Known as the father of forensics and a likely influence on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, real-life police inspector James McLevy is here reinvented by David Ashton in a thrilling mystery - the first in a series - set in dark, violent Victorian Edinburgh.
1880, Edinburgh. Election fever grips the city. But while the rich and educated argue about politics, in the dank wynds of the docks it's a struggle just to stay alive. When a prostitute is brutally murdered, disturbing memories from thirty years ago are stirred in Inspector McLevy who is soon lured into a murky world of politics, perversion and deception - and the shadow of the serpent.
A burglary and murder at the home of Sir Thomas Bouch, the enigmatic architect of the ill-fated Tay Bridge, sets Inspector James McLevy off on a train of brutal killings, lethal liaisons, and double suicide which leads to a violent encounter with an old enemy, Hercules Dunbar. Caught up in a terrifying storm as he tracks his foe to Dundee, McLevy watches the rail bridge collapse and plunge into the icy depths of the Tay. The aftermath brings the destruction of reputation and love as the inspector uncovers the secret passions which have led to murder.
Halloween 1881, Edinburgh, and the dead are restless. In respectable Edinburgh society, beautiful young American spiritualist, Sophia Adler, is causing a furore with her dramatic seances. But the ghosts of the past seem hell-bent on retribution. Inspector James McLevy finds his investigations distracted by more earthly concerns when Muriel Grierson, an outwardly genteel widow is robbed at home. Her knight in shining armour - one Arthur Conan Doyle, recently graduated from medical school - is keen to learn from such a master of detection as the renowned inspector, but McLevy is less sure that he requires a new acolyte. A vicious murder occurs with evidence of supernatural strength and violence. Treachery revenged from a battle long ago. All roads lead to Sophia Adler and the inspector becomes involved with one of the most dangerous women he has ever encountered.
1887. The streets of Edinburgh seethe with anarchy as two gangs of students rival each other in wild exploits. After a pitched battle between them, an old woman is found savagely battered to death in Leith Harbour. Enter the Thieftaker - Inspector Jame McLevy. With Constable Mulholland at his side, he scours the low dives of the waterfront and then sees the tendrils of the case spread to more respectable nooks and crannies. When the inspector encounters Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in the city to bury his deceased father, the two recognise each other as fellow travellers, observers of the dark side of human nature and both hopeless insomniacs. Glimpses of the murderer indicate a slender, androgynous figure with a silver cane, which is used to lethal effect. A dancing killer non unlike Mr Edward Hyde.
In this provocative novel Mark Blacklock portrays the true and complex history of John Humble, aka Wearside Jack, the Ripper Hoaxer, a timewaster and criminal, sympathetic and revolting, the man hidden by a wall of words, a fiction-spinner worthy of textual analysis. In this remarkable work, John Humble leads the reader into an allusive, elusive labyrinth of interpretations, simultaneously hoodwinking and revealing. I'm Jack is a riveting novel about truth, lies, prison and shame. It is also a profound and furious love letter to Sunderland. It is a puzzle, a hoax, a multi-voice portrait and a virtuoso assemblage of textual elements. I'm Jack announces the arrival of a radically talented and innovative novelist.
From the acclaimed author of Wolf Winter comes a second brilliantly written and gripping historical Nordic Noir thriller with all the intrigue and atmosphere of Burial Rites, the pent-up passion of The Piano and the suspense of The Tenderness of Wolves.
Sweden, 1855. 'Worst thing I ever saw...'
The Minister of Justice receives a disturbing message. A massacre on one of Lapland's mountains - a priest, a law enforcement officer, and a local settler have been slaughtered by one of the indigenous Sami people. The murderer is in custody; he refuses to talk. The Minister dispatches his son-in-law, a geologist, to investigate for there is more than one reason to visit Blackasen: it is a mountain with many secrets, a mountain that has never been mapped. Magnus does not journey alone. The Minister's daughter, in disgrace, is sent with him. What they discover about the murders and what lies behind them will be nothing compared with what they discover about themselves. And self-knowledge will come at a bitter price. From the stifling heat and restricted society of a Stockholm summer to the wild landscape of Sweden's far north, this novel tells a powerful story of the collision of worlds old and new.
