“Here’s another of those delightful Victorian mysteries, featuring Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray of the Yard. This one deals with peculiar accidents in various music halls, mishaps of a kind that would ruin a performer’s career; and then there’s murder. . . . Fine picture of period vice, good mystery plotting, and fun.”—San Francisco Chronicle
A sadistic practical joker is haunting the popular music halls of London, interfering with the actors and interrupting their acts by orchestrating humiliating disasters that take place in view of the audience. A trapeze artist misses her timing when the trapeze ropes are shortened. A comedian who invites the audience to sing along with him finds the words of his song “shamefully” altered. Mustard has been applied to a sword swallower’s blade. A singer’s costume has been rigged. The girl in a magician’s box is trapped. Then the mischief escalates to murder. Or was murder intended all along? That indomitable detective team, Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray of Scotland Yard, must track down the elusive criminal.
Peter Lovesey is the author of twenty-five highly praised mystery novels and has been awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Gold and Silver Daggers and the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, as well as many US honors. He lives in West Sussex, England.
An exciting short story set in the engrossing world of The Demon Cycle from bestselling fantasy author Peter V. Brett, available together in the UK exclusively on e-book.Humanity has been brought to the brink of extinction. Each night, the world is overrun by demons – bloodthirsty creatures of nightmare that have been hunting and killing humanity for over 300 years. A scant few hamlets and half-starved city-states are all that remain of a once proud civilization, and it is only by hiding behind wards, ancient symbols with the power to repel the demons, that they survive. A handful of Messengers brave the night to keep the lines of communication open between the increasingly isolated populace.But there was a time when the demons were not so bold. A time when wards did more than hold the demons at bay. They allowed man to fight back, and to win. Messenger Arlen Bales will search anywhere, dare anything, to return this magic to the world.
This novella presents Arlen Bales, a seventeen-year-old apprentice Messenger carrying a dangerous cargo to Count Brayan's gold mine as One Arm, the giant rock demon, hunts him through the duchy.
In the affluent, historic town of Ludlow, a teenage boy dies in a fall from the castle ruins. Accident or suicide? No great mystery — so why does the boy's uncle, retired detective Andy Mumford, turn to diocesan exorcist Merrily Watkins? More people will die before Merrily, her own future uncertain, uncovers a dangerous obsession with suicide, death and the afterlife hidden within these shadowed medieval streets.
Serving a sentence for manslaughter he didn't commit, Dave Delano spent five years in prison calculating a flawless get-rich-quick plan: a simple hijacking on the high seas.
Phillip Kerr, a bestselling author in his native U.K., has been called "Michael Crichton's smarter brother" due to his wide-ranging intelligence and technical knowledge. Dave Delano, the protagonist of this lively thriller, is an American who's educated himself in prison--serving a sentence for a manslaughter he didn't commit. Newly fluent in Russian, he's intrigued by the idea of redistributing wealth, particularly the Mafia's. His plan is to hijack a transatlantic transport ferry/yacht being used to smuggle drug money and to divert the dollars into his very own bank in the former Soviet Union. It all seems flawless until he meets another Grand Duke passenger who's looking to score: Kate Fury, a gorgeous FBI agent who's been tracking cocaine from Colombia to Miami to the European playgrounds of the rich and expecting the biggest collar of her career. What happens when they cross paths is the stuff of a funny, violent, and oddly romantic caper. The plot twists fast enough to satisfy even die-hard Elmore Leonard fans and turns on double dealing, false identities, and misunderstood motives, without letting the humor get in the way of the action.
In this fiendishly imaginative book (which may or may not be fiction), Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Because someone with that name has been touring Israel, promoting a bizarre reverse exodus of the Jews. Roth is intent on stopping him, even if that means impersonating his own impersonator.
With excruciating suspense, unfettered philosophical speculation, and a cast of characters that includes Israeli intelligence agents, Palestinian exiles, an accused war criminal, and an enticing charter member of an organization called Anti-Semites Anonymous, Operation Shylock barrels across the frontier between fact and fiction, seriousness and high comedy, history and nightmare.
Athena College was snoozing complacently in the Berkshires until Coleman Silk — formerly “Silky Silk,” undefeated welterweight pro boxer — strode in and shook the place awake. This faculty dean sacked the deadwood, made lots of hot new hires, including Yale-spawned literary-theory wunderkind Delphine Roux, and pissed off so many people for so many decades that now, in 1998, they've all turned on him. Silk's character assassination is partly owing to what the novel's narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, calls “the Devil of the Little Place — the gossip, the jealousy, the acrimony, the boredom, the lies.”
