Sunday, February 23, 2020

Ancestral Whispers

British Mystery

Each year the residents of Nether Haddon celebrate the village’s founding in the time-honored way with games, music, and performances by their sword dancers. But something new is added to the fancy footwork this year: a team member dies ... murdered. Fear, jealousy and suspicion quickly engulf the group, emotions as tightly interlocked as the five swords used in the dance: a series of turns, jumps and clogging steps intricate as Celtic knots. Was the victim the intended target, or should it have been someone else? In the course of the CID investigation, a mysterious 17th century puzzle is discovered. Does it hold a clue to the murder? Detective Brenna Taylor and her colleagues have more than enough to worry about. But unbeknownst to her, career criminal King Roper has escaped from prison where he was serving time for murder. Now free and eager to settle the score for his capture, Roper tracks down Brenna’s whereabouts, ready for revenge...

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions

Jo Hiestand will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tourSee below to sign up for the Giveaway

My Review...
Lots going on in this mystery set in a small British village. The tradition of rapper sword dancing and a well-researched description of it seems to fill out this story, making a very clear picture and an interesting read. Hiestand has woven another British custom  into a British mystery. When I say woven, I am speaking literally. There are enough twists and turns and hints in this story that I’m sure you’ll “think” you can figure out the “who-dun-it” part before the end. But I bet not.

Hiestand’ s descriptive writing has not changed, it’s as eloquent as ever. Hornung’s knowledge and description of police procedure gives us a clear picture of the inner workings of the Constabulary and  melds well with the story.

This book, as are others in this series, is basically narrated by Brenna Taylor, a Detective Sergeant of the Derbyshire Constabulary. Taylor is now a long-standing officer and Hiestand’s nature of making Taylor the main character has made these stories evolve just as Brenna has grown. Both she and her colleagues seem to have matured a little. Hiestand’s changes to her characters make you feel it’s a world you have lived in; real, sometimes troubled, and sometimes elated.

While I have said the characters seem to mature or make some different decisions in this book of the Peak District series, I do not think there would be any problem reading it as a stand-alone. The only problem I can see would be in not reading it. 

Hiestand also has a mystery series titled "The McLaren Mysteries". I must admit I have read these books too and immediately fell in love with its main character, Michael McLaren. I love reading about his life and the mysteries he tries to solve each time.

read an excerpt...
“He mentioned Jack Darkgate is an amateur radio enthusiast.”

“Anything to throw suspicion on others, Mark.”

“Open mind, Bren, remember? Darkgate might know a lot about electricity. More so if he’s one of those blokes who’s built his own rig. You know,” he added when I looked puzzled. “Some blokes like to assemble their own transreceiver, usually from kits, rather than buy the equipment.”

“Sounds like a lot of work.”

“Probably like anything else: if you have a passion for it, it’s not work.”

We had passed the pub. Darkgate’s house was farther down the road, on the right, around the curve.  I slowed my gait. Mark had taken a half dozen steps before he realized I lagged behind. He turned, walked back to me, and asked if something was wrong.

“You’re going to tell me I’m barmy—“

“You giving me permission or just forecasting the future?”

“I can’t shake the feeling that something serious involving Scott or Graham is going on.”

“You on that again? What set you off? Graham’s dramatic pause this morning?”

“Once I could overlook, Mark, but it also happened last Saturday night and Sunday morning. And you said yourself yesterday that he and Scott didn’t look exactly like cohorts reveling in Scott’s return. Margo mentioned King Roper a few minutes ago.”

The name was like a bell to Pavlov’s dog or a not guilty judgment to a criminal. Mark’s hands gripped my upper arms and he stood facing me, the light in his eyes white-hot. “What about Roper? Why would she mention him? Did she talk to Scott or Graham? He hasn’t escaped, has he?”

about Jo Hiestand...
A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British.  Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times and lived there during her professional folksinging stint.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy--from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area--has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the details filling both her Peak District mysteries and the McLaren mystery series.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her McLaren mystery, BLACK MOON, received the ‘N.N. Light Best Mystery Book’ award for 2019.

Jo lives with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts in the St. Louis-area.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting this leg of the tour -- I appreciate it!

  2. Replies
    1. Hi, Victoria! Glad you dropped by. Yes, it is a nice post. And a nice review, which I enjoy! ;-) Good luck with the raffle drawing.

  3. Replies
    1. Hi, Caryl. I hope you like mine if you read it! Thanks for the comment.

  4. I appreciate getting to hear about  a book new to me. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway.

    1. James, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with the raffle drawing.

  5. Replies
    1. You are always so sweet to me Rita. You Always make me feel like someone's reading my reviews. Thanks so much. Of course I have to thank the author as she has been very kind. Once again...easy to write a review if you are writing about a book you enjoyed!

    2. Hi, Rita. Thanks so much for taking the time to log on and leave a comment. I appreciate it.

  6. I'll bid good night to everyone. Thank you, Out Town Book Reviews for hosting my book today and for that very nice review. And thank you, everyone, for taking a few minutes and leaving a comment. I appreciate it. Your support means a lot to me.

    1. Thanks for the day everyone. Best of luck with your book Jo.


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