Reviews


Full list of reviews of fiction by Pamela Kelt:



**** ‘Intriguing’,  by Art Chadwick, Chadwick Orchids, VA
published in newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina, plus various orchid magazines

Orchid hobbyists, who are curious about the early days of the sport, will get a kick out of a new book called The Lost Orchid, by Pamela Kelt. The story, although fiction, is based on factual accounts from the late 1800s in England. The author has, no doubt, spent countless hours researching old newspapers and botanical journals in order to give us an insider’s view of what it must have been like to operate an orchid business during this swashbuckling time period.  

A retired plant hunter named John McPhairson runs an impressive enterprise called McPhairson’s Nurseries – “Veritable Kingdom of Orchids” – in Warwickshire, England with rows of glass greenhouses and a conservatory. He knows orchids very well, having travelled the jungles in search of rare plants for decades. He is quite opinionated and “judges a man by the orchids he keeps.”

His niece, Flora McPhairson, has fond childhood memories of playing games in the greenhouses. After being jilted on her wedding day, she returns to the nursery to work and discovers much more than mere flowers. She also longs for a man who is currently deep in the wilderness looking for new species. She reads a letter from him, “I have found a truly remarkable Cattleya in bloom. It has a mystic quality that suggests a great past or a marvellous future.”

Readers are introduced to old-time orchid auctions in which vast sums of money are bid on the latest epiphytes brought in from the wild – maybe a single plant, maybe large lots. Ten thousand specimens of Odontoglossom crispum are being offered. Frenzied bidders have to trust the companies making the claims as the out-of-bloom plants may not be what they say they are.

John McPhairson is pioneering the concept of orchid hybridising – creating a new ‘strain’ by cross breeding two naturally occurring species. This new idea is being met with mixed reviews. While his loyal clients can’t wait to see what the new flowers look like, others are sceptical and protest on religious grounds saying that “hybrids are an aberration of nature.” His competitors must think he is onto something because they are doing everything possible to steal his pollination secrets.

Along the way, we learn about a high society event called a “Grand Flowering” in which a lavish party is thrown for a new orchid’s blooming. We also witness a booby-trapped stud house in which scorpions are released when a stranger is detected as well as a rival’s attempt to wipe out a prized cymbidium crop with an infestation of insects.

The Lost Orchid is just one of seven intriguing novels by Pamela Kelt who lives in Kenilworth, England. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and she has promised a sequel. 
art@chadwickorchids.com

Rated ***** on Goodreads

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***** ‘A highly entertaining read!’
By nanjar, published on Amazon.co.uk

This was a great read with a good pace throughout, smattered with humour and dry wit. From the tense opening, it brought back memories of the time; the political climate; the strikes and general unrest about picketing, though the aspects of journalism were totally new to me. Having read this at a time when storms were raging outside the house the recount of Great Storm of 1987 and its repercussions were so believable. The layers of the story gradually unfold, each interwoven so well that they seamlessly merge. It's very easy to empathise with Clare Forester, though there are times she seems to need a good shake up to reality. Her relationships with her teenage daughter are full of the trials of youth; those with the men in her life are a delight to read, Colin in particular. The best relationship I found was the one with her awful mother- best left alone! I really enjoyed reading towards the end since there were a few possible scenarios playing in my mind, though none quite matched the finale.


***** ‘First-class entertainment’
By Mascaroy, published on Amazon.co.uk

A dramatic opening made a really good introduction to the main character. (There is strong language, particularly so at the beginning but that is journalism!) The story moves forward with excitement and intrigue with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it first class entertainment.


***** ‘Genius’
By Mrs Josephine Roberts, published on Amazon.co.uk

A good quality read that had so much pace and the wry humour woven with rare skill . Brought back memories of the print industry.


***** ‘Loved it!’
By lookbothways, published on Amazon.co.uk

Finished Tomorrow’s Anecdote – loved every minute of it ... Was transported right back to the eighties ... Can’t wait to read the next! Brilliant, Pam!!!


Rated ***** on Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17854958-tomorrow-s-anecdote


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**** ‘Fascinating blend of suspense, history and romance’
By Joyce Wetherbee, published on Amazon.co.uk

This book is far and away my favuorite that I have read by this author so far. The story is set in Scotland at the end of World War I. Soldiers are coming home, some to no jobs while others return to their former employment, displacing the women that held those jobs during the war. Alexandra Milton has three months left on her contract as deputy librarian at St. Peter’s University when the senior archivist returns from war to resume his position. Newly redundant, Alex is sent to inventory, catalog and pack a 17th-century bequest left to the university.

