Tag Archives: Historical Mystery

The Other Side of Him – Blitz

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Historical
Fiction, Historical Mystery
Publisher: California Country Press
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A
smart, successful girl finds herself trapped in dangerous relationship with a
stalker.
It’s
the middle of the twentieth century, World War II is finally over, and Claire
Wagner is on the brink of an exciting new life. With a well-deserved
scholarship in hand, and much to her immigrant mother’s dismay, Claire flees
the Chicago tenements for a prestigious graduate school program in California.
At
first Claire keeps her nose tucked firmly into her books, but when her brother
asks for a favor, she reluctantly agrees to a blind date. Greg turns out to be
handsome, successful, and rich—and he’s definitely smitten with Claire. He
introduces her to a sophisticated world she thought only existed in the movies,
and before she knows it she’s trading her bobby socks and German home cooking
for black silk and caviar.
When
Greg starts to show signs that he’s not as perfect as he appeared, Claire’s
friends urge her to overlook his occasional short temper and controlling
behavior. But the warning signs pile up, building to a crisis that will test
even Claire’s power to persevere.
Inspired
by true events and steeped in the details of the 1950s, when vulnerable women
weren’t protected by the law or society, The Other Side of Him is a provocative
look at how darkness can lie under the most polished exteriors.
About
the Author

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Alice
Rene wrote her award-winning memoir, Becoming Alice, after a grandson
interviewed her about her early life when Hitler marched into Vienna,
foreshadowing in WWII. She followed this work with a historical fiction/ romantic a thriller inspired by true events, The Other Side of Him. The working title of
her next book at this time is The Lieutenant from Podolia.
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Links
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Links
RABT Book Tours & PR
The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 4 Mystery, Historical Mystery Date Published: March 26, 2019
A Miriam Bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria Historical Mystery Date Published: April 2018 Publisher:
Historical Mystery A Rebel Bishop Mystery Publisher: Black Opal Books Published: April 2018 Paul A.
The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 2 Historical Mystery Date Published: August 1, 2018 Publisher: Dunhaven

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The Golden Hour – Blitz

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The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 4
Mystery, Historical Mystery
Date Published: March 26, 2019
Publisher: BookBaby
 
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Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbor has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own.
With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.
Other Books in the The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series
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A Poisonous Journey
The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 1
Publisher: BookBaby
Published: August 2015
The year is 1925, a time that hovers between two catastrophic wars, a time of jazz and sparkle, and a time of peace and reflection. For Lady Evelyn, struggling to outrun the ghosts of her tragic past, it is a time of transformation.
Left orphaned after a fire when she was only four, Lady Evelyn Carlisle was raised in London by her stern aunt and uncle. Now, twenty years later she has grown restless and is keen to escape her chaperone’s grasp. A letter from her cousin, Briony, living with her husband on Crete, comes at just the right time. Packing what she can, Lady Evelyn makes off for foreign shores.
Welcoming her are not only Briony and her husband, Jeffrey, but also his handsome and mysterious friends, Caspar Ballantine and Daniel Harper. Though the latter carries with him tragic memories of the Great War, Evelyn is glad to be in their company. With the sun warming her back and the dazzling sea in her sights, this fresh start seems destined for happy days ahead. Little does she know . . .
What starts off as a sunny holiday quickly turns into a sinister nightmare, when Evelyn stumbles across the corpse of one of her cousin’s houseguests. Drawn into the mystery surrounding the murder, Evelyn embarks on a mission to discover the truth, forcing her to face her own past as well as a cold-hearted killer. With the help of her cousin, the handsome local police detective, and the mysterious Daniel Harper, will she uncover the truth, before another life is claimed?
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A Darker Shore
The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 2
Publisher: BookBaby
Published: December 2016
1926: A year has passed since the events of “A Poisonous Journey” and Lady Evelyn has made a home for herself in Greece, living with her cousin, Briony, her husband, Jeffrey and Daniel Harper. Disturbing this island idyll is a letter, which arrives from France with troubling information about the Daniel’s long-believed-dead brother, Henry. A new journey awaits! With the shadows of the Great War reaching out, Lady Evelyn and Daniel voyage to Amiens in Northern France with the aim of discovering the truth behind the ominous letter. Upon their arrival, they are met not with clarity but rather with crime. Murder, to be precise. Is it linked to their presence in France, or even worse, to Henry himself? Evelyn and Daniel must confront their history as they try to make sense of the present before the killer can strike again, and the secrets of the past are lost forever.
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The Study of Silence
The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 3
Publisher: BookBaby
Published: February 2018
Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is completing her degree at St. Hugh’s, a women’s college in Oxford. Her days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All is well until a fateful morning when her peaceful student life is turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once more, this time to Evelyn’s own detriment?
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 Excerpt
Prologue
 
