#Blogtour The Medici Murders by David Hewson

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Medici Murders by David Hewson.

About the Author

David Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, Sunday Times and Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels, including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages, and his Amsterdam-based series featuring detective Pieter Vos. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent. Follow @david_hewson on Twitter, Visit davidhewson.com

About the book

Venice is a city full of secrets. For hundreds of years it has been the scene of scandal, intrigue and murderous rivalries. And it remains so today. 1548, Lorenzino de Medici, himself a murderer and a man few will miss, is assassinated by two hired killers.

Today, Marmaduke Godolphin, British TV historian and a man even fewer will miss, is stabbed by a stiletto blade on the exact same spot, his body dropping into the canal.

Can the story of the first murder explain the attack on Godolphin? The Carabinieri certainly think so. They recruit retired archivist Arnold Clover to unpick the mystery and to help solve the case. But the conspiracy against Godolphin runs deeper than anyone imagined.


When the reader starts this journey into the investigation or clarification of the death of Marmaduke Godolphin, it seems to be an almost normal thing thing for Capitano Fabbri to ask for help from someone who knew him – knew of him. Is it though? In what way could a simple archivist possibly contribute to unravelling the mystery surrounding the demise of Godolphin, unless of course there really is a connection between a assassination of a de Medici committed many centuries ago.

Towards the end I felt as if Capitano Valentina Fabbri was perhaps from the very beginning of the story an instinctive and astute Columbo, but with an element of compassion where the law should supersede the emotional context of the scenario or crime.

Only a small side note: Valentina should have laughed not giggled, it’s not in keeping with her character. The assertive, confident person insistent on being viewed as without the usual stereotypical traits society deems womanly and in equal measures as a sign of weakness in comparison to men – she would have laughed.

I enjoyed the way past, present and the surroundings soaked in centuries of both told and untold history are woven into the fabric of the story, thereby elevating the characters just ever so slightly from their imposing background drop and the baggage that walks along with them.

It reminded me in some ways of Dibdin mastery, who also had this talent for enhancing story and character with art and history. I’d be interested in seeing whether Valentina, Arnold and hopefully Luca, will continue to enthral us with tales of mystery, vengeance and the fragility of human nature.

Buy The Medici Murders at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Canongate books;  Publication date: 4th May 2023 – Paperback £9.99 – eBook £4.79. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour His Fatal Legacy by Heather Atkinson

It’s my turn on the Blogtour His Fatal Legacy by Heather Atkinson.

About the Author

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre.  Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland.  Her gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with the title Blood Brothers. Follow @HeatherAtkinso1 on Twitter, @heathercrimeauthor on Instagram, Sign up to her newsletter here

About the book

Edinburgh 1896 – Amy Alardyce’s once-perfect life is in tatters. Her eldest son, Robert, has come of age, become the master of his own home, and married his childhood love Jane.  But with maturity has come a terrible legacy, and the dark desires Robert inherited from his evil father Matthew, are fighting to get loose.

Whilst Jane is working hard to get her and Robert accepted into fashionable society, poor women are being hunted on the streets of Edinburgh, and Amy fears her son is to blame.  And once the infamous Inspector Murphy takes up the case, Amy has to face a stark choice – denounce her son as a monster or risk her own safety to protect him from the consequences of his lethal actions.


This is the third book in the Alardyce Series and can be read as a standalone, although I would recommend reading the first two to get the gist and the the history of the family. How we got to the point that Amy has a grown son suspected of being the worst kind of criminal.

The story actually brings some core questions to the table, the kind that apply to any family and any period in time. Does the love of a mother override any crime or heinous action their child may commit? Is it possible to draw a line in the sand when it comes to emotions and the bond between mother and child, especially when a grown child could potentially be a bad influence or a danger to their siblings. Is the possibility of becoming outcasts in society a factor that makes the decision easier or harder.

The most poignant storyline, that is woven through into this book from the prior books in the series, is the whether evil is nature vs nurture, ergo passed along like a short leg, wonky eye or more a case of learning by seeing. Can Amy make the right choices for herself, her family, and even Robert?

It could have done with a little more depth when it came to characters and relationships, saying that the series is more of a cosy historical crime series and it’s about disappearing into the streets of Edinburgh for a while and enjoying the read.

Buy His Fatal Legacy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Boldwood Books pub date 20 Mar. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour A Dark Steel Death by Chris Nickson

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Dark Steel Death by Chris Nickson.

