Another outing for Inspector James Antrobus

Norman Russellby Norman Russell

Next April will see the publication by Robert Hale of my second Inspector Antrobus novel, An Oxford Anomaly. Set in late Victorian Oxford, it centres around Jeremy Oakshott, Fellow of Jerusalem Hall, and an authority on the Crusades, who is urged by the renowned archaeologist Mrs Herbert Lestrange to join her expedition to Syria. His wealthy uncle, Ambrose Littlemore, refuses to help him financially, and is murdered soon afterwards. Detective Inspector Antrobus, who has already investigated the savage murder of one of Oakshott’s old friends, believes Oakshott to be the killer, but the scholar’s alibis are completely watertight. Assisted by his doctor friend Sophia Jex-Blake (of whom more later) Antrobus looks further afield, visiting two criminal lunatic asylums, a remote nunnery, and a quiet country village, where at last they uncover the truth about five savage murders, and bring their perpetrator to justice.

I have always had a deep interest in the late Victorian period, its works and its ways, so it was not surprising that for my PhD thesis at London University I chose to examine literary responses to capitalism in the second half of the nineteenth century. I turned my thesis into a book, The Novelist and Mammon, published by Oxford University Press in 1986.

Over the last fifteen years, Robert Hale have published nine of my Inspector Jackson novels, set in the Warwickshire countryside in the 1890s, and seven thrillers set in the same era, featuring Inspector Arnold Box, who works out of the old Scotland Yard buildings near Whitehall Place. This year saw the first appearance of Detective Inspector James Antrobus, another nineteenth century police officer, this time operating from the headquarters of the Oxford City Police. I spent four very enjoyable years studying at Oxford, and when I conceived the character of Antrobus, it seemed natural that I should place him in that ancient university city, where he can tackle the many sinister criminals thrown up by both Town and Gown. As a further tribute to my alma mater, I decided that all the Antrobus novels should feature the name “Oxford” in their titles.

An Oxford Tragedy (2015) showed James Antrobus, and his petulant but fiercely 9780719816086protective sergeant, Joseph Maxwell, investigating the death of Sir Montague Fowler, Warden of St Michael’s College. He crosses swords with a number of secretive and eccentric dons, uncovers a long-hidden academic fraud, and has deep dealings with the late Sir Montague’s devious family before he brings the truth of this particular Oxford tragedy to light.

However, it is not only the criminal world that Antrobus has to contend with. James Antrobus is a man coping as well as he is able with chronic consumption of the lungs. Throughout the Oxford stories we see him seized with haemorrhages of the lungs and appalling coughing fits, together with periods of hospitalization, where he has to submit to some of the stern and rather terrifying treatments of the day.  Countless thousands of people lived with the many crippling variants of tuberculosis rampant in that era, including a number of prominent police officers, men like Antrobus, who fought valiantly to carry out their duties, often with complete success before an inevitably early death.

Inspector Antrobus is lucky to have a friend and fellow-sleuth in the person of Dr Sophia Jex-Blake, who becomes both his ally and, when necessary, his physician. Jex-Blake was, of course, a real person, one of a group of remarkable women who laboured for the right of their sex to become doctors. Given the medical context of these stories, I think the alliance of the fictional Antrobus and the real-life Sophia Jex-Blake works well.

Will we see more of Antrobus and Sophia Jex-Blake? Well, nineteenth century Oxford was a place concealing many dark mysteries, festering professional jealousies, murderous desires, and other sinister proclivities common to the human condition. So if Dr Jex-Blake can keep Antrobus in the land of the living – and I rather think that she can – then there will be plenty of work to keep him busy.

An Oxford Anomaly will be published by Robert Hale in April 2016

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 (Buried River Press): Cicely’s Sovereign Secret by Sandra Heath Wilson

Cicely's Sovereign Secret CMYKCicely’s Sovereign Secret

Lancastrian King Henry VII has a dark secret, a secret that his Yorkist foe, Jack de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, is determined to discover. But Jack is killed by Henry’s uncle, Viscount Welles. For Lady Cicely Plantagenet, this is a double tragedy, because Jack is her adored cousin and passionate lover, and Jon Welles is her treasured husband.

Cicely is once again lured into danger and intrigue in the royal court and in the streets of London. She does not know who is truly a friend, and who is an enemy. Above all she does not know Henry’s secret, a matter so heinous it could topple him from the throne.

