It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Another sweltering week where I kept inside with the air conditioner on and some great books for company. A grand total of five books read, but they were all quick reads.

Two weeks ago I was hooked on Georgian mysteries, last week it was Victorian ones. The cover of The Testimony of the Hanged Man by Ann Granger caught my eye at the library and as is usually the case, the first books in the series weren't available. Normally, I don't begin a series at book five, but found that once I'd checked out the first chapter I was hooked, then followed books 4 and 6. The great thing about these mysteries is that they are stand alone novels and there is enough back story in each of them to bring you up to speed with the main characters.

I also finished Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall. This is one of those stories that stays in your head long after the book is finished. It is sad and deeply moving.

On a brighter note, I also read The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham. What a delightful Georgian romance this was. Just what I needed to clear my mind.

This week I'm reading That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson, set in one of my favourite periods in history. I'm also struggling with Charles Dickens' Barnaby Rudge. It's been ages since I've read any Dickens so I'm still reacquainting myself with his style of writing. I think it will take me awhile to get through this book.

After this, as I'm still in the mood for mysteries, I'll be reading a Regency one that's been sitting in my TBR pile for quite a long time, The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton. This is the third of a series and once again I'm taking a chance by not starting with the first book.

What I Read Last Week

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

Kate and Harriet are best friends, growing up together on an isolated Australian cape in the 1880s. As daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community. When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. But one moment in McPhail’s hut will change the course of their lives forever.

The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham

Scotland, 1795. When the coach carrying Alice Ingram and her niece, Beth, to Edinburgh is attacked, they're grateful for the intervention of two mysterious highwaymen who ride to their rescue. Beth is thrilled by the romance of it all, but Alice, fleeing her brutish husband, has had more than enough drama in her life.
As the women find sanctuary in a tavern on the Great North Road, Beth is thrilled to meet Edward Hogan, the roguish publican. Despite the difference in ages and backgrounds, the couple have instant chemistry and when Ed invited Beth to visit his Edinburgh tavern, she resolves to get to know him even better. Yet Beth is also taken with the highwayman who rescued her; after all, there's something irresistible about a rogue.
Shaken from the attack, Alice grudgingly allows herself to be seen by Doctor James Dillingham, Ed's best friend. Though Dillingham sees the telltale signs of physical abuse on Alice, she refuses to speak of it. Dillingham is dour and Alice frosty, and the two take an instant dislike to each other, so why does their shared coach journey to Edinburgh the following day seem to sizzle?
Once in Edinburgh, Beth starts secretly spending time with Ed, who she begins to think might know more about those highwaymen than he is letting on. By day, Alice sorts Dillingham's paperwork at the charity hospital he runs yet by night she sneaks off to meet her own highwayman, travelling the backroads of the city with the masked figure. Slowly, Alice is coming back to life. But will the husband she is fleeing find her out? And will her highwayman come to her rescue again

The Testimony of the Hanged Man by Ann Granger

A hanged man would say anything to save his life. But what if his testimony is true? When Inspector Ben Ross is called to Newgate Prison by a man condemned to die by the hangman's noose he isn't expecting to give any credence to the man's testimony. But the account of a murder he witnessed over seventeen years ago is so utterly believable that Ben can't help wondering if what he's heard is true. It's too late to save the man's life, but it's not too late to investigate a murder that has gone undetected for all these years, though convincing his superiors to allow him to investigate 'a cold case' proves difficult.
However, Lizzie is determined that she will look into it and what she discovers persuades Scotland Yard to take the matter seriously. But Lizzie, in making her enquiries, has entered dangerous territory.

A Particular Eye for Villainy by Ann Granger

When Mr Thomas Tapley, a respectable but down-at-heel gentleman, is found bludgeoned to death in his sitting room, his neighbour Inspector Benjamin Ross of Scotland Yard rushes to the scene. Tapley had recently returned from abroad but little else is known about the elusive man. Then, on hearing the news of Thomas's death, Mr Jonathan Tapley, QC, comes forward and the truth about his cousin's tragic past slowly begins to emerge.
Meanwhile, Ben's wife Lizzie is convinced that Tapley was being followed on the day he died and, with a bit of surreptitious questioning, she discovers that he received a mysterious visitor in a beautiful carriage a few days before his death.
As the list of suspects begins to mount, Ben can't help wondering how much of the truth is being revealed and who would benefit most from Tapley's unfortunate demise?

The Dead Woman of Deptford by Ann Granger

On a cold November night in a Deptford yard, dock worker Harry Parker stumbles upon the body of a dead woman. Inspector Ben Ross is summoned from Scotland Yard to this insalubrious part of town, but no witness to the murder of this well-dressed, middle-aged woman can be found. Even Jeb Fisher, the local rag-and-bone man, swears he's seen nothing.
Meanwhile, Ben's wife Lizzie is trying to suppress a scandal: family friend Edgar Wellings has a gambling addiction and no means of repaying his debts. Reluctantly, Lizzie agrees to visit his debt collector's house in Deptford, but when she arrives she finds her husband is investigating the murder of the woman in question. Edgar was the last man to see Mrs Clifford alive and he has good reason to want her dead, but Ben and Lizzie both know that a case like this is rarely as simple as it appears...

What I'm Reading Today

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge is a story of mystery and suspense which begins with an unsolved double murder and goes on to involve conspiracy, blackmail, abduction and retribution. Through the course of the novel fathers and sons become opposed, apprentices plot against their masters and Protestants clash with Catholics on the streets. And, as London erupts into riot, Barnaby Rudge himself struggles to escape the curse of his own past. With its dramatic descriptions of public violence and private horror, its strange secrets and ghostly doublings, Barnaby Rudge is a powerful, disturbing blend of historical realism and Gothic melodrama.

What I Hope To Read Next

The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office.
Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.
Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime.


  1. I have read a few by Dickens but not that one. I am also on a mystery kick right now. Come see my reading week here. Happy reading!

    1. Barnaby Rudge is not a popular Dickens novel. I thought it would be a good one for one of my reading challenges. Now I'm not so sure. Hope it gets better further into the story.
      Historical crime/mysteries are my comfort reads, as are Regency romances. Enjoy your week.

  2. I love the covers of the books you read!

  3. I don't read much historical fiction...but I am drawn to 20th C. books, especially those set from the 1920s through the 1970s.

    Enjoy! Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    1. I don't mind books set in the 1970s, but my usual cut-off point is the 1950s.

  4. Wow! 5 Books in one week! Way to read!

    I hope you can stop by:


    1. It sounds impressive, but they were all relatively short and therefore quick reads :-)

  5. Love all the covers. The books all look very good too.

    ENJOY, and I hope you are having a good week.

    Silver's Reviews
    My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

    1. So far so good,Elizabeth, but a heap of books from the library has messed up my reading plans :-)