It has to be said, the covers of Julian Leatherdale’s books are always exquisite. Death in the Ladies’ Goddess Club is the second of his books I’ve read (Palace of Tears, his debut was published in 2015) and their covers reflect the opulent lives and stories dwelling in them.
I met Melbourne author Katherine Kovacic at the BAD Crime Writers’ Festival in early September. She was speaking at some sessions and also a finalist at the Ned Kelly Awards, for her debut novel, The Portrait of Molly Dean.
I’d heard of the book but – a bit like The Killing of Louisa by Janet Lee – thought it was non-fiction. And anyone who knows anything about me knows I do not read non-fiction. (Or historical fiction, or fantasy, romance, science fiction etc…) Except on those occasions when I ‘accidentally’ do.
I discovered of course The Portrait of Molly Dean is a fictionalised account of the actual murder of teacher/writer/muse Molly Dean in Melbourne in 1930. And my interest was piqued after I heard Katherine speak about it and how she became intrigued by the unsolved crime and rather cynical accounts of the victim.
I’d had this book for a while before I read it as I’m participating in a blog tour for this latest release by Natasha Lester, The French Photographer. It means I’ve seen a few reviews around, including a negative one in mainstream media which Lester shared just after the book’s publication.
I was surprised by that as this is possibly my favourite book by Lester; although it might be a toss-up between this and A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I think that is because the subject matter is ‘meatier’ than her two more recent novels. (If that makes sense!)
I’d assumed this book would have gothic or fairytale (are they not the same thing? Different sides of the same coin perhaps?) undertones, but it sits a little more firmly in the mystery genre and what WAS to be a short pre-dinner read, turned into several hours, until I’d finished the book.
I wasn’t sure about this book as it’s a bit outside of my usual reading genre. I don’t read a lot of women’s fiction and stay far far away from historical fiction.
I do however, often read books that alternate between the past and present (a la Natasha Lester, Kate Morton etc), which this book does and I was thankfully engaged in this story and drawn to the characters from the get-go.
I enjoyed Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go, released last year. At the time I described it as genre-less. In a good way.
The blurb for her latest mentions World War II and the 1940s which had me worried as I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I do however, read books that flick between timeframes, as per Kate Morton and Natasha Lester, which is exactly what The Things We Cannot Say does.
When this book arrived I noted it was by Tania Blanchard, the author of The Girl From Munich – a book I’d heard of (of course as it was very popular), but not read. And it wasn’t until I started reading I discovered it listed in Goodreads as The Girl From Munich #2.
Last year I reviewed The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes…. which I described as ‘faction’…. a fictional account of a murder set around real life characters and events.
I’d not heard of the Mitford sisters at the time and was somewhat intrigued.
More interesting though was that the main character wasn’t one of the sisters, but rather their nursery maid or companion, Louisa. And in my review I commented that the Mitford sisters, particularly the elder, Nancy seemed to play a bigger role on the mystery-solving front along with an ambitious young police officer, Guy Sullivan. (And – at the time, as it was billed as #1 – I wondered who might feature in the next book in the series….)