 
 
“The water is wide, I can’t cross o’er.
 
And neither have I the wings to fly.
 
Build me a boat that can carry two,
 
And both shall row, my love and I.
 
 
 
There is a ship and she sails the seas.
 
She’s loaded deep, as deep can be;
 
But not as deep as the love I’m in
 
And I know not if I sink or swim.
 
 
 
I leaned my back up against a young oak
 
Thinking it were a trusty tree
 
But first it bent and then it broke
 
Thus did my love prove false to me.
 
 
 
O love is sweet and love is kind
 
The sweetest flow’r when first it’s new
 
But love grows old and waxes cold
 
And fades away like the morning dew.”
 
A song dances through the valley, bouncing from crag to crag, across the placid surface of the loch. Emerald hills caress the edge of the water as it laps gently against time-worn stones. The day is drawing to a close, the sky a hazy purple where it meets the peaks. The sun’s reflection, an orange orb dipping into a western descent sets the water aflame. A sudden burst of ripples, spreading a fire. The tell-tale plop of a sinking stone. A satisfied chuckle. The crunch of feet flattening the dewy grass.
         It is the way of the young to walk and laugh and stomp about, beauty taken for granted. But youth is not forever, and the performer of the lilting melody, the thrower of the stone, cheerily, blindly trampling across the green, is not immortal.
            A sudden change in the atmosphere, almost imperceptible, the mere beating of a butterfly’s wings.
            Four feet now move along the path; two leisurely and two slowly, furtively, unrhythmic in their gait, stalking, preying. The rustle of a bush to hide behind, the quick dart towards a tree might tell of this new arrival. However, those who are happy rarely fear. Those who are good, rarely anticipate the evil lurking within another.
            The sun touches the lowest peak, resting, it seems, upon that precarious perch.
            A sudden start.
            Silence.
            Two voices.
            A Scream.
            Only two feet leave the glen. Two feet and their owner with blood dripping from trembling hands.
Malia Zaidi
About the author:

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Malia Zaidi is the author of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.
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  Science Fiction, mystery, fantasy Date Published: February 6, 2018 Publisher: Chattercreek The mystery that
Mystery Publisher: BookBaby Published: July 2019 You don't get over killing your sister's husband. Accident
Coming of Age / Mystery / Humor Date Published: June 8, 2019 Publisher: Acorn Publishing
  Marni Graff writes two award-winning mystery series: The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The

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The Deadliest Fever – BLITZ

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A Miriam Bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria
Historical Mystery
Date Published: April 2018
Publisher: Black Opal Books
 
