First up, A Fete Worse than Death by Dolores Gordon-Smith. This is my book five for the My Kind of Mystery which is being hosted by Riedel Fascination.
Oh, I liked this one very much indeed. It very much has the flavour of 1920s England, all country lanes and garden fetes, but also a very real sense of the horrors and senseless carnage of the war... and the cameraderie that existed between the men who fought. Jack Haldean is an interesting amateur detective, and I liked the way he realistically lost his taste for the thrill of the chase as regards the crime when it started to involve people he knew and loved. It was difficult for him and the author made no bones about depicting that. I also liked that the offical investigating detective was not an idiot... that made for a nice change too. The crime aspect itself I found interesting and absorbing, particularly the WW1 slant. All in all, a good start to a 'new to me' series. I went off immediately to grab the second book, Mad About the Boy, for my Kindle, for the princely sum of 84p from AmazonUK. Bargain.
Next up, Death By Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold. This is also a book five but this time for Carl's Once Upon A Time VIII challenge.
Well this one was a bit different. Firstly, it's a solid crime story told amid a world where magic and its use is an everyday occurance. People charm household objects to make housework easier (yes please!), use love potions, and use magic to do away with people. The other difference is that Ned and Julian are gay and although this is against the law, as it would have been in real Victorian society, the authors don't hesitate to bring it into the story and use it as another author might use a straight romance. I found it refreshingly different... others might think it a little explicit. Just a word of warning. There are also quite a lot of descriptions of some rather nasty bullying. Again, it might not be to everyone's taste. If you're OK with that then there really is quite a good crime yarn here. I must admit I suspected the culprit from the start but it didn't spoil my enjoyment. I liked the world building, magic in a Victorian setting is always attractive to me, and I really liked Ned and Julian. I particularly liked the misunderstanding element of their romance. Possibly I would have liked a few less 'gottens' but it seems some American authors never are going to learn that we don't say that word over here so I'd better get over it. I'm hoping there might be more books about these two but as the book has only been out a year it's probably too early to know.