#BlogTour #Extract ~ Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass @LeonoraNattrass @ViperBooks

Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass

Black Drop was published on 14th October 2021 by Viper books.

 

Black Drop: A thrilling historical mystery of revolution and treachery by [Leonora Nattrass]

This is the confession of Laurence Jago. Clerk. Gentleman. Reluctant spy.

July 1794, and the streets of London are filled with rumours of revolution. Political radical Thomas Hardy is to go on trial for treason, the war against the French is not going in Britain’s favour, and negotiations with the independent American colonies are on a knife edge.

Laurence Jago – clerk to the Foreign Office – is ever more reliant on the Black Drop to ease his nightmares. A highly sensitive letter has been leaked to the press, which may lead to the destruction of the British Army, and Laurence is a suspect. Then he discovers the body of a fellow clerk, supposedly a suicide.

Blame for the leak is shifted to the dead man, but even as the body is taken to the anatomists, Laurence is certain both of his friend’s innocence, and that he was murdered. But after years of hiding his own secrets from his powerful employers, and at a time when even the slightest hint of treason can lead to the gallows, how can Laurence find the true culprit without incriminating himself?

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Prologue 

5 November 1794 

St Dunstan’s clock strikes twelve, and in the following hush I hear Gog and Magog thud back to rest in the clock tower, empty-eyed, hammers in hand. Curious to think they  do this mechanical duty even in the depths of the night, when  the lamps have died, a fine sleet falls, and the watchman is the  only one to observe them. Even thus will I perform this last  task, with no witness in the quiet darkness except God and  Mr Gibbs, my old dog, who looks likely to outlive me after all. 

I betrayed myself tonight at five and twenty minutes to ten, left immediately, vomited in the gutter, and fled home on  foot. It was a poor sort of flight – near two hours’ trek from  Kensington through mud and icy rain – and by the time I  reached Fleet Street I was limping. I felt dazed, as if I’d drunk  a bottle of brandy. I wished I had that gentlemanly recourse  at hand – knocked up Jeb Turner at the Cock Tavern – but he  was abed, and only cursed me out of the window. So, I have  resorted to more Black Drop, which has a similar effect at a  fraction of the price.

There was no pursuit, not then, and in my right mind I  would not expect it yet – the hammering at the door, the rush  of officious feet on the steep staircase. It was past dawn when  they roused the shoemaker, Hardy, threw him in the covered  cart, and bore him off to prison. 

I am unclear as to the true conditions to be found in the  Tower. I imagine a medieval dungeon, with poor devils hang ing from chains, pulled out of shape by the rack and the screw.  I do not think this a likely picture, in these enlightened times,  but you can tell by Hardy’s sallow, bony face that he has suf fered. In court he is clean and decently dressed, but if he is  found guilty of treason, the Ministry is determined he shall  endure a medieval punishment. He will swing, see his guts  burned before his face, and be chopped in four quarters for  the edification of the crowd. There is no need for torture when  he must live that walk to the scaffold, each night, in torment ing dreams. In France, even Robespierre broke at the prospect  of the tumbril, the jeering crowd, the waiting blade. For a man  so expert in killing others, he made a sad fist of suicide. Only  blew off his own jaw, and went to the guillotine alive, but in  agony and degradation. 

But it is not arrest, or the block, I most fear tonight, as I  flinch at the settling of an old floorboard on the landing out side my chamber. I wish I still had the pistol, but it is gone to  the bottom of the Thames by Blackfriars Bridge, and only my  own dulled wits can save me from the soft footstep I listen for,  the swift blow meant to silence me for ever. 

If I am taken tonight – whether by law, murder or the devil  himself – these papers must speak for me. Being in my right  mind, despite the Black Drop and the terror, I will give you,  reader, ‘The Confession of Laurence Jago, clerk to the Foreign  Office’, the truth and the whole truth, as best I recollect it. 

Though time is pressing, I will write down everything I  remember, for it is only in such details that you will under stand my story. 

I light a new candle from the stump of the last, warm wax  clotting on my fingers, and gaze for a moment into the yellow  flame which spits in the damp draught from the window.  Where and when to begin? The first cause for my involvement in the following tale lies in my birth, but I have no time  for that tonight. Instead, I will begin with the coming of John  Jay from America, in the hot days of June. It was that event  which drew me down from my stool in the Foreign Office garret, and made me, at last, a person of interest.

 

To follow the blog tour……

About the Author

Leonora Nattrass

Leonora Nattrass pursued her enthusiasm for late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century literature and politics to PhD level, and lectured in English for nearly ten years.

She now lives in a seventeenth-century Cornish farmhouse with seventeenth-century draughts, writing historical fiction and spinning the fleeces of her traditional Ryeland sheep into yarn.

#BlogTour ~ Murder at the House on the Hill by Victoria Walters @Vicky_Walters @RaRaResources @HeraBooks

A big welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Murder at the House on the Hill by Victoria Walters.

Murder at the House on the Hill is the first in the Dedley End mysteries and was published on 23rd September 2021 by Hera Books.

