Genre: Hard-Boiled Mystery

Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!

Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. However, their imprints Seventh Street Books & Pyr were merged into Start Publishing in [2019] – wherein I had the pleasure of being approached by their new publicity team via Kaye Publicity in Spring 2019 wherein I was first introduced to the Spice Shop Mysteries as I was told about a forthcoming release [for June] was “Chai Another Day”. From there, I started to work with Kaye Publicity to continue reviewing Seventh Street Book titles and author releases I am both familiar with and/or are considered “new authors” to my readerly life.

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

I received a complimentary copy of “Queen’s Gambit” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Start Science Fiction) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what I enjoyed in the pages of “A Knife in the Fog”:

This novel begins the series introducing us to all the key characters – from Professor Bell, to Arthur Conan Doyle and Margaret Harkness. As the series progresses forward – the characters shift in focus & share the lead.

A reflectively pensive voice gives us the impression the following account of an investigation into the Ripper murders of East London was in effect not only of profound impact on the narrator of this story (of whom I presumed immediately was Conan Doyle) but was in reality, an important marker of time for this person. It envelopes itself into a pertinent relationship of mind and arms; of a person who not only of equal mirth of enquiry and investigative instincts but of common interests and conveyances which were equally dynamic in their own rights. It is here – within the fragmented touchstones of what is yet to come where you start to distinguish the ‘voice’ of the novel A Knife in the Fog to being very decisively Holmesian.

Doyle, similar to Holmes does not suffer fools gently nor does he wish his personal or professional time to be waylaid but people who are less than honest with him on first meeting. It is here where you can infer how much Harper was researching his protagonist not just as the subject study to influence his own series but how Doyle himself could embody a lot of the characteristics we’ve all come to love in our beloved Holmes; than thus even more readily, it would be Harper who gives us a fuller advantage of seeing the inspiration behind Watson. The interesting bit here is of whom was the inspiring force behind both characters as your own mind might have readily adapted itself to thinking it was Doyle to Holmes and Dr Bell to Watson when the reality of the truth is a bit more intriguing to say the least! For my own capacity of interest – I did vacillate at first to make the distinction myself – as there are aspects of both men within both characters, however, there are firm clues towards whom is whom so to speak throughout the narrative Harper has delivered leading to the truer truth behind the designation of which current characters elude to the infamous ones!

Finding little details of historical influence and relevancy like this uncomfortable reaction in Doyle made it a joy to read A Knife in the Fog – as there are other small touches of where the past feels ever-present and where the narrative has a lovely tone and style of being decidedly British and Historical in scope. I believe it is this kind of detailed fine tuning in the story which help alight you into the era we’re being presented – it is lovely when you can find writers who are going the extra mile to give us a presentation of an era which we can find plausible and believable like what Mr Harper has done within his series. Although some of his words and phrasing is wickedly British, he does revert back to writing this in an American voice – I would have preferred it to be more British in the choices of words but blessedly it felt British by how he conveyed the backdrop of the setting and how he approached our immersion into Doyle’s life.

I, on the other hand, took an immediate liking to Margaret – she was her own person, owning her truths and her way of life with the confidence you’d expect from a woman of her nature. She did not apologise for her choices in life (nor should she) and she had an upper edge against Doyle as his presumptive assumptions about her were loudly present even if they were left unsaid aloud. Harkness is the kind of no-nonsense woman who was game for anything and had this zest for believing she could accomplish whatever she needed to simply due to the courage she had to believe in herself. Ironically, her dedication and her fortitude seemed lost on Doyle – at least at this first crossing of their paths.

You truly appreciate how Harper has sharpened our impression of Harkness, as my favourite passage which involves her and Doyle at this junction of the story is when she saves him from a would-be robber. The event itself isn’t a spoiler for the story but it is a clear representation of how foiled Doyle was in thinking he would have held an upper hand in this situation. I love how Harkness not only re-proves the point about how women can be independently secure in their beings but also be resourceful enough to intervene whenever danger arises. It was a classy look at how misconceptions in gender and how unnecessary misunderstandings within the classes of gender can put undo judgement against people. I personally felt it was a rather fitting sequence as it set a tone for how Doyle would view Harkness and how Harkness would become endeared to the reader.

