As the armies of Henry VIII and James V prepare for battle, Catholic exile Simon Danforth must decide his loyalties. Cast out of England, he is drawn by private grief to a secretive Scottish Abbey, and the mystery of a missing girl who worked there.
Though Paisley and its Abbey refuse to give up their secrets, they do give up their dead. In the tense and suspicious atmosphere of a nation at war, Danforth, in an uneasy alliance with his dogged colleague, Arnaud Martin, uncovers murder, madness, and sexual desire infecting the sacred house and its neighbouring town.
With the fate of his adoptive country hanging in the balance, does he dare to uncover the unimaginable truth? Some secrets may be better left buried.
The Abbey Close is the first book in a new historical crime series, featuring Simon Danforth.
Recommended for fans of C.J. Sansom, S.J. Parris and Rory Clements.
"A superb, page-turning debut. The author balances gimlet-eyed research with narrative drive and clever reveals... Danforth is a strong yet torn central character... I look forward to reading the second book in the series." Richard Foreman.
King James V is dead, and Scotland is thrown into turmoil. As the country is torn asunder the nation’s criminals flourish. Out of favour with their master, Simon Danforth and Arnaud Martin escape the discontent in Edinburgh and travel to Stirling, hoping to find peace.
Instead they find murder, and they must pit themselves against a shadowy killer.
Investigating the brutal death of a mysterious, beautiful woman, Danforth finds himself locking horns with a master criminal whose identity is shrouded in secrecy, but who has his own private army of enforcers.
With Martin bent on revenge against the doctor who let his sister die, can Danforth unmask the killer and stop his friend turning his own hand to murder, or will the flames of vengeance consume them both?
Recommended for fans of CJ Sansom, SJ Parris and Ellis Peters.
Linlithgow Palace, 1543.
As Henry VIII turns greedy eyes northwards towards the baby Queen of Scots, the ghosts of Scotland’s bloody past rise from the grave. With the queen a child, her mother a captive, and the governor a puppet, the future of the realm hangs in the balance.
Commanded by their master, Simon Danforth and his friend, Arnaud Martin, join the household of Queen Marie of Guise. But the glories of royal service are quickly tarnished for the loyal Danforth and lovelorn Martin.
Marie’s glittering household hides a deadly secret. When a series of murders takes place, recreating grisly deaths caused by Scotland’s kings, Danforth is compelled to take to the political stage. What he finds makes it clear that the crown itself is under threat.
Faced with a seemingly invisible murderer and drawn to a strange young woman, Danforth must decide where his own future lies: in loyal service or in marriage - duty or love.
Caught in a web of deception, Danforth must unmask the assassin before the crown is stolen - or will chasing ghosts lead him to the grave?
Political intrigue is intertwined with a sinister murder mystery in the third book of the Simon Danforth series.