From THE MEMORY MAN to MUSIC MAN: the soundtrack of Steven Savile’s life

Peter Ash and Frankie Varg, agents with the European Crimes Division, investigate a series of murders where the victims are sent sinister gifts in the post… severed human body parts. Accompanying those gifts is a note: Memini Bonn. I remember Bonn. What does this mean, and when will the killings end?

memory man

From teenage years and romantic crushes to moving houses and heartbreak: THE MEMORY MAN author Steven Savile reveals the five albums that changed his life, and why…

I love music. I’m obsessed with it. My most recent purchases are all second-hand vinyl. I just went to the mailbox tonight to find a signed copy of The Gin Blossoms latest, Mixed Reality. Beside me, there’s a record collection of something like seven hundred LPs. When my father died I pretty much fell apart. I didn’t write for six or seven months. I actually wondered if I’d ever write again. A friend of mine, a music journalist, said, “Steve, you need to do something to take your mind off things, find something to obsess over. You should try collecting records.” Which, given I’d ditched all of my old vinyl when I emigrated, and I’d got about 3,000 cds I don’t have kids and I live a really cheap life, so I get to indulge my obsessions so I thought he was mad. But the next day I started browsing the racks at a small second hand vinyl store in Uppsala, and came home with half a dozen records. Slight problem, in that I didn’t have a turntable, but I fixed that. Of course, by the time it arrived I’d already bought about sixty of my old favourites on vinyl. So, yeah, I’m that guy. Right… five. I hate you. Five is impossible… ish.

1). High Land Hard Rain – Aztec Camera – I borrowed this from the library, on tape, when I was 13 years old. I used to play it religiously walking home past the graveyard and along the race course in Epsom to our old house in Langley Vale (which completely makes an appearance in Memory Man hah!). I’d sing it at the top of my lungs and Knife when that came out when I was 15. These two records defined my musical life. I still listen to them every week, maybe not all the way through, but individual tracks. I’ve flown halfway around the world to see Roddy in concert, several times.

2). Gladsome, Humour and Blue – Martin Stephenson and the Daintees – which is a leftfield one that I’m guessing most folks reading this won’t know. Confession time… I owe my thirty-year love affair with this album to a girl. See, back when I was a callow youth I fell down the stairs in a hotel because a girl smiled at me. I kid you not. I fell backwards down a full flight of stairs, rolled, and came up on my feet grinning. Because I wasn’t the kind of kid girls said hi to, especially not knock you off yer feet girls. We were inseparable for that time. She was my first kiss. And boy did she earn it. I was terrible. I mean… I had a green army jacket, like the kind of thing you bought from the army surplus store for a tenner, and the lapels were loaded with badges, stuff like Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Aztec Camera, that kind of thing, and every time she leaned in trying to kiss me, I panicked and said I couldn’t do it with them looking, stupid stuff like that.

So, anyway, end of the holiday romance she went her way, I went mine, and we stayed in touch, writing long letters about nothing. In one she mentioned she’d bought this album, and the guy was a poet. She’d even bought the special book of lyrics he did to go with it. So I had to have that, right? It was the first CD I bought which necessitated buying a CD player and an amplifier, yeah, there’s a pattern here, isn’t there? and I loved it. I played it over and over and over for years. Hell, I even mention it in one of my books, Coldfall Wood, and have given Martin a copy as a thanks for the decades where his album has served as the soundtrack to my life. Anyway, as it goes, she and me we stopped writing. We grew up. We grew apart. I often wondered how she was doing. She was never on Facebook or anything like that, so there was no finding her, even in this modern age, and her name wasn’t exactly rare, so she’d turn up hundreds of hits that weren’t her, making it hard to track her down. Then, one day, I noticed Martin was doing a gig in London, and the last time I’d had any point of reference for where she might be she was living in London, so I thought, man, wouldn’t that be a blast, go to the gig, and you never know, maybe bump into her? If it was a movie, we’d see each other across the crowded bar, there’d be a moment of recognition, and a holy hell, what are you doing here? moment.

But you know, life ain’t like that. She wasn’t there. But the concert was brilliant. I had a fantastic time. She turned up on Facebook maybe two years later, and we met up for a drink to share old stories and just catch up, and I told her about the gig, and about the album, and how Martin and I were mates now, which was mental. And she said, “Who?” Having completely forgotten both the record and the singer. Seems some boy she fancied had taped it for her on a blank cassette and she couldn’t remember anything about it. Which, of course, is exactly how I would have written it.

3). Hold Your Fire – RUSH – we all have our rituals, right? Every home I live in, and there’s been a lot of them, (I didn’t settle down until I was in my late 30s, so I think I racked up about 27 homes along the way) there’s one song I play first, when I move in, and again when I leave, when the place is empty and I’m feeling like an era is coming to an end. That’s ‘Time Stand Still’ by Rush, with Aimee Mann on backing vocals. There’s something about it, when Geddy Lee is singing about freezing this moment a little bit longer, and experience slipping away, it encapsulates the hope you feel first setting foot in a place, wondering what will happen to you here, and then when you leave, it echoes, you let your past go too fast, no time to pause…

4). Strange Kind of Love – Love and Money – this might just be the perfect album. Funny story, so, when it came out, I bought a ticket to go and see them at the Riverside in Newcastle, a great little venue, spit and sawdust stuff. It must have been my first year at uni. I went with a guy I’d met in a queue for another long since gone nightclub and we’d become good mates. Anyway, 8 o’clock comes, no band, 9, 10, no band, and the natives are getting restless. The guy running the venue comes out, explains the band have broken down on the motorway coming up from last night’s gig in Leeds, which if you think about it is a bit of an odd one, I mean, it’s a full 24 hrs and they’re still stuck on the motorway? Hmm… anyway, they were coming, they were late, wouldn’t get here till around 1 in the morning, but if we were game, they wanted to put on a full show. Of course we were. Even if they didn’t show up till maybe 1:30, and we were all very drunk. I was in the front row, close enough for the lead singer to spit on as he enunciated, you know the deal. Brilliant.

Fast forward almost thirty years, I get an email from a guy whose been in the audience at a small gig in Paisley where the singer is doing his raconteur bit, and he mentions one of my books as something he’s really enjoyed recently which was mad. So I emailed the guy, James Grant, via his website and we start talking. We get on really well, he invites me over for a couple of his gigs, lets the wife and I hang out backstage while he tells his friends in the bar how cool I am, because I wrote for Torchwood. It’s all quite surreal. We talked for ages about me doing a book based around his music, where he’d maybe do a soundtrack to go with it, or a movie script. I’ve got this great idea of a funeral scene with all of these 80s Scottish pop singers and band members in the congregation, burying someone, and literally only a handful of people having a clue who is in those pews… because James has got some very cool friends, and none of us look like we did in 1985… apart from Marty Pellow. I mean, he obviously did a deal with the devil.

5). The One I Love and Orange Crush – REM – it’s my first heartbreak band, so I’m cheating and taking two songs that are inextricably linked in my mind. The ones where the girl in another lifetime… you know the one. We’re going back to university days. I walked in, first week, into this massive lecture hall. I was doing business studies at Newcastle, before I dropped out, shifted over to Politics and went down an entirely different rabbit hole. So, two rows in front, there’s this massive Joey Tempest-like mop of blond hair, and a pair of bright red-framed glasses, and it was love at first sight. I mean I wasn’t just infatuated. I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t think. My mates were all taking the piss. I just sat there, dumbstruck. I needed to know this girl. So, there’d be these moments, she’d look back at me, smile, look away. I’d be looking at her, grinning, then panic and break eye contact. Over and over, the dance of a thousand cuts. But I mean, I’d only kissed three girls in my life up to that point. I was not good at this. There was no cool, hey how you doin’ from me. But, day by day her friends started noticing, my friends started noticing, and everyone figured yeah, this is going to be a thing. But we became friends. Which was probably my cunning plan. Turned out she had a boyfriend who’d gone to a different uni two hundred miles away it was doomed, but she wasn’t ready to end it for at least a couple of months.

