We look back on a fabulous year of publishing with a small selection of our many highlights from 2019. Murder, madness, mischief, mayhem, and a little bit of magic – this year had it all!
THE ALMANACK by Martine Bailey
The year began with a dose of starry magic courtesy of this dazzlingly intriguing historical mystery. Superstition, murder and the stars collide in 1752 when the clever, feisty and mischievous Tabitha Hart teams up with the rakish Nat Starling to avenge her mother’s death. Can she solve a series of riddles and cryptic notes to unmask the identity of the mysterious ‘D’ and bring a killer to justice? Dark, deadly and delightful, this intricate historical mystery is sure to put a twinkle in your eye.
What they said . . . “Puzzle solvers and historians will love this mystery” Booklist
THE KILLER IN THE CHOIR by Simon Brett
A new Simon Brett novel is always a hotly anticipated event at Severn House towers, and this cunningly plotted, twisty mystery peppered with amusingly quirky characters is another fabulous addition to the popular Fethering series. When Jude joins the Fethering community choir, she discovers that at least one of her fellow choristers is hiding a deadly secret. Jude may have to navigate some decidedly false notes to unearth the truth, but this devilishly entertaining cozy hit all the right notes with us!
What they said . . . “This episode is graced by ingeniously drawn characters, deft timing of twists, and a to-die-for climax. A stunner” Booklist Starred Review
A CONSPIRACY OF WOLVES by Candace Robb
This year saw the extremely welcome return of much-loved Captain of the Guard Owen Archer – along with a few familiar and new faces – more than a decade since the last novel in the acclaimed medieval mystery series set in fourteenth-century York was published. When one of York’s most prominent citizens is murdered, Owen is brought out of retirement to investigate, but are the rumours of wolves on the loose true, or is a sinister conspiracy afoot? This wonderfully atmospheric, ingeniously plotted mystery, which sees Owen team up with Geoffrey Chaucer, is one to savour.
What they said . . . “History and mystery combine in a fine, complex tale of love and hate” Kirkus Reviews
THE MAUSOLEUM by David Mark
One of the creepiest, most compelling books we’ve read all year transports us to 1967 and a quiet village in the wild lands of the Scottish borders, where disgraced academic Cordelia Hemlock is trying to put her life back together. Unfortunately Cordelia seeks out the company of the dead, taking comfort in the local churchyard . . . until lightning strikes during a storm, and she sees something truly terrifying *shivers*. Dark, menacing, and with an unrelenting sense of foreboding, this psychological thriller will have you gripped from start to finish.
What they said . . . “Exceptional . . . Mark is writing at the top of his game” Publishers Weekly Starred Review
THE DEAD DON’T WAIT by Michael Jecks
We all love a survivor, and assassin Jack Blackjack is one of the best. Jack knows how to get himself out of a scrape, which is just as well as he stands accused of murdering a priest in the latest Bloody Mary Tudor mystery. How’s Jack going to get himself out of this one? The answer, as usual, lies in a hugely enjoyable adventure full of twists and dangerous turns as Jack attempts to survive while bringing the real culprits to justice. This wickedly entertaining and lively read is sure to delight all historical mystery fans.
What they said . . . “An enjoyable jaunt through mid-16th-century England” Publishers Weekly
THE GARDEN CLUB MURDER by Amy Patricia Meade
Culinary caterer Tish Tarragon brought us the ultimate tea party with a killer twist in this delectable summer cozy. Tish pulls out all the stops for her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but her plans are threatened when one of the prime contenders is murdered. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a murderous streak in one of the green-fingered residents? This warm and witty cozy, full of simmering tensions, tantalising twists and turns, deliciously juicy motives and the most adorable Bichon Frise, will leave you craving second helpings.
What they said . . . “Appealing . . . Cozy fans will have fun” Publishers Weekly
AN ARTFUL ASSASSIN IN AMSTERDAM by Michael Grant
It takes one to know one . . . A thief, that is. Enjoy fast-paced, cunningly crafted thrillers with strong authenticity? Fugitive crime writer David Mitre was inspired by the author’s own 21 years spent on the run from the law. Love Amsterdam? The city’s incredible canals, art and culture all feature, sometimes in unexpected and shocking ways – cue the most audacious assassination attempt we’ve read for some time. David is targeted by an assassin while helping FBI Special Agent Delia Delacorte stop a thief intent on stealing a painting in Amsterdam. How’s he going to stop them? Simple. He’ll steal it himself, of course . . . What could possibly go wrong? Strap yourself in and enjoy this breathless, entertaining ride.
What they said . . . “David Mitre, narrator and star of this romp of a thriller, is the sort of raffish rapscallion we don’t encounter much anymore . . . A joy to keep up with” Booklist
THE LEADEN HEART by Chris Nickson
Fans of sharply plotted historical detective mysteries (including ourselves) had reason to rejoice this year when the new Superintendent Tom Harper mystery landed. Tom finds himself drawn into a deadly web of intimidation, corruption and misery on the streets of Leeds when an old friend asks for his help. This darkly atmospheric historical mystery set in 1899 features a strong male lead, an incredibly well spun mystery, oodles of period ambience and, of course, Victorian Leeds in all its smoke and glory, AND it received two richly deserved starred reviews from the US trade journals.
What they said . . . “A breathless race for the truth from start to finish” Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
“Thoughtful characterizations and a plausible, heartending plot add up to a winner. Nickson stands in the front rank of historical mystery authors” Publishers Weekly Starred Review
SCRIPT FOR SCANDAL by Renee Patrick
Who can resist a sprinkling of Hollywood magic? This enchanting Golden Age of Hollywood mystery follows sleuthing duo Lillian Frost and Edith Head as they investigate a behind-the-scenes scandal in 1930s Los Angeles. A new film is about to start shooting – but has the scriptwriter twisted fact with fiction a little too much? This scandalously good mystery added more than a little sparkle and glamour to our autumn reading, and it’ll razzle, dazzle you too.
What they said . . . “Exuberant tale of murder, revenge, and sartorial splendor” Publishers Weekly