Historical Mystery with Karen Charlton Author of the Detective Lavender Series

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London, 1812. At a fashionable address in leafy Mayfair, a far cry from Detective Stephen Lavender’s usual haunts, a man is found dead in his room. He has been brutally stabbed, but the door is locked from the inside and the weapon is missing.

The deceased is David MacAdam, an Essex businessman with expensive tastes. As Lavender and Constable Ned Woods travel between London and Chelmsford seeking to understand MacAdam’s final hours and unearth the grisly truth, they uncover a tangled web of deceit behind his stylish facade. The unusual circumstances of MacAdam’s death are nothing compared to the shady nature of his life and it seems the house on Park Lane is at the heart of a dark conspiracy.

But when a second body turns up, everything they think they’ve learned is thrown into doubt. Can Lavender and Woods find out who’s behind these shocking murders before more lives are ruined?

 

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Interview

 

What motivated you to begin writing historical mysteries?


Many moons ago, I used to write murder mystery weekends for Raven Hall Hotel near Scarborough and I’d always been interested in crime fiction. While researching my husband’s family ancestors we discovered that he had a Regency gaol-bird roosting in his family tree; his 6 x Great-grandfather was Northumberland’s most notorious burglar. Following a massive robbery at Kirkley Hall and a very controversial trial, Jamie Charlton he was finally sentenced to transportation to New South Wales. I quickly realised that if I didn’t write about this miscarriage of justice in book, I would never fulfil my ambition to be a writer because the perfect plot had just landed in my lap. I wrote Jamie’s story in my debut novel, Catching the Eagle.

While researching this first novel, I was fascinated to discover that a Bow Street Principal Officer called Stephen Lavender had been brought up from London to investigate the Kirkley Hall Mystery. I had no idea at the time that Bow Street officers were hired out like private investigators to solve mysteries in the provinces. When it came to choosing a detective for a new crime series set in Regency London, Lavender was the perfect choice. I’d become quite fond of him and his genial sidekick, Constable Ned Woods and especially enjoyed writing the banter between the two men.

 

 

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What impressed you to write about Detective Stephen Lavender?

I enjoy writing about a real officer who was busy solving crime at the start of the nineteenth century. This was an age without forensics and fingerprints; crimes were solved with intelligent deduction and steady, plodding police work that left no stone unturned. I’ve found a lot of information about Lavender and his cases reported in the newspapers of the time and sometimes the real-life crimes he solved have inspired the plot of my novels.


 

What was the historical background of London 1812?


1812, the year of Murder in Park Lane, the fifth novel in the series was in the era we call the The Regency Period.  Mad King George III was the King and Napoleon Bonaparte was still terrorising Europe although Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, was now chasing him out of the Iberian Peninsula back to Paris. It was an era of dashing, scarlet-clad cavalry officers, women in pretty bonnets and floaty muslin gowns and a massive expansion of the British Empire. We’d lost the American colonies but Britain still had India and the powerful East India Company was opening up the Asian sub-continent, stripping it of its riches and shipping them back to London in massive cargo ships.  London was the biggest and richest city in the world and the British navy dominated the high seas.

 

 

 

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Who is David MacAdam and what role does he play in the story?


David MacAdam, an Essex businessman with expensive tastes, is the victim in Murder in Park Lane. His body is found in mysterious circumstances in his bed chamber in a lodging house in leafy Mayfair. He’d been stabbed to death but his door was locked on the inside and there was no sign of the murder weapon in the room. But as Lavender and Woods soon discover, the unusual circumstances of MacAdam’s death are nothing compared to the shady nature of his life and it seems the house on Park Lane is at the heart of a dark conspiracy. MacAdam was a man of secrets.

 

 

What is Park Lane?

Park Lane is a major road in the City of Westminster in London. It runs from Hyde Park Corner in the south to Marble Arch in the north. Hyde Park was opened in the 16th century for wealthy Londoners to enjoy and the houses that overlook it on Park Lane have been some of the most-sought after properties in London ever since. Park Lane is the second most expensive property on the London Monopoly board.

 

 

 

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What was the police department like during this time period?

There was no official police force in the United Kingdom at this time. The British police force wasn’t formed until 1829.  In the Regency Period, crimes were usually investigated by local magistrates and a few police constables attached to their office. They used the reward system or a string of informers (usually fellow criminals) to track down the villains but both of these systems were notoriously unreliable and justice wasn’t always achieved or fair in Britain at this time. The officers at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Office in London had the best reputation in the country for crime solving and, as I’ve explained above, their Principal Officers, including Stephen Lavender, were often hired out to help provincial magistrates or wealthy private landowners solve difficult crimes.

