New fiction titles

9780719818004Deadly Zeal by Jean Chapman

Ex-Met Inspector John Cannon and his partner Liz have a hectic life running a Lincolnshire pub. When a punter is murdered after a particularly raucous quiz night, a wealthy businessman is driven to seek Cannon’s help. Their life is turned upside down, and they embark on a precarious sea voyage to the frozen wastelands of northern Norway where they must evade the murderers and icy waters.

Jean Chapman began her writing career as a freelance journalist before going on to write fiction. Her books have been shortlisted for both the Scottish Book Trust Award and the RNA Major Award, and she is the three-time President of the Leicester Writer’s Club. Her previous books, including Both Sides of the Fence, A Watery Grave, and Deadly Serious, were all published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Deadly Zeal here.

Kicking Over the Traces by Elizabeth Jackson9780719817588

When her mother dies in a wagon accident, Florence is left at the mercy of her mother’s husband. At the funeral, he reveals he is not her real father and abandons her. Left with nothing but the clothes she stands in and her mother’s red coat, Florence takes on farm work to make ends meet, but her fortunes change when she discovers money hidden in the coat’s lining. As she navigates across the North Yorkshire moors alone after being forced to leave the farm she had called home, Florence encounters friends and enemies, often disguised as each other.

Elizabeth Jackson is a writer and psychotherapist. She is married with two sons and has lived in North Yorkshire all her life. Her previous book Language of Thieves was published by Robert Hale in 2011.

Buy your copy of Kicking Over the Traces here.

9780719816000Living Dangerously by Dan Latus

When old friends Anne and Josh Steele ask Frank Doy to look after their son, Tom, Frank can’t say no. After a drink-driving incident that took the life of his friend, the victim’s gangster father wants Tom dead. Frank takes Tom to an isolated cottage in wintry Northumberland, but trouble follows. As the lonely village is held siege during a blizzard, Frank fights to keep his charge alive. In the process he unravels a story at odds with the Steeles’ version of events – of a business partnership turned sour, and a young man placed in jeopardy by family loyalty.

Dan Latus lives in Northumberland with his wife. He grew up in Teesside which has been the inspiration for many of his novels. His previous books include Never Look Back, Risky Mission, Out of the Night, and Death at South Gare.

Buy your copy of Living Dangerously here.

The Murder List by Roger Silverwood

The women of Bromersley live in fear that their names are on the murder list. Bodies keep turning up – women in their sixties, always in the same disturbing pose, with a cauliflower in their laps and rice in their mouths. Inspector Angel discovers a list with the murdered women’s names on, but clues and forensics lead nowhere, and although witnesses report an odd-looking woman wearing a sheepskin coat, no one can find her.
Then, in the middle of the night, Angel receives a phone call…

Son of a Yorkshire businessman, Roger Silverwood was educated in Gloucestershire before National Service. He later worked in the toy trade and as a copywriter in an advertising agency. Roger went into business with his wife as an antiques dealer before retiring in 1997.

Praise for the author

‘Solid plotting, unpretentious writing, thoroughly reliable entertainment’ – Morning Star

‘Silverwood combines a classic mystery plot with well-developed characters’ – Publishers Weekly

Buy your copy of The Murder List here.

The Winding Stair by Millie Vigor

A single red rose on her doorstep and anonymous calls have made Ginny a nervous wreck. Seeking peace and telling no one, she runs away, but a rose is delivered to the hideaway. She’s at breaking point when suddenly contact stops. Returning home, she befriends quiet librarian Curtis, but realizes too late that her trust is misplaced. At Curtis’s mercy, she’s reminded of the poem ‘The Spider and the Fly’. She has walked up the winding stair, but will she walk free, or will she perish like the fly?