Almost as soon as she arrives Alex is beset with problems. Someone breaks into the library before she barely makes any progress, an attempt at arson and a stunning find. Along the way, she is rebuffed and all but ignored by James Buchanan whose law partner is handling the bequest, attacked by unknown persons and finds herself developing an interest in David Sinclair, the solicitor handling the bequest.

Murder, unscrupulous dealings, revolutionaries, battle weary soldiers and romance combine to make a compelling story. The attention to detail makes it obvious the level of research the author undertook prior to writing. I enjoyed learning about the use of interludes, what they are and how they could enhance a play or be used to make social, political or religious comments. This was the most fascinating part for me. I enjoyed the interplay between the characters as they got to know each other and seeing Alex become a part of the community while working to archive the books and documents.

As a whole, a wonderful story that anyone who enjoys this genre should pick up. The author calls this an historical romance, but I would add mystery or suspense to that as well. I would be more than happy to read more books like this by Ms Kelt.


***** ‘Engaging. Post WWI Scottish espionage tale has much to recommend’
By Jason, published on Amazon.com

Pamela Kelt’s DARK INTERLUDE starts from a place of historical research – a librarian begins to uncover the political sub-themes woven into Spanish comic stage interludes – but quickly catches the reader up into more immediate intrigues. When Alexandra Milton starts to curate the collection of a researcher who died under mysterious circumstances, she becomes enmeshed in a plot by Russian anarchists to stage a worker’s revolution in post WWI Glasgow.

The fun for me with this book came from learning about the turbulent history of a place and time I was not at all familiar with; the author seamlessly weaves fact in with fiction. The story picks up its pace as it progresses, and the second half of the book is particularly exciting, with the protagonists engaged in sabotage and forced to escape their dangerous captors. While a little lengthy, DARK INTERLUDE is a solid book with engaging (surprisingly contemporary) characters and a fast-moving plot that keeps the reader engaged. This tale reminded me of another great book about a woman spy presented against a wartime backdrop, THE SMILER WITH THE KNIFE by Nicholas Blake.


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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***** ‘Intrigue and style’
By Heather Brainerd, published on Goodreads

Half Life has the perfect blend of intrigue and style. The elements of mystery kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. I loved the pre-WWII feel of this book. Although it has two authors, I absolutely could not tell where one left off and the other picked up. The two writers were able to blend their work seamlessly. I was also very impressed with the amount of research which must have gone into this book, though it didn't read at all like a text book. Well done.


**** ‘Enlightening’
By Mrs Josephine Roberts, published on Amazon.co.uk

Read in two sittings as it was very gripping a good balance of tech speak and totally incomprehensible language but that did not detract from the enjoyment. Good sound characters so well written I almost wished them well in Berlin [for the sequel].


***** ‘Exhilarating adventures in espionage’
By Elka Gimpel, published on Amazon.co.uk

It’s the early days of the Third Reich, and Dr. Dulcie Bennett, an intelligent and competent scientist, finds herself embroiled in Nazi conspiracies, a simmering romance, espionage, and political intrigue. Backdropped by Norway's icy fjords and northern lights, Half Life is an alluring, sepia toned thriller. With perfectly paced action and slow-boiling tension, you can't help but be lured into the sultry spirit of this noir adventure.

Meticulous research is critical to giving the proper atmospheric feel to an historically set novel. In this regard, Half Life is more akin to the Blitz of Poland than the invasion of Russia; that is to say, it is a resounding success. The merging of this unique story with the historical context of the time is seamlessly executed. There are no overwrought 1930s caricatures here.

Real explorers, expeditions and scientists have a role to play in the plot, and brilliant tribute is paid to John Buchan – the man credited with inventing the archetypical man on the run. The science that permeates the story is simple, accessible and fascinating. Several of the story's elements such as cyclotrons and the Sami people sent me straight to Google to learn more.

With romance, politics and science, there is something in Half Life for everyone to love. If you're a history buff, you're going to love this story for the details. And even if you're not, you're going to love it just because it is extremely well written and exhilarating.


***** ‘A very good read!’ 20 July 2014
By Mascaroy, published on Amazon.co.uk

A fascinating story, pacy and exciting. I have to confess I didn’t understand all the technical stuff but that didn’t matter. The atmosphere created in the book was tremendous and obviously well researched. A very good read!


