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About Karen Charlton
In addition to this, she has written a stand-alone historical novel, 'Catching the Eagle' based on the true story of her notorious criminal ancestor and a genealogical book, 'Seeking Our Eagle' that explains how she and her late husband tracked down the jail-bird in their family tree.
A former English teacher, with two grown-up children, Karen lives in a Yorkshire fishing village and now writes full-time.
A stalwart of the village pub quiz team, Karen joined them when they competed in the BBC's famous Quiz Show, 'Eggheads' - a TV programme she'd never watched before. Much to her surprise, they won.
Karen loves historical fiction and TV costume drama and has always enjoyed a good mystery.
She also loves to hear from readers and you can easily contact her via her website: karencharlton.com
For the latest news about her novels, public appearances and some special offers sign up for her Occasional Newsletter.
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London, 1812. At a fashionable address in leafy Mayfair, a far cry from Detective Stephen Lavender’s usual haunts, a man is found dead in his room. He has been brutally stabbed, but the door is locked from the inside and the weapon is missing.
The deceased is David MacAdam, an Essex businessman with expensive tastes. As Lavender and Constable Ned Woods travel between London and Chelmsford seeking to understand MacAdam’s final hours and unearth the grisly truth, they uncover a tangled web of deceit behind his stylish facade. The unusual circumstances of MacAdam’s death are nothing compared to the shady nature of his life and it seems the house on Park Lane is at the heart of a dark conspiracy.
But when a second body turns up, everything they think they’ve learned is thrown into doubt. Can Lavender and Woods find out who’s behind these shocking murders before more lives are ruined?
But nothing is as it seems at the mysterious Willow Marsh Manor. They soon realise they’ve come across this feuding family before – in the direst of circumstances. With no dead body and no sign of the woman who summoned them, Woods fears someone has planned a murderous revenge.
Meanwhile, Lavender dreads the disclosure of his greatest secret. A secret that, if revealed, will destroy both his career – and his relationship with Woods. Haunted by ghosts from the past, Lavender and Woods must tread a careful path through this watery and dangerous terrain in order to solve one of the most perplexing mysteries of their career.
Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh.
The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.
The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative; and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands.
Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue and deception in their search for the missing heiress.
Taut, wry and delightful, The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a rollicking tale featuring Lavender and Woods—a double act worthy of Holmes and Watson.
Revised edition: This edition of The Heiress of Linn Hagh includes editorial revisions.
London, 1812: Treacherous gangs roam the capital, and not even the Palace of Westminster is safe. When Detective Stephen Lavender is called in to investigate a highway robbery and a cold-blooded murder, both the cases take a dangerous and disturbing personal twist.
And when Lavender’s trusted deputy, Constable Ned Woods, finds a mysterious severed foot washed up on Greenwich Beach, they soon realise that these ancient bones are more sinister than they first appeared.
With Bow Street Police Office undermanned and in disarray, it will take all of Lavender and Woods’s wit and skill—and some help from Lavender’s spirited wife, Magdalena—to unmask the fiend behind the mayhem, restore peace and justice to the beleaguered city and solve the tragic mystery of the severed foot.
But will they do so in time to foil a plot that threatens to plunge the country into chaos?
On a cold February night in Regency London, a dark curtain falls on the Sans Pareil Theatre following the death of April Clare, a promising young actress, whose body is found in mysterious circumstances.
Detective Stephen Lavender and his dependable deputy, Constable Woods, quickly discover that nothing is quite as it seems. As successive mysteries unfold, they soon realise that it is not only the actors from the Sans Pareil who are playing a part.
With the Napoleonic War looming dangerously across the Channel, this is a time of suspicion and treachery. Following the clues from the seedy back streets of Covent Garden up through the echelons of society, Lavender and Woods begin to fear that the case is much bigger than they’d dared imagine—and worse, that they are at risk of becoming mere players in a master criminal’s shadowy drama.
It will take all of Lavender’s skill and wit, and help from the beautiful Magdalena, to bring the mystery of the Sans Pareil Theatre to a dramatic conclusion in the final act.
Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office.
Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.
Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime.
February 1814: London is gripped in the thrall of the worst winter in living memory. When the River Thames freezes over, thousands of people descend onto the ice to enjoy the Frost Fair, an exciting, frozen extravaganza.
But Detective Stephen Lavender and his loyal constable, Ned Woods, are distracted from this carnival of colour and noise by the perplexing case of a missing man. Their investigation takes on a sinister and more dangerous twist when a body is found on the rapidly thawing ice beneath the arches of Blackfriars Bridge.
Set against the thrilling backdrop of London’s last Frost Fair – which is also one of history’s darkest moments – this bone-chilling short story is a superb introduction to the Detective Lavender Mysteries and a bonus read for the half a million readers who already enjoy this series.
London 1803: Following the discovery of a body down a well, newly-promoted Principal Officer, Stephen Lavender, is summoned to Hampstead by Constable Ned Woods to help solve the gruesome murder of a young barmaid.
Confronted with class prejudice and the indifference of the authorities, the keen, young detective embarks on a frantic race against time to gather evidence to convict the killers. But when help is offered from an unlikely source, Lavender must make a decision between justice or truth that carries serious consequences for both his career and his friendship with Ned.
'The Death of Irish Nell' is a prequel to the full-length novel, ‘The Willow Marsh Murder’ (publication: February 1st, 2020). Both of them can be read as standalone works of fiction.
But why should he feel so uneasy, so reluctant to accept this case? Can he trust the wealthy, powerful politician who's summoned him?
In this short story, Lavender and his loyal assistant, Constable Woods, plunge into the seedy backstreets of Regency London and steer a tricky path through the opulent drawing rooms of aristocratic suspects in pursuit of the missing diamonds.
Welcome to the world of Stephen Lavender, a Principal Officer with the Bow Street Runners, whose further adventures can be followed in 'The Heiress of Linn Hagh.'
When a robbery in the crowded streets of Piccadilly takes an unusual twist, Constable Woods is blamed and a royal scandal threatens to erupt. Detective Stephen Lavender must act quickly to track down the rogues, clear his friend’s name and avert the crisis. But as the news of this high-profile crime spreads around Regency London, Lavender finds himself in a race against time with a murderous gang of cut-throats.
Can he solve this case before they extract their deadly revenge?
Welcome to the world of Stephen Lavender, a Principal Officer with the Bow Street Runners, whose further adventures can be followed in ‘The Heiress of Linn Hagh’.
When £1,157 rent money is stolen from Kirkley Hall, it is the biggest robbery Northumberland has ever known. Suspicion soon falls on impoverished farm labourer, Jamie Charlton, and the unpopular steward, Michael Aynsley.
Jamie Charlton is a loving family man but he is hot-tempered and careless. As the case grows against him, it seems that only his brother, William, can save him from an impending miscarriage of justice.
But William is struggling with demons of his own. Desperate to break free from the tangled web of family ties which bind him to their small community, he is alarmed to find that he is falling in love with Jamie’s wife.
Set beneath the impenetrable gaze of a stray golden eagle whose fate seems to mirror that of Jamie's, 'Catching the Eagle' is a fictionalised account of a real trial that devastated a family and divided a community.
A SUSPENSE-FILLED PAGE-TURNER
"Told with gritty realism, ‘Catching The Eagle’ is a suspense-filled page-turner, which spares nothing in its descriptions of the hardships and injustices suffered by the poor at the turn of the 19th century.
Its ending leaves the reader poised perfectly for the next volume – for which I can hardly wait."
Kathy Stevenson, 'The Daily Mail'
AN ENJOYABLE READ
"It is a rollicking tale full of adultery, drinking, fighting, gambling.
Rich imagery, suspense and some genuinely likeable characters – as well as plenty of murky ones – make this an enjoyable read. Karen is particularly strong at capturing the Geordie dialect and recreating the rural Northumbrian world of the 1800s, where the wealthy lived in comfort and the poor struggled to make ends meet."
Laura Fraine, Culture Magazine, 'The Journal' (Newcastle)
February 1809: The rural community in Ponteland, Northumberland begins to stir after one of the harshest winters on record.
As the land is slowly brought back to life, impoverished farm labourer, Jamie Charlton, desperately seeks work.
With a wife and four hungry children to feed, a mountain of debt and creditors baying for payment, Jamie has more problems than most. He lurches from one crisis to another, stubbornly refusing help from his anxious brother, William. When his creditors become increasingly violent, Jamie's desperation reaches breaking point. How will he and his family survive?
Based on real events, 'February 1809' is a prequel to Karen Charlton's novel, 'Catching the Eagle' and is a day in the life of the main characters of that book.