I’m pleased to welcome author Karen Charlton, writer of historical mysteries set in Regency England.
Her Detective Lavender Mysteries, published by Thomas & Mercer, are the fictional adventures of Stephen Lavender, who was a real-life Principal Officer with the Bow Street Police Office in London.
By the early 19th century, Principal officers had a variety of different and important roles although they were still nicknamed ‘Bow Street Runners’ as if they were messenger boys. Apart from supporting their colleagues solve crime in the capital, they were often sent out to help magistrates in the provinces with difficult cases. They also took part in undercover work in periods of insurrection, for example, during the Luddite riots in the Midlands and were available to hire by wealthy landowners.
They were Britain’s earliest private detectives and were famous throughout London. They were the only policemen allowed into Buckingham House (the forerunner of the palace) and did security work for the Bank of England. On some occasions, they were even sent abroad to help with crimes and criminals who had spilled out over our borders onto the continent.
Through Karen’s research, she has come across dozens of their cases reported in the newspapers of the time. She frequently uses them as the basis for the plots of her novels.
Formats: Paperback, Kindle Edition, eBook
Print Length: 318 pages
Publisher: THOMAS & MERCER
The Sculthorpe Murder is the third book in the Detective Lavender Mysteries, although each book can easily be read as a standalone. Giving a nod to the Bow Street Police Office in London, Charlton’s writing is strong, bringing Regency London to life. Lavender and Woods are not just Bow Street detectives, they have become unique and appealing characters we know and love. I can’t help but champ at the bit for another book in the series.
Captain Rushperry of Market Harborough has written to Magistrate Read in London to send his best assistance in the brutal attack on old man William Sculthorpe. By the time Lavender and Woods arrive on the scene, the mystery has quickly turned into a murder investigation. Since there are known gangs terrorizing a nearby area and who have already robbed a local couple, it is generally assumed this gang is responsible for Sculthorpe’s death.
Already motivated by this eerie crime, my nose was twitching at the roasting meat and coal fires in the square at Market Harborough. Woods with his insatiable appetite for good food and Lavender’s cynical thoughts, not to mention his remarkable powers of detection, which ultimately lead me through a sea of local characters I thoroughly enjoyed meeting. Charlton is excellent at crafting well-paced, exciting action sequences, all laced with the accents of the Regency period. I always get a kick out of the relationship between Woods and Lavender, these are just one of the many aspects of this outstanding novel.
There are several fascinating threads of history throughout the book, as well as a beautiful descriptions. Never a dull moment as I tried to solve the crime together with Lavender and Woods. Every time I thought I’d clinched it, along came another surprise and the dramatic conclusion had me on the edge of my seat. Maintaining the flavor of the period throughout, Charlton has crafted a wonderful series that any lover of historical fiction will delight in reading. Thank you Netgalley and TBC for the ARC. (Claire Stibbe)
About the Author
An English graduate and a former teacher, I now write full-time and live in a remote fishing village on the North East coast of England. I am a stalwart of the village pub quiz and my team once won the BBC quiz show ‘Eggheads.’ My other claim to fame is that I won a Yorkshire Tourist Board award for writing Murder Mystery Weekends.
The first in the Detective Lavender Books is The Heiress of Linn Hagh and the second in the series is The Sans Pareil Mystery. There are also two Detective Lavender Short Stories to compliment the series: The Mystery of the Skelton Diamonds and The Piccadilly Pickpocket.
Catching the Eagle, Karen’s first novel, is the true story of her notorious ancestor, Jamie Charlton, who was convicted back in 1810 of Northumberland’s biggest robbery. She says:
To explain how my late husband and I discovered this gaol-bird in our family tree, I wrote my nonfiction genealogy book, ‘Seeking Our Eagle.’ It’s a ‘How -we-did-it’ rather than a ‘whodunit?’ and is probably the closest I’ll ever come to an autobiography.
We are excited to announce that Karen has currently completed the fourth book in the series: Plague Pits & River Bones. COMING SOON!
For a complete list of Karen’s books on Amazon take a look here