Monday, 28 September 2020

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 39


Last week, the weather was atrocious - cold, rain and wind, non stop for several days. A definite switch to hearty winter warmers was needed and cauliflower cheese went down well, as did baked potatoes and tartiflette, a French dish of baked cheese, onions and potatoes. I think we need more of the same this week - the weather is still looking grim !

Monday

lunch- I'll be home earlier today so I said Pierre could choose, as long as it's something quick. Well, Pierre said he wanted fishfingers so fishfingers it is ! I have some leftover rice to use up too, with tomatoes, onions and chickpeas mixed in.

dinner - meatballs with pasta

Tuesday

dinner- fish, rice and green beans

Wednesday

lunch- chicken burgers with potato wedges

dinner- paupiettes with mash & ratatouille

Thursday

lunch- beefburgers with couscous & leftover ratatouille

dinner- creamy chicken  (maybe a mild curry, if the kids are up for it) with rice

Friday

dinner - spaghetti bolognese

Saturday

lunch- McDonald's probably or whatever's in the fridge

dinner- pizza or whatever I picked up at the supermarket

Sunday 

lunch- chicken casserole with roast potatoes

dinner- sandwiches or toast (or leftovers from the fridge)

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Project 366 : Photo diary week 39

 Wow, what a week it's been this week, in terms of weather. Summer is definitely over and autumn is upon us. We've had really strong wind, which has blown leaves and branches everywhere. Luckily no damage for us but a wall fell over over by the beach and the sand has been blown up on to the promenade and covered half of the chairs that were still outside the restaurants and bars ! I hope it all calms down next week. It's not too bad when it's not raining, but you get utterly drenched when waiting for the bus !


Sunday 20th September - A nice lazy day, catching up with blogging, laundry, phoning my mum and dad, chatting with Sophie, tidying the kitchen and setting off the dishwasher. Hmm maybe not so lazy after all then ! Juliette convinced me to take the dog for a walk with her after dinner. It was still drizzling but I let her twist my arm. Here's a photo of the sunset to compare with the lavish pictures of just a week or two ago. Pffff !


Monday - When I'm at work, my alarm goes off at 6.15am so it's still dark. Luckily, by the time I head to the bus stop at 7am, it's already light but I doubt if that will last for long. (Although I don't think we're putting the clocks back this year, so maybe it will ?) The big spider's web in the hanging basket outside the back door looked quite magical, all glistening with raindrops.


Tuesday - So far, we're still managing to fit in a dog walk after dinner, even when I'm at work and the kids are at school. I had a meeting today after work, but still got back in plenty of time for our usual dinner time. It was another rainy walk today and I discovered that not only my shoes but also my coat leak - not good ! It was very wet though so maybe I was asking too much ! The dog got decidedly grubby so ended up with a quick bath when we got home.

 

 Wednesday - My half day off but I had a meeting straight after lunch so ended up dashing back out again. I got home around 3.30 so at least I had a bit of time to chill out. Still drizzly so we decided to give Didou a coat to wear on his walk. We bought it ages ago after Pierre saw it in a local shop, but he doesn't usually wear it !


Thursday - It was so windy last night but by the time I headed off to school, it had calmed down. Still a drizzly day all day though. I was worried about the rain coming in through the classroom windows at work, as we have to leave them open, but it was the opposite problem - the wind kept sucking them shut every five minutes ! I snapped a quick pic of the huge pile of leaves in between our neighbour's cars !


Friday - It's been pretty blowy all week but today, it got even worse - I'd say it's gale force right now. I keep checking outside but everything looks ok. Bits of tree are blowing about and are scattered all over the car park and our bins kept blowing about so I put them in the garage. This streetlight around the corner didn't survive. The inside part with the bulb and all the electrics is now on the pavement. It looks pretty big and heavy so I hope nobody was underneath it when it fell !


