As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Harper Collins, 7 April 2016. ISBN:
1666 was the year
of the Fire of London when the city, from the Tower of London to the Temple
Bar, was totally destroyed, even Old St Paul’s Cathedral, over a period of four
days. One of the onlookers at the conflagration is James Marwood, a minor clerk
serving Master Williamson who in turn serves a member of the government of King
Charles II who had been restored to the throne in 1660 after the beheading of
his father Charles I in 1648 and the subsequent rule of the Puritan Protector
Oliver Cromwell. James is lucky to have employment; his father had been an
ardent supporter of Cromwell and had even taken James as a child to see the
execution of Charles I. Now, however, James’s father is old and suffering from
dementia and is utterly dependent on his son although the old man’s tendency to
blurt out highly indiscreet political remarks could put them both in danger.
During the fire
James had rescued a girl dressed as a boy who then slips away. She is in fact
Catherine (Cat) Lovett who now lives with her uncle, the rich merchant Master
Alderley, his wife Olivia, and her lecherous cousin Edward. But Cat had heard
from the old servant Jem, her only friend in the Alderley household, that her
father had been seen in London and she had slipped out to see if she could find
him. This is a dangerous quest because Cat’s father had been a Fifth
Monarchist, a violent millennial sect which had instigated an uprising after
the Restoration. Cat’s father had escaped but if he returns and is captured his
death will be certain. Cat is unable to find him and so returns to her uncle’s
house where she is to make an arranged and loveless marriage with Sir Denzil
Croughton. But then Cat is raped by her cousin Edward and takes revenge on him.
She has to leave her uncle’s house, which she does with help from Jem, and
takes refuge in a lodging house where she is befriended by a Master Hakeby, who
is working with Sir Christopher Wren, on plans to rebuild the city.
Meanwhile the body
of a murdered man is found in the ruins of Old St Paul’s and James is directed
to find out as much as he can as to who murdered him and why. He uncovers a
whole hornet’s nest of secrets and deceits ranging from the present day to that
January day when Charles I was executed and involving, among others, Cat’s uncle
Alderley. And underlying all is the question: is there more to James’s quest
than he is aware of? Is he being used?
A new book by
Andrew Taylor is always an event, and this one is no exception. It is the first
in a series and I am eagerly awaiting the forthcoming titles. Highly
Andrew Taylor is a British crime and
historical novelist, winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger (for lifelong
excellence in the genre) and the triple winner of the Historical Dagger. His
books include the international bestseller, The
American Boy (a Richard and Judy selection); the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); The Anatomy of Ghosts, shortlisted for the Theakston's Old
Peculier Crime Novel of the Year; The
Scent of Death, The Silent Boy and, most recently, The Ashes of London. He lives on the borders of England and Wales.
He reviews for the Spectator.
Radmila Maywas born in the U.S. but has
lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She
read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for
many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them
including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late
husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015.
She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two
of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is
to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now
concentrating on her own writing.