9780719816574 The Bishop’s Brothels

Drawing on a wealth of contemporary source material, The Bishop’s Brothels is a fascinating social history of how commercial sex has been bought and sold in London for over a thousand years.

The Bankside Brothels, or ‘stewes’, were a celebrated feature of London life since Roman times. Located on the south side of the River Thames, in the Bishop of Winchester’s ‘Liberty of the Clink’, they were a highly lucrative source of revenue for the Church. In AD 1161 a royal decree ordered that these establishments be licensed and regulated. For many years they attracted the great and the not-so-good, helping to make Southwark the ‘pleasure-garden’ of London.

But who were the people of the Bankside Brothels? What living conditions did they have to endure? How did women cope with the constant threat of violence, unwanted pregnancy and venereal disease? The streets of Southwark and those who walked them are vividly brought to life in this richly researched exploration of the history of this stretch of the Thames over the centuries.

Through the stories of those who lived and worked in this fascinating part of London, we can begin to gain an understanding of a crucial but hitherto neglected aspect of the social history of England.

E. J. Burford
E.J. Burford as a popular historian who wrote several bestselling social histories that explored the lives of ordinary people in England. He died in 1997.

Buy your copy of The Bishop’s Brothels here.

 

New fiction: Twice Royal Lady by Hilary Green


9781910208335
Twice Royal Lady

Destined from childhood to be an important piece in the intricate chess game of power, Matilda is the granddaughter of William the Conqueror but also descended, through her mother, from the ancient line of Anglo-Saxon kings.

Betrothed to Emperor Henry of Germany at the age of eight, she is married at twelve and crowned Empress. By her early twenties she is a widow, and the only surviving legitimate heir to her father, Henry l of England. Forced into a second marriage to a boy ten years younger, she gives birth to three sons, the male heirs her father longs for. However, on his sudden death, the throne is usurped by her cousin, Stephen.

Matilda is forced to choose between her husband and her rights as her father’s heir. Intelligent, determined and courageous, she chooses to fight for her rights.

Hilary Green

Hilary Green is a trained actress and spent many years teaching drama and running a youth theatre company. She has also written scripts for BBC Radio and won the Kythira short story prize. Hilary now lives in the Wirral and is a full-time writer.

Buy your copy of Twice Royal Lady here.

 

New fiction: Dreams That Veil by Dominic Luke

Dreams That Veil9781910208236

December 1911. Twelve-year old Eliza Brannan eagerly awaits the return of her brother Roderick from university, a welcome but brief diversion from her otherwise cosy existence in the heart of Northamptonshire with her widowed mother and cousin Dorothea.

Roderick and Dorothea are growing up fast. They are forging lives and loves of their own, and Eliza feels she is being left behind. When an unexpected proposal of marriage leads Dorothea to a search for her long-lost father in the slums of London, Eliza begins to realize that the world is a bigger and more frightening place than could have ever imagined.

Dreams That Veil is the story of England basking in the calm before the storm of the First World War and of a young girl’s struggle with her transition to maturity.

Dominic Luke

Dominic Luke was born in London and studied history at the University of Birmingham. He lives in Northamptonshire and has written four previous novels: Nothing Undone Remained (Buried River Press), Aunt Letitia, Snake in the Grass, Autumn Softly Fell and  Nothing Undone Remained.

Buy your copy of Dreams That Veil here.

 

 

 

 

 

New fiction titles

9780719816086An Oxford Tragedy by Norman Russell

1894, Sir Montague Fowler, warden of St Michael’s College, Oxford, dies from apparent natural causes but an autopsy reveals that his body was full of the deadly poison mercuric chloride. Detective Antrobus of the Oxford city police is summoned to investigate. Who would benefit most from the warden’s death? His three children are all in desperate need of money and each are embroiled in their own scandal. Antrobus’s list of suspects grows as it seems everyone had something to gain from the death. Aided by pioneer physician, Sophia Jex-Blake, the detective sets about unravelling the truth behind this Oxford tragedy.

Norman Russell was born in Lancashire but has lived most of his life in Liverpool. After graduating from Jesus College, Oxford, he served a term in the army and was later awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. He now writes full-time. Among his previous novels published by Robert Hale are Depths of Destruction, The Dorset House Affair and The Calton Papers.