I had a feeling I knew where A Knife in the Fog was directing me in regards to whom would become unmasked as the Ripper. Harper did something quite classic in how he developed the story-line, the characters and the persons of whom they encountered along the route of the story as it shifted forward – he kept you close to the dialogue, the discoveries and the case as it evolved through the investigation. All of which is brilliantly within the guise of the genre this story is set but he also did a hat trick from a magician’s bag of tricks – he re-directed your attention away from something you might have clued in on more readily if you weren’t equally distracted from addressing what it was you thought you had picked up on earlier in the story! Laughs. I actually was quite impressed how long the suspense lasted as it takes you straight (almost!) to the concluding chapters to where Harper knits together the conclusion (some) readers might not expect to be the solution to the mysterious identity of the Ripper. I, for one, felt it was a right proper choice – it staid within the scope of the journey we took walking beside Conan Doyle, Harkness and Bell whilst it also eluded to a reality you could find believable about this infamous case of crime.

It is in the final chapter wherein I felt reconnected to Conan Doyle – as for me, he held within his character (within the scope of the series) a bit more Holmesian attributes than I think Harper even realised he had etched into his nature. He might have meant for us to view Doyle differently but in the final chapter, there was a brilliant moment of recognition and also quiet acceptance of how this characterisation of Conan Doyle was a classic representation of why I have loved Sherlock Holmes. It is fitting truly, Harper has found his voice in fiction to be fulfilling a missing gap in stories which I believe the real Conan Doyle would have appreciated had he lived to see their publication.

-quoted from my review of A Knife in the Fog

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Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!Queen's Gambit
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness
by Bradley Harper
Source: Direct from Publisher

Spring, 1897. London. Margaret Harkness, now in her early forties, must leave England for her health but lacks the funds. A letter arrives from her old friend Professor Bell, her old comrade in the hunt for Jack the Ripper and the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

Bell invites her to join him in Germany on a mysterious mission for the German government involving the loss of state secrets to Anarchists. The resolution of this commission leads to her being stalked through the streets of London by a vengeful man armed with a powerful and nearly silent air rifle who has both Margaret and Queen Victoria in his sights. Margaret finds allies in Inspector James Ethington of Scotland Yard and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who aspires to follow in Margaret's cross-dressing footsteps.

The hunt is on, but who is the hunter, and who the hunted as the day approaches for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee when the aged empress will sit in her open carriage at the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral? The entire British Empire holds its breath as the assassin, Margaret, and the Queen herself play for the highest of stakes with the Queen’s Gambit.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781645060017

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)


Genres: Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Crime Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 17th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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The Margaret Harkness & Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries:

per each installment either both are featured or only Harkness takes the lead

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperQueen's Gambit by Bradley Harper

A Knife in the Fog (book one) – (see also review)

Queen’s Gambit (book two)

  • more installments are forthcoming!

This Summer I also featured an Interview with Mr Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)
an imprint of Start Science Fiction, part of Start Publishing

Converse via: #QueensGambit, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalThriller
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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About Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over thirty-seven years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some two hundred autopsies, twenty of which were forensic.

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate's Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and has been nominated for an 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Death In A Desert Land” (Book Three: The Agatha Christie series) by Andrew Wilson

Posted Monday, 8 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book(s) By: I have been hosting blog tours and reviews for Simon & Schuster off and on for nearly a year now. I’ve had the joy of discovering their stories through Contemporary and Historical narratives whilst happily finding a lot of their authors are writing the kinds of stories which keep me engaged and rooted in their narratives.

This time round – it was a Historical Suspense novel and series which whet a thirst of interest to be reading as it is rooted in my love of Agatha Christie – this series puts Dame Christie in the driving seat of the sleuth rather than one of her characters and I have a propensity for seeking out these kinds of mysteries. Previously, I gave the Jane Austen mysteries my attention and there have been a few others over the years where living persons are the ‘sleuths’ who tuck us into their worlds. I find it a bit fascinating how living history is now a foundation for Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers – as it extends my love of Biographical Historical Fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of “Death in a Desert Land” from the publisher Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Ahead of reading “Death in a Desert Land” I also borrowed copies of the first two novels in this series: “A Talent for Murder” and “A Different Kind of Evil” from my local library which I happily shared ruminations about on this post for my personal edification and for continuing to share my bookish life with my readers. I was not obligated to do so in other words and felt it was beneficial to sharing my joy of the series.

