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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. 5 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. 4 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. 4 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

    Darla

    This series has come a long way since "The Zig Zag Girl." All of our favorites are back in this sixth book of the series. Max, Ruby, Edgar and Emma are in the thick of it after the murder of a famous producer named Bert Billington. His widow (Verity Malone -- former showgirl) hires Emma and her detective partner Sam to investigate. Meanwhile we get to know WDC Meg Connolly better as she is hunting down the killer for the police. Since Edgar is the Superintendent of police and he is married to Em This series has come a long way since "The Zig Zag Girl." All of our favorites are back in this sixth book of the series. Max, Ruby, Edgar and Emma are in the thick of it after the murder of a famous producer named Bert Billington. His widow (Verity Malone -- former showgirl) hires Emma and her detective partner Sam to investigate. Meanwhile we get to know WDC Meg Connolly better as she is hunting down the killer for the police. Since Edgar is the Superintendent of police and he is married to Emma, things get a little dysfunctional. Soon Emma and Meg are on a road trip to hunt down clues and even end up sharing notes. It is the mid-1960's and "The Feminine Mystique" is starting to make a splash. The women in this book are doing their best to help the cause while still enjoying their families. Nicely balanced and I look forward to seeing these characters develop further in the next book of the series. The Ruth Galloway books are still a stronger series, in my opinion, but the Brighton Mysteries are making strides. Thank you to Mariner Books and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 5 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

  8. 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Adamek

    3.5 stars

  10. 4 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

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 4 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gail C.

    The sixth in the Brighton Mysteries by prolific author Elly Griffiths, The Midnight Hour takes place in the 1960’s. With a reference to a miniskirt here, or a women’s changing place in the world there, Griffiths creates a book awash in the tone of the unsettled atmosphere of the period. There are regular series characters like Emma, former police officer and now wife to the Detective Inspector, Edgar and mother to their three children. There are also new characters such as Meg, current police of The sixth in the Brighton Mysteries by prolific author Elly Griffiths, The Midnight Hour takes place in the 1960’s. With a reference to a miniskirt here, or a women’s changing place in the world there, Griffiths creates a book awash in the tone of the unsettled atmosphere of the period. There are regular series characters like Emma, former police officer and now wife to the Detective Inspector, Edgar and mother to their three children. There are also new characters such as Meg, current police officer and talented investigator working in a system that is still primarily a man’s world. Within this conflicted atmosphere, Griffiths creates the mystery of show business executive, Bert Billington’s death. His widow, Verity, a former showgirl who is still a remarkable beauty, insists on dealing only with women as the investigation into his death deepens. She has achieved enough status to be allowed her off-beat behavior. At the same time, she is considered a suspect as she voices interest in the idea that women are capable of more than just taking care of their homes and husbands. Did she grow weary of that role with her aging husband and decide to solve the problem by doing away with him? Whose investigation, the police, or Emma’s newly created detective agency, will be the first one to solve Bert’s murder? Throughout the book Emma juggles her life as a detective and her life as the mother of three children. She often takes them with her on interviews while feeling resentful that her husband has the advantage of not having the same expectations. She misses being a police officer, which Edgar only superficially understands. It’s not that he is unsupportive; but he is comfortable living with the expectations of the earlier era when he could count on coming home to a loving wife and dinner on the table. There are a wealth of relationships that have been developed over the course of this with characters who regularly appear. For example, Edgar and the now famous Max Mephisto have a history that dates back to World War II when they were part of a band of magic men who came together to track a killer. It is not necessary to have read the earlier novels but it might provide a richness to this book if the reader is familiar with how the characters and their relationships have changed over the years. The investigation itself has two prongs. First, Emma and her partner Sam, short for Samantha, have been hired by Verity. Then there is the official investigation featuring WPCMeg, with guidance from Edgar and her supervisor who is officially assigned to the investigation. This is partially at Verity’s insistence that she will only deal with women. Max is currently filming a B grade Dracula movie with one of Verity’s sons. He also has a history with Verity that is uncovered as the investigation digs deep into the past in search of a motive. The personal lives of all the regular characters of this series are given as much emphasis as the investigation itself which will likely appeal to readers who have invested time in the series itself. The pace of the book is steady for the most part, and picks up toward the end of the book by switching points of view from Emma, to Meg, to Max, to Edgar, and back. Rather than providing all the clues to the reader for them to then solve the mystery itself, the solution is presented to them by Emma who makes some connections and leaps that have gone unnoticed by other investigators. This puts Emma in the position of revealing the murderer and pointing to Meg’s abilities at the same time as it is Meg’s notes that have provided her the information she needs. This book is probably best enjoyed by people who have invested in the series itself. As in real life, the regular character’s lives continue to grow and change, leaving the reader waiting for the next book in the series to find out what happens to them next. My thanks to Mariner Books and NetGalley who provided an advance copy of the novel for this review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    The Midnight Hour has stacks about it to love! This is the 6th book in the Stephens and Mephisto series by author Elly Griffiths. It is my first instalment and can be enjoyed as a standalone read. The reader is in Brighton in the year 1965 and an elderly theatre impresario Bert Billington is found dead by his wife, Verity Malone. Private Investigator Emma Holmes and partner Sam Collins, who is a journalist have been given the case. Who might have wanted Billington dead? Incredibly engaging and t The Midnight Hour has stacks about it to love! This is the 6th book in the Stephens and Mephisto series by author Elly Griffiths. It is my first instalment and can be enjoyed as a standalone read. The reader is in Brighton in the year 1965 and an elderly theatre impresario Bert Billington is found dead by his wife, Verity Malone. Private Investigator Emma Holmes and partner Sam Collins, who is a journalist have been given the case. Who might have wanted Billington dead? Incredibly engaging and tremendously well written, this mystery is well worth a look. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Quercus via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anatl

