#BlogBlitz #PublicationDay A Taste for Killing by Sarah Hawkswood @AllisonandBusby

Today is publication day of A Taste for Killing, the latest book in Sarah Hawkswood’s Bradecote and Catchpoll historical crime series. To celebrate I’m joining other book bloggers in sharing my review of this the tenth book in the series. My thanks to Christina at Allison & Busby for inviting me to take part in today’s blitz and for my digital review copy via NetGalley.


A Taste for KillingAbout the Book

Godfrey Bowyer, the best but least likeable bow maker in Worcester, dies of poisoning, though his wife Blanche survives.

The number of people who could have administered the poison should mean a very short investigation for Bradecote and Catchpoll, but perhaps some was pulling the strings, and that widens the net considerably.

Could it be the cast-out younger brother or perhaps Orderic the Bailiff, whose wife has been pressured into a relationship with Godfrey?

Could it even be the wife herself? With Bradecote eager to return to his manor and worried about his wife’s impending confinement, and Walkelin trying to get his mother to accept his choice of bride, there are distractions aplenty, though Serjeant Catchpoll will not let them get in the way of solving this case.

Format: Hardback (320 pages)     Publisher: Allison & Busby
Publication date: 12th May 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime

Find A Taste for Killing on Goodreads

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My Review

I first came across Bradcote and Catchpoll when I read River of Sins, the seventh book in the author’s historical crime series set in 12th century Worcester. That was back in December 2020 and since then I’ve devoured both the subsequent books in the series – Blood Runs Thicker and Wolf at the Door.

A Taste for Killing takes up directly from events at the end of the previous book with Undersheriff Hugh Bradecote and his wife anxiously awaiting the birth of their second child.  Mindful of Bradecote’s situation, Serjeant Catchpoll initially takes on the investigation into the murder of wealthy burgess, Godfrey Bowyer, with only the assistance of recently promoted Underserjeant Walkelin. Although it appears there are only a few individuals who would have had the opportunity to administer the poison, the murdered man had no shortage of enemies in the city.

The author gives us a real taste of what it must have been like to live in 12th century Worcester, conjuring up the sights, sounds and smells, as well as a sense of the local dialect (although Bradecote being a lord of the manor speaks Norman to his peers, or ‘Foreign’ as the locals call it).

Over the course of the series, the duo of Bradecote and Catchpoll has evolved into a trio with the addition of Walkelin who has grown from eager apprentice to becoming an integral part of the team, honing his ‘serjeanting senses’ along the way. He’s observant, has a good sense of intuition and can mingle with servants and traders. Even after all this time, Catchpoll still casts a proprietorial, sometimes approving, eye over Bradecote’s interrogation techniques whilst recognising that Bradecote’s rank can open doors that would otherwise be closed to him. Not so much good cop, bad cop as toff cop, common cop. What all three share is tenacity. As Walkelin observes, ‘Oft times we are called the lord Sheriff’s law hounds, and like a hound, we cannot leave a scent uninvestigated, a warm trail to go cold without us sniffin’ at it.’

The domestic side is not ignored either. Bradcote’s concern for his wife is endearing and Catchpoll has a caring wife always ready with a cup of warmed cider or advice to wrap up warm. Walkelin’s hopes of matrimony rest on his persuasive skills but it’s surprising what a way with preparing the ever-present pottage can do to change minds.

The unravelling of the mystery is nicely managed with a few red herrings along the way and a plethora of possible motives. As is often the case, Catchpoll’s local knowledge of family relationships and past grievances, as well as his ability to have his ear to the ground for gossip, are important in solving the mystery. His reputation as ‘a wily old bastard’ helps too. But young Walkelin plays his part as well, uncovering the nugget of information that proves someone is not what they profess to be.

If you’re looking for a enjoyable mystery with a well-constructed plot, colourful characters and interesting  historical detail then I can heartily recommend A Taste of Killing.  Or if you really want to indulge yourself, why not go back and read the whole series from the beginning (as I hope to do one day).