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Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist and amateur sleuth in first-century CE Alexandria, is concerned when she learns that the threads of gold in the Great Synagogue’s Torah mantle have been damaged. She takes the mantle to Judah, a renowned jeweler and the unrequited love of her life. He repairs the threads and assures her that the stones in the mantle are still genuine. Like Miriam, he is astonished that someone would damage the threads but leave the gems behind.
Shortly before, the Jewish community of Alexandria welcomed their visiting sage and his family, who had just arrived from Ephesus on the Thalia. Also on the ship were the perpetrators of an audacious jewelry heist. And shortly after, the captain of the Thalia is found dead in a sleazy waterfront inn.
Can Miriam discover the connections among the jewel heist, the death of the sea captain, and the desecration of the Torah mantle before the deadliest fever claims its victim? Not without help from the bite of a rabid bat.
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Other Books in the Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria Mystery Series:
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The Deadliest Lie
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book One
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: October 2013
She’s a brilliant alchemist-with a talent for solving mysteries.
Miriam bat Isaac is a budding scholar in first-century CE Alexandria, though her dreams seem doomed. Who in her household or among her father’s Shabbat guests stole the scrolls containing the Alchemical League’s valuable formulas? Perhaps the thief was even her frantic father, on the cusp of financial ruin, eager for Miriam to end her dalliance with a handsome jeweler and marry into an honorable and wealthy family. Or her rebellious brother, intent on raising money to travel to Capua so he can enroll in the Roman Empire’s most renowned gladiator school. Or her faint-hearted fiancé, who begrudges her preoccupation with alchemy and yearns for their forthcoming marriage?
And how did the thief manage to steal them? Miriam is not only faced with a baffling puzzle, but, to recover the scrolls, she must stalk the culprit through the sinister alleys of Alexandria’s claustrophobic underbelly. The Romans who keep a harsh watch over her Jewish community are trouble enough.
Miriam is based on the true personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.
June Trop (Zuckerman) has had over forty years of experience as an award-winning teacher and educator. Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spends her time breathlessly following her intrepid protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, who is back in the underbelly of Alexandria, once again searching for a murderer in The Deadliest Sport while worrying about her brother.
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The Deadliest Hate
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book Two
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: October 2015
The Roman Empire may be the least of her enemies.
A secret alchemical recipe to transmute copper into gold surfaces in first-century CE Caesarea. As soon as Miriam sets out to trace the leak, Judean terrorists target her for assassination. Eluding the assassins while protecting a secret of her own, she discovers that she, herself, is responsible for the leak. Moreover she is powerless to stop its spread throughout the Empire and beyond.
But who is really trying to kill Miriam? Is it a case of mistaken identity, or is her late-fiancé’s ex-scribe, now an assistant to the Procurator of Judea, seeking to avenge an old grudge? Or is her heartthrob’s half-brother, a Judean patriot who inherited his mother’s mania, afraid Miriam knows too much?
And how did the recipe find its way from Alexandria to Caesarea anyway?
June Trop (Zuckerman) has had over forty years of experience as an award-winning teacher and educator. Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spends her time breathlessly following her intrepid protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, who is back in the underbelly of Alexandria, once again searching for a murderer in The Deadliest Sport while worrying about her brother.
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The Deadliest Sport
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book Three
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Published: October 2017
Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist in first-century CE Alexandria, welcomes her twin brother Binyamin home to fight his last gladiatorial bout in Alexandria. But when he demands his share of the family money so he can build a school for gladiators in Alexandria, Miriam explains that he forsook his share when he took the gladiatorial oath. When she refuses to loan him the money for what she feels is a shady, and dangerous, enterprise, Binyamin becomes furious. Soon after, the will of Amram, Miriam’s elderly charge, turns up missing, Amram becomes seriously ill, and the clerk of the public records house is murdered. Could Binyamin really be behind this monstrous scheme? If not he, who could be responsible? And is Miriam slated to be the next victim?
