The corpse of an acerbic theatre critic is discovered in the canal, but on further examination, it turns out that he was first drowned in a bathtub. Inspector Witherspoon investigates at the theatre, but Mrs Jeffries concentrates on the critic's murky past - uncovering secrets that are more dramatic than any play. This charming series of Victorian murder mysteries features mild-mannered Inspector Witherspoon of Scotland Yard and, more importantly, Mrs Jeffries, his housekeeper. A policeman's widow herself, her quick wits allow her to nudge the Inspector in the right direction to solve the crime.
In London's smoky taverns, a conspiracy is brewing: a group of wealthy young Catholic dissidents plot to assassinate Elizabeth, free Mary Queen of Scots - and open England to Spanish invasion. But the conspirators have been infiltrated by Sir Francis Walsingham's top intelligencer, John Shakespeare. Shakespeare, however, is torn: the woman he loves stands accused of murder. In a desperate race against time he must save her from the noose and the realm from treachery. And then it dawns that both investigations are inextricably linked - by corruption very close to the seat of power...
In the blazing July heat of imperial Rome, Flavia Albia inspects a decomposing corpse. It has been discovered in lots to be auctioned by her family business, so she's determined to identify the dead man and learn how he met his gruesome end. The investigation will give her a chance to work with the magistrate, Manlius Faustus, the friend she sadly knows to be the last chaste man in Rome.
But he's got other concerns than her anonymous corpse. It's election time and with democracy for sale at Domitian's court, tension has come to a head. Faustus is acting as an agent for a 'good husband and father', whose traditional family values are being called into question. Even more disreputable are his rivals, whom Faustus wants Albia to discredit. As Albia's and Faustus' professional and personal partnership deepens they have to accept that, for others, obsession can turn sour, and become a deadly strain that leads, tragically, to murder.
This is a spellbinding concoction of crime, history and horror - perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and Jonathan Creek. Edinburgh, 1888. A violinist is murdered in his home. The dead virtuoso's maid swears she heard three musicians playing in the night. But with only one body in the locked practice room - and no way in or out - the case makes no sense. Fearing a national panic over another Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult. However, Frey's new boss, Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray, actually believes in such supernatural nonsense. McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And once someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next...
October, 1799. A century is coming to an end, but river policeman Tom Pascoe's work is never done. A new case in London's Docks holds danger not just for Tom but for the nation. Sailing master Robert Cox cannot pay his gambling debts. But he has information about a ship which has arrived in British waters carrying a precious cargo. Selling that information to one of London's most feared men might be Robert Cox's salvation - or his damnation. Elsewhere in the warren of streets and waterways, Tom and his assistant Sam Hart are tipped off about a robbery. Their inquiries take them to London's secretive Jewish community, where a dealer admits to being told that a quantity of silk is about to come on the market. But when Robert Cox goes missing and powerful men from London's underworld and beyond begin to hunt for the silk, Tom finds himself investigating not just a crime but a conspiracy that will threaten his life, his family and his country.
When Mara, Brehon of the Burren, is summoned to the sandy beach of Fanore, on the western fringe of the kingdom of the Burren, she sees a sight that she has never witnessed before during her thirty years as law-enforcer and investigating magistrate: a dead man lying in a boat with no oars. Immediately her scholars jump to the conclusion that the man has been found guilty of kin-murder. The Brehon sentence for this worst of all crimes is that the murderer be towed out to sea and left to the mercy of wind and waves and the ultimate judgement of Almighty God. But Mara notices something odd about the body, something which arouses her suspicions. And something familiar about the boat in which he lies. Soon she has embarked on a full-scale murder investigation. And gradually suspicion dawns that someone near and dear to her is involved in the murder.
1666. London is recovering from the Great Plague and mourning its dead. The city is free at last, like a great old bear, beaten to its knees, bloody but unbowed. But the disease slithered out of London to wreak its evil upon other towns and cities. The worst was over, the Pestilence gone, in search of new feeding grounds, bounteous and plentiful in the villages outside of London. Harry Lytle, who works for Lord Arlington's intelligence service, is sent to Essex where the plague is breeding to track down a traitor and bring him back alive. But things get tricky when Lord Arlington's latest recruit for the mission is a man Lytle left dead. Having learnt first hand of Lord Arlington's barbaric cruelty, Lytle knows he can't refuse the job. Travelling into a disease-ridden village with a murderer seems like a better option.
In this first instalment of the Bow Street Rivals series a riot breaks out in Dartmoor prison, enabling some American inmates to escape. The twin detectives Peter and Paul Skillen catch wind of a projected assassination but the target is unknown. Trouble ensues when a woman from the Home Office vanishes; a mysterious lady turns up at the archery shooting gallery; and Paul's gambling addiction worsens...
St Andrews, 1583. The young king James VI is confined at Falkland Palace, plotting his escape. Dissension rages between Kirk and Crown, the king and his 'lord enterprisers', and between the separate factions of the church. In St Andrews Castle, a bishop in decline plays out his darkest fantasies, while Hew and his friend Giles investigate the true source of his sickness, uncovering corruption at its heart. The death of a young soldier, implicating Hew's sister and Giles's wife Meg, leads Hew to an astonishing discovery, and towards his blackest hour, his fortunes inextricable from those of James himself.
In 1893, Sherlock Holmes and Henry James come to America together to investigate the suicide of Clover Adams, wife of the esteemed historian Henry Adams - a member of the family that has given the United States two Presidents. Quickly, the investigators deduce that there's more to Clover's death than meets the eye - with issues of national importance at stake. Holmes is currently on his Great Hiatus - his three-year absence after Reichenbach Falls during which time the people of London believe him to be deceased. The disturbed Holmes has faked his own death and now, as he meets James, is questioning what is real and what is not. Holmes' theories shake James to the core. What can this master storyteller do to fight against the sinister power - possibly Moriarty - that may or may not be controlling them from the shadows? And what was Holmes' role in Moriarty's rise? Conspiracy, action and mystery meet in this superb literary hall of mirrors from the author of Drood.