About the Author

Chris Nickson is the author of nine previous Tom Harper mysteries, seven highly acclaimed novels in the Richard Nottingham series, and four Simon Westow mysteries. He is also a well-known music journalist. He lives in his beloved Leeds. Follow @ChrisNickson2 on Twitter

About the book

Tom Harper must catch a traitor intent on disrupting the war effort and bringing terror to the streets of Leeds in this page-turning mystery. Leeds. December 1916. Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper is called out in the middle of the night when a huge explosion rips through a munitions factory supplying war materials, leaving death and destruction in its wake. A month later, matches and paper to start a fire are found in an army clothing depot. It’s a chilling discovery: there’s a saboteur running loose on the streets of Leeds.

As so many give their lives in the trenches, Harper and his men are working harder than ever – and their investigation takes a dark twist with two shootings, at the local steelworks and a hospital. With his back against the wall and the war effort at stake, Harper can’t afford to fail. But can he catch the traitor intent on bringing terror to Leeds?


I remember reading a crime novel set in Germany or Austria, either pre/post or during wartime and thinking – why would I think crime and murder stops just because of war. The truth is the chaos and desperation of war creates the perfect scenario for certain depraved minds. The situation lends itself to situations where one would rather remain invisible.

It makes Harper’s task all the more difficult. Try finding a needle in a haystack in the midst of WW1 at home with a city full of people doing their bit for the war effort – including his young daughter. It was interesting to read about the lack of compassion for men who were reluctant to fight, and of course at the time mental health and PTSD were considered weaknesses and a way to get out of the duty expected of them.

Harper and his team are tasked with trying to find a killer, a traitor intent on causing as much damage as possible. Someone who has no regard for the innocent people they kill, as long as the end justifies the means.

It’s a good read that has a vibe of historical war fiction, crime, mystery and simultaneously it also has the emotional depth of a wartime story. Normal people with normal problems, who have to deal with them, whilst dealing with the trauma of war.

Buy A Dark Steel Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Severn House pub date 6 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com

#Review The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

‘The Christie Affair is a stunning novel which reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 that captivated the world.’

About the Author

Nina de Gramont lives with her husband and daughter in coastal North Carolina, where she teaches Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her interest in writing about Agatha Christie began in 2015 when she first learned about the famous author’s eleven-day disappearance. Christie’s refusal to ever speak about this episode particularly intrigued Nina, who loves the fact that someone who unravelled mysteries for a living managed to keep her own intact. The Christie Affair is her fourth novel.

Follow @NinadeGramont on Twitter, Visit ninadegramont.com

About the book

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance. I’m no Hercule Poirot. I’m her husband’s mistress. – Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy. After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to.


Nan is a character everyone will love to hate, but they should perhaps admire her with equal passion. She envelopes the entirety of this plot in her web and consumes everyone in her path, she is also a wonderful narrator I might add. She has set her sights on Agatha’s husband, the life she lives and perhaps even more.

When Agatha, yes the Agatha Christie, disappears in the aftermath of some emotional turmoil, the entire country is searching for her. Is she missing, dead or has she been kidnapped? Has the treacherous husband got something to do with it or Nan perhaps?

What is Nan up to in the background, does she have access to information we aren’t privy to? It’s an excellently spun web of lies, desires, memories and ultimately one of secrets and hidden truths.

My only complaint about this book is that it is fiction. That it is a story born from the mind of a creative just based on the factual event – the eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in the 1920s. Part of me wishes it actually happened, it’s a great scenario and well executed.

It’s also nice wee homage to the Queen of Mystery Crime, although she may not have been amused by the drama of her life becoming the scene of a mystery and a crime, however I think readers will certainly appreciate the irony.

Buy The Christie Affair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Mantle pub date 20 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at WaterstonesAt Pan MacMillan.

#BlogTour The Heretic’s Mark by S.W. Perry

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the fourth book in the Jackdaw Mystery series – The Heretic’s Mark by S.W. Perry.

About the Author

S.W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. His debut novel, The Angel’s Mark was listed for the CWA Historical dagger and was a Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended Read 201. he lives in Worcestershire with his wife. 

Follow @swperry_history  on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit swperry.co.uk

About the book

The Elizabethan world is in flux. Radical new ideas are challenging the old. But the quest for knowledge can lead down dangerous paths…

London, 1594. The Queen’s physician has been executed for treason, and conspiracy theories flood the streets. When Nicholas Shelby, unorthodox physician and unwilling associate of spymaster Robert Cecil is accused of being part of the plot, he and his new wife Bianca must flee for their lives.

With agents of the Crown on their tail, they make for Padua, following the ancient pilgrimage route, the Via Francigena. But the pursuing, English aren’t the only threat Nicholas and Bianca face. Hella, a strange and fervently religious young woman, has joined them on their journey. When the trio finally reach relative safety, they become embroiled in a radical and dangerous scheme to shatter the old world’s limits of knowledge. But Hella’s dire predictions of an impending apocalypse, and the brutal murder of a friend of Bianca’s forces them to wonder: who is this troublingly pious woman? And what does she want?


This story reminds us, the readers, how far Shelby has come over the years. From a devastated man consumed by grief to an incidental chess piece in the contentious political landscape of Elizabethan England.

This time he has become the target of a deadly campaign of vengeance, one that can end with his painful death and his loved ones in the same dangerous position. His reluctant kinda benefactor and spymaster Cecil suggests he leave the city post haste, which is where the story veers in a different direction altogether. 

On the run with his new wife Bianca they are joined by a young woman called Hella who straddles the veil. Her predictions rattle the science based thinking of the medical man and put them in more danger than the situation they left behind in England.

I think if you know your history – not that you have to to enjoy this fantastic historical crime fiction, then you appreciate the way the fiction is woven in with the historical facts. Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a favourite of Elizabeth I and the stepson of her reported paramour, Robert Dudley. The second Earl of Essex was quick to use his import and influence at court to rid himself of opposition or perhaps in regards to his own violent fate – to weaken the position of the queen.

This plot, with Shelby as the innocent man accused, links into the actual facts of the tragic fate of Dr Roderigo Lopez, the queen’s physician. A victim of malice and deceit. One of many who fell foul of the machinations and the political aspirations of a man on his own path towards self-destruction.

Perry is on par with the likes of Sansom, however I have to give him his dues, he has established himself as an equal and has become the author others will be and are compared to. The Jackdaw series is an exceptionally good read and is getting better with each book. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this author and the series.

Buy The Heretic’s Mark at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Corvus; pub date 1 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Bookshop org.

#BlogTour To The Dark by Chris Nickson

It’s the last day and my turn on the Blogtour To The Dark by Chris Nickson.

About the Author

Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’

Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.

Follow @ChrisNickson2 on Twitteron Amazonon Goodreads, Visit chrisnickson.co.ukBuy To The Dark

About the book

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can. (less)


This is the third book in the Simon Westlow Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone novel.

I’m not sure I had read the term thief-taker before, a private individual who captures criminals. I wonder what Sherlock would have thought at being called something so common, merely a thief-taker and not a sleuth, which is what Simon and his team are.

A local thief is found dead, in his possession a notebook with the mysterious words ‘to the dark’ written within, which means nothing to them. Simon has crossed paths with him before in his endeavours to retrieve stolen goods and is determined to solve this crime.

This author has a particular eye for detail when it comes to describing early 19th century Leeds. This enhances the feel of the historical read, because the atmosphere goes hand in hand with the well-developed characters. I think the strength lies within the way the crimes take an almost secondary place to the characters and their relationships, which is a different way of going about it.

It’s a nineteenth century urban crime mystery – a modern crime in an old-fashioned era with a flair of the unknown woven throughout. A series with plenty of potential.

Buy To The Dark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Severn House Publishers; pub date 1 Feb. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

#BlogTour The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry

‘A gripping historical novel of medicine & murder from bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman, set in nineteenth-century Edinburgh.’

The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry is historical crime fiction that blends fact and fiction perfectly to create a compelling read.

About the Author/s
Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels, including Black Widow, winner of both the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.

Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years’ experience, whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this novel was based. The Way of All Flesh is the first book in the series, The Art of Dying is the second in this historical crime series.

Follow @ambroseparry on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Art of Dying

About the book
Edinburgh, 1849. Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a campaign seeks to paint Dr James Simpson, pioneer of medical chloroform, as a murderer. Determined to clear Simpson’s name, his protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher must plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets and find out who or what is behind the deaths. Soon they discover that the cause of the deaths has evaded detection purely because it is so unthinkable.

This is the second book featuring Sarah Fisher and Will Raven. If you haven’t read The Way of All Flesh I highly recommend it, however it is worth noting that both books can be read as standalone novels.

A few years have passed since Raven and Fisher solved their first crimes and went their separate ways. For some reason Raven seems to think swanning off to embark on a prestigious path of education for quite some time made time come to a complete standstill where Sarah is concerned. I truly believe he expected to find her still working as a housemaid for Dr Simpson.

Not that it isn’t an assumption that wouldn’t usually be true of a young woman in that era, however he seems to have forgotten just how ambitious Sarah is. In a way Raven is also guilty of adhering to the patriarchal systems and automatically presuming Sarah will not advance in her own endeavours to educate herself and become part of the medical establishment.

Sarah the housemaid is now Sarah the respectable wife of a man who supports her ambitions and thirst for knowledge. The fact Sarah isn’t found pining and waiting awakens Raven to his feelings for her.

This time the two of them are caught up in a malicious campaign to ruin the career of a man they both respect. Little do they know that behind all the whispers something and someone more nefarious lurks.

It’s historical crime fiction that blends fact and fiction perfectly to create a compelling read. Parry is right up there with Sansom and Perry, although I would argue that Parry focuses on medical crime of the time period and is less inclined to pull pure political machinations into the plot.

The series is entertaining and riveting, and at times also an intriguing learning experience, which is the best kind of historical fiction.

Buy The Art of Dying at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Canongate Books; pub date 29 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.co.uk. Bookshop org. Waterstones.

Read my review of The Way of All FleshBuy The Way of All Flesh

#BlogTour Tutankhamun and Nefertiti by Nick Drake

It’s my second turn on this two book BlogTour Nefertiti and Tutankhamun by Nick Drake. I reviewed Nefertiti a few days ago and am reviewing Tutankhamun today.

About the Author
Nick Drake was born in 1961. He is an award-winning poet and screenwriter. He is also Literary Associate at the National Theatre.

Follow @nickfdrake on Twitter,on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit nickfdrake.comBuy Tutankhamun

About the book
A king in danger. A battle to stay alive. – On the shadowy city streets the cryptically mutilated bodies of several young people are discovered. These brutal acts are destabilizing a ruthless regime already unstable thanks to corruption and the appalling divide between rich and poor.

Meanwhile, Tutankhamun, at 18, has inherited an empire that should be at the height of power and glory. But he faces only a Court full of conspiracies and plotting, and a bitter struggle for power.

And when his own security is threatened by an intruder in the palace, he needs an outsider he can trust to track down the traitor. Rahotep receives a mysterious invitation to the labyrinthine halls of the Royal Palace.

But what he discovers at the dark heart of power will put his life, and his family, in grave danger. .

The story of Tutankhamun, the young king and his short reign, is one filled with many mysteries, myths and questions. The author takes all of these things and turns this fascinating chapter of ancient Egypt into a mystery featuring a member of that civilisations idea of a detective – a part of  the Thebes Medjay division.

Rahotep is called to solve the murder of a dead boy a boy who bears certain similarities to their young king, which could just be a coincidence, and the majority of those are based on rumours.

He quickly becomes drawn once again into the dirty politics of those who have power and want to rule, and are willing to do anything to maintain their status. The powerful who plot to deceive, kill and threaten. They steal, betray and lie without blinking an eye – all for greed and a firm grip on a country ripped apart and driven by the uncertainty the previous ruler caused.

That scene with Amenmose in the last few chapters – the pot – it was gripping, and also what makes Rahotep finally comprehend that his choice between mystery and family can and will have repercussions for himself and his loved ones. There is only so many times you can work against and stand up to the most powerful men in the kingdom and not expect some kind of blowback.

Having recently read the previous book in this series, Nefertiti, I think this one shows a honing of craft and how Drake has made his world-building, dialogues and plotting much stronger. I also think the possible theories drawn from factual history, theories by historians and his own fictional story make absolute sense out of the many mysteries surrounding the young king. It’s a gripping historical crime read.

Buy Tutankhamun at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Transworld Digital; pub date 18 Jan. 2011. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Nefertiti by Nick Drake.

#BlogTour Nefertiti and Tutankhamun by Nick Drake

It’s my turn on this two book BlogTour Nefertiti and Tutankhamun by Nick Drake. I am starting with Nefertiti today and will be posting my review for Tutankhamun in a few days.

About the Author

Nick Drake was born in 1961. He is an award-winning poet and screenwriter. He is also Literary Associate at the National Theatre.

Follow @nickfdrake on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit nickfdrake.comBuy Nefertiti

About the book

A Missing Queen. A Dark Game of Power.

With her husband, Akhenaten, Nefertiti – the most powerful, charismatic and beautiful Queen of the ancient world – rules over an Empire at the peak of its glory and domination.

Together, they have built a magnificent new city in the desert on the banks of the Nile and are about to host kings, dignitaries and leaders from around the Empire for a vast festival to celebrate their triumph. – But suddenly, Nefertiti vanishes.

Rahotep – the youngest chief detective of the Thebes division- can see patterns where others cannot. His unusual talents earn him a summons to the royal court.

With ten days to find the Queen and return her in time for the festival, Rahotep knows that success will bring glory – but if he fails, he and his young family will die…


I wonder how long it takes Rahotep to realise that the reason he is chosen is more a question of – if your assignment goes pear-shaped then it will be the end of the youngest chief detective of the Thebes division and his beloved family or because he has an talent for seeing what others don’t. He has no idea he will be drawn into a mystery about the most powerful woman in the kingdom.

He has a clock ticking over him like a bomb waiting to go off if he doesn’t manage to find Nefertiti within a certain timeframe. Will it be enough time to discern between deception, fear of discovery and just plain old haughty arrogance.

I was intrigued by the parallels between other power couples in history or perhaps just autocrats, who decide to reinvent the wheel of religion, politics and power – of course it’s always in a way that benefits themselves. The way it can turn the tide of populations or bring them together as one mechanism and tool.

Admittedly the first thing I did was read up on Nefertiti. Obviously she tends to be known for being a beauty first and a strong woman who left her mark on Egyptian history second, but I was unaware of the fact that there is also quite some mystery surrounding her. Drake has taken inspiration from various theories by historians about the powerful queen and created a compelling mystery thriller set in the world of ancient Egypt.

Rahotep is a bit like Sansom’s Shardlake, but with more reverence for the dangers of the times he lives in and the rules of whomever is in power at the time. As in most societies ruled by one person every day can be like walking on eggshells when the people around you are waiting to say or do the wrong thing.

If just one thing becomes clear in this story it’s the fact that you can’t trust anyone in ancient Egypt.

Buy Nefertiti at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Transworld Digital; pub date 18 Jan. 2011. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Saracen’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Saracen’s Mark by S.W.Perry.

About the Author

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. His debut novel, The Angel’s Mark, was listed for the CWA Historical Dagger and was a Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended Read 2019. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

Follow @swperry_history @CorvusBooks on Twitter #TheSaracensMark, on Goodreadson Amazon, swperry.co.ukBuy The Saracen’s Mark

About the book

The third instalment of The Jackdaw Mysteries. A tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London and dazzling Marrakesh.

Betrayal has many guises…

London, 1593: Five years on from the Armada and England is taking its first faltering steps towards a future as a global power. Nicholas Shelby – reluctant spy and maverick physician – and his companion Bianca Merton are settling into a life on Bankside. But in London there is always a plot afoot…

Robert Cecil, the Queen’s spymaster, once again recruits Nicholas to embark on a dangerous undercover mission that will take him to the back alleys of Marrakech in search of a missing informer. However, while Nicholas hunts for the truth across the seas, plague returns once more to London – ravaging the streets and threatening those dearest to him.

Can Bianca and Nicholas’ budding relationship weather the threats of pestilence and conspiracy? And will Nicholas survive the dangers of his mission in a hostile city to return safely home?


This is the third book in the Jackdaw Mysteries series, all of which can be read as standalone novels, however I highly recommend reading The Angel’s Mark and The Serpent’s Mark because they are both cracking reads. If you enjoy Sansom’s Shardlake and historical crime fiction then Perry is an excellent choice.

Once again Nicholas Shelby is at the beck and call of Robert Cecil, the notorious spymaster of Elizabeth I. He is driven from his bed in the middle of the night by soldiers, which has his landlady and neighbours doubting his loyalty to the Crown. Robert Cecil does enjoy keeping his minions on their toes.

Cecil wants Shelby to travel to Morocco to learn about the healing and advances in the medical field from fellow physicians. The Muslim physicians hold the secrets of Eastern healing, which combined with Western science could open up a world of different healing. Sounds convincing, right? Yeh, we all know Cecil better than that. In reality he wants Shelby to help find a master spy who disappeared in Marrakech.

It’s a spectacular historical crime read, which I have come to expect from this author.

This time Shelby and Bianca Merton get equal opportunity to shine at detecting, which gives them both greater depth as characters. Perry uses historical facts to drive the crime fiction forward. As a reader you become so immersed in the time period and surroundings that it is easy to forget where you are, which of course is the sign of a great writer. Pulls you in and refuses to let you go.

Although Perry is already receiving plenty of accolades for his work I am certain he is just getting started.

Buy The Saracen’s Mark on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Corvus; pub date 2 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of The Serpent’s Mark and The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry.