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The Midnight Hour

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The sixth gripping Brighton-based mystery from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Series - a must-read for all fans of cosy - but not too cosy - crime fiction. Brighton, 1965 When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, The sixth gripping Brighton-based mystery from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Series - a must-read for all fans of cosy - but not too cosy - crime fiction. Brighton, 1965 When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone. Frustrated by the police response to Bert's death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Bellington, Bert's son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn't telling them the whole story. Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They're sure the answers must lie in Bert's dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in...


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The sixth gripping Brighton-based mystery from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Series - a must-read for all fans of cosy - but not too cosy - crime fiction. Brighton, 1965 When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, The sixth gripping Brighton-based mystery from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Series - a must-read for all fans of cosy - but not too cosy - crime fiction. Brighton, 1965 When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone. Frustrated by the police response to Bert's death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Bellington, Bert's son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn't telling them the whole story. Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They're sure the answers must lie in Bert's dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in...

30 review for The Midnight Hour

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    This is the latest in Elly Griffiths wonderful Brighton historical series, featuring now Superintendent Edgar Stephens and former stage magician, now a movie star Max Mephisto. However, here they take more minor roles, as Emma Holmes, now married to Edgar, and mother to 3 young children, has set up a Private Investigations Agency with local journalist, Sam Collins, and WDC Meg Connolly, following the pioneering path established by Emma as the first woman detective, take centre stage. It is 1965 This is the latest in Elly Griffiths wonderful Brighton historical series, featuring now Superintendent Edgar Stephens and former stage magician, now a movie star Max Mephisto. However, here they take more minor roles, as Emma Holmes, now married to Edgar, and mother to 3 young children, has set up a Private Investigations Agency with local journalist, Sam Collins, and WDC Meg Connolly, following the pioneering path established by Emma as the first woman detective, take centre stage. It is 1965 and it is a man's world, married women cannot stay in the police force, and are not allowed to drive police cars. The sheen of love and marriage has worn off for Emma, as she is responsible for taking care of her lively and energy consuming children, making work difficult, she often has to take her youngest with her as she investigates. 90 year old former theatre impresario, Bert Billington, is found dead at home, murdered after ingesting rat poison. He was married to 75 year old Verity, a former show girl, and they have 3 sons, David, Seth, a heart throb movie star, and mechanic Aaron. Aaron is convinced Verity killed Bert, because she is far too interested in women rights and equality, reading feminists like Betty Friedan and The Feminine Mystique. This pushes Verity to hire Emma and Sam, giving them their first big case, and a huge impetus to prove themselves as they at first compete with and then co-operate with the police, with Emma and Meg forming a formidable partnership. As they pursue their inquiries, it soon becomes clear Bert was not a good man, constantly cheating on Verity, with a string of children as a result of liaisons with other women, and there is a whole host of suspects with a motive to want him dead. Griffiths highlights the position of women in the 1960s, the social norms and attitudes that drove the sexism and the misogyny, the lot of married women and mothers, and she illustrates this by focusing on the ambitious Emma and Meg bucking the trend, the obstacles they face, and their determination to prove their abilities and solve the case. Max is part of the case as he knew both Bert and Verity, he is making a Dracula movie in Whitby with Seth, and Edgar takes a back seat to Emma, discovering just how challenging looking after his children is. This is a wonderfully engaging addition to the series, giving us a glimpse of Britain in the 196os, its culture, and Sam having to cover the notorious Moors Murders with the arrest of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    3.5 stars, rounded up I’ve enjoyed this historical mystery series, especially the last book which really detailed the misogyny of the day and the beginnings of the women’s rights movement. That theme is again picked up here. Emma has her new detective agency, but is often forced to bring her two year old son on interviews when child care falls through. And Meg, the WDC, is still not allowed to drive a panda car or read a post mortem. ‘“Of course, women aren’t allowed to drive police cars’, said E 3.5 stars, rounded up I’ve enjoyed this historical mystery series, especially the last book which really detailed the misogyny of the day and the beginnings of the women’s rights movement. That theme is again picked up here. Emma has her new detective agency, but is often forced to bring her two year old son on interviews when child care falls through. And Meg, the WDC, is still not allowed to drive a panda car or read a post mortem. ‘“Of course, women aren’t allowed to drive police cars’, said Emma, ‘what with us being such sensitive flowers and all that.” When Bert Billington, a successful theatre impresario is found to have been poisoned, his wife, a suspect, hires Emma and Sam, to prove her innocence. She also insists that WDC Meg Connolly be part of the investigation because she only wants to deal with a female detective. Maybe because she’s recently read The Feminine Mystique? Max and Edgar take supporting roles in this book. I did enjoy how Emma comes into her own, forcing Max to occasionally take on the child care so she can get on with her job. I enjoyed this story, with quite a few red herrings to keep me guessing as to who ultimately had committed the murders. I find the characters interesting and hope that Griffiths continues to highlight the women as much as the men in the series. This is considered a cozy mystery, but it’s got a little more grit than I usually credit cozy mysteries with having. My thanks to Netgalley and Mariner Books for an advance copy of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    "The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it." (Bram Stoker, Dracula) The Midnight Hour appropriately cracks the door and beckons in Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Only this time the spotlight is on theater. And plenty of it in this one. Seth Billington, heartthrob of the stage, is fitfully decked out in cape and fangs as he plays the darkened figure for a new movie. Fellow actor and former magician, Max Mephisto, has a key role in this production as well. But instead of fang "The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it." (Bram Stoker, Dracula) The Midnight Hour appropriately cracks the door and beckons in Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Only this time the spotlight is on theater. And plenty of it in this one. Seth Billington, heartthrob of the stage, is fitfully decked out in cape and fangs as he plays the darkened figure for a new movie. Fellow actor and former magician, Max Mephisto, has a key role in this production as well. But instead of fang marks on the neck, there will be rat poison in the veins. Seth's father, Bert, will be found dead in his library chair after lunch by his motorcycling other son, Aaron. Verity Malone, Bert's wife and former 1920's singer/dancer, is frozen in place. First appearances point to a stroke for the ninety year old. Stands to reason. Later tests reveal that aforementioned wine of the rat. But who would want the ol' theater impressario dead at this late date? Our Bert had quite a few other children out of wedlock and a long list of paramours even into his later years. A lot of activity, dear Bert, and now a lot of new suspects rolling out. It's 1965 and Verity, true to women's rights, hires the team of Emma Holmes and Samantha Collins as private investigators. Emma is married to Superintendent Edgar Stephens. She's the mother of three children and often must take her wired youngest, Jonathan, along with her on the job. What a riot filled experience that can be! Emma is a former police officer and she can almost dance circles around her well-medaled husband. Emma and "Sam" put bloodhounds to shame. And this case is gonna be a challenge with so many suspects, young and old, male and female. Elly Griffiths is a renowned writer. I've been a big fan of her Dr. Ruth Galloway series. Don't be taken aback by the #6 in this series. The Midnight Hour reads as a fine standalone and will wet your whistle into the writings of Griffith. There's chunks of humor here as well as twisty pathways. Be sure to check this one out. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the talented Elly Griffiths for the opportunity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    Emma Holmes, former police woman and now wife of the police chief and mother of three, has started a private detective agency with her friend, Sam. When Bert, an elderly retired theater impresario, is found dead and it is determined that he was poisoned, his wife hires Sam and Emma to find out who murdered him. Apparently Bert was liked by very few people, and had quite a few skeletons in his closet. Meg, a young police woman is also working on the case, as is Emma's husband. Elly Griffiths is a Emma Holmes, former police woman and now wife of the police chief and mother of three, has started a private detective agency with her friend, Sam. When Bert, an elderly retired theater impresario, is found dead and it is determined that he was poisoned, his wife hires Sam and Emma to find out who murdered him. Apparently Bert was liked by very few people, and had quite a few skeletons in his closet. Meg, a young police woman is also working on the case, as is Emma's husband. Elly Griffiths is always excellent at plotting and character development, and ranks with my favorite mystery authors, Donna Leon, Martin Walker, Louise Penny, and Anne Hillerman. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the opportunity to review this advance copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Val

    Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of The Midnight Hour! My rating is 3.5 Stars Set in 1965, theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his home. When the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone. Frustrated by the police response to Bert's death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. There was quite the cast Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of The Midnight Hour! My rating is 3.5 Stars Set in 1965, theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his home. When the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone. Frustrated by the police response to Bert's death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. There was quite the cast of characters in The Midnight Hour but, hands down, my very favorites were Emma Holmes Stephens and WDC Meg Connolly. The descriptions of what it was like working in variety (or vaudeville, as we say on this side of the pond) in the early days sounded utterly grueling! For that matter, being a female police officer in the 1960s sounded pretty grueling, as well! (Can anyone say discrimination, silent contempt, and double standards??) I enjoyed the mystery of the story very much but the identity of the murderer was a wee bit of a disappointment to me. All in all, it was a fun, light read!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Schultz

    3.7 rounded up This is listed as both (Brighton Mysteries) as well as (Stephens & Mephisto #6) I have read several of Ms. Griffith’s Ruth Galloway novels but this is my first in this series. I was fearful that I would need to ‘catch-up’! However, this was a good one for a ‘First’ as Emma Holmes was the lead in this story. I found that I just love her and am sure (as well as hope) that she will be in the next Brighton Mysteries series!!! Time period 1965: the beginning of the women’s movement. This se 3.7 rounded up This is listed as both (Brighton Mysteries) as well as (Stephens & Mephisto #6) I have read several of Ms. Griffith’s Ruth Galloway novels but this is my first in this series. I was fearful that I would need to ‘catch-up’! However, this was a good one for a ‘First’ as Emma Holmes was the lead in this story. I found that I just love her and am sure (as well as hope) that she will be in the next Brighton Mysteries series!!! Time period 1965: the beginning of the women’s movement. This series has featured Superintendent Edgar Stephens and Movie star Max Mephisto. Now Edgar is married to Emma Holmes and although they have 3 young children, she has set up a Private Investigation Agency. Story starts when ninety year old Bert Billington is found death. Since he was 90, everyone thought he died of natural causes. However, an autopsy reveals that he had been poisoned. Verity, his seventy-five year old, former show-girl wife is accused of killing him ~ the thinking is that perhaps due to her age it was a mistake and she didn’t realize what she was doing. Aww but our Verity knows to get a team of female investigators to assist. Yes Emma takes the lead. Story deals with women’s ambitions and the obstacles they face. For example in this story the Police woman is not permit to drive the police car. Side Bar: This reminded me of a talk given some years ago by the ~ First Female Chief of Police in our area. She said when she started her uniform was a skirt and she had to wear high heels. She asked ~ Can you imagine running after bad guys in a skirt and high heels? We laughed but I also remember when I was a freshman in college ~ females were not allowed to wear shorts on campus; after PE we wore a long coat to cover up that we had on gym shorts. Back to story ~ this got very interesting. There was a lot going on. I was grateful for the Kindle ‘highlight and notes’ feature as it very helpful in keeping track of not just the characters but and who was whose off spring. Love Ms. Griffiths “Acknowledgments” (true I always enjoy reading the Author’s Notes and/or Acknowledgments!) Ms. Griffiths tells us her inspiration for the Brighton Series ~ yep we get the inside scoop!! (view spoiler)[ It seems ‘good old’ Bert was a typically Hollywood kind of a guy. ~ I mean that in a negative way! (hide spoiler)] Want to thank NetGalley and Mariner Books for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for an honest professional review. Publishing Release Date scheduled for December 7, 2021