On a cold November night in a Deptford yard, dock worker Harry Parker stumbles upon the body of a dead woman. Inspector Ben Ross is summoned from Scotland Yard to this insalubrious part of town, but no witness to the murder of this well-dressed, middle-aged woman can be found. Even Jeb Fisher, the local rag-and-bone man, swears he's seen nothing. Meanwhile, Ben's wife Lizzie is trying to suppress a scandal: family friend Edgar Wellings has a gambling addiction and no means of repaying his debts. Reluctantly, Lizzie agrees to visit his debt collector's house in Deptford, but when she arrives she finds her husband is investigating the murder of the woman in question. Edgar was the last man to see Mrs Clifford alive and he has good reason to want her dead, but Ben and Lizzie both know that a case like this is rarely as simple as it appears...
Scotland, 1831. Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiance in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness. After she s commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is shocked to find her client prostrate on the floor. Both a physician and Lord Drummond appear satisfied to rule her death natural, but Kiera is convinced that poison is the real culprit. Now, armed only with her knowledge of the macabre and her convictions, Kiera intends to discover the truth no matter what, or who, stands in her way.
London, 1883: All is quiet at 125 Gower Street. Sidney Grice is swotting up on the anatomical structure of human hair whilst his ward, March Middleton, sneaks upstairs for her eighth secret cigarette of the day. The household is, perhaps, too quiet. So, when a beautiful young woman turns up at the door, imploring London's foremost personal detective to solve the mystery of her father's murder, Grice can barely disguise his glee. Mr Nathan Garstang was found slaughtered in his bed, but there is no trace of a weapon or intruder. A classic locked-room case. But what piques Grice's interest is the crime's link to one of London's most notorious unsolved murders. Ten years ago, Nathan's uncle aunt and servants were murdered in their sleep in the very same house. Now, it seems, the Garstang murderer is back...
When a teacher and pupil are found dead at an exclusive girls' school in Bath, Jack Swann, the Regency Detective, becomes involved in one of the most intriguing cases of his career. Is it a tragic accident, a suicide pact, or murder? As Swann attempts to solve the mystery, his every move is observed by unseen forces with differing motives for him to succeed or fail. Meanwhile, Swann continues to investigate his sister's unscrupulous fiance, combat the local crime boss, and persist in his search for the Scarred Man, who may hold the key to the unsolved murder of Swann's father. But time is running out ...
WINNER OF THE 2015 CWA ENDEAVOUR HISTORICAL DAGGER. London, 1654. Oliver Cromwell is at the height of his power and has declared himself Lord Protector. Yet he has many enemies, at home and abroad. London is a complex web of spies and merchants, priests and soldiers, exiles and assassins. One of the web's most fearsome spiders is Damian Seeker, agent of the Lord Protector. No one knows where Seeker comes from, who his family is, or even his real name. All that is known of him for certain is that he is utterly loyal to Cromwell, and that nothing can be long hidden from him. In the city, coffee houses are springing up, fashionable places where men may meet to plot and gossip. Suddenly they are ringing with news of a murder. John Winter, hero of Cromwell's all-powerful army, is dead, and the lawyer, Elias Ellingworth, found standing over the bleeding body, clutching a knife. Yet despite the damning evidence, Seeker is not convinced of Ellingworth's guilt. He will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice: and Seeker knows better than any man where to search.
1859. St Mary's Church, Spondon. A little girl playing hide-and-seek jumps into a freshly-dug grave to find a dead man already occupying it. It is the body of a senior director of the Midland Railway. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming travel to Derbyshire to investigate.
London, 1750: Beatrice Scarlet is the apothecary's daughter. She can mix medicines and herbs to save the lives of her neighbours - but, try as she might, she can't save the lives of her parents. An orphan at just sixteen, Beatrice marries a preacher and emigrates to America. New Hampshire, 1756: In the farming community where Beatrice now lives, six pigs are found viciously slaughtered, slices of looking-glass embedded in their mouths. According to scripture this is the work of Satan, but Beatrice suspects the hands of men. As she closes in on the killer, she must act quickly to unmask him - or become the next victim herself...
Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues - arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID - embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city. The start of an atmospheric and enticing new historical crime series.