Saturday - Still raining, still windy, so we decided to forego our usual trip into town and opted for a kebab at home in place of our usual McDonald's. In the afternoon, I helped Juliette continue with sorting out her room. The main part is done but she has loads of boxes and cupboards that need dejunking and clearing out or throwing away. We put up some new curtains that she bought ages ago then never put up. They let in a lot more light which really brightens up the place.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Fab freebies of the week 26/9

 


It's the weekend and we have absolutely nothing planned - phew, sounds good to me ! It's pretty rainy and windy at the moment so I'm thinking a pyjama day (or two? would that be overdoing it?!) is on the cards. That may end up changing though, we'll see what happens ! Let's start things off in style with this week's roundup of lovely freebie offers. Have a great weekend ! :)

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Let's start off with a free 500ml Coke - can't say fairer than that :)

Over on Shopmium, you can grab free Rachel's Organic Cream Top Yogurt (at Waitrose), Peperami Chicken Bites (at ASDA and Tesco) and S. Pellegrino Essenza Sparkling Water (at Esso & Co Op)

Grab a free Bear height chart - currently out of stock but they say to keep an eye open for when the new stock arrives

Not sure how this one will work so be careful you're not signing up for a full subscription  when it comes through - on Tyga Bites FB : Colour, flavour, texture, are all so important for a good curry. Raise your curry game to the next level with our spice subscription service. No worries just amazing flavour. Pre-register before 1st October to claim your first box for FREE! https://tyga.com/pre-register/

Win baby prizes with Mia & Ben including 100 pairs of socks

Sign up to get on the list for trying Felix Pick & Mix cat food

Win one of 300“Where the Little Things are” books with HiPP Organic 
 Yeo Valley Organic: Win 1 out of 100 Get Back to Nature Boxes

Claim some samples from Sakrid vegan, organic skincare

Storywood Tequila @Storywood_ 
To all our friends and followers from UK hospitality - we'll be hosting a live free virtual tasting on October 13th at 2pm as part of Imbibe Live Online. You can register to attend & get your free samples on Imbibe Live Online before Sept 30th. Hope to see you there!

 Free samples of eco-friendly 100% patches. They are now available as our regular offer.

Trade Decorator@TRADE_decorator
 Join Gary Pierce & Alan Collins, of @Wondertex_UK Wondertex 9am on 2nd October as they host a decorating masterclass to demonstrate the versatility of prem fill & finish filler. Take part in the live session and receive a free sample.

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Book review : The Time of Green Magic - Hilary McKay


Last week, I had a stinking rotten cold and was even debating whether it could be the dreaded coronavirus. As I pondered going to get a test done, I tucked myself up in bed and chose a book to read from my overstuffed shelves. I definitely didn't want anything long and complicated, so I turned to one of my children's books and chose The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay. I was totally enchanted and read the whole thing in two days. Even though I was feeling like complete poo, it still put a smile on my face.

This touching novel features a newly recomposed family, as Theo and his daughter Abi move in with Polly and her two boys, Louis and Max. They need a bigger place to live in and, after a lot of frantic searching, end up going to visit a tall, ivy-covered house. This soon becomes their new family home.

As all kids of divorced parents know, putting together two families and keeping everyone happy is a tough job. Plus, the house is expensive and Polly has to (and actually wants to) go back to work to add some money to the pot. The boys are fed up with having to share a bedroom and young Louis is missing his mum badly. Abi is also in a bad mood because she isn't too keen on having to share her dad with everyone, plus her gran has moved back to Jamaica, now that she isn't needed to look after her grand-daughter.

Luckily, for Abi, there are lots of books that she can get lost in ... slightly more literally than she had planned. When reading about a voyage across a tropical ocean, she can sense a green parrot flying around the room and feel the salty wetness on the pages she is reading.

Louis, meanwhile, has found something else to keep him occupied - a moody wild cat that climbs up the ivy and sneaks into his bed at night. Louis calls him Iffen and fears him as much as he loves him. But where did he come from?

As the older brother, Max has other problems on his plate. He falls out with his best friend over a silly joke and then finds himself getting all tongue-tied when dealing with the new French babysitter. The one whose shoes he has just spattered with the dish of macaroni cheese straight out of the oven !

As each of the children sinks deeper and deeper into their own private well of despair, it turns out that they just need to come together and help each other out in order to find their collective happy ending.

As a parent, it's lovely to find a book that portrays adjusting to new recomposed family life in such a positive way - it reminded me of Tracey Beaker, with its arguments and resentments dwindling away as the family members each start to find their marks. Big bonus points for Abi's Granny Grace who "adopts" a new grandson to write to, to help cheer him up and settle in.

It's a lovely story that will enchant avid readers of all ages with its magical world of books, while also making young readers think about how they fit in with their family members and friends. It's as good as a steaming mug of marshmallow-topped hot chocolate for making you feel better when you're feeling under the weather !

star rating : 5/5

  • Paperback : 224 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1529019247
  • ISBN-10 : 1529019249
  • Product Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Publisher : Macmillan Children's Books; Main Market Edition (20 Aug. 2020)
  • Reading level : 9 - 11 years
  • Language: : English

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Book review : Girl In A Smart Uniform - Gill James


Girl in a Smart Uniform is the third book in the Schellberg Cycle, a collection of novels inspired by a bunch of photocopied letters that arrived at a small cottage in Wales in 1979, giving insight into what life was like growing up in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. The other two books in the series are The House on Schellberg Street and Clara's Story : A Holocaust Biography, neither of which I have read. Girl in a Smart Uniform is apparently the most fictional of the three stories, but some characters, familiar to those who have read the first two books, appear again in this one, such as Clara Lehrs, Karl Schubert and Dr Kühn. It can be read and enjoyed even if you haven't read the first two books though.

The main character in the novel is Gisela, a young German woman, growing up in the years just before World War II breaks out. Keen to do her best and hopeful that Germany will be restored to its former glory, she joins the BDM - the Bund Deutscher Mädel, or Band of German Maidens, the girls' wing of the Nazi Party youth movement, the Hitler Youth. While she clearly looks down on Jewish people, she ultimately appears to be a good-hearted, hard-working girl.

While she rises through the ranks in the BDM, becoming a successful group leader, things are slightly trickier at home. Her mother's new lover is taking an unwelcome interest in her, her oldest brother Kurt has violent tendencies and her second much-loved brother, the kind and caring Eberhard or Bear, signs up as a soldier. On top of that, her new baby brother Jens seems to have issues and her teenage hormones are springing into life, seeking out the object of her heart's desires.

Halfway through the book, the narrative voice switches to Bear. Beginning in the same chronology as his sister, his account soon switches back twenty years and we see Gisela as a child, living through the post-World War I timeframe. Some fifty pages on, the narrative voice switches back to Gisela. While Bear's insights and stories are undoubtedly interesting, helping us to understand the larger historical picture and to see another side to Gisela, I found this plot structure to be a little clumsy.

In Gisela's final section, we can see her viewpoints slowly changing, until she turns her back on Nazi Germany. Her reasons for doing so are largely self-centred, as her relationship would undoubtedly be looked down on. Her racist opinions about Jews do not really seem to have shifted though, which left me feeling bad about the positive feelings I had towards her as a character. Maybe this reflects just how widespread anti-Jewish feeling was in society back then, but it bothered me.

It's an interesting book, showcasing the best and worst of human spirit in such a complicated time period. While I enjoyed it as an adult, I'm sure it would be loved by the young adult fiction market, as they would have much more to learn about life in Nazi Germany, some eighty odd years ago.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £10

  • Paperback : 260 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1910542423
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1910542422
  • Product Dimensions : 15.2 x 1.39 x 22.9 cm
  • Publisher : Chapeltown; Illustrated Edition (22 July 2019)
  • Language: : English

 

 Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Monday, 21 September 2020

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 38


I predicted last week that this week would be quieter. Well, luckily, I was right, as we've all been feeling pretty grotty. Just a bad cold, I think, but I did wonder about it being coronavirus at the end of the week. I was about to go and get tested then it all started to shift. I'm coughing less now which means I'm sleeping better and finally starting to feel human again. And my nose has stopped running which is fabulous as it's so annoying when you're wearing a mask all day and can't keep blowing your nose ! I've just checked the plan and the only thing I didn't make was cauliflower cheese, so that can go back on this week's plan, and cottage pie turned into chilli con carne. I figured something spicy might help shift the cold or at least clear out my nose ! Here's this week's plan.

Monday

lunch- leftovers or fridge grazing - I will arrive home just about as Pierre is heading back to school and Juliette is eating at the canteen.

dinner - Cauliflower cheese (or pasta in cheese sauce for Pierre) - I think I'll add bacon and some onions then that should do as a complete meal.

Tuesday

dinner- I have a meeting so I'll get home later than usual, so something quick and simple. Spaghetti bolognese should do it. And maybe I can convince Pierre to make some more of his garlic bread. He had a thing for it over the summer and loved crushing the garlic, mixing it into the butter then slathering it all over bread. 

