May 1915. While thousands of Britons fight in the trenches, a severely depleted police force remains behind to keep the Home Front safe. In London, the sinking of the Lusitania sparks an unprecedented wave of anti-German riots and arson attacks across the city. Among the victims is the immigrant tailor Jacob Stein, found dead in his burnt-out shop. Detective Inspector Harvey Marmion and Sergeant Joe Keedy must take on this case of cover-ups and contradictions and track down Jacob's killer - a hunt which carries them from the crime-ridden streets of wartime London to the chaos of the front line. But is the murder simply the result of a tragic excess of wartime hysteria, or perhaps a more premeditated crime?
Murder, mayhem, fire, riot and ruination!' Westfield's men are in dire straights, and their playwright appears to be suffering from a lack of creative inspiration. Thankfully, the company is offered a new play, The Malevolent Comedy, which they believe will drag them out of their rut and put on a spectacle enough to rival Banbury's Men, preventing them from stealing their audiences. However, during the play's opening performance, one of the cast members is struck down after being poisoned, making it his first and last appearance on stage. Suspicion is rife and Nicolas Bracewell, the trusty book keeper, refuses to let the crime go unpunished. Given the nature of the murder, subsequent plots to sabotage Westfield's Men during their performances and the theft of the only copy of The Malevolent Comedy, all signs appear to point to the company's rivals on the other side of the river.
It is 1709, and Europe is in the midst of the coldest winter for a century. France is suffering profoundly: with her people starving and her army rattled by mutiny and desertions, King Louis XIV is at The Hague, searching for peace with the English on almost any terms. To assist these negotiations, the Duke of Marlborough sends Captain Daniel Rawson on a dangerous mission to Paris to seek out a package of vital information that could secure an advantageous peace deal for England. Yet in spite of his efforts, the peace talks collapse, and Daniel finds himself once more embroiled in dangerous adventure. For Marlborough has another mission for him: this time it is not information but a precious tapestry that has to be recovered. The tapestry of the Battle of Ramillies has been stolen, and Daniel's hunt for the ruthless thieves leads him into enemy territory, where he must daily outwit betrayal and kidnap, and risk capture and life itself. All the while, the French army is regaining its strength under the supervision of Marshall Villars, a worthy opponent in the field. As the opposing armies mass in the area around the village of Malplaquet, a bloody encounter looms. Which means that if Daniel manages to return safely to the Duke's forces from behind enemy lines, he must then stand fast and fight in their most murdering battle yet.
Butchery outside a London brothel leaves Westfield's Men in disarray While England is brought low by rumours of Queen Elizabeth's declining health, celebrated theatre company Lord Westfield's Men suffer their own bitter blows. A vicious feud between players causes chaos; a rival company launches a new production; a mysterious beauty reduces their leading actor to a lovelorn wreck; and a brutal murder leaves the group of actors reeling. With matters so fraught, even a performing horse becomes a threat. Stage manager Nicholas Bracewell, accustomed to damage control, is the only man with the wit to keep the company afloat. As the Queen sinks towards death, Nicholas begins to discern the connections between the company's misfortunes and the larger shadow falling over England . . .
A laughing hangman turns the stage into the gallows... When Nicholas Bracewell finds himself once again in the parlour of his lost love, Anne Hendrik, he was not expecting her entreaties to embroil him in the murder of a beloved choir master. Between tales of cruelty, forgotten maps of London and a butcher determined to rescue his son, it is yet another mystery for the book keeper to untangle. But will his quest endanger Lord Westfield’s Men? As their latest play, The Misfortunes of Marriage, threatens to break them apart beneath the playwright’s own belligerent ribaldry, the threat of the hangman stalks ever closer. And with every step his laughter rings with the power to turn even the hallowed stage into the gallows.
He was egotistical, verbose and hot-headed to a fault. But he did not deserve to die... His name was Will Fowler, an actor in the esteemed theatrical company called Lord Westfield's Men, a vibrant young man flushed from the success of a recent performance at The Queen's Head theatre. So exuberant was he that he persuaded the resourceful manager of the company, Nicholas Bracewell, to quaff a pint or two at a nearby pub. Alas, it was to be Will's last taste of beer. A tavern brawl left him dead - but not before he gasped for Nicholas to find his fast-fleeting, red-bearded murderer and administer a just revenge. Yet finding Will's murderer in London's dark, crowded streets was a seemingly impossible task - not to mention the fact that Lord Westfield's Men were just commanded to appear at the court of Elizabeth I - an honour one dare not refuse . . .
