The stories will keep you absorbed and entertained.

This book is indeed a real treat for all the intrigue enthusiasts!


To know more about the author and her books, visit her website:



**** I received a free eARC of this book from the author. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.



Book Review: In the Fog by John Meany


Title: In the Fog (A Murder Mystery)

Author: John Meany

Genre: Mystery


Frank and Dora Parker, a retired, elderly couple was out fishing in the nearby Lake Wakanda, as the fog rolls down from the mountains. On the lakeshore, Frank sees a girl who looks like Cameron Diaz, emerge from the woods. She is soaking wet with a knife in her hand. Frank tries to call her aloud to see if she needs any help but she can’t hear him. A man appears with her who has a mustache like Adolf Hitler and he takes the knife from the girl. He then stabs an unmoving object what appears from afar, to be a body wearing red jogging suit. Together they drag the body, weigh it down with sand bags, flip it into the boat and dump it in the water. Frank keeps telling Dora about what he sees.  Dora, struggles to see through the thick fog but even with the help of binoculars, she is unable to see any person around them. She feels Frank’s mind is failing due to Alzheimer’s and wonders if he has once again taken to drinking.

To Dora’s humiliation, Frank goes to the Police Station to report the incident. The police initially do not believe in Frank’s story. They consider him to be a senile old man. To his dismay, Frank turns out to be the primary suspect when a little later a skeleton is pulled out of the lake with the red jogging outfit on it. The time element according to the police doesn’t match, as the body cannot decompose so rapidly. This is where the plot thickens.

Seventy nine year old Frank suffering from Alzheimer’s reminds me of my father who suffered a similar fate in terms of the illness. I could relate to Dora’s plight and feelings, as I understand how it feels to be a family member of an Alzheimer’s patient.

This is one solid mystery. The plot is well developed and intriguing. Editing could be better but for a good mystery lover, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It held my interest to the very end of the book.

I highly recommend this heart-wrenching story.


Book Review: Murder at Ashgrove House by Margaret Addison



Title: Murder at Ashgrove House (Rose Simpson Mysteries Book 1)

Author: Margaret Addison

Genre: Mystery

This is the first book in the Rose Simpson Mysteries series.

Murder at Ashgrove House is set in 1930. The country estate mystery begins when Sir William and Lady Withers invite three guests at the Ashgrove House over the weekend. But along with Lady Lavinia Sedgwick, Rose Simpson and Mrs. Edith Torrington, the weekend party takes a fateful twist when other guests turn up at the party uninvited. The consequence of which is a murder.

The police investigation that follows throws suspicion on every person present at the Ashgrove House. Who could be the killer? Is it the shop girl, Rose or the only daughter of the Earl of Belvedere, Lady Lavinia? Can the absent-minded hostess, Lady Withers or the vulnerable Mrs. Torrington commit such a horrendous act? The obnoxious Lord Sneddon could very well have reasons to murder the victim or was it Rose he wished to kill for snubbing his advances? Did Lord Cedric Sedgwick lose his temper after his altercation with his friend, Lord Sneddon, to commit a murder? Did the past hold any reasons for the Earl of Belvedere or Sir William to take extreme measures? Even butler Stafford and housekeeper-cook Mrs. Palmer were not beyond suspicion. An interesting mix of personalities getting together over the weekend that resulted in a disaster makes this whodunit pretty intriguing.

The quiet country manor along with the traditional aristocratic upper class setting gives a glimpse of the life of the privileged world of the bygone era which is appealing in its own way. I love the Agatha Christie vein of the story and enjoyed reading it. It is full of red herrings and clues as the blurb suggests. A good book to curl up with and enjoy. Margaret Addison has succeeded to build up a good plot and the characters are well-etched.

The next book in my reading list definitely includes the Rose Simpson Mysteries Book 2 : Murder at Dareswick Hall.

Book Review: 52 Steps to Murder by Steve Demaree


Title: 52 Steps to Murder

Author: Steve Demaree

Genre: Mystery

Lt. Cy Dekker and Sgt. Lou Murdock of Hilldale Police Department solve this police procedural mystery of an elderly woman, Mrs. Nelson at the Hilltop Place. The name of the story is derived from the fact that it takes a climb of 52 steps to reach the door of the murdered woman. The overweight detective duo find it difficult to reach the residents of the Hilltop Place as they have to tackle the 52 steps for their investigations and find it daunting and exhausting. The Hilltop Place though located high above ground level is inter-connected by underground tunnels. The niece, the neighbors, the mailman, the maid or the attorney, anyone could be the killer.

