23 Mar 2020


Death in the Sound BannerHaving thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, A Portrait Of Death, I cannot tell you how excited I was to be offered a place on this, the Blog Tour for the second book in the The Versipellis Mystery Series, Death In The Sound by Rhen Garland.

One of several bloggers participating, I do hope you can find the time to visit some of the other bloggers as listed below.

Death in the Sound CoverThe year is 1900, responding to a desperate plea from an old friend, Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne, accompanied by Veronique the Labrador, travel from England to New Zealand to unravel a new and complex mystery.

For his daughter’s twenty first birthday, Millionaire philanthropist Octavius Damant orchestrates a weekend party aboard the Taniwha, a luxurious paddle steamer moored in the primordial and isolated landscape of Milford Sound.

Several high society guests are invited to their remote home for the celebrations; Sir Wesley Eade, society lawyer and his beautiful but icy mistress Lady Leonora Carlton-Cayce, Dona Carla Riva, a flamboyant Brazilian dancer, and Carolyn Nolloth, O.D’s estranged sister-in-law who has a great love of other people’s money.

But O.D is the subject of persecution; a series of anonymous letters accuse him of past crimes and threaten the life of his daughter unless he gives in to their creator’s poisonous demands.

Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne discover the odds stacked against them when an unforeseen murder is committed, and they find themselves trapped aboard the Taniwha with a killer who will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve their ends.

As the body count rises, they must unravel the clues and piece together a devilish jigsaw that includes blackmail, extortion, desire, and the reappearance of the fabulous Larkspur Diamond, a gemstone with a past as murky and blood soaked as that of the relentless killer on board.

Set in the late Victorian era, with a touch of the odd, and a twist of the macabre, “Death in the Sound” continues the crime solving, paranormal escapades of Elliott Caine, Giselle Du’Lac, and Abernathy Thorne.
- Synopsis

Thomas Nibbs hurriedly tucked the item he had just stolen into his deepest pocket and ran for his life through the lush undergrowth of Sinbad Gully.
 - First Sentences, Prologue

Ralph had tried to explain very politely that there were no other cabins that could be offered as alternative accommodation ... this piece of information had not been well received and Mrs Nolloth had revealed an almost operatic talent for screaming her demands at the top of her voice, possibly believing that a louder request would be met ... It was not.
- Memorable Moment, Page 45

MY THOUGHTS ... A 'Victorian' murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches that's every bit as good as its predecessor, A Portrait Of Death, which by the way I strongly recommend you read first if you want to get the best out of this, the second book in the series.

Though not generally of the opinion that one book being held up as being 'like' another book/one author's writing being similar to another authors is necessarily helpful I think it fair to say that in all probability fans of Agatha Christie will enjoy these books and in particular Death In The Sound which I have seen compared to Christie's Death On The Nile. After all both 'murder mysteries' set aboard a paddle steamer (though if memory serves right, strictly speaking, Christie's 1937 novel takes place not aboard a paddle steamer but a steam ship) in more or less the same period (this in 1900, Christie's in the 1930's). 

With twists and turns and red herrings aplenty, the guest of honour, family, high society guests, entertainers and our intrepid trio of detectives (Elliott, his wife Giselle and Thorne) find themselves aboard the luxurious paddle steamer Taniwha. The occasion? A 21st birthday party like no other. The job in hand? With the body count rising, to fit together the pieces of the puzzle and find the fiendish killer who is also aboard.

Incredibly well written, engaged from start to finish; the impression that no one is safe, deftly conveyed,  I actually found myself to have held my breath such was the way I found myself expertly drawn into the story. There must be a part three ... please tell me there is a part three.

SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ... Delightfully macabre and chock-a-block with great characters (how I loved the villain), my goodness, can Garland weave a story!

Genre:Victorian murder mystery, supernatural mystery,
Publication Date:14th December 2019
Book Two in The Versipellis Mystery Series
Estimated Page Count: 340

Rhen Galand PhotoABOUT RHEN GARLAND ... Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large collection of passive-aggressive Tomtes.

She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, Simon R Green, and Terry Pratchett.

"I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy."

"Death in the Sound" is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the second book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series, book one “A Portrait of Death” was released in 2018.



20th March:

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26th March:
BookLoverWorm ~ Radzy Writes ~ littlemrsreader

My thanks to Rachel for not only a place on this tour but for a copy of the book. 

