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The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh #Review

  Here we are with another amusing romcom by Judy Leigh . The Vintage Village Bake Off was published by Boldwood Books on December 4th. Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club. Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert's Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence. Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones - ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea - Devon or Cornwall? It's time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition. Robert's sisters Bunty and Ha

Facets of Death by Michael Stanley #Review #Giveaway #DetectiveKubu

 Today I am happy to return to a slice of sunshine noir, to Michael Stanley's Detective Kubu series with
Facets of Death I reviewed one of the series, Dying to Live here.

I also have a great giveaway and the chance for you to win a print copy of Facets of Death. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post. 

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.

 When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself. First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

 Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?

My Thoughts

 This starts off Detective Kubu's career and for fans of this series, sets the scene for his subsequent career. There is a wide range of characters but Kubu dominates for me as he arrives, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to be the best Detective he can be. The heat of Botswana scorches and the stakes are high as he becomes involved in the diamond heist, with a side helping of missing luggage.  You see his determination and optimism are set from the start, as he finds that all his colleagues are not overjoyed to be joined by this fast track newcomer.

    Kubu's affection for his family is interwoven into the plot as are some old, unsettling African customs. You really sense the story sits between the old and the new, with old superstitions rubbing up against sophisticated gem theft. There are several candidates for the crime in Kubu's sights and ultimately, one or two surprises.

In short:  An introduction to a great character 

About the Authors

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.  Both  were  born  in  South  Africa  and  have  worked  in  academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising  in  the  application  of  computers  to  teaching  and  learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave  them  the  premise  for  their  first  mystery,  A  Carrion  Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal   Investigation   Department.   It   was   a   finalist   for   five  awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.  They  have  also  written  a  thriller,  Dead  of  Night,  following  the  investigative  journalist,  Crystal  Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

You can follow Michael Stanley here: Twitter  |  Website 

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater at Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the blog tour.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the Blog Tour!

Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of Facets of Death, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

 Closing Date is April 7th 2021 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



  1. Thanks very much for your review, Pamela. We learnt a lot more about Kubu writing this book!
    Best wishes, Michael and Stanley.

  2. Thanks so much for your review. We enjoyed digging back into Kubu's past.

  3. Thanks so much for the blog tour support xx


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