Posts Tagged With: Brighton

Lord Deverill’s Secret by Amanda Grange

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

A simple trip to Brighton turns into a summer of adventure for Cassandra Paxton when she encounters the enigmatic Lord Deverill. She believes him to be a friend of her dead brother, but she soon finds that there is more to him than meets the eye. Lord Deverill is hiding a secret, and, when Cassandra discovers its significance, the accidents that have befallen her appear in a new and deadly light. With danger looming on every side Cassandra reluctantly knows she must join forces with Lord Deverill if she is to survive. After searching her heart, can Cassandra admit that she loves him? And will Lord Deverill Manage to save her life.

To be honest, I was a bit reluctant to start reading this book. I chose it for my dissertation reading as it is set in Brighton, and I was worried it was going to be a boring, historically inaccurate Regency romance. To my pleasant surprise, I actually enjoyed the book.

The main character is Cassandra, who is determined, strong-willed and sensible. She is Brighton for one reason: to sell the family home. There she meets Lord Deverill, who knew her brother, and the real way he died. Yes there is a romance in the book but it does not overshadow the rest of the story. I liked Cassandra. She stuck to her guns and faced the truth and reality head on.

The history in the book didn’t seem too bad. The book is set in Regency Brighton and featured swimming in the sea, the horse races and evenings out at different parties – including one hosted by the Prince Regent at the Royal Pavilion. All of these things did occur during the late 1700s, early 1800s.

The plot was good. There was more going on than just falling in love. Cassandra had a little sister to look after, a house to sell and a suitor to chase away, as well as finding out the truth about her brother. Most of the story did not surprise me, but there was one twist that I missed. I thought the ending was a bit soft, but overall I enjoyed this book.


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Sherlock Holmes and the Brighton Pavilion Mystery by Val Andrews

This novel sees Val Andrews writing a Sherlock Holmes mystery. In this book Holmes comes out of retirement and solves a murder in Brighton. A woman has gone missing and a man has mysterious turned up at the Royal Pavilion but there are no signs of forced entry. The police are clueless and as a bet Watson agrees Holmes could solve the investigation.

I think Andrews was very brave for writing a Sherlock Holmes novel. They are very famous and Conan Doyle was an excellent writer. Although this is not up to Doyle’s standard, it was not a bad book. It was a good storyline with twists and surprises and I liked how Andrews wrote the characters. It didn’t have the subtle humour I have found in the original books but as far as he could Andrews has been true to the characters.

I think I will probably stick to the original Sherlock Holmes novels this was not a bad read and not a bad attempt at another Holmes sequel.


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The Mermaid’s Purse by Katy Gardner

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

Cass Bainbridge is being stalked. New job, new home, new life. Cass has moved to Brighton to start over as a lecturer at the university. But she’s already acquired some unwanted baggage. Someone’s watching her & they’ve even taken photos. She’s being followed, too. And then there are the anonymous and threatening emails she’s receiving. With an unknown assailant attacking students on campus, Cass fears for her life. Is she to be the next random victim? Or is there a more sinister reason she’s been targeted?

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but I really enjoyed it. Throughout the book you learn about Cass and Beth, a needy student looking for comfort in Cass. Beth seems to be everywhere, but with life changing and getting out of control she offers a distraction for Cass. But there is something sinister going on; and Alec the difficult student seems to be making Cass’ life even more difficult.

I would categorise this as a psychological thriller. There was suspense, twists and revelations. I enjoyed the book right from the beginning and was hooked right up until the ending. I was quite surprised with the outcome – I had jumped to a different outcome altogether. The twist at the end and the revelation made the book very good.

I liked Cass. I felt empathy for her and got freaked out when she did. Gardner wrote great characters. Some bugged me, some weirded me out, but all of them provoked a reaction. She also wrote a good story. I felt tense when I was suppose to and found myself guessing the ending.

This was not a hard read, it didn’t take me long to get through it, and I really enjoyed it. I decided to read this for my dissertation and I am pleased with that decision. If you are into thrillers and mysteries, this book is for you.


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Beatniks by Toby Litt

Synopsis from Waterstones:

1995, and at a party in Bedford, Mary meets Jack and Neal, a pair of hipsters and self-confessed Beats’ stuck (un)squarely in the sixties. After a Beat (not-quite) Happening’ at the local library, the three of them (and Neal’s cat Koko) set off in Mary’s Vauxhall on a road trip to Brighton in search of literary fame and fortune. But, this is neither the time nor the place for free love, uncomplicated sex and unrestrained cool this is 1990s Britain and everything comes with a price

When asked what category I would place this book in, I struggled to think of an answer. I think it would just sit in fiction as the book just follows a group of twenty-somethings as they live life as though they are stuck in the 1960s – the era before Dylan had his motorcycle accident. This is not horror or a even a psychological thriller, it is just Mary, Neal and Jack looking for a “hip” time.
This wasn’t a bad book, but I’m not sure I’ll be jumping at a chance to read Litt again. This book did seem a bit random to me. Can people really live their lives as though they are stuck in a decade that they weren’t even born in? There were definitely elements of the book I found unbelieveable – like Mary and Jack’s trip to America. There were areas of the book that made me uncomfortable. In Brighton Mary loses all inhibitions and partakes in a threesome that is watched. I didn’t like reading that at all.

I think this could be used as a social study however. One could use this to look at behaviour, what influences people and how beliefs can shape someone’s life.

I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I found they all bugged me. Mary was desperate to fit in, Jack was trying to be “cool” and “hip” and Neal I felt just needed to grow a backbone. If I’m going to be honest, although this wasn’t an awful book and I did read it in a day, I only finished it because I was reading it for my dissertation. As I sit and think about this book I’m not overly excited by the memory of it. It will be a book I will probably have forgotten about in a few months.


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Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

brighton rock

Synopsis from Amazon:

A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.

I picked up this book for part of my dissertation reading (the portrayal of Brighton in fiction) and wow, it certainly portrays life in the town in a dark, horrific way. Brighton Rock follows Pinkie, a heartless man as he tries to become a gang leader. He kills a journalist without any remorse. Just as he thinks this is the start of big things, he starts to be hunted down by Ida Arnold, who wants justice for Hale’s death. As events unfold Pinkie takes all sorts of measures to remain safe and in control, including more death, but he may just have underestimated Ida…

I didn’t know what to expect when starting this book, especially as the opening line is:

“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”

I actually enjoyed this book. It was a slow read, and sometimes I got a little bored but overall it was exciting, with murder, fear, love and suspicion . The book shows a dark side of Brighton, with gang wars and dingy hide-outs. The ending was not what I expected either – and probably not how I would have written it, but a good way to end the book.

I liked Ida best. Pinkie was too arrogant and moody for me – he had lots of mood swings, which although fitting for his character, did annoy me somewhat after a while. Ida on the other hand, she was big and brave. She was clever and determined – and not easily scared. I think she was the most courageous character in the book.

Although written in the 1930s, this is a good crime novel, and just as exciting as modern-day thrillers. If you like suspense, and adventure, this book is worth reading.


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Old Court Volume 1 by W. H. Ainsworth

This book was published in 1867 and very hard to get hold off – I got it out my local library as a rare book.

The story follows the Chetwynd family. Sir Hugh, the oldest is competing with his younger brother Clarence for the affection of Amice. Having sworn never to speak to each other again, Sir Hugh follows Clarence to Kent with a proposition. However, at their secret meeting up by the famous grave, Clarence is murdered. After his brother’s death, Sir Hugh discovers some distressing news – Amice was in fact Clarence’s wife, and she is with child. He offers her everything, but she flees. Sir Hugh leads a dull, depressing life. He marries and has a daughter, but never loved his wife – who died shortly after their daughter’s birth. He spends his life looking for Amice and his nephew/niece. The story follows Hugh, Clarence’s offspring and Hugh’s daughter. The story is not concluded in this book, and we left with Lucette, the daughter, in Brighton with several marriage proposals, Hugh on a mission to find any record of Amice’s death and the child’s birth, and Clarence’s offspring alone in Hugh’s home with a mysterious French man, who seems to have ulterior motives.

Well, I really enjoyed this book. Considering it was written over 100 years ago, language was not a problem. The book was entertaining and engaging. It did not take me long to read this book at all, and I enjoyed it so much I have reserved the following two volumes as I really want to know what is going to happen.

All the characters were well written. I felt for Hugh. He lost the woman he loved to his brother, his brother was killed, and just as he began to love his wife, she died. Life seemed to deal him a hard hand. His loving side was amazing – and at the end of the book he was going to great lengths to help Amice’s child. I enjoyed reading about Lucette and her adventures in Brighton – all the balls and the attraction she was. The book has proved helpful for my dissertation from that respect.

This book captures the period it was written in magnificently. We are transported back to the 1800s with ease. It gives a vital historical insight into life in this era.

I really enjoyed this book. I can’t think of any faults at all. If you can get hold of it, I recommend you do read this book.


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A Brighton Flirtation by Valerie King


Synopsis from Amazon:

Headstrong and independent Katherine Pamberley finds herself drawn despite herself to Captain Evan Ramsdell, a gentleman with old-fashioned ideas about women, but their growing feelings for each other must take a back seat when they stumble upon rumors of a plot to assassinate the Prince Regent.

This is your typical Regency novel. The star is Katharine Pamberley – an independent women who has recently moved from Berkshire, and her home’s stables, to Brighton, to become part of the Prince Regent’s close knit group of friends. Whilst in Sussex she starts to fall for Evan Ramsdell – or does she? As the story unravels we see them examining their feelings and friendship. Alongside this, there is the plot to assassinate the Prince Regent, which Ramsdell is investigating.

There was nothing spectacular about this book. It was an average read – maybe even a little dull. The “do I love him?”, “do I love her?” got old quickly. The exciting bits were the attempted assassinations. Aside from that, the book was unimpressive. I wonder if I would have bothered finishing this book had I not had too. Really it is fair to say that King’s writing technique was not spectacular and her characters were not particularly original.

There was one thing that really bugged me though: when writing about the Regent’s resident King refers to the Marine Pavilion, but when describing the building she describes the Royal Pavilion – the two buildings are in fact not the same thing. The Marine Pavilion was built before the Royal Pavilion, and then subsequently replaced by the Royal Pavilion – which is the building still standing today in Brighton. I feel that if you are going to write a historical novel, it should really be accurate.

Overall, besides my big complaint there is not an awful lot to say about this book. It really isn’t that good in my opinion.


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Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston


Synopsis from Amazon:

October 1854. As an autumnal evening draws to a close, crowds of passengers rush onto the soon to depart London to Brighton Express. A man watches from shadows nearby, grimly satisfied when the train pulls out of the station…Chaos, fatalities and unbelievable destruction are the scene soon after when the train derails on the last leg of its journey. What led to such devastation, and could it simply be a case of driver error? Detective Inspector Colbeck, dubbed the ‘railway detective’ thinks not. But digging deep to discover the target of the accident takes time, something Colbeck doesn’t have as the killer prepares to strike again.

This is the first Marston book I have read, and I really enjoyed it. Set in 1854, we meet the Railway Detective, Inspector Robert Colbeck. When the Brighton Express collides with a goods train, Colbeck has his work cut out for him. With his partner, Leeming, they have to find the man who instigated the crash, and all the people connected with this horrific incident. There are many lines of enquiry that Colbeck pursues. The adventure and excitement range from the first page to the last, with many suspects being chased, several attempted murders and obstacles to overcome such as unsupportive railway investigators.

I wasn’t excited to read this book, however, I quickly changed my mind. I feared it would be all about trains, but it wasn’t. Although the starting point is the train crash, the investigations take the reader away from the railways and into the heart of Brighton and London. Marston’s writing was engaging, gripping and enthralling. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. It was an easy read, but very enjoyable. Even people who are not fans of the crime genre will enjoy this book. I was guessing right up to the end. I did have my suspicions that were confirmed but with several leads the outcome was not clear.

I think the way Marston portrayed the characters. I was convinced by all of them. My favourite was Tallis, the scary superintendant. He made me laugh in several places. I was also impressed by the historical accuracy. At all times you were in Victorian England, which I appreciated.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I can’t find any faults. A fast, enjoyable read, with several deaths, several leads and some great story telling.


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