Monday, April 25, 2016

Straight Reading from the Library: Blind Chess by Cristelle Comby

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cristelle Comby will be awarding a autographed copy of the complete 4 book series, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



Alexandra Neve is a student at University College London whose world suddenly falls apart. When her best friend jumps from the university’s rooftop, she can’t stop herself from asking, ‘Why?’ The police rule her friend’s death a suicide and for them the case is closed — so whom can she turn to for help? Sometimes the person you need the most is the one you least expect to find, and in this case it’s none other than Ashford Egan, a blind middle-aged history professor, who’s more willing than most to listen to what she has to say. Neve and Egan are as different as they come. She’s restless, careless at times, and fearless when the need arises, while he’s almost the complete opposite: a deep thinker with an analytical mind, a highly rational and collected individual. As they enter the violent world of the Russian mafia, they must overcome their differences and learn to work together. It’s their only chance if they want to survive.

Read my review here.


When elderly client Doris Hargrave informs private investigator Alexandra Neve that her beloved antique ruby heart necklace has gone missing for the second time in a period of over sixty years, Alexandra knows this is no ordinary jewellery theft. To solve the case, Alexandra and her business partner, blind history professor Ashford Egan, must sift through obscure Holocaust documents to find out the truth. It’s that way that they learn of a secret World War II-era love affair which could hold the key to all the answers they are looking for.

When Alexandra begins to receive anonymous threats and her flat is vandalised, this all becomes personal. Knowing that there is someone out there to hurt her, Alexandra vows to find that elusive ruby heart if it’s the last thing she ever does.


Private investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are hired to succeed where the police have failed, to safely return home a missing ballerina. With no lead to pursue and no idea who could be behind the young woman’s kidnapping, they soon find themselves at a loss as to what to do.

To make matters worse, the heart of England seems to be caught in the middle of a little Ice Age. With snow endlessly falling and Tube lines either too cramped up to use or out of service, it is a pain to do any legwork in the huge metropolis.

Oh, and because trouble never comes alone, there may also be a serial killer on the loose in the streets of East London…


It is supposed to be Neve and Egan. Two partners, a team. What happens when a member of this team of Private Investigators is shot, prognosis unknown?

As Alexandra Neve lays comatose and defenceless, Ashford Egan must take on their enemy alone, and find the cagiest criminal Scotland Yard has seen in decades. Determined to succeed, Egan will stop at nothing. He’ll hit on married women, plant bugs, hire hitmen. And he’ll do it all blind, which makes things ten times as difficult.

Double-crossed by friends, convinced there is corruption in those sworn to uphold the law, Egan is forced to form unlikely alliances as he moves forward in a game that requires skills, nerves of steel, and a willingness to play against all odds.


We once again visit Neve and Egan, only this time Alexandra is in a coma from the gunshot she received at the end of the last book. However, this does not mean that we don't hear from her-- Ms. Comby shares her POV with us as well; even though she's in a coma, she can still hear and understand a lot that's going on. It's an interesting twist in the book.

The main part of the book is told from Ash's POV, and Ms. Comby does an excellent job describing the action with Ash using only the senses he has available as he tries to track down the man responsible.

As always, the mystery itself is wonderfully drawn --I don't want to say too much on that because of spoilers. I especially like that the story is told mostly from Ash's POV; it gives us more of an insight into his character and his view of their relationship.

The story arc began in the first book is completed, but I do hope this won't be the end of this team. I would love to see the author bring them back for more mysteries.

5 stars.

There is something Dimitri isn’t telling me. It is there in his voice. Hidden behind the words, behind the constructs he is trying to project. He isn’t being honest, I am convinced of it. He has the means to get in touch with The Sorter, if he so wants, but that service won’t come for free.

‘You’re a merchant,’ I say.

‘Da,’ he replies. ‘I am.’

‘And you accept all kinds of currencies?’


‘Well,’ I sigh, ‘what will it cost me?’

Dimitri chuckles again. There is a dark sincerity to the sound. ‘I like you, Ashford,’ he says. ‘I have always liked you. You’re blind, but you see more than most. You understand how life works and you accept it. You’re not of my world, but you fit right in.’

I grit my teeth in reply, waiting for the penny to drop.

I hear Dimitri snap his fingers and then footsteps coming closer—a man, judging by the sounds, tall and a little on the heavy side, according to his stride and the echo his boots make on the tiled floor.

‘Sir?’ the newcomer says. He sounds younger than Dimitri, closer to Lexa’s age, I would guess, and eager to please.

Dimitri addresses him in his mother tongue.

‘Yes, sir,’ the newcomer replies before turning on his heel and walking away at a brisk pace.

‘There is a certain something you could help me with,’ Dimitri tells me.

‘Anything,’ I say.

‘A man I have been doing business with has... how would you say... played me.’ He spits the words out as if they are distasteful. ‘He’s been missing since Monday.’

‘What did he do?’ I ask.

‘He ran away with my money.’


‘And I can’t find him. He’s hiding, but his wife is still in town.’

‘And you think she knows where to find him?’ I ask, guessing what I am being “hired” for.

‘Maybe, maybe not. Alas, she has connections and I have to be careful.’

‘Connections?’ I ask.

‘Her sister is police.’ Again he says the word as if it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. ‘My men are keeping an eye on her, making sure the husband doesn’t come for a visit, but that’s all we can do. We can’t be seen. I don’t want the cops to get near me. They are like bloodhounds once they have your scent.’

‘But,’ I say, ‘if someone who isn’t part of your organisation were to do the job and get caught by the dogs... it wouldn’t inconvenience you too much, would it?’

I can hear the smile in Dimitri’s reply. ‘No, it would not.’


Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides. She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

She is the author of the Neve & Egan crime novels series. The four books in the series are Russian Dolls, Ruby Heart, Danse Macabre and Blind Chess.



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  1. Thanks for having me.

    There's also a prequel short story "Personal Favour" that you can get for free on my website:

    Wish you all a great day,