The story line is interesting. There is a touch of humor as the investigation goes on. There are enough twists and turns to keep the readers engaged. When I read, Murder at Breakfast, prior to this book I found the narrative and description of food and exercise, a little excessive for my tastes but this book had far less accounts of the lunch and dinners of the detective duo.

Overall, this is a good book to relax with if you love the old-fashioned whodunits.

52 Steps to Murder by Steve Demaree is available on


Book Review: Shadow of a Butterfly – The Case of the Harmless Old Woman by J. A. Menzies


Title: Shadow of a Butterfly: The Case of the Harmless Old Woman

Author: J. A. Menzies

Genre: Mystery

Length: 408 pages

Publisher: MurderWillOut Mysteries

Publication Year: 2015

I loved the style of writing of author J. A. Menzies when I read her earlier book- Shaded Light: The Case of the Tactless Trophy Wife. I had written a small review of this book on Goodreads. I went ahead and bought an eBook from amazon of her short story: The Case of the Sneezing Accountant and I was amazed by the author’s skill of writing a police procedural mystery in the form of a short story. So when I received an eARC of her new book: Shadow of a Butterfly: The Case of the Harmless Old Woman, I was absolutely thrilled. I have become a fan of Paul Manziuk and Jacquie Ryan mystery series.

One of the residents of Serenity Suites, a high-rise luxury condominium for seniors in Toronto, is killed. Who would want to kill an elderly woman suffering with dementia? There seems to be no motive for the murder. The police investigation procedure led by Inspector Paul Maziuk and Constable Ryan, uncovers lot of hidden secrets from the residents’ past. Many of them have known each other since they were young. Are the clues hidden in the past? Are the deaths that occurred earlier connected to each other or is there a serial killer on the loose?

The story is beautifully woven with intricate details and the author has succeeded to keep the readers guessing almost till the end. The plot has interesting twists and the story is absorbing enough that I couldn’t keep away from the book after the murder takes place. The subplots are knitted together perfectly. The characters are well etched and the vivid description of the settings gave me a feeling of actually being in the Serenity Suites where the story unfolds.

I loved this book and would recommend it to all the mystery lovers.

To know more about the author and her books, visit

Click here for the links to buy this book.



**** I received a free eARC of this book from the author. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.


Book Review: Suspended Animation by Shweta Ganesh Kumar


Suspended Animation


Title: Suspended Animation: Short Stories of those who wait

Author: Shweta Ganesh Kumar

Editor: Anirban Bose

Publisher: Cresco Books


Suspended Animation is a collection of 22 short stories of ordinary folks and their lives where constant waiting is a reality of life. The stories are set in places like Loch Inverness in Scotland, Puerto Galera and Manila in the Philippines, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kerala.

All the 22 stories in this book, are based on the unifying theme of waiting. Shweta Ganesh Kumar wonderfully depicts the pangs of frustration created by the anticipation brought about by the suspended time. The lives of ordinary people, whom we can relate to, are narrated realistically in the form of these short stories.

The first story, The Matrimonial Clock, was something that I could perfectly understand as I have been through the same gamut of emotions like Tara, the thirty-six year old protagonist of the story went through. I couldn’t keep aside the book after reading this first story. The issue of global warming is also touched upon in an interesting manner in one of the stories.

The stories are short, crisp, and simple yet interesting and leaves the reader wanting to know more of what happens beyond the suspended time. This book is a compelling read and I must say, this is the best collection of short stories that I have read. I would recommend this to all the readers.


About the Author:

Shweta Ganesh Kumar is the bestselling author of ‘Coming Up On The Show’ and ‘Between The Headlines’, two novels on the Indian Broadcast News industry. Her last worldwide release ‘A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land,’ a modern take on Alice In Wonderland has been getting rave reviews from critics and readers alike. Her travel columns have been featured in The New Indian Express, One Philippines and Geo. Her non-fiction pieces have appeared in multiple Indian editions of the Chicken Soup series. Her short fiction has been published in more than twenty anthologies and online literary magazines in more than four continents. She has a monthly travel column called ‘Trippin With Shweta’ in Travel and Flavours Magazine. Shweta currently lives in The Philippines with her husband and two-year old daughter.