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Why I didn’t cosy into A Talent for Murder:

I do appreciate following the vision of a series from the beginning of how an author pens the stories – however, in this particular case, I didn’t find an easy entrance into A Talent for Murder – in effect, I found it hard to adjust to the writing style and find a compelling reason to read it. It was written in a rather brisk fashion and although the premise was a curious one – how Agatha Christie would go from writing to sleuthing was a strong component of why I wanted to read the story as a precursor to reading the second volume of the series and then, the recently released third Death in a Desert Land – I mused, perhaps this series might follow suit of a previously read Historical Romance series.

I am finding recently there are certain series which benefit from skipping over the first few volumes in exchange for the latest release. This did not used to be the case for me – I would generally find myself smitten by the first novel of a series in-progress and have a lot of good folly to follow through with the installments leading into the newest one being released – until, I’ve found that sometimes series grow more appealling with age than they do with their first entries into the rhythm of their stories.

Two series prior to this one worked this way for me recently – as soon as I picked up Death in a Desert Land, I found a different voice within it. A different method of delivery in the narrative and because of that – I found myself about to cosy into this story far easier than my first attempts within A Talent for Murder. Thereby, despite my personal preferences to read series in sequential order, there are apparently a few series out there which benefit me to skip round and find the installments which suit me best to be reading. You might have noted I borrowed the second novel in this series but opted instead to read the third.

This suited me as what initially had drawn my interest into reading the Agatha Christie series is by having a life-long pursuit of the author’s collective works. My favourite stories are those of Miss Marple even if in recent years I’ve had a glimpse of Poirot and have taken a firm liking to his quirky ways of sleuthing – there is still a stronghold of appreciation on my behalf for Marple. I dearly had hoped to find entrance into this series as I was most keen to discover how Christie would be presented as an independent sleuth and how that would counter to the image and impression I had of her previously.

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Death In A Desert Land” (Book Three: The Agatha Christie series) by Andrew WilsonDeath in Desert Land
by Andrew Wilson
Source: Direct from Publisher

Fresh from solving the gruesome murder of a British agent in the Canary Islands, mystery writer Agatha Christie receives a letter from a family who believes their late daughter met with foul play. Before Gertrude Bell overdosed on sleeping medication, she was a prominent archaeologist, recovering ancient treasures in the Middle East. Found near her body was a letter claiming that Bell was being followed and to complicate things further, Bell was competing with another archeologist, Mrs. Woolley, for the rights to artifacts of immense value.

Christie travels to far-off Persia, where she meets the enigmatic Mrs. Woolley as she is working on a big and potentially valuable discovery. Temperamental but brilliant, Mrs. Woolley quickly charms Christie but when she does not hide her disdain for the recently deceased Miss Bell, Christie doesn’t know whether to trust her—or if Bell’s killer is just clever enough to hide in plain sight.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781501197451

Genres: Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction, Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction


Published by Atria Books, Washington Square Press

on 9th July, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Published by: Washington Square Press | Atria Books (@AtriaBooks)
{imprints of} Simon & Schuster ()

The Agatha Christie series:

A Talent for Murder by Andrew WilsonA Different Kind of Murder by Andrew WilsonDeath in a Desert Land by Andrew Wilson

A Talent for Murder – book one

A Different Kind of Evil – book two

Death in a Desert Land – book three

Converse via: #AgathaChristieMysteries, #AgathaChristie + #HistMys

as well as #HistoricalMystery + #HistFic #Mysteries

About Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson Photo Credit Johnny Ring_Location Courtesy of Royal Institute of British Architecture

Andrew Wilson is an award-winning journalist and author. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Sunday Times, and the Smithsonian Magazine. He is the author of four acclaimed biographies, a book about the survivors of the Titanic, and the novels, The Lying Tongue, A Talent for Murder, A Different Kind of Evil, Death in a Desert Land.

Photo Credit: Johnny Ring

Location Courtesy of Royal Institute of British Architecture

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 8 July, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Historical Mystery, Lady Detective Fiction

Book Review on behalf of an Edgar Awards nominee for 2019 | “A Knife in the Fog” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book One) by Bradley Harper

Posted Friday, 26 April, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: Last year, ahead of “A Knife in the Fog” being released I came across the author on Twitter – as Bradley Harper started following me. It was at this exact moment where I was starting to research new and upcoming book releases from one of my favourite publishers of dramatic Crime Fiction – Seventh Street Books – finding amongst the releases, there was a new author of after canon stories featuring a narrative styling similar to Sherlock Holmes but uniquely its own variant within the canon of interest as this new series was featuring Conan Doyle rather than Holmes himself. The uniqueness of the approach is also by bridging in the character Professor Bell which would also draw an eye towards a crafty nod to the traditional Holmes/Watson partnership.

I had originally requested this title for review consideration however, I hadn’t realised Seventh Street Books was about to undergo a sale and reacquistation by Smart Publishing; of whom has taken on this imprint and Pyr both of which were once under Prometheus Books. I came to know the imprints by being a reviewer for the parent publishing company of Prometheus Books wherein I request and review books throughout an eclectic subject focus within the branches of Science and Mathematics which interest me to research for personal enrichment as well as the pursuit of knowledge within those fields.

Thereby, earlier this year [2019] I submitted a purchase request for a paperback copy of “A Knife in the Fog” whilst I concurrently attempted to listen to the audiobook version. As I had some hiccups in my listening rotations through my Scribd subscription, I did a free trial of Libro.FM (for seeking audiobooks by giving Indie bookshoppes credit for those purchases – where I listed Powells (Portland, Oregon) as my bookshoppe of choice) allowing me to download a copy of “A Knife in the Fog” on MP3. I began listening to “A Knife in the Fog” on audiobook in-line with developing questions to ask Mr Harper during a phone interview (which I conducted in late March, 2019) wherein I discovered I loved his approach to writing this series.

Ahead of posting my review on behalf of the story, I wanted to read the print edition of “A Knife in the Fog” which had recently come into my library as my purchase request was not only accepted but fulfilled. There were some key parts of the story I wanted to re-read over and I also wanted to dig into the written aspects of the story-line outside of the scope of the audiobook.

Although my main interest was to seek out an interview with Mr Harper based on my readings and listening hours of “A Knife in the Fog” my ruminations on behalf of the audiobook and print edition are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. The Press Materials I received by Mr Harper’s virtual authorly assistant Stephanie @ Paste Creative are being used with permission on both this review and on my forthcoming interview with Mr Harper as dual showcase of the story, the series and the writer’s approach to the craft of Crime Fiction.

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Why reading after canons about Sherlock Holmes and/or Conan Doyle appeal to me as a reader inasmuch as why I love Historical Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers:

I personally feel as if Crime Fiction has a soft spot in my heart and mind; for as long as I can remember I’ve been claiming Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers as being my most keenly interested section of television teleplays and dramas of interest. Counter to that pursuit, are the novels – spilt between the Cosies I personally adore and have a deep affection for devouring and the more intriguingly brilliant and layered Cosy Historical Mysteries which have passionately become a favourite pursuit of my readerly life since I became a book blogger.

Adjacent to those inclinations, I am also most intrigued with the Historical Suspense and/or Thriller – there are a few of my interests in these kinds of stories which are on the ‘outer edge’ of my tolerance levels for visuals and/or inclusive scenes which are relevant to the story/series itself. Those I happily refer and reference as “Hard Boiled” entries for a point of reference here on my blog as well as a marker of interest in my own pursuit of the stories themselves.

When it comes to chasing down television dramas in Crime Fiction as much as Fictional series of the same nature, I have a profound affection for those writers who give keen insight into Forensic Science, Forensic Pathology and Forensic Investigative Techniques or the Psychology of the Crime through Forensic applications on the psyche.  What is interesting about studying Forensics through Fiction is how crafty writers have to become to keep us not only invested in their stories but for giving us a truism of realism within the boundaries of their stories. When they go to infer a step into their worlds – a world they are illuminating to become the mainstay of interest for a series in development for the new reader whose found their words – they are giving us a prime example of what is become expected of their collective works in future volumes.

This is why if a writer of Crime Fiction can capture me straight out of the gate – by their voice, their style or their world – over and beyond their lead character(s), supporting cast and the delivery of the suspenseful bits interwoven into the back-stories – they will have found a loyal reader in me for the life of their series*. (*) co-dependent on the fact they do not disappoint my palette of interest in future installments.

