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Circle of Fire by Joyce Egginton
This true crime novel is from 1996 and centres on the death of infant Kristie Fischer in a fire in 1991. The family and police scapegoat the 20 year old au pair Olivia Riner. Her Swiss-German stoicism and limited grasp of English counted against her and she was tried for murder in what was dubbed the Swiss Nanny Case.

The trial revealed a botched investigation, incompetence and how other obvious suspects were overlooked. Riner was acquitted but Egginton constructs a bizarre case to show that she had to be guilty. Egginton does not convince and it is yet more scapegoating. This is a dull, biased account.

Angel: Vengeance by Scott Ciecin and Dan Jolley
From 2002, a life coach is evil or something. So Wolfram & Hart ask Angel and his gang to look into her. This was dull and badly written with exposition dumps. It was boring, pee poor and numbingly idiotic.

Tempting Fate by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
From 1982, this is a tale of the Comte Saint-Germain. In 1917, Saint-Germain manages to escape Russia, he finds an orphan child and makes her his ward and sets up a new life in Germany. But Germany in the aftermath of the Great War is non too welcoming to foreigners and slowly but surely the NSDAP are rising to power.

Saint-Germain helps a Russian Duchess out of poverty and befriends a landed German noblewoman who faces ruin because of her feckless brother. Looming as always is Madeleine de Montaila, Saint-Germian’s ‘great love’. This has romance, tragedy and looming disaster. This starts very slowly but improves as it goes on. It is good and a scary look at a county heading for terrible things.

Best Lines:
“We are not simply a group of discontented radicals given to street-corner oratory and beer-hall brawls.”

“He frowned distantly, remembering Ranegonda in her stark, cold keep.”

“Recluses attract too much attention to themselves.”

“She could be heard shouting for Roger and screaming insults at Ragoczy.”

“Her intentions, I think, were like a bad opera plot.”

“I have not yet seen Puccini’s last opera. I suppose I must live.”

“The only thing he’s about to attack in the condition he’s in is the chamber pot.”

“A year ago I would have flung the salad at him for being with her.”


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