Sandra Heath Wilson

Sandra was born in South Wales, but spent a great deal of her childhood in Ulster and Germany. She has lived in Gloucestershire since marrying forty years ago. Her other books, also published by Robert Hale, include her Regency novels The Makeshift Marriage, Lady Jane’s Ribbons and Hide and Seek.

‘Cicely was really brought to life, with her heart and soul bursting from the pages.’ – Novelicious

‘Beautifully told, heart-wrenching at times, joyous at others…impeccable research coupled with outstanding detail and intense dialogue truly bring the 15th century alive in the reader’s mind.’ – Historical Novel Review

Buy your copy of Cicely’s Sovereign Secret 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 fiction

Angel and the Actress by Roger Silverwood

9780719816154Award-winning actress, Joan Minter, is murdered in front of a gathering of her closest friends. However, nobody knows who the murderer is, nobody saw him or her, and nobody present could possibly be the guilty one. That’s the challenge facing Detective Inspector Angel and his team when they are called out to her luxurious home in Bromersley, South Yorkshire, at the foot of the Pennines. At the same time, an apparently innocent young insurance man is found murdered in his own house. The only clues are a new vacuum cleaner left by the murderer and an open refrigerator. Who committed the crime and what has the vacuum cleaner got to do with the case? This is the twenty fourth story in the highly successful Inspector Angel series.

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.

Buy your copy of Angel and the Actress here.

Dying Wish by James Raven9780719816932

Murder, kidnap, torture – these are not words usually associated
with Britain’s beautiful New Forest National Park. But when
local author Grant Mason has a heart attack, he makes a bizarre
dying wish: he wants his loyal assistant to burn his house down.
The request sets off a chain of events that leads to a huge police
hunt for a missing couple and a deranged killer. DCI Jeff
Temple and his Major Investigations Team take on their toughest case yet, and in the process they uncover vicious depravity and horror that was meant to lie buried forever. This is the fourth book by James Raven in the hugely successful DCI Jeff Temple series.

James Raven was a journalist for most of his working life. After
reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into
television in 1982 as a news scriptwriter with TVS television where
he then worked his way up to become Director of News across
Meridian, Anglia and HTV. When Granada took over most of ITV he
became Managing Director of Granada Sport before setting up his
own production company. James spends much of his time writing and
travelling and also performs magic at various venues across the
country. James has previously published four novels with Robert
Hale, including Urban Myth and Random Targets.

.Buy your copy of Dying Wish here.

One Bullet Too Many by Paul Bennett9780719816215

Life in the Polish resort of Lake Cezar is idyllic, that is, until
local crime lord, Emil Provda, not satisfied with prostitution,
drug-smuggling and gun-running, starts a protection racket
among the resort’s businesses. But this time Provda has picked
the wrong battle. Local hotel owner, Stanislav, is one of a group of five ex-mercenaries.The old gang – Stanislav, Johnny Silver, Bull, Red and Pieter – must get together for this final fight. Putting their
lives on the line, they decide to close Provda down if it’s the last
thing they do. The gang’s crusade against Provda brings them up against their
toughest opponents yet and the odds against them rise with each
battle, until the final duel on a deserted island. Just when they
think it’s over, there’s one more bullet to come; but who is on
the receiving end?

Paul Bennett was born in London and educated at Alleyn’s School
in Dulwich. He studied Economics at Exeter University and spent
seven years in advertising before setting up a market research
agency which he sold in 1986. He is now semi-retired in order to
pursue writing. Bennett lives in a converted barn in Essex with his
wife and two daughters and his previous novels, Killer in Black,
Catalyst and Mercenary were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of One Bullet Too Many here.

9780719816314Riding the Storm by Heather Graves

Beginning in tropical North Queensland and continuing in Melbourne,
this is the story of two brothers, consumed by a rivalry that has
dominated their family for generations. Both love the same woman,
and both covet the same beautiful racehorse, Hunter’s Moon. But only one can win. When Robert Lanigan is the loser for the second time, he reaches out to exact a terrible revenge on his brother Peter. One wayor another, he is determined to own that horse. Peter’s death is only the first disaster to befall his son Ryan: that summer, a tropical cyclone devastates his entire life; his home is destroyed, along with the market garden
that is his livelihood, and Ryan’s mother is killed.If Ryan wants to see his father’s beloved horse Hunter’s Moon again,he must go to Melbourne and live in his uncle’s house. Here, past family torments are brought up, and he begins to unearth more about the disputes between Robert and Peter. The last thing Ryan expects is to fall in love with the clever, complicated girl who also happens to be his cousin….