We were in that nightclub where I’d met the Riverside gig mate in the queue a few weeks before, dancing to REM’s ‘Orange Crush’ and ‘The One I Love’, when her friend came up to tell me she was crying in the stairwell, so I went to sit and chat, and just make sure she was okay. She’d finally ended it. There was a moment when she looked at me, and then she said, ‘I’m not ready for this,’ and I said it was fine, I’d wait because whatever it was, or would be, I figured we’d get there in time. I was 18 and a complete idiot, obviously. On the way out, my mate came up to me and said, hey, look, mind if I go and have a word with her? Talk you up a bit? Sure, I said, I mean, hey, mates know you, they have your back. On the Monday I get into uni at 9 but don’t have lectures until 10, so I go into the rectory for a bacon and egg butty, and the girl who’d come to tell me she’d been crying is waiting for me I’m that predictable, same sandwich every morning to tell me that I’d fucked up good and proper, because my mate had hooked up with the One I Absolutely Loved, and they were having a thing. Fantastic. I mean I was absolutely broken, because I mean, it was it, the one… their thing lasted two weeks. It was what it was.

We stayed friends, we got closer, and everyone was sure we’d finally just get over ourselves. I bought tickets to see Aztec Camera at the City Hall. We went together. It was a brilliant night. Waiting at the Metro for her dad to pick her up and drive her home I held her, she knew, I knew, she leaned in for that first kiss. And I eskimoed her nose because I panicked. It was that close. The moment that would change everything. That was a Thursday night. On the Friday we saw each other, she invited me to the disco with her and her mates, but I couldn’t go because I was playing football. No biggie, there would be hundreds of other nights. She met the man she married at that disco and I went back to playing REM. I should probably have guessed, given the lyrics…

THE MEMORY MAN by Steven Savile is out now in the UK and from 1 February in the US. Find out more here.


#BookExtract: A DEADLY TURN by Claire Booth

9780727888457A car crash leaves behind six dead teenagers and a shaken sheriff Hank Worth – he pulled them over and sent them away with just a warning minutes earlier. Hank suspects there is more to the crash, a feeling exacerbated when a body is discovered in one of the victim’s homes. Are Hank’s suspicions right, or is guilt playing tricks on his mind?


Branson county sheriff Hank Worth struggles to uncover the truth behind a fatal car crash in this absorbing mystery. Read an extract from the beginning of the novel below…

Hank didn’t know how long he knelt there before he forced himself to look up. It was so quiet. He was always amazed at how little sound the hydraulic jaws made. Larry wielded them with expert ease, snipping apart the car as if it were a tin can. Two other guys, communicating with only hand signals, started to peel back the roof. They concentrated on the section over the driver, who was the only one with even a remote chance of survival. Larry started on the door.

Within seconds, the red flannel shirt was visible and a gurney was wheeled close. Larry stepped back. Hank stopped breathing. The paramedics lifted slowly and carefully. But it didn’t matter. They called it as soon as the kid was on the gurney. He was dead, too. All six, dead.

Hank gulped in air and dropped his head. He stared at the dirt and tried to control his breathing. Then two running shoes appeared in front of him. They were too small and too pink to be Sam’s. Too small to be anybody’s but—

‘What exactly are you doing?’ said Sheila.

He looked up into the face of his chief deputy. Her jaw dropped and she took a step back.

‘Jesus, Hank. What the hell happened? Are you hurt?’

He shook his head. Why would she ask that? There was a car full of dead kids, and she was asking about him? He raised his hand to wave her away and saw the blood. Oh.

‘Stand up. Let me look at you.’ She peered up at his face and then whipped out a tissue. ‘Blow your nose,’ she ordered.

He obeyed. She eyed him with a mix of puzzlement and concern. It was not like him to lose his composure over an accident scene. He knew that. He knew a lot of things at the moment, none of which were helping him get a grip on himself.

A DEADLY TURN is available now in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.

#BookExtract: CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE by Katherine Bolger Hyde



A game of charades ends in coldblooded murder in this entertaining cozy mystery, third in the Crime with the Classics series.

Having finished transforming Windy Corner, the grand Victorian mansion she inherited from her great aunt, into a writers’ retreat, widowed literature professor Emily Cavanaugh is ready to receive her first set of guests. But her careful planning is thrown into disarray by the unexpected arrival of outrageous true-crime writer, Cruella Crime, whose unpardonably rude behaviour is causing great offence.

Read an extract below, when Emily and Cruella meet for the first time . . .

The insistent ringer now stood on the mat shedding her outdoor garments. Layer after layer of brightly colored clothing peeled off until a short, dumpy, middle-aged figure remained. Emily took in the crimson knit hat shoved down over frizzy bleached hair; the kelly green sweater, through the holes of which gleamed a sparkly violet shirt; and the full, ragged-hemmed gauze skirt, a garish print in which every vibrant color known to the modern chemical imagination vied for prominence. The woman looked like a bag lady who’d lost a game of paintball.

‘Can I help you?’ Emily said when she’d recovered from the initial sensory shock.

The apparition stuck out a grimy, ill-kept hand. ‘Cruella Crime. Heard young Alex Gordon couldn’t make it and came along in his place.’

‘Did you say . . . Cruella Crime?’ The name sounded vaguely familiar, but it certainly couldn’t be real. And oddly, black and white seemed to be the only colors missing from her ensemble.

‘My pen name. Real one’s a closely guarded secret. Only my publisher knows for sure.’ She gave an exaggerated wink.

Now the name clicked. Emily had seen it splashed across the lurid covers of airport paperbacks. Cruella wrote the worst sort of sensationalist ‘true’ crime.

‘I’m very sorry, Ms . . . Crime . . .’ That sounded so ridiculous Emily couldn’t go on.

‘Call me Cruella. Everybody does.’

‘Cruella, then – but attendance at this retreat center is by invitation only. We don’t take in just anyone who happens to come by, open room or no.’

Cruella threw back her head in a raucous laugh. ‘Well, I’m afraid you’re stuck with me for now, honey. Have you looked outside? I slid in here on a two-inch coat of ice. No way are my poor bald little tires getting out till this thaws.’

CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE is available from 30 November in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.

Behind the author: PATRICIA MACDONALD


Heavily pregnant Dena Russell returns to her hometown after a whirlwind romance with Brian Riley, an old acquaintance. When Brian’s behaviour grows irrational and a battered body is found, Dena wonders if the father of her unborn child is a killer. Fearing for her and her baby’s life, Dena seeks refuge with another old friend, but how safe is she?


SAFE HAVEN is the 20th novel by Patricia MacDonald, an internationally-bestselling author of thrilling domestic suspense. Get to know her below…

The books you’ll always keep?
Luckily, my house has a library, so I keep all my books. I read my first Agatha Christie, Sad Cypress, when I was thirteen and visiting a friend on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. That book inspired me to read and, ultimately, to write mysteries.

5 books/albums/movies that changed your life?
Lucia Albanese’s recording of Madame Butterfly, my first opera. Thrilling.

Joni Mitchell’s album of Clouds, and all her subsequent albums, which provided a soundtrack for my youth.

Henry James, The American. Not my first, but a favorite book by an author who has always given me the greatest reading pleasure.

Women in Love, with Oliver Reed and Alan Bates. What a brilliant adaptation of a beloved book.

John le Carre’s The Honorable Schoolboy. Transporting. In those years, he defined what a spy novel could be.

A fun fact about you that fans might not know?
When I was a child of about four I was saved from drowning by a man in a passing boat. I can still see his face as he reached down to pull me aboard to safety.

When I was a middle-aged woman, I sat next to Prince Albert at a black tie dinner in Monaco. We had a delightful conversation. Both experiences were indelible, unique!

SAFE HAVEN is available from 30 November in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.


Behind the Book: CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE by Katherine Bolger Hyde



A game of charades ends in coldblooded murder in this entertaining cozy mystery. Emily Cavanaugh decides to take a leaf out of the book of her favourite detective writer, Agatha Christie, and investigate.




Katherine Bolger Hyde explains the inspiration behind Crime with the Classics…

My series Crime with the Classics features widowed literature professor Emily Cavanaugh, who has inherited a Victorian mansion from her great aunt and retired to a tiny town on the Oregon coast. There she re-encounters her first love, Luke Richards, who is now the town sheriff. They rekindle their romance and start solving murders together − beginning with the murder of said great aunt.

Since I love the classics, I wanted to write a series that would incorporate them in some way. The basic idea is that Emily uses her knowledge of literature to solve crimes. But the series draws on a different classic author for each book. Since the authors themselves are different, the way I use them also varies from one novel to the next.

The first book in the series, Arsenic with Austen, has a light-hearted tone and a witty style that I hope echoes Austen’s. The plot of Persuasion forms the background for the novel’s romance, and the villain’s motivations resemble those of some of Austen’s less savory characters.

In the second book, Bloodstains with Brontë, the atmosphere gets considerably darker. The weather is stormy, recalling that of the Brontës’ Yorkshire moors, and the plot revolves around the kind of wild, brooding passions they were so fond of portraying.

With the current book, Cyanide with Christie, I had much more to work with since Christie herself was a mystery writer. I set the book at Christmastime in a remote country house cut off by bad weather, used Christie’s favorite cyanide as the murder weapon, and incorporated a number of her typical tropes into the characters and plot. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it!

CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE is available from 30 November in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.

Did you Know? A DEADLY TURN by Claire Booth


A car crash leaves behind six dead teenagers and a shaken sheriff Hank Worth – he pulled them over and sent them away with just a warning minutes earlier. Hank suspects there is more to the crash, a feeling exacerbated when a body is discovered in one of the victim’s homes. Are Hank’s suspicions right, or is guilt playing tricks on his mind?


Sheriff Hank Worth of Branson County, Missouri, returns for his third case in A DEADLY TURN.  Claire Booth went to university in Missouri, which is when she became familiar with Branson, and tells us more about this real-life location…

Did you know that Branson – a town in the rural Ozark mountains of Missouri where my books are set – has only about 10,000 residents but hosts more than seven million visitors a year? The town was originally visited by people interested in outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and fishing. There were also a few local live music shows. Over the years, those musicians were joined by out-of-town country music performers who built theaters in town. More and more entertainment choices brought more and more tourists to the area. Now Branson is both a small town and a booming tourist destination. I’ve fictionalized some things about the area in my books, but I’ve definitely kept this great dynamic – in this case, truth is better than fiction!

A DEADLY TURN is available from 30 November in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.

Behind the Book: THE MEMORY MAN by Steven Savile

Peter Ash and Frankie Varg, agents with the European Crimes Division, investigate a series of murders where the victims are sent sinister gifts in the post . . . severed human body parts. Accompanying those gifts is a note: Memini Bonn. I remember Bonn. What does this mean, and when will the killings end?

memory man


What trigged Steven Savile to turn a long-held idea into a sinister, terrifying fast-paced thriller? Find out how the Eurocrimes series and his new title, THE MEMORY MAN, was born below.

Eurocrimes was one of those ideas I had floating around in my brain for ages – I’m a strange writer, I think, in that sometimes a book can just be there inside me as an idea for a decade or more, untouched, before I decide now’s the time. I’d written a five-hundred-word pitch for the idea when I was looking at moving agents back in… 2008? Something like that. It was a neat enough idea, cross border crimes, a detective paring that matched my own life, half British, half Swedish. But I was never going to write it.

Until Brexit happened. Then suddenly it struck me, wouldn’t it be a lot of fun to dig into a cross border thriller right as we’re pulling out of all of this cooperation, and everything I’d thought about the book changed, turned on its head by that vote. I’m friends with Matt Hilton. We were chatting a lot at the time. He was telling me how happy he was with Severn House and how they’d done his Tess and Po stuff proud, so he introduced me to Kate, and within a couple of weeks Eurocrimes was locked in.

I remember writing that opening chapter, which is really quite nasty, and thinking well, that’s this little love affair well and truly done, I mean I’ve just tortured an old priest and cut a gay guy’s tongue out. They’re not gonna want this… Really, with MEMORY MAN, it’s not a Whodunnit? It’s more about the ripples that spread out across time from one event and how they impact upon so many people, even those who have no idea what lies in their past. I’m always more interested in the people in the story and putting them in extremis. They’re forged in that crucible, they become heroes and villains. And I like them quite starkly defined, because the story around them may be shades of grey, but in their own lives everyone is a hero, right?

THE MEMORY MAN is available now in the UK and from 1 February in the US. Find out more here.

#BookExtract: PSYCHOTOPIA by R.N. Morris


PSYCHOTOPIA. Ready to play? Create your own psychopath, then deceive and manipulate, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels. It’s the computer game for our times. The amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Can Dr Arbus’s new machine identify psychopaths before it’s too late? And can love still win in this dark new world?


Described as ‘dark, dangerous and deranged’ by fellow author Mark Hill, PSYCHOTOPIA will draw you into a intensely compelling and terrifying dark new world. Dare to play? Read this book extract from Roger Morris’ contemporary dystopian novel.

To begin with, we pulled them in. Then there got to be so many of them we couldn’t keep up.

There were a number of theories as to what was causing it. Some people blamed it on the new breed of VR computer games that were coming out. But when you looked at the facts, that just didn’t hold up. No, games like Psychotopia and its ilk were one of the symptoms of whatever it was that was going on. Not the cause. The bad shit was already happening, way before that game got released.