  7. 4 out of 5

    BonnieM☂️

    The Midnight Hour was a slow read at the beginning but picked up with a surprised ending, Emma Holmes and her partner, Sam Collins are PI's and partners in their own company, Holmes and Collins Detective Agency. Emma is married to the police superintendent, Edgar Stephens of the Brighton Police Force.. Sam is single and loves to ride motorcycles. They are hired by Verity Malone, a retired actress, whose husband, Bert, Billington, a theatre impresario and womanizer, has been found in the living r The Midnight Hour was a slow read at the beginning but picked up with a surprised ending, Emma Holmes and her partner, Sam Collins are PI's and partners in their own company, Holmes and Collins Detective Agency. Emma is married to the police superintendent, Edgar Stephens of the Brighton Police Force.. Sam is single and loves to ride motorcycles. They are hired by Verity Malone, a retired actress, whose husband, Bert, Billington, a theatre impresario and womanizer, has been found in the living room murdered by poison. The rest of the supporting characters add to the story. Verity is suspected to had been the one to administer the poison hires Emma and Sam to find out who killed her husband. This is were the story takes hold and takes the reader on a journey with twists and turns, infidelity and a suicide finding out who the murderer is. Max Mephisto a main character is an actor/magician in the theatre along with his retired wife, Lydia have returned from America. He is a good friend of Edgar's. He is working on a movie production of "The Prince of Darkness" along with Verity's son, Seth who is an actor in the same film. Meg Connolly, a WDC Officer in the police force I would also consider her one of the main characters. Alma Saunders was Verity's dresser and now is her cleaner/friend. She is also murdered by strangulation. I enjoyed this book but will leave the story to the reader as I don't want to spoil it for them. Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Corp. for the ARC.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Adamek

    3.5 stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    This is the 6th book in the Stephens and Mephisto series by author Elly Griffiths. I really enjoy the Ruth Galloway series by this author but have never really felt the same about this series until now. Not really sure why but this book felt so much better than the previous books I had read. The only thing I could possibly put it down to was that a lot of the book featured the two women investigators rather than Max Mephisto who is very prominent in previous books. Private Investigator Emma Holme This is the 6th book in the Stephens and Mephisto series by author Elly Griffiths. I really enjoy the Ruth Galloway series by this author but have never really felt the same about this series until now. Not really sure why but this book felt so much better than the previous books I had read. The only thing I could possibly put it down to was that a lot of the book featured the two women investigators rather than Max Mephisto who is very prominent in previous books. Private Investigator Emma Holmes and her partner Sam Collins have been assigned a case by retired music-hall star Verity Malone, who hires them to find out who poisoned her husband, a theatre impresario. Verity was herself accused of the crime by the Brighton police, putting Emma in direct competition with her husband, police superintendent Edgar Stephens. Both Emma and Verity share a mutual connection to Max Mephisto, who has returned to England from America with his children and famous wife, Hollywood star Lydia Lamont. Now with the couple back on English soil, Lydia, has time on her hands and offers Emma and Sam her services. The race is on to catch the killer and the evidence suggest they’re looking for a criminal targeting the old music-hall crew. The question is does Lydia know secrets that could help crack the case and will it lead back to Max Mephisto. Enjoyable read with lots of interesting characters. A good plot written in the cosy crime style that works for Elly Griffiths. I would like to thank both Net Galley and Mariner books for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Always a pleasure to dip into an Elly Griffiths book. I cannot recommend this author highly enough. Midnight Hour is a very clever book that is the sixth in this particular series but easily can be read as a standalone. There is a brief who’s who at the end which will help you want to hunt down the unread books in this magical selection of crime mysteries. Paying great respect to music hall and variety acts, the writing is both inclusive and engaging reflecting an often forgotten time in the birt Always a pleasure to dip into an Elly Griffiths book. I cannot recommend this author highly enough. Midnight Hour is a very clever book that is the sixth in this particular series but easily can be read as a standalone. There is a brief who’s who at the end which will help you want to hunt down the unread books in this magical selection of crime mysteries. Paying great respect to music hall and variety acts, the writing is both inclusive and engaging reflecting an often forgotten time in the birth of entertainment. This latest book is again set in Brighton but brilliantly segues between this developing place and other locations including the infamous Moors Murders. Elly can do no wrong as her writing allows the reader time and consideration to process the unravelling mystery which rarely stays at one murder. Full of well written characters but for me WPC Connolly (Meg) steps forward in this story and I liked her involvement best. The clever bit is that Elly is also able to bring subliminal messages into her work. The difficulty for women in the police is again demonstrated but without any soap box the author is able to show the lack of opportunity for women in general and the violence, intimidation and abuse that often overlays relationships. I commend her writing for this dimension which is sensitively done and countered by introducing us to strong female characters at a time when prejudice, inequality and predetermined roles were often a woman’s lot. Like I say this isn’t a Ptolemaic or a political pamphlet it is a story that works as a murder case but has this reflection on an earlier time in British social life that the author casts a subtle light on. Long may Griffiths find inspiration and energy to write in her varied projects; as quickly as she writes them I shall read them as they bring me joy, comfort and a deep satisfaction of a resolved mystery. I am old enough to imagine this period of time and we still have the joy of England winning the World Cup to look forward to.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    Book six for Stephens and Mephisto and enjoy this series as much as Ruth Galloway now. Although this really focuses on the women private detectives Sam and Emma, and WDC Meg, the men take a back seat.

