New fiction

9780719818141Constable on Trial by Nicholas Rhea

Whilst serving as an aide to the CID, Detective Constable Rhea is kept busy in the seaside resort of Strensford as he endeavours to trace a stolen garden spade, the thief of a makeshift hearse with a corpse on board, and the phantom knicker-pincher of Harbour Rise. Throughout his early days Nick, like many other detectives, nurses an ambition to arrest a murderer, but no opportunities come his way – until a killer on the run seeks refuge in Strensford and an elderly lady is found dead at home.

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 his beloved North Yorkshire.

Buy your copy of Constable on Trial here.

9780719817618The Naked Soul by Alexander Lindsay

Reverend Jack Mallund knows his SAS regimental
reunion party won’t be for the faint-hearted. When a
pornographic movie is played, he turns away, but
before doing so, the face of one jumps out at him with
a familiarity that makes him sick: it is his teenage
daughter, missing, presumed dead. That night turns Jack’s life upside down all over again. With police reluctant to reopen the case, Jack must go it alone. His faith is pushed to the extreme and his
conscience to the precipice of insanity as he fights to find his daughter.

Alexander Lindsay was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. As a
journalist he has lived and worked in the Middle East,
New York, Paris, the UK, Ireland and the Greek Islands.
Based in Belfast, he covered the Northern Ireland conflict
as staff correspondent for the Sunday Express. He has been newspaper proprietor,
newspaper and magazine editor, columnist and national
newspaper theatre critic. His previous book Dollar
was published by Robert Hale in 2012. Find out more
about the author at his website: www.alexanderlindsay.com.

Buy your copy of The Naked Soul here.

Not My Affair by Pam Fudge

Just as Fay Ryan is about to break the news to her husband
Jack that they are to become parents, he gives her a gift
intended for the mistress Fay knew nothing about – a
mistress who is also Jack’s boss, Iona. Jack ends the affair, but odd things start to happen –complaints about Fay at work, a stolen item placed in her
bag in a shop. It is only when Iona confronts Fay in person
that they realize she has started a frightening campaign of
harassment in her determination to win Jack back.

Pamela Fudge is now a full-time writer after working as an administrator
at Bournemouth University for many years. She has written poetry since
she was a child and has had short stories published in most of the
national women’s magazines. Her previous books, also published by
Robert Hale, include High Infidelity, A Blessing in Disguise, Second
Best, A Change for the Better, Never be Lonely, Turn Back Time, Not
What It Seems and It’s in the Cards. You can find out more about her at http://www.pamfudge.co.uk

Buy your copy of Not My Affair here.

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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.

New fiction titles

9780719817403Avalon Castle by Rosemary Craddock

Avalon Castle is a disturbing place. Built by eccentric Ambrose
Blackwood, and inhabited by the rest of his extended dysfunctional
family, it holds some dark secrets. Rachel visits her half-sister in the Christmas of 1867, finding a house of family feuding, hauntings and disappearances. Ambrose and his brother Nikolas are unnerving hosts, and any chance of festivity is destroyed when a member of the household suddenly dies. Questions begin to pile up: who are the strange Blackwood family, and what skeletons are hiding in their vast Gothic house? With neighbour William Norton’s help, Rachel tries to prove her suspicions of foul play, and get out of the castle alive.

Rosemary Craddock was born in Staffordshire and has lived there
most of her life. She has been writing since childhood and has
published many novels, most of them set in the nineteenth century and
full of mystery, romance and intrigue. Her previous novel The
Lovegrove Hermit was published by Robert Hale in 2013.

Buy your copy of Avalon Castle here.

9780719817571Dark Powers by Raymond Haigh

In freeing a young girl from a secure children’s unit, special agent Samantha Quest is taking on the most powerful men in the country. The sixteen year-old girl has filmed an incident on her mobile phone which could bring down the government. The girl is Annushka Dvoskin, daughter of a powerful Russian oligarch. Unknown to Samantha, his enemies dispatch a team of hitmen to murder her and her charge. In this novel of wealth and corruption, the great and the privileged will do anything to protect their power. As the killers race to find the girls, Samantha and Annushka must outwit them.

Raymond Haigh was born in Doncaster where he went on to work in local government design departments. He is married with four children and seven grandchildren.

Buy your copy of Dark Powers here.

9780719817410Deep Waters by Ann Cliff

Industry in Yorkshire is booming and the cities are expanding.
Which of the rural valleys is doomed to be flooded next to quench
the cities’ thirst? Rachel Garnett is determined to fight against
engineer Roger Beckwith and his plans for a reservoir that will
engulf Firby valley. Firby Hall, where Rachel works, will be demolished when the reservoir is built. She convinces the owner not to sell, but when he dies, sole heir Guy Potts looks set to ruin Rachel’s careful work. Rachel must fight on, before her home is destroyed.

Ann Cliff was born in Yorkshire and brought up in a farming family.
Despite currently living in Australia, she writes frequently about
nineteenth century Yorkshire and her previous novels, which include
Summer by the Sea, Poacher’s Moon and Raven’s Gold, are also
published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Deep Waters here.

9780719817052Moorland Mist by Gwen Kirkwood

Emma Greig has seen little of the world when she leaves school at
fourteen to become a maid at Bonnybrae Farm. The Sinclair family
in turn welcome and reject her: Maggie is kind and warm, and her
brothers Jim and William tease Emma. Mrs Sinclair, disturbed by
her children’s friendship with the maid, resolves to remind Emma of her place. When Emma and William form a close bond, unforeseen circumstances force Emma to be sent away, and William banished from the farm he loves. Will their connection be strong enough to reunite them?

Gwen Kirkwood was born, and educated, in Yorkshire but moved to
Scotland to work. After meeting her husband, a Scottish dairy farmer,
she has spent most of her adult life north of the Border. Gwen has
three children and six grandchildren. With a background in farming
she has also written many family sagas and also romantic fiction
novels. Another Home, Another Love, Darkest Before the Dawn and
Beyond Reason are also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Moorland Mist here.

New general fiction titles

Cag9780719816994ed Angel by Anne Marie Vukelic

And so he stood now, as he had done since the first moment he had taken a room opposite her house: watching. He let the curtain fall, and on the glass remained a smear where his face had been. ‘Angela…’ he whispered the name to himself. ‘Like an angel…’

Through his journal of bloodstained poems and deranged fantasies, the frenzied consciousness of the barrister Richard Dunn is revealed, as he pursues the young heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts relentlessly through the streets of Victorian London.Driven by a fixation that binds him to her through the years, the reader shares his moments of fluctuating sanity and madness as he wrestles with his delusions.With the aid of influential figures of her time – the writer Charles Dickens, the Duke of Wellington and the scientist Charles Wheatstone – Angela seeks to deal with the pain of family secrets, while refusing to be defeated by Dunn’s obsession for her.

Anne-Marie Vukelic

Anne-Marie Vukelic was born in Codsall, South Staffordshire in 1967 and went on to attend St Peter’s School in Wolverhampton. In the 1980s, she moved to Austria but has now returned to the UK. Vukelic is a lifelong enthusiast of both Victorian history and psychology and currently works as a health and social care manager. She continues to live and work in the West Midlands. Her two previous novels, Far Above Rubies and The Butterflies are Free, were published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Caged Angel here.

Duty and Deception by Roberta Grieve9780719816987

Anna Grayson has been a dutiful, loyal and obedient daughter her whole life but her world is transformed when she meets the lively and outspoken Mitchell sisters, employees in her father’s factory, who awaken her interest in the women’s suffrage movement. Anna soon abandons her unfaltering obedience to her father to join them and attend a forbidden rally. This new world of excitement and freedom comes with risks. No longer sheltered by her father’s protection, Anna is forced to grow up quickly when tragedy strikes at a rally and her beloved new friend Lily Mitchell is knocked down by a motorcar and killed. Anna suspects it is no accident. Suddenly the world outside no longer seems so enticing. Convinced of foul play, Anna enlists the help of young doctor, Daniel Peters. At first, he is dismissive of her claim that Lily was pushed into the road – who would want to kill her? – but she persuades him to join her fight to uncover the truth and find justice for Lily.

Roberta Grieve

Roberta Grieve has always loved writing and when she took an early retirement, after working for West Sussex Library Service for over twenty years, she was determined to turn her hobby into a second career. Her first book was published in 1998 and since then she has had many stories and articles published.She is secretary of the Chichester Writers’ Circle and editor of the Chichester Literary Society’s quarterly newsletter. In her spare time she enjoys painting and walking, although writing and research always take precedence. She lives in Chichester, West Sussex.

Buy your copy of Duty and Deception here.

9780719817069The Rescuer by R. S. Hill

Bideford, Devon, April 1873: the River Torridge is in flood. Almost as soon as she sets foot in the town, Abigail March saves a young woman from drowning. Abigail, the daughter of a progressive Canadian politician, is in Bideford on official business, deputizing for her father. Accompanied by Inspector Theo Newton of Scotland Yard, she has travelled to the West Country to inspect the cache of smuggled weapons being guarded by the local borough police. That night, the woman Abigail saved is murdered and the weapons disappear. The police make an arrest, but when Abigail befriends Norman, the twelve-year-old brother of the accused man, she and Newton realize that the police have made a mistake which could have tragic consequences. At first, Newton is bewildered by Abigail. He has little experience of women and her forthrightness and ideas about women’s rights unsettle him. But, as their relationship progresses, Newton is inspired by her example. Spurred on by Abigail’s fearless determination and her sympathy for those less fortunate than herself, Newton shows bravery and strength, as they works tirelessly together to solve the case and uncover the truth.

R. S. Hill

R. S. Hill was born and grew up in North Devon. He taught EFL in Greece, became Head of Department in comprehensive schools and later a local authority consultant. He now writes full time. He has contributed travel, local history and educational articles to various magazines and newspapers. An experienced Western writer, The Rescuer is his first foray into crime writing.

Buy your copy of The Rescuer here.

Sherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Batavia by Jeremy Kingston9780719816116

When Holmes and Watson are visited at Baker Street by a frightened figure in a stovepipe hat, their interest is immediately piqued. The bizarre man turns out to be the reclusive Prince Alexander, the only son of the King of the Netherlands. In despair, he relays his suspicions to them about a plot to steal the throne, a jilted marriage proposal, and an attempted poisoning. The detective and his assistant agree to help solve the case and quickly enter a dazzling world of power, inheritance and ambition. Passing between the grandeur of The Langham and Claremont House, Holmes and Watson meet an array of enchanting and mysterious characters, each with their part to play in the struggle for the throne. With stakes this high, the game is bound to get dirty. With chapter headings derived from the titles of Conan Doyle’s short stories, Kingston cleverly weaves together the explosions in London, the extinction of the male line of the Dutch royal house of Orange, and the death of Queen Victoria’s favourite and haemophiliac son, the Duke of Albany.

Jeremy Kingston

Jeremy Kingston is a playwright, novelist and poet. For many years he was also a theatre critic, reviewing plays for the magazine Punch and then as a critic on The Times. His most recent play was Making Dickie Happy where he imagined Noel Coward, Agatha Christie and Lord Louis (Dickie) Mountbatten happening to meet at the start of their careers at an island hotel off the coast of Devon. Two volumes of his poetry have been published. He was born in London, brought up in various Home Counties and now lives again in London.

Buy your copy of Sherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Batavia here.

9780719816765The Upton Undertakers by Kerry Tombs

March 1891. A group of mourners gather for a funeral in a small country churchyard in Worcestershire, but events do not go according to plan. An old friend invites Detective Inspector Ravenscroft to investigate, and before long the detective and his associate Constable Tom Crabb are embroiled in the dark world of the Upton Undertakers. Their long and dangerous investigation takes the duo across the country, from Temple in London, to the ancient Shropshire market of Ludlow, to a strange educational establishment near Bromyard. Ravenscroft eventually draws the case to a dramatic conclusion, only to find that fate has one last surprising trick to play. This is the seventh book in the thrilling Victorian Inspector Ravenscroft series.

Kerry Tombs

Kerry Tombs was born in Smethwick, near Birmingham. After a career teaching in both England and Australia, he moved to Malvern where he became a genealogist, lecturer and bookseller. He currently lives in Ludlow, Shropshire. There are six previous books in the Inspector Ravenscroft series, including the Tewkesbury Tomb and The Droitwich Deceivers.

Buy your copy of The Upton Undertakers here.

New fiction (Buried River Press): Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison

Murder on the Minneapolis 

9781910208267

Flora Maguire, a young governess, is on her way home on the SS Minneapolis after the wedding of her employer’s daughter. She meets the charming Bunny Harrington on deck on the first night, after having avoided the dining room, conscious of her status among the first-class passengers.

Flora finds the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway, but when his death is pronounced an accident, she is not convinced, and, having experienced her own tragedy as a child in the form of her mother’s disappearance, is driven to find out the truth.

Flora starts asking questions, but following threats, a near drowning during a storm and a second murder, the hunt is on in earnest for a killer.

Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast. Will Flora be able to protect Edward, her charge, as well as herself, and uncover the identity of the murderer? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

Anita Davison

Anita Davison is a regular blogger for various historical blogs including Unusual Historicals and English Historical Fiction Authors, and also reviews books for the Historical Novel Review. Details of her other published novels are available on her blog: thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.com

Buy your copy of Murder on the Minneapolis 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.

 

Folly over passion: what Jane Austen really wrote about

by Beth Andrews

Jane Austen

Like her immortal heroine, Fanny Price, Jane Austen was a spectator of the foibles of ordinary human existence, rather than a participant. Despite the efforts of modern mythmakers, there seems little evidence that she ever fell deeply in love with anyone. This is reflected in her generally cool, detached tone, which both fascinates and repels readers, who often forget that her novels are satires – arguably the greatest of the nineteenth century.

Contemporary reinterpretations of her work seem inspired by a desire to inject something many readers feel is missing from the original: romance. This completely overturns Jane’s intention of deflating romantic pretensions. She took marriage seriously, but romantic love she considered a comic mixture of self-indulgence and delusion. She advised her niece not to marry “without affection,” for the very sensible reason that affection tends to last, while passion – which is now almost universally accepted as the only legitimate foundation for marriage – rarely does. One early critic commented on her ideal of “intelligent love,” and Jane’s six novels consistently warn that, without the guidance of the head, the heart is bound to go astray. Some may call her modified Christian Platonism outmoded, but after Victorian excess and postmodern posturing, I find it refreshing, exhilarating, and eminently sane.

When rewriting Love and Freindship, I chose to celebrate and expand upon Jane’s joyful anti-romanticism, even making fun of the iconic BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. Having written both regency romance and cozy mysteries, I think Jane would find the latter healthier and more respectable. After all, there are many “crimes of passion,” but whoever heard of a murder, for instance, being committed in a “frenzy of reason”?

Women discussing potential matches at a ball in Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995)

Curiously, I think that the lack of sex in her books is one of Jane’s greatest strengths, and one reason for her continuing appeal. Whether a result of ignorance or deliberate choice, the fact that she eschews any explicit physical details – even so much as a kiss – is both unusual and intriguing. By contrast, writers like D. H. Lawrence now seem dated and somewhat facetious, along with their pseudo-Freudian philosophy; and Lady Chatterley’s exploits are about as exciting as a Sunday school picnic, compared with the graphic sexual content of the average Harlequin romance novel. This kind of writing is often more concerned with envelope-pushing than with getting to the real meat of plot and character development. Jane Austen’s work, on the other hand, is like a “lean, mean, narrative machine,” in which extraneous fatty tissue (sexual details, minute physical descriptions) are cut to the bone. The resulting creation is so polished in its presentation that it is easy to miss the wisdom beneath the wit.

Whatever one’s views, Jane Austen provides enough “follies and nonsense” to amuse readers, infuriate critics, and inspire writers for generations to come. The struggle between heart and head will remain relevant as long as humans possess both, and the choices made by Jane’s characters are of universal interest. The ironic zest with which she handles her subject matter will always appeal to writers who prefer to “jest at scars” rather than to weep over wounds.

New fiction: Francesca and the Mermaid by Beryl Kingston (Buried River Press)

9781910208076Unhappy in her life and relationship, Francesca is inspired by her sighting of a mermaid swimming away to freedom, to leave her lover and uproot her life. She moves to Lewes to stay with Agnes Potts, her loving, eccentric friend. Francesca begins to paint again with Agnes’s encouragement and when her painting of the mermaid is seen by Henry, a local potter, he takes her into his employment and plans to organize an exhibition of her art.

When Agnes suffers an accident, Francesca must become nurse, chef and companion to her friend. Meanwhile, her ex-lover reappears and attempts to con Henry. Preoccupied by her new duties as Agnes’s carer, Francesca is too late to stop him and suddenly everything she has worked for and built in her new life is put at risk.

Beryl Kingston was born in South London, where she lived throughout the Blitz. Having married her first love at the age of nineteen, Kingston went on to have three children and spent many years teaching English and Drama to secondary school children. Now a full-time writer, Kingston has published over 20 novels, many of which have been bestsellers. Her recent novels Girl on the Orlop Deck and Off the Rails were also published by Robert Hale. For more information, please visit: www.berylkingston.co.uk

Order your copy of Francesca and the Mermaid here

New fiction: The Angel and the Sword by Sally Wragg

The Angel and the Sword

9780719814303The Nazi Party have a firm hold of 1930s Germany when wilful Henrietta Arabella, the youthful Duchess of Loxley, is sent on a tour of Europe by her formidable grandmother Katherine to
remove her from the temptation of an unsuitable love affair with the grandson of the estate’s chauffeur.

But the removal of one temptation only serves to spark another and, craving adventure, and for once escaping her companion, Hettie finds herself alone and lost in an insalubrious area of
Venice.

An incredible chain of events begins against the backdrop of the waterways and winding streets of Italy: Hettie will become
embroiled in the theft of secret war office papers, a German Count and a fantastical tale of a Saxon king and queen before she finds the anchor she seeks, her heritage and her history.

Sally Wragg

After marrying her husband and raising two children, Sally
Wragg completed an English degree at the University of
London and has since turned her hand to writing. Having
begun with short stories in women’s magazines, Sally now
has a number of books published by Robert Hale; Daisy’s
Girl, Maggie’s Girl and Playing for Keeps.

Buy your copy of The Angel and The Sword here