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Date with the Executioner

Date with the Executioner

1817. The third adventure featuring identical twins, Peter and Paul Skillen, begins at an illegal duel where Paul is acting as a second to a man he has been teaching how to shoot. He fears for his friend, Mark Bowerman, who is taking on an experienced duellist. As it happens, the event is interrupted by the Bow Street Runners who take a special delight in arresting Paul, their old rival.

Bowerman had challenged his opponent to a duel to defend the honour of Laetitia Somerville, to whom he is engaged to be married. Desperate to get rid of the man who stands between him and his beloved, Bowerman’s brave promises are in vain. He is murdered one evening in the garden of an empty house. Peter and Paul Skillen immediately begin a search for the killer.

Hampered by the Bow Street Runners and facing great personal danger, the brothers have to pick their way through a mystery that deepens at every turn. They get an insight into the laws of inheritance and into widespread political corruption. The twins need all their resourcefulness to solve their most complex case yet.

Hardcover, 16 February 2017

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Steps to the Gallows

Steps to the Gallows Set in 1816, the second book in the Bow Street Rivals series gives a dangerous assignment to identical twins, Peter and Paul Skillen. In trying to solve the brutal murder of a political satirist, they come up against powerful enemies. They also have to cope with some startling surprises about the deceased.

Since his prints were sold by the ebullient Diane Mandrake, they have to act as bodyguards to the lady when she and her premises come under attack. And all the time, they are dogged by Micah Yeomans and the other Bow Street Runners who believe that they are the only legitimate guardians of law and order in London.

The Skillen brothers survive all kinds of setbacks – including a violent encounter in a prison - as they follow a tortuous trail that eventually takes them all the way to Paris for a final and deadly confrontation.

Paperback, February 2017

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The Circus Train Conspiracy

Circus Train Conspiracy

After a successful stay in Carlisle, Moscardi’s Magnificent Circus sets off for Newcastle in two separate trains.When the first of them is derailed, there is chaos. While the circus folk lick their wounds, a search is conducted for a monkey who fled the scene of the crash. The animal is eventually found but not before it has given the search party a fright beside the shallow grave in which a murder victim has been buried.

Colbeck and Leeming are dispatched north to handle the two cases. Are they related or quite independent of each other? It is never clear. They get valuable inside help from former policeman, Brendan Mulryne, now in charge of security at the circus. There are further attempts to stop them reaching their destination. The detectives have to identify suspects while trying to solve a murder case at the same time. Since the circus has known enemies, Leeming starts to hunt them down. Colbeck, meanwhile, learns that the murder victim came from Shropshire and institutes enquiries there.

Back in London, Madeleine Colbeck has to do some detective work of her own. Her friend, Lydia Quayle is being stalked by a man who steals one of her dresses. She invites Lydia to stay with her but the stalker will not be shaken off. On a brief return to London, Leeming is able to offer some useful advice.

The Railway Detective has to follow all kinds of twists and turns before he finally tracks down the killer. The circus’s tormentor is even more difficult to find. When he and Leeming finally confront the man, there is a gruesome surprise awaiting them.

Hardcover, 22 June 2017

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Signal For Vengeance

Signal For Vengeance

The bizarre murder of a railway policeman takes Colbeck and Leeming to Dorset in what they believe will be a straightforward investigation. Colbeck is keen to solve the crime quickly because his wife, Madeleine, is due to give birth within a few weeks. His hopes are soon dashed. The murder victim had many enemies so the list of suspects is a long and varied one.

The case takes the detectives all over the county and puts Leeming in great danger. Just when they think they have unmasked the killer, there is a sudden turn of events that throws them into disarray. The situation is complicated by the unexpected arrival of Superintendent Tallis.

As the detectives finally begin to make progress, Colbeck hears that his wife has been rushed into hospital. He has to dash back to London, leaving the sergeant with the honour of tracking down and arresting the culprit.

