Maud Heighton Came to Lafond’s famous Académie to paint and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling pleasures of the Belle Époque, Maud slips into poverty.
Quietly starving and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as a companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: as addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels’ world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.
The Westerman and Crowther Series
Thornleigh Hall, the ornate and forbidding seat of the Earl of Sussex, dominates the surrounding countryside. Though its heir is missing, and the once vigorous family is reduced to a cripple, his whore and his alcoholic second son, its power remains.
Harriet Westerman, whose estate borders that of the Hall, has sensed its menace long before she happens upon a dead man bearing the Thornleigh arms. For Harriet, her impulsive nature curbed by convention, the grim discovery cries out for justice. She persuades reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther to her cause, much against his better judgement; he knows a dark path lies before those who stray from society’s expectations.
That same day, Alexander Adams is killed in a London music shop, leaving his young children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.
Instruments of Darkness combines the brooding atmosphere of the best of Daphne du Maurier with the complex, compelling detail of Tess Gerritsen, moving from drawing room to dissecting room, coffee shop to country inn, and into the shadowy heart of eighteenth-century society.
Here is a reading from Chapter 2, with the music of Stephen Paxton played by Sebastian Comberti. It’s available from Cello Classics.
London, 1781. Harriet Westerman waits for news of her husband, gravely injured at sea. The streets of the city seethe with rumour and conspiracy as the King’s navy battles the French at sea. And while the banks of the Thames swarm with life, a body is dragged from its murky waters. In another part of town, where the air seems sweeter, the privileged enjoy a brighter world of complacent wealth and intoxicating celebrity. But as society revels in its pleasurable diversions, a darker plot is being played out.
Yet some are willing to look below the surface, no matter how unsavoury the depths. Harriet believes passionately in justice. Reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther is fascinated by the bones beneath the skin. Invited to seek the true nature of the dead man, they risk censure for an unnatural interest in murder. But when the safety of a nation is at stake, personal reputation must give way to the pursuit of reason and truth.
…and the amazon link! (Just a suggestion…)
The tomb of the first Earl of Greta should have lain undisturbed on its island of bones for three hundred years. When idle curiosity opens the stone lid, however, inside is one body too many. Gabriel Crowther’s family bought the Gretas’ land long ago, and has suffered its own bloody history. His brother was hanged for murdering their father, the Baron of Keswick, and Crowther has chosen comfortable seclusion and anonymity over estate and title for thirty years. But the call of mystery brings him home at last.
Travelling with forthright Mrs Harriet Westerman, who is escaping her own tragedy, Crowther finds a little town caught between new horrors and old, where ancient ways challenge modern justice. And against the wild and beautiful backdrop of fells and water, Crowther discovers that the past will not stay buried.
To give you a taste of the atmosphere of the Lakes, I put together this slide show.
Clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon.
Germany, 1784. Daniel Clode cannot say whether or not he killed the woman. They were found together in a locked room, dressed for the Carnival. But what of the strange madness he feels, and how did she drown on dry land?
Harriet Westerman knows Daniel is not a murderer; her sister would not have married such a man. She and the reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther must travel to the Duke of Maulberg’s Court to save him from the silken, venal plotting of the castle, and from the axeman’s steel. But their journey across Europe brings them to an alien and capricious land, full of lies and shadows, where no one can be trusted.
The cover will take you to the Amazon UK site
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