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 Excerpt
May 1, Thursday, Almost Midnight:
He waited, listening to the darkness flow into the sanctuary. With the thick drapes blocking the flare of torches lining the Canopic Way, the only light scratching the air was the meager glow of the eternal flame, the ner tamid of Alexandria’s Great Synagogue.
The coolness of the night had already begun to assert itself. Just a little longer, he told himself as his fist closed around the open edges of his long black robe. A few minutes later, as his other hand pulled back the hood over his head, he emerged from his hiding place, his body taut, his legs tingling from having stood in place for so long.
Stretching his cramped muscles, he approached the front of the Torah Ark. His fingers trembled with excitement, his eyes shining with greed as he drew open the parokhet, the curtain that screened the Ark.
“Like a bride’s veil,” he said to himself, amused by the analogy.
With a self-congratulatory nod and a tight satisfied smile, he pulled open the ornate bronze doors and carried the Torah to the Reader’s Table. For a few moments, he gazed at the coveted prize adorning the Torah mantle, three peerless jewels, each set into the bowl of one of the three vessels embroidered in gold on the mantle.
He didn’t need much light. His eyes were already accustomed to the darkness, and his hands had performed this procedure many times before. Taking a few deep breaths to calm the twitch at the corner of his mouth, he removed a slim wooden box from the goatskin pouch attached to his belt, took out his tools, and lined them up on the table: his silver pick, plyers, tweezers, snips, and a double-handled vial of olive oil. Then he undressed the Torah and positioned the mantle so the jewels caught the narrow strip of light from the ner tamid.
Oh, Lord! Even in the thinnest light, they spew out their fire!
Half-frightened, worried that he’d uttered the words aloud, he released only a feather of breath.
But hearing no echo, his jaw softened.
He was safe.
Then, hunching over the table, balancing his forearms against the edge, he took hold of the pick and laid his hands on the mantle.
He tried to loosen the center stone, the emerald. The setting was tight. Very tight. He tried again, this time after placing a droplet of oil on each prong.
This is going to take a while.
He shifted his weight and continued.
The silence was absolute save for the occasional sputter of the ner tamid and the distant rumble of hooves on the Canopic Way’s granite pavement.
Until he heard loudening footfalls ringing out against the tessellated floor, waking the echoes in the corridor’s coffered ceiling.
A crease of light swept under the sanctuary’s ceiling-high, bejeweled double doors.
He froze and held his breath, as fear prickled down his spine, until the clicking heels receded into the silence. He blinked slowly and released an unbidden sigh. Just the watchman on his rounds. He won’t come in here. He locked the doors to the sanctuary and all the outside doors to the Synagogue hours ago and won’t open them again until dawn.
His fingers worked through the night. Despite the chill, rivulets of sweat trickled down his back and collected under his belt. He straightened up now and then, rolled his shoulders back, and cocked his head as he admired his work.
His mouth curved into a triumphant smile.
Beads of saliva clung to his lips.
By now a pearly grayness was seeping under the doors. He could see the darkness dissolving. Objects in the sanctuary were reclaiming their color and shape.
He mentally ticked off the remaining tasks: Dress the Torah. Put it back in the Ark. Tuck my prize and the tools into the box. Slide it back into my pouch. Slip out as soon as the watchman unlocks the doors but before what’s-his-name…Gershon, that’s it, Gershon ben Israel…comes in to check the sacred—
Oh, Lord, what on Earth is that squeaking sound? Surely not a bird.
A sharp-toothed, leathery-winged bat shot out of nowhere, swooped across the sanctuary, and, wheeling around the bemah, took a dive, and nipped the crown of the man’s head before disappearing with a shrill screech behind the Ark.
His thin howl—part gasp, scream, and strangled sob—tore through the sanctuary.
Then he heard a pair of boots smacking the tiles.
I gotta get out of here! Where’s the—
Dressing it quickly, he shoved the Torah into the Ark, throwing everything else into his pouch.
Except the vial.
The vial. Oops!
Oil everywhere.
Oh, Lord! Not now.
A hasty wipe with the sleeve of his robe.
The rising volume of hammering footsteps.
Now two sets—one close, the other farther away but catching up. Their volume swelled as they turned a corner.
Must be Gershon trailing the watchman.
The jangle of keys. The ping of the latch as the watchman unlocked the doors.
No place to hide. And, Lord, all this blood gushing from my head.
“No, Daniel, no!” Gershon shouted. “The other way. Hurry! The scream came from the library.”
About the Author

