Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years. 

But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…

There’s something terribly wrong. 

Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Sophie Hannah is always an author I enjoy, mainly because you can always rely on her to deliver something a little different. I have never read a storyline like this before and I had no idea which way it would go. Every solution I came up with was wrong.

The characterisation is very strong, particularly Beth and my favourite of them all her daughter Zannah. I thought she was brilliant, the way she managed to convince her father that her mother had a point, there was something not quite right with the Braids. But more so, her takedown of the teacher, which made me smile all day.

When, finally, the truth was revealed I went cold, this was evil control and I really hope there is nobody who has had to deal with a situation like this in real life. It is difficult to review without spoilers but if you choose to read this you won’t be disappointed.

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah – Review.

51ezO7Tmy+L

About the Book

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

My Review

Did You See Melody? has a convincing start with Cara arriving at a luxury resort in Arizona exhausted and emotional. After she is allocated a room that is already occupied she is upgraded to a fantastic suite that she feels will go along way to helping her relax and make decisions about her future. But when she starts to listen to other guests she starts to question what she did see in the room.
Cara starts to look at the internet to find out about what happened to Melody, her parents trial and the media frenzy that surrounded the investigation. Along with another guest in the hotel, Tarin, she is convinced that Melody is still alive and somewhere on the complex.
I loved the cynical approach that Sophie Hannah showed with regards to the hotel, where guests could not be relied on to have a good holiday without their intrusion and towards the chat show ‘trial’. I am so thankful that our chat shows are not as bad as the one shown in this novel.
I was slightly unconvinced by some of the characters, but my favourite was Tarin who refused to be bullied by the police or the team who worked on the chat show. I would have liked to have more information at times, a few threads felt unfinished but I still enjoyed the novel.
I had to read the ending twice. I’m still not sure that I’ve understood it correctly but I liked it more on the second read. For this reason, Did You See Melody? would make a great book club read, there would be a lot to discuss.

Did You See Melody? completes my #20booksofsummerchallenge.

 

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah.

51r4fkfhfpl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

About the Book

The new Hercule Poirot novel – another brilliant murder mystery that can only be solved by the eponymous Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

Since the publication of her first book in 1920, Agatha Christie wrote 33 novels, two plays and more than 50 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation.

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle that can only be solved by the talented Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

My Review

I was a huge Hercule Poirot fan years ago and loved getting my hands on one that I hadn’t read from the library. However, when I had read them all countless times they were replaced by more modern crime novels. I was really interested though when I heard that Sophie Hannah was continuing the series. I was advised that the hardback edition was preferable to the e-book, mainly because of the cover. I’m glad that I did buy that version, its stunning.
Monsieur Poirot was just like I remembered him although if it was possible to meet characters from books I would have to apologize to him for forgetting that he was Belgian and not French. It was like the gap of thirty years plus didn’t exist. He was still the clever, vain, mildly insulting but loyal character that Agatha Christie created.
I thought his relationship with Edward Catchpool worked very well. Catchpool is the narrator throughout the novel and he took all the put downs from Poirot in his stride just appreciating him using his ‘little grey cells’ to help in the investigation. Parts of the novel were slightly intimidating, the way that Catchpool was made very unwelcome in the village where the victims lived was one of them.
The case itself was complicated. I never had a clue who the murderer was or how the murders were carried out. Neither did Catchpool but Poirot solved it as only he could. There are a couple of characters apart from the main two who I really liked and I hope that they will appear again in the future.
I was lucky enough to buy a signed edition of Closed Casket the next book in this series, I hope to read it soon. Recommended for all Hercule Poirot fans.