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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

I am a little late coming to this series – but never mind, it really does sound rather good, despite the fact that I don’t usually read very many short stories. These books have been described as mysteries which are “funny, quirky and typically British” – possibly what I would classify as a “Mystery Caper”? – we’ll just have to wait and see!

‘Three Sisters’ and the subsequent two books, are classified as short stories, although each is slightly longer than the last, with the fourth book being a full length novel.


Three Sisters introduces twenty-six-year-old amateur sleuth Emily Castles in this popular new British mystery series.

Emily receives an invitation to a party in a large house at the end of her street, hosted by a mysterious troupe of circus performers. She accepts, despite her misgivings, because her dog has died and she needs cheering up. But when she witnesses a murder in the midst of the surreal entertainment, no one will believe what she has seen. Is Emily befuddled with grief at the loss of her pet? Or has something wicked happened in plain sight of all the party-goers? Emily and her eccentric neighbours attempt to discover the truth in a charming story that will have you giggling at every funny line.

Readers of M C Beaton or Alexander McCall Smith will enjoy discovering a new mystery author.


Image of author Helen SmithHelen Smith is a British novelist and playwright who lives in London. She had her first book published in 1999 and since then has written poetry, plays, children’s books and screenplays, but at the moment is making her living writing novels.

Her books have been translated into several languages and have reached number one on Amazon’s bestseller lists in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. They have been praised in The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Time Out and Wired.com and appeared on “best of the year” lists in For Books’ Sake, The Cult Den, The Independent and the Guardian. Helen’s books have also been optioned by the BBC.

Helen travelled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both – from cleaning motels to working as a magician’s assistant – before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel. Since then, she has read at literary events and festivals in London and New York and all points in between.  Her work has been read or performed at the National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, Amnesty International’s Headquarters, The Edinburgh Festival and The University of London.

Helen is also a Literary Death Match champion; the recipient of an Arts Council of England award; a member of the Mystery Writers of America; International Thriller Writers; The Crime Writers’ Association and English PEN.

Catch up with all Helen’s news at her website.

Follow Helen on Twitter

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … ‘Mailbox Monday’

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Mary,

      I’m not really sure about the significance of the book’s title yet, although I am certain that all will be revealed when I start reading.

      I also don’t like the circus very much either and never did as a child, so I am hoping that the ‘entertainment’ doesn’t form an overwhelming part of the storyline 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments.

  • I don’t mind short stories in small doses and this sounds like it could be a fun series!

    I added one impulse buy to my Kindle this week: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

    • Hi Kelly,

      I’m not sure why author Helen Smith decided to introduce the character of Emily Castle, with a series of three short stories, before moving on to a full length novel, but I’m sure all will be revealed when I start reading. It may be no more complicated than the fact that Emily began to take on a life of her own and by default, her adventures became longer and more complicated!

      This series certainly sounds as though it might classify as a ‘mystery caper’, although it is likened to the work of M C Beaton or Alexander McCall Smith, which would make it slightly more serious. I remember you having read a few of the McCall Smith books, so I shall be interested to discuss comparisons with you 🙂
      For some reason I already have ‘The Life We Bury’ on my Want To Read list, so it must have been recommended to me by a fellow blogger at some time in the past, along with the other 500 or so titles, which I am never likely to get round to actually reading! The book does sound really good, with some unique variations on what is, a well used storyline.

      I look forward to reading your thoughts about it 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I am not generally a huge fan of the short story, however as there is more than a single stand alone story at stake here, I am quite looking forward to discovering this new amateur sleuth.

      The cover art has a similar theming and colour way common to all the short story books in the series, although the debut full length, ‘Emily Castle’ novel changes the direction of the cover art in both look and feel completely, which is really quite a shame!

      I hope that you are well and thanks for stopping by this week 🙂

  • I think I’d enjoy this book at a later date, but since I recently lost my babydog I wouldn’t want to read it right now. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Hi Vicki,

      I understand why you wouldn’t want to consider reading this book just now and thank you for taking the time to read and respond, I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Intrigued by this and yet at the same time a bit put off with its comparisons to M C Beaton and Alexander McCall Smith neither of whom I’ve ever seen the appeal of.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I have only read a couple of M C Beaton books, which I have enjoyed as quick infill reads, and no McCall Smith, an author who comes quite highly recommended by Kelly.

      As this is a short story of a little over 100 pages, it isn’t going to be the end of the world if I decide it isn’t going to be a series I would enjoy, so I am prepared to give it a go 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      I must admit that we Brits do tend to have a certain knack for writing quirky mysteries, with a dry and wry sense of humour, which somehow seems unique to our homegrown authors.

      I am hoping that this style of writing lends itself well to the short story format, without the humour becoming too ‘over the top’ or excessive.

      Thanks for taking the time to check this one out. As always, I appreciate your comments 🙂

Written by Yvonne