In three words: Engaging, intriguing, absorbing

Try something similar: The Monastery Murders by E. M. Powell

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Sarah HawkswoodAbout the Author

Sarah Hawkswood describes herself as a ‘wordsmith’ who is only really happy when writing. She read Modern History at Oxford and first published a non-fiction book on the Royal Marines in the First World War before moving on to medieval mysteries set in Worcestershire.

Connect with Sarah
Website | Twitter | Goodreads 

#Promo Notes of Change by Susan Grossey

Book StackIt’s frustrating when an author gets in touch about a book that really appeals to you but you just can’t fit it into your reading schedule, especially when the author is self-published and can do with all the support they can get. Such is the case when Susan Grossey contacted me about Notes of Change, the latest – and final – book in her Sam Plank historical crime series. Regular followers of this blog will know how much I love finding new historical crime series so I’m gutted I can’t find time to read Notes of Change at the moment. However, I have a feeling this might just be a series I read from the beginning. Watch this space!

The books are set in consecutive years in the 1820s – just before Queen Victoria came to the throne and in the policing period after the Bow Street Runners and before the Metropolitan Police – and feature magistrates’ constable, Sam Plank.  Here’s how the author sums up each book:

  • Fatal Forgery takes place in 1824 and looks at a banker stealing money from his clients
  • The Man in the Canary Waistcoat is set in 1825 and deals with investment fraud involving the thrilling new technology of the day – gas lighting
  • Worm in the Blossom takes place in 1826 and concerns rather unsavoury bribery and extortion
  • Portraits of Pretence is set in 1827 and examines the world of art fraud
  • Faith, Hope and Trickery is set in 1828 and explores religious fraud
  • Heir Apparent is set in 1829 and concerns inheritance fraud.

Sam Plank Series


Notes of ChangeAbout the Book

In the autumn of 1829, the body of a wealthy young man is found dumped in a dust-pit behind one of London’s most exciting new venues. Constable Sam Plank’s enquiries lead him from horse auctions to houses of correction, and from the rarefied atmosphere of the Bank of England to the German-speaking streets of Whitechapel. And when he comes face to face with an old foe, he finds himself considering shocking compromises…

The new and highly organised Metropolitan Police are taking to the streets, calling into question the future of the magistrates’ constables. Sam’s junior constable, William Wilson, is keen, but what is an old campaigner like Sam to do when faced with the new force and its little black book of instructions?

Format: ebook (290 pages)            Publisher:
Publication date: 20th April 2022  Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime, Mystery

Find Notes of Change on Goodreads

Purchase links
Amazon UK
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Susan GrosseyAbout the Author

Susan writes: ‘I graduated from Cambridge University in 1987 with a degree in English, and then taught secondary English for two years before realising that the National Curriculum was designed primarily to extinguish every spark of creativity in its teachers.  I then became a technical author, and reached the pinnacle of this profession when I was asked to document the workings of a choc-ice wrapping machine in Cardiff, while wearing a fetching blue hairnet (which I forgot to remove until it was pointed out by a cashier in a petrol station on the M4).

From this unbeatable high point I moved into technical training, and one day was asked to help with a staff manual on fraud prevention.  As I wrote the chapter on money laundering, I realised that here was a topic that could keep my interest for years – and so it has proved.  Since 1998, I have been self-employed as an anti-money laundering consultant, providing training and strategic advice and writing policies and procedures for clients in many countries.  As part of my job, I have written several non-fiction books with exciting titles like Money Laundering: A Training Strategy, The Money Laundering Officer’s Practical Handbook and Anti-Money Laundering: A Guide for the Non-Executive Director.

However, even this is not enough financial crime for me, and in my spare evenings and weekends I write fiction – but always with financial crime at the heart of it.’ (Bio: Author website/Photo: Goodreads author page)

Connect with Susan
Website | Twitter