When it comes to Sherlock Holmes and the after canons of his stories – I have a very, short list of interest – at which you will find the Mary Russell stories at the very top as Laurie R. King was the first author I had discovered in 2009 who was writing a level of intuitive intention regarding Holmes which felt naturally intrinsic of the character I had remembered. Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer arrived a bit lateron but was a bit of a harder sell for me being that Enola’s story-lines were slightly a hit/miss for me but the character of Enola was intriguing enough to where I wanted to read more of her adventures. With Mary Russell – I was immediately smitten by her and Holmes at this junction in his life and thereby, wooed immediately into the world King had set out for us to discover.

I am quite critical about after canons, stories inspired by classical novelists and sequel authors – notwithstanding my interests in Conan Doyle, there are my inquisitive pursuits of chasing down stories of this nature within the embodiment of Jane Austen and the re-tellings of Jane Eyre.

What I am constantly seeking out is a certain layer of conveyance of presence, of loyalty to the authentic voice of the inspirational character in question and a purposeful dedication of not just honouring the past but of elevating the tone of the new incantation against the old. I love finding authors who have their own unique approach to re-writing a familiar character and giving us a newfound way of appreciating them through their new variant of interest in the here and now. Thus, what captured my attention with the Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries was simply this – how a pathologist was motivated to write these stories based on his own interest in Holmes and the writer behind Holmes (Conan Doyle) led him into a portal which granted us an immersive look at how Doyle himself might have approached investigative interests which re-lead us to appreciate how he created Holmes and Watson.

Overall, what I love most about Holmes and Watson in the traditional sense is the camaraderie of their relationship – their zest for intellectual dissection of the facts and their pursuit of uncovering the sociological implications of what is fuelling the crimes in which they investigate. They are uniquely timeless in how they inter-relate to one another but also how they approached their techniques – leaning on the intellect and the divisiveness of their research talents, they uncovered the criminology of their cases because of how they approached their ability to sleuth.

My hopes for this novel and the subsequent series ranked high – I was dearly hoping this would become another ‘beloved’ entry in my pursuit of Seventh Street Books and their Crime Fiction stories – whilst my love and appreciation for Holmes and Watson was inspiring me to take a chance on this new entry into a Holmesian niche of after canon story-lines. Not that this is a traditional after canon in the sense that there is an influence of Holmesian styling but it is not effectively a re-telling or a reincarnation of that canon per se but as you read or listen to A Knife in the Fog you’ll find Holmes and Watson have materalised anew in a different vehicle of interest altogether.

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Book Review on behalf of an Edgar Awards nominee for 2019 | “A Knife in the Fog” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book One) by Bradley HarperA Knife in the Fog
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle
by Bradley Harper
Source: Purchase REQ | local library, Purchased | Personal Library, Scribd | Audiobook Subscription
Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another "crime story." Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.

Once there, he is offered one month's employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a "consultant" in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell--Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes--agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.

Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633884861

ASIN: B07HKJ71X5

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog (Interview), Queen's Gambit

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog (Interview), Queen's Gambit


Genres: After Canons, Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Setting: London, England, UK


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Audiobook | mp3, Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperA Knife in the Fog (audiobook) by Bradley Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

Converse via: #AKnifeInTheFog, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalMystery
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

A Knife in the Fog was nominated for
an Edgar Award in 2019 for “Best First Novel”

Initially, I was going to do this review ‘ahead’ of the Edgars announcing their winners, as I wanted to help re-highlight the novel to an audience of Mystery appreciators who might be seeking their next wicked good Historical Suspense – however, due to everything going on the past month and a half, I’ve been a bit behind in my readings and in my reviews. As a result, I shifted this review forward a bit to where I could await the announcements – per the author’s suggestion to run this instead on Friday after the winner’s were officially declared. Although, Mr Harper did not win the Edgar I felt it befitted the nomination and blessedly showcased a publisher I personally love for dramatic Crime Fiction! Harper is amongst a list of novelists I turn to whenever I want to read a crime narrative by this publisher – Susan Spann, Larry D. Sweazy, Jennifer Kincheloe and Terry Shames round out the list (thus far known as I am going to be reading new authors this year to see which of them whet my thirst of joy for Mysteries).