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June Trop and her twin sister Gail wrote their first story, “The Steam Shavel [sic],” when they were six years old growing up in rural New Jersey. They sold it to their brother Everett for two cents.
“I don’t remember how I spent my share,” June says. “You could buy a fistful of candy for a penny in those days, but ever since then, I wanted to be a writer.”
As an award-winning middle school science teacher, June used storytelling to capture her students’ imagination and interest in scientific concepts. Years later as a professor of teacher education, she focused her research on the practical knowledge teachers construct and communicate through storytelling. Her first book, From Lesson Plans to Power Struggles (Corwin Press, 2009), is based on the stories new teachers told about their first classroom experiences.
Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she devotes her time to writing The Miriam bat Isaac Mystery Series. Her heroine is based on the personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.
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RABT Book Tours & PR
The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 4 Mystery, Historical Mystery Date Published: March 26, 2019
Historical Mystery A Rebel Bishop Mystery Publisher: Black Opal Books Published: April 2018 Paul A.
The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 2 Historical Mystery Date Published: August 1, 2018 Publisher: Dunhaven

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Death of a Sacristan – Blitz

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Historical Mystery
A Rebel Bishop Mystery
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Published: April 2018
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Paul A. Barra’s latest historical novel features a real-life Catholic bishop who owned slaves and was such a fervent and effective anti-abolitionist that Horace Greeley called him The Rebel Bishop. His name was Patrick N. Lynch, a polymath who was a linguist, scholar, geologist, preacher and writer. Lynch also ran the Union blockade on a commission from President Jefferson Davis. He was the ordinary of both Carolinas from 1859 to 1882, but he was extraordinary in many ways. Here’s the perfect way to be entertained while learning about the Rebel Bishop and Southern Catholicism.
In Barra’s novel, Lynch’s aide rushes to investigate the murder of a wealthy sacristan at the altar rail of the cathedral in the Spring of 1861. Father Tom Dockery rushes because war is about to light off and investigates because the victim was having an affair with the wife of the police chief, who becomes the first suspect. The wife becomes a suspect soon after when she seduces Dockery into believing her alibi. Besides seduction, there’s a beating on a side street south of Broad, a hanging on the banks of the Ashley River and a shootout in Devil’s Hole before the killer is exposed and brought to justice.
That’s the framework of the book, but slavery is the subtext that adds texture to the tale. Dockery’s journey toward understanding his mentor’s defense of the South’s favorite institution is the real story of  “Death of a Sacristan.” He is surprised to find the Rebel Bishop’s arguments thoughtful and compelling.
Death of a Sacristan was vetted by the eleventh Bishop of Charleston and by the historian of the diocese. It also received a review from a well-known Catholic publisher:
“With a spicy dash of murder, two heaping tablespoons of savory Old South ambiance, and three cups of boiling mystery, author Paul Barra cooked up a tasty whodunit, in Death of a Sacristan. On the eve of civil war, Charleston is rocked by an unspeakable crime: a killing at the altar of the cathedral. What follows is an entrancing tale of historical fiction in which unlikely sleuths investigate a colorful cast of southern characters. Like a feast of low-country shrimp and grits, Death of a Sacristan is deliciously satisfying!” – Kenneth E. Nowell, Author of the best selling travel guide: Rome and the Vatican – Guide 4 Pilgrims Publisher, Vero House Publishing
About the Author

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Paul A. Barra, a former naval officer who was decorated for his work on the rivers of the Mekong Delta, including Republic of Vietnam medals, the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Combat Action Ribbon, worked as a reporter and chemistry teacher after the war. He was the senior staff writer for the Diocese of Charleston, the director of religious education at a Charleston parish and an award-winning freelance magazine writer who graduated with a BS from Niagara University and an MS from Loyola University of New Orleans. Barra was Teacher-of-the-Year at Greenwood District 52 and at St. Joseph’s Catholic School before becoming a full-time novelist.
His previous publications include four science readers with Houghton-Mifflin (2006); the true story of a Catholic high school that succeeded despite diocesan opposition, St. Joe’s Remarkable Journey (Tumblar House, 2010); a juvenile adventure called The Secret of Maggie’s Swamp (Brownridge Publishing, 2012); and the mysteries A Death in the Hills (Argus Books, 2014), Astoria Nights (Black Opal Books, 2017), and Death of a Sacristan; a Rebel Bishop Mystery (Black Opal Books, 2018). The Permanent Press will release his hardcover thriller Westfarrow Island in early 2019.
 