 

Murder At The House On The Hill: A cozy murder mystery full of twists (The Dedley End Mysteries Book 1) by [Victoria Walters]

 

Once Upon A Crime…

Nancy Hunter and her grandmother Jane Hunter run the Dedley Endings Bookshop, selling crime, thriller and mystery books, in a small, quiet Cotswold village where nothing ever happens…

That is, until the wealthy and reclusive Roth family open up their mansion for the first time in thirty years, inviting the people of Dedley End to a lavish engagement party.

While everyone is thrilled to finally look around the mansion on the hill, the festivities are quickly cut short when beautiful Lucy, recently married to young Harry Roth, is found dead after being pushed over the first-floor balustrade.

But who among the guests could have been capable of her murder – and why?

Nancy and Jane decide to investigate – after all, not only do they own a crime themed bookshop, they were also both named after famous literary detectives – but soon wonder if they’ve taken on more than they can handle. Especially when it seems the killer has worked out that they’re hot on their heels…

Can they catch the murderer before the murderer catches up with them? Or will there be a deadly ending to this story?

 

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A big thank you to Rachel Gilbey and the publisher for my review copy of the book and for inviting me to participate on the blog tour.

Having read the previous serious that Victoria Walters has written, I was eager to read this new series which see a completely new genre! Murder at the House on the Hill is a lovely well written cosy crime set in the small village (and appropriately named) ‘Dedley End’ We are introduced to Nancy Hunter and her grandmother Jane, who own the village bookshop ‘Dedley Endings’ probably one of the best named bookshops I have ever heard of!

As you can probably guess, following a party which most of the village have been invited to, there is a murder which completely shocks the villagers. Although the villagers don’t really know too much about the murder victim, following a bet from journalist and family friend Jonathan, Nancy and Jane try to solve the murder before the slightly inept local police (and also justice to the victim who they feel has been let down by the family)

I really liked Nancy and felt she was the perfect character to have as our narrator, along with her grandmother Jane. They are very close, following the untimely death of Nancy’s father several years ago and you can really feel the love and companionship they are formed over the years. This is another mystery within the book that I’m really glad was explored.

I really liked how the storyline flowed and was glad to be surprised at the end (I really hate it when you know whodunnit mid way through the book!) with me completely not guessing anything!

A really enjoyable new series by Victoria Walters – I will definitely be looking out for the next one….

To follow the blog tour…

 

 

About the Author

Victoria Walters

Victoria Walters is a full-time author living in Surrey. Victoria writes the bestselling women’s fiction series GLENDALE HALL, which has won wide reader acclaim. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star. Her first cosy crime novel MURDER AT THE HOUSE ON THE HILL will be published in 2021.

Find out more about Victoria by following on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at: http://victoria-writes.com/. She is also on YouTube as Victoria Walters.

 

#BlogTour ~ The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman @PenguinUKBooks

Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

The Man Who Died Twice was published on 16th September 2021 by Penguin.

 

The Man Who Died Twice (The Thursday Murder Club Book 2) by [Richard Osman]

 

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can the Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

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A big thank you to Ellie Hudson and the publisher for issuing me with my review copy of the book and for inviting to participate on the blog tour.

Wow – The Man Who Died Twice is certainly the way to follow up an already successful first book in a new series! I really enjoyed the first in the Murder Club series and I have to say that I think I enjoyed The Man Who Died Twice even more!

It was like being reunited with old friends, and it really is, as this book is set the following Thursday after the shenanigans of The Thursday Murder Club. Things have settled down slightly, Ron is his usual argumentative self, Ibrahim is the usual voice of calm and reason, Elizabeth is always taking everything in and Joyce…….well Joyce is Joyce, her usual unassuming self (who for me is the real hero of this series) who is contemplating getting a dog and joining instagram (this whole concept is written in the hilarity you would expect of Joyce and is actually a real account!) Obviously things don’t stay quiet for long and unlike the first story, we learn a lot more about Elizabeth and her illusive past as an MI5 operative.

When Elizabeth receives a letter from someone from her past, it appears that a whole can of worms has been opened which she unfortunately can’t ignore, nor would we expect her to especially with the long history she shares with the mysterious letter writer….

I feel that this story flowed a lot faster then the first book. The Thursday Murder Club I feel, was a nice and slow introduction to the gang and this one really ramps up the action from the start, along with some brilliantly plotted twists that definitely kept me on my toes and guessing.

I absolutely adored this book and think it will be an even bigger hit than the first novel.

I can’t praise this book enough and am grateful to have had the opportunity to have read an early copy.

 

To follow the rest of the tour…

 

About the Author

Richard Osman

Richard Osman is an author, producer and television presenter. The Thursday Murder Club is his first novel.

He is well known for TV shows including Pointless and Richard Osman’s House of Games. As the creative director of Endemol UK, Richard has worked as an executive producer on numerous shows including Deal Or No Deal and 8 Out of 10 Cats.

He is also a regular on panel and game shows such as Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie To You and Taskmaster.