Why does her eclectic mix of acquaintances and interests intrigue the police of these two nations so much?
What is it about their mother that, when called upon, her daughters are so willing to bend the rules?
Can friends be trusted?
An intercontinental intrigue that will have you laughing, sighing, and surprised by the end of it…..
After a long and successful academic career, Gwyneth decided to finally write her first cozy mystery-detective novel. She always had it in her and has several more up her sleeve that will be made available before long, to the world of mystery readers.
Although she very much enjoys mysteries, she feels indebted to all the women writers of her youth who inspired her so much. Her own taste in reading has been, and still is, very eclectic. She may love both the more traditional detective stories and the later thrillers, particularly but not exclusively by women, but one must add that she truly adores plunging into the first-class humorous novels that were so characteristic of British writing in the 20th century and are still being published today.
Gwyneth has, throughout her career, won several awards for her work for equality and justice for all, particularly for women, as well as for her contribution both to the recognition of women immigrant writers in Quebec and to the recognition in the rest of Canada of current literary currents in Quebec.
She enjoys films and has a special affinity for old-fashioned cinema with stars such as Ida Lupino, Peter Lorre, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Eve Arden, Steve McQueen (no.1), Sidney Greenstreet, and so many more. Those were the days when women were strong and knew how to defend themselves.
Gwyneth is also a great cook, very much in the French and Italian styles but also likes to resuscitate old English recipes and share Welsh recipes inspired by her mother and maternal grandmother.
In fact there are not many things that she refuses to enjoy, so she hopes you will find the same enjoyment in her writing.
“Fans mean everything to me. Writing for pleasure is extremely satisfying but having readers enjoy my work and want to read more is just wonderful and means so much to me. I love the interactivity and always look forward to hearing from, and writing for, fans!”
“It’s only your busybody nature that’s suggesting it to your obsessive character”
“Who cares where you come from or what colour you are? There are no roots and no branches out there, only trees”
When I first read the synopsis of this book and the profile of the author, who has firmly planted British roots, I must admit that I was already envisaging a story of Agatha Christie proportions, possibly a Hercule Poirot style adventure, given the accompanying cover art, which to my eye somehow seemed to suit the era.
However, I had totally underestimated Gwyneths other, long standing love affair, with the Canadian people, which immediately I began reading changed my perspective, as I became immersed in the transatlantic ‘Murder She Wrote’ world of Jessica Fletcher style. Main protagonist Sara even works with books, although it is in translating, rather than authoring them.
As we meet Sara, she is trying to make sense of a French translation of a 1930s style murder/mystery, which she is finding very mundane and boring. So, very Sara style, she is jetting off to Paris, to secure a more exciting and lucrative contract, that she can really get her teeth into. Very ‘Jessica Fletcher’ style, this is where things begin to go horribly wrong for Sara, although she deals with things in her own indomitable way … or at least she thinks she does!
Yes, this delightful book might be described as a cozy mystery, or even a mystery caper, given its sometimes slightly humorous and tongue in cheek dialogue exchanges, but take it from me, it is so much more!
Gwyneth tackles her story from so many different angles and with so much energy and panache, that it is difficult to keep up with all the twists and turns that work their way surreptitiously into the narrative, unless you pay close attention to the detail.
Gwyneth’s writing also brings an abundance of authenticity, social history and international detail, to her storyline and characters, which only a true passion for her subject, together with plenty of detailed research can hope to achieve.
Keeping up, both physically and mentally, with main protagonist Sara, left me exhausted but happy after each reading session and eager to get back into her hectic world, just as soon as I could.
Sara is a determined and tenacious woman, fiercely loyal to her family and friends, but it is like trying to shake off a dog with a bone, when she gets her teeth into a good story and that’s where things begin to go awry for her long-suffering husband, who seems to have spent most of his time being out-numbered and out-voted by the three most favourite women in his life, Sara and their two equally opinionated and passionate daughters. He loves all three dearly, but when Sara literally, ‘brings her work home with her’ and the girls decide to unite and gang up on him, to solve a real-life murder/mystery of their own, he really doesn’t stand much of a chance, even when all their lives are put in danger!
In fact, it isn’t until Sara is physically attacked and injured, that the pieces of the jigsaw begin to fit together and the family realise that the danger signs are coming from a lot closer to home than they cared to think about.
Check out those all important ‘First Lines’ here, where there is also an excellent short guest post written by the author.
Sharing a few mid-way random ‘Teaser Lines’ here
As this was a Goodreads Giveaway competition win, I received a complimentary and beautifully dedicated, paperback copy of Last Step from the author herself.
This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any blog article I have posted. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5