****I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing for an honest review.


Book Reviews: A few Cozy Mysteries

Thanks to and Kindle, I have developed a sudden and strong affinity towards quick, cozy murder mysteries. I am on a reading spree of all these books like a voracious yet starved reader who can’t get enough.

What I liked about these books the most is:

  • They are short, so they are quick to read.
  • The plots are not very complicated so the readers don’t get lost in the crowd of characters and detailing.
  • There is no description of violence or gory details about the murders.
  • The main lead of all these stories are women.

Here are some short reviews of the eBooks I recently read.

Progressive Dinner Deadly (A Myrtle Clover Mystery #3) by Elizabeth Spann Craig


This book is an entertaining read. Myrtle Clover is a lovable, elderly sleuth investigating a murder in her small town, Bradley. Her attempts to improve her book club fails and the book club converts into a dinner club to her dismay. She reluctantly participates only to find the night turn into a ghastly murder scene. What follows is Myrtle’s attempts to find the murderer. There is humor and intrigue woven together in a good combination. I enjoyed reading this book. It is indeed a cozy mystery.


Death Comes to Town (Darcy Sweet, #1) by K.J. Emrick

Death comes to town

At 113 pages its a good book to relax with on a lazy afternoon. The story is not so complicated yet an element of mystery is present, along with a touch of super-natural which is amusing and interesting. Darcy Sweet, a book shop owner living in the sleepy town of Misty Hollow is a simple woman who has inherited a house and the book shop from her great aunt Millie. She has a sixth sense of feeling the presence of the other world entities. Unfortunately she is dragged into the murder of her neighbor Anna and how the story unfolds thereafter is what the book is all about. Overall, it is an enjoyable read with a cup of coffee to go with.


The St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre (Hatter’s Cove Gazette Mystery, #1) by Elisabeth Crabtree


This story is about Kat Archer, a reluctant food columnist who gets involved in a murder when she is invited to ‘Cookie Jar’ for its opening on the Valentine’s day so she could write a review. Kat was considered a harsh critic as she wrote reviews about restaurants in Hatter’s Cove that got her a lot of hate mail. She wants to be an investigative journalist rather than write food columns at the local newspaper. Kat finds herself at the center stage of a murder which she feels is related to another murder, which had happened in the past. So she decides to get to the core of it. The plot is interesting, not too many complications. The book is a quick and cozy read.


A Secret Killer (Julia Blake Murder Mystery #4) by Gillian Larkin 

Secret Killer

I had read another one of this series, Virtually Scared to Death by Gillian Larkin, so while reading this book I felt I already know Julia Blake and her habit of finding a corpse while she is cleaning a house for her client. This time it was Hugo Barnes, a genealogist. Julia had taken under her wings, Andrew Cain, an ex-convict as an employee, since she believed Cain was wrongly convicted and deserved a second chance in life. However, Cain gets arrested for the murder of Hugo and Julia wants to solve this mystery to prove Cain’s innocence. This is a simple yet interesting murder mystery which I enjoyed reading and would recommend to the readers who love short cozy mysteries.


Again a big ‘Thank you‘ to for a free download of these eBooks.

Book Review: Survival of the Ginnest by Aimee Horton



‘What an unusual way to write a book’, was my first thought as I started reading it. It took me a few moments to get accustomed to read a book written entirely in the form of social media updates but as I read a few lines I got involved in Dottie’s life and was eager to read further.

Aimee Horton takes us through the life of Dottie Harris, her pregnancy and motherhood. Dottie is like any other modern day woman handling home and work. Life was going on well till she finds herself expecting her first baby. Dottie shares some cute moments as well as chaotic ones. There are moments of exasperation and moments of humor in her status updates.

The struggles of parenting and the tantrums make Dottie resort to a glass of wine or gin. She eagerly waits for her kids’ bedtime so that she can escape to her bar and relax.

Dottie’s social media diary is interesting to read and makes you want to know what happens next. Oh, I loved the Monster and the Chubster and all their antics that made Dottie run up against the wall. Most women would love and relate to Dottie and her life the way I did.

