Lessons in Temptation
by Charlie Cochrane
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
ISBN 13 9781605048628
For friends and lovers Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart, a visit to Bath starts out full of promise. While Orlando assesses the value of some old manuscripts, Jonty plans to finish his book of sonnets. Nothing exciting... until they are asked to investigate the mysterious death of a prostitute.
Then Orlando discovers that the famous curse of Macbeth extends far beyond the stage. It’s bad enough that Jonty gets drawn into a local theatre’s rehearsals of the play. The producer is none other than Jimmy Harding, a friend from Jonty’s university days who clearly finds his old pal irresistible. Worse, Jimmy makes sure Orlando knows it, posing the greatest threat so far to their happiness.
With Jonty involved in the play, Orlando must do his sleuthing alone. Meanwhile, Jonty finds himself sorely tempted by Jimmy’s undeniable allure. Even if Orlando solves the murder, his only reward could be burying his and Jonty’s love in an early grave…
This one was easily my favourite of the series so far. Lots of the usual enthralling historical details, though this time in a location I'm not so familiar with. On the other hand, Macbeth is a play I know very well, and I knew most of the other Shakespearian references too. The story had enough clues for me to figure out who and why dunnit a few paragraphs before either of our heroes, which left me suitably pleased with myself without being annoyed that they hadn't got it yet.
The secondary characters continue to delight (or be delightfully unlikable in one case) and there's plenty of the little humorous touches I've come to expect. Plus the various communications between the characters were as sparkling as ever.
by Daphne Du Maurier
Published by Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN 13 9781844080397
On a bitter November evening, young Mary Yellan journeys across the rainswept moors to Jamaica Inn in honour of her mother's dying request. When she arrives, the warning of the coachman begins to echo in her memory, for her aunt Patience cowers before hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn. Terrified of the inn's brooding power, Mary gradually finds herself ensnared in the dark schemes being enacted behind its crumbling walls -- and tempted to love a man she dares not trust.
The version I got out of the library was not the best narrated of audio books sadly, but once I got caught up in the story I found that to be less of an issue than it was for the first couple of CDs. This time I figured out what was going on long before the protagonist, although I don't remember having ever seen an adaptation of the book elsewhere. I also wanted to slap Mary at various points in the plot, but she was less annoying than some more recently written heroines I've come across so I'll let her off for the sake of historical differences.
by Georgette Heyer
Published by House of Stratus
ISBN 13 9780755108862
In Miss Heyer's detective novels, as well as her romances, conversation and speculation lend themselves to purposeful gossip, this time in a small, inveterately British community where one Sampson Warrenby - "bit of an outsider" and "dreadfully underbred" - is murdered. Then there's his niece, "no oil painting," along with other residents - among them a young couple and baby with an undisclosed past and a writer with a gimpy leg and a nasty tongue whose brother committed suicide.
This was a book absolutely packed with characters whose names began with 'H'. Needless to say they all got a little confusing at times. I was quite amused that the Pole was the instant suspect for a lot of the villagers. How little we have moved on, alas. I like Heyer's stories, although she does seem to enjoy coming up with characters I can't help but dislike.
by Lynne Connolly
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
ISBN 13 9781605045641
At long last, it is Lord and Lady Strang’s wedding day. Yet no sooner do Richard and Rose leave their wedding breakfast than two shots ring out, forcing a hasty change in honeymoon plans. Instead of traveling together by yacht, Richard goes on ahead, making sure the road to Venice is safe for his beloved.
Rose is by no means alone, however. Along her journey by packet, coach, even mule, she befriends young couple, the Ravens, who have a strange confession to make. They are traveling incognito—and are really the newlywed Lord and Lady Strang!
Once reunited in Venice, Richard and Rose heat up the sheets, making Richard consider the delightful possibility of keeping his wife in bed for the rest of their stay. Except Venice is as full of knaves as London, and one of them is still trying to find them with a bullet.
The Ravens could hold the key to the assassination attempts. Or perhaps they are playing a deadly game of their own...
Another delightful historical romp with explosions and a collection of characters who can't help but have adventures wherever they happen to be. Once again Gervase got to be an action hero, in conjunction with the two main characters, and once again there were explosions (though not caused by G this time). It's been too long since I was in Venice myself. This book made me want to visit again (although more quietly than in the book).