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20 Mar 2020


Featuring the films Mr T and myself have watched for the first time whether they be at the cinema, on the telly, online, or on DVD. 

The 2016 remake of the 1949 film of the same name which Mr T, a big fan, has on DVD. The original being a film I am familiar with but not to the degree that if they were to change anything I would necessarily notice. What felt more like a film you'd settle down to watch of a gloomy Sunday afternoon (which is what we did) rather than cinematic fare.  Inoffensive, gentle humour, I'm not too sure this had quite the charm of the original though.  FGT

2016 Remake of one of my favourite Ealing Comedies(1949)was thereby approached with some trepidation. Worries were not realised fortunately as this new version remained close enough to the original story-line and script to be almost indistinguishable. 

Gregor Fisher (aka Rab C. Nesbitt)takes on the role of Macroon, master of the island post office and telecoms, his daughters romantic interests being the sub-plot; the wartime ration of whisky preventing the necessary ritual of the quaich. 

Based on the historical events,the 1941 wreck of the SS Politician in 1941 off the isle of Eriskay, it is told that even to today, bottles of stashed whisky still occasionally wash up on the beaches of the island such was the ingenuity of the islanders in hiding the whisky they (ahem) liberated from the stricken vessel.  This film is a monument to that ingenuity, and the confounding of the authorities embodied in the person of Captain Wagget, Eddie Izzard, oddly, less manic than his 1949 counterpart Basil Radford. Yet both films maintain their essential humour and charm and I will happily watch either and or both at any time. NJT

A film I actually watched by myself which is unusual but hey-ho it was late; a school night so Mr T was fast asleep and I, well, I wasn't. Not too gory, not too crude, its humour, some of it puerile for sure but for the most part what I'd describe as stupidly funny; either way, full of laugh out loud moments (how Mr T slept through my chortling away is anyone's guess) including one of those of the type that not really all that funny, blink and you'd have missed it involving spoiler ahead >>> a zombie trundling past in their mobility scooter >>> end of spoiler. Do I think Mr T would enjoy? You bet I do. FGT

Whilst familiar with the concept, I can't say I've ever read any of the books by Terry Deary nor watched any of the UK television series of the same name. The humour, Hmm! Not as funny as I'd expected though as always British comedian Lee Mack (in his first big screen role) was hugely entertaining. Much of the humour visual 'toilet humour' (the public toilet scene being particularly memorable ... sadly) which, if the film had been much longer, I'm sure would have worn thin very quickly (at least for me, I can't vouch for Mr T who tends to revert to his seven year old - or thereabout - self when it comes to bodily function jokes). The 'violence' essentially slapstick and, as with the humour, obviously written with the securing of a PG certificate in mind. It was however interesting how much actual history they'd woven into the script though once again this tended to be geared towards the gross factor. FGT

Always been a fan of the Horrible Histories, how I wish history had been taught to me with such humour whilst at school. Originally created by a local author Terry Deary (lovely man, met him a few times through work) he has inspired a whole generation of young people to think again about history by teaching from the bottom up, the everyday and largely mundane of the common people taken up in larger events and always with a direct reference to the lavatorial somewhere along the way. The Roman public toilet scene in this one is of note!) 

A feast of British comedic talent carries through the cast, a particular favourite from me Lee Mack in his first film as Centurion Decimus constantly longing to be released from Britannia to return to his beloved Rome 'ah... Rome...'. Derek Jacobi satirically revisits his far more serious TV Drama role of Claudius with great affection, albeit briefly. Nick Frost, Rupert Graves, Warwick Davies, Alexander Armstrong, Sanjeev Bhaskar... Here's the castlistThe historical is interpreted and honestly and sometimes very literally but is not taken liberties with and is quite simply a good fun romp with education on the side. NJT

Whisky Galore Poster Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse Poster Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans Poster

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18 Mar 2020


Whilst I occasionally join in the meme that is Bermudaonion's Weblog's Wondrous Words Wednesday it isn't since a weekly meme about Inspirational Women (my apologies I forget the title) that I last regularly joined in on one so whether or not thatartsyreadergirl's Top Ten Tuesday becomes a permanent feature or not who can tell. What I will say though is this, Top Ten Tuesday/Top Ten Books With A Single Word Title as seen here on Mybookworld24,  got me thinking.

