A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle

My crime fiction addiction does not seem to have lessened over the last few weeks, it has simply been on pause as I have read some other genres.

So when my fantastic TBR Tarot Cards from Don’tJudgeBooksHQ suggested a book by a male author, I knew that I had to pick up ‘A Fatal Crossing’ by Tom Hindle. I thought it would be a perfect cosy crime novel for these cold and dark evenings – and I was correct.

A locked room mystery – or would locked ship be a better description? – we are on the ship Endeavour on its way to New York. A mysterious death brings together Timothy Birch, one of the ship’s officers, and Temple, a detective from Scotland Yard – or so he says. And, together, they attempt to solve the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death.

This book has everything you expect from a cosy crime novel set after the Great War. There are secrets, glamourous couples, mysterious women, valuable paintings (well, I guess this could be anything of value) and an unlikely crime-fighting duo. And, most importantly, that almighty twist that every good piece of crime fiction gives you.

So, if you are looking for a great piece of well-written and well-constructed cosy crime, then this is the book for you. A debut novel that takes you to the golden age of crime is one that, to be honest, everyone should be reading.

The Ballroom Blitz by Anton Du Beke

I was kindly gifted a copy of ‘The Ballroom Blitz’ by Anton Du Beke from Orion Books. Now, as a Strictly fan, I was very excited to read a book from the pen of everyone’s favourite judge (you know it is true), Anton Du Beke.

This is definitely a book for the fans of those historical upstairs, downstairs-type stories. As I read it, it really reminded me of ‘Downton Abbey’, and I was absolutely fine with this, as I am a fan. Set at The Buckingham Hotel in 1940, during the Blitz, this is a lovely piece of historical fiction about ordinary people united by their love for their place of work – and the family that this gives them.

This is definitely a book with a heart. Anton Du Beke does not just deal with the glamourous world of ballroom, and all the magic it holds in the darkest of times (we all remember how much Strictly brought joy to the nation after the lockdown darkness), but also the real horrors and struggle that so many people went through in London. I was pleased to read that PTSD (although, as we know, not officially recognised at the time) was handled through the story of Raymond de Guise, and not just for the soldiers who had been to war. But, also, how some easily got dragged into the darker side of society when times are hard.

I do not want to issue any spoilers about this book, as I think it is a perfect read for this time of year, or even nearer Christmas, as it is set in December 1940. It is a hug in a book for that time of year, and one for fans of the ‘modern’ historical novel, with a twist of the romantic.

The Moon and Stars by Jenna Warren

I was kindly sent a copy of ‘The Moon and Stars’ by Jenna Warren, by Fairlight Books. And, when it arrived, I spotted it had a quote from the fabulous Matson Taylor on it, so I knew this was a book I was going to enjoy. I was correct.

‘The Moon and Stars’ tells the tale of Matthew Capes, a talented musician and singer, who has one thing standing between him and his dream caree:, stage fright. Stage fright so severe that he has taken a back seat in the theatre world, working for the Moon and Stars Theatre. When he is offered the chance to sing with an old friend from music college, Matthew may finally have the chance to come out of the shadows – or will he?

This is a wonderful book, that may evade being placed in a genre, as there are just so many fantastic threads running through it. It is a contemporary piece of fiction, with so much more to it. If you are fan of theatre, especially musical theatre, you will enjoy this book. If you are a fan of books that follow relationships (romantic and friendly), you will enjoy this book. If you are a fan of The Phantom of the Opera, you will enjoy this book. And, if you are fan of books that really centre around great characterisation, well, you will enjoy this book.

For me, as a musical theatre fan, this was almost a comfort read. It whisked me away to the theatre world with some fascinating characters that really showed what a challenge such a world is and, sometimes, the only thing that is in the way of any of us achieving our dreams is ourself.

So, as the dark nights draw in, why not be whisked away to the land of theatrical performance and visit ‘The Moon and Stars’?

Pages and Co: The Treehouse Library by Anna James

I was soooooooo excited when a copy of ‘Pages and Co: The Treehouse Library’ arrived on my doorstep. I had been lucky enough to gain a place on the Tandem Collective UK readalong of this beautiful book and been gifted a copy of the book from Harper Collins to allow me to join in.

Well, it is very simple: this book is fabulous. I am fully aware that I am not the target audience of these beautiful books, but they really are books for readers and book lovers of all ages. I challenge any of you not to wish that you had the skills to be a bookwanderer by the time you reach the end of this story (or any of the others in the series) – although I suppose we are all bookwanderers the minute we open any of our favourite books.

I do not want to give the plot away, especially if you are a fan who has been reading them all, but I can honestly say you will not be disappointed. Anna James creates such a wonderfully adventurous bookish world with the most brilliant characters. There is such a range of strong characters who younger readers would be able to look up to and take inspiration from – especially when times may be a little more difficult.

So, as we enter the autumnal months, why don’t you take a trip to Pages and Co? Because there really is no adventure like the adventures we find in books.

Also, I bet your reading wish list will grow…