  12. 5 out of 5

    4cats

    I've read all of the Dr Ruth Galloway series from Elly Griffiths and have been meaning to read the Brighton series (they are on the shelves waiting to be read). When offered the chance to read number 6 in the series I thought why not, I usually have to read things in order but decided to jump in at number 6 to see if you can read it as a stand alone, and I would say yes you can, it didn't spoil my reading and in fact I will now be picking up the remainder of the series to read. And so to The Mid I've read all of the Dr Ruth Galloway series from Elly Griffiths and have been meaning to read the Brighton series (they are on the shelves waiting to be read). When offered the chance to read number 6 in the series I thought why not, I usually have to read things in order but decided to jump in at number 6 to see if you can read it as a stand alone, and I would say yes you can, it didn't spoil my reading and in fact I will now be picking up the remainder of the series to read. And so to The Midnight Hour.......Set in the 1960's the Brighton Mystery series features Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto who forged their friendship during the war, Stephens goes on to become Superintendant Stephens in the Brighton police force whilst Max is now working as a jobbing actor. There are a host of characters who are more prominent in this novel, Emma StephCens (wife to Edgar and private investigator), Sam Collins (reporter and private investigator), D.I. Bob Willis, WDC Meg Connolly to name but a few. When a theatre impressario Bert Billington is found dead at home by his son, the son suggests his mother Verity (retired showgirl/dancer) has killed her husband. Verity engages Emma and Sam to investigate her husbands death which could be difficult as Emma's husband is also investigating the death. There are some great details about the what it was like to work in variety from the 20's to the late 50's, the type of acts and how it could be dangerous for women, who always needed their wits about them. There is always a humour in the writing of Elly Griffiths which makes her a joy to read. If you've never read this series dive in to book 6 and just enjoy. Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus for an early copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Federica

    This was my first Elly Griffiths' and I enjoyed it very much! The Midnight Hour could be read as a stand alone as there is a guide to the main characters and their back stories at the end of the book, but being number six of the series, I'm sure it would be even more enjoyable if read in the right order. So I'll definetly have a look at the first 5 instalment, now. I've found this book very well written, I liked the strong female characters and especially enjoyed the insight into what it meant to This was my first Elly Griffiths' and I enjoyed it very much! The Midnight Hour could be read as a stand alone as there is a guide to the main characters and their back stories at the end of the book, but being number six of the series, I'm sure it would be even more enjoyable if read in the right order. So I'll definetly have a look at the first 5 instalment, now. I've found this book very well written, I liked the strong female characters and especially enjoyed the insight into what it meant to be a woman in the sixties and trying to be independent. Thank you Quercus Book for granting my wish! Thank you to netGalley and the publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jacki (Julia Flyte)

    We’re in 1965 Brighton and theatrical impresario Bert Billington has been poisoned. Superintendent Edgar Holme’s team is investigating, but Bert’s widow has also hired a private investigation team: Holme’s wife (and former colleague) Emma and her partner. The two teams work independently at first but after there’s another murder, they gradually start to co-operate and Emma forms a bond with junior police officer Meg Connolly. This is the 6th book in Elly Griffith’s “Brighton Mysteries” series. T We’re in 1965 Brighton and theatrical impresario Bert Billington has been poisoned. Superintendent Edgar Holme’s team is investigating, but Bert’s widow has also hired a private investigation team: Holme’s wife (and former colleague) Emma and her partner. The two teams work independently at first but after there’s another murder, they gradually start to co-operate and Emma forms a bond with junior police officer Meg Connolly. This is the 6th book in Elly Griffith’s “Brighton Mysteries” series. Technically you could read this as a standalone (and there is a guide to the main characters and their back stories at the end of the book), but you’ll enjoy it far more if you have at least read Now You See Them and have a sense of who everyone is. I felt like I was catching up with old friends. I really like this series which has a endearingly retro feel to it and which occupies the middle ground between crime and cosy crime. Even though there are murders there is no serious tension or unpleasant violence. The appeal lies in the engaging characters, the interesting setting and the insight into life at that time. If you’ve read the Ruth Galloway series this is not quite - but almost - as good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    McBreakneck

    The Midnight Hour - Elly Griffiths First of all I am a big fan of Elly Griffiths, having devoured all the Ruth Galloway series. This is my first time trying the Brighton Mysteries, and to my shame this is book six, I always try to read series in order when I can. Set in Brighton in 1965, Bert Billington the theatre impresario has been murdered, leaving his wife the faded theatre star Verity Malone in mourning. The book captures their world and the times perfectly, a nostalgia for the stage and musi The Midnight Hour - Elly Griffiths First of all I am a big fan of Elly Griffiths, having devoured all the Ruth Galloway series. This is my first time trying the Brighton Mysteries, and to my shame this is book six, I always try to read series in order when I can. Set in Brighton in 1965, Bert Billington the theatre impresario has been murdered, leaving his wife the faded theatre star Verity Malone in mourning. The book captures their world and the times perfectly, a nostalgia for the stage and music halls past, the changes in society of the era, and there is a beautifully warm irony in looking back from now to simpler times. There are plenty of characters, and I was kicking myself regularly for not starting from the first book and knowing the ins and outs of all the recurring characters' lives. Nobody develops characters and relationships across series arcs as well as Elly. I can only speculate how much I missed out on that regular readers of this series will lap up, there is a comprehensive 'Who's who' in the back of the book. The plot is an intricate murder mystery, Bert Billington made lots of money and broke plenty of hearts in his theatre heyday giving the police and the private detectives (hired by Verity) a long list of suspects with grudges. To do this book justice I really need to go back and read the series in order, which I definitely intend to do. Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pgchuis

