Saturday 5 March 2016

The Nora Tierney Mysteries by Marni Graff Blog Tour, Audiobook Reviews and Giveaway!

The Blue Virgin (A Nora Tierney Mystery, #1)
Despite a planned move, the mysterious death of photographer Bryn Wallace keeps American writer Nora Tierney glued to Oxford in order to clear her close friend, artist Val Rogan, who has been wrongfully accused of Bryn's murder. Or has she?Nora quickly becomes embroiled in the murder investigation, much to the dismay of two men: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, the senior on the case; and Simon Ramsey, the illustrator of Nora's children's book. Simon's efforts to save Nora from herself become increasingly frantic as Nora is forced to push her way into Declan's case, using her wits and her wiles to prove Val's innocence.The first in a series of Nora Tierney mysteries based in the UK, The Blue Virgin is a compelling story of love and intrigue. Nothing, Nora learns, is what it seems, and even the most innocent of choices can lead to murder and revenge. Set in the ancient city of golden spires, the setting lends itself to mystery, as any Inspector Morse fan will agree. The novel is written in classic English style, complete with a cast of characters and chapter epigraphs that add to its literary feel.
Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Goodreads

My Thoughts:

So book 1 sees Nora Tierney trying to help her friend Val Rogan after Val is accused of murdering her lover. Nora is an American writer living in Britain after her fiance dies in a plane crash. She is in the process of writing a childrens book about faeries which her friend Simon will illustrate. Nora is intent on proving Vals innocence, much to the consternation of Detective Barnes who is lead on the investigation. What can Nora do when all the evidence points to Val. 

Having never heard of these before, I went in with no expectations and ended up really enjoying this. I'm a fan of a good murder mystery and am glad to say that this is one.

Nora is a great character. She is resourceful, willing to take risks and unafraid of diving right in. Her loyalty to her friends is what I admired most and her willingness to help anyone. I also liked Simon. He is a good guy and loves Nora, though while he knows she isn't ready for a relationship yet because of her fiance dying and her being pregnant, he is hoping she will come around to seeing him as more than just a friend. Then we have the enigmatic detective Declan Barnes. He is frustrated with Nora's interference but is also drawn to her. I'm so looking forward to seeing if they develop a relationship!! 

In all, this is an entertaining and well written mystery. With plenty of suspects, an interesting story line and entertaining characters, this is a must read for fans of the cozy mysteries. I can't wait to dive into the next one. 

The audio of this is read by Nano Nagle and while she has a good voice for Nora and plenty of tones for other characters, her biggest downfall is that she seems to take a breath at the wrong time in a sentence and emphases words more than she should. I found myself frustrated while listening and it took away from the story overall. Plus the editing wasn't great on the audio as the narrator repeated parts of sentences twice and stumbled over some words. 

The Green Remains (A Nora Tierney Mystery, #2)
Nora Tierney is living at Ramsey Lodge in England's glorious Lake District, anticipating two life-changing events: the publication of her first children's book and the birth of her first child. Choosing a name for her son and checking proof pages with her illustrator, Simon Ramsey, fill her days--until a morning stroll along the shore of UK's largest lake, Windermere, leads her to discover the corpse of the heir to Clarendon Hall. When Simon is implicated in the death, Nora dives headfirst into the murder investigation to discover the real killer. As the body count rises, Nora and her unborn child will face risks and perils she could never anticipate in this second in a series of Nora Tierney mysteries.
My Thoughts:

Book 2 sees Nora living in the beautiful lake district and waiting on the arrival of her baby and her book. She goes for a walk one day only to uncover a body. The body turns out to be the Heir to the Clarendon Hall and his manner of death was poison. Thing is that the thing that poisoned him is a rare plant that can only be found in Clarendon Hall, but Simon borrowed the plant from there to paint in a picture and now he is the number one suspect in the crime. Nora is once again trying to prove her friends innocence. Can she uncover the truth?

We are thrown into the mystery right from the start and brought on a rollercoaster of "who done it". With a lot of shady characters there is a delicious sense of trying to unravel the mystery along with Nora. This time it's Simon who is implicated and the investigating officer is non other than Simon's soon to be brother in law. Nora definitely has her work cut out for her in this one as she has to delve into the secrets of the great Clarendon hall and it's inhabitants. She also has to deal with her impending pregnancy, Simon's feelings for her and her own feelings for Detective Barnes!! All this adds up to another awesome installment in the Nora Tierney mysteries. 