Wednesday

lunch- Beefburgers and pasta. I'll use up some of the tomatoes on the side as they're getting decidedly squishy - either just chopped up or maybe fried, alongside the burgers.

dinner- Fish and rice. There may be some leftover cauliflower cheese to use up. If not, green beans.

Thursday

dinner-  something based on Cheesy Chicken & Yellow Rice

Friday

dinner - Brown Sugar & Garlic Baked Pork Chops with potato chunks & carrots

Saturday

lunch- McDonald's probably or whatever's in the fridge

dinner- depends on what I picked up when I went shopping but I'm thinking pizza

Sunday 

lunch- hmmm how about a roast chicken dinner ? sounds good to me - but again, it depends on what I ppicked up at the supermarket yesterday

dinner- toast? or maybe even a cheeky fishfinger sandwich?

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Project 366 : Photo diary week 38

 This week, the lurgy hit. As a teacher, I'm quite used to getting a cold when we all go back to school. What with a total change of routine, feeling tired and needing more sleep, plus having dozens of kids coughing and sneezing all over you and not always remembering to put their hands over their mouths. (That's one advantage of them all wearing masks !) Juliette was the first to have signs of a cold, then mine started a day later and Pierre at the end of the week. It's basically just a really bad cold - a runny nose that means I have to keep walking into the corridor and taking off my mask so that I can blow my nose, then going back into my classroom and disinfecting my hands, a nasty cough and just a general feeling of being run-down. Then Juliette's friend, who is now in a different class to her but they get the bus together and still talk a lot, said that one of her classmates is off with coronavirus - but only half of the class is confined. And one of my pupil's parents messaged to say that the little sister has coronavirus so he'll be off for a week then will be back if his test comes back negative. For peace of mind, I decided I should go and get tested, but it would have to wait until the weekend and by then, it had started to shift. Even if it did come back positive, you only get a week off then need a new test and, if it's a pupil, the rest of the class stays open now anyway. Not how sure this is going to evolve ! :-/


Sunday 13th September - Juliette called from her sleepover to say she'd be home in the afternoon, so I didn't even bother cooking Sunday lunch. I used up leftovers with Pierre then cooked the roast dinner in the evening instead. Pierre went out with his friends on his bike in the afternoon so I was home alone. Didn't do anything special though. I just caught up on washing. I'm not even sure this tiger onesie fits Pierre any more but it's cooling down in the evenings so he might want to wear it soon !


Monday - Work in the morning then my afternoon off - aaaah ! I spent it catching up with marking and going to the supermarket to get a new Sodastream gas canister. Very exciting - not ! We're still enjoying taking Didou the dog out for a walk after dinner every evening. The nights are starting to draw in though. A few weeks ago, we'd be coming home in blazing sunshine, then we would have the sunsets on the way back. Now, the sunset is happening just as we head out and it's starting to get dingy on the way back.


Tuesday - Another sign that autumn is arriving and summer is basically over. Our fruit bowl currently has apples, grapes and figs in it. Gone are the strawberries and raspberries from just a few weeks ago. Today was a busy day at work. After lessons in the morning, I spent my free-hour sorting out a computer with a webcam with Windows 8 with the school librarian (we discovered the app wouldn't work on Windows 10) then spent the afternoon in a video conference with the Norwegian researchers and Spanish, British and French teachers for the Critical Thinking project. It all got put on hold during confinement so now it's kicking off again. I need to sort out a new lesson plan using critical thinking. I thought maybe I'd look at all the myths and fake news surrounding coronavirus and how to stay safe, then moved towards they myths of Thanksgiving, which should be easier for the kids to understand in English hopefully !

 

Wednesday - Just the morning at work then headed home ... and slept all afternoon. Oops ! Not feeling great though and coughing kept me awake last night, so it probably did me good. Juliette flaked out too. Hmmmm.


Thursday - A full day at work, then had a quick get-together to give some retirement gifts to one of our cleaners. She's lovely and has been with us for years, so it made us laugh when, the next day, she left a thank you card in the staffroom along with a tin of biscuits and two tins of chocolates ! Took the dog out and looked at all the flowers springing up in the fields. There are loads of really random flowers that I've never seen before. No idea what these ones are, but they look pretty cool and add a lovely splash of colour against the dark green grass.


