The Ghost of Villa Winter Blackthorn Book Tour Wrap Up!

I’m delighted to share a bunch of highlights from the book tour of The Ghost of Villa Winter!

‘I appreciate the amount of work that went into the world-building in this book. Almost Dickensian in its detail, The Ghost of Villa Winter invites the reader to step in deeply into this at-times dire and deadly locale and explore the nooks and crannies with the heroine….Classic Agatha Christie in its bringing together of a group of disparate individuals, many of whom seem suspicious (and perhaps for no other reason than their foreignness to one another), The Ghost of Villa Winter makes use of this device to further explore the geography, as the group tours around the island, seeking insights into one another and commenting on the lore of the land, which involves that sturdy old chestnut, the Nazis….’ The New Mystics

‘… I enjoyed the idea of this story. It was an interesting place to base the story off of, also the characters were all unique…. ‘ Emily Hirst, Books with Raven

‘… The Ghost of Villa Winter is just as effective a murder mystery as its predecessor. Blackthorn once again provides a real strong sense of place throughout the book…. ‘ Julie Sara Porter, Bookworm Reviews

‘… This book is so well written. The author has a knack of drawing you in with her words and this keeps you gripped the whole way through…. ‘ Confessions of a Bookworm

‘… This is my first Isobel Blackthorn book and it will not be my last. Set in idyllic Fuerteventura, this detective thriller packs a punch…. ‘ Chloe Elizabeth McCrea

‘… Mysterious killings…intriguing and interesting characters…gripping unexpected twists and turns…paranormal entities…yep, this book has it all…. ‘ Jenny Dy

‘… I have never read any of Isobel’s work before and I look forward to reading more…. ‘ Karen and her Books

‘… I think the best way to describe Villa Winter is a mix between Cluedo with Death in Paradise… ‘ Kiki Hempell

‘… An engaging murder mystery with a fun plot line, some annoying characters and vividly descriptive scenes…. ‘ Marilyn Goncalves

‘… It’s #4 in the series of Canary Island mysteries that feature Clarissa Wilkinson. The book is complete on its own and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the earlier ones, this is the only one that I have read…. ‘ Archana Maroo, Narrate a Tale

‘… If you’re looking for a #cozymystery with a slightly #supernaturalstory then you should try this book…. ‘ Angel Hench, Ouroboros

‘… Ha, the fun I had reading this book by Isobel Blackthorn. I am a huge fan of Jessica Fletcher’s Murder She Wrote, and Clarissa Wilkinson’s adventures in The Ghost Of Villa Winter reminded me of her…. ‘ Farshana, Rain’n’ Books

‘… The Ghost of Villa Winter has everything- a modern day Miss Marple ..Murder … mystery… ghosts… history …not to mention a mini tour through the Canary Islands….’ Ceylan Goktalay

‘… I enjoyed this book as it had a really unique setting, a solid mystery, a main character I grew fond of, and a twisty ending…. ‘ Debbie Rozier

‘… As the story builds you start to wonder where it’s going and who the perpetrator could be (I never get it right). I also really liked the setting and now want to go to the Canary Islands… ‘ Emily Patten

‘… This was an entertaining, fast-paced murder mystery and I enjoyed it! The story was a bit slow to start, but I liked how the author took the time to describe the beautiful island and introduce us the characters…. ‘ Elvina Ulrich

Find out more about The Ghost of Villa Winter (Book 4 in the Canary Islands Mysteries Series) here: https://isobelblackthorn.com/the-ghost-of-villa-winter/

Book review: Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen

I am delighted to share my review of Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen, Book 3 of her Dr Pimms’ Intermillennial Sleuth series

Egyptian Enigma

About Egyptian Enigma

Dr Elizabeth Pimms, enthusiastic archaeologist and reluctant librarian, has returned to Egypt.

Among the treasures of the Cairo museum she spies cryptic symbols in the corner of an ancient papyrus. Curiosity leads Elizabeth and her gang of sleuths to investigate a cache of mummies hidden in the Golden Tomb.

What is the connection between the Tomb and Tausret, female Pharaoh and last ruler of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty? How did the mummies end up scattered across the globe? And is Elizabeth’s investigation related to attacks on her family and friends?

Between grave robbers, modern cannibals, misinformed historians and jealous Pharaohs, can Dr Pimms solve her new archaeological mystery?

Filled with ancient murder, family secrets and really good food, Egyptian Enigma is the third adventure in the charming crime series:  Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

 

My thoughts (reviewed for Sisters in Crime, Australia)

The third in the Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth cosy mystery series, Egyptian Enigma takes

the reader deep into the exotic and ancient realm of the Pharaohs of Egypt. Engaging

opening scenes of the prologue dive straight into the action of the story as Elizabeth Pimms

visits a tomb in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo and catches a mysterious

woman in her hotel room stealing her journal.

The narrative races back 4,000 years to Khemet and the reign of Pharaoh Seti II as his wife,

Tausret prepares for her day. When her husband is assassinated, she takes control to

become the last in her dynasty to rule Egypt and she is at risk at every turn. This parallel

narrative is well-conceived and convincing, the reader provided an at once educative and

fascinating insight into an ancient civilisation.

Meanwhile, back home in Canberra, the intrepid and wilful Dr Pimms and her team set

about solving an archaeological mystery using modern techniques to see re-create a

mummy. How Dr Pimms’ investigations and Tausret are connected is the key narrative

driver.

The story is helped along by good characterisation of both the protagonist and minor

characters, and a carefully devised and well-paced plot with numerous twists and turns. The

reader is soon caught up in the blended family life of Dr Pimms and her professional life as

both librarian and academic, with all of the ups and downs, arguments and tensions that

come with such complexity.

The pace of the narrative is slowed considerably by both the archaeological exposition and

descriptions of sumptuous dining. Yet these descriptive scenes help to provide Egyptian

Enigma with a strong, cosy-mystery vibe. Themes of child brides, the subjugation of women

and the deleting of women’s stories from the historical record are foregrounded to the

delight of feminist readers.

The ending is abrupt and leaves many questions unanswered, leaving the reader waiting

impatiently for Book Four. Overall, Egyptian Enigma will satisfy cosy mystery fans who enjoy

being cosseted in a Miss Marple-style story world, L.J.M. Owen’s knowledge of archaeology

coming into its own as ever it does in the Dr Pimms’ series.

Mayan Mendacity by L.J.M. Owen

Dr Elizabeth Pimms has a new puzzle.

What is the story behind the tiny skeletons discovered on a Guatemalan island? And how do they relate to an ancient Mayan queen?

The bones, along with other remains, are a gift for Elizabeth. But soon the giver reveals his true nature. An enraged colleague then questions Elizabeth’s family history. Elizabeth seeks DNA evidence to put all skeletons to rest.

A pregnant enemy, a crystal skull, a New York foodie, and an intruder in Elizabeth’s phrenic library variously aid or interrupt Elizabeth’s attempts to solve mysteries both ancient and personal.

 

 

 

My Review (written for Sisters in Crime)

Set in Canberra, and in the Mayan empire in what is now Guatemala, Mayan Mendacity is the second in L.J.M. Owen’s Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series. It is a challenge setting up the next book in a series and Owen has done so with finesse. The narration is light, buoyant, playful at times, yet ever observant, the result, a most satisfying read.

The main plot is driven by protagonist Dr Elizabeth Pimm’s new volunteer project, given her by the exacting Dr Marsh. She must assess an archeological find, the remains of a cesnote in Guatemala, meeting a series of crushing deadlines. Elizabeth’s pursuit of answers to the mysteries of the find is continuously thwarted as a number of complications beset her. Obstacles and challenges come from all directions, enough to make the weak among us buckle, but not Dr Pimms.

Owen has created a convincingly flawed and utterly lovable protagonist. She’s determined, dedicated, thorough and loyal. She sallies forth with gung ho exuberance, never down for long, no matter what befalls her. Elizabeth’s attitude is probably best summed up when she confronts another disaster and asks herself, ‘What fresh new hell was this?’

Dr Pimms is supported by a cast of characters, all rounded out and believable. The reader is introduced to each in turn as the story unfolds and a secondary plot emerges, one that is deeply personal. Indeed, it is Dr Pimms’ own history that thwarts her investigation, yet ultimately leads her to mature and open her heart.

The story is thoroughly researched; the author clearly knows her themes and her setting. Technical details are provided in an engaging, easy to follow manner. This is especially evident when Owen opens a window on the fascinating world of the Mayan empire, making use of a parallel narrative to take the reader back to the time of Dr Pimms’ find.

Elizabeth’s phrenic library is an interesting addition to the narrative, a fascinating invention, one that creates a curious occult dimension to Owen’s series. This phrenic library is a personal and mundane version of the Akashic records, a metaphysical compendium of all that has ever occurred in human history, stored on the inner planes, according to Theosophical belief. As a device, Elizabeth’s inner library works well, granting her plausible, if esoteric, access to knowledge she would otherwise be hard pressed to gain.

In all, I found Mayan Mendacity difficult to put down. Owen has provided her readers with an entertaining story that also informs, without allowing exposition to put a brake on the narrative. Pulling off a story laden with this much technical detail and maintaining a fast pace is quite a feat.