Cover Image: The Midnight Hour

The Midnight Hour

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This series continues to entertain Elly Griffiths’ readers. The characters remain  interesting & the plots are tight. This outing has Ella Holmes & her partner Sam Collins flexing their detective skills competing with the Brighton police in what appears to be a locked room case of poisoning.
Was this review helpful?
Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Elly Griffiths' novels, and in particular her Stephens & Mephisto/Brighton Mysteries series, to which this book is the latest and welcome addition. I loved this book, with its gripping plot, appealing characters and evocative setting. Recommended.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths is the 6th in the Brighton Mysteries Series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Mariner Books and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Series Information: (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)
These books are set in Brighton in the 1950's and 60's. Edgar Stephens is the Superintendent for the Brighton police,  his DI is Bob Willis, and the recently promoted Meg Connolly is now a DC.  In addition to being a housewife, and looking after their 3 kids, Edgars' wife Emma is now a Private Investigator.  She uses her maiden name Holmes.   She and her journalist friend Samantha (Sam) Collins, started their own business.  Max Mephisto served with Edgar during World War II in a special ops group created by MI5 called The Magic Men, where they used magic tricks to confuse the enemy.  Max is now an actor, and married to American actress Lydia Lamont.  They have two children.  Max's older daughter Ruby, was once engaged to Edgar.


My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) 
Verity Malone was once a singer and dancer.  But that was a long time ago.  She is now 75, and her 90 year old husband Bert (previously a theater impresario) was just poisoned.   One of their sons thinks his mother is responsible, and so do the police.

Verity hired PI Emma Holmes and her partner Sam Collins to prove her innocence.  This, of course, puts Emma on a collision course with the police, and in particular, her husband Edgar.   She's not sure how much information she wants to share.  Then, Lydia (Max's wife), decides she wants to help out with the case.

Max, of course, knew the deceased, and didn't think very highly of him.  He's not the only one though.  Max is currently in a movie with Bert's son Seth.

Meg, although a little intimidated by Emma, wants to solve this case.


My Opinions: 
The series is just getting better in my opinion.  I am starting to like the characters, although Ruby is still rather unlikeable, and Lydia has never grown on me.  Edgar, Max, Emma and Sam are definite favorites.  Both Meg and Astarte are fun.

Please read this series in order, because the characters have definitely aged since the first book, and a lot has happened to make them what they are today.

The plot was quite good, and I liked the way the story is told through both the police and the PI investigations.  I did NOT guess the perpetrator.

The year is 1965, and there are a lot of "period" mentions regarding fashion, music, and feminism, all of which I found really interesting, and brought up some of my own memories.

I'm looking forward to the next one (didn't think I'd ever say that).....although I still prefer her Ruth Galloway series.
Was this review helpful?
I have been a huge fan of Elly Griffiths’s Dr. Ruth Galloway series since discovering her a few years ago. Even though I didn’t see how a new group of characters could measure up to Ruth, Nelson, and Cathbad, I was excited to see a new-to-me Griffiths series. The Midnight Hour does not disappoint. Even though this was my first exposure to the Brighton world, The Midnight Hour is actually the sixth book in the series. The book stands up well even if you don't already know all the characters. Griffiths introduces a large cast of police, investigators, and townspeople, and she’s so good at character development that it’s easy to keep everyone apart. At first I missed Ruth’s modern Norfolk setting, but mid-century Brighton becomes engrossing. The backstage world of theater and magicians is entertaining setting-as-a-character, and the murder plot is cleverly layered. The Midnight Hour is engaging as a stand-alone, and definitely entices readers to want more. I have already started reading back at book one (The Zig Zag Girl) of the series, and I look forward to exploring more of Griffiths’s Brighton world.
Was this review helpful?
The Brighton police have another murder to solve, but this time there is some competition from an all-female detective agency who has been hired by the victim's widow. Bert Billingham, a theater impresario, has been murdered. Verity Malone, former vaudeville star wants Emma Holmes and Sam Collins to find out who did it. Holmes and Collins are able to go places and get information from folks who will not talk to the police. And, as the police chief's wife, Holmes has access to some police data. Who wanted Bert dead? Almost everyone who knew him. He was a womanizer and a difficult personality. Will Emma and Sam be able to uncover the killer before he strikes again?
Was this review helpful?
I love Giffith's Ruth Galloway series. I was delighted the receive a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my unbiased review.

 The book is set in the 1960s and  features strong female characters.    The historical references and character development made this a good read. I will go back and read the other books in this series.
Was this review helpful?
"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."