But shocking, intensely dramatized events precipitate Silk's crisis. He remarks of two students who never showed up for class, “Do they exist or are they spooks?” They turn out to be black, and lodge a bogus charge of racism exploited by his enemies. Then, at 71, Viagra catapults Silk into “the perpetual state of emergency that is sexual intoxication,” and he ignites an affair with an illiterate janitor, Faunia Farley, 34. She's got a sharp sensibility, “the laugh of a barmaid who keeps a baseball bat at her feet in case of trouble,” and a melancholy voluptuousness. “I'm back in the tornado,” Silk exults. His campus persecutors burn him for it — and his main betrayer is Delphine Roux.
In a short space, it's tough to convey the gale-force quality of Silk's rants, or the odd effect of Zuckerman's narration, alternately retrospective and torrentially in the moment. The flashbacks to Silk's youth in New Jersey are just as important as his turbulent forced retirement, because it turns out that for his entire adult life, Silk has been covering up the fact that he is a black man. (If this seems implausible, consider that the famous New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard did the same thing.) Young Silk rejects both the racism that bars him from Woolworth's counter and the Negro solidarity of Howard University. “Neither the they of Woolworth's nor the we of Howard” is for Coleman Silk. “Instead the raw I with all its agility. Self-discovery — that was the punch to the labonz.... Self-knowledge but concealed. What is as powerful as that?”
Silk's contradictions power a great Philip Roth novel, but he's not the only character who packs a punch. Faunia, brutally abused by her Vietnam vet husband (a sketchy guy who seems to have wandered in from a lesser Russell Banks novel), scarred by the death of her kids, is one of Roth's best female characters ever. The self-serving Delphine Roux is intriguingly (and convincingly) nutty, and any number of minor characters pop in, mouth off, kick ass, and vanish, leaving a vivid sense of human passion and perversity behind. You might call it a stain.
This is the third volume in the bestselling Wideacre Trilogy of novels. Set in the eighteenth century, they launched the career of Philippa Gregory , the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover. Meridon, a desolate Romany girl, is determined to escape the hard poverty of her childhood. Riding bareback in a travelling show, while her sister Dandy risks her life on the trapeze, Meridon dedicates herself to freeing them both from danger and want. But Dandy, beautiful, impatient, thieving Dandy, grabs too much, too quickly. And Meridon finds herself alone, riding in bitter grief through the rich Sussex farmlands towards a house called Wideacre -- which awaits the return of the last of the Laceys. Sweeping, passionate, unique: 'Meridon' completes Philippa Gregory's bestselling trilogy which began with 'Wideacre' and continued with 'The Favoured Child'.
From Publishers Weekly
With this elaborate tapestry of a young woman's life, the Lacey family trilogy ( Wideacre and The Favored Child ) comes to a satisfying conclusion. Meridon is the lost child whose legacy is the estate of Wideacre. She and her very different sister, Dandy, were abandoned as infants and raised in a gypsy encampment, learning horsetrading and other tricks of survival. They are indentured to a circus master whose traveling show is made successful by Meridon's equestrian flair and Dandy's seductive beauty on the trapeze. Meridon's escape from this world is fueled by pregnant Dandy's murder and her own obsessive dream of her ancestral home. After claiming Wideacre, Meridon succumbs for a while to the temptation of the "quality" social scene, but eventually she comes to her senses, and, in a tricky card game near the end of the saga, triumphs fully. The hard-won homecoming in this historical novel is richly developed and impassioned.
"I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known...and I will be Queen of England."
Thus, bestselling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Known to history as the Queen who was pushed off her throne by Anne Boleyn, here is a Katherine the world has forgotten: the enchanting princess that all England loved. First married to Henry VIII's older brother, Arthur, Katherine's passion turns their arranged marriage into a love match; but when Arthur dies, the merciless English court and her ambitious parents -- the crusading King and Queen of Spain -- have to find a new role for the widow. Ultimately, it is Katherine herself who takes control of her own life by telling the most audacious lie in English history, leading her to the very pinnacle of power in England.
Set in the rich beauty of Moorish Spain and the glamour of the Tudor court, The Constant Princess presents a woman whose constancy helps her endure betrayal, poverty, and despair, until the inevitable moment when she steps into the role she has prepared for all her life: Henry VIII's Queen, Regent, and commander of the English army in their greatest victory against Scotland.
