Late summer, 1270. Although the Simon de Montfort rebellion is over, the smell of death still hangs over the land. In the small priory of Tyndal, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud long for a return to routine. Their hopes are dashed, however, when the young and inexperienced Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed their new prioress. Only a day after her arrival, a brutally murdered monk is found in the cloister gardens, and Brother Thomas, a young priest with a troubled past, arrives to bring her a more personal grief.
London, 1940: Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined....
It is May 1272, and Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal, recovering from a near-fatal winter fever, journeys to Amesbury Priory to visit her aunt in time for the Feast of Saint Melor. Although Eleanor hopes to regain her strength in the midst of pleasant childhood memories, death reveals a most troublesome fondness for her company. A ghost now haunts Amesbury. Is it perhaps the spirit of a pregnant woman who drowned herself in the River Avon? But soon the specter turns murderous.
Summer, 1936: Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, are there to sign a deal to film Josephine's novel, A Shilling for Candles, and Alfred Hitchcock has one or two tricks up his sleeve to keep the holiday party entertained-and expose their deepest fears. But things get out of hand when one of Hollywood's leading actresses is brutally slashed to death in a cemetery near the village.
When an old gangster friend of Leo’s father makes a request he “can’t refuse”, Leo and his band of drunks delve into the world of environmental politics in search of Caroline Nobel - a spoiled brat without the sense God gave a gopher. With the help of “the Boys” - a group of aging winos who are his modern-day “Baker Street Irregulars” - Leo fights Native American tribal politics, industrial pollution, and psychotic grannies to fulfill his obligation to a friend.
"Enjoyable PI fare"
In To Shield the Queen, we were introduced to Ursula Blanchard, lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I and one of the most entrancing mystery heroines to come along in many a season. Having once saved the Virgin Queen from political disaster, now young Ursula faces an even greater challenge. Some of her old acquaintances may be plotting to overthrow Elizabeth in favor of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the re-establishment of the Catholic faith.
Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she'll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: Christmas and her ex, James Lacey. This year Agatha is sure that if she invites James to a splendid Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log. But that fantasy will have to wait for now.
"Bring back Penelope Keith "
Holed up at Hilary Bill-Tasman's manor estate for Christmas, Troy Alleyn is to paint the man's portrait and, while she's there, view the Druid Christmas pageant. Along with a pack of eccentric guests, Troy enjoys the festivities, until one of the pageant's players mysteriously disappears into the snowy night
In the winter of 1271, death stalks the corridors of Wynethorpe Castle on the Welsh border. When the Grim Reaper touches the beloved grandson of the castle lord, Baron Adam sends for his daughter, Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal, and her subinfirmarian, Sister Anne, to save the child with their prayers and healing talents. Escorting them to the remote fortress is Brother Thomas, an unwilling monk fighting his private demons.
The summer of 1276 at Tyndal Priory is peaceful - until Kenelm’s corpse is found floating in the millpond. When Brother Thomas concludes that the murder occurred on priory grounds, Prioress Eleanor and Crowner Ralf swiftly agree to help each other solve the crime. The murder victim, a newcomer, was disliked in Tyndal village, and no one there wants one of their own hanged for the deed. Fingers quickly point to a Jewish family, refugees under the relocation provisions of King Edward’s Statute of Jewry. As riots loom and threats mount against the family, Eleanor and Ralf have little time before popular opinion rules the murder solved.
Baron Herbert’s return from crusade should have been a joyous occasion. Instead, he grows increasingly morose, withdraws from his family, and refuses to share his wife’s bed. When his sons begin to die in strange accidents, some ask whether Herbert harbors a dark sin for which God has cursed him. Or perhaps there is a malign presence at this stormblasted castle, oddly named Doux et Dur.
In the late summer of 1274, King Edward has finally been anointed England’s ruler, and his queen contemplates a pilgrimage in gratitude for their safe return from Outremer, a journey that will include a stay at Tyndal Priory. Envoys are sent to confirm that everything will be suitable for the king’s wife, and Prioress Eleanor nervously awaits them, knowing that regal visits bring along expense and honor. The cost is higher than expected, however, when Death arrives as the emissary.
In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer, and historical suspense's newest investigative duo is born.
"Not The Best, But Not Too Bad..."
Horace Rumpole, the comic, courageous, and corpulent “great defender of muddled and sinful humanity”, is joined by a winning cast of villains and victims in this collection of six tales in which wry humor and sparkling wit deftly send up the British legal system. In Rumpole and the Angel of Death, our hero achieves new, resounding triumphs over the forces of prejudice and mean-mindedness.
As the autumn storms of 1271 ravage the East Anglian coast, Crowner Ralf finds the corpse of a brutally murdered soldier in the woods near Tyndal Priory. The dagger in the man’s chest is engraved with a strange cursive design, and the body is wrapped in a crusader’s cloak. Was this the act of a member of the Assassin sect, or was the weapon meant to mislead? Ralf’s decision to take the corpse to the priory for advice may be reasonable, but he is soon caught up in a maelstrom of conflict, both personal and political.
"Excellent as alwaysi"
Who in the quiet village of Chipping would kill wealthy spinster Idris Campanula? Plenty of people—among them her fellow cast members from a troubled charity production. Miss Campanula was a spiteful gossip, gleefully destroying others’ lives merely for her own excitement. But once Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives, he quickly realizes that the murderer might have killed the wrong woman—and may soon stage a repeat performance.
London, 1937. Following the gloomy days of the abdication of King Edward VIII, the entire city is elated to welcome King George. Just one of the many planned festivities for the historic coronation is a BBC radio adaptation of Queen of Scots, and the original playwright, Josephine Tey, has been invited to sit in on rehearsals. Soon, however, Josephine gets wrapped up in another sort of drama. The lead actress has been sleeping with Britain's most venerable newsman, Anthony Beresford - and his humiliated wife happens to work in the building.
Agatha Raisin's detective agency has become so successful that now all she wants is some R&R. But as soon as she cuts back her hours, Agatha remembers that when she has too much quality time, she doesn't know what to do with it. So it doesn't take much for the vicar of a nearby village to persuade her to help publicize the church fete, especially when the fair's organizer, George Selby, happens to be a gorgeous widower.
"The Narrator Made the Book"
In the spring of 1277, Prioress Eleanor goes on a pilgrimage to a famous East Anglian shrine. There are rumors that King Edward may also visit the shrine soon to seek God's blessing for his invasion of Wales. Lurking in this sacred place, however, is an assassin hoping to murder a king. Soon after Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas arrive, a nun falls to her death from the priory bell tower. Brother Thomas finds the body, and the pair quickly grasp that this nun's death was not an accident.
Taught the art of lace-making during her orphanage childhood, Heather Blackstone managed to earn her living in a Nottingham factory. But the legend of her ancestry haunted her dreams. When a gypsy-fortune teller predicted a journey, Heather knew that her destiny was clear: she must find a way to reclaim the castle that bore her family name and the fortune that was rightfully hers.