Born in Warwickshire, Heather Graves has spent a great part of her
adult life in Australia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
Her father maintained a lifelong interest in racing and Graves now
regularly attends races in Melbourne. A writer for over twenty years,
her books include Red for Danger, Starshine Blue, Indigo Nights and
Magenta Magic.

Buy your copy of Riding The Storm here.

Terror by Gaslight by Edward Taylor9780719816611

Victorian London is gripped by fear as a serial killer slays an
apparently random victim on Hampstead Heath every month, each
with a single knife thrust.Two men begin to suspect a mysterious link between the victims: Major Henry Steele and ex-Sergeant Mason have been discreetly retired from Military Intelligence following the suspicious death of a dangerous German agent in the Middle East. Now they work as private investigators, and are helping Scotland Yard hunt the so-called ‘Heath Maniac’. Their search takes them into large Heath-side houses where certain residents seem to have secrets, to the offices of shady lawyer, to the laboratory of a vivisectionist, back-stage at a London music-hall, and
later at the bedside of a dying comedian. Steele and Mason find themselves fighting for their lives on Hampstead Heath, before the Maniac is finally exposed in a shattering
climax.

Edward Taylor wrote and performed with the Cambridge University
Footlights, and was spotted by the BBC during the London run of
their 1955 revue. Offered a twelve-month contract as writer-producer,
he accepted and stayed for thirty-six years, being responsible for
Round the Horne, I’m Sorry – I’ll Read That Again, Just a Minute,
The Men from the Ministry and other top shows. Since then he’s written six plays, and Murder by Misadventure is widely performed throughout the world after a long London run. His first novel, The Shadow of Treason, was published by Robert Hale in
2012.

Buy your copy of Terror by Gaslight 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: 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

New Buried River Press title: Nothing Undone Remained by Dominic Luke

9781910208069Nothing Undone Remained

Life has been kind to Roderick Brannan in his first
fourteen years, and in the autumn of 1906 there is
nothing he wants more than to make a sporting name for himself at school. But with the breeze of the shifting seasons comes an imperceptible breath of change, for England, and for Roderick, and when his father, a motorcar manufacturer, dies he must return to the family home.

There follows a tumultuous summer, for Roderick and his young cousin, Dorothea. Swapping the strictures of boarding school for the cloistered quiet of a remote country house leads Roderick to reassess his goals, and awakens in him desires he had never considered possible.

Nothing Undone Remained is a perceptive and potent
glimpse of youth in Edwardian England, revelling in the
naivety and bluster of a young boy, on the fledgling
cusp of adulthood and responsibility.

Dominic Luke

Dominic Luke was born in London and studied history
at the University of Birmingham. He lives in
Northamptonshire and his previous three novels, Aunt
Letitia, Snake in the Grass and Autumn Softly Fell
were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy Nothing Undone Remained here

New Historical Fiction: Cardigan Bay by John Kerr

Author of Fell the Angels and Hurricane Hole

Author of Fell the Angels and Hurricane Hole

When Major Charles Davenport is evacuated to England, to recuperate from a battle wound received at Tobruk a letter is awaiting him from his wife in London, informing him that she’s in love with another man and wants a divorce.

Mary Kennedy is a young Irish-American who has moved to her grandparent’s cottage in Ireland to mourn the loss of her husband and infant daughter. Participating in a Red Cross morale-building effort, she corresponds with a young British soldier, but his letters cease abrubtly following the fall of Tobruk. Determined to learn what has become of him she makes her way to the army hospital in Sussex where his commanding officer, Major Davenport, kindly explains the young soldier’s fate.

Thus begins a love story, carried out almost entirely by letter, crystallized by distance and heightened by the intimacy of the private written word set against the dramatic events of WWII and culminating in the landings on D-Day at Sword Beach.

John Kerr’s writing draws on many years’ study of European and American history. Kerr received a J.D. from the University of Texas and a B.A. from Stanford University, where he studied history, literature, and poetry. He lives in San Antonio, Texas. Cardigan Bay is his third novel published by Robert Hale.

Available 31 October

RRP: £19.99

Hardback