Buy your copy of An Oxford Tragedy here.

9780719815607

Imperfect Pretence by Ann Barker

Max Persault loves his sea-faring life as a ship-owner and merchant. When his cousin Alistair, the newly elevated Duke of Haslingfield, appeals for his help, he finds himself masquerading as the duke and on his way to Cromer, while Alistair sets off to France to complete an undercover mission. Before even arriving at his destination, Max has aroused the suspicions of Miss Constance Church. Constance struggles with her misgivings about Max. At first dismissing him, she soon begins to suspect that there may be much more to him than meets the eye. In this lively and comedic tale of love and masquerade, first impressions are questioned, judgments are upturned and pretences must eventually come undone.

Ann Barker was born and brought up in Bedfordshire, but currently lives in Norfolk. For more information about Ann Barker and her books, please go to http://www.AnnBarker.com.

Buy your copy of Imperfect Pretence here.

9780719815843Give Me Tomorrow by Jeanne Whitmee

The Davies family is as dysfunctional as they come. When Frank marries a younger woman, Susan, his ten-year-old daughter Louise feels pushed out, and even more so when baby Karen arrives. Now, years later, with her father gone, Louise feels even more the odd one out. Obsessed with finding her birth mother, she distances herself from her family, hiding the truth of her flailing acting career from them, and spitefully makes trouble for Karen whenever the opportunity arises. Karen meanwhile wants to return to her career as a teacher after baby Peter is born, but her husband Simon has other ideas. Susan longs to see her girls reconciled and to pick up the threads of her own life again.Eventually each one, in her own way, is shown the path to happiness. But will they take it?

Jeanne Whitmee originally trained as an actress and later taught Speech and Drama until taking up writing full-time. She has written many novels including Too Late to Paint the Roses, To Dream Again and True Colours, also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Give Me Tomorrow here.

9780719813009Sherlock Holmes and the Unholy Trinity by Paul Gilbert

A colourfully dressed Bedouin interrupts the breakfast of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with a cryptic message of warning: they must stay away from the affairs of his people. Before long the detective and his assistant are dispatched to the Vatican to investigate the murder of Cardinal Tosca. Considered the Pope’s natural successor, Tosca was killed as he worked on the translation of an ancient scroll. All clues point towards Holmes and Watson’s Bedouin intruder and there are whispers of the involvement of a so-called ‘unholy trinity’. The duo embark upon a dangerous trip to Egypt, the birthplace of the Coptic Church, to uncover the nature of a parchment missing from Cardinal Tosca’s office and, ultimately, the motives of the Bedouin.

Paul D. Gilbert was born in North London and now lives in Harrow with his wife Jackie and their two sons. As well as his passion for the work of Arthur Conan Doyle, he also enjoys history, science-fiction and Tai Chi. His previous two novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra and The Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes, were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Sherlock Holmes and the Unholy Trinity here.

What We’re Reading in… May

This month in the Hale office, we think about books we’ve re-read, and how these stories have fared over time.

Catherine, Design and Production Manager:

There are two books that I have re-read several times for pleasure rather than having to re-read them as part of school studies: Dickens’ Hard Times, anyone?!

The first is C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Harper Collins). As a child, lion - coverit was my favourite book and I never tired of escaping to the magical world of Narnia along with Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter. Then, I never quite saw it as a Christian allegory but a simpler triumph of good over evil. As an adult, I read it to my own children as part of bed-time reading. I still enjoyed the fantasy with some of the delightful animal (-like) characters such as Mr Tumnus, the Beavers and the very wise, Christ-like Aslan. I also better understood the darker theme in the book, betrayal. Poor Edmund turns bad rather slowly – from resentful child, to bully, to liar, to traitor. Thankfully, there is a happy ending and Edmund is redeemed with the help of Aslan and the unconditional love of his brother and sisters. It’s still a very positive message in the end: no matter how far down the slippery slope someone has gone, everyone can be helped to change if they want to.

