Historical Novels



When the corpse Dr Adam Bascom trips over in a country churchyard proves to be a senior clergyman, he expects a serious inquiry to follow. Instead, it looks as if the death is to be left unsolved.

Why did the authorities try to stop him raising questions? Why was the dead man’s family so uninterested and the church determined to look the other way? Adam won’t let this unlamented death be ignored. He may have no expertise and no personal stake in the matter, but he’s still determined to get to the bottom of it. Thus begins a journey demanding take more effort and determination than he expects, a journey ending with a wild midnight ride to the bedside of a dying man needing to unburden himself of the secret that has plagued his whole life.

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Murder and mystery return to the life of 18th-century gentleman physician, Adam Bascom. Bored with the tedium of his country practice, Adam finds himself called urgently to Norwich to treat a young man assaulted and left with total memory loss.

Other mysteries follow thick and fast. What caused the man to walk alone, at night, along the deserted river bank? Who murdered a King’s Messenger and dumped his body in the river? How did a file of secret government papers go missing and how could a local miller have been killed twice in quick succession? Helped by his friend Peter Lassimer, his mother’s companion Sophia LaSalle and a cast of characters old and new, Adam must disentangle a mass of lies, intrigue and deception to discover the meaning of “the code for killing”.

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“A SHORTCUT TO MURDER”: Dr Adam Bascom 3

18th-century Norfolk physician Dr Adam Bascom longs to get back to his medical work. Fate, however, is determined to keep him off-balance. His magistrate brother Giles is called upon to investigate the death of Sir Jackman Wennard, rake, racehorse breeder and baronet.

Did he die by falling from his horse in a hunting accident or was it a blow to his neck that snapped his spine in two? Why had he abruptly ridden off on his own in the opposite direction to everyone else, returned from yet another direction and died before he could rejoin the hunt? Faced with an impossible crime, conflicting evidence and the open hostility of the dead man’s son, Adam turns once more to his friends and contacts to help him solve what he is sure was murder. As events plunge out-of-control towards a fatal confrontation between past and present, can Adam move fast enough to solve the murder and prevent yet more lives being put at risk?

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Cover smallThe night of April 13th, 1793 proved unlucky for at least two people. Dr Adam Bascom was thrown from his horse to lie injured, unconscious and alone on a remote country roadway. Barely a mile away, another man thrust the body of the young woman he had just murdered as far under a hedge as he could.

Thus begins one of Adam Bascom’s most demanding and complicated mysteries. Trapped at home by his injuries, Adam must find ways to use his friends and family as his eyes and ears as he uncovers the solution to a series of local murders and a plot to destabilise the country as it awaits the threatened invasion by the French revolutionary government.

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“THE FABRIC OF MURDER”: Ashmole Foxe 1

Norwich in the 1760s is one of the most prosperous cities in England, its wealth coming from a booming trade in the famous “Norwich Stuffs”, fine worsted cloth, often richly dyed and embroidered.

When a leading cloth-manufacturer is murdered and his business seems on the brink of collapse, people fear a forced sale of his business will ruin the trade for everyone else. Questions multiply. Who killed him, why had he been stockpiling cloth for months and who is the stranger now trying to buy up all the dead man’s stock?

With no organised police force beyond constables and night-watchmen, the mayor and aldermen turn to Mr. Ashmole Foxe to help solve these riddles. Mr. Foxe is another enigma, a man who claims to be a bookseller, lives in grand style, dresses like a dandy and has the morals of an alley-cat. With no firm clues to go on and every sign the dead man himself had been hiding many secrets, Mr Foxe sets out to do as the City Fathers want. Follow this wily hero through Norwich’s teeming 18th-century streets ask he seeks out the answers.

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Mr Ashmole Foxe, Georgian dandy, bookseller and confidential investigator, is under pressure. The mayor wants him to find the murderer of a prominent merchant and banker before the city is crippled by financial panic, Alderman Halloran is hounding him to solve the theft of some of his favourite books and his much-loved companions, the Catt sisters, have left Norwich, unlikely to return.

What could the self-righteous and rigidly teetotal Joseph Morrow have done to provoke someone to murder him, his body, reeking of cheap brandy, left in a rough area haunted by sailors and prostitutes?