Elly Griffiths does it again with The Midnight Hour. I can't get enough of her books!
Was this review helpful?
I stumbled over Elly Griffiths because of her Ruth Galloway series, which I love.  When she came out with the Brighton Mysteries series, of course I had to try it because, well, it's Elly Griffiths.  I can't believe we're already on #6 in the series, and while it's a completely different world (and time) from Ruth Galloway's world, I'm enjoying this series almost as much as Ruth's.  I don't know if she always planned for the series to evolve the way it has, from the post-WWII 1950s world of the "Magic Men" in the first few books to the current books set in the 60s with all the social upheaval of that time period.  More importantly, instead of focusing on the Magic Men, she's now focusing on their women and the men are almost secondary characters.  Whether it was always her plan or not, I like the direction she's taken.  
Griffiths doesn't sugar-coat the reality of two women starting a private investigation service in the 60s, or for that matter the reality of being a female on the police force.  Change is in the wind, but that wind is still more of a light breeze at this point.  Familiar characters from the previous books are here, and the police and the private investigators are both trying to solve the murder of a famous theater impresario who has a reputation of being a rather unpleasant character.  Did his wife poison him?  Or was it one of the many people he'd wronged over the course of his career?  It's an entertaining read and I very much look forward to seeing where Griffiths takes these characters in future books.  (Or are they perhaps taking her there?)
Thanks to Netgalley and Mariner Books for providing a copy for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
I adore the Ruth Galloway series, but am not anywhere near as keen on these books. It's written well enough, but I'm not really interested in stories from this period.
Was this review helpful?
⭐ 

DNF @50%

Throwing in the towel with this one. I just wasn't feeling it. Too slow. Too many boring characters. What more can i say? Not every book can be a winner. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Was this review helpful?
I love this series and this installment was a good addition. The mystery was good and I love the setting of Brighton 1965. The author’s writing style captivating and had me hooked. 
Many thanks to Mariner Books and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Aging music hall star, Verity Malone, is the chief suspect in her husband's poisoning. The Brighton police force is on the case. But, Verity doesn't trust the male investigators and hires an all female private investigation firm. The head of the firm is the wife of the head of Brighton"s police. Hmm, things get interesting. 

This is a review of a digital galley provided by NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I'm an avid reader of Elly Griffiths's Ruth Galloway and more recent D.S. Harbinder Kaur series, but this is my first excursion into her Brighton Mysteries (a.k.a. Stephens & Mephisto) series - and it was great!

It's 1965 and Emma Holmes and Sam Collins, who have recently opened their own private investigations agency, are called in to investigate after the sudden death of retired theatre impresario Bert Billington at his home in Rottingdean. Billington's death at first appears to have been by natural causes, but is subsequently determined by police investigators to be a poisoning. His widow, former show girl Verity, is keen to dispel suspicions that she's responsible, engaging Emma and Sam to find the real culprit.

It doesn't take them long to determine that Bert wasn't a particularly nice man, and has left a number of shattered lives and illegitimate children in his lecherous wake over the years. Their investigations lead them to interview Bert and Verity's middle son, actor Seth Billington, who happens to be working with Max Mephisto in Whitby on a Dracula adaptation. Max, in turn, is a long-time acquaintance of both Bert and Verity, and a meeting between Emma and his glamorous wife, Hollywood star Lydia Lamont throws up some intriguing information about Max and Verity's shared past on the music hall circuit. As they sift through the evidence, including a few red herrings, and gradually untangle the complex web of relationships that exists between the various parties, Emma, Sam and Meg hurtle towards a dramatic climax.

There is an ever-present tension between the police investigation of Billington's murder (for which Superintendent Stephens is ultimately responsible) and Holmes and Collins' parallel private inquiries. It's the first time that Emma has found herself in competition, albeit indirect, with her husband to solve a crime. She frequently faces the dilemma of how much hard-won information she should share with police and when, but meanwhile builds a rapport with young but talented W.P.C. Meg Connolly as both investigations proceed.

This novel departs significantly from earlier instalments in the series, which featured Brighton CID detective (now Superintendent) Edgar Stephens and magician-actor Max Mephisto as central protagonists. In The Midnight Hour, it is Stephens' wife and former police officer Emma Holmes, together with her investigative partner Sam Collins and WPC Meg Connolly, who feature most prominently, with Stephens and Mephisto playing their roles as supporting characters. This change enables Elly Griffiths to explore the issues facing working women in the 1960s, and the embedded misogyny that existed in both the public and private spheres. The historical setting also allows Griffiths to draw in contemporaneous events, such as Sam's coverage of the arrests of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, perpetrators of the notorious "Moors Murders", adding verisimilitude to the narrative.

