REVIEWS

 

Blog Tour April 2021
organised by Damppebbles

TOUR REVIEWS 

"I absolutely adored this book. It’s what cozy crime should aspire to - fun, funny, heartfelt, mystery, red herrings and romance! It was a delight to read. I completely fell for the character of Jan. I felt such an affinity to her - I wish I was a librarian, detective, young thing in the 1970s! I’m so happy that this is going to be the start of a new series as it’s one I will definitely be reading.

   Jan is young librarian and is the ward of her uncle and aunt. Her Uncle Toby is a DCI in the local police force and picks her up one night from work and driving the car is his new bagman DC Laurie Walker. It’s love st first sight! On their first date, whilst walking home they see the door ajar at the house of one of Jan regular readers at the library and come across her murdered! A young baby boy has also been taken from a pram and there is a flasher in Epping Forest. Are the incidents all related? 

    Jan reminds me of myself in a way - curious, a lover of books, a romantic at heart and all wanting to find out the reasons behind circumstances. Although, I limit myself to reading rather than real life sleuthing! But she is also fun to be around - her aunt is also a hoot. It doesn’t seem as if she has many friends, thinks herself plain and hasn’t dated anyone seriously. Until DC Walker comes along and young love emerges from the story. 

    I liked how the clues were there to find during the plot. Cozy crime to me needs to be easy to follow, allows you to relax and bask in the knowledge that you know what is going on! I will admit I was wrong with the flasher though. I was totally thinking the same as a certain character. I loved the resolution of the story and it would certainly be a book I would recommend to people. In fact, I think this series will stay on my radar for awhile to come! "

Books By Bindu

*

"I loved reading this book, I could barely put it down. In such a short number of pages the author creates a twisting yet satisfyingly ended mystery with red herrings, strong characterisation, and a real sense of atmosphere. I enjoy reading cosy mysteries but sometimes feel they lack a bit of substance. However, this was definitely not the case for this book. I was amazed at how much is packed in to such a short tale. Jan is a great character, extremely likeable with a good balance of inexperience and intelligence. Her romance with Laurie is sweet and manages to add to the story rather than detract from it.

I thought the mystery aspect was very well-written. There were a good number of clues so that the ending wasn’t a total surprise, but there was still a good twist. The various red herrings and side plots kept you guessing throughout which helped to make it so engaging. I almost don’t want to say it was lovely, as there is crime and tragedy, but it was a truly enjoyable read.

Recommend: Quick and engaging, I would happily recommend this book to others

Pages Of Eden

*

"A Mirror Murder is the first in a new series of mysteries featuring Jan Christopher.

I found this a really good, easy, well-paced read that I throughly enjoyed.

Jan Christopher is an 18-year-old librarian who happens to stumble upon a murder scene completely by accident.

She’s also been victim of a flasher and has the start of a romance blossoming with the new DC working with her uncle.

There’s a few threads within the main plot who is the flasher, is Gloria lying about more than just her boyfriend beating her and why is Mr Hurst so mean?

A baby boy is taken from his pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered…

Are the events related?

The chapters are mainly from Jan’s perspective with a few “interludes” featuring DC Laurie Walker’s point of view.

I really hope to read more Jan Christopher mysteries as I enjoyed this first installment so much."

Rachell's Thoughts

*

"I’m not sure there is anything Helen Hollick can’t do. She writes historical Arthurian legends, non-fiction full of real-life pirates, and now a cozy mystery. A Mirror Murder is an excellent mystery, which I loved every minute of. Not only is the intrigue there, but a fledgling romance to boot.

  Knowing that I was getting into a mystery, I was nervous through the first bit, waiting to learn who the victim was. Getting there was quite delicious, by the way. I adored the description we got of said victim. The further into the story we got, the more I loved this person. 

  But, Hollick didn’t stop there. We also have ourselves a little side mystery regarding some wrongdoing in the park. I will admit that one part of this gave a little comeuppance to a rather dodgy old fool. I laughed a bit at this revelation. 

  I will let you all in on a secret I found out. Some of the occurrences are factual! I had no idea until the end of the book, but it stunned me to learn this. If you have been following my reviews, you will know that I adore stories based on historical facts. I will definitely read the rest of the Jan Christopher series as they come out

  I award A Mirror Murder 4 out of 5 stars. This novella was short and well worth the few hours it took me to read it. If you are up for a great little mystery with a few laughs along the way, you should give this one a read."