On that note, I am thankful to announce I’m discovering the Cosy Spice Shop Mysteries this late Spring/early Summer by Leslie Budewitz – whilst I am eagerly in wait for the seventh Hiro Hattori novel “Ghost of the Bamboo Road” by Susan Spann; the third Anna Blanc Mystery “The Body in Griffith Park” by Jennifer Kincheloe and the sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” – “The Queen’s Gambit” by Bradley Harper.

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About Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over thirty-seven years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some two hundred autopsies, twenty of which were forensic.

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate's Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and has been nominated for an 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.

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Posted Friday, 26 April, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Arthur Conan Doyle, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era

Audiobook Review | “Bridge to Burn” (Book Seven: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

Similar to the blog tour for the sixth novel of the #KayHunter series, the blog tour review copies are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from “Gone to Ground” and “Bridge to Burn” is because the new format is mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. However, this time round as I switched my subscription from Audible to Scribd, I did not yet have the chance to purchase my copy of “Bridge to Burn” – which I shall be doing eventually as I want to have a full set of all the Kay Hunter installments – I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as I can continue to listen to one of my beloved and favourite Crime Drama series!

Thereby my copy of “Bridge to Burn” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Gone to Ground” and why I was itching for the next novel:

Kay’s team has a few growing pains coming to it as with Kay’s recent promotion, the rest of the team remains a bit lopsided. Her first pick to gain a promotion soon after her was Barnes; unfortunately for Kay, Barnes was comfortable in the role he was already employed. She had to respect his choice even if it confused her why he wouldn’t want to rise in the ranks. Barnes was her right hand man on the team, a person she could trust without blinking and know he would have her back.

You can observe her own growth as a person finding traction in front of cameras whereas only a year prior being the lead spokesperson for the unit would have put her in a bit of a tailspin of anxiety. Now, she is shining as a voice for the police and hoped the words she spoke would encourage new leads to come forward after the report went out on the newscast. The case itself was perplexing – they had a clue towards what the crime involved but without ‘more evidence’ they could only speculate which was the one thing they didn’t want anyone to do. It would only lead to heartache for everyone involved.

I was definitely curious about how Larch decided to take early retirement and moved off into the Midlands as a result. This left an open space in the team and unit Kay was now overseeing alongside with the guidance of Sharpe. With Sharper in the overseeing role for the team, you start to see how the new dynamics are forming and keeping each of the team members a tightly knit team who know they can rely on each other. What was lovely though is how Kay is open to having her fellow detectives (including the junior ones) have equal respect in the bull room so to speak – to speak their theories and to explore (as a team) what they feel might be motive and opportunity. Even if they fall a bit short of a solid lead, it helps build their foundation as a team who everyone feels comfortable being an active part of growing into a well-oiled machine of efficiency.

At the morgue we get a keen insight into the gloom and the heart-wrenching cases the ME has to sort through when the caseload becomes unbearingly brutal with cases which are harder to reconcile than usual. I think any case that goes through the morgue which deals with children and youth, has to be the cases they struggle with the most to ‘let go’ once they’ve done all they can to determine the cause of death. Medical examiners don’t get a enough credit for how strong of mind and heart they have to be to constantly do their job and remain emotionally disconnected.

One of my favourite revelations was not even related to the case, it was about Adam’s inheritance, how horses played a keen role in his award and how the friendship he had with an older lady who wanted a guardian for her horses was the key to how Adam and Kay lived rather comfortably.

Outside of focusing on Kay and Adam at home and out about in their community, there were loads of cheeky humour sequences and workplace camaraderie which I love so much in this series! It helps re-affirm who these people are and how they interact with each other. When you listening to different installments of the series and a bit of time goes by – seeing how they react to each other is another way of re-aligning you right back into the dialogue from whence you had left off in the last installment.

Seeing Kay develop her confidence in her new position is a joy – each day she’s on the job, the more she becomes a confident leader. The irony of course, their current case involves team building exercises where their potential victim was spending time – the random joy for Kay is finding that her unit works well without the benefit of an official ‘time away’ from the office to come together as a united front.