As he negotiates the treacherous back-streets of Norwich, Ashmole Foxe must expose the killer before the Morrow Bank collapses, find the book-thief, return the alderman’s books, and discover the dark secret linking one of the the city’s grandest merchant houses to the wretches that drag out their brief existence in the slums.

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“THIS PARODY OF DEATH”: Ashmole Foxe 3

Eighteenth-century Norwich bookseller and dandy, Ashmole Foxe, is asked by the local bellringers to look into the death of their Tower Captain, found in the ringing chamber with his throat cut. Since the victim had a foul temper, was a notorious miser, a killjoy and a recluse, there’s no shortage of suspects.

Yet with everyone lying about themselves and their relationships with the dead man, Foxe knows it will take even more cunning than usual to dig out the truth. On top of all that, he discovers nothing about the victim is what it seems. He must dig into the man’s past as well as his present to separate truth from pretence and the genuine from the fake. Bit by bit, Mr Foxe reveals a tale of greed, bitter family strife and unexpected love, a tale that ended in the church tower with an explosion of anger and an unexpected death.

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“BAD BLOOD WILL OUT”: Ashmole Foxe 4

Ashmole Foxe is approached by the mayor of Norwich and the manager of one of its oldest theatres, both wanting him to investigate sudden, baffling deaths. Foxe loathes the theatre manager, so he’ll have nothing to do with his tale of ghostly apparitions and the murder of an alcoholic, has-been actor. Instead, he turns to the mayor’s request — to resolve the killing of a rich merchant. The trouble is Foxe can’t quite put the theatre mystery out of his mind.

Both cases contain inexplicable events. How did someone stab the merchant as he was hosting a grand masquerade ball surrounded by his guests — without anyone seeing what happened? What has an actress dead for twenty years to do with the murder of someone who shouldn’t even have been in the current cast?

Urged on by cryptic messages from a local Cunning Woman and supported by his extended household and the street-children of the city, Foxe is soon entangled in webs of secrecy and deceit going back into the past and outwards as far as London itself.

“Bad Blood Will Out” is set in the fascinating world of 1760s England. The story shows how betrayal, greed, ambition and grief lead to a toxic mix of thwarted passions, grim obsession and slow-burning hatred. Before the end, it’s going to bring Foxe face-to-face with the most callous, cold-hearted and remorseless killer he has ever known.

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“Black as She’s Painted”: Ashmole Foxe 5

Samuel Melanus, a rich goldsmith turned banker, goes missing, and his promiscuous wife is found naked and strangled on her own bed. It’s another case for Georgian Norwich’s most cunning and unconventional crime-solver, the bookseller Mr Ashmole Foxe.

Foxe is approached by representatives of the city’s mercantile elite to find the missing banker before his disappearance causes a financial panic. Thus begins a tale of intrigue, deceit and hatred, involving one of Foxe’s most loathed enemies.

Aided by a motley cast of street children, a beautiful teenage burglar, and several incompetent constables, Foxe must resort to breaking the law himself to bring the murderer to justice — and work out how thousands of pounds have been stolen from one of Norwich’s leading banks, without them noticing anything was missing.

Follow Foxe as he faces down a pitiless criminal enterprise to discover what really went on in the Melanus household … and in the bank next door.

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2 Responses to Historical Novels

  1. I am really enjoying the Adam Bascom series! I waited and waited for book 4 to appear. I bought it via kindle, and then tried my hardest to read some of the other books sitting there waiting to be read. Yesterday I gave in, and finished it this afternoon. So now, I’ll be waiting for book 5! You have laid enough trails by the end of it, that I guess you already have ideas for one or two more adventures? I do hope so, as there are so many plot developments for all the usual characters!

    (I’m very sorry, but having read the first of the Ashmole Foxe books, I started the second one, and found that I really didn’t enjoy it anywhere like as much as Adam Boscom books. Sorry. I did try, but the character of Ashmole Foxe simply failed to hold my attention.)


    • I’m delighted that you like Adam Bascom so much and I don’t mind at all that poor Mr Foxe doesn’t work for you. They’re very different characters, so it isn’t so surprising. That’s deliberate. I don’t want either series to get stale and repetitive. Yes, I do have several ideas for future books ‘starring’ each of them. It will be a Foxe book next, I’m afraid, then probably book 5 of the Bascom series after that.


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