MSB Book Club – July

The MSB book club completed its seventh book and looks at some Pride recommended reads to celebrate the 50 years of Pride in the UK. 

LJ Ross - Holy Island

June’s Book

Senior Associate Solicitor Amy Tagoe selected the book for June, choosing Holy Island by LJ Ross. This was the debut novel of LJ Ross, released in 2015 and the first in the DCI Ryan mysteries. Holy Island was a number one bestseller and LJ Ross has since gone on to write a further 22 novels.

“Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.” 

Amy said she chose the book because “this book combed two things I love: an easy read crime fiction and my home region. The series is set in the North East where I grew up, so many of the locations included and the way the characters speak, such as the phrases and words they use, reminded me of home.” 

Have you read Holy Island or is it in your list to read? Let us know what you thought.  

Team Reviews

“I’m going straight down the middle and rating Holy Island 2 and a half stars. I think the author is talented and the crime aspect intrigued me, but the romance element of the plot did not work for me at all. I think this was down to it being too rushed; so that may improve as the series develops. I would still give the author another try.”  

Michelle Summers, Solicitor **.5 

“5 stars.  I loved it.  I loved the twists in the story and the way the characters developed.  I also loved the fact that it was set in the North East which is where I am from.”  

Amy Tagoe, Associate Solicitor ***** 

“I would give Holy Island 4 stars. I enjoyed guessing who the killer was and found myself picking the book up whenever I could just to get to the bottom of the mystery. I could predict some of what happened but that did not take away the enjoyment for me. I will be reading more of LJ Ross.”  

Rachael Payne, Solicitor **** 

July’s Book

This month’s book was selected by Legal Assistant Amanda Ralph, who has chosen Tale of the City by Armistead Maupin. Tales of the City is the first of nine books in the series by Armistead, all of which are set in 1970s San Fransico.

“San Francisco, 1976. 

A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cutthroat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests. 

The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous.” 

Armistead Maupin came out as gay in 1974 and his series Tales of the City were published not long after. His novel started as a newspaper serial before he edited it into a novel to capture the LGBTQ+ experience in San Fransico. Maupin wrote stories that included everyone, something he did not see in many of the novels published at the time. Tales of the City has also been made into a TV series twice, first in 1993 by Channel 4 and again in 2019 by Netflix.  

Amanda said she chose the book because “My absolute favourite writer is Armistead Maupin; I have been lucky enough to have met him a couple of times. His Tales of the City series is fantastic. Set in San Francisco from the 70’s right up to present day.  There are nine books in the series – but the first, Tales of the City, is an amazing read. I highly recommend.” 

Tale of the City by Armistead Maupin

Pride – 50 years on

For every working day of June, in celebration of Pride 2022 and 50 years of Pride in the UK, MSB colleagues Julia Michalczyk and Rachael Payne sent an email to all MSB staff containing recommendations from TV shows, films, podcasts and of course books that either contain LGBTQ+ characters or were created by those within the LGBTQ+ community. There are so many books available, and it was impossible to include every single recommendation but here are a few: 


  1. How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France (this has also been made into a documentary) 
  2. Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Pregar 
  3. We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib 
  4. The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice by Shon Faye 
  5. Pride: The Unlikely Story of the True Heroes of the Miner’s Strike by Tim Tate (also a film – Pride (2014)) 


  1. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (currently being made into a film by Amazon Prime) 
  2. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera 
  3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller 
  4. Roar by Cecelia Ahern. (Some of the short stories have been made into TV episodes by Amazon Prime) 
  5. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo 

Children’s books 

  1. And Tango Makes Thee by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Illustrated by Henry Cole (ages 0-3) 
  2. Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival (ages 2-4)  
  3. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (ages 4-8)  
  4. Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack. Illustrated by Stevie Lewis (ages 4+)  
  5. Have Pride: An inspirational history of the LGBTQ+ movement by Stella Caldwell (ages 10+)

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