 

 

Tell us some interesting facts from researching for Murder in Park Lane.

While researching the manufacture and export ready-to-wear male garments for this novel, I was particularly intrigued by the sheer scale of trade between Britain and the United States during this period when we were supposed to be at war with each other (The War of 1812).

As most lovers of Regency fiction will be aware, women’s fashion of this era was highly ornate and dependent on a precise fit, so ready-to-wear garments for women weren’t widely available. However, the relatively simple, flattering cuts and muted tones of men’s fashion made proportionate sizing possible in mass production. I learnt from my research that by the late 1700s, the English city of Bristol, was home to over 200 businesses that exported hats, gloves, drawers, pants, stockings, shirts, jackets, and footwear, mostly to the United States. When you consider the vast array of other businesses manufacturing items for export to America in Bristol – and in London and the other cities of Britain – the breathtaking scale of our trans-Atlantic trade becomes clear.

 

 

 

 

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About Karen Charlton

 

Karen Charlton writes historical mystery and is also the author of a nonfiction genealogy book, ‘Seeking Our Eagle,’ and the joint author of the cosy chicklit series, ‘The Silver Sex Kittens’. She has published short stories and numerous articles and reviews in newspapers and magazines. An English graduate and ex-teacher,
Karen has led writing workshops and has spoken at a series of literary events across the North of England, where she lives. Karen now writes full-time and is currently working on the sixth Detective Lavender Mystery for Thomas & Mercer.

A stalwart of the village pub quiz and a member of a winning team on the BBC quiz show ‘Eggheads’, Karen also enjoys the theatre, and she won a Yorkshire Tourist Board award for her Murder Mystery Weekends.

Find out more about Karen’s work at http://www.karencharlton.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Your Last Lie by Gretta Mulrooney

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YOUR LAST LIE (Tyrone Swift #6) by Gretta Mulrooney

Looking for your next unputdownable mystery? Meet Detective Tyrone Swift. He takes the cases that the police have given up on.

 

Pilot Greg Roscoe is found stabbed to death in his cockpit. His body has been mutilated.

Detective Tyrone Swift is hired by the pilot’s parents to investigate the death. Greg had a tangled personal life, with three wives and a history of adultery and risk-taking.

 

Who wanted him dead and why?

The prime suspect was cleared by the police but Swift quickly puts together a list of people with a motive to kill Greg. And then Swift gets information from the deceased man’s troubled teenage daughter that may unlock the puzzle.

 

 

 

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Can Detective Tyrone Swift get to the bottom of this tangled web of lies?Discover the truth in this crime thriller full of twists and turns.

 

YOUR LAST LIE is a beautifully written mystery that will have you gripped from start to pulsating finish.

Perfect for fans of Robert Galbraith, P.D. James, or Ruth Rendell.

 

 

 

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I’m not sure where I’ve been, but I need to read more Tyrone Swift! A unique flavor in the crime thriller genre. Now I have to go back and read the first five books!

 

 

 

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THE DETECTIVE

Tyrone Swift is an ex-police detective who now works privately. He’s survived a stabbing and his fiancée running off with another man. Swift’s personal life is complicated, to say the least.

 

 

 

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THE AUTHOR

Gretta is a critically acclaimed author of best-selling fiction.

‘Mulrooney has a real gift for dialogue, the words and phrases ring true and make her characters wonderfully real . . . A tenderly funny and genuinely moving piece. I loved it.’ Fiona Morrow, Time Out (about ARABY)

A beautifully observed study of reconciliation, Araby makes astute points about conflict and shifting values between generations.’ James Eve, The Times

 

 

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THE TYRONE SWIFT DETECTIVE SERIES

BOOK 1: THE LADY VANISHED

BOOK 2: BLOOD SECRETS

BOOK 3: TWO LOVERS, SIX DEATHS

BOOK 4: WATCHING YOU

BOOK 5: LOW LAKE

BOOK 6: YOUR LAST LIE

 

 

 

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AUTHOR BIO

I was born and educated in London, of Irish parents. I studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Ulster, Magee college in Derry. I have worked in education and social care.

I started writing in my thirties and I published four books for children and teenagers with Poolbeg Press, Dublin; A Can of Worms, A Nest of Vipers, A Den of Thieves and I Love You-Te Quiero. These books are available on Amazon.

I have published five literary fiction novels.

Araby and Marble Heart were published by Harper Collins to critical acclaim. They have been translated into Dutch and Spanish.  These books are available on Amazon. They are being reissued in May 2016 by Fourth Estate as Kindle and paperbacks.

Fire and Ice, Out of The Blue and The Apple of Her Eye were published by Robert Hale. These books are available on Amazon.

Out of The Blue was published by Joffe Books as an e book and paperback in February 2016 and is available on Amazon.

Lost Child was published by Joffe Books as an e book and paperback in March 2016 and is available on Amazon. (This was previously published as Fire and Ice by Robert Hale.)

Coming of Age was published by Joffe Books as a e book and paperback in April 2016 and is available on Amazon. (This was previously published as The Apple of Her Eye by Robert Hale.)

I have always been an avid reader of crime fiction and psychological thrillers. I have started a series of crime novels featuring charismatic private detective Tyrone Swift.

The Lady Vanished was published as an e book and paperback by Joffe Books in December 2015 and is available on Amazon.

Blood Secrets, the second novel featuring private detective Tyrone Swift, was published as e book and paperback in spring 2016 and is available on Amazon.

Two Lovers, Six Deaths, the third Tyrone Swift novel, was published as an e book and paperback in December 2016 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

Watching You, the fourth Tyrone Swift novel, was published as an e book and paperback in June 2017 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

Low Lake, the fifth Tyrone Swift novel, was published as an e book and paperback in March 2018 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

Bound By Lies is a boxset trilogy of the first three  novels in the Tyrone Swift series. It was published as an e book and paperback in June 2017 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

 

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Book Review: The Burning Men by Steve Parker

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THE BURNING MEN by Steve Parker 

Discover a crime thriller full of shocking twists by one of the most exciting new authors you’ll read this year.

A MAN IS BURNT AT THE STAKE IN A LONDON PARK. HIS SMOULDERING CORPSE IS A MESSAGE OF THE MOST VIOLENT KIND.

The man burnt alive is Davey Caine. He is the heir to the criminal empire created by his father, William ‘Billy’ Caine. Billy is a notorious and violent gangster with total control of South East London. But he’s not the man he used to be and the sharks smell blood in the water.

Detectives Ray Paterson and Johnny Clocks must find the killer before Billy extracts his own brand of justice. They find themselves drawn ever deeper into London’s underworld.

The streets explode into violence and the body count rises. Men are shot and burned alive in a tit-for-tat power struggle between rival gangs.

Detectives Ray Paterson and Johnny Clocks find themselves trying to control men of extreme viciousness. Men who have no fear of the law and its consequences and who are unafraid to kill anyone who stands in their way — including police detectives.

Paterson is stunned when he’s offered the chance to stop the conflict dead in its tracks. If he ignores it, the mayhem continues. If he takes it, there will be a price to pay.

What he doesn’t know is that the price will come with hidden and devastating consequences.

ON THE STREETS OF LONDON, A SIMMERING GANG WAR IS ABOUT TO ERUPT WITH PATERSON AND CLOCKS CAUGHT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE.

This is the third in a series of action-packed, edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers, with an ending that will have your heart in your mouth.

Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Martina Cole.

Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson is a young and (thanks to family money) wealthy womaniser, separated from his model wife and tipped to be the youngest ever commissioner of police. He knows he’s weak when it comes to practical policing and struggles to find a place among his peers, desperate to be a good policeman and not just a ‘climber’.

Detective Inspector Johnny Clocks is a foul-mouthed, working-class officer. He grew up surrounded by rogues and villains to become a first-class thief taker with the Met police. However, his childish attitude has short-circuited his career and he spends his days antagonising as many people as he can.
 
THE AUTHOR

Steve Parker is a retired police officer who served for 20 years in numerous high-profiles squads.

THE SETTING
Bermondsey is an area of London nestled on the banks of the River Thames. It once had a reputation for housing more armed robbers, murderers and career criminals than anywhere else in the country. Now one of the most upmarket places to live and work in London, it has all but severed itself from its working-class roots. Home to the iconic Tower Bridge and crammed with expensive apartments, art galleries, fancy restaurants and famous residents. But for the police, those who truly know, Bermondsey never lost its roots . . . or its reputation.

DETECTIVE RAY PATERSON
Book 1: THEIR LAST WORDS
Book 2: THE LOST CHILDREN
Book 3: THE BURNING MEN

 

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This one was definitely a page turner! Detectives Ray Paterson and Johnny Clocks are quite a pair! I love how Steve Parker has created these characters and put them in the midst of a stellar plot. I can’t say this about every book, but it was so easy to get lost in pages to find out what happens next. A gripping crime. Hidden messages. Gangsters in London’s underworld–This was quite a surprise!

 

 

 

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Book Review: Murder in Mind by Faith Martin

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DI Hillary Greene is back!

 

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE IS SOLVING THE COLD CASES NO ONE ELSE COULD CRACK.

