Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sophia Rose Reviews Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen

Today I once again turn the blog over to friend and fellow blogger Sophia Rose who's reviewing another fantastic historical mystery, Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen.

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen
#1 A Woman of WWII Mystery
Historical Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Published:  11.5.19
Pages: 320
Rating 4
Format: eARC
Source:  Net Galley
Sellers:  Amazon  Barnes andNoble  Kobo

Add To: GoodReads

The start of an exciting new World War II historical mystery series featuring charming, quirky Air Raid Warden Poppy Redfern....

Summer 1942. The world has been at war for three long and desperate years. In the remote English village of Little Buffenden, the Redfern family's house and farmland has been requisitioned by the War Office as a new airfield for the American Air Force.

The village's Air Raid Warden, twentysomething Poppy Redfern, spends her nights patrolling the village and her days writing a novel of passion. It is a far cry from the experience of the other young women in town: within days, two of the village's prettiest girls are dating American airmen and Little Buffenden considers the "Friendly Invasion" to be a success.

But less than a week later, Doreen Newcombe, the baker's daughter; and the popular Ivy Wantage are both found dead. Poppy realizes that her community has been divided by murder, and the mistrust and suspicion of their new American neighbors threatens to tear this town, already grappling with the horrors of war, apart. Poppy decides to start her own investigation, but she soon unearths some unfortunate secrets and long-held grudges. She will have no choice but to lay a trap for a killer so perilously close to home, she might very well become the next victim....

Sophia Rose's Review:

So much about this book called to me well before I ever cracked open the first page and read the harrowing adventure of an Air Raid Warden training in London during the bombings.  First, that cover.  I spotted that and I was a goner, but then I read the blurb and caught sight of the series title.  A WWII ear historical mystery with a woman heroine.  It was a cinch, as the American pilots would have said.

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders takes the reader to the English village homefront during WWII.  Intrepid, clever Poppy wants to do her part and she has no affinity for the domestic arts so her granddad helped her get trained and taken on as their village air raid warden who helps guide during an actual air raid and does nightly patrols to make sure folks are keeping it safe with blackout conditions around the village. 

Poppy's parents died and she was reared by her grandparents.  She grows up not quite village, but not quite country estate, either, as the granddaughter of the village squire so she has her foot in both worlds.  It serves her well when she can observe the insular village types close ranks against the Americans, but is equally ready to defend the village of people she has known all her life.  Poppy is something of a loner and is independent.

I thought the author did great painting the picture of how people made due or did without all to further the war effort, worried about their men at war even while carrying on as best they could sometimes with bombs dropping on them.  I liked the details of the villagers and village life along with the adjustments to having a military base nearby and not even one of their own.

Poppy had some good adventures in this one and a few intense moments, but for the most part, it was a gently-paced plodder lining up one clue at a time or dismissing suspicion with each situation.  I thought it was fun seeing the play between Polly and Griff.  She's closed off, but he gets past her guard.  He encourages her detecting and discovery of the truth, but he is one of the mysteries she can't quite solve, especially her feelings about him and his for her.  I found the actual murderer easy to pin point and even why fairly early on, but there were other things going on so it never got boring.

This is a first in series and I can't wait to read the next Poppy Redfern adventure.  I think historical mystery fans and those who enjoy books set during WWII might enjoy this one.

Author’s Bio:
TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, was brought-up and educated in the beautiful Chiltern Hills of England, when she was not visiting her parents oversees in Asia, India and Europe. Her books are set in the pastoral beauty of her native England among its flint-stone villages, softly rolling hills, and airy beech woods.

Greatest influences on Tessa's writing are hands down Kenneth Grahame and Richard Adams for their wonderful descriptions of the beauties of the English countryside, and E.F. Benson and Nancy Mitford whose characters are so quintessentially eccentric and wickedly funny.

Tessa's first book in the Lady Montfort series, DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, has been nominated for a 2016 Agatha award for Best First Novel. The second volume in the series DEATH SITS DOWN TO DINNER was published in March 29, 2016, and A DEATH BY ANY OTHER NAME in March 14, 2017. DEATH OF AN UNSUNG HERO is scheduled for publication March 14, 2018.

For more information about Tessa and her historical mystery series set in the early 1900s and featuring the elegant Clementine Talbot, the Countess of Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper, Mrs. Edith Jackson, please visit her website.


Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:
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  1. You know I love this era, great review my friend. I'm looking into this one!

  2. Replies
    1. It was a great surprise. I think you'd get a kick out of it. :)