Newsletter September 2017

Dear Friend,

I hope this newsletter finds you well and that you and yours had a most enjoyable summer.  I am looking forward to the publication of a new Athelstan novel ‘The Mansions of Murder’ (Severn House) as well as the “Devil’s Wolf” (Hodder Headline).  Both books should be on the market by December. ‘The Mansions of Murder’ will lead you into the truly, hellish life of medieval London.  It has already received excellent reviews and I am pleased to copy one from Kirkus: it reads as follows:

“A Dominican friar well-versed in puzzles must solve a locked-room murder.John of Gaunt has managed to quell the rebellion of 1381, and his nephew Richard II sits upon a throne coveted by many noble lords. As London seethes with revolutionaries, thieves, whores, and murderers, Martha, the housekeeper of St. Benet’s, finds the doors of the ancient church locked from the inside. Breaking in, the curate and others find both the priest and a retainer of the powerful Lord of Arundel stabbed to death, a large amount of coin missing, and the corpse of Simon Makepeace’s mother. Makepeace, a vicious murderer known as the Flesher, who heads the worst gang in London, is furious about the double loss of his mother and his gold, which was kept hidden in the church. Back in his own parish, Brother Athelstan is informed by his housekeeper, Benedicta, of her own strange discovery: the embalmed bodies of the husband and son of Margo, a recently deceased widow, seated at a table in the hidden cellar of her cottage. Athelstan, who’s long helped powerful coroner Sir John Cranston solve crimes (The Herald of Hell, 2016, etc.), joins him now to solve the locked-church murder. They soon realize that the two mysterious discoveries are related by more than mystery. Margo’s family were archers who had served with Sir John on a special mission to claim the Rose Casket and its contents of precious stones known as the Twelve Apostles as reparations from France. Their vessel was attacked, probably by the Flesher, and sunk, and the great treasure vanished, though rumors of its reappearance abound. Both Sir John’s and Athelstan’s skills are stretched to the limit as they work to solve several crimes, recover the treasure, and somehow bring down the powerful Flesher. A clever mystery neatly woven into a historically accurate rendering of life in a truly hellish London.”

I described “Devil’s Wolf” in my last newsletter. Sir Hugh Corbett is busy along the Scottish March and is caught up in the horrifying war between the English Crown and the House of Bruce.  It’s a change of location for Corbett but life is still very dangerous. Murder and treachery certainly walk the lonely moors of Northumberland as they do the dingy streets of medieval London.  At present I am working on a completely new novel “Dark Queen Rising”.  I have always been fascinated by the way Nemesis stalked the House of York between 1471 and 1485.  In 1471 Edward of York and his family emerged totally victorious from the vicious struggle now known as the War of the Roses and yet 14 years later, everything collapsed.  I have always thought some dark genius plotted this downfall and I couldn’t think of a more suitable person than the highly intelligent and very subtle Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and mother of the future Henry VII.  In my view, Margaret Beaufort plotted against York with a sole aim of ensuring her son succeeded to the English Crown.  In this she was most ably assisted by two trusted clerks, Reginald Bray and Christopher Urswicke, some people regard the latter as the founder of the English Secret Service.  I thoroughly enjoyed researching this book and then writing it.  Margaret Beaufort is a truly fascinating woman and I do hope that this first novel in a series (“Dark Queen Rising”) proves to be successful.  Anyway, I will keep you posted. Until then happy reading!

Kindest regards to you and yours,

Paul Doherty OBE