Lesley Thomson - Author

About the Author

Lesley Thomson was born in 1958 and grew up in London. She went to Holland Park Comprehensive and the Universities of Brighton and Sussex. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won the People's Book Prize in 2010. Her second novel, The Detective's Daughter, was published in 2013 and sold over 300,000 copies.

 

Author photo © Emily Andersen

Featured books by Lesley Thomson

Ghost Girl

Ghost Girl

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

Seven cryptic photographs. A decades-old case. Can one woman find a killer? Before his death, Terry Darnell was a famous detective. His daughter Stella, a cleaner, has inherited his methodical mind. She has also inherited a strange case file: seven photographs of empty streets. Why did her father keep them for so many years? One photo dates from 1966, to a day when a young girl witnessed something that would haunt her forever. As Stella scrubs away at the truth, the events of that day begin to haunt her too... THE DETECTIVE'S DAUGHTER SERIES: The Detective's Daughter. Ghost Girl. The Detective's Secret. The House With No Rooms. The Dog Walker.

eBooks of the Month
The Detective's Daughter

The Detective's Daughter

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

As winter closes its grip on snow-bound London, a cleaner determines to solve the case that her detective father never could. A Kindle number one bestseller. It was the murder that shocked the nation. Kate Rokesmith, a young mother, walked to the banks of the Thames with her three-year-old son. She never came home. For three decades, the case file has lain, unsolved, in the corner of an attic. Until the detective's daughter, Stella Darnell, starts to clear out her father's house after his death... Reviews for The Detective's Daughter: 'A haunting novel about loss and reconciliation, driven by a simple but clever plot' Sunday Times 'This book has a clever mystery plot - but its excellence is in the characters, all credible and memorable, and in its setting in a real West London street, exactly described' Literary Review 'A thoughtful, well-observed story ... It reminded me of Kate Atkinson' Scott Pack 'A cerebral thriller ... Evokes chills from more than just the frigid winter nights' Forward Reviews Magazine 'Lesley Thomson gets better and better' Ian Rankin

eBooks of the Month
The Detective's Secret

The Detective's Secret

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

They will learn the city's secrets. They will learn who plans to kill... A man has jumped in front of a late night train. Stella Darnell, a cleaner who solves crimes, suspects it's murder. Now she's stirring up the past with questions that no one wants to answer. Jack Harmon, a driver on the Tube, has a new home at the top of an old water tower, with a perfect bird's eye view of London. If he watches through binoculars, he will learn the city's secrets. He will learn who plans to kill... THE DETECTIVE'S DAUGHTER SERIES: The Detective's Daughter. Ghost Girl. The Detective's Secret. The House With No Rooms. The Dog Walker.

eBooks of the Month
Death of a Mermaid

Death of a Mermaid

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2021

'Lesley Thomson gets better and better' Ian RankinWhen Freddy Power was eighteen, her father threw her out. Her sin had been to fall in love with a woman. Freddy waited for two decades to be invited back into the family. The summons never came. But now, in the wake of her parents' death, Freddy feels the call of home like a siren's song. The trawlers emerging out of the mist. Fishermen unloading their catch down at the harbour. Her best friend, Mags, exploring the cliffs at sunset. But when she arrives at Newhaven, after twenty-two years of silence, her brothers and her friends act like strangers. Then Mags goes missing, and old secrets - and old passions - are reignited. Freddy is determined to lead the hunt for Mags - even if it means confronting her past, and facing the truth about her family... Reviews for Death of a Mermaid: 'Catholic guilt, monstrous hypocrisy and all kinds of fishy business are explored in an atmosphere of creeping dread' The Times 'A truly brilliant book, full of atmosphere and a creeping sense of menace. Lesley Thomson lures you in with meticulously drawn characters and a matchless sense of place, and then you are caught in the jaws of a remorseless thriller' Elly Griffiths 'A strong sense of place, wonderfully woven with a cast of memorable characters' Mari Hannah 'Death of a Mermaid is a tense, beautifully written novel, with characters so well-crafted you expect them to walk off the page' Rachael Blok 'A powerful tale of dark secrets that fester in a small seaside town' William Shaw