I enjoyed this a lot more than the first as I think Nora is really getting into her stride. I like the fact that she isn't a detective, she is just a good friend who loves mysteries and has a good nose for them. I also found the plot a lot faster and more gripping than the first. The setting is another plus for this as it picture perfect!

In all, this is a great second book that delves deeper into the characters and their feelings. It really upped the stakes in the series and I'm looking forward to the next one, though I do hope we see more of Declan in the next one!!  

Again, I had the same problem with the narration as the last time. Nano Nagle makes a good Nora but she keeps taking breaths in the middle of a sentence and it's really off putting. She also repeated words and sentences. She does have a good voice but I think she needs to work on her breathing. 

The Scarlet Wench (Nora Tierney Mysteries, #3)

In the third Nora Tierney Mystery set in England, American writer Nora awaits the arrival of a traveling theatre troupe who will stage Noel Coward's play Blithe Spirit at Ramsey Lodge in the Lake District. With her son six months old, Nora must juggle parenting with helping her illustrator and friend Simon Ramsey run the lodge. She's also hoping to further her relationship with the only lodge guest not in the cast: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, ostensibly there for a hiking trip. When a series of pranks and accidents escalate to murder during a flood that traps everyone, Nora realizes her child is in jeopardy and determines to help Declan unmask a killer.
My Thoughts:

Book 3 sees Nora once again involved in a murder mystery. This time the bodies are found in the lodge that Simon and his sister run and Nora lives in. After Simon was accused of murder in the last book, the lodge is suffering and Simon has had to invite a travelling Theater group to come and perform. The group arrive in a flurry but when some pranks and accidents escalate to murder, Nora finds herself having to go undercover, as such, in order to catch a killer. 

So Nora is again, deep in the middle of trouble, but this time she also has her son to look after and this time it's in her home. She has to use every available advantage to help her this time, including Detective Declan Barnes whom is at the lodge on a hiking holiday. 

I loved seeing Nora and Declan back together and this time involved! Those two work really well together and I loved seeing their relationship evolve. Then we have Simon and while he still has feelings for Nora, it's become more of friendship than anything and I was delighted to see him happy. We also get a bit of Val in this one too. It was so good to see all of them together again. 

The mystery is, again, well written and developed. There is a load more suspects because of the group and you don't know for sure who is the culprit. 

I love the feelings of these books. It reminds me of the old detective tv series that my parents used to watch. It's a simple murder mystery and an enjoyable series. I really hope we see more of these characters in the future. 

What can I say about the narrator that I haven't said already. She still seems to take a breath at the wrong times but I think I'm finally getting used to it!! I didn't find it as annoying as I did the first 2. She has a great tone for Nora and has plenty for the rest of the characters and I can always tell who's talking, it's just the breaks in the sentence that she needs to get right! Also, there was still some glaring mistakes during the book. She stumbled badly at some stage and I heard a dog barking!! Little things like that make or break a narrator! 

About the Author:
Marni Graff had a successful career as a registered nurse who wrote on the side before writing full time. She has a degree in English Lit and studied Gothic Mystery at Oxford University in England. She also wrote articles for Mystery Review magazine, where she interviewed many of the authors whose work she admired.Marni is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney Mysteries, set in England. The Blue Virgin introduces Nora, an American writer living in Oxford. The Green Remains and The Scarlet Wench trace Nora’s move to the Lake District where murder follows her.  In process is The Golden Hour, set in Bath, England. Premiering in the next few months will be Graff’s new Manhattan series, Death Unscripted, featuring nurse Trudy Genova, a medical consultant for a New York movie studio. This new series is based on Marni’s favorite nursing job in real life.Marni is also co-author of Writing in a Changing World, a primer on writing groups and critique techniques. She writes crime book reviews at Auntie M Writes and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press, an author’s cooperative. A member of Sisters in Crime, Marni runs the NC Writers Read program in Belhaven which allows writers experience reading their work out loud and getting immediate feedback. 



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