When it is known what the title refers to ‘gone to ground’ – everything seemed to make better sense about the structure of this particular case. The key focus on the team and how they interact with each other has become the new standard of the series – as originally, when the series first began we would shift between the detectives and the one(s) they were pursuing – giving us a dual perspective from two different sides of every investigation.

In this particular instance – it proves how frustrating detectives become when they don’t have enough to guide them forward. I was hoping this particular case might have a decidedly brilliant wench in the wheel of the investigation and I must admit, Amphlett definitely gave us one!! It has to do with who you think is the person of interest and who the truer culprit turnt out to be – the curious bit here is how Amphlett constantly brings the sociological side of sleuthing into her stories. She focuses on the psychological and the sociological – of easing you through the hardest bits by re-focusing on the reasons ‘why’ certain behaviours are being explored and why some characters have more guilt within them than others. Sometimes your not even sure where a confession is going to lead you or if the confession your hearing is the right one for the case at hand.

I must admit, the crime(s) involved in this installment are really difficult to get through – although, I do credit Ms Amphlett for not making it worse than it was – she definitely pulls back when I have witnessed other authors who don’t have as much self-control as she does. This is a credit to her for giving us a chillingly suspenseful read but without ensuring we’ll have nightmares afterwards! You want to feel the suspense – similar to watching your favourite Hitchcock film but without feeling as if you can’t properly recover afterwards! Hitchcock and Amphlett both found the sweet spot in Suspense where they can give you chills but allow you the grace to know you can handle where the stories will lead.

-quoted from my review of Gone to Ground

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I can’t believe I’ve been outside this world since last [September]!

After finishing Gone to Ground, I was truly thankful there was a bit of a ‘gap’ between books six and seven as I felt I needed to put some distance between myself and Kay Hunter. This is a series I truly felt captivated to listen to throughout [2018] however, it is a very emotionally jarring series – you don’t realise how attached your going to become to the series until your in the throes of it and by then, your heart is gone. You are so intricately immersed inside this authentically writ world by Ms Amphlett and the heart-pulsing high octane paced narration styling of Ms Campbell – you simply can’t disconnect your ears from listening to the series once you’ve become smitten with the world, the characters and journey Kay Hunter is taking both personally and professionally.

This is why I was thankful the blog tour was in early [2019] as it gave me the distance and the breathier I need from the last installment before I entered the seventh story. I knew a few stories back this series was making a twist of a turn for being a bit more hard-boiled than most Thrillers and Suspense novels I’m reading but at the heart of the series is Kay, her team and the life she shares with Adam. I wrestled with feeling if I could continue to listen to the series and go forward with her on this journey or if I might one day need to back-out as the growing series was expounding on the grim sides of her job whilst it was also tucking us closer into her private world.

There are so many lovely layers of this series, in the end, I opted to ‘stay invested’ in the series and I credit that first and foremost to the author Ms Amphlett for how dedicated she is not to :push: the line too far afield to where I can’t get through the novels and to Ms Campbell for her passionate portrayal of Kay and how she intuitively hugs us back inside Kay’s world. The two of them together is why this increasingly dramatic crime series is dearly beloved by me – it might be on the upper tier of what I can consider reading and/or listening too – but I love the continuity, the layered insight into the life of these characters and the fact that I can trust the author for giving me an edgy read without making me feel as if I couldn’t survive it afterwards.

This is why I was wicked excited about finding the latest audiobook via Scribd as it was coordinated in such a way (ie. released to subscribers) to where I could join the blog tour – continue sharing my ruminations alongside my fellow enthused audiobook readers in the book blogosphere and tuck closer to Kay to see where we are on her personal journey whilst finding myself enchanted once more by Ms Campbell’s approach at giving me a new visitation with the whole cast of characters within the Kay Hunter series! This is definitely one that grabs you rather immediately and before you realise you’ve become addicted to hearing the stories, your already progressing through your seventh volume!

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Audiobook Review | “Bridge to Burn” (Book Seven: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellBridge to Burn
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Alison Campbell

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies and organised crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.

But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values.

Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-9993683-3-3

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground), Gone to Ground

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Gone to Ground


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 13th January, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours, 39 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Audiobooks by: Audiobook Factory (@audiofactoryuk)

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six (see also Review)
Bridge to Burn | Book Seven

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime