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Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Allison & Busby, 21 July 2016. ISBN:
The reign of King Charles II is usually characterized by pleasure and
plenty after the grim, puritanical years of Cromwell’s Protectorate – but there
was also war, internal conflict and fallout from before the Civil War.
is this aspect of the period which David Hingley has chosen to explore in Birthright,
the first in a two-book series featuring feisty gentlewoman Mercia Blakewood,
and the author’s first venture in published novels.
father has been executed and her family home confiscated by her uncle, who is
also threatening to take her small son away and put him in the care of her
in-laws. Mercia is determined to hold on to her son and recover his birthright,
and a coded message left by her dead father offers her the means to solicit the
newly re-established King’s help.
collection of paintings, believed destroyed by Cromwell’s thugs, is the key;
with the help of her friend and neighbour Nathan Keyte, Mercia follows a trail
of clues which she hopes will enable her to restore the artworks to the King
and gain his favour.
quest takes her to London, the coast and eventually on a three-month sea
journey to America, where the King’s representatives aim to wrest the colony of
New Amsterdam from the Dutch and claim it for England. Along the way she
crosses paths and swords with lecherous sailors, perfidious nobles and other
more honourable characters, and finds depths and qualities in herself and in
others which she had never dreamed were there.
historical background feels right, as do the details which colour Mercia’s
experiences on the ship and in New Amsterdam; Hingley has clearly researched
the period thoroughly.
not perfect, but most of the issues stem from the author’s inexperience; the
most evident are some overwriting, and a tendency to mix modern idiom a little
uneasily with attempts at historical-sounding dialogue. But the narrative romps
along at a high old pace all the same, and the denouement comes as a complete
surprise, in a perfectly credible way.
story is a great adventure and a promising debut. I look forward to part two of
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
David Hingley was born in the English Midlands. After a Spanish and
Russian degree at the University of Manchester, he headed south to London to
work for a decade in government. In 2013 he moved to New York, where he wrote
his debut novel Birthright. He has
also lived in Paris, on the literary Left Bank. In addition to his love of
history, he has a passion for travel, most recently a number of road-trips
through over forty American states. He has now returned to England and is
writing his second book.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.