The Dead Queen’s Garden

The Dead Queen’s Garden, my latest novel, published by Robert Hale Publishers is now available. This is the third book in my Victorian series about Charlotte Richmond, a resourceful young widow who keeps stumbling over corpses and sets about finding out whodunit and why! Set at Christmas 1858 this one has a suitably festive flavour.

You can order online using the links on this page.

Story Outline

Young Victorian widow, Charlotte Richmond, has lately found herself tripping over the occasional corpse, but surely the festive season, beginning with a christening party, can’t present the same hazard? Oh yes it can…

There are some strange incidents and a death, apparently from natural causes, that leaves Charlotte puzzled and anxious over questions that seem to have no answers.

Over Christmas, however, she does manage to learn a surprising amount about medieval gardening, some unusual and unpleasant ailments, London property values, and how to conduct a rat-hunt. As if that isn’t enough, Charlotte encounters someone who may know far too much about her unorthodox upbringing in Australia, and Florence Nightingale keeps making an offer that she insists Charlotte can’t refuse.

To cap it all, Boxing Day finds the resourceful Charlotte in a garden dedicated to a long-dead queen, fighting for her life and armed only with what is possibly the least likely weapon ever.

What do other people think of it ?

Latest reviews of The Dead Queen’s Garden.

A real page turner!, 10 Feb 2014

Charlotte Richmond once again finds herself embroiled in mystery and murder. Her third adventure is breathtaking and the suspense lasts until the sad, albeit expected, ending. It also sees her wielding a very unusual weapon! Her fear that her past may be discovered continues to haunt her but she remains a real support to her family and there are appearances and references to friends met in her previous adventure. I look forward to her next adventure and wonder whether she may be persuaded into marriage again or whether she will choose another direction.

Reviewer: Catherine on Amazon.co.uk

In which Florence Nightingale and a wooden leg both play cameo roles, 27 Jan 2014

If you haven’t come across the rather unkindly-named "cosy crime" novels of Nicola Slade, then you’re missing a treat. Her novels are all set in Hampshire and feature two female sleuths. There’s Harriet Quigley whose contemporary adventures get her into some very tight spots even for a lively retired headmistress, her latest being, "A Crowded Coffin." But my favourite character of hers is Charlotte Richmond, a young nineteenth century widow with a dubious antipodean past and what another character remarks as her amazing capacity to "[attract] desperate characters and untimely accidents."

The Dead Queen’s Garden is the newest of Charlotte’s adventures. Known by those close to her as "Char", this time she becomes embroiled in strange goings on surrounding the aristocratic Granvilles and their ten-year-old cosseted son and heir, plus two visiting sisters and a snowy winter. Charlotte’s wits are severely tried and tested this time by a very-determined murderer, not to mention a deep sorrow of her own, and there are several untimely deaths before the mystery is satisfactorily solved.

Not only does the author know how to construct a page-turning plot, it is the way her light touch is grounded in a deep knowledge of history, nineteenth century literature, etiquette and costume that lift this series of novels above others. Only if you know a subject well, can you use it to your advantage. She is clearly a very well-read writer and expert in matters historical, whether local or further afield. Her novels may not dwell on the dark underbelly of the nineteenth century, but it is very much there for those who look more closely. However, no reader is ever far away from a chuckle even when a tear forms in the eye as it did mine towards the end of the novel. I am agog to know what Charlotte does next. I do know that the happiness she richly deserves will not be easily come by. I hope more adventures await her before she settles down and she may also be able to prove herself a match for the indomitable Florence Nightingale. She is too good a character to lose!

Reviewer: S. Zigmond (Yorkshire, England) on Amazon.co.uk

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