    I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. This series is always fun, and Griffiths has managed to retain Emma as a central character (as a married woman she can no longer be a police officer, but her detective agency is engaged on the same case as the police - cunning!) The plot was well constructed and I enjoyed the humour and period detail: Meg, the WDC, is not allowed to drive the panda car because she is a woman; the smoking; the fact that Meg's family don't have a tel I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. This series is always fun, and Griffiths has managed to retain Emma as a central character (as a married woman she can no longer be a police officer, but her detective agency is engaged on the same case as the police - cunning!) The plot was well constructed and I enjoyed the humour and period detail: Meg, the WDC, is not allowed to drive the panda car because she is a woman; the smoking; the fact that Meg's family don't have a telephone. There was less of Max and Ruby in this one, which is fine by me. I think my main criticism would be that with the prominence of Meg, Sam's character became completely redundant. She was not well characterized here, and had so little page time that whenever she popped up I had forgotten about her. Maybe Emma should just become a police consultant, with Meg as her liaison/side kick!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura Hill

    Thank you to Mariner Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on December 7th, 2021. Writing: 3/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 3.5/5 In this latest book in the (now named) Brighton Mysteries, the newly formed partnership of Emma Holmes (prior WDC and now wife of police chief) and Sam Collins (prior journalist) tackles the murder of 90-year old Bert Billingham, theater impresario and wild womanizer. They were brought into t Thank you to Mariner Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on December 7th, 2021. Writing: 3/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 3.5/5 In this latest book in the (now named) Brighton Mysteries, the newly formed partnership of Emma Holmes (prior WDC and now wife of police chief) and Sam Collins (prior journalist) tackles the murder of 90-year old Bert Billingham, theater impresario and wild womanizer. They were brought into the case by his wife, the unsuitable grandma Verity Malone and star variety performer who had plenty of reasons to kill him herself. Taking place in the 60s, there are many opportunities for inserting the feminist angle — it’s only been 60 years but it’s a bit shocking to remember how things were in those days for women: Emma Holmes was forced to leave the police force when she married; women police officers (WDCs) were not allowed to drive police cars; and God forbid any male made the coffee when needed. Plenty of twists and turns, some fun characters, and a fast, fun read. I still like the Ruth Gallagher series better, but these are definitely worth reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty ❤️

    I love Elly’s books and this series is just as good as previous ones I’ve read. I need to go back and read the rest now. This one is set in 1965 and so interesting to read of how women police officers were treated. Not even allowed to drive n case it harm their delicate sensibilities. We also have 2 female private detectives, one who has to drag her 2 year old everywhere as the nanny is in hospital. Between them they are trying to solve the murder of Bert Billington, a man who has many enemies so I love Elly’s books and this series is just as good as previous ones I’ve read. I need to go back and read the rest now. This one is set in 1965 and so interesting to read of how women police officers were treated. Not even allowed to drive n case it harm their delicate sensibilities. We also have 2 female private detectives, one who has to drag her 2 year old everywhere as the nanny is in hospital. Between them they are trying to solve the murder of Bert Billington, a man who has many enemies so they have plenty of suspects to choose from. There’s the usual humour running through the book along with the crime solving. I loved the social commentary, the supplementary characters and after a struggling a few weeks to read it’s been great to find a book I didn’t want to put down. There are some serious points it also covers; the aforementioned way female officers were treated, bullying in the workplace and women’s equality fight in general and they are effortlessly woven through the story. Overall Elly is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I’m enjoying reading all her books

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    #TheMidnightHour #NetGalley Thanks to the great Elly Griffiths and Mariner Books for this awesome read! I think it is the best so far of this series, I did not want it to end! The series, formerly "Magic Men Mysteries"is now "The Brighton Mysteries" with a much enlarged cast of characters. "The Brighton police force is on the hunt for another killer, but this time they have some competition—a newly formed all-women’s private eye firm, led by none other than the police chief’s wife." if you think #TheMidnightHour #NetGalley Thanks to the great Elly Griffiths and Mariner Books for this awesome read! I think it is the best so far of this series, I did not want it to end! The series, formerly "Magic Men Mysteries"is now "The Brighton Mysteries" with a much enlarged cast of characters. "The Brighton police force is on the hunt for another killer, but this time they have some competition—a newly formed all-women’s private eye firm, led by none other than the police chief’s wife." if you think that doesn't get complicated, add Max Mephisto, DI Bob and Meg Connolly the Constable. Verity Malone's husband Bert Billington was poisoned - Boom- right at the beginning of the story! The list of who would hate him enough to kill him grew and grew! The cast of women investigators PI Emma Holmes (Wife of Police Superintendant) Sam Collins also grew with DC Meg added into their small group. The ladies carried the day! Wonderful!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Having read The Postscript Murders, I was excited to have the opportunity to read another great who-dunnit by Elly Griffths. This one will keep you guessing and rethinking after every clue is revealed. Did she or didn’t she poison her husband, the Great Bert Billington? Everything changes and anything can happen when you enter the world of theater and magic. It is 1965. Emma Holmes, a private detective and former WDC cop, teams up with Sam Collins, local journalist to solve the murder of theatre Having read The Postscript Murders, I was excited to have the opportunity to read another great who-dunnit by Elly Griffths. This one will keep you guessing and rethinking after every clue is revealed. Did she or didn’t she poison her husband, the Great Bert Billington? Everything changes and anything can happen when you enter the world of theater and magic. It is 1965. Emma Holmes, a private detective and former WDC cop, teams up with Sam Collins, local journalist to solve the murder of theatre impresario Bert Billington found murdered in his own home. Poisoned. So many possible suspects who didn’t care for him, so many motives for revenge of people he wronged. Verity Malone, Bert’s wife and former Music Hall star, is accused by her youngest son so she hires Emma and Sam to investigate while the Brighton police run an investigation of their own. Emma soon works with WDC Meg Connolly of the Brighton police who is enamored with the legendary Emma as the first woman detective, unheard of in a man’s world. Through their work, they discover Bert’s past indiscretions with women that come to light leading to many possibilities. Then there is another murder, could they be linked? I enjoyed this cozy little mystery. As the author took the reader back and forth between Emma’s investigation and the official police investigation by Meg, it played out like a soap opera drama where you could hear in your hear…”Dum, da, dum, dum…” To top it off, there was the humor that made it almost like a vaudevillian act. So many suspects came to light with many people who positively were not truthful or had underlying secrets, which made it thoroughly enjoyable. Even at the end, and no spoilers here, it kept you guessing and unsure of yourself and your own ability as a super sleuth. Many thanks to #netgalley #ellygriffths #themidnighthour for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Clbplym

