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Murder on the Marshes, Book Review

As the sun rises, a wealthy young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat. It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die. Available here 

My review

This is the third book I have read by Clare Chase and they keep getting better and better. There’s a feel of Morse here despite that fact that we’re in the other ‘Bridge’, university town. Chase has a knack of dragging the reader, kicking and screaming from the comfort of their lounge and into a different place, a place that’s not always comfortable but glamorous all the same. Most of the characters are drawn from the higher echelons and who amongst us doesn’t enjoy a tale about the privileged?  Think Downton meeting Agatha and you’ll get the gist.  

The main character, journalist Tara, is well drawn as we follow her steps as she tries to puzzle just how someone managed to murder visiting professor, Samantha Seabrook. The side kick, Blake, the lead detective is an enticing introduction, a character I’m sure we’ll be hearing from again. 

If you liked Midsomer Murders you’ll like this 

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Samantha Tonge: The writer that roared… (Book review)

Book Blurb 

How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.

But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough. 

Available from Amazon here 

My review

Emma returns to Foxglove farm, with more baggage than Heathrow airport in an effort to try and redeem her life after a period of homelessness. But life on the farm throws up a new set of difficulties and sometimes going back is the hardest option of all.

I have long rated Sam as a writer to watch and have enjoyed everything she’s ever written. Her last two books showed signs of a divergence from the cookie-cutter style of romance she’s famed for. But with Forgive Me Not this is a step up again. I didn’t just read this in one sitting, I devoured it. 

I’ve heard many writers describing writing as a journey but as an analogy I place it in my own personal Room 101 alongside phrases such as Blue-sky-thinking and In the Back of the Net. I view writing in the same way I do nursing in that it’s a progression from From Novice to Expert, a five stage progression towards Competence, as coined by Benner in 1984. Each person progresses through the stages at their own pace and not everyone can ever reach that final accolade. With this book Sam has aced writing. I wonder what she’ll turn her hand to next?