My Bookish Bliss

"It doesn’t seem quite right to call this ‘cosy’ when it involves a murder and a missing baby. Especially when the outcome isn’t all happiness and light. But this was mostly a very pleasant read and the dynamics between the main characters are perfect. I’m glad this is the first of a new series.

Jan (real name January – I love that name) Christopher lives with her aunt and uncle after her father was brutally shot to death in front of her when she was a young child. Her mum died soon after. Dad was a police officer and her uncle just happens to be DCI Toby Christopher of the Chingford police force. Jan works in the local library. Uncle Toby’s driver is on sick leave and his new driver is the handsome, Detective Constable Laurie Walker and for Laurie and Jan it is love at first sight. I found their escapades and budding romance really lovely. Laurie seems a bit accident prone, which was rather endearing.

The year is 1971 – the year I took my A levels – and I can see from the author information that Helen and I are the same age. Therefore as well as loving the story I also adored the nostalgia, which brought back so many memories and with which I could identify. There was a fair bit of humour in the story as well as sadness, which I loved. The stories about Gloria, Eddie and Mr and Mrs Hurst were very funny.

The main story revolves around an elderly lady who frequents the library and cuts out the food coupons from the newspaper. Then one day she rushes out the door with the newspaper still in her hand and soon after it is Jan and Laurie who find her murdered in her own home. Outside a woman with a baby in a pram is going to the shop to buy formula milk, only it is after 11 pm and Jan finds it all a bit strange.

In the meantime Jan has seen a flasher in the woods and is convinced it’s Gloria’s boyfriend Eddie. What is the connection between these events? Will she and Laurie and of course Uncle Toby solve the mystery?

It’s a great story with a cast of likeable characters. I shall look forward to the next instalment.

Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to be part of #damppebblesblogtours

PS Helen, if you ever get to read this review, George Harrison was my favourite Beatle as well. Obviously great minds think alike."

Bookchatter

Graphic: Feel The Read

“Jan Christopher (will not reveal the full form of Jan) is a librarian & niece of Detective Chief Inspector Toby Christopher. When Detective Constable Laurie Walker is appointed to work under her uncle there’s a spark between the two – Love at first sight for walker.

But their love story takes a back seat when after a romantic movie date they find Mrs. Norris, a regular at Jan’s library, dead in her house. While the investigation goes on, Jan & Laurie do manage to catch up with each other, but it’s mostly for discussing the crime.

Meanwhile, there are a few “flashers” in the Epping Forest, enjoying “naturism” which is a harrasment to the onlookers, Jan & her aunt being the victims. A baby went missing from the pram as per the newspaper headlines. Also, Jan has her doubts that one of her colleagues is being inflicted to violence by her boyfriend & she actually wants to confirm the same.

The book has lived up to its genre of being a “cozy murder mystery” happening in the 1970s, with all the “whodunnit” vibes. The narration is done in two POVs – Jan & Walker’s. About the murder, there is not a single hint giving away the suspense until the author finally decides to unravel it. And, I won’t lie after giving me all the coziness the truth hit me like a cold wintery morning, it gave me tears. Jan’s own little sleuthing was fun to read, with her naiveness & flaws.

The warm romance between Jan & Walker is heart melting & it develops beautifully along with the plot with the little gestures of love here & there. I’ve liked all the four prime characters – Jan the most, she seemed so realistic. And, and who doesn’t enjoy a book that has a library in it with the main character as librarian?

This book is a short, quick & gripping one. There is so much happening & as a reader you want to know it all…quench that thirst soon.

All in all the author has done a stupendous work in just 162 pages."

Feel The Read

*

"A delightful cosy mystery set in the 1970s, Helen Hollick’s A Mirror Murder is a fun read perfect for Faith Martin fans.

    It is a typical rainy Friday evening for eighteen year old Jan Christopher. The library assistant doesn’t think that there will be much excitement in her future – until she is picked up from work by her uncle Toby – who is her legal guardian and a DCI. Only it isn’t her uncle who is driving his car but his new Detective Constable Laurie Walker. It is love at first sight for the two of them and the young couple find themselves wanting to spend every single spare moment together. However, will their romance be thwarted by the increasingly alarming incidences of crime that seem to be taking up Laurie’s time?

