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Cragside

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Are you afraid of the dark..? After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the l Are you afraid of the dark..? After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the lights go out and an elderly man is found dead. It looks like an unfortunate accident but, as the dead man’s life begins to unfold, Ryan and his team of detectives realise that all is not as it appears. When a second body is found, terror grips the close-knit community and Ryan must uncover the killer who walks among them, before they strike again...


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Are you afraid of the dark..? After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the l Are you afraid of the dark..? After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the lights go out and an elderly man is found dead. It looks like an unfortunate accident but, as the dead man’s life begins to unfold, Ryan and his team of detectives realise that all is not as it appears. When a second body is found, terror grips the close-knit community and Ryan must uncover the killer who walks among them, before they strike again...

30 review for Cragside

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate~Bibliophile Book Club

    Cragside is the latest installment in the DCI Ryan series by LJ Ross, and to be honest, these books improve with every new book! LJ Ross is one of the authors whose books I eagerly await, and will ALWAYS buy because I am never let down. And its safe to say Cragside is another winner! Still reeling from the investigation into The Hacker, when we meet Ryan in Cragside, he and Anna are holed up on a country estate as it was the easiest option until they can find somewhere to live. They are attending Cragside is the latest installment in the DCI Ryan series by LJ Ross, and to be honest, these books improve with every new book! LJ Ross is one of the authors whose books I eagerly await, and will ALWAYS buy because I am never let down. And its safe to say Cragside is another winner! Still reeling from the investigation into The Hacker, when we meet Ryan in Cragside, he and Anna are holed up on a country estate as it was the easiest option until they can find somewhere to live. They are attending a staff party with a murder mystery themed evening in the main house, and that’s where events start to take on a life of their own. During the course of the evening, and elderly staff member is found dead. What looks like, for all intents and purposes, a tragic accident is quickly upgraded when Ryan and his team begin to investigate a little deeper into the man’s life. When another body is found, things escalate quickly and it’s clear that there is something sinister happening at Cragside. LJ Ross has a great writing style. In this one especially, there is a Golden Age crime feel to it. The murder mystery along with its setting make it seem almost Agatha Christie-esque in tone which makes it a very cosy read. Now in saying that, there is still an element of gore when discussing the murders, and the tension ramps up increasingly with every chapter. What I love about these books is the characters. Yes, the plots are always excellent, and the intricacies of the mystery always bamboozle me, but the real heart of this series lies in the characters. I’m not one for fictional crushes, but to be honest, DCI Ryan sounds like he could be the poster boy for tortured heroes everywhere. There is something about how his character is built upon with each book that makes the reader feel more connected to him as the series progresses. The camaraderie and banter between the investigation team is always so dynamic too. I especially love the relationships (and I am so NOT romantic at all!!!) between Ryan and Anna, and Frank and Denise. Considering all that they have been through recently (I’m not spoiling it by telling you, you’ll have to read the books to find out!) LJ Ross has captured their emotions so well. I’m not going to lie, there were a couple of occasions while reading that I may have had something in my eye… That is testament to the author’s ability to write characters so well though. To make the reader empathise/connect emotionally to characters is difficult, but LJ Ross does it with ease. Cragside is a thrilling and engrossing read. Another stellar installment in the series. I flew through this one in less than 24 hours. I just couldn’t put it down. And my only complaint… that ending has me more than a little afraid for what’s coming in Dark Skies… but bring it on!!! Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alan Cotterell

    Another cracking book She has done it again, 6 out of 6 books. Love the banter between the team. Even a newish member to the team, really fits in well with lots of potential for development and back story. Already hints of past history that may influence them in later books (I could be wrong ) Slightly different angle this time, but it works well . Even a little teaser? Can't wait to read book 7. Another cracking book She has done it again, 6 out of 6 books. Love the banter between the team. Even a newish member to the team, really fits in well with lots of potential for development and back story. Already hints of past history that may influence them in later books (I could be wrong ) Slightly different angle this time, but it works well . Even a little teaser? Can't wait to read book 7.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hans

    And again another superb addition to this series. DCI Ryan and Anna are a real treat. As are Frank, Denise and Jack. Amazingly clever, this one wasn't as fast-paced, but equally good as the previous books.. The epilogue was deeply moving. A real happy end but of course with a cliffhanger. On to the next book …. And again another superb addition to this series. DCI Ryan and Anna are a real treat. As are Frank, Denise and Jack. Amazingly clever, this one wasn't as fast-paced, but equally good as the previous books.. The epilogue was deeply moving. A real happy end but of course with a cliffhanger. On to the next book ….

