The Masked Man by Paul Doherty

The Masked ManIn 1669, a man was arrested and housed in a number of jails, including the Bastille. He was in the custody of the same jailer until the prisoner’s death in 1703. He was rarely seen but when he was, he always wore a mask – sometimes made of velvet, sometimes made of iron. And so the stories began…

Ralph Croft is an English rogue whose crimes have caught up with him. Facing execution in the Bastille, he is given a reprieve by the Regent – provided he works with the archivist Maurepas and the musketeer D’Estrivet to find the truth about the now-dead Man In The Iron Mask. But everyone has their own reason for seeking the truth – is it possible that the identity of the prisoner could overthrow the French royal family? And if Ralph finds the truth, can he survive the repercussions?

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X v. Rex by Philip MacDonald

X v RexOne night, in the village of Farnley, Surrey, the call comes in to the police station of a burglary. The three duty constables promptly head out to find that it was a hoax call. When they return, they find that the Sergeant, who remained at the station, has been shot dead.

This is only the beginning of the reign of terror of the mysterious X. As his attentions move to London, it seems that no policeman is safe from him. Soon, many more officers are found dead and the police seem powerless against this mysterious individual.

Enter Nicholas Revell – a man of mystery with his own priorities. Only he has some insight into how to catch the mysterious X – but will the police follow his advice whilst they still have enough officers left to catch the villain?

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The Death Season by Kate Ellis

Death SeasonDI Wesley Peterson is busier than ever at work due to DCI Gerry Hefferman being reduced to light duties – mostly cold case work – following the events of at the end of The Shroud Maker. He’s hopeful that a man’s death in an hotel room is routine – it seems to be just an overdose of pills but soon a nasty stab wound is found in the back of his neck. A suspect is soon found on the CCTV – but they’re not long for the world either.

Soon, the identity of the man is discovered – his DNA is a match for a murder that took place thirty five years previously at a holiday camp. What possessed him to return to the scene of the crime? Given that nobody seemed aware of his guilt, could he have been killed for revenge? And how does this link to the human remains unearthed from a WWI ruined village that was claimed by the sea?

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The Herring In The Library by L C Tyler

Herring In THe LibraryEthelred Tressider, author of some not-particularly well-known mystery novels, has had the misfortune to bump into an old acquaintance, Sir Roger Muntham. Or “Shagger” to his friends. Before he knows it, he is off to a grand party at Muntham Hall with Elsie, his agent, in tow. But before the night is out, there’s a body in the library – a library that was locked from the inside.

Ethelred and Elsie find themselves investigating the apparent suicide – certainly that’s the police theory. But with a strange man creeping around the grounds and the victim’s widow turning her attentions to Ethelred, can they find a murderer? And more importantly, can Ethelred manage to finish his latest novel.

“Nothing swanky. Keep it simple. No metafiction. No foreshadowing of events via dubious analogies. And no flashbacks.” If only it were that simple…

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Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes by J A Lang

Chef Maurice and the Wrath Of GrapesTo have a great restaurant, one needs more than just great food – one needs great wine as well. And despite his natural inclination to taste wine by the glassful rather than sipping it, Chef Maurice – chef extraordinaire and amateur sleuth – finds himself invited to dinner by Sir William Burton-Trent, the renowned wine collector. He finds himself in the company of a mixed bag of guests – you might almost think a murder was going to happen…

And murder does strike (obviously) and Sir William is found dead, locked in his own wine cellar. Luckily, Chef Maurice is on hand to “help” the local constabulary with their enquiries, along with his restaurant reviewing cohort Arthur Wordington-Smythe and the rest of the staff at the Cochon Rouge. But it’ll take more than brains to solve this one – it’s going to need Chef Maurice’s latest delicacy. A kipper sandwich.

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The Templar’s Penance by Michael Jecks

The Templar's Penance1323. Following the devastating events in The Mad Monk Of Gidleigh (not required reading, but it’s a great book, so why not?) Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Simon Puttock have chosen to leave their families in Devon and head to Santiago De Compostela on pilgrimage. And if the Are You Being Served? film has taught us anything, when us British go abroad, things never go well…

But Santiago De Compostela (in Galicia, North West Spain) is no Costa Plonka. The problem with people who head to a place on pilgrimage is that they invariably have done something very wrong in the past – and we all know the effect that past secrets can have in murder mysteries. It isn’t long before Simon and Baldwin find themselves involved in investigating a terrible crime – a young woman brutally raped and beaten to death. As the sun beats down on them, they struggle to disentangle the threads of the mystery before the killer strikes again…

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Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

Sparkling CyanideRosemary Barton sat down to dinner with six friends at the Hotel “Luxembourg”. She drank a toast and collapsed, dead by cyanide poisoning (which you’d never guess from the title, would you?) All of the usual suspects for a murder are present – the wronged husband, her two paramours, a paramour’s wronged wife, her husband’s loyal secretary and her sister (who would inherit a sackload of money if Rosemary died).

But there was no way that she could have been poisoned. Despite no apparent reason, everyone assumed that she committed suicide. But six months later, notes are sent to her husband that claim Rosemary was murdered. Enlisting the help of ex-MI5 investigator Colonel Race to find the truth, George Barton reassembles the dinner guests to uncover the truth – but the murderer has other plans…

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