    A baby boy is taken from his pram leaving everyone worried and as if that wasn’t enough, a naked men is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest and causing all sorts of mayhem with his fetish. However, when an elderly lady is found brutally murdered, the police begin to wonder whether all three events are related. Could there be a link between the three cases which the police just aren’t seeing? Is the key to uncovering who murdered the elderly lady connected to the missing baby and the naked flasher? When Jan finds herself entangled in this case, she begins to wonder whether her future with Laurie will be jeopardised by a ruthless murderer on the loose who might just strike again!

    An engaging and enjoyable cosy mystery, Helen Hollick certainly knows how to keep her readers turning the pages in A Mirror Murder. Jan Christopher is a wonderful heroine readers will warm to and the 1970s are so brilliantly recreated, and brought to life, readers will feel as if they’ve been swept back in time.

    A gripping page-turner full of surprises and red herrings, I look forward to more of Helen Hollick’s Jan Christopher adventures!

Bookish Jottings - The Romance, Saga and Women's Fiction Blog

*

"I must admit that prior to an invitation to take part in the blog tour for ‘A Mirror Murder’, I hadn’t actually come across the author, Helen Hollick, before.  Having enjoyed reading ‘ A Mirror Murder’ as much as I did, I am now rather cross at myself that I left it this long to discover how fabulous an author she is.  I absolutely loved reading ‘ A Mirror Murder’ but more about that in a bit.

    I liked the character of Jan (January) Christopher and I warmed to her from the start.  She is a young lass, who lives with her Aunt and Uncle, who are her legal guardians.  Jan is 18 years old and she works in the local library but she has aspirations of becoming an author and if she isn’t working at the library, then she can usually be found writing down the next chapter of her book.  One day she meets her Uncle’s new driver, who is a police officer.  It’s fair to say that sparks fly and there is definitely chemistry there.  Together they come across a murder and set out to discover who did what and why.  Will they solve the case?  Will they get the happy ever after ending that they so deserve?  Well for the answers to those questions and so much more you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out as I am not going to tell you.

   I can honestly say that reading ‘A Mirror Murder’ became seriously addictive.  I think that part of the reason, which I liked this book so much was the adorable lead character Jan (January) Christopher.  I ended up taking to her that well that she felt more like a friend than a character in a book.  My Kindle wasn’t glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of the story and I had to find out who the murderer was, whilst at the same time making sure that Jan was not in any danger or in harms way.  The pages turned over fairly quickly as I worked my way through the story.  I became so wrapped up in the story that I lost all track of time and all track of just how quickly I was getting through the book.  All too quickly I reached the end of ‘A Mirror Murder’ and I had to say goodbye to Jan.

   ‘A Mirror Murder’ is extremely well written.  I love the way in which the lead character is described so realistically that she seems just as real as you and I.  I love the fact that the story is set in the 1970s as most of the mysteries I seem to read are either set during the Second World War or in the present day.  I was born in the 1970s and this book brings that era alive.  The author certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start and draw you into this delightful story.  For me, ‘A Mirror Murder’ is a more gentle pace of book.  I found this to be a gripping read, which kept me on the edge of my seat.  I felt as though I was part of the story, which is all thanks to Helen’s very vivid and realistic storytelling.

   In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Mirror Murder’ and I would definitely recommend this book to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Helen’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*."

Ginger Book Geek

*

"I do love a cosy mystery and A Mirror Murder was just what I needed to get my cosy fix. A Mirror Murder is book one in a brand new series and introduces a brilliant character, Jan Christopher. I really enjoyed getting to know Jan. Seeing her every day life in her job at the library to the instant spark she feels with Laurie Walker. It was lovely to see their relationship develop. However nothing is plain sailing as an elderly lady is found murdered and unfortunately Jan finds herself right in the middle of things. The pacing of the story was really good and kept my interest throughout. I thought the time period of the seventies added an extra special touch of nostalgia. During the story you hear mainly from Jan’s perspective with the occasional part from Laurie’s. I thought this worked well especially the more they got to know each other. So you get that added insight into their thoughts and feelings. Whether it was about each other or the situations they found themselves in.

The overall mystery was a good one and definitely made me curious to see how it would all play out. Both the budding relationship and mystery combined really well. Coming together to create an engaging story that had some satisfying twists. I’m already eagerly awaiting book two!"