Paperback, 22 June 2017

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A Christmas Railway Mystery

A Christmas Railway Mystery

Swindon is rocked when the headless body of a man is found in the GWR Works. Colbeck is summoned to the railway town to solve the brutal crime. With Christmas only ten days away, a complex case is the last thing he needs. He is not helped by the appointment of an old enemy as acting superintendent at Scotland Yard, a man determined to throw his weight around.

While involved in one crime, the Railway Detective is alarmed to hear of another - the abduction of Superintendent Edward Tallis, who is in Kent to attend a reunion at his old regiment. Colbeck and Leeming find themselves in a hectic race to catch a killer in Swindon before joining in the search for Tallis - and Christmas is getting ever nearer.

Hardcover, 23 November 2017

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Under Attack

Under Attack

1917. German bombers attack London, causing damage and spreading fear. The war seems to get close every day. Harvey Marmion returns to duty after a futile attempt to find his son, Paul, who has run away from home. Marmion and Keedy take on the case of Gilbert Donohoe, a Midland businessman whose body was found in the Thames. Since the Metropolitan Police are under fire in the press, it is important that the murder is solved quickly so that their reputation is restored. Marmion and Keedy are thus under constant attack from their superiors.

Though everyone who knew him assures the detectives that Donohoe is a man with no enemies, suspects slowly begin to emerge. The progress of the investigation is hampered by Marmion’s continued anxiety over his son and by the rift that opens up between Alice Marmion and Keedy over the question of their marriage. While having domestic problems herself, Alice has to listen to endless crowing of her beat partner, Iris Goodliffe, about the wonderful romance she has at last found. When the romance turns dangerously sour, however, Alice has to step in to save her friend.

Her brother, Paul, meanwhile, has been working on a farm and making light of his impaired eyesight. The farmer is delighted to have such a hard-working lad and Paul is made welcome. The farmer’s daughter shows a particular interest in him.

Under pressure from people and events, the detectives explore the life of Gilbert Donahoe and find all kinds of suspicious activity. When they are themselves put under attack, they realise that they are closer to a solution than they thought. They not only catch those responsible for the murder, they flush out the mole in Scotland Yard who has been supplying the press with classified information.

Hardcover, 19 October 2017

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The Enemy Within

Enemy Within

Inspector Marmion and Sergeant Keedy try to catch an escaped prisoner. They arrested Wally Hubbard after he set fire to the house owned by the man who seduced his daughter, abandoned her when she got pregnant and showed no regret when the child was stillborn and the mother died of complications during the delivery.

To get his revenge on Ben Croft, the father of the child, Hubbard breaks out of Pentonville and goes in search of him.

The detectives also search for Croft but he's nowhere to be found. Marmion's brother, Raymond, picks up a man sleeping rough and takes him to the Salvation Army hostel he runs. The only name the man will give is David. When he's murdered at the hostel, however, they find papers that identify him as Ben Croft.

The mystery thickens when Marmion sees the corpse and says that it is certainly not Croft. He and Keedy have to find out the murder victim's real identity and locate Croft so that they can protect him from Hubbard.

The parallel investigations take them in all sorts of directions. At a time when he's working around the clock, Marmion discovers that his son, Paul, has left home without explanation. A separate search is mounted.

A story that mingles detection with espionage moves to a thrilling climax at Knockaloe, the vast camp on the Isle of Man for civilian internees.

Paperback, 19 October 2017

The novels

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The series:
Nicholas Bracewell
Inspector Colbeck
Daniel Rawson
Home Front Detective
Dillman and Masefield
Writing as Conrad Allen
Alan Saxon
Writing as Keith Miles
Merlin Richards
Writing as Keith Miles
Miscellaneous publications

About the author

Edward Marston was born and brought up in Wales. He read Modern History at Oxford then lectured in the subject for three years before becoming a full-time freelance writer. His first historical mystery, The Queen's Head, was published in 1988, launching the Nicholas Bracewell series. Read on
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