Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham – Guest Post – Blog Tour.

 

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Today it is my pleasure to welcome Vicky Newham to my blog to talk about her lead character Maya Rahman. Her debut novel Turn A Blind Eye was published on Thursday 5th April. I loved this novel and my review is here

Guest Post

Introducing DI Maya Rahman

In crime fiction, it’s often difficult to come up with a ‘fresh’ cop protagonist. The cliché is that many are socially awkward, cannot hold down a relationship and drink too much. In addition, many are white males. I’ve been fortunate with my main character, as she evolved in my mind naturally and subverts many of these stereotypes.
Back in 2002, when I was teaching in East London, many of my students, colleagues and neighbours were from Bangladeshi backgrounds. I went out of my way to make friends with many of them and learnt about the aspects of their lives that were different from mine. As a result, I always wanted the main character in Turn a Blind Eye to be a Bangladeshi female. Maya Rahman was born in Sylhet and came to the UK with her family in 1982. She was four, with an older sister (Jasmina) and brother (Sabbir). The family lived in two rooms in a top-floor flat in Brick Lane, where many of their compatriots settled.
When the book begins, Maya is a detective inspector in the Met and she’s faced racism and sexism to reach her rank. When she arrived in London, she was an outsider. For many, she was too ‘different’. Having lived in Tower Hamlets ever since, she’s inevitably absorbed some ‘Britishness’. For some in her community, Maya’s forgotten her roots. They have mixed feelings about her education, relationship status and cultural identity. In the novel, Maya is single-minded, caring and empathic. Her mother struggled to adapt to life in the UK whereas her father thrived. There are family secrets and sadnesses which affect Maya still, but she’s in a happy, long-term relationship and we see her drawing on these aspects of her life to solve the crimes she’s investigating.

About the Book

A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.

A headmistress is found strangled in an East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.

You can purchase the book from usual places including amazon or if you fancy a signed hardback you can also buy a copy from Goldsboro

TABE blog tour

Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham – Review.

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About the Book

A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.
A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:
I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.
At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.
Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.
Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
In Turn A Blind Eye, Vicky Newham has created some strong lead characters with Maya and Dan. Maya is the first Bangladeshi character that I have met and I found it fascinating to read the accounts of her childhood interspersed with the murder investigation. She is a character I am looking forward to knowing more about, her relationship with her parents and definitely her sister. Dan,married into the Aboriginal community brings added empathy and understanding into a multi racial community that is different to what he might otherwise be used to. I warmed to Maya immediately, Dan may take a little longer but I am looking forward to knowing more about his personal life. But there are more than the two lead characters. Their superior officer, who is obnoxious, the victims and their families are all well-developed. The way the grieving families were described was more convincing than some that I have read.
The teachers in the novel also have a voice, they show their concerns, their fears and the frustration they feel at events that they have no control over.
I am not a teacher but the account of life in an inner city school was convincing and the politics interesting. How the teachers and social workers have to deal with a lot more than just whether homework is being done.
I found it to be a brilliant account of how a close-knit community cope when one of their own is killed. It felt realistic how Maya had to deal with a crowd that could get angry, fuelled by the media and fake news.
This novel is much more than a murder investigation. This is a study into how people from different races and religions live alongside each other.

You can purchase the novel here

Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!
But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…
This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

My Review

Fatal Masquerade is the fourth book in the series that features Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois. I read the first book recently and even though this book could be read as a standalone novel I am glad that I had already ‘met’ them. I was aware of how they met and the relationship between them. This novel was a lot more sinister to read. The death of a servant, another servant accused of their murder and only two people willing to help. These being Alkmene and Jake.
Jake is witholding information from Alkmene which doesn’t please her and whilst more of his character is revealed, mainly that he won’t betray a trust, you still don’t find out why he was a convict. I would like to read more from his point of view but that may come in time.
Whilst I liked the two main characters, I struggled to warm to anybody else. The wealthy were portayed as dismissive and uncaring towards the wrongly accused servant. Better that she would be found guilty and hanged rather than have their lives turned upside down by a lacklustre police force. Two of the group were intimidating, and not people I would like to spend any time with.
Very much ‘cosy crime’, the murder isn’t the main focus in the storyline, it’s more an analysis of character and how people are perceived and controlled by others.
I would have liked to read the earlier two books I hadnt read. Some of the storyline does seem to carry on through the series. It was easy enough to follow though, I’m just curious. It is a series that I will eventually catch  up on, and follow in the future.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

A Proposal to Die For by Vivian Conroy – Review.