 

 

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PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “THE WORK OF A NARROW MIND.”

Seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Perkins was found battered to death in her home in 2010. The murder weapon was suspected to be a fire poker and it seems she was quite popular with older gentlemen.

Her grandson Robbie inherited everything, but he can’t be placed at the scene of the crime.

WHO KILLED THIS HARMLESS OLD WOMAN AND WHY? AND WHAT SECRETS WAS SHE HIDING?

Hillary also has a new boss and a baffling cold case to contend with, not to mention a marriage proposal to consider.

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a cold-case consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go back. But solving crimes is irresistible for Hillary Greene.

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely thrilling conclusion.

What readers are saying about MURDER IN MIND

“A really enjoyable read.” Nicki

“Well written and intriguing.” Sue

“Can’t get enough of this series – absolutely love Hillary Greeneand her team.” Nerys

“Another really well written mystery with a brilliant ending.” Barbara

 

 

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THE DETECTIVE

 

 
DI Hillary Greene
An attractive, single woman nearing the landmark age of fifty, Hillary Greene was a police officer of many years’ experience (earning the rank of DI) and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knew how the system worked, and was always fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. Forced to retire early through no fault of her own, she has now returned to the force as a civilian consultant on cold cases.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “THE WORK OF A NARROW MIND.”

 

 

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Faith Martin has another great crime mystery penned in Murder in Mind. DI Hillary Greene is back on the scene as a consultant solving cold cases no one else can solve. The plots are always spot on with every book I read in this series. One of the things I notice when I read Faith Martin’s books is how she uses a good blend of narrative and dialogue. There’s a seamless use of two so intertwined you hardly notice it. Faith has a strong use of narrative to drive the story, deepen characterization, point of view and sprinkle in backstory when it’s needed. Sometimes when you do this dialogue can suffer, but the characters still dance off the page in her books. This is a testament to good writing and craft. Second, this is good ol’ crime fiction at it’s best. An interesting crime under unusual circumstances matched with a good plot is superb.

 

 

DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

 
BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE FAMILY
BOOK 6: MURDER AT HOME
BOOK 7: MURDER IN THE MEADOW
BOOK 8: MURDER IN THE MANSION
BOOK 9: MURDER IN THE GARDEN
BOOK 10: MURDER BY FIRE
BOOK 11: MURDER AT WORK
BOOK 12: MURDER NEVER RETIRES
BOOK 13: MURDER OF A LOVER
BOOK 14: MURDER NEVER MISSES
BOOK 15: MURDER AT MIDNIGHT
BOOK 16: MURDER IN MIND

Book 17 coming soon!

 

 

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FAITH MARTIN

 

Faith Martin was born in Oxford, and has spent all her life within twenty miles of the university city, even working at Somerville College for five years before turning to writing full-time. The author of the popular DI Hillary Greene novels, she also writes more classic-style ‘whodunits’ under the pen name Joyce Cato, but began her writing career as Maxine Barry, winning an award for penning romance novels! A popular writer for over 25 years, she has had nearly 50 novels published so far. Her hobbies include walking her now ageing dog, wildlife-watching, reading and (reluctantly) gardening.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Married Lies by Chris Collett

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Do you love gripping mysteries with great characters?

Discover Detective Tom Mariner in this critically acclaimed series.

‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character.’ Yorkshire Post

Lucy Jarrett is terrified. Someone is watching her every move, following her home from work and making threatening phone calls. But her husband doesn’t believe her and no one else is listening.

Lucy’s married life is proving anything but blissful. Her musician husband is perpetually away on tour and doesn’t want to start a family.

Lucy finally calls on Detective Tom Mariner for help, and he takes her fears seriously because of the recent murder of another young woman by her ex-partner.

DI Mariner himself is already on the hunt for a sadistic killer.Nina Silvero, wife of an ex-police officer, was duped into sipping sulphuric acid disguised as celebratory wine.

Grappling with Nina’s apparently motiveless killing, Mariner delegates Lucy’s case to Millie Khatoon. Is someone out for revenge against the police?

Can DI Tom Mariner track down the stalker and catch the killer before anyone else dies? 

Discover an absorbing crime mystery full of stunning twists and turns.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the fifth book in the DI MARINER SERIES. More books coming soon!

 

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DI Mariner is back on the scene in book #5 Married Lies, trying to catch a serial killer, and assisting a woman who’s being stalked.  This one is definitely a page turner that hooks you from the very beginning. Chris Collett does a good job of crafting scenes, portraying the mindset of the victim, and drawing the reader into the story. Highly recommended series!