As a debut author, Aimee Horton’s unique style of writing is commendable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is funny and light-hearted. Survival of the Ginnest is a quick read and a perfect way to relax with a glass of gin.

You can follow Aimee Horton on Twitter (@AimeeHorton), Facebook (AimeeHortonWrites) and Instagram (AimeeHortonWrites).

To know more about Aimee Horton and her books, visit her website

Survival of the Ginnest is available on Amazon. Velvet Morning Press published it on May 1, 2015.



****I received a free copy (eBook) of Survival of the Ginnest via the LibraryThing Member Giveaways program. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.

Book Review: Metro Diaries by Namrata

Metro Diaries

Title: Metro Diaries

Author: Namrata

Genre: Romance

Type: Paperback

Publisher: Revelation House

Pages: 162

I am essentially a reader of novels, so this is the first time I read a romantic short story collection. I must say I am glad I read it. Namrata has effectively woven sensitive romantic emotions to tug the reader’s heart. Each story has a soul full of tender and heartfelt love. The book is a collection of twenty love stories, each having different shades of romance like delight, agony, yearning, despair, ecstasy, fulfillment and many more emotions which cannot be described but felt by the heart.

Namrata has started each story with a heart touching quote or a poem. My favorite is:

“In losing myself

I found you”

The stories are short and crisp, no intricate plots or character building but more of narrations or diary entries of an event or an emotion. Namrata has given an apt title to this collection as Metro Diaries. As a debut author, Namrata has displayed a lot of potential in the form of this book and would love to read more from her. If you like love stories and poems, then you must read Metro Diaries. It’s a cozy, romantic read.


Blurb: Love is one of the most amazing feelings on this earth, one that makes you the most powerful person or the most helpless person in a split second. These stories capture those feelings of despair, longing, love, lust, desire, want, dejection and admiration to create deja vu.

Hold onto your hearts as you flip through these pages and take a walk down the memory lane, as “Metro Diaries” will revive your innermost feelings and imbibe in you the magic of love. Touching, amusing and deeply moving, Metro Diaries – Love Classics are tales that will hold you from start till end. 

About The Author: Namrata is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 6 anthologies, a reviewer for leading publishing houses, an editor for various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer’s Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently, she also held the title of an investment banker closely, to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully.


Namrata can be reached at:



Twitter: @privytrifles

‘Metro Diaries’ is available on Amazon and Flipkart.


*****I received a signed copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.

Must Read Series: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

I finally finished reading this book after a week. This is probably the longest time taken by me to read any book. Emma’s journey of life left me wistful. Thought provoking yet leaving a void in my mind.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece novel Madame Bovary was first published in 1857. This story is based in nineteenth-century France.

It is about Emma, a beautiful daughter of a farmer, who becomes the second wife of Charles Bovary. Emma yearns for an exciting life full of passion and luxury.

Charles Bovary is a mediocre country physician. He is dull and has no true ambition. He adores Emma and is blind to all her faults.

“She had to be able to extract some kind of personal benefit from things, and she rejected as useless anything which did not contribute to the immediate gratification of her heart, for her temperament was more sentimental than artistic and she sought emotion, not landscapes.”

The above quote from the book speaks a lot about Emma’s outlook and temperament.

In her quest for excitement, Emma soon finds herself in a clandestine relationship with Rodolphe Boulanger, a wealthy bachelor. Emma wants a life of ecstasy and passion. After frequent rendezvous with Rodolphe, she plans to elope with him but Rodolphe ends the relationship with a note sent in a basket of apricots. This leaves Emma distraught and she drifts towards religion for a brief time. As she recovers from grief, once again the boredom sets in.

Flaubert has beautifully quoted Emma’s state of mind, “The closer things were to her, the farther her mind turned away from them.”

Emma spends a lot of money on luxury and she had also spent a lot on gifts for Rodolphe. She makes wrong financial moves that leave her in debt. She eventually destroys the finances of the family.

Yet she still seeks the excitement and passion, which this time she finds in Leon Dupuis. He is the notary’s clerk in Yonville. Emma lies to Charles and frequently goes to the town to meet Leon, under the pretext of taking music lessons. Charles however is blissfully ignorant of his wife’s trysts. He is very much in love with his beautiful wife.

Her debts in the meantime continue to mount to the extent that she has nothing left to sell. She tries to ask Leon and Rodolphe to help her clear her debts but she is turned down and eventually left with no option. It is a spiraling downfall with a tragic end.

To me, Emma is a complex character who comes across as selfish and self-absorbed. She even seems to have almost no affection or feeling of responsibility towards her daughter, Berthe. Her life seemed to be full of just an excessive yearning for adventure and excitement. Her constant need to seek passion and ecstasy is difficult to fathom.

Flaubert’s meticulous craftsmanship makes this novel a timeless Classic and indeed a Must-Read. No doubt it is one of the most discussed book in the world of literature.

* This book is available on amazon.

Book Review: Tender Deceit by H. Y. Hanna

Book: Tender Deceit

Author: H.Y. Hanna

Publisher: Wisheart Press

Published: June 2014

First love. Second chance.

This book is a sweet blend of mystery and romance.

After spending 12 years in London, Leah had to return to Singapore for her father’s funeral. An apparent hit and run accident of her father turns out to be more than what meets the eye. Her childhood crush, her first love, Toran James, involved in a rumored yatch explosion, meets her in Singapore and together they set out to solve the mystery of her father’s death. There is a restrained passion between Leah and Toran in the midst of suspicion and mystery surrounding the investigation. Was her father’s death just an accident? Will Leah trust Toran? Since the end of the story does not give closure to Leah and Toran’s relationship, readers are left with a few questions, wanting to know what happens further. Will Leah and Toran meet again? This thought would make them grab the next book of this series. Overall, Tender Deceit is well written and an enjoyable read. Leah and Toran’s story continues in the second book of the TENDER Series, called Tender Treachery.


About the Author: H.Y. Hanna was born in Taiwan and grew up in United Arab Emirates. She was schooled in U.K. and U.S. and worked in London in advertising before emigrating Down Under. She is an award-winning author of children’s mystery series, and also writes mysteries and romantic thrillers. To know more about H.Y. Hanna, do visit her Website:


Must Read Series: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton published this book, ‘The House of Mirth‘ in 1905 and it is about a beautiful and once-wealthy socialite of New York, Lily Bart and her slow social downfall. It also has an intricate and complicated love story with a tragic end.

House of Mirth

It took me some time to get accustomed to the slow pace of the story set in the early 20th century. In that era, being single at 29 for a woman was a cause of concern. Lily was brought up by her mother to achieve one goal: marry a wealthy man. Since her father had suffered financial ruin and her mother died resenting the downfall and ‘dingy’ lifestyle she was forced into by the circumstances, Lily’s mission is to find a rich husband. She knows she has beauty and charm and if she plays her cards wisely she can win the perfect husband.

Lily spends a lot of her time at the Bellomont, with the wealthy Gus and Judy Trenor, who throw lavish and extravagant parties regularly. They play bridge for money which is responsible for Lily’s gambling addiction. Sadly, she loses a lot of money that eventually leads to her decline.

Money is required for the upkeep of her beauty and lifestyle. Her aunt, Mrs. Peniston provides some money and a place to live but she has to depend on her wealthy friends to keep up with their ranks. Lily wants to scale the social ladders but unfortunate circumstances create her fall from grace. She loses her aunt’s inheritance. She is unable to pay her debts.

Lily takes sudden cruise vacation with her friends, a wealthy couple, George and Bertha Dorset and the latter is responsible for spreading distasteful rumors about Lily for her own selfish and vengeful reasons. Lily is humiliated and ostracized by her friends and a gradual downward spiral starts, leaving Lily depressed and lonely. Only one faithful friend, Miss Gerty Farish, stands by her side in this ordeal.

The love story of Lily and Lawrence Selden, a young lawyer, is beautifully woven across the book that shows they are emotionally and intellectually connected to each other but since Selden is not a wealthy man, Lily is conflicted between her choice and her mission.

Adverse incidents cause Lily to lose her reputation and plunge into a bottomless pit of misery to such an extent that she feels nothing more is left in her life.

Lily’s story in the second half is heart wrenching and a reader can truly empathize with Lily and her situation.

There is no mirth in this story, if only Lily could understand this, she would have allowed herself to be wise and adjust to the changing circumstances.

This book written more than a century ago by Edith Wharton is definitely a must-read for every woman. Wharton’s masterful style of social realism is simply perfect.