 

About the Book

A murderous beginning
With her father away in India, Lady Alkmene Callender finds being left to her own devices in London intolerably dull, until the glamorous Broadway star Evelyn Steinbeck arrives in town! Gossip abounds about the New York socialite, but when Ms Steinbeck’s wealthy uncle, Silas Norwhich, is found dead Lady Alkmene finds her interest is piqued. Because this death sounds a lot to her like murder…
Desperate to uncover the truth, Lady Alkmene begins to look into Ms Steinbeck’s past – only to be hampered by the arrival of journalist, Jake Dubois – who believes she is merely an amateur lady-detective meddling in matters she knows nothing about!
But Lady Alkmene refuses to be deterred from the case and together they dig deeper, only to discover that some secrets should never come to light…
The twenties have never been so dangerous.

My Review

I don’t read much ‘cosy crime’, it’s usually when I need a break from the usual modern-day crime fiction books that tend to be more grim and which sometimes can be difficult to read. So, when I chose to read this book in preparation for book 4 which I will be reviewing in a few weeks time it was perfect timing.
It is the first book in the Alkmene Callender series and I enjoyed it a lot. I wish I had read it sooner, then I would have time to read book two and three, I feel that this is a series that I would really get into.
It is very sedate, Alkmene has too much time on her hands and decides to play private detective after overhearing a conversation at a party and then reading about a death in the paper. One of the people she heard talking stood to gain from the person’s death. She is helped in her investigation by Jake Dubois, a journalist and  possible ex-convict who would love to get a story into his paper.
It is only a short novel but packs a lot in. There is the crime to solve but it also shows the difference between social classes. Alkmene is upset by things that she sees and when she tries to help, struggles to accept that she might have made the situation worse. Jake has obviously had problems in his past and I wonder if more will be revealed further on in the series.
I liked both characters, Alkmene was like a young Miss Marple with Jake in the background to keep her safe and also make her aware that her world is different to most other people.
With thanks to Vivian Conroy for the initial contact and to the publisher for the copy received via netgalley.

The Many Colours Of Us by Rachel Burton – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

What if your life was built on lies?
Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.
Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.
Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget…

My Review

I only occasionally read a romance fiction but every now again I appreciate a break from my usual choice of crime fiction. I am glad that I noticed the opportunity to read this book as part of a blog tour because I really enjoyed it.

Julia’s life changes completely when the father she has never known makes her the sole beneficiary in his will. As well as the property, money and possessions she is also handed a series of letters that has always been returned unopened. She has to come to terms with why her mother did this, as well as the reasons why his identity was always kept secret. Luckily there were quite a few people, all who knew what she didn’t, who could help.
This was a novel that I found very quick to read. I thought it was a lovely story with some very engaging people. I enjoyed Delph’s attempts at rebuilding the relationship with her daughter in the only way she knew. Even if it wasn’t the easiest way it worked. I loved the budding romance between Julia and Edwin, his disappointment at not remembering him from when she was a child and both of their reluctance to admit their feelings for each other. Happily, all the other characters and the reader could see how they were meant to be together. I don’t think there was one weak character, or one that I didn’t like. They all felt like normal people with good points and bad.
As I said earlier, this novel was out of my comfort zone but I’m glad that I have a found a new author whose books I will look out for in the future.
With thanks to the author for the copy received and to Jenny Marston for the chance to take part in the blog tour.
The Book can be purchased at Amazon

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