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This was a corker of a read that let us (the readers) take a bit of a breath from the horrific going-ons of the past .... if you can call 2-3 murders before your wedding taking a breather!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Robertson

    L J Ross is my hero!! I love her story of how she started to write her first book while she was on maternity leave and I’m sure she had no idea that 6 books later she would be living her dream as a full time writer! This wonderful series is a big personal favourite of mine and whenever I pick up one of her books I feel as though I’m amongst friends! And this time I really was, as I noticed a certain Jen Lucas making an appearance in a rather different role to her usual blogger extraordinaire! I w L J Ross is my hero!! I love her story of how she started to write her first book while she was on maternity leave and I’m sure she had no idea that 6 books later she would be living her dream as a full time writer! This wonderful series is a big personal favourite of mine and whenever I pick up one of her books I feel as though I’m amongst friends! And this time I really was, as I noticed a certain Jen Lucas making an appearance in a rather different role to her usual blogger extraordinaire! I was really looking forward to Cragside and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I have a huge soft spot for DCI Ryan, honestly the man can do no wrong in my eyes! He deserves a bit of a break here as he has been through some tough times recently and now has his wedding to Anna to look forward to. When they go to a Murder Mystery night at Cragside, they have no idea that they are about to discover a real life murder mystery of their own that Ryan needs to solve. I absolutely loved the set up here, it was an opportunity for the author to explore the continuing relationships between the friends and colleagues but also involving them in this new investigation. At times it felt rather like an Agatha Christie novel with a murder taking place when the lights went off and a murder takes place and we then meet a cast of potential suspects for Ryan and his team to investigate!! Although I do love a good crime book, this series delivers so much more than that. There is humour, romance and at one point I had tears in my eyes as the emotions overtook me. I really connected with these characters especially Phillips and MacKenzie, who have also been through a rough time in previous books. And I’m also loving Lowerson and Yates too so I’m sure we will be following their friendship further in the future (hopefully!!). Louise Ross has the enviable talent of being able to whisk her readers away from the real world with her page turning writing style and I highly recommend you try her books from the start if you want to get the most out of them. Its a brilliant series set in a beautiful part of the country where real life settings become part of the backdrop for an engaging crime drama with a heart and I…LOVED…EVERY…MINUTE!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Cragside is the sixth book in the DCI Ryan Mysteries series. I think it would help to have read some of the previous books but wouldn’t say it’s essential. I’m not sure if it’s because the story centres around a big house or not but it had a feel of an Agatha Christie novel. Which I loved by the way. The setting as always in these books is just perfect. The author has a way of bringing the story to life with the fantastic descriptions of the surrounding areas so that the readers can easily visual Cragside is the sixth book in the DCI Ryan Mysteries series. I think it would help to have read some of the previous books but wouldn’t say it’s essential. I’m not sure if it’s because the story centres around a big house or not but it had a feel of an Agatha Christie novel. Which I loved by the way. The setting as always in these books is just perfect. The author has a way of bringing the story to life with the fantastic descriptions of the surrounding areas so that the readers can easily visualise it in their head. Love it! There is a little bit of everything in this book. We have murder, romance and intrigue. It’s a great mixture. The whole murder case felt very much like your typical ‘who dunnit’ and of course as always I didn’t get it right to who it could be. There is also someone from Ryan’s past that has come back into his life of which I am dying to read more about and where the author is going to take us with that particular story line. It has certainly left me wondering of all the possibilities as to where she will take us with it and I have to say it feels quite thrilling. Cragside is an enthralling read that will draw the reader straight in and keep you there right up until the very end. It has plenty to thrill and entertain the reader and will leave you wanting more. Great read as always. My thanks to the author for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dee-Cee It's all about the books

