highly atmosphericNew York Times

A Girl Called Justice

Missing maids, suspicious teachers and a snow storm to die for… For a fearless girl called Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, it’s just the start of a spine-tingling first term at Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.

When Justice’s mother dies, her father packs her off to Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. He’s a barrister – specialising in murder trials – and he’s just too busy to look after her alone.

Having previously been home-schooled, the transition is a shock. Can it really be the case that blondes rule the corridors? Are all uniforms such a charming shade of brown? And do schools normally hide dangerous secrets about the murder of a chamber maid?

Justice takes it upon herself to uncover the truth. (Mainly about the murder, but perhaps she can figure out her new nemesis – the angelic Rose – at the same time.) But when a storm cuts the school off from the real world, the body count starts to rise and Justice realises she’ll need help from her new friends if she’s going to find the killer before it’s too late …

The Midnight Hour

When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone.

Frustrated by the police response to Bert’s death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Billington, Bert’s son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn’t telling them the whole story.

Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They’re sure the answers must lie in Bert’s dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in…

The Locked Room

Ruth is in London clearing out her mother’s belongings when she makes a surprising discovery: a photograph of her Norfolk cottage taken before Ruth lived there. Her mother always hated the cottage, so why does she have a picture of the place? The only clue is written on the back of the photo: Dawn, 1963.

Ruth returns to Norfolk determined to solve the mystery, but then Covid rears its ugly head. Ruth and her daughter are locked down in their cottage, attempting to continue with work and home-schooling. Happily, the house next door is rented by a nice woman called Zoe, who they become friendly with while standing on their doorsteps clapping for carers.

Nelson, meanwhile, is investigating a series of deaths of women that may or may not be suicide. When he links the deaths to an archaeological discovery, he breaks curfew to visit the cottage where he finds Ruth chatting to her neighbour whom he remembers as a carer who was once tried for murdering her employer.

Only then her name wasn’t Zoe. It was dawn.

The Postscript Murders

PS: Thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…

And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…

And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

From the sleepy seaside town of Shoreham, to the granite streets of Aberdeen and the shores of Lake Baikal, The Postscript Murders is a literary mystery for fans of Antony Horowitz, Agatha Christie and anyone who’s ever wondered just how authors think up such realistic crimes…

PS: Trust no one.

Read an extract of The Postscript Murders

Now You See Them

Three girls have left. None have come back.

Brighton, 1963. Edgar Stephens has been promoted to Superintendent and is married to his former sergeant, Emma Holmes. Edgar’s wartime partner in arms, magician Max Mephisto, is a movie star in Hollywood, while his daughter Ruby has her own TV show.

The funeral of an old friend highlights just how much the gang’s lives have changed in the last nine years. Edgar is struggling with fresh responsibilities and the new swinging Brighton of rioting mods and rockers; Emma is chafing against the restrictions of life as a housewife.

Bob Willis, meanwhile, is tackling his biggest case since his promotion to DI: a schoolgirl missing from high-class boarding school Roedean. It looks like she’s run away; but there are disturbing similarities to the disappearances of a young local nurse and a tearaway Modette, neither of whom have been seen or heard from since…

A new world is dawning in Brighton, but the city’s dark side is as dangerous as ever.

‘A piquant mixture of humour, period detail . . . and truly beguiling characterisation’ Financial Times

The Vanishing Box

The fourth Stephens and Mephisto mystery from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series – a must-read for fans of Bryant and May. ‘Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie’ Sunday Express (on Smoke and Mirrors)

What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Read the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto to find out.

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

The Stranger Diaries

TIMES CRIME BOOK OF THE YEAR. THE RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK.

‘Utterly bewitching … a pitch-perfect modern Gothic’ AJ FINN, author of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

This is what the police know:
 English teacher Clare Cassidy’s friend Ella has just been murdered. Clare and Ella had recently fallen out. Found beside the body was a line from The Stranger, a story by the Gothic writer Clare teaches, and the murder scene is identical to one of the deaths in the story.

This is what Clare knows: No one else was aware of her fight with Ella. Few others have even read The Stranger. Someone has wormed their way into her life and her work. They know her darkest secrets. And they don’t mean well.

This is what the killer knows: Who will be next to die.

‘Compelling, intelligent and increasingly mesmerising’ PETER JAMES

‘Picks up where the great Gothic thrillers of the past leave off … goose-bump spooky, smart, and haunting. I loved this book! And you will too’ LOUISE PENNY

The Zig Zag Girl

Magic, murder and a mystery rooted in a murky wartime past. Meet DI Stephens and Max Mephisto

Brighton, 1950. When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men. Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind. Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in the killer’s sights…

Smoke and Mirrors

December 1951. It’s snowing and two children, Mark and Annie, have gone missing in Brighton. As DI Edgar Stephens leads an increasing desperate search, Max Mephisto is preparing to star in Aladdin on the end of the pier. Then the children’s bodies are found on lonely downland, surrounded by a trail of sweets. For old music hall star, Stan Parks (aka The Great Diablo), the case sparks memories of another murder before the war, when the killer was obsessed with the dark origins of pantomime. Annie used to write plays for the other children, disturbing versions of old tales. Could there be a link between the murders and these stories?

As Christmas approaches, Edgar embarks on the most difficult case of his career. Then another child vanishes. Can Edgar put the pieces of the puzzle together before it’s too late?

The Blood Card

Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are enough for him to put Stephens and Mephisto on the case.

Edgar’s investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone else silences him first. It’s Sergeant Emma Holmes who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards.