Saturday, December 8, 2018

Kings River Life Reviews An Empire For Ravens

Reviewing An Empire For Ravens,Diana Hockley says:

"This twelfth story in the John, the Lord Chamberlain, series does not disappoint. Although the story starts slowly, it builds to a crescendo of violence, betrayal, and tragedy as the answer to Felix’s disappearance unfolds. John is an interesting and sympathetic character, enigmatic but immensely likable.

"Mary Reed and Eric Mayer have produced a novel rich in history, a testament to the incredible amount of research they put into each story. One could believe that you were in the city with John, sharing his adventures, so vivid is the imagery.


Read the whole review at Kings River Life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Hear Chapter One of Ruined Stones

by Mary Reed

We just had the honour of Kings River Life's Lorie Ham choosing an extract from our WW2 mystery Ruined Stones for her podcast series. Paddy Myers, the actor who recorded ours, did an absolutely bang-up job and it sounded wonderful!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

bookreporter interview

At bookreporter -- Author Talk Mary explains how we connected with the Press, the amount of research that goes into recreating the world of Byzantium in the sixth century, and the inner workings of our collaboration process.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What Makes a Book Cover Stand Out?

At Mary ponders what makes a book cover pop, stand out, make you want to buy? Read Mary's survey of book covers.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Empire for Ravens Blog Tour

The twelfth John, Lord Chamberlain mystery will be published soon and we (well, Mary mostly) have been hitting the blogs to get the word out. Here are some of the appearances.


We heard this very afternoon Crimespree Magazine has just published our Five Things About... interview, in which we chatted about how we came to be published by Poisoned Pen Press -- an unusual tale as we would be the first to admit -- our co-writing method, and the extensive research needed for An Empire For Ravens, given neither of us have set foot in Rome.

Five Things About -- An Empire for Ravens


A question often asked of writers is where they find their plot ideas. There are numerous places to stumble over them, but an unusual and somewhat overlooked resource is described in our guest essay for the Writers Who Kill blog -- with several examples even!

Advertisement: Writer Seeks Ideas

Founded in 2010 by mystery authors, the Writers Who Kill blog features writers at various stages in their careers, providing a venue for them to discuss aspects of writing and books as well as offering opportunities for guest author interviews and essays.


Sounds like a tired trope: world ruler marries working girl, and together they help the downtrodden, living happily ever after. But how many of those couples are later considered saints by the Eastern Orthodox Church? Suzanne Adair's Relevant History blog features guests showing just how non-boring history is, and never mind what you thought about it in high school! Our contribution deals with an unusual and important aspect of the unlikely story of Justinian and Theodora.

Empress Theodora: Saint, Sinner or Both?


John was grilled like a kipper by Lois Winston for her Killer Crafts and Crafty Killer blog. Revelations therein include one of the strangest things his biographers had him experience, what he dislikes about himself, and his greatest fear.

An Interview with John, Lord Chamberlain

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: The Master Mystery, Arthur B. Reeve and John W. Grey

by Mary

I may be the last one to have seen this gem but I must say I really enjoyed The Master Mystery, stated to have been "Novelized by ARTHUR B. REEVE and JOHN W. GREY From Scenarios by Arthur B. Reeve in Collaboration with John W. Grey and C.A. Logue". Gutenberg offers an etext but the better version is their "Profusely Illustrated with Photographic Reproductions Taken from the Houdini Super-Serial of the Same Name" with stills showing various scenes, notably the murderous (but oddly mild looking) Automaton and shots of Harry Houdini as the hero of the multipart silent serial.

The writing is telegraphic and not reminiscent of Reeve's usual style, although it is done ably enough so pictures unfolding on the mental screen can be enjoyed quite well. And the plot! Our hero spends much of his time experiencing various perils -- suspended head down over a vat of acid, locked in a box and left to drown, chained and thrown into a river, hung up by his thumbs, fighting in a diving suit, falling through trapdoors, attached to a garotting machine, tied up in barbed wire, and so on, which added to secret hideouts in the cliffs, horrid dens in Chinatown, candles that provoke the Madagascar madness by which victims laugh themselves to death or insanity, and much more must have made positively thrilling viewing!

Etext: The Master Mystery, Arthur B. Reeve and John W. Grey

Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: The Mystery of the Ravenspurs by Fred M. White

by Mary

The Mystery of the Ravenspurs relates the mortal peril faced by a family of ancient lineage residing in a castle within sight of the British coast. Despite undertaking all possible precautions, their members began dying "mysteriously, horribly, until at last no more than seven of the family remained..." At this point, the son of whom the patriach of the family has not spoken for twenty years returns home blinded and hideously scarred after seeking esoteric knowledge in Tibet with a Russian friend, both of them having been caught and tortured for their attempt. They join with the family to thwart further attempts at murdering its members in a tale replete with such colourful trimmings as secret passages, sightings of mysterious Indians, poisoned flowers, infernal machines, and murderous Tibetan black bees for a start. What do these constant attacks mean? Who's trying to wipe out the entire family and why?

My verdict: For a novel published in 1911 it's grimmer than many dating from that era, even with its occasional little dashes of romance. The narration trots along well as it catalogues hair-raising escapes amid moves by, and counter-moves against, whoever is responsible for the mayhem as the actors in the drama attempt to make sense of the murderous situation. It reminded me somewhat of the more colourful works of Sax Rohmer or Edgar Wallace, so if you like their fiction you'll probably enjoy this one as well.

Etext: The Mystery of the Ravenspurs by Fred M. White