**** ‘Fast-paced and entertaining’
By Anne Craig, published on Goodreads

A very entertaining adventure in an unusual setting - a chilly, damp Norway. A strong female lead, political intrigue, military menace, science, humour and a fast-paced plot makes for a good read.


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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***** ‘Incredibly imaginative’
By Mascaroy, published on Amazon.co.uk

I read the whole book in one go - just could not put it down! If you like the Hobbit or the earlier Harry Potter books you will love this. It is full of weird and wonderful creatures – incredibly imaginative. This is the third book I've read by this author – all are completely different and all are cracking reads.


**** ‘Best MG/YA I’ve read in a long time ... Terry Pratchett has a potential successor in Pamela Kelt.’
By Marva Dasef, published on Amazon.com

I am mightily tempted to allot the fifth star to this book, but I'll restrain myself. Where is that 3/4th star?

Terry Pratchett has a potential successor in Pamela Kelt. She never misses a great pun, her characters are as wacky as Pratchett's odd assortment on Discworld, and she writes very well too boot. Her British take on language makes it even more of a treat for those of us from the Colonies.

There are couple of tiny little goofs that make me feel okay about withholding that 1/4th of a star. Most readers would never even notice them. I’m so hypersensitive to the little flaws since I’ve done a whole lot of proofreading in both technical and fiction books over far too many years, I am incapable of not noticing...unless I’m the author, of course, when I can miss every misuse of there/their/they’re.

Anyway, well done, Pamela Kelt. You’ve got a winner here.


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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*****
‘Good intro to a new series’
By Joyce Wetherbee, published on Amazon.co.uk

Svila and Petra are the only two who manage to escape when Kurova Grax captures their troop of players. Clutching the papers their manager, Zoran shoved at them just before their escape, the girls need all their wits and talents to survive. Holding tight to Zoran’s last words to stay safe and save Liria, Petra and Svila puzzle out the clues in his notes. To save their country from Grax and her Buran army, they need to find all the pieces of the royal crown and put it back together.

I enjoyed the premise of this story. A country overrun by a greedy neighbour, a magical royal crown disassembled into its component pieces and hidden, two girls on their own against incredible odds with occasional help from hidden members of Zoran’s army. The clues are all there, they just have to figure them out. My favourite part was when the girls were caught hanging in mid-air by Skaliari and all the birds he’d tormented came back to attack him. Yeah, justice on the wing. Loved it.

The book didn’t grab me right away. I started it a few times and went on to something else. Once I did get into the story, I was there for the duration. Overall, this is a well written story. A few errors were missed in editing and created hiccups in reading for me, a word missing from a sentence here and there that had me backing up to reread that part. In spite of this, I’d like to read the next book in the series. I’d like to see what other challenges and friends the author brings to Petra and Svila.


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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***** ‘I may not be a YA, but this fantasy adventure entertained me on my journey to work’
By June Gundlack, published on Amazon.co.uk

A lovely fantasy adventure set in the crowded Mudwells where orphan Claramina (Mina) a young trainee seamstress is taken away from her work and home after being accused of a crime she did not commit, by the evil wicked childmongers and forcefully moved to the dingy workhouse set in True Haven.

The scenes are well described and took me on an adventure. I loved the characters, especially the protagonist, Mina. She wants to protect the other children and takes on a caring role for Barley, another of the orphans captured by the wicked childmongers. She manages to keep a clear head and be one step ahead of the childmongers, the wicked evil twins, Dandy and Dinmont and the scary Mrs Bellyband, a character who scares everyone, even her husband, Mr Bellyband.

The character names are brilliant and suit the story. Mina manages to escape with the help of Mr Bellyband... but straight into another world of more challenges and adventures of a miniature kind. She has to escape and fears for the safety of Barley, who does not enjoy good health and who is left behind at True Haven without her to protect him.

I loved the friendship between Otto the clockmaker and Mina and Mina and Mr Bellyband. In places I imagined the worst, and suddenly a brilliant plan or manoeuvre would save the characters who I had grown to like. Good overpowers evil.

I enjoyed this and it kept me hooked to the end. I may not be a YA but this was great entertainment for me on my journey to work.


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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The Deed Box (short story, free on Smashwords)

***** ‘Fun story. You’ll enjoy this one’
By Joyce Wetherbee, published on Smashwords

This is a fun little story. Two sisters don't like their father's mother, at all. Unfortunately for them, their grandmother moves in after their parents die in a car accident. The good side of this is that at 15 and 16 years old, they won't have to live under her thumb for much longer. Shelby, the younger sister, found her escape in marriage. Helen went to college and got her degree. Since her sister never came around, Helen is surprised when Shelby and her husband show up for a visit earlier than expected. What takes place from here is for you to read.