The second book is Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (Virago), first read in my early teens after studying Jamaica Inn at school. ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.…’ is among the most memorable opening line of any book. I was captivated by Maxim de Winter and how the evil Mrs Danvers made life so difficult for the narrator, the second Mrs de Winter. I was always intrigued by the fact the rebeccanarrator is never given a first name but, finally understood on the latest reading that it’s a very effective way of making her seem a lesser person than Rebecca – less confident, less capable, less attractive to Maxim – particularly with Mrs Danvers’ frequent undermining of the narrator as well. The Cornish connection was also a great attraction for Rebecca and other du Maurier books as our family visited Cornwall often for holidays – Daphne du Maurier’s Cornish house, Menabilly, was part of the inspiration for Manderley. I read it again three years ago when Rebecca was one of the World Book Day titles, and I took part by giving away several copies of this book at my local railway station to the commuters coming home.

It’s a 20th century gothic romance and, for me, an all-time classic.

Isobel, Marketing and Publicity Assistant:
For some reason, (maybe drawn in by the cute, welcoming cover), aged nine, I picktrainspotting-covered up a copy of Trainspotting (Vintage) by Irving Welsh. We were visiting my cousins in Glasgow, and my family were probably just happy I was occupied. When I reread it recently, I realised approximately 99.99999% of it must have gone over my head the first time around. The story centres on Renton, a heroin-addict living in Edinburgh, and his junkie friends, as they try and fail to get clean. While I might not have followed the storyline entirely, I remember being moved by Renton’s character. I thought he came across as basically a good person, if a bit confused. I couldn’t work out why he never stuck to his word about quitting.

It was strange recognising the naivety that formed my first reading of the book. I am not as instantly sympathetic to Renton’s character now.  I also remember finding the Edinburgh dialect used by Irvine Welsh throughout the novel a lot easier to understand when I was nine, though maybe the phonetic spelling appealed to my far from advanced spelling abilities..

Anne-Marie Vukelic talks to us about Caged Angel, Charles Dickens and Victorian novels

For those of us fascinated by Victorian history, who has not been educated, enlightened, and entertained in some way by the works of Charles Dickens?

During his lifetime he wrote fifteen major novels, drawing attention to the plight of the poor, the injustices of child labour, and the absurdities of the legal system. By raising public awareness of such matters he contributed to a number of social reforms.

My own interest in Dickens was sparked by a visit to the city of Rochester in 2005, where the author spent his final years. With its cobbled streets and crooked houses it is a city in which time appears to have stood still, and Dickens drew both characters and settings for his novels from this place which was very dear to his heart. My own time in Rochester motivated me to begin examining the author’s life in greater detail, and wondering how much of his work was biographical.

How vividly the story of Oliver Twist came to life when I learned that at the age of twelve, Dickens worked alongside other boys in a ‘Blacking’ factory under the guidance of a man named Bog Fagin. I discovered that in this same time period Dickens’s father was being held in the Marshalsea Debtors prison and the proud, solitary figure of William Dorrit came to my mind.

And what of Dickens’s heart? As a young man, it had been crushed by his first love, Maria Beadnell, who coldly referred to him as ‘Boy’. While standing in the shade of Restoration House – the inspiration for Miss Haversham’s Satis House – I thought of poor Pip cruelly spurned by Estella in Great Expectations. Yes, there is much of the pain and rejection that Dickens felt he had suffered in his youth that spilled from his pen onto the page.

By his own efforts, Dickens rose from humbling circumstances to author of great acclaim, but in studying his life I found myself curiously drawn to the shy, clumsy and somewhat disorganized wife who lived with this talented, impatient and restless man.

Little has been recorded about Catherine Dickens and yet, within the numerous pages that have been written about her famous husband, her voice appealed to me and so began the random jottings which eventually became my first novel, Far Above Rubies. Dickens’s world is traced from the perspective of a Victorian wife – the mother of ten children – who struggled through life quietly at the side of an exacting husband. When Dickens cast her aside in later years, he wrote a statement for the newspapers and, creating his own fiction, inferred that it was because she had some ‘peculiarity of character’. It was she who was to blame and not him.

My second novel, The Butterflies are Free, followed the fate of the Dickens children, the legacy of bearing the Dickens name and how their father’s secret affair with the young actress Ellen Ternan influenced their own relationships. The title is a quote taken from Dickens’s novel, Bleak House, and for me captured his wish to escape the life he found himself constrained by in his middle years.

Caged Angel, my forthcoming novel, was written as a result of my enduring interest in Dickens and the discoveries I made about some of his lesser-known contemporaries.

Caged Angel relates the story of the banking heiress, Angela Burdett-Coutts, who was considered a remarkable woman for her time in that she largely ignored what society expected of someone in her position, and chose instead to immerse herself in social issues of the day.

Dickens’s own interest in such matters made their friendship a natural one, and he was an ambassador for many of her projects, one of which was a home for former prostitutes.

Their backgrounds were completely different: Burdett-Coutts, the daughter of a baronet, had been raised on her family’s country estate. Dickens was the son of an improvident naval clerk, imprisoned for debt. Many of Angela’s equals could only have seen her in the context of her position in society, but with Dickens as her champion she was free to explore opportunities not usually open to women of her time.

Angela’s great wealth brought with it many unsolicited marriage proposals and unwanted suitors, the most persistent of these being the barrister Richard Dunn. Exploring newspaper archives and court records, I discovered how his enduring fixation with Angela became a frantic obsession. In a world largely dominated by men, there were no laws at the time to protect a woman from the term we are now familiar with as ‘stalking’.

The streets of nineteenth century London could not have provided a better setting for such a dark story to take place, and it is one by which readers of Victorian fiction are always excited.

I have an ongoing interest in the Victorian era for many reasons but partly because of its contradictions: the extremes of elegance and squalor, the veil of sexual morality twinned with hypocrisy, the contrast between the lives lived by Victorian men and women, and also experienced by those within the different class systems.

My interest in psychology and human emotions means that I am always curious about what drives an individual. What are their motives, their ambitions and inner thoughts? When writing the journal of Richard Dunn, capturing this aspect became even more challenging as Dunn’s thoughts descended into insanity.

When considering the time period in which to set a novel, the author has to consider the social attitudes of the day and how these will influence their characters. This becomes inevitably more interesting when the novel is set in the Victorian era, as so often an individual will find their own wishes going contrary to such attitudes and expectations.

All of the foregoing provides an author with an array of tools which lend themselves to a setting with tremendous atmosphere, a society from which one can draw intriguing plots and interesting characters. I think this is why Victorian fiction is still being written, and enjoyed by readers.

Author Wendy Perriam talks to us about her daughter Pauline on that day that Americans celebrate Mothers’ Day

“WHAT A LUCKY MUM I WAS – SPOILED ROTTEN ON TWO SEPARATE MOTHERS’ DAYS!

From the time my daughter, Pauline, married an American and went to live in Seattle, she never forgot our British Mothers’ Day, whilst also observing the American one. So, on the fourth Sunday in Lent, my first delivery would arrive, followed by a second in mid-May, usually a luxurious bouquet or stupendous hothouse plant – a far cry from the toilet-roll-tube bunnies and wonky home-knitted scarves she had given me in childhood. One of these Mothers’ Day plants is still exuberantly flourishing after twenty-odd years and has even propagated four offspring, filling my flat with ice-white blooms and lush green leaves.

Tragically, Pauline herself failed to flourish and, after a long, courageous battle with cancer of the tongue, died in 2008. Both Mothers’ Days died with her, of course, and part of me died, too, since she was my only child, conceived with great difficulty after two miscarriages. In fact, even during the pregnancy, there was a horrendous scare at twelve weeks, when the obstetrician declared the foetus dead in the womb. I was rushed to hospital, where, extraordinary as it sounds, the foetal heart restarted and Pauline made it through to her birth-day, New Year’s Eve, 1965, the best day of my life. My devoutly Catholic mother, who’d been fervently praying that I’d finally have a child, saw this as her personal miracle. So, much later on, when I dedicated my fourteenth novel, Lying, to my daughter, the dedication read: “For Pauline Maria, Grandma’s miracle”.

However, the only time I’ve ever drawn on her illness or death in my work was in a short story called Worms, based on my younger grandson, Will. I was in Seattle, looking after Pauline’s two small boys, while she underwent another operation and, one day, when I was taking him to school, he kept stopping to pick up dozens of worms we saw stranded on the sidewalk. “Worms mustn’t die,” he told me, desperately, but I knew he was really saying, “Mom mustn’t die.” And no wonder, when the last time he’d seen her, she was linked up to a scary array of tubes and drips, her face scarred with radiation burns.