Rae Reads 

*

"I absolutely love a good cosy mystery series and this is set to be a great one! A Mirror Murder is the first in the series of Jan Christopher mysteries.

Set in 1971, there’s lots of period detail – music, movies, fashion, decimalisation jokes and local communities where people actually know their neighbours.

Jan is such a great character. She is young and inexperienced but witty and observant. Her back story is really interesting – a twin sister who died when she was a baby, no mum on the scene and a father who was shot and killed. She lives with her uncle and aunt. What I like is she is level headed and sensible – she accepts her past and is loving her life.

Her developing relationship with D. C. Laurie Walker is lovely. They are both completely smitten and their efforts to make each other happy are delightful.

Having moved from Devon to London, Laurie is keen to make a name for himself. He’s hardworking, polite and respectful. He wants to meet a nice girl and get married and sets his cap on Jan as soon as they meet.

The mystery of mirror murder is intriguing and heartbreaking – no spoilers from me – but the story that emerges is a good mystery with a satisfying ending.

There is a lot of humour in this book as well. The library manager is great, if hideous, character.

I really warmed to Jan and her family and will definitely be reading the next book in the series when it is published."

A quick read with a great mystery and a cast of delightful and fun characters."

Emma's Things to Read

*

"A Mirror Murder is an engaging story about a murder in the 1970s. Devoid of any help from the computer, it’s a crime that’s solved by the police in an old-fashioned way. Told from the perspective of a young library assistant, the author includes some events from her life too. Other than a well-written cozy mystery, I also loved the characters and the little, sweet romance budding between Jan and Laurie. There are a lot of suspicious characters here which confused me. I could not identify the murderer until the final reveal which is the sign of a good mystery." 

Debjani's Thoughts... Book reviews and more!

*



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

OTHER REVIEWS:

Jaffa Reads Too - book reviews

"Jan Christopher's rather mundane job as a library assistant in Chingford is the stepping point for what will become the adventure of a lifetime for her when she gets inadvertently drawn into a complex crime investigation which involves a missing baby, the death of an elderly lady who was last seen cutting money saving coupons out of a newspaper in the library, and a naked man who is hellbent on scaring women in the woods. Add into the mix a burgeoning romantic relationship for Jan with a lovely young detective constable, and the settled home life she has with her aunt and uncle, and you have all the ingredients needed for a rollicking good, cosy crime mystery.

A Mirror Murder is set in the 1970s, a time which is wonderfully recreated by this author who always brings whichever period she is writing about to perfect life. Scattered like gemstones throughout are quirky references to the seventies, a time I remember with fond nostalgia, so it was a real trip down memory lane to be reminded of Jackie magazine, Rawhide on the television and Scholl sandals, along with the less PC form of policing when perpetrators could get off with a strong admonishment not to do it again.

Helen Hollick always writes with such conviction, whether it be writing her successful historical fiction set in Saxon England, or her wonderful Sea Voyage collection of historical adventures, there is never a moment when A Mirror Murder doesn't entertain on every level. I raced through the story in the space of an afternoon, laughing out loud in places and always totally immersed in a cleverly constructed crime mystery which I loved reading from start to finish.

As this is the first book in a proposed series of cosy crime novels, I am beyond excited to see where this talented author will take Jan Christopher." to next. I can't wait

From Amazon and Goodreads

"Helen Hollick’s new venture into the genre of cozy mystery is, in my eyes, an unqualified success. Her new novel, A Mirror Murder is not just a cozy mystery, it is a wrap-you-up-in-a-warm-quilt-and-ply-you-with-hot-chocolate kind of book. I sank into the world of Jan and Laurie like butter melting into a crumpet, and didn’t leave until the last crumb. Ms Hollick has always captivated me with her fabulous characters (who can ever forget Jesamiah Acorne or Queen Emma). In this fabulous retro setting (OK, the seventies – it wasn’t that long ago, was it?!) she recreates a classic who-dunnit with a marvellous nod to the fashions, fads and foibles of the times. The plot twists and turns, the characters get together and leave again, and throughout the story, Jan Christopher keeps us captivated with her wry observations and often heart-rending emotions. Highly recommend, and I think I’ve found a new friend. Pass the biscuits, Jan, and looking forward to seeing you again soon. Five stars. " Elizabeth St John

"A Mirror Murder is the first in a new series of mysteries featuring Jan Christopher. I found this a really good, easy, well-paced read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jan Christopher is an 18-year-old librarian who happens to stumble upon a murder scene completely by accident.
She’s also been victim of a flasher and has the start of a romance blossoming with the new DC working with her uncle.
There’s a few threads within the main plot who is the flasher, is Gloria lying about more than just her boyfriend beating her and why is Mr Hurst so mean?
A baby boy is taken from his pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered...
Are the events related?
The chapters are mainly from Jan’s perspective with a few “interludes” featuring DC Laurie Walker’s point of view.
I really hope to read more Jan Christopher mysteries as I enjoyed this first instalment so much" 4 stars Rachel Stray

"There are some authors who write so well that readers will read their books regardless of the subject matter. Having read Ms Hollick’s medieval historical fiction and one of her Seawitch series, along with her nonfiction books, I jumped at the chance to read an advance review copy of her new release. The fact that this is a complete change of direction for the author didn’t matter to me at all.

Knowing I was in the capable hands of an author who really knows her craft, I settled down with A Mirror Murder and pretty much read it in one sitting, thoroughly enjoying it. It’s set in 1971 which of course these days is an historical setting and Ms Hollick evokes every aspect of that world to perfection, and those who remember those times will smile at the references. I liked Jan and the fact that she’s in some ways very ordinary and doesn’t immediately pick up on all the clues. This made her transformation into amateur sleuth much more believable. Laurie is a great character too. He may be tall and handsome but he also suffers moments of indignity which add humour to the piece and make him very human.

I liked the several subplots which left me wondering what, if anything, they had to do with the main plot. There are moments of hilarity and moments of pathos and Ms Hollick steers a steady course throughout. Nothing was too dramatic, but nothing was trivialised either and the humour was always gentle, never cruel. This is described as a cosy mystery and it’s exactly that. Everything is tied up nicely at the end but clearly leaving the way for more of Jan’s adventures, so that this is very much a standalone that is part of a series. I look forward to the next one." 5 stars Whitey - Amazon Reader

" I have this morning finished reading A Mirror Murder.  Loved it.  Loved it. Loved it.  I found it hard to put down.  I lived in Chingford until 1965 when I married.  I am now 78!!  I also went to Wellington Ave.  I lived nearer Highams Park.  Walking to school thru Larkswood Forest & then the footpath adjoining the cemetery or by bus from the botton of Ainslie wood rd.  Lovely to hear places mentioned that I visited.  The Library in south Chingford also in north Chingford.  I had & still do have family in Larkshall Crescent walking thru the forest to visit.  My nephew still live in my parents old house in Inks Green.  I remember Chingford very warmly.
Thank you so very much for your writing.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book & the humour.    Thank you."  From Facebook



This is a well written story that pulls the reader in from the first page and keeps you turning the pages until the end, which for me came too soon as I didn’t want it to end! The characters were so absorbing. The story is clever with every day incidents playing a part in what is happening. And, an added bonus is that it is set in the 1970’s. Ms Hollick has written a wonderful, cosy story, and I cannot wait for more, hopefully sooner than later!

How one reader responded to the questions with comments …
Were the characters strong and engaging?
The main characters were realistic and likable: Jan, the naïve, but determined and brave library assistant, DC Lawrence (Laurie) Walker, the love-interest, Jan’s Uncle Toby, Detective Chief Inspector Christopher, the old-fashioned, proper copper and his wife, Jan’s Aunt Madge, an independent woman. Minor characters, like Gloria were well-depicted and interesting.

Was the book well written? 
 yes

Did the story /plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?
While slow moving, almost ambling, the plot unfolded to reveal interesting characters and red herrings, which kept me reading on. The was quite a bit of social commentary – about the police force, domestic abuse, alternate life styles and ‘woman can do anything’. Set in 1971, the story is a commentary on its times.

Was the ending satisfying?
Yes, loose ends tied up, the ‘baddies’ got their just desserts and Jan lives on to have another adventure.


"A Mirror Murder is the first book in the Jan Christopher series. It is a delightful short cosy crime novel with a cast of engaging characters and a wealth of fascinating, nostalgic details about life in the 1970s. This is the first book in is an enjoyable and unusual new series, and I recommend it to readers who appreciate romantic cosy crime." Carol Westron