    I haven’t read the previous novels in this series and, while this isn’t essential, I think it would have been helpful as many if the characters clearly have history with each other. Bert Billington ha been poisoned and the police and the new detective team of Emma and Sam are trying to find the culprit. There are some pretty distasteful characters, including the deceased. I enjoyed the ride but found the actual murderer a bit of a disappointment, This was more of a light read than her Ruth Gallo I haven’t read the previous novels in this series and, while this isn’t essential, I think it would have been helpful as many if the characters clearly have history with each other. Bert Billington ha been poisoned and the police and the new detective team of Emma and Sam are trying to find the culprit. There are some pretty distasteful characters, including the deceased. I enjoyed the ride but found the actual murderer a bit of a disappointment, This was more of a light read than her Ruth Galloway series. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars as it took me a little while to get back into the characters. Then when I was really into the story I slowed down to make it last ! I really liked the references which placed in a particular time and place. I knew the Brighton area as a child so always enjoy the references to Rottingdean and Woodingdean. Good to see the women taking charge too and a move away from being totally theatre based.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Bearss

    Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite authors and I adore her Ruth Galloway series! This was the first novel that I've read in the Brighton Mysteries series and I really loved it! Although it had a very different feel as it was set in the past. I need to go seek out the previous novels in this series now! (Thanks to NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review.) Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite authors and I adore her Ruth Galloway series! This was the first novel that I've read in the Brighton Mysteries series and I really loved it! Although it had a very different feel as it was set in the past. I need to go seek out the previous novels in this series now! (Thanks to NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Beyers

    Elly Griffiths just writes books I really like, it doesn't matter which series they are in. I know what I will get when I read one of her books. Well written solid entertainment, good background research and strong female characters. This last instalment in the Mephisto series is no exception. It's a little slow at the beginning but once it gets going it takes you away into the world of the sixties and the entertainment industrie. I like how this series has evolved, from focusing onto Max and Ed Elly Griffiths just writes books I really like, it doesn't matter which series they are in. I know what I will get when I read one of her books. Well written solid entertainment, good background research and strong female characters. This last instalment in the Mephisto series is no exception. It's a little slow at the beginning but once it gets going it takes you away into the world of the sixties and the entertainment industrie. I like how this series has evolved, from focusing onto Max and Edgar it has now become more of an Emma, Sam and Meg storyline. This one's mystery is also more focused on the female perspective and shows what it was like to be a woman wanting to be independent in the sixties. Good read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark Davies

    Disclaimer: I love Elly Griffiths' work. Both this series and the Dr Ruth Galloway series are among the very best murder/mystery/police procedurals being published today. I wanted to start with that so you know I do have a bias where Elly's work is concerned :) Brighton - 1965 This novel kicks off with what would be, if this was a T.V. series, a pre-titles sequence. Ageing showbiz beauty, (the one and only Verity Malone), answers the door to her son, Aaron, who's come for a visit to show his Dad, e Disclaimer: I love Elly Griffiths' work. Both this series and the Dr Ruth Galloway series are among the very best murder/mystery/police procedurals being published today. I wanted to start with that so you know I do have a bias where Elly's work is concerned :) Brighton - 1965 This novel kicks off with what would be, if this was a T.V. series, a pre-titles sequence. Ageing showbiz beauty, (the one and only Verity Malone), answers the door to her son, Aaron, who's come for a visit to show his Dad, ex-theatrical impresario Bob Billington, his new motorbike. Pleasantries with Mum, then in to the sitting room to see Dad, only to find him dead in his favourite armchair! And cue titles... The T.V. allegory is appropriate, I feel, as showbiz plays a big part in all the Brighton series, and this is no exception. The police begin their investigation when it's found the deceased died due to ingestion of rat poison. The police investigative team is DI Bob Willis and WDC Meg Connolly. The wife of the deceased then employs an all – female detective agency to investigate on her behalf, as her son Aaron believes she poisoned her husband. This dynamic duo is of course Emma Stephens, (wife of Superintendent Edgar Stephens, and former police detective), and her friend Samantha Collins, newspaper reporter. In the early stages, we follow both teams, with Emma and Sam making progress as they each speak to the various parties involved in the case (the gardener, who saw a mysterious brown coated woman at the house on the day of Bert Billington's death, the former nanny, the 'day' woman and of course, the children; David, who runs the family business, Seth, film star, and Aaron, mechanic. Seb is in Whitby, filming a Dracula movie with the one and only Max Mephisto! Seb asks Max to have a word with Superintendent Edgar Stephens, his long time friend, to tell him that his mother had nothing to do with poisoning his father. We learn that Bert Billington was a serial philanderer, who left many broken hearts, and single mothers in his wake, including chorus girl Glenda, who killed herself and her child when his affections went elsewhere. And so there's only one character missing, Max's daughter, the TV star Ruby. And she arrives at Emma and Edgar's home, as beautiful as ever and full of fun. End of part one. Following a further death, the investigation continues apace, and I won't go any further into the plot, suffice to say it all makes sense, we are steered back and forth in our suspicions, the denouement is skilfully played, and the loose ends tied up. The post-ending scenes are nicely done as well. Out of interest, I didn't guess who it was, and that was great :) What else can I safely say? There are life changing events for Max and Ruby. Sam is side-lined for a while as she is sent to report on a real-world investigation in the North-West. I wasn't sure why at first, now I think it's to provide more of that sense of place and time, and also possibly to show us that the times they are a changin', that the country is losing it's innocence. As always, this book has great prose from a great writer, her books are always readable, the characters, even minor ones, always fully fleshed out and believable, and behave with real motivations, (Meg's mother for example). With superb scene setting and atmosphere and a real sense of place and time for each location, which can be easily missed by less skilful writers. Attitudes of the time are addressed (e.g. the way some of Meg's male colleagues behave towards her), but these and other points aren't hammered home that 'this is wrong and needs to change', it's handled with far more subtlety than that. It's interesting how far this series has come, with Emma, Meg and Sam now the leads. The combination of Emma and Meg works best for me. Emma is inspirational to Meg and Emma seems to enjoy her role as mentor. The high-born Mrs Holmes and the naive WDC Connolly are a great team, combining detective & people skills, instincts and methodology. Edgar and Max have become, not exactly peripheral, but secondary characters in these books, and that's no bad thing. Maybe Elly is just mixing things up, and the next book will be driven by Max and Edgar, but I can't see it somehow. More Holmes, Connolly and Collins please! And finally, a huge thanks to Netgalley & Quercus Books for approving me for an advance copy of this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lillian Cummings

    The spouse is always the first suspect in murder case but did Verity really poison her husband Bert? The Police and two private investigators will need to keep their wits about them to find out the truth. What they learn about the murdered man & his family leads them to believe that anyone could have killed him as he wasn't the best of men. Verity looks back at her life and realizes that she escaped from her bad family life to a life that she thought that she wanted. But the fame & money brought The spouse is always the first suspect in murder case but did Verity really poison her husband Bert? The Police and two private investigators will need to keep their wits about them to find out the truth. What they learn about the murdered man & his family leads them to believe that anyone could have killed him as he wasn't the best of men. Verity looks back at her life and realizes that she escaped from her bad family life to a life that she thought that she wanted. But the fame & money brought her much unhappiness even though she had a family and a career. But Bert cheated on her all the time and there were always women claiming to have had his children so when a young woman killed herself & daughter that was the turning point in Verity's life and she knew that one day that he would need to go. But did she really kill Bert after all this time? Now that another close family friend has been killed will they start looking at other suspects? As Verity surely wouldn't have killed the person that was the closest friend that she ever had? Will the past come back to haunt everyone? More secrets will be exposed that will change everything. A good solid read. I enjoyed meeting all the new characters that I am sure we will see them again. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Netgalley & the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abi

    No one expects foul play when impresario of the stage Bert Billington is found dead. That is until the postmortem reveals he was poisoned, and suspicion soon falls on his wife, and ex-Music Hall star, Verity Malone.   Untrusting of the police response, Verity hires the new private detective firm in town, duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins.   As luck would have it, Emma and Sam have a friend on the inside – Max Mephisto is currently filming with Seth Billington, Bert’s son. But is Max even telling them No one expects foul play when impresario of the stage Bert Billington is found dead. That is until the postmortem reveals he was poisoned, and suspicion soon falls on his wife, and ex-Music Hall star, Verity Malone.   Untrusting of the police response, Verity hires the new private detective firm in town, duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins.   As luck would have it, Emma and Sam have a friend on the inside – Max Mephisto is currently filming with Seth Billington, Bert’s son. But is Max even telling them the whole story?   Emma and Sam must vie with the police, and in turn Emma’s husband Edgar, to untangle this case. Could the answers lie in the long-ago, glamorous days of Music Hall or are the answers closer to home?     I have followed this series from the beginning and, whilst each book could probably be read as a standalone, I highly recommend that you start at the beginning. This is not a series filled with edge of your seat crimes, the appeal lies in its endearing characters and insight into this time period as well as the Variety scene. In this instalment Edgar and Max take somewhat of a backseat, whilst the female protagonists take centre stage. Griffiths really uses this to highlight the change that began to take place for women in the 1960’s. Emma and Meg prove they are capable of ambitions greater than those set by society. Even septuagenarian Verity is educating herself on the shifting tides of feminism and fighting the conventionality of sexism and misogyny. Although I appreciate the progression through the years the series has made, I do occasionally miss the earlier theatrical setting and, of course, the camaraderie of the “Magic Men’. However, I did still really enjoy this story and the direction being taken. I can well imagine this would make for a very good TV drama, and I would certainly settle down on a Sunday evening for a visit to bygone Brighton!   * Thanks to Quercus Books, via NetGalley, for this ARC *   For more reviews, please visit: https://twiabblog.wixsite.com/theworl...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of The Midnight Hour, the sixth novel in the Brighton series, set in 1965. When impresario Bert Billingham passes away at age 90 no one is surprised until the post mortem finds he was poisoned. Suspicion falls on his wife, former singer and dancer Verity Malone, who hires former detective sergeant Emma Holmes and part-time journalist Sam Collins, now with their very own detective agency, to investigate. I thoroughly enjoyed The I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of The Midnight Hour, the sixth novel in the Brighton series, set in 1965. When impresario Bert Billingham passes away at age 90 no one is surprised until the post mortem finds he was poisoned. Suspicion falls on his wife, former singer and dancer Verity Malone, who hires former detective sergeant Emma Holmes and part-time journalist Sam Collins, now with their very own detective agency, to investigate. I thoroughly enjoyed The Midnight Hour, which has a compulsive storyline that held my attention to such an extent that I finished it in one sitting. Of course, in true Griffiths style, the plot is as much about the characters as it is about the whodunnit. This is not an issue for me as I have read all the books in the series, but it might be confusing for readers unfamiliar with the various backstories, although, helpfully, there is a character synopsis at the end of the novel. I would recommend that new readers start there. Like all good mysteries the roots of the crime lie deep in the past, so various secrets from the old music hall days come tumbling out and, as ever, former magician and friend of the characters Max Mephisto is at the heart of them. I enjoyed this depiction of a long gone and decidedly unglamorous era, even if the issues and personality clashes are timeless. I think the actual solution to the crime is a bit of a damp squib in comparison to the rich atmosphere and characterisation, but kudos to the author for pulling off a last minute twist just as the curtain falls. The characters are the thing in this novel. Yes, Emma Holmes and WDC Meg Connolly do much of the investigative heavy lifting and both are stars, not just smart but as precursors to women’s lib with their discontent at the status quo. Obviously, hindsight is wonderful, but their sentiments feel real and in keeping with the times. The novel, however, revolves around the slightly peripheral Max Mephisto. He contributes little to the investigation but he’s everywhere, both past and present, and his story in this novel is all about change. The Midnight Hour is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kath