Friday - This was dinner and I spent the whole time thinking "there's never going to be enough" ! I had a couple of large veal fillets that I chopped up and fried, along with some onions and mushrooms, before adding some cream. There was pasta to go with it, but it still didn't look enough, so I added a small tin of peas and carrots. It still didn't look enough but it turned out, there was plenty. I went from cooking for five to four after Madhouse Daddy died, then to three when Sophie went to England to study, plus Pierre eats like a sparrow, so I really need to reduce quantities. It's the same with rice, pasta and potatoes - I always end up adding more then they're not needed. Luckily Pierre can use them up for lunch so it's not wasted.


Saturday - Phew, we made it to the weekend ! I had planned on heading to the local covid testing centre but actually felt better after (finally !) a good night's sleep. Checked out symptoms lists online and I think it's just a bad cold. Treated myself to a lazy day. Went to McDonald's then the cemetery with Juliette and the weekly shop in Lidl. That was it - settled into bed with a book (a children's book, just for ultimate feel-goodness value !), then read and slept all afternoon. Aaah this is definitely the way to get over a cold ! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Fab freebies of the week 19/9


So how are you all doing? Feeling fighting fit, I hope. We've all been feeling pretty grotty this week. I think it's just a bad cold and is on the way out now, but I almost went and got a test as I wasn't sure it wasn't coronavirus earlier in the week. There are a few cases in our school already so it could (and probably will) happen. The rules have changed so that if there's a case, the class isn't closed now anyway. The pupil stays off for a week then gets a new test and as soon as it comes back negative, he's back to school. Hmmmm. Not sure how this will work out ! Time to cheer ourselves up with this week's freebies :)

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Over on Shopmium, you can grab free McVitie's V.I.B's (at ASDA and Sainsbury's), Peperami Chicken Bites (at ASDA & Tesco), S. Pellegrino Essenza Sparkling Water (at Esso & Co Op), Bodega Bay Hard Seltzer 4% Alc (last day so get in quick !)

Woop (Women Of Opinion) gives you the chance to win prizes in return for answering surveys - they currently have a Perfect Glow skincare campaign until the end of September

SIGN UP FOR A NEWSLETTER AND RECEIVE FREE ICE SAMPLES*.* Free ICE samples will be sent to 200 selected people who signed up to our newsletter via the form on this webpage. (It's a brand, not frozen water - trust me ! lol)

 We're giving 100 Caboodlers the chance to read Abigail Dean's beautifully written and incredibly powerful Girl A before it's out next year. 

We're giving 100 children the chance to read Angharad Walker's The Ash House, before it's out in March 2021.

Win one of 100 prizes in the Ballymaloe giveaway

Ryman also have a fab giveaway - It's completely FREE to enter and we guarantee a prize every time, so you'll be sure to bag yourself a student freebie. From exclusive vouchers to free stationery and homeware essentials to £500 Ryman Shopping Spree, enter our student competition now to win a prize.

Thisworks are giving away 5000 pillow sprays

 We’re looking for Mumsnet users to test Octenicare, a creme designed to help provide care for irritated, dry, flaky or fragile skin. This product test is open to Mumsnet users who suffer from dry, irritated, flaky or fragile skin, or have a child aged over 6 months who does. 

The Insiders have a new campaign to try out Winalot Feeding Greatness range with your doggie

Woohoo a new offer from Debenhams !  Happy Friday Beauty Clubbers! 💕 It’s back and BETTER THAN EVER, Grab your latest complimentary sample... the ultimate luxury skincare addition - Abeille Royale Night Cream! Now available from the Guerlain or fragrance counter at your local store, when you show your Beauty Club Card ✨ *T&Cs apply. Whilst stocks last. Registered Beauty Club card must be shown at the Guerlain or Fragrance counter to redeem. One sample per customer.

Sign up to Marie Claire Beauty Drawer - Discover personalised beauty products direct to your door COMPLETELY FREE. NO SUBSCRIPTION

Now available on Send Me a SampleNARS Climax Mascara Range. Just say to your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant… “Ask Send Me a Sample for NARS Mascara”. Then choose either “Climax Mascara” or “Climax Extreme Mascara”

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Giveaway #740 : Win a selection of Dentemp products - DIY dentistry at its best ! - closing 30/9

 If you're having problems with your teeth, you need to go and see a dentist, right? Well, yes, but right now, with COVID restrictions in place and high demand for appointments as people catch up, it can be impossible to get hold of one. Just over a month ago, one of my fillings fell out and I phoned the dentist straight away, only to be told that they were on holiday as from the next day so I'd have to get back to them at the start of September. I really must find a moment to set something up. I was warned that it would probably be quite painful, but luckily (fingers crossed), it's actually been totally pain-free. You may not be so lucky though, so it's always good to have some dentistry DIY products in your bathroom cabinet just in case ! 