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The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series, Book 4 Mystery, Historical Mystery Date Published: March 26, 2019
A Miriam Bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria Historical Mystery Date Published: April 2018 Publisher:
The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 2 Historical Mystery Date Published: August 1, 2018 Publisher: Dunhaven

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The Scandal in Honor – Blitz

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The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 2
Historical Mystery
Date Published: August 1, 2018
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
 
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What is the price one must pay to protect one’s honor? Or that of another? It has been two years since the duel that changed Julian, Lord Trevelin’s life. He is now happily betrothed to Miss Jane Leavitt, a wealthy debutante. Her influence has helped to restore his reputation among Society. Her father, however, has not allowed the connection to be made public. He disapproves of Trev’s penchant for looking into unsavory matters such as pinched diamond necklaces and dead downstairs maids. He will allow the couple to set a date for their wedding when he is satisfied that Trev will look after his own reputation with the same care as does Jane.
Meanwhile, Trev is taken with the rumors about Miss Hannah Andersen, a young lady newly arrived in London for the season. Her military father was said to have put a period to his existence in order to escape the consequences of fleeing a battle with his wife and child. She, however, insists his death was an accident. Trev can’t resist attempting to set the man’s reputation to rights. He is assisted by his ethereal friend, Willy, and the boot boy-cum-valet, Jack. When several more “accidents” occur, Trev’s list of murder suspects grows. And then his cousin Evelyn threatens him with ruin if he does not release Jane to his clutches–only, this time, it will be her honor that shall be irrevocably tarnished.
The Scandal in Honor is book two in The Lord Trevelin Mysteries. Be sure to also read the first book in this captivating Regency-era mystery series about one man’s journey to redemption, told through the eyes of the one whose absolution he longs for the most: his own.
Other Books in the Lord Trevelin Mystery Series:
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The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 1
Published: June 2017
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
Julian “Trev” Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, had everything a gentleman could want–good looks, a fortune, and plenty of charm. When a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. His life is forever changed, but Trev is still loyal to his friends. When one is accused of murder and another’s diamond necklace is stolen, he does what he must to help them. As the two cases merge, Trev finds an ally who isn’t put off by his scar and the scandal of the duel–Miss Desdemona Woodmansey. As their investigation into the murder reveals just how treacherous the mask of polite society can be, both Trev and Desdemona are put in grave danger. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a killer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret? Be sure to read the first book in this series about one man’s journey to redemption, told through the eyes of the one whose absolution he longs for the most: his own.
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Excerpt
There comes a time when a man must choose to do that which he should not. The memory lies like a flame about to be extinguished, flickering in the past for lack of notice. And yet, when brought to mind, it flares to life, along with the shame…and regret.
Chapter One
The air pierced my lungs like a thousand tiny icicles, but I remained rooted to the spot. Jack tugged at my sleeve, crazy with fear for me, and still I did not move. I thought perhaps I would never see Silvester House, or even England, again. I was in the power of my cousin, Evelyn Rogers-Reimann, and he was not a merciful man.  
England February 1814
            I strolled into the salon of Silvester House to find Mrs. Smurthwaite seated on the divan under the window, her face pink with delight. Stopping short in astonishment, I suppressed a groan. I managed my best smile, a triumph I am told. (The scar that disgraces my mouth stretches into oblivion when I am at my most affable. As I refuse to smile so giddily into the mirror, I must rely on the opinion of others.)
“Trev,” Walter Leavitt hissed as he rescued his glass from colliding into my unyielding form. “How did she get in?”
I turned to my friend; he possessed the same glorious red hair and eye for the absurd as his younger sister, Miss Jane Leavitt. That she was at long last my betrothed was one of the few satisfactions I had yet known in my then five-and-twenty years.
“I have only just learned,” I murmured for his ear alone, “how Mrs. S. has regularly availed herself of my home.” I gave him a long stare. “It’s Hatch! He allows her entrance at any hour of the day or night merely to plague me. I should not be surprised to learn he has made a present to her of the key.”
Leavitt brought his glass to his lips with a roll of his eyes. “You ought to turn him out.”
“I can hardly do so!” I said, appalled. “He has been with the family forever.”
“Well, she’s ghastly,” he said, his voice flat. He regarded her over the rim of his glass. “Jane would not like it.”
“She is aware of Mrs. S.’s eccentricities,” I said with a shrug, “and endures it with good grace.” I gave the lady under discussion a slight bow, grateful that she was hard of hearing. “Furthermore, she is not in the least ghastly.” (‘Twas a bald lie.) “She is a lonely old woman, and my nearest neighbor.”
“Shall you not join me, my lord?” she crooned from her place by the window. “It has been long since we have controversed.”
Leavitt leaned to whisper in my ear, never taking his fascinated gaze from Mrs. S. seated across the room. “I believe she meant to say ‘conversed.’”
“I am aware,” I said, a trifle shortly. No one had endured the woman’s corruption of the King’s English with more regularity than I.
“She is waiting,” Leavitt said with a nudge to my shoulder.
“Indeed! For you. She has grown as enamored of you as that corset she sports,” I murmured as I started across the room to claim my seat next to the infernal creak of it. 
“If I must!” he griped, depositing his goblet on the credenza with a perilous tinkling of glass.
We sat, one to either side of her. Silently, I prayed for composure. I had no wish to dissolve into laughter at Leavitt’s antics. He was sure to make a mockery of her words behind her back.   
“Now!” she said with a punishing blow to my thigh, one she doubtless meant as an amicable swat. “When are you to wed that sister of his?”
I smiled, my marriage to Jane being my favorite subject on which to ‘controverse’. “It shall be a summer wedding. June, I believe, if Jane has her way. She is determined to carry roses for the ceremony.” In truth, she much preferred lilies. I dissembled so as to mask the fact that my future father-in-law refused to allow us to set a date. It had taken a year for him to consent to our betrothal, and another for it to be made public. I, however, remained unconcerned. An older man with an enormous belly, I knew I need merely out-live him, if necessary.
“June? Haven’t you waited long enough for connubile bliss? You have been betrothed for nigh on a year!”
“True,” I said, “but Miss Leavitt is adamant as to the flowers, and one must wait on such things.”
“Which reminds me,” Mrs. Smurthwaite said, turning her gaze upon Walter. “You ought to be on the hunt for a wife, as well. That Miss Hannah Andersen would do nicely, I should think.”
“Miss Andersen?” Walter said, with an inadequately concealed shudder. “I daresay m’father would have much to say on that score.”
“Why? Whatever could be abjectionable in her?” Mrs. Smurthwaite asked with a lofty air.
I met Walter’s sardonic gaze over the top of her head. “For one,” he said as he thrust out his hand and unfurled a finger, “she’s a pauper. Second, she’s not had a proper coming-out, and third, it is said that her father made away with himself. I should think that more than enough concerns to render her very objectionable,” he added with a waft of his hand.
“I fear it is not equitable to judge those we do not know,” I admonished lightly. Privately, I also found Miss Andersen quite beyond the pale. I stroked the corner of my mouth where dwelt the scar that had nearly undone my life, and felt myself a hypocrite. I had reasons, however; if my future brother-in-law were to attach himself to one such as Miss Andersen, all that had passed to restore my reputation could be lost.
I thought, then, of Jane; how I had nearly been denied her hand due to the whispers as to the origin of my injury. I concealed a shudder of my own as I recalled that I had once contemplated putting a period to my existence. And then I reminded myself that Miss Andersen’s father was only said to have killed himself. The actual truth of the matter was unknown.
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About the Author

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Award-winning, best-selling author Heidi Ashworth lives with her husband and three children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes sweet, traditional, Regency-era romance, romantic comedy, and mystery. She is the author of the Miss Delacourt series, published by Montlake Romance. The second book in The Lord Trevelin Mysteries comes out August 2018.
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