Saturday, 20 November 2021

The Custard Corpses by M.J. Porter (BlogTour + Giveaway)


Chez Maximka, fiction set during WW2, mystery set in WW2

"Could this be it? After all this time, could there be possibility of solving the crime that had driven his old Chief Inspector into an early grave? He certainly hoped there was".

The Custard Corpses by M.J. Porter is a remarkably suspenceful historical mystery/crime/police procedural book, set in Birmingham in the 1940s. 

In Prologue we get a feelting glimpse of the macabre topic. An unknown artist is approached with a strange request to paint a morbid work of art, which should be conducted in full secrecy. He is promised to be paid handsomely, but cannot ever disclose what's he painted to anyone. "He should have been going to the police reporting what he'd been asked to do, but the thought of such a considerable amount of money was too great a temptation." The artist believes this sickening project will give him "freedom from drudgery of day to day work, that's all he ever wanted..."

Erdington, October 1943.

Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is unsettled, when he opens his newspaper one morning. He looks at the old black and white photograph of a seven-year-old boy Robert McFarlane who was found dead in the local churchyard twenty years ago. His cause of death was drowning, and he was missing for three days. No one has been arrested for the crime. There's been no closure for the family.

Robert's sister Rebecca posts a reminder in the local newspaper every year, to mark an anniversary of his death.

The previous Chief Inspector, Mason's boss and tutor, was broken by the failure to solve the death of the boy. CI Fullerton "desired to solve the case, to bring the perpetrator to justice. It was a source of unending disquiet that it had never been possible. 

It had marked him from that day he'd found Robert's body to the day of his death".

This unsolved case has haunted Sam Mason ever since. On the day of the sad anniversary, Robert's sister visits Mason and shows a newspaper which she picked up on her trip to Weston, which features another historical cold case. It appears another family is grieving a death of a young boy, found dead in similar circumstances.

The parallels are too worrying to be dismissed. Mason is surprised. Their police station has sent out notices about Robert's death all those years ago, but nothing was ever reported back. The lead is promising, and Mason intends to follow up the Weston case. He travels to the seaside town, and discovers even more similarities.

Mason and his constable O'Rourke collect the information, sending more appeals to the police around the country. More similar cases come to their notice. All victims were drowned, but found on dry land, fully clothed, and in strange poses. The crimes have been spread around the country. 

The Scottish constable gets involved in the investigation, helping with assembling the evidence and creating useful drawings, which will later lead to a very important clue, connecting the crimes. The killing spree went on for many years,

"Sam searched for some sort of pattern, but there was nothing. It all seemed random, just like the dates of the murders".

The investigation takes Mason on a journey to London, with glimpses of the war all around. His own son is fighting on the front. Mason ponders that the victims, if they lived, would have been grown-ups who would most likely fight for their country as well. 

In the age, when information was not available at the click of the keyboard, the investigation team has to rely on gathering information first-hand from the possible witnesses, in the libraries, archives and even art auction.

Both Mason and O'Rourke are filled with fierce resolve. "But, he knew only too well that tenacity didn't solve a crime or a series of crimes. No, he needed to be intelligent in his approach, consider all possibilities". Mason's sidekick, O'Rourke is a smart police officer, compassionate and resourceful.

Will Mason and O'Rourke be able to solve the cold cases and find the killer? 

The investigation is rather clever and creative, with pieces of the jigsaw puzzle being slotted together one by one. The historical background is authentic and well-researched.

I would have liked to have a deeper insight in the perpetrator's mind. Why were they murdering children in the first place, what was their motivation?

The Custard Corpses is written in the style of classic golden age crime fiction. It is dark, bleak, with a sense of rising unease and despair. A gripping twisty mystery, chillingly executed, and evocative of the turbulent days of the WW2. Deftly plotted, well-researched and accomplished murder mystery.

 Purchase Link -

This post if part of the blog tour for The Custard Corpses. 

Many thanks to M.J. Porter and Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of the book!

Chez Maximka

Author Bio – I'm an author of historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest) and fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed). I’ve recently written a relatively modern mystery novel set in 1943. I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it's little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You've been warned!

Find me at and @coloursofunison on twitter.

Social Media Links –


Giveaway to Win 2 x copies of The Custard Corpses (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –

Worldwide entries welcome.  

Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  

The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. 

If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. 

Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  

Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. 

This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  

I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Please note that this giveaway is being run on several blogs, as part of the blog tour.

Chez Maximka blog is only hosting the Rafflecopter gadget for free, and has no access to the data, or selection of the winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chez Maximka, crime story set during WW2

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting The Custard Corpses today. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book. 👍