    In the sixth DCI Ryan mystery the setting is the beautiful Cragside, we’re back with Ryan and Anna who are living in a cottage on the Cragside estate. Invited to a Victorian style murder mystery party, what should be a fun evening ends up being a real life murder mystery and Ryan finds himself in the thick of it again. I seriously have a soft spot for Ryan, he’s a gentleman and obviously rather dishy too. I’m really enjoying following his story and his relationship with Anna (even if I’m a wee bi In the sixth DCI Ryan mystery the setting is the beautiful Cragside, we’re back with Ryan and Anna who are living in a cottage on the Cragside estate. Invited to a Victorian style murder mystery party, what should be a fun evening ends up being a real life murder mystery and Ryan finds himself in the thick of it again. I seriously have a soft spot for Ryan, he’s a gentleman and obviously rather dishy too. I’m really enjoying following his story and his relationship with Anna (even if I’m a wee bit jealous of her). They do make a good couple though as do Phillips and Mackenzie, they’ve all been through a lot in the series and it’s lovely how they all stick together and look out for each other. In Cragside we get to find out a bit more about Lowerson and Yates as well and I’m really looking forward to seeing more from them in the future. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know these characters over this series, they’re so realistic and you can’t help caring for them. I just love the settings for all the books in the series and it’s exciting to see what location will come up next, and it’s guaranteed after I’ve read the book I’ll want to go visit. Cragside sounds like a beautiful place, even though Ryan and his team are investigating a murder Ross still manages to bring Cragside alive and sound wonderful, I could really visualise the surroundings as if I was there inside the book. Cragside has a bit of everything, it’s essentially a crime book but there’s also humour, a touch of romance and I would recommend having a hanky at your side as I’ll admit I did get a tad emotional. It has twists and turns and enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. Oh how I just love this series, honestly each book just seems to get better and better. It’s like catching up with old friends and Ross writes in a way that just absorbs you, really draws you in and before you know it you’re at the end of the book. I’m so looking forward to book seven. I would highly recommend reading this series from the beginning. Cragside could be read on it’s own but you’d miss the back story of the characters and each book is just brilliant and definitely worth reading. I’m sad I can only give this book 5 stars, who came up with that silly rating system? Hugely highly recommended by It’s all about the books.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie Lacey

    This is another gripping read in the DCI Ryan series. Ryan and Anna are staying in a cottage on an estate called Cragside and are enjoying the quiet life until a murder takes place. They’re at a party at the main house when it happens and Ryan has to call in his colleagues from CID to determine if the death was accidental or murder. Mackenzie is struggling after her ordeal with the Hacker but Anna persuades her to go back to work, rather than stay cooped up indoors. Soon another body is found an This is another gripping read in the DCI Ryan series. Ryan and Anna are staying in a cottage on an estate called Cragside and are enjoying the quiet life until a murder takes place. They’re at a party at the main house when it happens and Ryan has to call in his colleagues from CID to determine if the death was accidental or murder. Mackenzie is struggling after her ordeal with the Hacker but Anna persuades her to go back to work, rather than stay cooped up indoors. Soon another body is found and Ryan and the team struggle to work out who the murderer is. This isn’t as tense as some of the other books in the series but is still a good read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shell Baker

    Cragside is the sixth book in the DCI Ryan Mysteries and what a series this has turned out to be even though I absolutely loved the first book Holy Island each one just gets better and better. LJ Ross always brings us something new. This is definitely an Agatha Christie eat your heart out story. And has always I loved it. When I finally got chance to read this I devoured it in one sitting.Yes I am a little late to the party and wish that I would of had chance to read it sooner because it is that Cragside is the sixth book in the DCI Ryan Mysteries and what a series this has turned out to be even though I absolutely loved the first book Holy Island each one just gets better and better. LJ Ross always brings us something new. This is definitely an Agatha Christie eat your heart out story. And has always I loved it. When I finally got chance to read this I devoured it in one sitting.Yes I am a little late to the party and wish that I would of had chance to read it sooner because it is that good! With a gripping prologue set in the summer of 1975 the author transports us forty one years to 2016. Set in Cragside we catch up with DCI Ryan who is spending time with his fiancee at spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. Imagine going to a murder mystery and finding an elderly man actually dead. This is what happens when they attend a Victorian murder mystery evening they have been invited to. Then a second body is found Ryan must work out who the killer is before they strike again! OMG I love it I have always wanted to go on a Murder Mystery and after reading this it is high up on my list of things to do and places to go. Which includes visiting the manor where this story is based. LJ Ross writing is exquisite with stunning descriptions that are totally captivating made me feel right there in the story. I love that this is a tradition murder mystery. With a who did it storyline we also have the added romance what more could you ask for?! I highly recommend Cragside in fact I recommend everyone of the books in this series giving it 5 massive stars. Thank you to LJ Ross for a copy in exchange for a voluntary honest review

