Friday, 14 May 2021

Read in 2021 - 3, 4: Yorkshire Murder Mysteries # 4 and 5

Last year, I discovered the Yorkshire Murder Mysteries series written by J. R. Ellis  through Monica's blog, and downloaded all five that were available at that time. A sixth book is mentioned on the author's website, and I will make sure to read that one, too.

Not having been able to travel to Yorkshire last year, and with no chance for a Yorkshire holiday this year either, I can at least read stories set in the area I love so much! 

You can find my reviews for books # 1 to 3 here, here and here, if you are interested. The "Unknown" person who commented on the 1st and 2nd book is, by the way, no other than the author himself - Mr Ellis was kind enough to react to an email I sent him after publishing the first two reviews here on my blog.

While it is not strictly necessary to read the series in order, it helps; every now and then, references are made to previous cases, and there is also some good character development with both background and current things about their personal lives that profits from reading in order.

This time, I was daft enough to mess up the order - I read # 5 before # 4. But by now I am familiar enough with DCI Oldroyd and the rest of the recurring cast that it did not matter that much.

#4: The Royal Baths Murder

Set in Harrogate, I was particularly interested in this book, and was delighted to find so much I know mentioned in the book - even the 36 bus going from Ripon to Harrogate, Brimham Rocks, and Ripley Castle, a place my sister and I never fail to visit when in Ripon.

During a Crime Writing festival in Harrogate, a famous author is found murdered one morning in the baths, with no apparent way out for the murderer. It's another locked room type mystery, the kind DCI Oldroyd is specialised on.

As more people meet a violent end, seemingly based on books by some of the authors present at the festival, the case becomes more and more complex, with the lines between fiction and reality blurring.

Oldroyd's private life is undergoing changes, too, and while his trusted sergeant Andrew remains a little in the background this time, Steph sets out on a very personal mission.


# 5: The Nidderdale Murders

A picturesque village in Nidderdale, a grouse moor and a popular pub are the main settings for this book.

The owner of the grouse moor is shot right outside the pub where he has just had a sumptuous dinner with his rich mates after a day of grouse shooting. By chance, the murder is witnessed from a window, and although the killer makes no attempt at concealing his identity, he seems to have vanished into thin air.

Yes, it's another special case for Oldroyd and his team, and after many twists and turns, the solution is surprising (and actually rather sad).


Like I said, I enjoyed both books very much and can't wait to get to the next one. In the meantime, I am still reading Barack Obama's Promised Land - that doorstopper of a book will probably take me all year to complete, but it is a very good read. I just need something different in between every now and then.


  1. As you always visit Harrogate do wish you would pop in for afternoon tea with me. It wouldn't be as fancy as Betty's but I would do my best.

    1. I've never had tea at Betty's, and I know you are an excellent hostess, Pat! If only the 36 bus would go your way; it is such an easy and comfortable way to get around when one does not have a car.

  2. Mr. Ellis was gracious to respond to your review.
    Ed McBain and Ross McDonald liked meeting readers.
    *Evan Hunter/Ed McBain I left art because there's no frame in writing.* YouTube.
    *The Writer in America Ross McDonald.* YouTube.

    Like you I enjoy the locations in which the stories of J.R. Ellis take place, because I enjoy the locations in the blogs of Tasker and Yorky, even if I do believe that Tasker and Yorky are fictional creations of that fellow Hameld, whoever he is.

    I can't wait to buy The Royal Baths Murders.
    The 36 bus from Ripon to Harrogate sounds as exotic as the road from Venice to Xanadu, and twice as dangerous.
    Jack Haggerty

    1. Over the years that I have been blogging, I have written to several authors and they have always responded kindly, leaving comments on my blog or answering my message directly. If I were an author, I guess I, too, would make sure to be in touch with my readers. Of course I realise it is impossible for those super famous people to respond to every email, letter or other message they get, but those who are not superstars of the literary world are certainly glad to get positive feedback for their work.

      The 36 bus is a very comfortable and reliable way to get around, stopping at all the villages in between. Perfect when you don't have a car.

  3. I'm so glad you discovered the Yorkshire Murder Mysteries so you have a way of enjoying that part of the country even when you cannot travel there. The Royal Baths Murders sound like an exciting book to read. I may have to look into that one!

    1. Yes, thanks to Monica!
      Those mysteries are all very clever, but maybe the Royal Baths one is even cleverer as it has the overlapping layers of fiction and reality.
      I also very much like how Mr Ellis shows aspects of real life in his books; it is not always chocolate box perfect, not even in the most picturesque villages.

  4. Mysteries (especially mysteries set in England) are my favorite genre and whenever I hear about a new series, I'm intrigued. So thanks so much for highlighting these!

    1. You are very welcome, Jeanie! What I also like about this series is that the author spares its readers the most gory details but puts emphasis on how Oldroyd's way of thinking is essential to solving the puzzle.

  5. I do like this series (as you know!) and after reading this review (last week, I think I was too tired to comment) I pre-ordered the next one in the series for Kindle, it's due in only a few days now. :)

    1. I know, Monica - I have pre-ordered it, too, and am looking forward to it :-)