Worms appeared in my fifth short-story collection, Little Marvel (the Little Marvel of the title being not my grandson, but a variety of garden pea!) I have recently published my eighth collection, Bad Mothers Brilliant Lovers, where mothers, I’m afraid, don’t always get a good press. Many Mothers’ Day sites insist that love for one’s mother is rock-solid and universal, but, as a writer, I’m more interested in how jealousy, resentment, dislike and even fury can co-exist with love, and I’ve frequently explored the complicated mother/child relationship in my work.

However, the bad mothers in my new collection are balanced by some truly good and loving ones, and also by several brilliant lovers, so I hope it may appeal to American Moms for their Mothers’ Day on 10 May. In contrast to the long-established British Mothering Sunday, the American version was instituted as late as 1914, when a feisty Virginian called Anna Jarvis appealed directly to President Woodrow Wilson to have the day officially sanctioned and written into law. Ironically, she was arrested towards the end of her life for protesting against the very holiday she’d helped create! Her protest was fuelled by the way the day had been hijacked by rampant commercialism; she also deplored the laziness of children who could no longer be bothered to make their own Mothers’ Day cards and gifts.

But arrests and laziness are pretty depressing subjects, so let me end with a poem by David Harkins, which was read at Pauline’s funeral and seemed to strike a chord. Many people asked me for a copy, warming to its message that mourners should dwell on the joy the living person had afforded, rather than on their death. I myself will re-read it on American Mothers’ Day, to celebrate the fact that my daughter lived for forty-two radiant years, rather than a truncated three months in the womb.

You can shed tears for her, by David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she’d want:
Open your eyes, love and go on.

Find out more about Wendy Perriam’s latest book Bad Mothers Brilliant Lovers here

New non-fiction: Writers’ Houses by Nick Channer

Writers’ Houses: Where Great Books Began

Foreword by Julian Fellowes Step inside the homes of some of the world’s finest writers and experience for yourself the surroundings that inspired them to write.9780719806643

Writers’ Houses reflects Britain’s impressive literary and architectural heritage, offering a revealing insight into how leading British writers lived and wrote. Illustrated in colour, the book guides you through the very rooms that inspired writers to produce some of their greatest work. Drawing upon the writers’ own words, the book examines in detail the personal relationship between each house and writer and discusses the influence these places have had upon the imagination and creativity of British novelists, poets and playwrights from the past five hundred years. Over fifty houses are explored including Agatha Christie’s secluded West Country retreat, the ancient, timber-framed residence in Stratford-upon-Avon where Shakespeare spent his boyhood, Dylan Thomas’ boat-house at Laugharne, the cottage where Robert Burns was born and brought up, and the moated house and garden in East Sussex that inspired the evocative setting for a Sherlock Holmes story. Follow in the footsteps of your favourite authors and be inspired by the surroundings in which some of literature’s best-loved characters were created.

Nick Channer

Nick Channer is a regular contributor to many publications, including theDaily Telegraph, Country Life and the Scots Magazine. He is particularly interested in walking and travel, social history, literary tourism and journeys from fiction. Nick has also contributed to a documentary on youth hostelling, broadcast on BBC Radio Four. He lives at the heart of England – not far from Shakespeare’s birthplace.

New fiction: The Lavender House Mob by Annie Crux (Buried River Press)

9781910208137

The Lavender House Mob

Widowed novelist Louise Gregory is happy enough living alone with her pets at rambling Lavender House in the New Forest, but her life is suddenly disrupted by an unexpected financial crisis and the appearance on her doorstep of her daughter Penny, with her two young children in tow. Thereafter Louise’s life turns upside down: a passer-by, Jack, knocks her off her bike but then comes to her rescue by offering to pay over the odds if she lets him stay; her sister Jane is suffering a mid-life crisis; Penny’s strong-minded mother-in-law, Maggie, arrives; and her home, once a haven of peace and quiet, descends into an hilarious, clamorous B&B.

Despite herself, Louise is attracted to Jack, but, just as quickly as he had arrived, he disappears. Confused and irritated by her dysfunctional family and the feelings Jack has aroused, Lavender House stands as the only constant in Louise’s life, but then her peace is shattered once again. How can she trust a man she thought she knew?

With characters who leap off the page and grab your heart, this story will leave you smiling.

Annie Crux

Annie Crux was born in Hampshire and still lives in the New Forest. She is now widowed and has two children. Before writing she had a varied career as a cabaret singer, a teacher, and then hospital administrator. She has written a number of romances and four mainstream novels, but then took time out to return to the theatre as a director of amateur companies. She has now returned to full time writing.

