Authors Showcase: Humor and Mystery
March 30, 2013
Caleb Pirtle III
The Book: One Summer in France
The Author: Bev Spicer
The Story: Bev and Carol can’t believe it when the university offers grants to pay for a three month stay in France as part of their degree course. They set off to the Med and encounter people and places that give them an education they could never get in a lecture theatre. Join them on their hilarious adventure and get to know their very different attitudes to life.
The book is based on the author’s real-life experiences and is a prequel to her humorous memoir: Bunny on a Bike.
Review by Roderick Craig Low: One Summer in France is one of those books of reminiscence that rewards the reader on so many counts. It comes across like a novel but is obviously an accurate first-hand recollection as well.
It was written recently as a prequel to the very successful Bunny on a Bike but avoids the mistake of applying mature `wisdom’ to the experiences of just post-teen years. It is, as a result, modern, funny, occasionally outrageous, atmospheric, nicely descriptive and very fast-moving. We travel with Bev as she obtains a grant to fund a trip to France as part of her university degree and, accompanied by her friend Carol, takes up residence at a camp site on the French Mediterranean coast near the Spanish border.
Bev is undoubtedly very pretty – you don’t graduate and end up working for the Bunny Club otherwise – and in no time she and Carol are having a string of hilarious adventures as they find their feet in the campsites, bars and beaches of southern France, fighting off men, dealing with their jealous partners and struggling with rented mopeds. Their visits to the nudist beach or over the border in pursuit of Salvador Dali are absolutely hilarious.
But Bev Spicer is a highly intelligent observer of the human condition who does not exclude herself from her ironic and anatomical eye. The consequence is a story that I simply couldn’t put down – it’s a ‘Laugh Out Loud’ book with pure nostalgia lightly laid on the narrative and it is so very well written! I’m glad I read One Summer in France first. It will be a pleasure to take the story further in Bunny on a Bike.
The Book: The Surgeon’s Blade
The Author: Faith Mortimer
The Story: Nursing sister, Libby Hunter wakes up in hospital with amnesia after a traumatic sailing accident. The stranger she finds sitting by her bedside claims to be her fiancé. As she cannot remember ever being engaged, she finds excuses to put him off until she is completely sure of her true feelings.
Returning home, Libby finds herself in great danger when her house is broken into. Who is the intruder and what does he want? Is this connected in any way to a series of attacks on nurses in London and Southampton? Will Libby be the latest targeted victim?
Distressed Libby turns to helicopter pilot, Robert for help and understanding, but is he as respectable and kind as he appears to be? Is her so-called fiancé, Nigel trustworthy?
The night time intrusion into Libby’s house sets in motion a downwards spiral of cataclysmic and terrifying events, culminating in our favourite sleuth, Diana Rivers stepping in to help solve the case in this chilling mystery.
Review by Beeshon: I have said this twice before when reviewing Faith’s books, and I will say it again, because the compliment is warranted all the more. There is no doubt that Faith is well on the way to becoming the 21st century Agatha Christie. Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple will live on for many years; look out for Diana Rivers who will be making her name as a modern-day, fictional amateur sleuth. She appears in two of Faith’s books as well as this one and this is one more mystery for her to solve.
Pretty blonde nurses are going missing and being stalked in two hospitals – in London and in Southampton…..
Libby Hunter is a pretty blonde nursing sister working in a Southampton hospital – a perfect employment location to pursue her love of sailing. Not only does she get to sail in prestigious yacht races, but she can indulge her passion in the sport with her new yacht-owner boyfriend, Nigel, a prominent, successful, wealthy, good-looking and eligible surgeon. However, a head injury sustained during a race on Nigel’s boat gives Libby two dilemmas – temporary amnesia and an attraction to the helicopter rescue pilot who transports her to hospital for treatment.
As Libby’s memory gradually recovers, she becomes confused by Nigel’s behaviour and actions and by her feelings towards her hero pilot whose support is becoming invaluable. If that wasn’t enough, she is further unsettled by an intruder into her home one evening – worrying because nothing was stolen or disturbed…….in the meantime, the hospital stalker is stepping up a gear….or two….
This is a page-turner that keeps you on your toes. Why does Nigel keep disappearing to his London flat? Why is his ex-wife there? Why is Robert so supportive, yet mysterious, especially about the attractive woman and baby Libby sees him with? Why is the gentle, amateur dramatics aficionado, but uncommunicative hospital porter, Peter, so worried about Libby? What is troubling him about his sighting of the stalker? Each time you are led down a path of suspicion, you are diverted down another. If you think you are going to outwit this author, think again.
Faith is a very methodical and organised author. Her attention to detail is impeccable. Her knowledge and/or research of the sailing fraternity and amateur dramatics is detailed and faultless. Faith sets an immaculate scene and no stone is left unturned. She carefully makes each character believable and imaginable and the dialogue is natural and uncontrived. The result is a perfectly flowing, effortlessly readable and thoroughly enjoyable book.
This is the third of Faith’s books I have read and all I can say is, well done, very well done once again, Faith. Next please!