 

THE SETTING

Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry

But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.

Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.

 

THE DETECTIVE

Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “STALKED BY SHADOWS.”

DI MARINER SERIES

Book 1: Deadly Lies

Book 2: Innocent Lies

Book 3: Killer Lies

Book 4: Baby Lies

Book 5: Married Lies

Books 6-7 coming soon

 

 

Excellent Quality

 

 

 

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CHRIS COLLETT – AUTHOR BIO

I was born and grew up in a Norfolk seaside town, almost as far east as it’s possible to go in England without falling into the North Sea. There I worked variously in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). I graduated in Liverpool, then for twenty-five years taught children and young people with learning disabilities, including autism, before going into higher education as a senior lecturer.

Mindful of its reputation, I moved somewhat reluctantly to Birmingham, where I met my husband, in 1981. But just a few years later DI Tom Mariner was created to police its mean streets, and these days I relish the vibrancy and rich social history of the city. After eight outings for Mariner, I still feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Recently retired from lecturing and I’m currently luxuriating in the time I now have to continue the Mariner series, alongside published short stories and academic works. In my spare time, among other things, I’m a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.

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Blog Tour: Dead Bad by Helen H. Durrant

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Looking for a brilliant best-selling crime mystery with great detectives?

Detectives Calladine and Bayliss face a vicious serial killer in a mystery with a shocking ending.

A woman’s body is found in a disused church, a homemade stuffed toy by her side. The victim had been dumped there months ago. The crime has the hallmarks of twenty-year-old case whose alleged perpetrator is in prison.

Detective Ruth Bayliss must work out whether a serial killer has returned, or if a new killer is just taunting the police.

Her partner DI Tom Calladine faces the fight of his life to clear his name of corruption accusations. And then things go from bad to worse for Calladine . . .

With the team under massive pressure and drugs flooding the streets, another gruesomely presented body is found.

In an ending with a huge twist, the detectives must unpick decades’ old lies before anyone else dies.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.

 

 

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When I read a crime novel by Helen Durrant I know exactly what I’m getting. A thrilling read. Dead Bad sets up an investigation into a heinous crime by a monster who needs to be taken off the streets.  In this one, Detective Ruth Bayliss faces unique challenges solving the case and DI Tom Calladine is facing his own set of dire circumstances.

Writing crime fiction takes a bit of skill and creativity, amongst other things, for the desired result. Dead Bad even though it’s a short read, has all those elements. Check out this series!

 

 

 

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DISCOVER YOUR NEXT FAVOURITE MYSTERY SERIES NOW
THE CALLADINE & BAYLISS MYSTERY SERIES

 

Book 1: DEAD WRONG
Book 2: DEAD SILENT
Book 3: DEAD LIST
Book 4: DEAD LOST
Book 5: DEAD & BURIED
Book 6: DEAD NASTY
Book 7: DEAD JEALOUS
BOOK 8: DEAD BAD

 

THE DCI GRECO BOOKS

 

Book 1: DARK MURDER
Book 2: DARK HOUSES
Book 3: DARK TRADE
Book 4: DARK ANGEL

TALBOT DYSON
HIS THIRD VICTIM

 

 

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Author Bio

OVER 500,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

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Interview with Author of the Flavia De Luce Mysteries Alan Bradley

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Alan Bradley received the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, his first novel, which went on to win the Agatha Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Macavity Award and the Spotted Owl Award. He is the author of many short stories, children’s stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. He co-authored Ms. Holmes of Baker Street with the late William A.S. Sarjeant. Bradley lives in Malta with his wife and two calculating cats. His seventh Flavia de Luce mystery, “As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust” will be published in the US and Canada on January 6, 2015, and in the UK on April 23.

The first-ever Flavia short story, “The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse” has recently been published in eBook format, as has his 2006 memoir, “The Shoebox Bible”.

 

 

 

 

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This is your 9th Flavia de Luce novel. What stuck out to you as you were writing this one?

Flavia’s always buoyant enthusiasm and (dare I say it?) lust for life always impresses me. She goes on from strength to strength no matter what. Even though she’s growing older, her irrepressible spirit is never quenched. I think there might be a message in it somewhere.

 

I love the titles of all your books. Describe how you came up with this one.

Most of the books’ titles reflect Flavia’s enthusiasm for tombs and graves, and what lies within. This one, of course, came from one of my favourite poets, Andrew Marvell. “The grave’s a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace”. What else is there to say?

 

 

 

The Grave's a fine and private place

 

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During this book, what motivates Flavia at this point in her life?

Flavia is motivated primarily by Chemistry, and the knowledge of what it can achieve, including power. She is beginning to think about her future, too, and what lies beyond Buckshaw.