Millie Vigor was born in Dorset and was educated at Ludwell village school. At fourteen she left to start work and she considers this the beginning of her real education. Throughout her many jobs; kitchenmaid, farm-worker, glove-maker, canteen cook and B&B landlady, she took note of what made people tick and of sights and sounds, and stored this all away to use in her writing. In addition to articles and short stories sold to various magazines, her autobiographical book Kippers for Breakfast was published in 2003. Her recent books No Skylarks Sing and Paying Davy Jones were published by Robert Hale. She lives in Taunton, Somerset with her constant companion, a cat called Harriet.

Praise for the author

‘If the definition of a good book is being well-written, easy to read and hard to put down then Catherine of Deepdale is very good indeed’ – Shetland Times

‘The author evokes the wild, desolate landscape of the islands so vividly that it made me want to visit’ – Historical Novels Review

Buy your copy of The Winding Stair here.

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New non-fiction: The Bishop’s Brothels

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 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 non-fiction: Charleston Saved by Anthea Arnold

Charleston Saved 1979–1989

Charleston Saved 1979–1989 tells the9780719816222 remarkable story of how the home of key members of the Bloomsbury set was brought back from ruin and lovingly restored to life.
When the painter Duncan Grant died in 1978, the house in East Sussex that he and
Vanessa Bell had rented since the First World War was in a very sorry state. Amazingly, the original designs and decor the couple had created over the years were still in place – the wall surfaces, the furniture, the wood panels, the ceramics, the fabrics, the paintings and, of course, the garden – but damp, dirt and neglect had reduced all of these to a most wretched state. The nation risked losing a house of real historical, cultural and artistic significance.

This reissue tells how Deborah Gage, a determined young woman in her twenties, set about saving this house by galvanizing support, raising money and masterminding the project. With the help of many individuals and despite setbacks, the restoration was a success. This account discusses the work in detail, giving a fascinating insight into the restoration of an historic building and gardens.

Today, Charleston is open to the public – an extraordinary achievement, carried out with passion and conviction, and truly a fitting celebration of the lives of those who lived there.

 

Anthea Arnold

Anthea Arnold has worked for Cambridge University Press, the Nuffield Foundation, and as a primary-school teacher in the London Borough of Brent. She has written two books: Briglin Pottery, published in 2002, and Eight Men in a Crate: The Ordeal of the Advance Party of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955–1957, published in 2007. She became a Life Friend of Charleston in July 1986 and has worked there in various capacities as a volunteer. Anthea lives in Burwash, East Sussex.

New non-fiction: Gallipoli by Arthur Beecroft

9780719816543Gallipoli: A Soldier’s Story
At the start of the First World War, Arthur Beecroft was a recently qualified barrister in his twenties. Determined to enlist despite a medical condition, he volunteered for military service, first as a regular soldier, then as a despatch rider. Offered a commission in the Royal Engineers, in 1915 he saw action at Gallipoli.

Now a byword for catastrophic military disaster, the Gallipoli Campaign was the ill-conceived Allied invasion of the Dardanelles. The campaign stalled almost immediately, resulting in over half a million casualties on both sides.

Lucky to survive, several years later Beecroft wrote a detailed memoir of his experiences. Discovered by his granddaughter and now reproduced here almost exactly as it was written nearly a century ago, Beecroft’s vivid narrative takes us through those heady days of the declaration of war, enlistment, initial training, the bungled landing at Suvla Bay, and the exceptionally difficult conditions of the Gallipoli terrain. This is no mere jingoistic account. With a keen eye, Beecroft brings to life the men dogged by disease and exhaustion – ordinary soldiers who, even as they suffered the betrayal of incompetent leadership,  displayed extraordinary reserves of heroism and bravery.

Throughout this rare insight into what it was like for an ordinary ‘civilian soldier’ swept up in the fog of war, Beecroft’s authentic voice still speaks honestly to us today –  of comradeship and devotion to duty, of fear and facing death.  Now published for the first time in the centenary year of the Gallipoli Campaign, this is a soldier’s story in his own words.