The Midnight Hour is an entertaining and engrossing mystery, somewhat lighter in tone than Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway books, but just as well-written in terms of plot and character development. I'd recommend it to any reader who enjoys traditional-style murder mysteries and engaging female protagonists.

My thanks to the author, the wonderful Elly Griffiths, publisher Mariner Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this excellent title.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this somewhat cozy mystery, part of the Brighton series.  I read it as a stand-alone, which meant that it took me a few chapters to understand the main characters and their relationships.  Emma and Sam have started a detective agency; prior to that Emma was a policewoman and Sam was and still is a reporter.  When a show business mogul is found dead in his apartment,  there are numerous suspects, including his sons, his wife, the many women he cheated on his wife with, and more.  Meg is a young policewoman also working on the case, who blossoms as she works in tandem with Emma.  I recommend this book, and I am encouraged now to read the series.  Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This is the sixth entry in the Brighton police series.  The repartee among the main characters is quite fun -- love the give and take.  I often cringed at remarks about women, but this is a period piece.  If you are an Elly Griffiths' fan, you'll enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
The Midnioght Hour by Elly Griffiths

This was a good murder mystery novel.  It’s had some very interesting characters.  Many secrets.  It kept you guessing, to them end, who was the murderer?  I recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
The Brighton Mysteries is a historical mystery series by the author of the Ruth Galloway books. The newest installment continues the evolution that we saw in the previous book, which had a ten-year time jump. While the earlier books were set in the 1950's and branded as "The Magic Men Series," the newer books are set in the sixties and focus more on Emma, now married to Superintendent Edgar Stephens. Emma, a former policewoman, is now a private detective. When Bert Billington is murdered in his retirement home, his wife Verity is the #1 suspect. Verity hires Emma to prove her innocence.

All the main characters from the previous books are here--including Max (now a major movie star) and his daughter Ruby (also a famous actress). The tone of the books has changed somewhat now that they are set in a new decade, but I still enjoy the characters and look forward to seeing how they grow from book to book. The author's plots are always engaging, but the characters are what bring me back to Elly Griffiths' universe for each new book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest opinions.
Was this review helpful?
Bert Billington has been poisoned. This isn't exactly surprising as the theatrical impresario had made a lot of enemies in his long life. He was a womanizer and a cheat and so obviously suspicion falls on his wife, Verity Malone. Verity was once a very comely young thing. Everyone had picture cards of her, Max Mephisto even had a dalliance with her, but when she married Bert she became a stalwart housewife, raising their three children in the luxury to which Bert provided. But she was the only one there when he died. So she is the only suspect. And the police don't seem to be too keen to look elsewhere. She could have finally snapped after years of infidelity after all... Which is why Verity reaches out to Emma and Sam to exonerate her. Sure, it might be a bit sticky, Emma being married to the chief of police, but they expected that once she and Sam went into business for themselves that just such an occasion could arise. It just happened a little sooner than they expected. It's their first big case and they want to do right by Verity so they start digging into Bert's Music Hall past and are even given a list of all his women. To say this man had affairs is an understatement. If Verity had wanted revenge why did she wait so long? It just doesn't add up. His eldest son now runs the family business and they actually have women coming out of the woodwork with children they claim are Bert's. More rather than less are credible. Plus there was that nasty business years ago when his affections strayed from his mistress and she went on to kill herself and their child. It shook them all but Bert didn't change his ways. Emma and Sam even reach out to Max to see what he thought about Bert. As luck would have it Max might be more well placed than they could have imagined. Not only did he work with Bert back in the day, he was canoodling with Verity, and as of this moment he's starring in a Dracula film shooting up in Whitby with Bert's son Seth Billington. Maybe Seth, the light of his mother's life, wanted to avenge her? The fact is, with the way Bert lived there were a lot of people who could enact revenge. The question is who? The answer could very well even be Verity.