From Publishers Weekly
As youngest daughter to the Spanish monarchs and crusaders King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Catalina, princess of Wales and of Spain, was promised to the English Prince Arthur when she was three. She leaves Spain at 15 to fulfill her destiny as queen of England, where she finds true love with Arthur (after some initial sourness) as they plot the future of their kingdom together. Arthur dies young, however, leaving Catalina a widow and ineligible for the throne. Before his death, he extracts a promise from his wife to marry his younger brother Henry in order to become queen anyway, have children and rule as they had planned, a situation that can only be if Catalina denies that Arthur was ever her lover. Gregory's latest (after Earthly Joys) compellingly dramatizes how Catalina uses her faith, her cunning and her utter belief in destiny to reclaim her rightful title. By alternating tight third-person narration with Catalina's unguarded thoughts and gripping dialogue, the author presents a thorough, sympathetic portrait of her heroine and her transformation into Queen Katherine. Gregory's skill for creating suspense pulls the reader along despite the historical novel's foregone conclusion.
The second novel in the bestselling Wideacre Trilogy, a compulsive drama set in the eighteenth century. By Philippa Gregory, the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin’s Lover.The Wideacre estate is bankrupt, the villagers are living in poverty and Wideacre Hall is a smoke-blackened ruin.But in the Dower House two children are being raised in protected innocence. Equal claimants to the inheritance of Wideacre, rivals for the love of the village, they are tied by a secret childhood betrothal but forbidden to marry. Only one can be the favoured child. Only one can inherit the magical understanding between the land and the Lacey family that can make the Sussex village grow green again. Only one can be Beatrice Lacey’s true heir.Sweeping, passionate, unique: 'The Favoured Child' is the second novel in Philippa Gregory's bestselling trilogy which began with 'Wideacre' and concluded with 'Meridon'.
In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. One woman hears the tidings with utter dread. She is Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, and she knows that Elizabeth's ambitious leap to the throne will draw her husband back to the center of the glamorous Tudor court, where he was born to be.
Elizabeth's excited triumph is short-lived. She has inherited a bankrupt country where treason is rampant and foreign war a certainty. Her faithful advisor William Cecil warns her that she will survive only if she marries a strong prince to govern the rebellious country, but the one man Elizabeth desires is her childhood friend, the ambitious Robert Dudley. As the young couple falls in love, a question hangs in the air: can he really set aside his wife and marry the queen? When Amy is found dead, Elizabeth and Dudley are suddenly plunged into a struggle for survival.
Philippa Gregory's The Virgin's Lover answers the question about an unsolved crime that has fascinated detectives and historians for centuries. Intelligent, romantic, and compelling, The Virgin's Lover presents a young woman on the brink of greatness, a young man whose ambition exceeds his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.
From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Gregory captivates again with this expertly crafted historical about the beautiful young Virgin Queen, portrayed as a narcissistic, neurotic home-wrecker. As in her previous novels about Tudor England (The Queen's Fool, etc.), Gregory amasses a wealth of colorful period detail to depict the shaky first days of Elizabeth I's reign. The year is 1558, an especially dangerous time for the nation: no bishop will coronate Henry VIII's Protestant daughter, the treasury is bankrupt, the army is unpaid and demoralized. Meanwhile, the French are occupying Scotland and threatening to install "that woman"—Mary, Queen of Scots—on the throne. Ignoring the matrimonial advice of pragmatic Secretary of State William Cecil, the 25-year-old Elizabeth persists in stringing along Europe's most eligible bachelors, including King Philip of Spain and the Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand. It's no secret why: she's fallen for her "dark, saturnine" master of horse, Sir Robert Dudley, whose traitorous family history and marriage to the privately Catholic Amy make him an unsuitable consort. Gregory deftly depicts this love triangle as both larger than life and all too familiar; all three characters are sympathetic without being likable, particularly the arch-mistress Elizabeth, who pouts, throws tantrums, connives and betrays with queenly impunity. After a while the plot stagnates, as the lovers flaunt their emotions in the face of repetitious arguments from Amy, Cecil and various other scandalized members of the court. But readers addicted to Gregory's intelligent, well-researched tales of intrigue and romance will be enthralled, right down to the teasingly tragic ending.
Wideacre Hall, set in the heart of the English countryside, is the ancestral home that Beatrice Lacey loves. But as a woman of the 18th century, she has no right of inheritance. Corrupted by a world that mistreats women, she sets out to corrupt others.