New general fiction titles

An Unholy Mess by Joyce Cato9780719815430

In the small Cotswold village of Heyford Bassett, vicar’s wife Monica Noble throws a party for the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret Franklyn and her philandering husband Sean, a celebrity chef and her cartoonist beau, a retired Oxford Don with a secret, a forty-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms. A shotgun blast heralds the discovery of the body of Margaret Franklyn and suspicion falls on a community already terrified at the thought of a murderer in their ranks. Who to blame? The husband? Monica’s daughter who had been accused of stealing from the deceased? Monica swings into action with the local DI to save her daughter and solve the crime.

Joyce Cato was born in Oxford and worked as a secretary before becoming a full-time writer.

Buy your copy of An Unholy Mess here.

Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas Rhea9780719815751

When a woman confesses to Father Will, one of the monk-constables at Maddleskirk Abbey, that she has committed murder, he can do nothing but absolve her from her sin. The Seal of Confession is absolute. He cannot discuss her crime, ask the identity of her victim, or share the responsibility of this information with anyone. His hands are tied. When a body is found in the nearby woodland, his moral dilemma grows. Detective Chief Superintendent “Nabber” Napier and his team have a murder to solve, but monks sworn by oath to silence are hardly the ideal candidates for questioning… When the murder weapon is discovered, concealed in the Abbey, and the detectives learn of the mysterious disappearance – and violent past – of one of the Abbey’s monks, the race is on to find the culprit before anybody else gets hurt. Questions need to be answered and confessions must be made.

Nicholas Rhea is the pen name for Peter N. Walker, formerly an inspector with the North Yorkshire Police and the creator of the Constable series of novels, the inspiration for the long-running and critically acclaimed ITV drama series Heartbeat. As Peter N. Walker he is the author of Portrait of the North York Moors. He lives in North Yorkshire.

Buy your copy of Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey here.

Dead and Gone by Bill Kitson

9780719815829Dean Wilson knows any relationship with Naomi Macaulay is doomed. Her family are Wilson Macaulay Industries, founders of Bishopton Investment Group. His sister, Linda, was the Group’s financial director until she vanished four years ago, around the same time as millions of pounds of investors’ money disappeared, and the Group collapsed amidst claims of fraud and embezzlement. When Dean is charged with assault, DI Mike Nash’s enquiries cause him to reopen the fraud case, and soon Nash has several murder investigations on his hands. Meanwhile, when complaints are made about email scams, computer analyst, Tina Silver, is brought in to help examine the software. Connections to executives of Wilson Macaulay Industries begin to emerge. After an independent auditor vanishes, Nash and his colleagues must determine who is guilty, who is innocent, who is dead and who is gone.

Bill Kitson, a retired finance executive, was born in West Yorkshire. He is an avid fan of cricket and cryptic crosswords and is also the former chairman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle. Dead and Gone is the eight outing for DI Mike Nash, following Kitson’s gripping thrillers Depth of Despair, Chosen, Minds That Hate, Altered Egos, Back-Slash, Identity Crisis and Buried in the Past.

Buy your copy of Dead and Gone here.

The Prosecco Fortune by Stella Whitelaw9780719815386

Emma Chandler has a comfortable life as junior partner of a firm of chartered accountants in London. When she is sent to Venice to investigate the disappearance of their client Signor Marco dell’Orto’s fortune, her safe lifestyle is capsized and she is thrown into a disorientating and fast-paced world of deceit and crime. She begins to fall for Marco while staying in his palazzo, and her arrival does not remain unnoticed in the Venetian backstreets for long. Marco’s computers are hacked and his phone is bugged. Emma is being watched. The body of a young woman wearing Emma’s raincoat is found, floating in a lagoon. Should Emma take these ominous signs as a cue to leave? Or should she stay to complete the job she was sent to do? Emma must figure out, with the help of the Venetian police and the computer expert Professor Windsor, who is behind the stolen fortune.

Stella Whitelaw began her writing career as a cub reporter and rose to become the first female chief reporter in London. She writes short stories for national women’s magazines and has won many competitions. Her previous novels Portrait of a Murder and Money Never Sleeps were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of The Prosecco Fortune here.