Thomas Pitt arrives at a devastating bombing in Lancaster Gate to find two policemen dead and three more gravely wounded. London's anarchists are blamed, but as Pitt and Inspector Tellman investigate they find it looks increasingly like a personal vendetta against those particular men. Did they lie about a drugs raid that went fatally wrong, and let an innocent man hang? The idea of police dishonesty cuts Tellman to the quick - he joined the force to protect society, not exploit it. But he must uncover the truth, however much he wants to resist the signs of blackmail and corruption. With the threat of further bombings, and their superiors pushing for a quick resolution, Pitt and Tellman find their every move scrutinised, and their own lives suddenly at risk...Treachery at Lancaster Gate is the exceptional new historical thriller from the master of Victorian crime.
London, 1919. While the world awaits the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Holmes and Watson are called to a singular mystery. A severed hand has been found on the banks of the Thames, a hand belonging to a soldier who supposedly died in the trenches. But the hand is fresh, and show signs that it was recently amputated. So how has it ended up back in London two years after its owner was killed?
Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. The Black Death changed many things, and just as it took away his father and elder brothers, leaving Oswald to be recalled from the monastery where he expected to spend his life, so it has taken many of his villagers and servants. However, there is still the same amount of work to be done in the farms and fields, and the few people left to do it think they should be paid more - something the King himself has forbidden. Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight. People claim to have witnessed a huge creature in the skies. A new-born baby is found impaled on a thorn bush. And then more children disappear. Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumour, Oswald must discover what is really happening. He can expect no help from his snobbish mother and his scheming sister Clemence, who is determined to protect her own child, but happy to neglect her step-daughters. From the plague-ruined villages of Kent to the thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald's journey is full of danger, dark intrigue and shocking revelations.
Ancient Roman sleuth Marcus Corvinus is despatched to Gaul on a personal mission for the emperor. June, AD 42. The emperor Claudius himself has requested Corvinus' help in investigating the murder of a Gallic wine merchant, stabbed to death as he was taking an afternoon nap in his summer-house at Lugdunum. Not especially happy at being despatched to Gaul, and even less enamoured of his enforced travelling companion, the insufferable Domitius Crinas, Corvinus is increasingly frustrated as it becomes clear that the dead man's extended family and friends are hiding something from him. Unused to strange Gallic customs and facing an uphill struggle getting anyone to talk freely to a Roman, Corvinus is convinced that there's more to this murder than meets the eye - but, a stranger in a strange land, how is he going to prove it...?
July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England's Lake District, Kiera and Gage's seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter. Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous. Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end...
Set in London in 1837, this is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson. After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she's hiding something, but needs to discover just why she's maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?
April, AD 1193: A usurper threatens England's empty throne. Richard the Lionheart languishes in an Austrian dungeon, prisoner of the Holy Roman Emperor. Eleanor of Aquitaine, his mother, searches for a way to free her eldest son, aware her youngest plots to take the crown. When John seizes Windsor castle, Eleanor summons her trusted agent, Justin de Quincy, to do the impossible - mediate a truce with her rebel son. De Quincy cannot but heed his Queen's demand, but he is already ensnared in another matter: the cruel murder of a young girl, daughter of an itinerant Welsh peddler. He is determined to bring her killer to justice and nothing, not even the threat of war, can keep him from pursuing her murderer.
July, AD 1193: A king's ransom is missing...Richard the Lionheart, captured on his way home from the crusades, rots in an Austrian dungeon. Now England must raise a king's ransom. While his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, ransacks the land for gold to buy his freedom, Richard's younger brother, John, plots with King Philippe of France, England's bitterest foe, to ensure his brother dies in chains. When one of the ransom payments vanishes in the fastnesses of Wales, Eleanor sends her agent, Justin de Quincy, to recover it. Thrust into a maelstrom of intrigue if not outright rebellion, De Quincy's devotion will be supremely tested. For the queen's treasure is elusive, and danger is everywhere...
London, 1815: Constable Charles Horton of the River Police Office is called to investigate the brutal murder of a clerk and his family in London's East End. Horton's investigation draws him into the secretive world of the East India Company, which will stop at nothing to protect the secrets of its vast empire. What is the Company hiding, and why are its employees disappearing - particularly those linked to the small island of St Helena? The trail takes Horton and his wife Abigail from the steps of John Dee's house in Mortlake to the lonely South Atlantic, on the trail of a killer who seems to be the very Devil.