Hardcastle & Chaytor Mysteries
Read the first two chapters here
Christmas Day, Kent, 1796
On the frozen fields of Romney Marsh stands New Hall; silent, lifeless, deserted. In its grounds lies an unexpected Christmas offering: a corpse, frozen into the ice of a horse pond.
It falls to the Reverend Hardcastle, justice of the peace in St Mary in the Marsh, to investigate. But with the victim's identity unknown, no murder weapon and no known motive, it seems like an impossible task. Working along with his trusted friend, Amelia Chaytor, and new arrival Captain Edward Austen, Hardcastle soon discovers there is more to the mystery than there first appeared.
With the arrival of an American family torn apart by war and desperate to reclaim their ancestral home, a French spy returning to the scene of his crimes, ancient loyalties and new vengeance combine to make Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor's attempts to discover the secret of New Hall all the more dangerous.
The Body in the Ice, with its unique cast of characters, captivating amateur sleuths and a bitter family feud at its heart, is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.
The Body on the Doorstep
The year is 1796. It is midnight on Romney Marsh, in the darkness of a new moon. Smugglers’ boats bring their illicit cargoes of brandy and tobacco from France to land on the beaches of the Channel coast. Suddenly, shots ring out in the night. The rector of St Mary in the Marsh opens his door to find a young man dying on his doorstep.
The man lives long enough to utter four words. Tell Peter...mark...trace.
What do those four words mean? Who is the young man? Where did he come from, and who killed him? Why, five minutes later, was a Customs officer shot and killed out on the Marsh? And who are the mysterious group of smugglers known as the Twelve Apostles, and where does their allegiance lie? When the rector investigates, aided by
his faithful allies Mrs Amelia Chaytor, a local widow, and the young painter JMW Turner, he quickly finds himself involved in a world of smuggling, espionage...and danger.
The Body on the Doorstep is the first book in the Hardcastle & Chaytor Mysteries series. Now out in hardback, paperback, e-book and audiobook from Zaffre Publishing.
See the Marsh Matters page for more about the characters.
the novels of