Here's the one I needed  - Dentemp Refil-it Filling Repair MaterialLost fillings need fast attention, but you can't always get to the dentist right away – especially in the current climate with appointments being at a minimum. Refil-it is specially formulated for a safe and effective way to repair lost fillings whilst providing instant pain relief. Simply apply this cherry flavoured formula and wait for 60 minutes before eating. Sorted !

Dentemp Loose Cap & Lost Filling Repair is another option. Clinically proven and dentist developed, this easy to use formula is safe and strong, temporarily repairing loose caps and crowns and replacing lost fillings, whilst providing instant pain relief.


Dentemp Repair It is a kit that contains everything you need to fix breaks, mend cracks and replace loose teeth in minutes. Safe and easy to use, the kit is zinc free and a must-have for anyone with dentures.


Dentemp Reline It can make loose fitting dentures feel like new. This easy to use reliner gives you stability and confidence with your dentures which loosen over time, without having to use thick layers of denture adhesive.


Dentemp Recap It gives you the chance to fix loose caps and crowns in an instant. This fast acting and convenient liquid formula quickly reattaches loose caps and crowns and you can eat on it in 60 minutes.

Available at Boots, Superdrug, Savers, Lloyds, Amazon and all good pharmacies. Dentemp can assist with all your dental care needs and help fix your fillings, dentures, caps and crowns, until you can get to the dentist.

Fancy winning a selection of Dentemp products ? Just enter your details in the Rafflecopter widget below to go in the draw. Good luck!


UK only. Closing date : 30/9/20

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. The winners' personal contact information will be passed on to the PR / Brand responsible and used only for delivery of their prize.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Book review : The Secret Hangman - Peter Lovesey

 

The Secret Hangman is the first book by Peter Lovesey that I have come across - I think it was a random pick from The Works in their 3-for-£5 offer - but he has a huge back catalogue that you can check out. He is best known for writing two series, one featuring Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and the other Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. The Secret Hangman falls into this latter category and is the ninth book in the series - a series which contains a whopping nineteen titles, the last of which was released this year. If that's not impressive enough, his son, Phil Lovesey, also writes crime novels. Despite all this, I enjoyed the book, even without having any of the background. The only thing that I would assume I have missed out on is the tale of his wife's death, as he is a widow in this book. I'd be intrigued to find out what happened to her, but not knowing certainly didn't detract from thoroughly enjoying this book.


Peter is happy enough on his lonesome, but a trip to the supermarket that ends in disaster brings a new woman into his life. He is also receiving some rather unwelcome anonymous gifts and messages from a secret admirer at work. His woman troubles continue with his slightly condescending boss, who wants him to look into the missing daughter of one of her choir friends. 


Things take a turn for the worse when a woman's body is discovered hanging from a swing in a playground, with a suspicious second ligature mark that suggests this wasn't a suicide. As another body is discovered, Peter isn't sure if things are as simple as his boss assumes, and decides to investigate further before everything is filed away as a solved case. With his trusty team of detectives, they manage to uncover the details of another pair of supposed suicides, whose deaths tie in with this new loss of life. What if there's a serial killer on the loose ? 


Peter is a believable and appealing character, happy enough to bend the rules when he thinks his boss is wrong and things need checking out, but ultimately a kind-hearted and trustworthy character. Despite the multiple deaths, the storytelling avoids the excesses of violence that crime fiction sometimes falls into. Think more along the lines of an Agatha Christie whodunnit that an all-guns-blazing Hollywood crime flick ! I'd definitely be interested in reading more of the series and finding out more about the homely detective Peter Diamond.


star rating : 4/5


RRP : £8.99


  • Paperback : 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0751539600
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0751539608
  • Product Dimensions : 19.8 x 2.2 x 12.6 cm
  • Publisher : Sphere; paperback / softback Edition (3 April 2008)
  • Language: : English


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