    This was a lovely lovely read with a wonderful retro feel and no gore. An aging actress, Verity Malone, is suspected of poisoning her philandering husband and old showbiz impresario Bert Billington. She hires a team of female investigators, enter Emma Stephens, a wife and mother of three but also a former police detective, and her friend Samantha Collins, a former newspaper reporter. The finger of suspicion is pointed at her by her youngest son, Aaron, who believes she was getting tired of carin This was a lovely lovely read with a wonderful retro feel and no gore. An aging actress, Verity Malone, is suspected of poisoning her philandering husband and old showbiz impresario Bert Billington. She hires a team of female investigators, enter Emma Stephens, a wife and mother of three but also a former police detective, and her friend Samantha Collins, a former newspaper reporter. The finger of suspicion is pointed at her by her youngest son, Aaron, who believes she was getting tired of caring his dad, plus she was getting new ideas reading The Feminine Mystique. It felt like the spirit of the time was captured very well. It treads a very fine line between nostalgia to a golden age and a social catalogue of all its faults. Feminism is explored throughout the story though most of the female cast are not the average suburban housewives. There are the attitudes toward the female cops who are treated differently than their male counterparts and were not allowed to drive police cars. The women in the showbiz who are subject to unwanted sexual attention. Or even minor tasks like catering to other characters and supplying them with tea and biscuits which was also relegated to the investigating women in the story. Also while Emma investigates Edgar her husband and police officer is left to care for their children for one day and realizes how difficult it is. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Netgalley & Quercus Books in exchange for my honest review

  20. 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!

  21. 4 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.

  22. 5 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

  23. 5 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!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ali Bunke

    The most recent book in the Stephens & Mephisto Series (Brighton Mysteries) was an easy and enjoyable read. Set in Brighton in 1965, a murder brings together a Police Investigation and the newly minted detective agency of Emma & Sam. What I really liked about this book was the prominence of women doing the investigation. Police Women Meg is a wonderful character, and hope to read more of her in the future. The mystery is very interesting, with new information being uncovered, which kept me guess The most recent book in the Stephens & Mephisto Series (Brighton Mysteries) was an easy and enjoyable read. Set in Brighton in 1965, a murder brings together a Police Investigation and the newly minted detective agency of Emma & Sam. What I really liked about this book was the prominence of women doing the investigation. Police Women Meg is a wonderful character, and hope to read more of her in the future. The mystery is very interesting, with new information being uncovered, which kept me guessing who was the murderer. It was also nice to see the investigation from two points of view, the police and the private detectives. I think the most unique part was that both investigations co-existed together since Edgar the head of the Police and Emma are married. This is a unique twist that really worked. Thank you Mariner Books and Netgalley for the arc of the book. This is my honest review.

  25. 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Sethi

    I was so excited to hear what happened next after Emma & Sam opened up their private detective agency! It's so refreshing that a woman can get married (even if she had to quit her job as a police officer) and still have a storyline instead of just fading away into the background as a vague keeper of the household. The descriptions of juggling childcare and working also were so accurate and made me feel very seen! This is yet another delightful Elly Griffiths read - not at all predictable, but al I was so excited to hear what happened next after Emma & Sam opened up their private detective agency! It's so refreshing that a woman can get married (even if she had to quit her job as a police officer) and still have a storyline instead of just fading away into the background as a vague keeper of the household. The descriptions of juggling childcare and working also were so accurate and made me feel very seen! This is yet another delightful Elly Griffiths read - not at all predictable, but also doesn't leave you feeling like the author held out on you and there was no way you could have figured it out or seen the outcome coming. *I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 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.

  28. 4 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.

  29. 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.)

  30. 4 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!

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