eBooks of the Month

Other books by Lesley Thomson

The Distant Dead

The Distant Dead

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/10/2021

A woman lies dead in a bombed-out house. A tragic casualty of the Blitz? Or something more sinister? Sixty years later, the detective's daughter unearths the truth... From the number 1 bestselling author of The Detective's Daughter. LONDON, 1940 Several neighbours heard the scream of the woman in the bombed-out house. One told the detective she thought the lady had seen a mouse. Another said it wasn't his business what went on behind closed doors. None of them imagined that a trusting young woman was being strangled by her lover. TEWKESBURY, 2020 Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man lies bleeding, close to death. He is the creator of a true-crime podcast which now will never air. He was investigating the murder of a 1940s police pathologist - had he come closer to the truth than he realised? Stella Darnell has moved to Tewkesbury to escape from death, not to court it. But when this man dies in her arms, Stella, impelled to root out evil when she finds it, becomes determined to hunt down his killer and to bring the secrets he was searching for into the light... Praise for The Detective's Daughter series: 'Lesley Thomson gets better and better' Ian Rankin 'Cunningly plotted' Mick Herron 'One of the most original characters in British crime fiction ... Thomson's plots are original and she draws her characters with genuine affection' Sunday Times 'In the best traditions of the classic whodunnit, this is Midsomer Murders for grown-ups' Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express 'Gloriously well-written ... Thomson creates a rich and sinister world that is utterly unique' William Shaw

The Distant Dead

The Distant Dead

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 13/05/2021

Cleaner-turned-detective Stella Darnell connects a murder in Tewkesbury Abbey to a decades-old mystery in wartime London. From the number 1 bestselling author of The Detective's Daughter. London, 1940 A woman lies dead in a bombed-out house. It looks like she's another tragic casualty of the Blitz, until police pathologist Aleck Northcote proves she was strangled and placed at the scene. But Northcote himself has something to hide. And when his past catches up with him, he too is murdered. Tewkesbury, 2020 Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man has been fatally stabbed. He is Roddy March, an investigative journalist for a podcast series uncovering miscarriages of justice. He was looking into the murder of police pathologist Dr Aleck Northcote - and was certain he had uncovered Northcote's real killer. Stella Darnell used to run a detective agency alongside her cleaning business. She's moved to Tewkesbury to escape from death, not to court it - but Roddy died in her arms and, Stella is someone impelled to root out evil when she finds it. Now she is determined to hunt down Roddy's killer - but then she finds another body... 2021 Head of Zeus

Death of a Mermaid

Death of a Mermaid

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2020

'Lesley Thomson gets better and better' Ian RankinWhen Freddy Power was eighteen, her father threw her out. Her sin had been to fall in love with a woman. Freddy waited for two decades to be invited back into the family. The summons never came. But now, in the wake of her parents' death, Freddy feels the call of home like a siren's song. The trawlers emerging out of the mist. Fishermen unloading their catch down at the harbour. Her best friend, Mags, exploring the cliffs at sunset. But when she arrives at Newhaven, after twenty-two years of silence, her brothers and her friends act like strangers. Then Mags goes missing, and old secrets - and old passions - are reignited. Freddy is determined to lead the hunt for Mags - even if it means confronting her past, and facing the truth about her family... Reviews for Death of a Mermaid: 'Catholic guilt, monstrous hypocrisy and all kinds of fishy business are explored in an atmosphere of creeping dread' The Times 'A truly brilliant book, full of atmosphere and a creeping sense of menace. Lesley Thomson lures you in with meticulously drawn characters and a matchless sense of place, and then you are caught in the jaws of a remorseless thriller' Elly Griffiths 'A strong sense of place, wonderfully woven with a cast of memorable characters' Mari Hannah 'Death of a Mermaid is a tense, beautifully written novel, with characters so well-crafted you expect them to walk off the page' Rachael Blok 'A powerful tale of dark secrets that fester in a small seaside town' William Shaw

The Playground Murders: The Detective's Daughter, Book 7

The Playground Murders: The Detective's Daughter, Book 7

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 11/07/2019

Forty years ago, in the dark of the playground, two children's lives were changed for ever. Stella Darnell is a cleaner. But when she isn't tackling dust and dirt and restoring order to chaos, Stella solves murders. Her latest case concerns a man convicted of killing his mistress. His daughter thinks he's innocent, and needs Stella to prove it. As Stella sifts through piles of evidence and interview suspects, she discovers a link between the recent murder and a famous case from forty years ago: the shocking death of six-year-old Sarah Ferris, killed in the shadows of an empty playground. Stella knows that dredging up the past can be dangerous. But as she pieces together the tragedy of what happened to Sarah, she is drawn into a story of jealousy, betrayal and the end of innocence. A story that has not yet reached its end... 'One of the most original characters in British crime fiction' SUNDAY TIMES. 'A class above' IAN RANKIN.

The Playground Murders

The Playground Murders

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2019

'A class above' IAN RANKIN. Forty years ago, in the dark of the playground, two children's lives were changed for ever. The case of six-year-old Sarah Ferris, killed in an empty playground, haunted Hammersmith police for decades. Not just because the victim would never see her seventh birthday. But because solving the case meant arresting another child on suspicion of Sarah's murder. Now, forty years later, cleaner-turned-detective Stella Darnell has unearthed new information about Sarah and her killer. As Stella pieces together the truth about what happened all those years ago, she is drawn into a story of jealousy, betrayal and the end of innocence. A story that has not yet reached its end... 'One of the most original characters in British crime fiction' SUNDAY TIMES. 'Thomson creates a rich and sinister world that is utterly unique ... Gloriously well-written' WILLIAM SHAW.

The Death Chamber

The Death Chamber

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2018

From the number one bestseller of The Detective's Daughter. For forty years, someone has got away with murder... Forty years ago, seventeen-year-old Cassie Baker took a shortcut home from a small Cotswolds village, and was never seen again. Twenty years later, Cotswolds police found Cassie's remains while searching for another missing teenager, Bryony Motson. Bryony's body was never found. Now Stella Darnell, cleaner and private detective, has decided to find out what happened to Bryony. She knows her investigation will be dangerous. Because, for too long, someone has got away with murder. Someone who will do anything to keep it that way... PRAISE FOR LESLEY THOMSON: 'In the best traditions of the classic whodunnit, this is Midsomer Murders for grown-ups' Jake Kerridge, SUNDAY EXPRESS. 'Lesley Thomson is a class above' IAN RANKIN. 'Stella Darnell is one of the most original characters in British crime fiction' Joan Smith, SUNDAY TIMES. 'A wonderfully eerie setting, unique characters and a chilling plot' ELLY GRIFFITHS. 'Clever, credible and memorable' LITERARY REVIEW. 'Gloriously well-written ... Thomson creates a rich and sinister world that is utterly unique' WILLIAM SHAW.

Death Chamber

Death Chamber

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Ebook Release Date: 05/04/2018

From the number one bestseller of The Detective's Daughter. For forty years, someone has got away with murder... Forty years ago, seventeen-year-old Cassie Baker took a shortcut home from a small Cotswolds village, and was never seen again. Twenty years later, Cotswolds police found Cassie's remains while searching for another missing teenager, Bryony Motson. Bryony's body was never found. Now Stella Darnell, cleaner and private detective, has decided to find out what happened to Bryony. She knows her investigation will be dangerous. Because, for too long, someone has got away with murder. Someone who will do anything to keep it that way... PRAISE FOR LESLEY THOMSON: 'In the best traditions of the classic whodunnit, this is Midsomer Murders for grown-ups' Jake Kerridge, SUNDAY EXPRESS. 'Lesley Thomson is a class above' IAN RANKIN. 'Stella Darnell is one of the most original characters in British crime fiction' Joan Smith, SUNDAY TIMES. 'A wonderfully eerie setting, unique characters and a chilling plot' ELLY GRIFFITHS. 'Clever, credible and memorable' LITERARY REVIEW. 'Gloriously well-written ... Thomson creates a rich and sinister world that is utterly unique' WILLIAM SHAW.

The Dog Walker

The Dog Walker

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/04/2017

A haunted house, a broken family and a body that has never been found. Stella and Jack must reawaken the secrets of the past in order to solve the mysteries of the present. January, 1987. In the depths of winter, only joggers and dog walkers brave the Thames towpath after dark. Helen Honeysett, a young newlywed, sets off for an evening run from her riverside cottage. Only her dog returns. Twenty-nine years later, her husband has asked Stella Darnell, a private detective, and her side-kick Jack Harmon, to find out what happened all those years ago. But when the five households on that desolate stretch of towpath refuse to give up their secrets, Stella and Jack find themselves hunting a killer whose trail has long gone cold...

Dog Walker

Dog Walker

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Ebook Release Date: 06/04/2017

Brand new from the #1 bestselling author of The Detective's Daughter. Stella and Jack must reawaken the secrets of the past in order to solve the mysteries of the present. January, 1987. In the depths of winter, only joggers and dog walkers brave the Thames towpath after dark. Helen Honeysett, a young newlywed, sets off for an evening run from her riverside cottage and disappears. Twenty-nine years later, Helen's body has never been found. Her husband has asked Stella Darnell, a private detective, and her side-kick Jack Harmon, to find out what happened all those years ago. But when the five households on that desolate stretch of towpath refuse to give up their secrets, Stella and Jack find themselves hunting a killer whose trail has long gone cold.

The House With No Rooms

The House With No Rooms

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/09/2016

A woman lies dead on the ground. A girl watches from the shadows. What did she really see? The summer of 1976 was the hottest in living memory. A lost little girl, dizzied by the head, stumbled upon a deserted museum. She thought she saw a woman lying dead on the ground. But when she opened her eyes, the woman had gone. Forty years later, cleaner and detective Stella Darnell is investigating a suspected murder in the Botanical Gardens at Kew. Working methodically, stain by stain, she is drawn into an obsessive world, and towards a killer who has never been caught...

House With No Rooms

House With No Rooms

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Ebook Release Date: 21/04/2016

A woman lies dead on the ground. A girl watches from the shadows. What did she really see? The summer of 1976 was the hottest in living memory. A lost little girl, dizzied by the head, stumbled upon a deserted museum. She thought she saw a woman lying dead on the ground. But when she opened her eyes, the woman had gone. Forty years later, cleaner and detective Stella Darnell is investigating a suspected murder in the Botanical Gardens at Kew. Working methodically, stain by stain, she is drawn into an obsessive world, and towards a killer who has never been caught... THE DETECTIVE'S DAUGHTER SERIES: The Detective's Daughter. Ghost Girl. The Detective's Secret. The House With No Rooms. The Dog Walker. What people are saying about THE HOUSE WITH NO ROOMS: 'I'd give it 6 stars if it were possible' 'An unsettling, accomplished book by a writer at the top of her game' 'There is a sense of menace, suspense and sadness all interspersed with pockets of humour. So cleverly written' 'Can't put it down, the perfect present'

Runaway

Runaway

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Ebook Release Date: 01/07/2015

An exclusive short story from the bestselling author of The Detective's Daughter. Stella Darnell understands that her mum and dad don't want to live together anymore. But she wishes she didn't have to say goodbye to her bedroom, or pack her hateful pink suitcase that bangs against her legs. Her mum says she'll have special weekends just to see her dad - but Stella knows that when her dad is solving crimes, there's no time for her. And so, aged seven and a half, the detective's daughter decides to run away...

The Detective's Secret

The Detective's Secret

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/04/2015

With hints of the supernatural and several sneaky red herrings laid in your path to trip you up, this sinister and murderous tale gradually creeps under your skin. ‘The Detective’s Secret’ is the third in this series, although you can certainly start here, some of the relationship nuances will cause you to wonder at what has gone before. Two different time spans swing to and fro, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the chapter headings until the switches become second nature. Jack and Stella are complex individuals, and as far away from your generic detective as you can possibly get; they also on occasion keep vital information from each other, ensuring an arresting suspense runs along side their inquiries. While the investigating duo pull all the pieces together, something shadowy, chilling and deadly lies in wait and as the end nears, you may well find yourself on the edge of your seat, advising them caution and administering warnings.

eBooks of the Month
Detective's Secret

Detective's Secret

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Ebook Release Date: 09/04/2015

They will learn the city's secrets. They will learn who plans to kill... A man has jumped in front of a late night train. Stella Darnell, a cleaner who solves crimes, suspects it's murder. Now she's stirring up the past with questions that no one wants to answer. Jack Harmon, a driver on the Tube, has a new home at the top of an old water tower, with a perfect bird's eye view of London. If he watches through binoculars, he will learn the city's secrets. He will learn who plans to kill... THE DETECTIVE'S DAUGHTER SERIES: The Detective's Daughter. Ghost Girl. The Detective's Secret. The House With No Rooms. The Dog Walker.

Ghost Girl

Ghost Girl

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/04/2014

It is a year since her father's death, but Stella Darnell has not moved on. She still cleans his house every day, leaving it spotless as if he might return. Terry Darnell was Detective Chief Superintendent at Hammersmith police station, and now Stella has discovered an unsolved case in his darkroom: a folder of unlabelled photographs of deserted streets. The oldest photograph dates back to 1966. To a day when Mary Thornton, just ten years old, is taking her little brother home from school in time for tea. That afternoon, as the Moors Murderers are sent to prison for life, Mary witnesses something that will haunt her forever. As Stella inches closer to the truth, the events of that day begin to haunt her too...

eBooks of the Month
The Detective's Daughter

The Detective's Daughter

Author: Lesley Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2013

As winter closes its grip on snow-bound London, a cleaner determines to solve the case that her detective father never could. A Kindle number one bestseller. It was the murder that shocked the nation. Kate Rokesmith, a young mother, walked to the banks of the Thames with her three-year-old son. She never came home. For three decades, the case file has lain, unsolved, in the corner of an attic. Until the detective's daughter, Stella Darnell, starts to clear out her father's house after his death... Reviews for The Detective's Daughter: 'A haunting novel about loss and reconciliation, driven by a simple but clever plot' Sunday Times 'This book has a clever mystery plot - but its excellence is in the characters, all credible and memorable, and in its setting in a real West London street, exactly described' Literary Review 'A thoughtful, well-observed story ... It reminded me of Kate Atkinson' Scott Pack 'A cerebral thriller ... Evokes chills from more than just the frigid winter nights' Forward Reviews Magazine 'Lesley Thomson gets better and better' Ian Rankin