book review,  mystery

The Hermit of Hisarya

Having read the first four books in the Sam Smith Mystery Series, I couldn’t help but pick up number five when it popped up in my Amazon Recommended.


About the story

The Hermit of Hisarya is slightly different from the previous books in that it’s set abroad in Bulgaria, instead of in Sam’s home country of Wales. When travelling with fiance Alan for a psychology conference, Sam is pulled into a historical conspiracy, where her life and freedom are put at risk.

Themes Explored

Book five follows the themes of family, history, and dark secrets. There is a lot of talk about Communism and Fascism, and how neither system allows people to live freely: someone is always ‘pulling the strings,’ so to speak.


New Characters


During this fifth instalment, I met several new characters connected with Alan’s past. Such characters included a charming Bulgarian couple, the wife’s elderly mother, and their son Mikhail. The host couple appeared gracious, intelligent, and compassionate, even helping Sam out when she is pulled into one of the country’s greatest historical scandals.

Hannah Howe: Author Avatar


Parts I Liked Most

There were several things I liked best about this book, so today, I thought I’d list them as bullet points:

  • How kind the Bulgarian people are to Sam and Alan during their stay.

  • How comparisons are made between modern politics and the past, particularly focusing on lies spread by the general media, to elicit specific emotional responses in its citizens, and to hide important historical facts.

  • I loved the ending: the truth is finally brought to light (don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers as to what the truth is.)

My Overall Thoughts

My overall reading experience was enjoyable. I was constantly left guessing as to what would happen next. The story hooked me from the beginning and delved deeper and deeper into politically criminal acts, which I found fascinating.

Hannah Howe has quickly become one of my favourite mystery authors.
Recommended for cozy mystery and history lovers.

My rating: 5 stars.

Learn more about the book at its Goodreads page


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *