Andrew Taylor has been a full-time writer since 1981, and has written over twenty books. He has been described by The Times as 'One of Britain's best writers of psychological suspense.'
Having decided to become a writer at the age of ten, he claims that it was his newly recognised facility for writing stories, teamed with the idea that a writer's life consisted of not wearing a tie to work, that first attracted him to the career. More recently however he has suggested that 'one of the attractions of writing fiction is that it allows you to create your own little universe and play God to your heart's content.' It was the discovery of Sherlock Holmes at the tender of age of eight and earlier yet with Enid Blyton's Hurrah for Little Noddy, that his love for crime novels was incited. 'Another thing I like about crime fiction' he asserts, 'is its lack of pretension. It sets out to entertain - it's fiction with its sleeves rolled up.'
In the years preceding Andrew Taylor's breakthrough in the literary world, he worked as a boat-builder, wages clerk, teacher, librarian, labourer and freelance publisher's editor. Since then, Public Lending Right estimates place his British public library readership in the top one per cent.
His novels include the Dougal and Lydmouth crime series, the psychological thriller The Barred Window and his ground-breaking Roth Trilogy, now published in one volume as Requiem for an Angel. He also reviews and writes about crime fiction, particularly in the Independent Awards received for his books include the John Creasey Memorial award from the Crime Writer's Association and an Edgar Scroll from the Mystery Writers of America, both for Caroline Minuscule, and the CWA's Ellis Peters Historical Dagger. The Roth Trilogy was adapted into the acclaimed ITV drama 'Fallen Angel'. 'The American Boy' was a 2005 Richard & Judy Book Club choice.
He lives in the Forest of Dean with his wife, a photographer, and their two children.
Author photo © Caroline Silverwood
A fabulously pacy, clever, and entertaining historical crime novel packed full of plots and skulduggery. James is asked to investigate a suspicious death while architect Cat finds herself in the middle of a royal secret. This is the fifth book in the highly recommended James Marwood and Cat Lovett series which began so explosively with The Ashes of London. It is such a brilliant set of books that I recommend starting at the beginning even though this could easily be read as a standalone. The intimacy of the story between Cat and James slips so easily into the history and intrigue of King Charles II. I always enjoy following the two stories of the main characters as they gradually merge together. In the third book James held the stage, here Cat takes more of a turn in the spotlight. The sense of time and place just sings, I didn’t question my surroundings, I was there. Andrew Taylor skilfully constructs a number of plot lines which he spins and twists together, the historical note at the end cements this fascinating story in place. The Royal Secret confirms this series as a must-read for any fans of historical crime fiction.
The James Marwood and Cat Lovett series is on my must-read list. If this series is new to you, do start with the truly fabulous The Ashes of London, I have thoroughly enjoyed all three so far, and each new book adds further flavour and intrigue. A body is found at the home of a courtier for Charles II and James is sent to quietly investigate. He knows the dead man, and he also knows who wished him dead… Cat Lovett. The two storylines for James and Cat up to now could almost be made into separate books, each independently as strong as the other. Here, James takes a larger portion of the spotlight, however Cat most definitely remains a focus of the story, and is never too far away. As usual Andrew Taylor lays a veritable reading feast before your eyes, the descriptive and historical treats ensured the words travelled straight from the page into my minds eye. The King’s Evil is a hugely entertaining, wonderfully readable and intelligent historical crime mystery novel, I simply can’t wait for the next in the series, The Last Protector.
A captivating and absolutely thrilling historical tale that sits as a perfect sequel to the first in the series The Ashes of London. Please do start with the first book, it is a stunning read and sets the characters and scene so beautifully. After the Great Fire of London a court is established to judge the cases of discord between landlords and tenants. Suspicious deaths appear to link to the Fire Court, and as James and Cat attempt to find answers, their individual stories become more closely intertwined. After the drama and sheer visual spectacle of the first book, I did wonder how on earth the series would continue, and it is safe to say with great aplomb. The intricate plot immediately wormed its way into my head, slicing, enthralling, and sharply focused. There is one particularly unexpected and shocking moment that quite literally stopped my whole being, I sat in for a moment in silence before continuing, desperate to know more. Will you feel the same, will the words travel from the page, trap your feelings and hurl your thoughts in the air? This is a series that could run and run, The King’s Evil is already calling to me and quite simply can’t arrive quickly enough. The Fire Court has become part of a must-read series for me, it is highly recommended and one of my picks of the month.
An enthralling and quite, quite wonderful historical thriller, where the story absolutely thrives in the midst of one of the most famous times in British history. The first chapter not only blasts you immediately into the roaring flames of the Great Fire of London in 1666, it also firmly knocks at the door of intrigue. James Marwood is set the task of hunting down a killer, while Cat is set on a deadly game of revenge. I rubbed my hands with glee and settled in for a thunderingly good read. Andrew Taylor paints a vivid and terrifying scene, I stood in the crowd and witnessed St Paul’s writhing in the flames, he also handles the suspense with a masterly hand. James and Cat’s tales run arm in arm, the storylines tease each other, linked and yet each standing vibrantly strong. I savoured every moment of this readable and fascinating story, ‘Ashes of London’ is a simply fabulous read. April 2016 eBook of the Month.
From the No. 1 bestselling author of THE AMERICAN BOY comes a brilliant new historical thriller set during the French Revolution. Paris, 1792. Terror reigns as the city writhes in the grip of revolution. The streets run with blood as thousands lose their heads to the guillotine. Edward Savill, working in London as agent for a wealthy American, receives word that his estranged wife Augusta has been killed in France. She leaves behind ten-year-old Charles, who is brought to England to Charnwood Court, a house in the country leased by a group of emigre refugees. Savill is sent to retrieve the boy, though it proves easier to reach Charnwood than to leave. And only when Savill arrives there does he discover that Charles is mute. The boy has witnessed horrors beyond his years, but what terrible secret haunts him so deeply that he is unable to utter a word?
Winner of the CWA 2009 Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. Set in the early 50s, this is classic detective stuff. Small town life, genteel and drab, atmospherically portrayed this is part of a series which I do feel you will appreciate more if you’ve read the earlier ones. His big historical novel, American Boy, was a Richard and Judy featured title.Comparison: Peter Robinson, Ruth Rendell, Jacqueline Winspear.Similar this month: Minette Walters, Ian Rankin.
THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER AND AWARD-WINNING RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK Murder, lies and betrayal in Regency England England 1819. Thomas Shield, a master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the child's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Helplessly drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Shield becomes entwined in their family's affairs. When a brutal murder takes place in London's seedy backstreets, all clues lead to the Frant family, and Shield is tangled in a web of lies, money, sex and death that threatens to tear his new life apart. Soon, it emerges that at the heart of these macabre events lies the strange American boy. What secrets is the young Edgar Allan Poe hiding?
A CITY IN FLAMES London, 1666. As the Great Fire consumes everything in its path, the body of a man is found in the ruins of St Paul's Cathedral - stabbed in the neck, thumbs tied behind his back. A WOMAN ON THE RUN The son of a traitor, James Marwood is forced to hunt the killer through the city's devastated streets. There he encounters a determined young woman who will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. A KILLER SEEKING REVENGE When a second murder victim is discovered in the Fleet Ditch, Marwood is drawn into the political and religious intrigue of Westminster - and across the path of a killer with nothing to lose...
From the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author of The Ashes of London comes the next book in the phenomenally successful series following James Marwood and Cat Lovett. A dangerous secret lies beneath Whitehall Palace... Brother against brother. Father against son. Friends turned into enemies. No one in England wants a return to the bloody days of the Civil War. But Oliver Cromwell's son, Richard, has abandoned his exile and slipped back into England. The consequences could be catastrophic. James Marwood, a traitor's son turned government agent, is tasked with uncovering Cromwell's motives. But his assignment is complicated by his friend - the regicide's daughter, Cat Lovett - who knew the Cromwells as a child, and who now seems to be hiding a secret of her own about the family. Both Marwood and Cat know they are putting themselves in great danger. And when they find themselves on a top secret mission in the Palace of Whitehall, they realize they are risking their lives...and could even be sent to the block for treason. Praise for Andrew Taylor 'One of the best historical crime writers today' The Times 'If you like C. J. Sansom, or Hilary Mantel, you'll love Andrew Taylor' Peter James 'Effortlessly authentic...gripping...moving and believable. An excellent work' C. J. Sansom 'This is historical crime fiction at its dazzling best' Guardian 'One of the best historical novelists around' Sunday Times 'A breathtakingly ambitious picture of an era' Financial Times 'A masterclass in writing for the genre' Ann Cleeves 'Andrew Taylor is one of our finest storytellers' Antonia Hodgson 'Vivid and compelling' Observer 'A novel filled with intrigue, duplicity, scandal and betrayal, whose author now vies with another master of the genre, C. J. Sansom' Spectator 'Taylor brings the 17th century to life so vividly that one can almost smell it' Guardian 'A most artful and delightful book, that will both amuse and chill' Daily Telegraph