On the ninth and final season of Dynasty Sable crossed over from the lamentably cancelled The Colbys and got involved in a delicious relationship with Alexis's ex, Dex Dexter. Sable found out she was pregnant and had no plans to marry Dex, even if it would have destroyed her cousin Alexis once and for all. You might be asking why am I mentioning this in a book review, well, change furs for jewels and you have one of the plot points of The Midnight Hour. Yes, Ruby, Max's daughter, is pregnant by none other than a supposedly different Dex Dexter! While I disagree with people who say that Dynasty had lost it's magic in it's final season if you were to ask me if The Brighton Mysteries have lost their magic I would say undoubtedly yes. I mean even in the literal sense because they've renamed it The Brighton Mysteries from The Magic Men Mysteries! I'm sorry, but it's just not working. This second book after the time jump felt like Elly Griffiths was desperately trying to right a sinking ship. Frantically refocusing on the dying world of variety it had eschewed in Now You See Them it felt like it was grasping at straws to regain the fans it had lost with that previous installment. And as for the refocusing on feminine crime solvers, this series has always been fiercely feminine despite the series previously being named after the Magic Men and the continual conks on the noggin to the heroines, but here it's become darker, more toxically feminine. Men are evil and to be destroyed. There was just rancor and vitriol spewing off these pages. Yes, Bert deserved to die. Yes, he was an evil man. But does this mean all men are evil? No. Flawed, yes, evil no. A sad sack neighbor brings flowers and Verity can only see the machinations of the male of the species. I just can't with this negativity. And as for our new erstwhile heroine? I want to like Meg, I long to like Meg, I just am literally indifferent to Meg. She lacks the allure of Max, and yes, I'm saying "allure" like Miranda Hart because I will never picture anyone else as Meg. Meg feels like she is, along with Sam, trying to fill the Emma void with her becoming domesticated, but it just isn't working. And as for Sam and Max, please, dear God no. Just no.
Was this review helpful?
The Midnight Hour is the sixth book in The Brighton Mysteries series by British author, Elly Griffiths. When elderly impresario Bert Billington’s youngest son, Aaron suggests to the Brighton Police that his mother, former variety dancer, Verity Malone poisoned her husband, she engages Holmes and Collins Detective Agency to investigate. 

It’s a little awkward: the first time Emma Holmes is at odds with her husband, Superintendent Edgar Stephens, as his team tries to discover who fed Bert rat poison. Police and PIs question many of the same people for information, but sometimes their methods yield different results. What does come to light is that there are plenty of people with potential grudges against the old man, and that there was a mystery caller to the house in the hours before Bert died. 

And then there is another murder: a different MO, but with certain common aspects, with the result that Emma and WDC Meg Connolly head to Liverpool to interview a couple with a historical bearing on the cases, and from there, unexpectedly to Whitby, where Bert and Verity’s middle son Seth and Max Mephisto are filming a Dracula movie. 

Bert’s reputation as a philanderer swells the list of those with grievances to the families of used and discarded women, some of whose lives he ruined without qualm. Nor do all of his own family hold him in high esteem. But the second victim was a favourite with almost everyone: what could the motive be? 

Griffiths certainly has the reader second-guessing themselves as they settle on a perpetrator, only to be pointed elsewhere as further facts come to light. There are a number of red herrings and plenty of misdirection, from both the characters and the author. At one stage Emma reminds herself that she is dealing with “Actors and acting. Costume and disguise.” 

Once again, Griffiths uses multiple narrators to convey different parts of the story as well as to give different perspectives on events. The story plays out over about six weeks against a background of The Moors Murders. The mid-1960’s era ensures the absence of mobile phones, internet, DNA and even many personal vehicles; thus the detective work relies on heavily on legwork, and intelligent deduction.

Fans will be pleased to have another peek into the lives of this particular cast as the characters grow and develop and face the challenges of the changing world that was the nineteen-sixties. Despite the still-rampant sexual discrimination to which they are subject, Emma, Sam, Meg and Ruby are coming into their own, quietly taking charge of their lives and making their own decisions. This is addictive historical crime fiction.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Was this review helpful?
The Midnight Hour is the 6th book in the Brighton Mysteries series by Elly Griffiths.  This one is a first in this series for me, though I have read several books in the Ruth Galloway series and one of the Postscript Murder books.  I really enjoy this author’s writing style and the interesting, well developed characters she always includes.
This one starts right off with the death of a 90 year old Bert Billinger, former entertainer and producer.  Once it’s determined he was poisoned, the story really begins.   We have members of the police, two female private investigators(one a former police woman) and a cast of mysterious characters from the family and other former entertainers.  The PIs are truly the main characters and they are Emma Holmes and Meg Connolly. 
It was quite the page turner and I never was able to guess the murderer, which is rare.   Overall, it’s a fun story with lots of twists.  I really enjoyed the references to the beginning of the women’s movement in the 60’s, when it was truly about equality in the workplace and the home.  
I highly recommend this author and this book as well as her others.  I know I need to go back and read more of this series.  
I received an ARC from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?