Minette Walters is one of the world's bestselling crime writers and has sold over 25 million copies of her books worldwide. She has won the CWA John Creasey Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award in America and two CWA Gold Daggers. The Swift and the Harrier is her third historical novel. She lives in Dorset with her husband.
Any new story by Minette Walters is grounds for great rejoicing and The Swift and The Harrier, her fourth historical fiction, is an impeccable stand alone that, from the opening eight words “As the hour for the priests’ execution approached…” holds you in its thrall until the very last word of the final line. Set 1642, in Dorset, tensions between friends and neighbours reflect the mood of the nation, as allegiance to the King and Crown confronts the rising tide of Parliamentarianism and bloody war stalks the land. Jayne Swift is a trained and talented physician, from a loyal Royalist family, who heals without fear or favour. Dedicated to treating the sick and injured whatever their belief or politics, she wins the respect of all who know her through her diligence and professionalism, at a time when female physicians were barred from formal practise, and so being to medicine, albeit in fiction, what Sofonisba Anguisolla was, in reality, to art a century before. As counterpoint to Swift’s openness and straightforward morality is William Harrier, whose mysterious appearances, and apparent duplicity, mark him as a connected but untrustworthy character, for whom the war is but a means to achieve a greater good. Impressively imagined and so beautifully written, The Swift and the Harrier is a perfect story, full of Walters’ trademark sense of place and time, with characters that are so fully formed and natural you feel you know them, and all wrapped in a story so well drawn that the images it creates in your imagination will endure long after you finished reading it. It is a complete, perfect, triumph of a tale.
Gosh, just stunning! For me, this is the very definition of a must-read… eloquent, absorbing, absolutely fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. I thought The Last Hours (which you really do need to read first) was exquisitely engaging and satisfying, and I enjoyed The Turn of Midnight just as much, perhaps even more as the characters were known to me, beloved by me. Lady Anne and educated serf Thaddeus have joined forces to prevent the Black Death from decimating their community. As they attempt to secure the independence of Develish however, trouble continues to haunt them, to hunt them down. Maps and a summary of the people, places and events from The Last Hours ensured I was able to step straight into the story. Minette Walters has the most beautiful voice, my soul became at one with the words. I sank so fully into the story that I was surprised at the end of each chapter when I suddenly came to and became aware of my surroundings. The time, the place are vibrantly alive, I could touch kindness, smell bitterness, taste fear. Please, please, please let there be more! The Turn of Midnight is a powerful, gripping read, and yes I am gushing most effusively over it, that’s because it really is rather wonderful and I highly recommend buying yourself a copy. The Last Hours series: 1. The Turn of Midnight 2. The Last Hours
A scorching and beautifully written epic tale set in 1348, a time that sends a jagged screech of fingernails down the blackboard of history. Step away from the present into the midst of the Black Death, to overwhelming fear and confusion. The moated centre of one estate in Dorset appears to offer sanctuary, yet the treacherous play of human emotions wreaks havoc. I am a fan of Minette Walters, she has the ability to look behind and beyond the obvious, and she is eminently suited to this new genre. A lot of characters are introduced, yet there is no confusion, each was clear in my mind, known to me and vibrantly alive. The descriptions took me directly through the words and into this compelling story. The Last Hours is the first of two novels, it quickly puts down roots and takes hold, ensuring a gripping, striking and remarkably readable tale. Books in The Last Hours Series: 1. The Last Hours 2. The Turn of Midnight
Offered as a Hammer novella, you may well expect a substantial amount of supernatural horror, however a more rational yet none the less uncomfortable and captivating read awaits. The story is told from Muna’s viewpoint, held as a slave, abused and kept in the dark, she still has a cunning intelligence and quietly bides her time. The simplicity of the writing reveals a truly complicated and at times distressing subject matter. The ending is left on a note of uncertainty, your thoughts scrabble for purchase as they are pushed off a cliff of understanding. The author writes with a true level of compassion without hiding the cruelty explored in this creatively taut, original and chilling read.
A body is found in the woods ...Based on the true story of the shocking murder of Mrs Caroline Luard, which took place in Kent in August 1908. Caroline Luard is shot dead in broad daylight in the grounds of a large country estate. With few clues available, her husband soon becomes the suspect ...But is he guilty? Bringing to life the people involved in this terrible crime, in A Dreadful Murder bestselling author Minette Walters uses modern detective skills to attempt to solve a 100-year-old crime.
Minette Walter's attention to human psychology is what makes her such a fascinating and enjoyable author. Each book is very different to the last, but all of them will have you gripped until the end. Fox Evil explores the secrets that are uncovered following a murder in a sleepy village. A murder mystery at its best.
A gritty tale from the queen of psychological thrillers. Hard hitting social issues meet a tight plot with bags of suspense when an housing estate unleashes its hatred on a suspected paedophile. All of the characters are complex, believable and brilliantly depicted, even those on the margins of the story. She's in a league of her own.
Engrossing, full of suspense, very interesting characters, almost nail-biting in its ability to grip, this is one of her best. A Reuters correspondent, Connie, working in Iraq, recognises a face from the past (Congo, Sierra Leone) using a different name and begins to investigate him but events take a terrible turn and Connie returns to England, in effect to hide. I can’t tell you any more, just read it, it’s terrific. This title is also available as an Audio book in CD or Audio Cassette format.Similar this month: Natasha Cooper.Comparison: Stephen Booth, Sarah Rayne, Nicci French.
Based around a true story, Chickenfeed delves into the events surrounding the murder of a young woman by her sweetheart. Norman Thorne was executed for the murder of Elsie Cameron in 1925 but there was doubt as to his guilt. Was he wrongly convicted? Read it and decide...
The Tinder Box delves into strange goings on in a close-knit community following a particularly brutal murder. Small town prejudices lead the village to wage a hate campaign against an Irish family, believing labourer Patrick O'Riordan to be the culprit. Siobhan Lavenham is the only inhabitant of the village who believes in his innocence and protests loudly against the community's behaviour towards the O'Riordans. As more and more information is uncovered, even she starts to have her doubts about the events surrounding the murder. A fascinating examination of prejudice and loyalty.
A 30 year old miscarriage of justice is the backbone to this tense and vivid novel. The characters' motivations are as important as the plot; and the truth when it comes out is shocking. Not a book you can, or want to, rush through but well worth getting into.
A compelling look into damaged minds, The Chameleon's Shadow is a psychological thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. When Lieutenant Charles Acland is flown home from Iraq with serious head injuries, he faces not only permanent disfigurement but also an apparent change to his previously outgoing personality. Crippled by migraines, and suspicious of his psychiatrist, he begins to display sporadic bouts of aggression, particularly against women, especially his ex-fiancee who seems unable to accept that the relationship is over. After his injuries prevent his return to the army, he cuts all ties with his former life and moves to London. Alone and unmonitored, he sinks into a private world of guilt and paranoid distrust . . . until a customer annoys him in a Bermondsey pub and he attracts the attention of local police investigating three murders which appear to have been motivated by extreme rage . . . Under suspicion, Acland is forced to confront the real issues behind his isolation. How much control does he have over the dark side of his personality? Do his migraines contribute to his rages? Has he always been the duplicitous chameleon that his ex-fiancee claims? And why - if he hates women - does he look to a woman for help?
The definitive edition of Minette Walters' thrilling tale of courage and defiance during the time of the Black Death, featuring The Last Hours and The Turn of Midnight. England, 1348: A deadly plague is spreading across the land, and people are dying by the thousands. In Dorset, young Lady Anne takes control of her lands with her trusted steward, Thaddeus Thurkell, at her side. Compassionate and resourceful, she decides to quarantine the estate, bringing some two hundred serfs inside the moated walls. But in such a confined space, conflicts soon arise... As time passes, the people of Develish have no way of knowing who, if anyone, has survived. And with dwindling stores, they soon have no choice but to leave their relative safety. But what awaits Lady Anne and her people in the desolate wasteland beyond the walls? 'Wonderful and sweeping' Kate Mosse 'Enthralling' Julian Fellowes 'Vividly wrought and powerful' Elizabeth Fremantle
Gosh, just stunning! For me, this is the very definition of a must-read… eloquent, absorbing, absolutely fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. I thought The Last Hours (which you really do need to read first) was exquisitely engaging and satisfying, and I enjoyed The Turn of Midnight just as much, perhaps even more as the characters were known to me, beloved by me. Lady Anne and educated serf Thaddeus have joined forces to prevent the Black Death from decimating their community. As they attempt to secure the independence of Develish however, trouble continues to haunt them, to hunt them down. Maps and a summary of the people, places and events from The Last Hours ensured I was able to step straight into the story. Minette Walters has the most beautiful voice, my soul became at one with the words. I sank so fully into the story that I was surprised at the end of each chapter when I suddenly came to and became aware of my surroundings. The time, the place are vibrantly alive, I could touch kindness, smell bitterness, taste fear. Please, please, please let there be more! The Turn of Midnight is a powerful, gripping read, and yes I am gushing most effusively over it, that’s because it really is rather wonderful and I highly recommend buying yourself a copy.
'Wonderful and sweeping, with a fabulous sense of place and history.' Kate Mosse on The Last HoursAs the year 1349 approaches, the Black Death continues its devastating course across England. In Dorseteshire, the quarantined people of Develish question whether they are the only survivors. Guided by their beloved young mistress, Lady Anne, they wait, knowing that when their dwindling stores are finally gone they will have no choice but to leave. But where will they find safety in the desolate wasteland outside? One man has the courage to find out. Thaddeus Thurkell, a free-thinking, educated serf, strikes out in search of supplies and news. A compelling leader, he and his companions quickly throw off the shackles of serfdom and set their minds to ensuring Develish's future - and freedom for its people.But what use is freedom that cannot be gained lawfully? When Lady Anne and Thaddeus conceive an audacious plan to secure her people's independence, neither foresees the life-threatening struggle over power, money and religion that follows...
For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning.Widowed by her husbands death from the pestilence, Lady Anne assumes control of his peoples future200 bonded serfs without rights of ownership to land. Strong, compassionate and resourcefulqualities she kept hidden from the husband she loathed and despisedLady Anne chooses a bastard slave, Thaddeus Thurkell, to act as her steward. Together, they decide to quarantine Develish by bringing the serfs inside a defendable moat and sharing the available food amongst all. With this sudden overturning of the accepted social order, where serfs exist only to serve their lords, conflict arises when theyre given a voice. Ignorant of what is happening in the world outside, they wrestle with themselves, with God and the terrible uncertainty of their futures. They fear starvation when their food runs out but they fear the pestilence more. Who amongst them has the courage to leave the safety of the demesne in search of supplies and news? And how safe is anyone in Develish when an unexplained murder threatens the uneasy status quo?In The Last Hours Minette Walters brings all her trademark intelligence to a totally new timeframecreating a vivid and powerful drama through compelling characters whose journey readers will be drawn to. The Last Hours is an exciting new direction from an established best-selling author and Minette is currently writing the sequel.
November 2017 Book of the Month A scorching and beautifully written epic tale set in 1348, a time that sends a jagged screech of fingernails down the blackboard of history. Step away from the present into the midst of the Black Death, to overwhelming fear and confusion. The moated centre of one estate in Dorset appears to offer sanctuary, yet the treacherous play of human emotions wreaks havoc. I am a fan of Minette Walters, she has the ability to look behind and beyond the obvious, and she is eminently suited to this new genre. A lot of characters are introduced, yet there is no confusion, each was clear in my mind, known to me and vibrantly alive. The descriptions took me directly through the words and into this compelling story. ‘The Last Hours’ is the first of two novels, it quickly puts down roots and takes hold, ensuring a gripping, striking and remarkably readable tale. Liz Robinson
Set in the bleak environments of London's homeless community, The Echo is the mystery thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. It was the smell that Mrs Powell noticed first. Slightly sweet. Slightly unpleasant . . . It shocked her badly to find a dead man in the corner, his head slumped on his knees. Who was Billy Blake, other than a homeless alcoholic who wandered the streets? Why was he found dead from starvation in one of the richest areas of one of the richest capitals in the world? And why did he die alone in the garage of wealthy architect Amanda Powell - a woman whose wealth can only be explained if her husband is dead . . .?
A brutal crime with three suspects, The Breaker is the mystery thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. When she revisited, always with astonishment, what had happened to her, it was the deliberate breaking of her fingers that remained indelibly printed on her memory . . . Twelve hours after a woman's broken body is washed up on a deserted shore, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away wandering the streets of Poole. But why was Kate killed and her daughter, a witness, allowed to live? And why weren't they together? More curiously, why had Kate willingly boarded a boat when she had a terror of drowning at sea? Police suspicion centres on both a young actor, whose sailing boat is moored just yards from where the toddler is found, and the murdered woman's husband. Was he really in Liverpool the night she died? And why does their daughter scream in terror every time he tries to pick her up?
Exposing the horrifying consequences when communities ignore the people who need them the most, The Shape of Snakes is the psychological mystery from crime queen Minette Walters. November 1978. Britain is on strike. The dead lie unburied, rubbish piles in the streets - and somewhere in West London a black woman dies in a rain-soaked gutter. Her passing would have gone unmourned but for the young woman who finds her and who believes - apparently against reason - that Annie was murdered. But whatever the truth about Annie - whether she was as mad as her neighbours claimed, whether she lived in squalor as the police said - something passed between her and Mrs Ranelagh in the moment of death which binds this one woman to her cause for the next twenty years. But why is Mrs Ranelagh so convinced it was murder when by her own account Annie died without speaking? And why would any woman spend twenty painstaking years uncovering the truth - unless her reasons are personal . . . ?
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award, The Dark Room is the psychological thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. Something else had happened . . . Something so terrible that she was too frightened to search her memory for it . . . The newspapers reported the case with relish. Jane (Jinx) Kingsley, fashion photographer and heiress, tries to kill herself after being unceremoniously jilted by her fiance, who has since disappeared - together with Jinx's best friend Meg Harris . . . But when Jinx wakes from her coma, she can remember nothing about her alleged suicide attempt. With the help of Dr Alan Protheroe of the Nightingale Clinic, she slowly begins to piece together the fragments of the last few weeks. Then the memories begin to surface . . . memories of utter desperation and absolute terror.
Winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best crime novel, The Sculptress is the mystery thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. It was a slaughterhouse, the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed . . . Olive Martin is a dangerous woman. I advise you to be extremely wary in your dealings with her. The facts of the case were simple: Olive Martin had pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering her sister and mother, earning herself the chilling nickname 'The Sculptress'. This much journalist Rosalind Leigh knew before her first meeting with Olive, currently serving a life sentence. How could Roz have foreseen that the encounter was destined to change her life - for ever?
Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year, The Scold's Bridle is the mystery thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. I wonder if I should keep these diaries under lock and key. Jenny Spede has disturbed them again . . . What does she make, I wonder, of an old woman, deformed by arthritis, stripping naked for a young man? The pills worry me more. Ten is such a round number to be missing . . . Mathilda Gillespie's body was found nearly two days after she had taken an overdose and slashed her wrists with a Stanley knife. But what shocked Dr Sarah Blakeney the most was the scold's bridle obscuring the dead woman's face, a metal contraption grotesquely adorned with a garland of nettles and Michaelmas daisies. What happened at Cedar House in the tortured hours before Mathilda's death? The police assume that the coroner will return a verdict of suicide. Only Dr Blakeney, it seems, doubts the verdict. Until it is discovered that Mathilda's diaries have disappeared . . .
Winner of the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Award for best first novel, The Ice House is the mystery thriller from crime queen Minette Walters. It was evident, if there were no other entrance to the ice house, that the body had at some point traversed this thorny barrier . . . The big question was, how long ago? How long had that nightmare been there? The people of Streech village had never trusted the three women living up at the Grange - not since Phoebe Maybury's husband suddenly, inexplicably, vanished. Ten years later a corpse is discovered in the grounds and Phoebe's nightmare begins. For once they have identified the body the police are determined to charge her with murder . . .
The newspaper reported the case with relish. Jane (Jinx) Kingsley, fashion photographer and heiress, tried to kill herself after being unceremoniously jilted by her fiance, Leo Wallader. Leo has disappearedtogether with Jinx's best friend Meg Harris. But when she wakes from her coma, Jinx can remember nothing about her alleged suicide attempt. Nevertheless, Jinx is convinced that she would never try to kill herself over Leo. Surely it was she who wanted to break the engagement.When the help of Dr. Alan Protheroe of the Nightingale Clinic, Jinx slowly begins to unlock her nightmares and piece together the fragments of the last few weeks. The truth about what happened to her lies deep within her mind. But what other terrifying memories is she about to disturb?