Historical Novels

“An Unlamented Death”: Adam Bascom 1

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When Dr. Adam Bascom trips over a body in Gressington churchyard, he never imagines it will change the whole direction of his life.

As a recently-qualified physician trying to establish a practice in a small market town in north Norfolk, Adam should be devoting all his energy to his business. But it soon becomes clear that the authorities are intent on making sure the death is accepted as an accident and refuse any deeper investigation. Adam’s curiosity and sense of justice cannot accept this. He knows there are many unanswered questions about the death, but he has no standing that would allow him to become involved formally. Instead, he uses friends, old and new, unexpected contacts and even his own mother to help him get to the truth.

Adam must thread his way through all of this, encountering many new demands along the way, from a family torn apart by religious bigotry, and a teenage thief turned informer, to a secret section of The Alien Office, a government department dedicated to keeping a close eye on anyone likely to prove a threat to the realm. As he becomes more and more essential to the government’s efforts to combat internal dissension and prepare for war, Adam finds he must draw on all his medical and personal skills to bring the case to a successful conclusion.

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“The Fabric of Murder”: Ashmole Foxe 1

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Mr. Ashmole Foxe is something of an enigma in 1760 Norwich. He claims to be a bookseller, yet his shop, which stands next to his fine city house, is rarely open for business.

He dresses in the most fashionable clothes, made from the finest materials. He is clearly a gentleman, well-educated and at ease in the company of peers and rich merchants, and his household includes a full complement of servants for a wealthy bachelor. Yet where his money comes from nobody knows.

How he spends his days is equally unclear. Every morning, he visits his favourite coffeehouse and walks in the city streets. After that, he is rarely seen. A few know that he finds time enough to enjoy the favours of the two Catt sisters, one a beautiful and popular actress in Norwich, the other the madam of the city’s most expensive and fashionable bordello. No one knows what he does for the rest of the time.

So why, when a leading cloth merchant in the city is found murdered and disaster threatens Norwich’s most important trade, do the mayor and aldermen turn at once to Mr. Foxe to solve the crime and rescue them from financial ruin?

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“The Code for Killing”: Adam Bascom 2

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When the book opens, several months have passed since Dr Adam Bascom was involved in solving a murder and he is becoming bored with the tedium of a country practice.

Then the mysterious Mr Wicken summons him to Norwich to treat a government cryptanalyst who has been assaulted and left with total memory loss. Other mysteries follow thick and fast. Someone murders a King’s Messenger and dumps his body in the River Wensum. Secret government papers go missing. A local miller appears to have been killed twice in quick succession!

Adam turns again to friends introduced in the previous book. The lecherous local apothecary, Peter Lassimer, takes temporary care of his neglected medical practice. The retired sea captain, Capt Mimms, is on hand to offer advice. His mother’s beautiful and unpredictable lady companion, Miss Sophia LaSalle, appoints herself his lieutenant. Helped and hindered by them in equal measure, Adam must disentangle a mass of intrigue and deception. Only then can he find the key which unlocks the code and explains the killings.

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“Dark Threads of Vengeance”: Ashmole Foxe 2

Book-Cover-4-Small Mr Ashmole Foxe, Georgian dandy, bookseller and occasional investigator, is way out of his depth. The mayor is demanding he find the murderer of a prominent merchant and banker before the city is crippled by financial panic; Alderman Halloran is hounding him over the theft of some favourite books; and his much-loved companions, the Catt sisters, have left Norwich, unlikely to return. 

Poor Foxe has no clues, few ideas and very little hope. Can he expose a killer before people lose their livelihoods? Can he find the thief and return the alderman’s books? Can he restore his reputation for high fashion and low morals? Unless he can produce a miracle, and soon, Mr Foxe’s future looks positively bleak …

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“A Shortcut to Murder”: Dr Adam Bascom 3

a-shortcut-to-murder-kindleAfter helping solve two murders, 18th-century Norfolk physician Dr Adam Bascom just wants to get back to his medical work. Fate, however, seems determined to keep him off-balance. His brother, Giles, is called upon as magistrate to investigate the death of Sir Jackman Wennard, rake, racehorse breeder and baronet. 

The man’s son insists his father died by falling from his horse in a hunting accident. The coroner’s medical examiner has other ideas. He says the baronet died from a single blow to the neck hard enough to snap his spine in two—a blow that came from the front. To Giles, Adam is the perfect choice to give a second opinion and resolve the disagreement.

Adam is soon convinced it was murder, so agrees to help his brother find the killer. This is going to be no easy task. For a start, the crime appears impossible. How could the blow be delivered with such force when the man was on the back of a large horse? How could the killer have known where and when to lie in wait? No one could have foreseen Sir Jackman’s movements on the morning of his death—not even the man himself. If some kind of trap was used, how did it kill so cleanly, then disappear within moments?

The unresolved questions keep piling up. Faced with an impossible crime, conflicting evidence and the hostility of the dead man’s son, Adam turns once more to his friends and contacts. Along the way, he faces growing emotional conflicts as well as factual ones. His mother is determined to find him a wife; he doesn’t want to marry; and he hasn’t yet come close to understanding his real feelings.

In the midst of these uncertainties, drama turns into crisis. Everything known about Sir Jackman Wennard and his family is thrown into confusion by an event from the man’s past. The Wennard family fragments, his son is reported kidnapped and the whole neighbourhood is suddenly plagued by a rash of highway robberies. As events plunge out-of-control towards the inevitable confrontation between past and present, can Adam pull his ideas together and move fast enough to prevent more lives being put at risk?

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