 

As your 9th Flavia de Luce novel what’s it like to write about her as a person?

I am in awe of Flavia. She is a constant surprise and delight. It is a great honour and a privilege to be allowed to sit quietly in her presence and write down what she’s thinking and doing. Does she frighten me? Yes, definitely. Those around her are not really aware of how dangerous she is – or could be.

 

If you were to meet Flavia in person what would you say to her?

“Thank you, Flavia.”

 

 

 

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Tell us a little about the setting where the story takes place.

The setting is a crumbling country house somewhere in England a few years after the end of WWII. Buckshaw has been handed down in the de Luce family for many generations, and contains echoes and memories of everyone who has ever lived in it. For most of its occupants, the past coexists with the present, and sometimes, the only reality is Death. Nearby is the village of Bishop’s Lacey, which provides almost everything that one could ever want in life, including a ready supply of victims.

 

 

Can’t wait for the audiobook! What is your role in the audiobook process?

The lovely folks at Random House Audio are always kind enough to allow me to point them towards interpretations which might be somewhat obscure in today’s world. We always have a lively exchange before and during the production of every audiobook. I must say that it was only recently that I had the opportunity to speak, live, to Jayne Entwistle, and I think both of us were in tears to discover the commonality of writing and becoming Flavia de Luce. We could have, as the saying goes, talked all night.

 

 

 

The Graves a fine and private place Audiobook image

 

 

 

 

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth” (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty mystery novel from award-winning author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

 

Audible

 

 

 

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The Clue to Character by Mystery Writer Daniella Bernett

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The Clue to Character
Daniella Bernett

 

Where would a story be without a character? Character is the engine that drives the narrative. For me, it is a magical process. Imagine having the omnipotent power to create and mold a person on the page. Not only do I get to conjure up the character’s physical attributes and such details as a birthdate, but I have the opportunity to develop his or her personality. Evil or noble? Intelligent or foolish? Witty or dull? Take a smidgen of this and add a pinch of that, and voilà a person starts to emerge. To be believable, the reader must be given intimate insight into the character’s thoughts and emotions, likes and dislikes. One has to understand the motives behind why a character reacts a certain way. Of course to be fully formed, the author must imbue the character with both admirable qualities and flaws. After all, in real life nobody is perfect. So too must it be on the written page. Once the author is satisfied with the character sketch, then the real fun begins: unfurling the imagination to weave the tale.

 

When writing a mystery series, the essential component is a sleuth to solve the crime. Here, the author is presented with two possibilities: professional detective or amateur sleuth. It all circles back to character and the story that the author has in mind for him or her. For my series, I chose the amateur sleuth. My protagonists are journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon.

 

 

Business, internet, technology concept.Businessman chooses Inves

 

 

 

 

Why a journalist? A journalist is inherently curious about many subjects. His or her job is to ask questions to uncover the truth and ensure transparency. Naturally, a journalist would be intrigued by crime, especially murder. The determination to find answers and see that justice is served are all important.

 

Now, how does a jewel thief fit into the model of a sleuth? Aren’t lying and evading the law a thief’s modus operandi? Isn’t this in stark contrast to a journalist’s reverence for the truth and justice? Most definitely, but that’s exactly the point. A portrait in contrasts. Who better than someone on the wrong side of the law to discern the twisted workings of a fellow criminal’s mind? A thief immediately recognizes things that the honest person would never even contemplate. In Gregory’s case, he has a certain code of honor. Murder is an offensive transgression. A line that should never be crossed. Thus, I have two diametrically opposed sleuths who are of one mind when it comes to the taking of a human life: the culprit must pay for the crime, otherwise chaos would reign in the world.

 

Meanwhile to round out my ensemble, I have Chief Inspector Oliver Burnell and Sergeant Jack Finch of Scotland Yard. They represent “the law” in all its gravitas. While their job is to hunt down criminals, sometimes the law’s constraints chafe and make their task more difficult. That’s why I have Gregory. He is Burnell’s nemesis. They have an adversarial, cat-and- mouse relationship. As a thief, Gregory has more flexibility to maneuver and never misses an opportunity to needle the chief inspector. Burnell, for his part, has been thwarted in his many attempts at catching Gregory red-handed. Will he ever succeed? The jury is out on that question.

 

There are myriad things to consider when delving into the essence of what makes a captivating and appealing character. The author must much achieve a delicate balance of shadow and light, intrigue and clarity, to give the story meaty substance and an air of authenticity. It’s an ongoing challenge, but one that you as a writer have to explore in every book as you seek to make readers truly care about your characters. Once readers make an emotional connection, you have them hooked because that means they want to know the story behind the character.

