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The series features Sussex-based crime writer Ethelred Tressider and his literary agent, Elsie Thirkettle. It has won the last Last Award twice and been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Awards in the US.


The Herring Seller's Apprentice


Ethelred Tressider is a writer with problems. His latest novel is going nowhere, a mid-life crisis is looming and he’s burdened by the literary agent he probably deserves: Elsie Thirkettle, who claims to enjoy neither the company of writers nor literature of any kind. And as if things weren’t bad enough for Ethelred, his ex-wife, Geraldine, is reported missing when her Fiat is found deserted near Ethelred’s Sussex home. The disappearance soon becomes a murder investigation and there is no shortage of suspects. Soon the nosy, chocolate-chomping Elsie has bullied Ethelred into embarking upon his own investigation, but as their enquiries proceed, she begins to suspect that her client’s own alibi is not as solid as he claims.


Ten Little Herrings


Last seen boarding a plane which exploded mid-flight, crime writer Ethelred Tressider is discovered, to the bafflement of his dogged literary agent Elsie Thirkettle, to be alive and currently residing in the Loire Valley. Having followed Ethelred to a run-down French hotel hosting a stamp collectors’ conference, chaos ensues when one guest is found fatally stabbed, soon followed by the murder of a rich Russian oligarch. Elsie is torn between her natural desire to interfere in the investigation and her urgent need to escape from the hotel and buy high-class chocolate. Ethelred, meanwhile, seems to know more about the killings than he is letting on. Finally the time comes when Elsie must assemble the various suspects in the dining room, and reveal the truth...


The Herring the Library


When literary agent Elsie Thirkettle is invited to accompany tall but obscure crime writer Ethelred Tressider to dinner at Muntham Court, she is looking forward to sneering at his posh friends. What she is not expecting is that, halfway through the evening, her host will be found strangled in his locked study.


Since there is no way that a murderer could have escaped, the police conclude that Sir Robert Muntham killed himself. A distraught Lady Muntham, however, asks Ethelred to conduct his own investigation. Ethelred (ably hindered by Elsie) sets out to resolve a classic ‘locked-room’ mystery; but is any one of the assorted guests and witnesses actually telling the truth? And can Ethelred’s own account be trusted?


Herring on the Nile


In an effort to rejuvenate his flagging career,crime novelist Ethelred Tressider decides to set his new book in Egypt and embarks on a ‘research trip’ with his literary agent, Elsie Thirkettle, in tow. No sooner has their cruise on the Nile begun, however, than an attempt is made on Ethelred’s life.


When the boat’s engine explodes and a passenger is found bloodily murdered, suspicion falls on everyone aboard including a third-rate private eye, two individuals who may or may not be undercover police, and Ethelred himself. As the boat drifts out of control, though, it seems that events are being controlled by a party far more radical than anyone could have guessed . . .

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Crooked Herring

Ethelred Tressider, mid-list crime writer, is surprised when fellow author Henry Holiday unexpectedly turns up on his doorstep. He's even more surprised when Henry confesses that he may have committed murder while drunk on New Year's Eve. Though he has little recollection of the night, Henry fears he may have killed drinking companion and fellow crime writer Crispin Vynall, and asks Ethelred to discreetly make enquiries in order to discover the truth. As Ethelred and his trusty agent Elsie begin to investigate, they discover that Henry has been set up, and now all that remains is for them to find out why and, more importantly ... whodunnit?

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Cat Among the Herrings

Robin Pagham is dead – drowned in a sailing accident. Everyone’s reaction is that he must have been drunk, after all, that was what he did best. But while attending Robin’s funeral, crime writer Ethelred Tressider sees the whole village accused of murder by the deceased’s latest fiancée, and finds himself personally invited to take up the investigation. With Elsie Thirkettle, Ethelred’s ex-agent, ‘assisting’ while consuming half the town’s biscuit supplies, the duo soon have ex-girlfriends, environmentalists and drug smugglers lined up as suspects. Under the guise of a murder mystery dinner party, reluctantly hosted by Ethelred, Elsie hopes to goad the murderer into a confession . . .

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Herring in the Smoke

Roger Norton Vane is dead. After twenty years of wild speculation following his disappearance, his death is to be made official and somebody will inherit his accumulated wealth. Ethelred Tressider, crime writer and Vane’s biographer, attends the memorial service, but he doesn’t expect to find himself talking to Vane himself, apparently returned from the dead. Chaos ensues and it becomes clear that many people wish the man calling himself Vane had stayed dead, and that his anecdotes had died with him . . . With dubious help from his redoubtable literary agent Elsie Thirkettle, Ethelred is drawn into an increasingly bloody mystery where all that’s clear is that someone has done a serious hatchet job on Vane.


The Maltese Herring

Dr Hilary Joyner is neither well liked nor well respected among his academic peers. However, he believes his next project will bring him the recognition he deserves. He is working to uncover the truth behind the ‘buried treasure story’, a local Sussex legend involving an invaluable golden statue, fabled to be hidden among the religious houses in the county. Although his latest book deadline is looming, Ethelred Tressider unwittingly finds himself hosting both the academic and his own redoubtable literary agent, Elsie Thirkettle, for the weekend. The three soon find themselves part of a hunt for the missing figure, but it isn’t long before Joyner’s research comes to an abrupt end with his death. Ethelred and Elsie must piece together the clues of the past to solve the mystery in the present – if they can avoid the distractions of chocolate and feminine wiles for long enough, that is.

Farewell My Herring

Ethelred Tressider and his agent Elsie Thirkettle have been invited to lecture on a creative writing course at Fell Hall, a remote location in the heart of ragged countryside that even sheep are keen to shun. While Ethelred’s success as a writer is distinctly average, Elsie sees this as an opportunity to scout for new, hopefully more lucrative, talent. But heavy snow falls overnight, trapping those early arrivals inside, and tensions are quick to emerge between the assembled group.

When one of their number goes missing, Ethelred leads a search party and makes a gruesome discovery. With no phone signal and no hope of summoning the police, can Ethelred and Elsie identify the killer among them before one of them is next?

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