From Publishers Weekly
Gregory's full-blown first novel is a marvelously assured period piece, an English gothic with narrative verve. Beatrice Lacey loves nothing more than the family estate, Wideacrenot her bluff, hearty father, her weak brother, Harry, or her mother, who can't quite believe mounting evidence that damns her passionate daughter. Foiled in her hunger to own the estate by the 18th century laws of entail, Beatrice plots her father's death, knowing she can twist Harry in any direction she chooses, for her brother harbors a dark, perverted secret. Their incestuous tangle is not broken even by Harry's marriage. And while a bounteous harvest multiplies, no one gainsays the young squire and his sister, the true master of Wideacre. Beatrice marries also, managing to hide the paternity of two children sired by Harry until her increasing greed squeezes the land and its people dry, and the seeds of destruction she has sown come to their awful fruition. Gregory effortlessly breathes color and life into a tale of obsession built around a ruthless, fascinating woman.
This most curious and unusual case displays Sherlock Holmes's astonishing abilities of observation, logical reasoning and detection to the full, but nevertheless the case did not meet with his personal satisfaction, he felt it did not merit publication, and therefore it was never published. Until now.
If you like reading Sherlock Holmes crime mysteries, set in Victorian England, and written in the authentic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Style, you will enjoy reading this book.
Amanda Jaffe was a rising star in Portland's legal community until her well publicized battle with a brilliant sociopath—ironically the trial that made her famous—left her traumatized, filled with self-doubt, and wary of the limelight. But now she's agreed to handle a case no one else will touch.
Her client, Jon Dupre, runs an upscale call-girl service and stands accused of murdering a high-profile U.S. senator. To Amanda, Dupre's story of an ultra-secret society of extremely powerful, dangerous, politically motivated men sounds like a criminal's desperate attempt to escape justice. But suddenly too many important people are pressuring her to drop the case . . . and too many people are dying.
But Amanda will not surrender again to her fear. To get her life back, she'll follow this deadly juggernaut of an investigation wherever it leads her: to the graveyard, into the depths of hell . . . or to the highest office in the land.
Inside a cabin tucked away in the Oregon woods a grisly scene awaits investigating police. Arrested soon after for the heinous crime, Vincent Cardoni—a brilliant surgeon with a history of violence and drug abuse—hires Portland's top attorney, Frank Jaffe, to defend him against a seemingly insurmountable pile of evidence.
Jaffe's daughter, Amanda—a young lawyer getting her first taste of criminal defense—wonders whether she's representing an innocent man or using her considerable skills to set a monster free. Then Cardoni disappears under bizarre circumstances.
Four years later the slaughter begins again. But is it Cardoni plying his gruesome trade, or the work of another equally brilliant, equally inspired killer? And can Amanda and policeman Bobby Vasquez hunt the elusive maniac down before they themselves fall victim to a psychopath's terrible hunger?
When a killing field is unearthed in the Oregon woods, it's linked to a Portland surgeon whose increasingly aggressive behavior and explosive temper have already drawn the attention of his colleagues. Neophyte attorney Amanda Jaffe takes second chair to her father, a successful criminal lawyer retained by Dr. Vincent Cardoni when he is charged with multiple counts of murder. The victims have one thing in common: they are missing vital organs, which were clearly harvested by an expert surgeon. In this explosive and fast-paced suspense thriller, the forensic evidence against Cardoni is so convincing that even after his acquittal on a technicality, the reader, like Amanda, is sure of his guilt. And when a similar field of mutilated bodies turns up years later, Cardoni is again the primary suspect. But Cardoni has disappeared, and this time it's his former wife, Justine Castle, who's implicated in the new crimes, and Amanda who's retained as the lead attorney in the case.
The particulars of the killings are so similar to the first set of murders that Amanda is convinced Cardoni is involved. When he is found to be working at the same hospital where he was once a promising surgeon (this time as a custodian and under an assumed name), she draws the logical conclusion. But when she finds Cardoni's severed hand at the scene of the crimes, she is forced to rethink the assumptions on which her defense of the doctor's ex-wife is based. Could Justine, in fact, be the killer? Author Phillip Margolin's newest book moves at an almost frantic pace. Bodies pile up, evidence mounts, and everything points to Cardoni's guilt until the end, a stunner that surprises Amanda as well as the reader. This chilling, deftly crafted novel will hold the reader's attention to the last page.