 

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett Author Photo

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave are the first three books in the Emmeline Kirby Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure.

 

Visit www.daniellabernett.com or follow her on Facebook at Facebook or on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Breaking News: On Becoming Jessica Fletcher by Jon Land

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ON BECOMING JESSICA FLETCHER

 

I got the call from my agent on a Sunday afternoon last May.

“Don Bain isn’t well,” he said, referring to another client who’d penned all 46 titles in the Murder, She Wrote series. “He’s not going to be able to write the MURDER SHE WROTE books anymore. Would you be interested in taking the series over?”

It took me all of two seconds to respond. “Absolutely,” I said.

Of course, at that point I had no idea what I was in for because I’d never read a single book in the series, although I was a huge fan of the spectacularly successful television show on which they were based. I’d also never written in first person, much less from the viewpoint of a woman in her 60s. As a thriller author, I’d also never written a mystery, never mind a cozy.

 

 

 

Detective man and dangerous woman with a gun

 

 

 

Go figure, right?

But this isn’t a market to look a gift horse in the mouth. The opportunity was too great to pass up and I proceeded to craft a compelling argument to Don Bain, who I knew and greatly respected as a writer, that I was the right author to replace him, even though I couldn’t be sure at that point I was.

Fast forward almost a year . . . My first effort, A Date with Murder, will be published May 1 and response so far has been astoundingly positive. And I just turned in my second book writing as Jessica Fletcher, Manuscript for Murder, which is slated for publication in November. What’s happened in between has been among the best, and most fortuitous, experiences of my entire career.

How exactly, though, does a long-time, hardcore thriller author transition to softer mysteries with a far lower body count and when the country or even the world are not at stake?

 

 

 

 

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Glad you asked! Fortunately, Don had worked with his grandson Zach, who’d become a crucial collaborator for me, on the first 60 or so pages of A Date with Murder. Enough to give me a notion as to the story and, more importantly, a direct link to Jessica’s voice. Finding that voice myself, in my own head, became the first challenge. But it was one that came to me with surprising ease and in true organic fashion. Getting into Jessica’s head became as simple as channeling Angela Lansbury from the classic TV show. I pictured her behind every page, speaking every line.

My mother was also a fan of the show and she plays a big part in all this too, thanks to her subscribing to the Mystery Guild, a book club that provided front list titles in special editions. So our bookshelves were full of classic titles by Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Earl Stanley Gardner, Ed McBain and many more, and in my early teens I devoured more of them than I can count. I can still remember some of those tales and I decided in writing the MURDER, SHE WROTE series that I’d try to recapture the same feeling I got in reading them.

No easy task, given the fact that Jessica Fletcher is almost without question America’s most famous (amateur) detective. More well-known than Hercule Poirot, Perry Mason and maybe even Sherlock Holmes, never mind the slew of wonderful modern-day sorts from Robert Parker’s Spenser to Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone to Patricia Cornwall’s Kay Scarpetta. That’s a huge challenge for any writer, much less one used to penning only thrillers.

 

 

 

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Meanwhile, finding Jessica’s voice might’ve been my first challenge, but the next one was blending it with my own. My style makes great use of hooks, cliff-hangars, and plot twists—often so many of them you have to stop to catch your breath. Almost overnight, A Date with Murder transformed into a hybrid mystery-thriller. A mystery because Jessica is trying to solve the murder of a trusted friend; thriller because she ends up risking her own life to expose a nefarious plot connected to a sinister Internet dating service. I wasn’t going too far out on a limb because Don Bain’s books had often cast her in the role of crusader, solving a murder that hits close to home.

I went into the series knowing that first and foremost I needed to capture the series’ core audience that loves the bucolic setting of Cabot Cove and the regular, established cast of characters Jessica interacts with and plays off of. For the dialogue, I relied on the quick, tart and witty exchanges between Angela Lansbury and the late, great Jerry Orbach as Harry McGraw or Ron Masak as Sheriff Mort Metzger. I wasn’t out to reinvent the wheel, you see, just make it churn a little faster. I’m not sure what was more amazing: How swiftly I took to the process or how naturally Jessica’s words and thoughts started to flow for me.

I wanted to make the series mine, put my stamp on it. But MURDER, SHE WROTE doesn’t belong to me and never will. It belongs to the tens of millions of readers and viewers who’ve come to cherish the stories, watching or reading them over and over again while trying to keep up with Jessica Fletcher. Like all great fictional heroes, she’s timeless, ageless, eternal. After me, someone else no doubt will take the reins of this series. While they’re in my hands, though, I’m grateful for the opportunity enjoy the ride at the same time I give you and all readers the best one I can.

So is A Date with Murder a cozy, a mystery, a thriller? You know, I’m not sure. I do know that I had a blast writing it and here’s hoping you have a blast reading it.

 

 

 

 

Jon Land Author pic

 

 

 

Since his first book was published in 1983, Jon Land has written twenty-eight novels, seventeen of which have appeared on national bestseller lists. He began writing technothrillers before Tom Clancy put them in vogue, and his strong prose, easy characterization, and commitment to technical accuracy have made him a pillar of the genre.

Land spent his college years at Brown University, where he convinced the faculty to let him attempt writing a thriller as his senior honors thesis. Four years later, his first novel, The Doomsday Spiral, appeared in print. In the last years of the Cold War, he found a place writing chilling portrayals of threats to the United States, and of the men and women who operated undercover and outside the law to maintain U.S. security. His most successful of those novels were the nine starring Blaine McCracken, a rogue CIA agent and former Green Beret with the skills of James Bond but none of the Englishman’s tact.

In 1998 Land published the first novel in his Ben and Danielle series, comprised of fast-paced thrillers whose heroes, a Detroit cop and an Israeli detective, work together to protect the Holy Land, falling in love in the process. He has written seven of these so far. The most recent, The Last Prophecy, was released in 2004.

Recently, RT Book Reviews gave Jon a special prize for pioneering genre fiction, and his short story “Killing Time” was shortlisted for the 2010 Dagger Award for best short fiction and included in 2010’s The Best American Mystery Stories. Land is currently writing Blood Strong, his fourth novel to feature Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong—a female hero in a genre which, Land has said, has too few of them. The second book in the series, Strong Justice (2010), was named a Top Thriller of the Year by Library Journal and runner-up for Best Novel of the Year by the New England Book Festival. The third, Strong at the Break, will be released this year, and the fourth, Blood Strong, will follow in 2012. His first nonfiction book, Betrayal, written with Robert Fitzpatrick, tells the behind-the-scenes story of a deputy FBI chief attempting to bring down Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger, and will also be released in 2011.

 

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Blog Tour: Baby Lies by Chris Collett

 

Baby Lies Chris Collett

 

 

BABY LIES by CHRIS COLLETT

Do you love gripping mysteries with great characters?

Discover Detective Tom Mariner in this critically acclaimed series.

‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character.’ Yorkshire Post

 

 

BLOG TOUR BANNER - Baby Lies

 

 
Six-week-old baby Jessica is abducted from a local nursery. And Detective Tom Mariner realises he’s not going to get the time-off he was hoping for.

The police get a good description of the woman who took Jessica, but the appeal to the public doesn’t generate a single lead.

Then the kidnapper calls demanding money for Jessica’s safe return   . . . and a terrible discovery is made in the woods.

Can Mariner get to bottom of a complex case which involves much more than a child abduction?

Discover an absorbing crime mystery full of stunning twists and turns.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the fourth book in the DI MARINER SERIES, more books coming soon!

 

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If you haven’t started the DI Mariner series yet, you’d better start.  Author Chris Collett expertly crafts a dazzling plot and delivers on every page. A new mum struggling to let her baby girl go to nursery the first time. A crime operation to bring down the rising tide of prostitution in the city. A complex crime to solve for Detective Tom Mariner no doubt. A juicy crime mystery awaits you!

 

 

 

 

100 percent quality

 

 

 

THE SETTING

 
Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry

But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.

Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.
 

 

Departure for Birmingham, United Kingdom

 

THE DETECTIVE

 
Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “BLOOD MONEY.”

 

 

 

Detective walking at night city lights.

 

DI MARINER SERIES

Book 1: Deadly Lies
Book 2: Innocent Lies
Book 3: Killer Lies
Book 4: Baby Lies
Books 5-7 coming soon

 

 

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CHRIS COLLETT – AUTHOR BIO

I was born and grew up in a Norfolk seaside town, almost as far east as it’s possible to go in England without falling into the North Sea. There I worked variously in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). I graduated in Liverpool, then for twenty-five years taught children and young people with learning disabilities, including autism, before going into higher education as a senior lecturer.

Mindful of its reputation, I moved somewhat reluctantly to Birmingham, where I met my husband, in 1981. But just a few years later DI Tom Mariner was created to police its mean streets, and these days I relish the vibrancy and rich social history of the city. After eight outings for Mariner, I still feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Recently retired from lecturing and I’m currently luxuriating in the time I now have to continue the Mariner series, alongside published short stories and academic works. In my spare time, among other things, I’m a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.

 

 

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