A celebrated British provocateur and Vanity Fair columnist serves up an “immensely entertaining book inspired by his love and knowledge of America” (Sunday Times, London). IN TO AMERICA WITH LOVE, celebrated British provocateur and Vanity Fair columnist A. A. Gill traverses the Atlantic to become the freshest chronicler of American identity in recent memory. With a fiery temper, a sharp-tongued wit, and an insatiable curiosity to figure out what makes more than 300 million of the world’s population tick, Gill traces the history and logic of our nation’s habits, collecting wild stories and startling facts along the way. From Colorado, where he meets a local vegetation expert and learns which flowers were in Pocahontas’s nuptial bouquet, to Kentucky, where he visits the Creationist Museum and drinks moonshine with a hog farmer, and to Harlem, where he misses a turn and stumbles into the wrong barbershop for a once-in-a-lifetime haircut, Gill embarks on a tour of not only the nation’s landscape but also its psyche, playing adventurer, philosopher, statistician, and raconteur all at once. In inimitable fashion he explains why pressing a button in a Manhattan elevator means entering a social contract of American etiquette and inverting conventional hierarchies of space; why browsing through Playboy centerfolds becomes the perfect litmus test for a generation’s political views; and how Hollywood is the metaphysical marketplace for movies, the place where Americans are sold on American romance and taught how to dream the American dream. Weaving together a tapestry of historical erudition and outrageous anecdotes, Gill ultimately captures the scope and spirit of a nation that started off as a conceptual experiment and became a political, scientific, and cultural fortress. This humorous and revelatory book shows us why we are who we are by transforming ordinary experiences into extraordinary lessons and promising to never let us look in the mirror the same way again.
Britain's most readable journalist takes on his biggest challenge - America. Where were you when John F. Kennedy was shot? Today the answer more often than not is going to be 'not born'. You have to be some way past 45 to know where you were when Kennedy was shot in Dallas in 1963. A generation later, you could ask the same question about the World Trade Centre. Where were you when the plane hit the twin towers on 11 September 2001? But this book is about what happened between those two moments. The world's perception of America changed between those two waves. A.A. Gill's book is about the things he's always found admirable and optimistic about the United States and its citizens. Two of the happiest times of his life were spent living in New York and the mountains of Kentucky. The contrast between the two couldn't have been more complicated and different. The America he found was contradictory and elusive, not the simpletons' place he'd been led to believe. It was still a list of raw ingredients rather than the old stew of Europe. Now A.A. Gill takes another look at the America he knew in the 1970s, a place that seemed to hold promise, practical energy and a plan for the future. How did it become the political magnetic north, against which the liberal intellectuals from the rest of the world set their opinions? Why is it so easily mocked, so comprehensively blamed, so thoughtlessly hated? This book is a collection of linked essays based around places that will open up truths and mythologies about America and Americans. The theme of his journey will be searching for 'the home of'. Every other small town in America boasts on its Welcome sign that it is the home of something or other: a mountain, a mine, peaches, spotted pigs, a president, the world's biggest ball of string, barbecues, the deepest hole. So that's where A.A. Gill starts, going to find the home of everything.
The fifth in the Dr Dodi McCleland series -- Agatha Christie meets Phryne Fisher Forensic doctor Dody McCleland is horrified when the seemingly dead body of a well-dressed woman she has just sliced with her scalpel bolts upright with a howl. Dody has heard of bodies frozen into a false death before but never come face to face with the phenomenon. She feels a terrible debt -- and a strange connection -- to this woman, discovered incongruously near the notorious Anchor and Whistle public house. Yet Dody is puzzled: how did a woman of such means and intelligence come to be left for dead in the icy cold of this unsavoury district? Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Pike has a gang of jewel thieves with a trail of murder behind them bailed up in a burning building. When one of the gang escapes, and the remainder are found assassinated at close range, it is clear the modus operandi of the chief suspect has brutally shifted. Then Pike discovers both that the king has an interest in the gang's stolen jewels and that his superior is suspected of corruption. Threats to his career and his relationship with Dody further intensify an already delicate situation. Join Dody and Pike as they work to find out who is behind the carnage, discover who Dody's new friend really is, and if there's any hope of them ever sharing a future together.
Shortlisted for the Edgar Awards Ashley Weaver’s debut mystery, Murder at the Brightwell, is a delicious, stylish novel in which murder invades British polite society and romance springs in unexpected places, and a wonderful testament to the enduring delight of the traditional mystery. “An elegant Christie-esque 1930s romp.” —Deborah Crombie “If you love Downton Abbey, you'll adore Ashley Weaver’s charming debut.”—Susan Elia MacNeal “A witty and charming debut mystery with a believably spunky sleuth and a compelling story of love that never runs smoothly.” —G.M. Malliet “It’s more terrible than you think, Mrs. Ames. It appears that Mr. Howe was murdered.” Amory Ames, a wealthy young woman questioning her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo, is looking for a change. She accepts a request for help from her former fiancé, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will not only test her friendship with Gil, but also will upset the status quo with her husband. Amory accompanies Gil to the luxurious Brightwell Hotel in an attempt to circumvent the marriage of his sister, Emmeline, to Rupert Howe a disreputable ladies man. There is more than her happiness at stake, however, when Rupert is murdered and Gil is arrested for the crime. Matters are further complicated by Milo’s unexpected arrival, and as the line between friend and foe becomes less clear, Amory must decide where her heart lies and catch the killer before she, too, becomes a victim. Also out now in the Amory Ames mysteries: Death Wears a Mask and A Most Novel Revenge