Black Summer by M.W. Craven #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Black Summer by M.W. Craven on my blog today, the second book in the Washing Poe crime series.

Black Summer (Washington Poe) by [M. W. Craven]


After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.


Well, if you’re planning on visiting a Michelin star restaurant any time soon, I wouldn’t suggest reading this book before that visit. But if you are more of a traditional pub food kind of person, like me, then read on. I finally got round to catching up on M.W. Craven’s second book in his Washington Poe series, Black Summer over the last couple of days, and I can’t believe that again, I’ve waited this long to read one of his books. It gripped me from the start. I couldn’t wait to see how things would unfold for Poe this time around, and M.W. Craven certainly doesn’t give him an easy time.

M.W. Craven opens the book with a jaw-dropping opening. Poe is dining at a posh restaurant when the building is stormed with police officers, and he is arrested. Fast forward to a few weeks earlier, and Poe is haunted by one of the biggest investigations of his career. Six years ago, he helped to put killer, celebrity chef Jared Keaton, behind bars. Jared was convicted for the murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found. But now, a young woman, who looks remarkably like Elizabeth turns up at the police station claiming to be here. This young woman’s appearance is about to put Poe’s career and his reputation into jeopardy. Is it possible that he got it wrong all those years ago and that he sent an innocent man to prison? But Poe knows that something is not right here, even when DNA test results reveal that the young woman is Elizabeth. He can’t live with the fact that he may potentially have made a mistake, and Poe believes wholeheartedly that he was right six years ago, and that this woman isn’t Elizabeth. But how can he prove this when this irrefutable evidence saying that she is?

M.W. Craven hooked me in right away with the shocking opening chapter. From that moment, I wanted to know what had happened prior to that point and how things were going to pan out. I really didn’t know how Poe was going to be able to get out of this situation. But knowing him, and knowing his friend Tilly Bradshaw as well, I knew he’d find a way if there was one to be found.

What I have grown to love about this series is the friendship between Poe and Tilly. Many reviewers have already commented on their relationship, so I’m not going to say much more here, other than it’s one of the best things about these books.

Black Summer is a creative, highly addictive, first rate crime novel. I can’t wait to get my hands on book three and to start reading. This is a series I know now, I’ll definitely be sticking with.

Publisher: Constable

Publication date: 20th June 2019

Print length: 343 pages

Black Summer is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Elly Griffiths, The Postscript Murders.

The Postscript Murders: a gripping new mystery from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries by [Elly Griffiths]


PS: thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…

And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…

And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.


The Postscript Murders is another engaging book by Elly Griffiths; it is also the second book to feature Detective Harbinder Kauer. This is definitely for you if you enjoy cosy crime and I can see why this has been compared to Agatha Christie.

What I really loved about this book is that it is set within the world of publishing. After the body of a ninety-year old-woman, Peggy is found; the police discover that she had several connections to well-known writers and publishers, especially crime writers. In a number of books she has received from authors and publishers, there are alarming, threatening notes; Peggy isn’t also the only person to have received them. I thought this gave the book a golden-age crime feel. I found myself smiling at a lot of parts, as the detectives found themselves immersed in the publishing world. There is also even a reference to bloggers who are attending a literary festival. I’ve been to a few literary festivals now, and I could picture these scenes very clearly in my mind.

What I think really makes this book are the characters. Elly Griffiths has created a diverse cast, and they make the book really intriguing. It’s what, to me, made this book feel really fresh and Elly does a brilliant job at bringing them to life and making them feel like real people. Peggy was a really fascinating character. I wanted to know why she was killed at the age she was now. It must’ve been something big in her past that had given someone a motive to do this. What’s certainly clear is that she has lived a very interesting life. She isn’t just your simple armchair detective, as I’m sure many readers will at first begin to believe.

I thought the plot was very cleverly thought out and as I was reading it seemed it could go in a few different directions, but I liked how Elly Griffiths pulled everything together. It seemed that someone was targeting a particular group of writers who Peggy was involved with, and I wanted to know who. What was it that they were covering up in their past that may be the key to the investigation? Elly Griffiths kept me turning the pages with exciting new information on; I was desperate to find out the truth.

The novel starts off feeling very cosy, but it gradually gets darker as more secrets about Peggy’s life are revealed. Elly Griffiths kept me wondering who the real Peggy was and what more secrets we were going to find out about her life. The Postscript Murders is hugely enjoyable, and it makes for a very fun read which will keep you guessing. I’m looking forward to seeing where Elly Griffiths will take this series and the characters next.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 1st October 2020

Print length: 352 pages

The Postscript Murders is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones