WAR? DEATH AND DESTRUCTION? VIOLENCE, HATRED, INEXPRESSIBLE GRIEF? PEOPLES PITTED AGAINST EACH OTHER, TO THE DEATH? WHY ON EARTH SHOULD I WANT TO READ ABOUT IT? THERE’S ENOUGH IN THE MEDIA EVERY DAY, SURELY? YES: BUT THIS IS DIFFERENT. The stories in this Anthology aim to give a vivid insight, through a fascinating mixture of history, reminiscence and fiction, into life during WWII: for those at the front, those left behind, the young at school, the old in the twilight of their years, parents, lovers, spouses, families, colleagues; Britons, Germans, Irish, Kenyans, French, eastern Europeans and Americans (plus the odd ‘undesirable alien’!). These pages see householders struggling to maintain a semblance of normality; young men reluctant to volunteer; soldiers determined to win; acts of generosity, acts of cowardice. In these pages, there is violence – impossible to avoid in an Anthology dedicated to the memory of war – but there is also humour and romance, suspense and emotion, heroism and daring. Even the paranormal puts in an appearance (as one might say). The action is set variously in France, Britain, Eire, Kenya, Russia, Poland ... You are guaranteed hours of stimulation, enjoyment and fruitful relaxation with a book devoted to one of the defining events of our times. STARE INTO THE PAST WITH THE EYES OF THOSE GRIPPED BY ITS DRAMA. All the stories have been especially written for this Anthology by writers experienced in their field. Pneuma Springs is proud to present it to commemorate seventy years after the end of hostilities. Contributors: Karl Brockmann, Annie Coyle Martin, Julius Falconer, Peter Good, Neal James Andrew Malloy, Steve Morris, Neil Morton, Ron Ooms, Chris Pownall, Derek Rosser, Avril Saunders, Derek Smith, Louise Wilkinson Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
It is the summer of 1728, and we are in the village of Sherburn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, with its handsome church, boys’ grammar-school, ancient tavern and tranquil rural population. Below the church lies the site of the palace of the kings of Elmete. Nearby, across the common and past the woods, are the grand houses of commissioner of the peace Squire Hawley at Scarthingwell Hall and magistrate Sir Ralph Gascoigne at Parlington Hall. An apparent conspiracy to re-establish the sixth-century Ancient British kingdom of Elmete has worrying, and sometimes hilarious, consequences for the hapless vicar, whose meagre detective skills are stretched to their limit. Both the squire and Sir Ralph are only too happy to leave it all to the vicar – until, that is, the vicar is arrested for gun-smuggling and the squire disappears. It then transpires, however, that the conspiracy is merely camouflage for a more interesting crime altogether … This neat tale both faithfully recreates the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and offers the modern reader rare entertainment. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
The wealthy and reclusive Harry Quirke, misanthropist and student of the piano works of Alkan, is stabbed to death in his country house outside Tadcaster. Only one of the obvious suspects seems to have much of a motive: his alibi is shaky, it is true, but there is no proof of his involvement. DI Moat and his assistant DS Stockwell follow one false lead after another in an exasperating investigation that seems to be getting nowhere: a gypsy caravan, an old murder in Kansas, the hurried will of a dying man, a golf-course green and an unfinished catalogue of Alkan’s works – none of it seems to make sense. Finally, the murderer makes the smallest of slips, and the penny drops - but it’s a close thing! Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
Fancy a bit of political theory mixed up with your murder? a group of Danish students with daring plans for a new world order? a scam involving some missing music scores? wolf-ravens in Scandinavian folklore? Then this is the book for you! Inspector Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt are invited to take on the investigation into the murder of a woman in the St John’s Wood area of London. The metropolitan police have arrested her husband, and, although he vigorously protests his innocence, Wickfield, like his colleagues before him, finds it difficult to believe him. The investigation takes a different turn when the inhabitants of a sleepy manor-house in Gloucestershire are outraged by the appearance of a dog’s head and a dead rook mounted on a spike in their drive. Follow the inspector in an intricate and baffling investigation in which only a brainwave saves his reputation. Allow the narrator to lead you by the hand (or possibly by the nose) until, it may be, the light dawns on you before it dawns on the inspector. Gracious English, dry wit, learned asides, well-researched background – all the Falconer hallmarks are here. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
While renovating the derelict twelfth-century chapel attached to their new house in rural Worcestershire in 1972, Grace and Benjamin Hothersall uncover three skeletons, which have clearly been the victims of murder. When news of this reaches the newspapers, a series of anonymous letters and telephone-calls begins at the Hothersall residence. Clearly the murders are of not just historical interest, since someone very much alive seems determined to prevent further disclosures. Inspector Wickfield finds himself involved in a complex and baffling investigation, which embraces local witchcraft, a student of the cabala, abduction, a boy’s curse, a hidden will, a stranger in Cornwall, death in a railway carriage – and a Latin textbook of 1563! It nearly proves too much for him, but light dawns eventually and leads to a tense trial which brings the case to a close. The narrative almost fails to see the light of day, because the inspector objects to its style and instructs Mr Falconer to destroy the typescript. Fortunately for us, Mr Falconer has more sense than the inspector. As always, the reader is given as much information as the detectives and is challenged to spot the crucial clue in the labyrinth, as Wickfield must. Julius Falconer’s sure touch ensures another page-turner for the discerning reader, in which intelligent stimulation vies with sheer entertainment for pride of place. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
On the night of a blizzard in January 1963, an elderly couple who live in a tiny Worcestershire village are summoned to their daughter’s cottage two and a half miles away at Longdon, on urgent but unspecified business. When eventually they reach their daughter’s cottage, exhausted and worried, they find it warm but empty. Unable to face the journey back home that night, they prepare a simple meal for themselves preparatory to retiring to bed in their daughter’s cottage. The following morning, the concerned neighbours find the couple still sitting at table, poisoned by a bottle of contaminated wine. A student is found to have been killed by the same rare poison in his London bed-sit within days of the Longdon murders. Coincidence? Surely not! Inspector Wickfield is appointed to find out. His inquiry is hampered by the repeated appearance of the deceased couple’s son who is a senior officer in the Canadian force. Weaving his way round red herrings and dead ends, Wickfield requires all his ingenuity, prompted by a random crossword clue, to uncover a devious and intricate plot instigated by a determined criminal. Julius Falconer can be relied on to provide stimulating and thought-provoking entertainment for a cosy night by the fire – but sharpen your wits first. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
One February evening in the year 1968, Fr Wilfred, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic church in Droitwich, tumbles out of his confessional, stabbed to death. His older sister demands the best detective in the force, and Stan Wickfield is appointed to the case. Unfortunately he cannot identify either the means or the motive of the murder, much less the perpetrator. His investigation leads him through the highways and byways of tensions in the Catholic Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and brings him face to face with anti-Catholic sentiment in the local population. His suspects include an eccentric and learned septuagenarian spinster who quotes d’Azeglio every time they meet, a school technician rejected for the priesthood because of his sexuality, the custodian of Kenilworth Castle and a bookmaker with a taste for anti-papal sentiment. Motives for the priest’s death waver confusingly between contempt for his office, disapproval of a teenage indiscretion, personal hatred and suicide. Wickfield is at his wits’ end until his wife’s reading – a novella by Nicholas Montserrat – prods him towards a triumphant solution. The story comes to a dramatic climax in two sermons preached by the dead priest’s curate, Fr Gabriel. Julius Falconer never fails to write serious and stimulating stories with humour, a wealth of researched detail and subtle plots. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
It is August 1974. A respected teacher at a private girls’ school in rural Worcestershire, Adrian Carrick, physically attracted to one of the Sixth-Form leavers, discloses his feelings for her. Convinced that he has mishandled their final meeting, he writes her a letter of regret and then kills himself by leaping over the edge of a quarry. The coroner’s verdict is suicide while the balance of his mind is disturbed. Not all is as it appears, however, and Inspector Wickfield is called in to take a look. His investigation leads him to Venice, where Carrick seemingly led a double life as the owner of an art gallery which acted as a base for international crime, to St.Gallen and Bologna, to Hereford and Birmingham, to Pershore and the suburbs of Worcester, without significant success. A second murder adds increasing urgency to the case. Interleaved in the investigation are the members of Mr Carrick’s philosophy class, in particular the girl who had caught Carrick’s eye. The case is solved through two startling pieces of intuition, which confirm the inspector’s place at the top of his profession and his wife, Beth, as his steady muse. In Mr Carrick is Laid to Rest, Julius Falconer has again provided the discerning public with a tightly-woven, deft and thought-provoking novel in the best traditions of British detective fiction. It will defy your efforts to put it down, and Inspector Wickfield will take his place in the pantheon of greats. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
On the morning following the feast of St Giles, 1 September 1966, the Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Giles Wyndham-Brookes, is found slumped and lifeless in his study at Hartlebury Castle, his official residence. The doors and windows are securely locked from the inside, and on his desk is a fifteenth-century book (in Middle French and Gothic script) which he could not read. He had seemingly tripped on an edge of carpet and hit his head on the fender; but there is a distinct whiff of murder in the air. The immediate suspects are the members of his household: his wife, the chaplain, the secretary, the housekeeper, his almoner and the archdeacon of Worcester. Others, including a woman found casting spells in the castle grounds, a young Italian lurking at night in the bishop’s chapel and a suggested unknown late-night visitor, appear in the course of the investigation. Inspector Wickfield and his sergeant embark on a roller-coaster tour of the Anglican Church in a search for motive and for a cunning killer. There are forays into Naples, relics, assassination, locked-room mysteries, the cult of the saints, wicca and blue moons. Follow the inspector if you dare – but hold on to your hats! In this latest offering from the pen of the adept Julius Falconer, you will be instructed, entertained and intrigued in equal measure. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
From the top of the stairs, a little girl of five overhears an argument in the sitting-room below, between her father and a late-night visitor. Frightened and uncertain she dared not descend the staircase but sat trembling at the top, unable to return to bed. Her father is killed. She did not see the killer and cannot remember clearly the content of the conversation, but she remembers the killer’s voice. Twenty years later she recognises the voice, identifies its owner and sets out to take her revenge. The first part of her plan succeeds, and her quarry goes to gaol for six months, but in putting into action the second part, she disappears. Her husband reports her missing, a search is instigated. The police authorities in Worcester believe that Inspector Wickfield is the best man for the job, but he seems to do nothing but stumble from one blind alley to another. His investigation leads him and his sergeant, Spooner, to interview a businessman in Spain, a dotty clergyman, a cashiered army major, a gushing hypnotherapist, a horsey countrywoman and a seedy cabinetmaker, in an attempt to unravel the sequence of events – oh, and there is an important interlude in Scotland - but enlightenment comes only when Wickfield’s wife cracks a philosophical joke. In this work of detective fiction, Julius Falconer delights his readers yet again with a deliciously teasing and ingenious plot, laced with comments on life, the universe and everything – and that, of course, includes revenge. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.