    This is book 6 of a cracking series so, although at a push it can be read as a standalone, the main story being self-contained, to get the very best from it with regard to the characters, their development and backstory, I'd start from book one and read in order. So we start with what looks like natural causes when theatrical impresario, Bert Billington found dead. Further investigation shows this was far from a natural death and instead, he had been poisoned. Typically a woman's MO the finger of This is book 6 of a cracking series so, although at a push it can be read as a standalone, the main story being self-contained, to get the very best from it with regard to the characters, their development and backstory, I'd start from book one and read in order. So we start with what looks like natural causes when theatrical impresario, Bert Billington found dead. Further investigation shows this was far from a natural death and instead, he had been poisoned. Typically a woman's MO the finger of suspicion points firmly to the wife. But she has already employed the dynamic investigation duo of Emma and Sam, and they start their investigation in earnest, alongside the police, specifically WCD Meg Connolly. The case opens up to include the three sons and things start to get a bit messy. This is the Stephens and Mephisto series although neither really features in big way. Instead the author focusses on the female characters, highlighting what they have to go through to get ahead in their respective professions. The things that women police officers weren't allowed to do! And Emma having to juggle child care. But their smarts show through all the adversity and the three of them do make a formidable team. The story being told was both interesting and intriguing and had me gripped from the off. Told in a no nonsense way with no superfluous waffle or padding it gets on with itself very well. Yes the pace is slightly slower than a modern day investigation but that's in keeping with the methods used in those days. No mobile phones, no internet. More plodding and intuition. So refreshing! All in all, a worthy addition to an already well established series. And if you haven't already discovered this author's other series - Ruth Galloway - I'd recommend that too. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kidlitter

    A DRC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and gleefully engaged review. "Yes, he had a big snifter of rat poison. Don't get excited, Bob. Aaron told me what killed him." And with those words, my new favourite character, Verity Malone, claims central stage in Elly Griffith's new entry in her outstanding Stephens & Mephisto Mystery series in the lost, still slightly seedy glamour of 1960s Brighton. Verity is a once famous showgirl whose husband Bert Billington, more than a bit of a bad A DRC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and gleefully engaged review. "Yes, he had a big snifter of rat poison. Don't get excited, Bob. Aaron told me what killed him." And with those words, my new favourite character, Verity Malone, claims central stage in Elly Griffith's new entry in her outstanding Stephens & Mephisto Mystery series in the lost, still slightly seedy glamour of 1960s Brighton. Verity is a once famous showgirl whose husband Bert Billington, more than a bit of a bad hat, has been knocked off by said poison. Verity - smart, cool and decisive at seventy-five, knows that she is the police's number one suspect as her son Aaron is busily broadcasting she is "doolally" for discovering feminism. She engages the Holmes and Collins Detective Agency to find out who in a very long list of Bert's enemies might have done him in. Emma, the first woman detective in Sussex before she married superintendent of police Stephen, about how awkward the conflict of interest with their jobs is, and struggles with her domestic duties to Stephen and their three children while pursuing the investigation. Sam, like Emma, believes in Verity's innocence. Surprisingly, they have the help of Max Mephisto's movie star wife Lydia Lamont, bored in the English countryside while Max makes a film with Verity's other son Seth. Could Lydia have more in common with Verity than show biz pizzazz? Why all the mentions of The Feminine Mystique, and the suspicion of society that if a someone is interested in women's rights, they must be a murderer? And there, you have a pretty plot set up that's going to take the reader through a merry dance until the resolution. How Griffiths does spoil us - we should never take her for granted, as generous and steadfast a writer as she is.

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