Some said it was a disease. An epidemic. Psychodemic, the tabloids called it.

Some people blamed the MindNet. Said it had gone mad. And that the madness was affecting us all. But my view was the MindNet had always been mad.

Then Dr Arbus came forward with his theory and we realized it wasn’t computer games and it wasn’t an epidemic and it wasn’t the MindNet. It was something bigger. You might say worse. Much worse.

Once Arbus’s theory took hold, everyone started to panic big time.

PSYCHOTOPIA is available now in the UK and from 1 February in the US. Read more here.

Behind the Book: A DEADLY TURN by Claire Booth


A car crash leaves behind six dead teenagers and a shaken sheriff Hank Worth – he pulled them over and sent them away with just a warning minutes earlier. Hank suspects there is more to the crash, a feeling exacerbated when a body is discovered in one of the victim’s homes. Are Hank’s suspicions right, or is guilt playing tricks on his mind?


A Deadly Turn is the latest case for Hank Worth, the sheriff of Branson County, Missouri. Hank responds to a car crash out on a rural road, and has to figure out whether it was actually an accident or whether there was foul play. Hank and his family moved to the area only a year ago, and he’s still trying to figure out the competing small-town political interests, all of which have different reasons for wanting him to fail.

Why did Hank move to Branson in the first place?

Hank and his wife Maggie lived in Kansas City, a large metropolitan area where Hank was a police officer and Maggie was an emergency trauma physician. Their hectic swing-shift schedules made it impossible to find child care for their two small kids. So when Maggie’s mother dies of a heart attack and her father needs help, they decide that solving one family problem will also solve the other. They move in with Maggie’s father in Branson, and he takes over care of the children while Hank and Maggie are at work. It would be the perfect arrangement if only half the town wasn’t out to ruin his career.

Is this Hank’s first big Branson case?

Hank hasn’t had an easy time of it. Just a few months into his job, he had to coordinate the snowstorm rescue of dozens of tourists from a wrecked paddlewheel showboat. He did that, but on a last sweep of the huge boat, he found a murder victim in a private dining room. That case made him an enemy of a powerful local businessman and an obnoxious county commissioner. Then springtime brought two bodies in the Ozark backwoods. That investigation put Hank right in the middle of a generations-old family feud. People are starting to point out how the murder rate has skyrocketed since he came to town.

A DEADLY TURN is available from 30 November in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.

December UK/April US Editor’s Pick: ROUGH MUSIC by Robin Blake

Rough Music

December’s Editor’s Pick is Robin Blake’s ROUGH MUSIC.

With ROUGH MUSIC Robin Blake brings his Cragg and Fidelis historical mystery series, set in the north of England in the 1740s, to Severn House. Known for incorporating thoroughly researched details of the Georgian era’s life and times in his books, Blake continues that trend with his latest instalment.

Yet far from being purely about the history, the series offers a mystery featuring old-English customs, hidden identities, secrets, murder, bees, bulls, and no shortage of humour.

It’s the sweltering summer of 1744 and when an epidemic disease threatens his hometown, coroner Titus Cragg retires with his wife and baby son to a remote village in East Lancashire, where he hopes his family will enjoy the healthy and tranquil air. But Cragg finds the rural atmosphere anything but peaceful when he’s called upon to investigate the horrific death of a local woman who has fallen victim to a cruel community punishment.

Assisted by his friend Dr Luke Fidelis, Cragg begins to probe the village’s prejudices and simmering hatreds, as he untangles cross-currents of suspicion, rivalry and rural customs which are very different from the ways he knows in the town. Then another local woman disappears, and events take a disturbing new twist…

From the shocking opening involving a stang ride – which was a form of vigilante punishment for cuckolded men or for women deemed domineering – the period is brought to life in such detail. When this is combined with the author’s ability to bring to life a well-developed ensemble cast of characters with realistic motivations and backstories, you will feel as if you live in the village of Accrington yourself.

Ultimately however it is the mystery that keeps the action moving along at a fast pace and will have you turning the pages. Seeing Cragg piece together his investigation using methods of the time – and his use of communal trials (of varying degrees of success) – along with Fidelis conducting cutting-edge autopsy techniques, is as satisfying as it is intriguing.

Find out more information about ROUGH MUSIC here.