Tag Archives: Fay Sampson

Top 10 Tuesday: Books for Lovers of British Mysteries (+ A Canadian Cousin)

15 Aug

Top 10 Tuesday is back! Yay! The folks at The Broke And The Bookish had some well-deserved time off, but now they are back with great topics for book lovers. This week I’m talking about book recommendations for lovers of British mysteries. I love a good mystery and have found the following books to meet all the requirements — puzzling cases set in the British Isles. They run the gamut from historical and contemporary, amateur detectives and police procedurals, to urban and bucolic settings. Ironically, a couple of the series, while definitely having a British vibe, are authored by Americans. All are excellent!

Top Book Recommendations for Lovers of British Mysteries

+ A Canadian Cousin

(please note there may be more books in these series than are pictured)

The Aiden Mysteries by Fay Sampson


The Blitz Detective by Mike Hollow


The Drew Farthering Mysteries by Julianna Deering


The Faith Morgan Mysteries by Martha Ockley


A Father Gilbert Mystery by Paul McCusker


The Monastery Murders by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Mystery for D. I. Costello by Elizabeth Flynn


Poppy Denby Investigates by Fiona Veitch Smith


A Canadian Cousin!

The Herringford And Watts Mysteries by Rachel McMillan


What are some of your favorite mysteries?


Book Review: Death on Lindisfarne

9 Sep

640257_w185Grieving the loss of wife and mother, Aidan and Melangell visit the renowned spiritual retreat center on the British island of Lindisfarne so Aidan can share with bright eight-year-old Melangell one of the places that inspired Jenny to write her books.

There they meet up with Jenny’s friend Lucy, a Methodist minister, who is teaching a course on the local Northumbrian saints. Lucy has brought Rachel, a troubled teenager, to the Holy Island in hopes that the remoteness and peace of the location will help her.

But when Rachel is found dead on the beach, everyone on the island is under suspicion. As investigators and Rachel’s “friends” come to the island, Aidan and Lucy learn more about Rachel, and Lucy’s past as a policewoman is revealed.

And so Aidan is drawn into his second mystery. Masterfully told by award-winning author Fay Sampson, Death on Lindisfarne explores the complicated motivations of fallen people against the backdrop of ancient holiness.

scillyFay Sampson is a widely published author with a particular interest in fantasy and Celtic history. She has been shortliste for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize on three occasions and is a winner of the Barco de Vapor award.

My Impressions:

Death on Lindisfarne is the second book in The Aiden Mysteries series by Fay Sampson. (You can read my review of book 1, The Hunted Hare, HERE.) The novel juxtaposes a modern mystery with the ancient history of Holy Island, a sacred place of peace and rest, but also the scene of betrayal and violence. This book is a great pick for those who love a British mystery with a hint of history.

Aiden Davison and his young daughter Melangell are on holiday just 6 months following the death of Aiden’s wife, Jenny. Lindisfarne or Holy Island was the place of great joy for Aiden and Jenny, and he wants to share the memories with Melangell. Enrolled in a course on the Celtic church and saints, they join a diverse group of people with secrets. The murder comes early and there are plenty of suspects.

I really liked the way Sampson uses the historical backdrop of the island as a means to advance the story. The stories that course leader Rev. Lucy Pargeter shares are as interesting as the murder mystery. I had my suspicions early on about just whodunit, but there are enough red herrings and mysterious doings by all the characters, that I was never sure about the ending. Death on Lindisfarne is a true British mystery. I loved the different vernacular used, the very British constabulary and the remote setting employed. And while this mystery is wrapped up, there is a hint of more to come for Aiden, Melangell and Lucy. Death on Lindisfarne can also be treated as a standalone.


(Thanks to Kregel for a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Hunted Hare

6 Nov

The hamlet of Pennant Melangell consists of a church and a few cottages and lies in a mountainous part of North Wales that is so remote that it is, even today, only barely accessible to cars. It is the ancient pilgrimage site for the medieval Saint Melangell and is still visited by those seeking healing.

The Davison family has come to Pennant Melangell seeking spiritual refuge as their family faces the reality of Jenny Davison’s terminal cancer. Jenny and Aidan have visited before, but this is the first time they have brought their daughter, seven-year-old Melangell, to the place which inspired her name.

New since their last visit is a lavish hotel–The House of the Hare–a grand project conceived and financed by local businessman Thaddeus Brown. The Davisons are impressed by the extensive facilities developed with the needs of the sick, weak, and disabled in mind. Jenny is particularly excited by the archery range with modifications that will enable her to shoot arrows even in her extremely weakened state.

But instead of a place of healing, this sacred location becomes a place of doom when Thaddeus Brown is found dead, an arrow in his eye. Suspicion falls on those who have used the archery range, including Jenny along with Brown’s vulnerable young niece Lorna. As Aidan works to clear his wife’s name, young Melangell goes missing. Is the murderer also a kidnapper? Or does The House of the Hare harbor more mysteries? And who might be the next victim?

The first of a series of new mysteries featuring Aidan Davison and set in what celebrated fantasy novelist Fay Sampson describes as the “thin” places of the Celtic world.


Fay Sampson is a widely published author with a particular interest in fantasy and Celtic history. She has been shortliste for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize on three occasions and is a winner of the Barco de Vapor award.

My Impressions:

I am so thankful that Kregel brings UK books to the American audience. I have read and reviewed several books by UK authors that otherwise I would never have heard of. One of these is Fay Sampson, author of many adult and children’s books including her latest, The Hunted Hare, book 1 in the Aiden Mysteries. The Hunted Hare is a British mystery in the finest sense — a wonderful sense of place and well-developed characters.

Aiden and Jenny Davison, along with their 7 year old daughter Melangell, have come to Pennant Melangell in Wales to revisit the site of an earlier, happy time in their marriage and to perhaps capture the healing essence of this ancient and holy place. Jenny is in the last stages of ovarian cancer and is looking for peace. But their quest is soon disrupted. All is not peaceful at the House of The Hare, the lodge devoted to housing pilgrims to the church of St. Melangell. The owner, Thaddeus Brown, is murdered and the Davisons are swept into the mysterious goings on.

While The Hunted Hare is a well-written mystery and a great glimpse into the Celtic history of Wales and the thin places of that world, it is its handling of Jenny’s illness that spoke to me. Jenny and Aiden are struggling with Jenny’s impending death. Their sorrow is bolstered by a hope that the special healing miracles of St. Melangell will come to them. But they wonder if the healing will take the form of the physical or the spiritual. The book is at once sad and hopeful; real qualities of a life lived in faith.

I would definitely recommend The Hunted Hare to anyone who enjoys a British-style mystery. I am also looking forward to book 2 in the series, Death on Lindsfarne.

Highly Recommended.

(I received The Hunted Hare from Kregel in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)