Arthur Beecroft

Arthur Beecroft enlisted in 1914 and served as a Signals Officer during the Gallipoli campaign. After the First World War, he wrote several detective novels under the pen-name Arthur Salcroft, and was awarded an MBE in 1922. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard. Arthur Beecroft died peacefully in 1974.

New non-fiction: I Leap Over the Wall by Monica Baldwin

I Leap Over the Wall: A Return to the World After 28 Years in a Convent

9780719816437At the age of twenty-one, Monica Baldwin – the niece of Stanley Baldwin – entered one of the oldest and most strictly enclosed contemplative orders of the Roman Catholic Church. At the age of forty-eight, and after struggling with her vocation for many years, she obtained a special rescript from Rome and left the convent. But the world Monica had known and forsaken in 1914 was very different to the world into which she emerged at the height of the Second World War ….

This is the fascinating account of one woman’s two very different lives, with revealing descriptions of the world of a novice, the duties of a nun’s day, and the spiritual aspects of convent life. Interwoven with these are the trials and tribulations of coping with a new and alien world, as the author is confronted with fashions, interventions, politics and art totally unfamiliar to her.

Written in the post-war years, this re-issue is as fresh and engaging today as it ever was. Humour, intelligence, an endearing humility and a searing honesty all characterize this remarkable classic, giving readers both a glimpse into a hidden world and a unique view on one more familiar.

Praise for I Leap Over the Wall on first publication:

‘What a wonderful book! Now that I have finished it I want to read it again … whatever you think about nuns, whatever your religious views or lack of them, I don’t see how you can fail to be enriched by this book.’ John Betjeman

‘A sympathetically written and extraordinarily interesting account of one of the strangest and most disturbing experiences a modern woman ever lived through.’  Daily Mail

‘Witty, enlightening, entertaining.’  Daily Express

‘A story brilliantly told.’ Observer

‘Witty and intensely moving.’ Sunday Times

‘Works well. Amazing.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Straightforward, quiet and sincere. Profoundly interesting.’ Spectator

‘The book describes in fascinating detail life in an enclosed order.’ Irish Times

Buy your copy of I Leap Over the Wall here

New non-fiction title: Australia in the Great War

Australia in the Great War

Australia iaustralian the Great War is a compelling history of Australia and its people during the global conflict of 1914–1918. It charts the experiences of ordinary men and women against a backdrop of momentous events on the international stage, and shows how war helped shape an emerging Australian national identity. It spans the heady days of August 1914, when Australia responded enthusiastically to the mother country’s call for help, through the baptisms of fire at Gallipoli and on the Somme, to the dark days of Passchendaele and the remarkable battlefield performances of 1918 when the Australians were acknowledged as ‘the shock troops of the British Empire’.

Interweaving stories from the home front and the battle front, Australia in the Great War examines the lives (and deaths) of those who fought on European soil. But it also explores the lives of those left half-a-world behind: the civilians at home who watched from afar. Mothers, wives and girlfriends waited anxiously for news ‘from the front’, and local newspapers published extended commentaries on the happenings overseas. Young men were encouraged to join the colours but there was also a fierce debate on whether conscription to the armed forces should be introduced in Australia. Eventually, in 1919, Australian troops were repatriated, but they found their country much changed, and many had difficulty readjusting to civilian life. This is their story: a tale of sacrifice and bravery in a place far from home.

Philip Payton
Philip Payton is Emeritus Professor of Cornish & Australian Studies at the
University of Exeter, UK, and Adjunct Professor of History at Flinders
University in Adelaide, Australia. The author/editor of more than forty
books, he has written extensively on Australian history.

Philip spent his early childhood in Perth, Western Australia, and later studied
for his doctorate at the University of Adelaide. A former Naval officer, he
has a particular interest in military affairs. Today, he divides his time
between Cornwall and Australia.

Buy your copy of Australia in the Great War here