As an introduction to an author, this book is great. Kelt has a lively wit and sense of humour (as well as justice) that shine in the few pages of this story. She has encapsulated everything you need to know about the characters in a way that lets you know who they are without the need of more pages. You know who you like and who you don’t. When I reached the end of the story, I was telling (no names to avoid the spoiler) someone, “Yeah, serves you right!” and grinning. I think you'll enjoy this one.


*****  ‘Deliciously macabre’
By K. Spinneyfield, published on Goodreads

‘Deliciously macabre. More Sublime Crime, please!’


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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A Walk in the Park (short story, free on Smashwords)


**** ‘Perfect ending’
By Lacey Font, published on Smashwords

This was a great and very imaginative story. I loved the imagery and details, and the ending was perfect. A short, sweet, and exciting story for Christmas or any time of the year.


***** ‘Chilling and witty’
By K. Spinneyfield, published on Smashwords

A deliciously chilling and witty read - just what you'd expect from this author. It's a rich, atmospheric blend of the supernatural, historical fiction, romance and suspense. I just adore the crazy take on the festive chiller. More, please. Although I may never go for a walk in the park on my own again. Ever. Dazzling - the perfect Christmas ghost story.


Rated ***** on Goodreads

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Not With A Whimper by Peter A. W. Kelt (presented by Pamela Kelt


***** ‘Wit and compassion. Integrity shines through’
By Nik Morton, published on Goodreads

If you’ve enjoyed Alistair Maclean, Eric Ambler, Raymond Chandler, Gavin Lyall, and Desmond Bagley, to name a few, then this novel is right up your street.

It’s the early 1970s, before the demise of Franco. The narrator, Alan Christian is a recalled British agent sent to discover the truth behind the death of another agent, Lynd, ostensibly a shooting accident. His descriptions are clipped, precise and raise a smile of admiration or even of humour. Alan’s enquiries move from one eccentric or sinister character after another. He is also threatened, and in turn threatens others.

In typical fashion, he gets knocked unconscious by ne’er-do-wells from time to time. And finds himself in strange places and predicaments.

Of significance is the US naval base, Rota – which is now called Naval Station Rota, Spain. There’s a conspiracy, and a hare-brained scheme to change the world. It seems that Alan’s meddling is liable to put a Spaniard in the works.

I enjoyed this character-driven thriller very much, not least since it concerned a familiar yet now altered Spain. Alan Christian is of the old school, a polite, honourable, tough, and stubborn man who liked to drink and smoke too much, but most of all cared about the world he lived in. His integrity shines through, despite his bone-breaking travails.

If you like your heroes to be world-weary with wit and compassion, then try this posthumous ‘original cold war thriller’.


***** ‘A fascinating story of intrigue’
By Angela H, published on Amazon.co.uk

Not With A Whimper by Peter A.W. Kelt is a fascinating story of intrigue set in Spain in the latter years of the Cold War. Awash with diverse personalities it achieves an ideal balance between storyline and meticulous description of each fascinating character. To enhance the reader’s experience the author’s skills manifest themselves not only in a keen observation of social habits but also in the vivid descriptions of the characters and the depiction of landscapes and environments in which they appear. The unfolding plot invoking suspense yet interspersed with humour makes for compelling reading yet requires some concentration. In this respect this interesting work is well worth a second read in order to appreciate more fully the writer’s sensual perception thus giving the reader the opportunity to live and breathe the story as it unfolds. This work is surely worthy of finding its way into the hands of dramatists as it presents an array of detailed material for a gripping film. It is a pity the author did not live long enough to see his work in print however his family can be proud of such a valuable legacy.


***** ‘Taut and punchy’
By RJ Deeth, published on Amazon.co.uk

Just downloaded the e-book version and read Chapter 1 during a break. I’m hooked. Taut, punchy style. You’re right there in the shabby hotel room of the opening scene and you can’t help thinking something bad is about to happen... Off home early so I can continue without interruption.


***** ‘The pace moves along quickly with no unnecessary wordiness. A great read’
By Mascaroy, published on Amazon.co.uk

It was fascinating to read a book actually written in the time of the Cold War which made it so much more believable. No mention of personal computers, mobile phones etc! The pace moves along quickly with no unnecessary wordiness. A great read which I recommend!


Rated ***** on Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21972253-not-with-a-whimper?from_search=true

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