Not that could come up with TEN books that I'd read that had a one word title off the top of my head (my first thought I came up with two, Philippa Gregory's Tidelands and Emma Donoghue's Room) soooo I too had to rely on my GoodReads page which, amongst others books with a one word title that I'd read, revealed these other eight books, (the last two of which are of the same title but by different authors) ...


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16 Mar 2020


ISBN 978-0-9956463-7

Milly's Marvellous Mistakes is a funny, rhyming picture book for the X-factor generation of children brought up to expect overnight success and instant gratification!

Milly May's paintings are full of blots and smudges. She really WISHES she could do better. Then – hey presto! – her fairy godmother appears (looking a little bit like the artist Frida Khalo!) and grants her wish. But Milly soon discovers that unearned success may not be worth having and failure is not always a bad thing. Milly's Marvellous Mistakes is a funny, rhyming picture book about painting and drawing, friendship and perseverance, that says its ok to make mistakes ...

This book would be great for early readers or as a bedtime story for children of around 4 to 8 years of age.

Milly's Marvellous Mistakes, is the seventh picture book written and illustrated by Peta Rainford. Her other books are Hairy Fair, Jamie and the Joke Factory, Isabella, Rotten Speller,  Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland, The Niggle and  Jacob Starke Loves The Dark. Peta's books feature feisty girls and boys who show their emotions, and deal with childhood issues such as anxiety, resilience and friendship, with humour and a light touch.
- Information Sheet (For information about all of the books mentioned above click here)

 Milly May was getting grumpy.
The line she'd drawn was rough and bumpy.
- First Verse

With that, the fairy gave a sigh
And waved her arms towards the sky:
'I'll grant you all the skills you need,
 But there's one thing you must heed:
Wishes come in packs of three;
Please use your last two carefully ...'
- Memorable Moment, Page unnumbered

MY THOUGHTS ... I've read many children's picture books recently and I have to say that its not many of them that have captured both my imagination and heart in the same way as Milly's Marvellous Mistakes. 

I don't know if its Milly herself, that as well as liking her as a character, I could relate to her in so much as I too was the sort of child who wanted to be able to paint beautiful pictures but always ends up with blots and smudges. 

Trust me, it would still take nothing short of a fairy godmother granting me a wish in order for me to accomplish anything beyond a stick person. 

And talking of fairy godmothers ...

Yet another thing to love about the book. Proof that fairy godmothers with the power to grant wishes come in all shapes and sizes and aren't just blonde and svelte ... nor small and plump. Looking a little bit like the artist Frida Khalo, I so liked the fact that here was a fairy godmother who looked so unlike the fairy godmothers that many children are used to seeing. Maybe this was why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

... OR maybe it was the messages conveyed; that we can't be good at everything and that it is better to have tried and failed than to have gained glory by cheating. Maybe this was why I enjoyed the book as much as I did. 

That, OR ...

Written in verse. Ideal not only for emergent reader eager to tackle books on their own but also as a story to be shared, to be read out loud either at home or in a story circle at school. Using both homonyms and 'pure' rhyme, the use of words typed in bold capital letters or in speech bubbles not only a great way to maintain interest in the story but a perfect way to encourage 'audience participation' thus a great tool in getting young readers to recognise words. Maybe this was why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

OR, could it be that ...

Coupled with vividly coloured, child friendly illustrations; that it includes art work of the sort you'd expect from young children whilst introducing the concept of perspective, light and shade, inspired. That it offered a nod to famous artists, a nice touch (and yet another learning opportunity). More than this though, a true representation of the classroom as many children will know it, how wonderful that the characters drawn are of different ethnicities. Maybe this was why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ...  A fun story with some wonderful life lessons that I can well imagine being read and read again and again and ..... 

Category: Juvenile Fiction/Social Issues/Values & Virtues
Format: Paperback
Date Of Release: 20 February 2020
Available From: Amazon, Online and via all good bookshops

Peta with her hairy Jack Russell Terrier, Archie
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ... Petra writes and illustrates her funny books on the Isle of Wight, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and hairy jack russell, Archie. Peta loves going into schools to share her books and inspire childrin their writing and art. She has appeared at a number of festivals and other events, including: Barne's Children's Literature Festival, Isle of Wight Literary Festival, Exmoor Dark Skies Festival and Ventnor Fringe. She is one of the organisers of the inaugural IW Story Festival, taking place in February 2020.

My copy of Milly's Marvellous Mistakes was received with thanks from the author, Peta Rainford.

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