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dee Groocock

    As usual LJ Ross has written a brilliant book. Had me hooked from the start to finish. I did work out who the killer was which is unusual for me but it didn't take away my enjoyment from reading the book. This book has certainly inspired me to go and visit Cragside which is one place up here in the north that I haven't got to yet! Thank you for your review. As usual LJ Ross has written a brilliant book. Had me hooked from the start to finish. I did work out who the killer was which is unusual for me but it didn't take away my enjoyment from reading the book. This book has certainly inspired me to go and visit Cragside which is one place up here in the north that I haven't got to yet! Thank you for your review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mei

    I thought in the book #5 that the Hacker was not dead, but from what I've read here he is... mmm... I was looking forward for him to reappear... Well, it doesn't matter anymore... Here the mystery is like an Agatha Christie's one with all the corridors and old lights in the house and the mysterious comings and goings. I also enjoyed (view spoiler)[that there was not one, but two killers! (hide spoiler)] The solution was very sad and I couldn't be sorry for the victim who was not a nice person at al I thought in the book #5 that the Hacker was not dead, but from what I've read here he is... mmm... I was looking forward for him to reappear... Well, it doesn't matter anymore... Here the mystery is like an Agatha Christie's one with all the corridors and old lights in the house and the mysterious comings and goings. I also enjoyed (view spoiler)[that there was not one, but two killers! (hide spoiler)] The solution was very sad and I couldn't be sorry for the victim who was not a nice person at all! On to the next to see (view spoiler)[what the "Hacker's heir" in the body of Ryan's ex and now his superior officer (hide spoiler)] will do! Something very bad, I'm sure!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pat (currently not accepting new friend requests)

    Following the burning down of Anna's house, Ryan and Anna are staying on one of the cottages on the Cragside estate until they sort out where they are going to live. As such they are invited to the staff Christmas party at Cragside Manor. The couple who own the property are keen to keep it as free of modern conveniences as possible so the lighting is pretty dim. When the power goes out altogether and one of the staff goes to check it, he doesn't come back. This one is almost like one of those loc Following the burning down of Anna's house, Ryan and Anna are staying on one of the cottages on the Cragside estate until they sort out where they are going to live. As such they are invited to the staff Christmas party at Cragside Manor. The couple who own the property are keen to keep it as free of modern conveniences as possible so the lighting is pretty dim. When the power goes out altogether and one of the staff goes to check it, he doesn't come back. This one is almost like one of those locked room mysteries. Almost everyone at the party is a suspect. Naturally things hot up as Ryan gets closer to the truth. This was another interesting and twisty mystery.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph - Relax And Read Reviews

    The DCI Ryan mystery series by LJ Ross is absolutely one of the best I've ever read. Brilliantly written, I enjoyed and loved each and every one of these books. So when the author offered me an advanced review copy of book 6, 'Cragside', I could hardly refuse! Once again the author has done an outstanding job and kept me entertained and intrigued from start to finish. For me Louise Ross is the Agatha Christie of the twenty-first century! Following events taking place in 'High Force', Ryan and Ann The DCI Ryan mystery series by LJ Ross is absolutely one of the best I've ever read. Brilliantly written, I enjoyed and loved each and every one of these books. So when the author offered me an advanced review copy of book 6, 'Cragside', I could hardly refuse! Once again the author has done an outstanding job and kept me entertained and intrigued from start to finish. For me Louise Ross is the Agatha Christie of the twenty-first century! Following events taking place in 'High Force', Ryan and Anna are now temporarily living in a holiday cottage within the estate grounds of Cragside, on the outskirts of the Northumberland National Park. Built against a craggy hillside, the aptly named, majestic Cragside residence is famous for being the first house in the world to have been lit by hydroelectricity, back in the 1800s, using water from the lakes on the estate. One night Ryan and Anna are invited to a Victorian murder mystery themed staff party inside the house. At one point all the lights in the house go out and Victor, the owner's trusted valet goes to find the fuse box somewhere in the house and restore light. But Victor never makes it back to the party. Ryan finds his twisted body crumpled in a courtyard, at the foot of an external staircase. What happened to him? Was it an accident? Or murder? Since nothing indicates foul play, the death is declared as 'non suspicious', but still Ryan's nose is not convinced. When a second death is reported at Cragside the following day, Ryan and his team find themselves at the start of a complex, frenetic investigation. But with a house full of suspects and a shrewd killer hiding in plain sight, Ryan knows that this will be a tough nut to crack. From the very beginning I knew that I would have a great time reading 'Cragside'. Thanks to the author's crisp, articulate writing, I was drawn in from page one and through her vivid descriptions, I felt as if I was there at Cragside. Even though I have never heard of, let alone visited, this place, I could clearly imagine it... the impressive huge house with its turrets and towers, almost hidden from view by the many trees surrounding it. The iron bridge spanning the steep gorge which separates the house from the forest. The stream trickling between the rocks as it makes its journey through the valley far down beneath the bridge. The characters in this book and the whole series are all realistic, and whenever I start reading a new DCI Ryan book, it's as though I'm revisiting old friends I've known for ages. Ryan, Phillips, MacKanzie, Jack and Anna are all very engaging characters and the right mix of ingredients for the perfect team. I love the strong sense of camaraderie and the banter going on between them. But in this book we also see some new additions to the CID team... one is a very intuitive, yet somewhat mysterious character that joins the others in the investigation. I won't say anything about the second addition though as they have just merely been introduced in this book, but I'm sure they will represent nothing but trouble for poor Ryan! Can't wait for the next book to see how that aspect of the story develops. With ongoing suspense sprinkled with humour and romance, beautiful vivid descriptions, twists and turns, various interesting revelations made during the investigation, numerous suspects, blood-curdling scenes that made me bite my knuckles, and chapters ending in cliffhangers urging me to keep on reading, together with the perfect ending, I couldn't ask for more. This book ticks all my boxes! Needless to say, 'Cragside' is another fantastic addition to the series, I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it. With huge thanks to the author for an ARC of this book which I voluntarily accepted to read and review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This one was enjoyable but lacked that something special that the previous books had. It was definitely less dark than the previous installments, which I appreciated, but the mystery itself wasn't quite as intriguing. Maybe I'm becoming inured to the lovely storytelling of L.J. Ross. I sure hope that isn't the case. However, erring on the side of caution, I'm taking a quick break from her stories so that I can fully enjoy the books to come. 2.75 stars. On a side note, one of the things that I've e This one was enjoyable but lacked that something special that the previous books had. It was definitely less dark than the previous installments, which I appreciated, but the mystery itself wasn't quite as intriguing. Maybe I'm becoming inured to the lovely storytelling of L.J. Ross. I sure hope that isn't the case. However, erring on the side of caution, I'm taking a quick break from her stories so that I can fully enjoy the books to come. 2.75 stars. On a side note, one of the things that I've enjoyed about this Ryan and Anna's story is the lack of OP drama. There is very little to no mention of any of their past relationships, but that changes in this story. There aren't any intimate details given, but I'm the kind of reader that really just wants present to focus on the present. It's purely preference, but that's just me. (view spoiler)[An ex-girlfriend of Ryan's who was a little crazy is back in the picture. She's going to be his new boss and Ryan hides it from Anna for a while. When he finally tells her, she's super understanding, because she's awesome like that. He has no feelings for her, at least not good ones. Anna isn't jealous at all, but I don't like that this is going to probably cause loads of drama in the next book. (hide spoiler)] Other than that tidbit, the romance in this continues to be so sweet. I adore the two of them together and hope to see lots of their married life together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    EEK. WELL. Review to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Another good adventure for DCI Ryan and his Team. Becoming a bit predictable now, but a nice happy ending. Need to read the next one to see who the mysteries woman is watching!

  17. 4 out of 5

    G.J.

    Set in an area I know and love I think this is the best one so far in this series. The author has dispensed with the slightly silly cult type themes of the early books and has gone in a good direction with a solid who done it. It’s a fast, easy and entertaining book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I love the books by L.J. Ross, this series is spectacular, each book is a surprise. On this occasion, both the setting and the plot of the story reminded me of the incomparable Agatha Christie. Novel very well written and with the sensation of suspense lurking from the first page. About the characters, what can I say? I love Ryan and his entire team.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Trish R.

    Another great murder mystery with DCI Ryan and Anna, Phillips, MacKenzie, Lowerson and Yates. They make a wonderful team, book after book. Whether it’s about a murder or two or a serial killer it’s always such a thrill to read it and be shocked when you find out who the killer is. This was about two murders but one was not a murder after all but an accident, though the one accidently killed was a blackmailer, so that was no great loss. The next WAS a murder and she certainly didn’t deserve it. TH Another great murder mystery with DCI Ryan and Anna, Phillips, MacKenzie, Lowerson and Yates. They make a wonderful team, book after book. Whether it’s about a murder or two or a serial killer it’s always such a thrill to read it and be shocked when you find out who the killer is. This was about two murders but one was not a murder after all but an accident, though the one accidently killed was a blackmailer, so that was no great loss. The next WAS a murder and she certainly didn’t deserve it. THEN someone killed the murderer so Ryan was now looking for another killer. A couple of twists and turns going on and the second killer was quite a surprise. There is never any sex in the DCI Ryan mysteries but the F-bomb was used 5 times. As to the narration: All I can say is that Jonathan Keeble is simply phenomenal. Every single person has his or her own specific voice and his reading emotions are off the charts. I hope book 7 will be on audible soon.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Ryan

    Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Ryan and his fiancée, Doctor Anna Taylor are spending some downtime after the traumatic events of the previous case. Both their homes were lost in different ways during the course of the investigation and, although that was bad enough, it could have been a lot worse. They’ve been enjoying a quiet temporary stay at a holiday cottage in the grounds of the beautiful Cragside estate. Invited to the staff summer party, Ryan was less than happy about dressing up for a Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Ryan and his fiancée, Doctor Anna Taylor are spending some downtime after the traumatic events of the previous case. Both their homes were lost in different ways during the course of the investigation and, although that was bad enough, it could have been a lot worse. They’ve been enjoying a quiet temporary stay at a holiday cottage in the grounds of the beautiful Cragside estate. Invited to the staff summer party, Ryan was less than happy about dressing up for a Victorian murder mystery themed evening. The evening turns into a real whodunit with a definite period feel when the house is plunged into darkness, and the body of Victor, the owner’s valet and one of the attendees is found at the bottom of a staircase. Initially the death looks accidental, but as more is revealed about the victim’s life questions are raised. The intrigue and suspense intensifies when a second body is discovered and with several potential suspects and not much to go on, the team have their work cut out. LJ Ross delivers another wonderfully written book with the engaging characters I’ve come to love and who continue to develop and endear themselves. The entertaining banter and strong sense of trust and friendship is still very much in evidence. After the harrowing events of the previous book, Denise’s road to recovery is portrayed realistically and the evolving relationship between her and Phillips is heart warming, as they both try and find the right balance in order to work through the aftermath and get back to a normal life. Ryan and Anna are two weeks away from their wedding and looking for somewhere to live. A couple of new characters are introduced, one of whom is teamed up with Lowerson. In a clever and unexpected twist, the second is someone who could potentially pose a threat, just as Ryan’s personal life is coming together. Cragside House is almost a character in itself, as with all the locations in the series. I love how the settings are real places and the facts woven into the stories relating to each one are true. The descriptions in Cragside bring the house and grounds to life, planting pictures in the mind. These books have more than earned a place as one of my favourite ever series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Neats

    I love DCI Ryan and this amazing series of books so when author LJ Ross emailed me to ask if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing Cragside I jumped at the chance. Having had to relocate Ryan and Anna are temporarily living in a cottage within the grounds of Cragside. They have been invited to a Victorian themed murder mystery evening and while history lover Anna is looking forward to it, Ryan isn't relishing the idea of dressing up. Once there though, Ryan sees everyone else in costume and I love DCI Ryan and this amazing series of books so when author LJ Ross emailed me to ask if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing Cragside I jumped at the chance. Having had to relocate Ryan and Anna are temporarily living in a cottage within the grounds of Cragside. They have been invited to a Victorian themed murder mystery evening and while history lover Anna is looking forward to it, Ryan isn't relishing the idea of dressing up. Once there though, Ryan sees everyone else in costume and settles down a bit until suddenly all the lights go out. Initially everyone thinks that it's a planned part of the evening until one member of staff assures them that it's not and heads off to try to fix the problem. When they don't return to the party Ryan goes off in search of the elderly valet, only to find him in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a staircase. Initially it appears to be an unfortunate accident but when another death is reported the very next day Ryan suspects the two deaths are linked and they have a killer in their midst. LJ Ross is an outstanding writer and each book has just the right mix of gripping plot combined with the camaraderie of characters that I've very much grown to know and love and Cragside is no exception . Ryan's team are all engaging characters in their own right and each of them have had to battle with their own demons at some point throughout this fantastic series but this never detracts from the story and helps to bring an even greater sense of reality and connection to the reader. Writing a great book is an accomplishment in itself, but to write a whole series, that in my opinion just gets better with each book, is for me, as rare as hens teeth. In my experience of several series of books I find that the author doesn't do enough to keep the sparkle alive within each book but this is definitely something that Louise has mastered. If you've read any of the DCI Ryan books then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about and if you haven't read any of them then you really are missing out on some amazing books so don't just take my word for it, do yourself a favour and hook yourself up with a date with DCI Ryan. With kind thanks to author LJ Ross for the review copy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steph Edmeads

    Another enjoyable read in the DCI Ryan series, this is book number six. I’m still feeling scared to binge read them all because I really don’t want them to end 🙈. This was a bit different to the previous two books, Angel and High Force. Not as intense, I think what I loved most was the characters being safe and also the focus on MacKenzie after the events of High Force, what she went through and then of course the aftermath of dealing with it. The support for not only a colleague but a friend was Another enjoyable read in the DCI Ryan series, this is book number six. I’m still feeling scared to binge read them all because I really don’t want them to end 🙈. This was a bit different to the previous two books, Angel and High Force. Not as intense, I think what I loved most was the characters being safe and also the focus on MacKenzie after the events of High Force, what she went through and then of course the aftermath of dealing with it. The support for not only a colleague but a friend was brilliant. Frank is just a gem. Throughout the book when things were happening I kept trying to guess who I thought the killer was, although characters seem “honest” you just can’t always trust them. A nice enjoyable easy read with added humour and romance. I am looking forward to the next book and seeing what happens, especially with Ryan’s new boss. PS. Still obsessed with Ryan. I don’t think I’ll ever stop obsessing over him. 🥲 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This series sets a consistently high standard. I love the setting in the remote Northumbrian countryside on the Cragside Estate. It’s the perfect whodunnit with enough twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader (me) hooked! As the series progresses we see the various relationships within the team evolve and we learn more about the characters. The banter between members of the team is so well written and adds to the realism and to my enjoyment of the books as it often adds a much needed bit This series sets a consistently high standard. I love the setting in the remote Northumbrian countryside on the Cragside Estate. It’s the perfect whodunnit with enough twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader (me) hooked! As the series progresses we see the various relationships within the team evolve and we learn more about the characters. The banter between members of the team is so well written and adds to the realism and to my enjoyment of the books as it often adds a much needed bit of humour. As for that ending - I’m already reaching for book 7!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Of course it gets a 5 star rating! I will be honest i was so worried this book would not meet up to the standard of her previous books because 5 was just incredible however, few chapters in i knew I was in for another gripping story line. I honestly can not get enough of this incredible series and I am so glad I stumbled across her first book, holy island.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    I don’t normally read a lot of crime fiction but love these DCI Ryan mysteries. They re easy to read and set in the beautiful county of Northumberland. This one centred at the National Trust property Cragside which I visited a few years ago and is well worth going to see. Looking forward to the next in this series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Ryles

    Whoosh! That's the sound of me clearing my TBR pile when a new LJ Ross book appears on my kindle. Just try and stop me from reading this immediately! So the latest outing for DCI Ryan is entitled Cragside; this is a well-known country house in the North East of England that was the first to be lit using hydroelectric power, and I could say the I've never been to Cragside but that would feel like a lie because I have now 'virtually' been to Cragside. LJ Ross writes with so much passion and descrip Whoosh! That's the sound of me clearing my TBR pile when a new LJ Ross book appears on my kindle. Just try and stop me from reading this immediately! So the latest outing for DCI Ryan is entitled Cragside; this is a well-known country house in the North East of England that was the first to be lit using hydroelectric power, and I could say the I've never been to Cragside but that would feel like a lie because I have now 'virtually' been to Cragside. LJ Ross writes with so much passion and descriptive imagery that I felt transported through the pages to the breathtaking setting of the book. After their run-in with The Hacker, Ryan and Anna have taken up temporary residence within the grounds of Cragside. They are invited to attend the staff party when all the lights go out and the party ends early for one Cragside employee. It looks like a terrible accident but Ryan is not so sure. Then, when another body turns up on the estate, an investigation must be launched. So many people have secrets to hide, but at least one of them is guilty of murder. In the style of an old-fashioned murder-mystery, Ryan investigates a seemingly innocent death. My mind kept straying to the Prologue, where an explosion ripped through the site of a ship being built on the Tyne - I knew it had something to do with the story, but what??? It actually gave me goosebumps when LJ Ross wrote about the ship building empire on the Tyne; it was the lifeblood of so many people and I have been told about, but can't even imagine, seeing a ship being built at the end of your street. LJ Ross has now immortalised this proud hard-working region in print, and I could almost hear the shouts of the men and the smell of the river as we read about a majestic ship being built on the Tyne. You could of course read Cragside as a standalone, but you do NOT want to do that. Not only would you miss out on some fantastic books but you only scratch the surface of the characters in Cragside. I feel like I know them as well as I know my family which is why I always welcome them with open arms. It almost broke my heart to see how traumatised MacKenzie was after her run in with The Hacker but I'm sure the love of her good man, Phillips, will see her through. I also loved getting to know a bit more about Jack Lowerson - he's so completely clueless where women are concerned and I just wanted to give him a hug and a little push! A cracking LJ Ross book is as reliable as a Swiss watch. It's riveting, gripping, intriguing, compelling and so VERY addictive. Once you start this series you won't want to stop and I certainly don't ever want it to finish. Just as you think you're winding down towards the end of the book, LJ Ross cranks up the pressure with another mouthwatering ending. Ryan may have seen off The Hacker but there's another threat waiting in the wings. I can't wait to see how he deals with it and thankfully LJ Ross is a quick writer with Dark Skies already more than a twinkle in the author's eye. I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    Another excellent entry in this series. A charming throwback to the classic format of the detective novel. Several suspects, a castle, even a blackout during which someone is murdered. Ryan and his colleagues bring the heart to the story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Becoming annoying now, only reading as free. Just too cliched with no major character development and clearly going to be more annoying in the next book with Ryan's new (psycho, no doubt) boss. Becoming annoying now, only reading as free. Just too cliched with no major character development and clearly going to be more annoying in the next book with Ryan's new (psycho, no doubt) boss.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    Not quite as good as previous books, a bit disjointed but still enjoyed it

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    Crime mystery set in Northumberland This is No. 6 in the #1 bestselling series featuring DCI Ryan (or, Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Finlay-Ryan to give him his full name), written by L J Ross, who is successfully pursuing a self publishing career, having turned down a traditional publishing deal! She is the author who knocked The Girl on the Train off the bestseller top spot (link). She has sold well in excess of 1,000,000 (yes, a million) copies of her books to date and her star continues t Crime mystery set in Northumberland This is No. 6 in the #1 bestselling series featuring DCI Ryan (or, Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Finlay-Ryan to give him his full name), written by L J Ross, who is successfully pursuing a self publishing career, having turned down a traditional publishing deal! She is the author who knocked The Girl on the Train off the bestseller top spot (link). She has sold well in excess of 1,000,000 (yes, a million) copies of her books to date and her star continues to rise! All her novels to date are set in Northumberland. Cragside is a cosy crime mystery set in the house and grounds of the eponymous imposing Cragside estate, built by the Armstrong family in Victorian times and now run by the National Trust. You can really sense the influence (which L J Ross goes on to mention below) of Agatha Christie in the author’s work. This novel works well as a standalone book but perhaps what a reader might miss is the build up of the various relationships within the series. DCI Ryan is about to tie the knot with his partner Anna and so there is a human strand that gently weaves its way through the narrative. The two have come to rent a house on the Cragside estate due to earlier events involving serial killer “The Hacker”. Now, at a summer party thrown by current Cragside owners, the Gilberts, a pleasant evening turns very sour, as the Gilbert’s personal butler, Victor Swann is found dead. The death seemed to occur during a power outage – a clever use of detail – because Cragside still tries to run on the gadgetry for hydroelectricity, installed by the Victorian builder of the house. But power surges, when using modern technology, can rupture the antiquated system, so everyone in the house is more than careful about timing the use of state of the art gadgets. It seems that Victor may have stumbled to his death down a flight of steps, it doesn’t look particularly suspicious. However, the investigating team starts to have niggling doubts about whether this is a pure accident or whether there is something more sinister going on. They start to probe beneath the veneer of the motto: “We’re like family, at Cragside”. A second death – in brutal circumstances – certainly gives them the ammunition to take the investigation in a new direction. Operation Lightbulb is soon underway, and it is a pertinent title for the investigations as Cragside was the first building in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity! There are plenty of characters who might be in the frame for having motive for murder – people trying to cover their tracks (remember, bleach does not mask blood residue!) and there is certainly someone astutely observing the comings and goings of the investigation team. It is also clear that an explosion on the Valiant, a ship being constructed back in the 1970s over on the Tyne shipyards, is potentially part of the picture…. How does DCI Ryan get to the bottom of what is going on??? A very readable mystery set in the heart of Northumberland.

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