THE JOHN GREY SERIES
The John Grey historical mystery series is set in the 1650s and 1660s. It features lawyer and spy, John Grey, and his childhood friend and accomplice (in various capacities) Aminta Clifford. "Fire", the fourth book in the series, was shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger.
A Cruel Necessity (John Grey #1)
Summer 1657 - The theatres are padlocked. Christmas has been cancelled. The unloved English Republic is eight years old. Though Cromwell's joyless grip n power appears immovable,many still look to Charles Stuart's dissolute and threadbare court-in-exile and some are prepared to risk their lives plotting restoration. When the bloody corpse of a royalist spy is found on the dungheap of a small Essex village, why is the local magistarte so reluctant to investigate? John Grey, a young lawyer with no clients finds himself alone in believing that the murdered man deserves justice.
A Masterpiece of Corruption
(John Grey #2)
It is December 1657.
John Grey, at his cramped desk in Lincoln's Inn, is attempting to resume his legal career. A mysterious message from a 'Mr SK' tempts him out into the snowy streets of London and to what he believes will be a harmless diversion from his studies.
But Mr SK's letter proves to have been intended for somebody else entirely and Grey unwittingly finds himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate the Lord Protector - a plot about which he now knows more than it is safe to know. Can he both prevent the murder and (of greater immediate relevance) save his own skin? Both the Sealed Knot and Cromwell's Secretary of State, John Thurloe believe he is on their side, but he is unsure that either is on his. As somebody is kind enough to point out to him: 'You are a brave man, Grey. The life of a double agent can be exciting but very short.'
The Plague Road
1665, and the Great Plague has London in its grip. Where better, then, to hide a murdered man than among the corpses on their way to the Plague pit?
When a supposed Plague victim is found with a knife in his back, John Grey, now a successful lawyer, is called in to investigate. The dead man was known to be carrying a compromising letter from the Duke of York to the French ambassador. Now the letter has vanished and Secretary of State Lord Arlington wants it.
But Arlington is not the only one trying to recover the letter. Somebody has killed once trying to obtain it - and is prepared to kill again. Grey must set off on a journey through Plague-ravaged England to fulfil his commission and keep himself safe from his enemies - if the Plague doesn't get him first...
Fire (John Grey #4)
1666. London has been destroyed by fire and its citizens are looking for somebody, preferable foreign, to blame. Only the royal Court, with its strong Catholic sympathies, is trying to dampen down the post-conflaguration hysteria. Then, inconveniently, a Frenchman admits to having started it together with an accomplice, whom he says he has subsequently killed.
John Grey is tasked by Secretary of State, Lord Arlington, with proving conclusively that the self-confessed fire-raiser is lying. Though Grey agrees with Arlington that the Frenchman must be mad, he is increasingly perplexed at how much he knows. And a body has been discovered that appears in every way to match the description of the dead accomplice.
Grey's investigations take him and his companion, Aminta, into the dangerous and still smoking ruins of the old City. And somebody out there - somebody at the very centre of power in England - would prefer it if they didn't live long enough to conclude their work...
The Bleak Midwinter (John Grey #5)
1668. John Grey is now a Justice of the Peace, living in the manor house he has inherited on his mother's death and married to Aminta.
As the village is cut off from the rest of the world by a heavy snowfall, George Barwell is discovered dead in the woods. Grey is called to examine the horribly disfigured body amidst the rumours that the attack has been the work of the Devil as the victim had been cursed by reputed witch Alice Mardike just days before his violent death.
As Barwell's father-in-law leads the villagers into kidnapping Alice and throwing her into the millpond to see if she floats as a witch or drowns as an innocent woman, Grey agrees to investigate the murder: his main suspect is the very man leading the witch hunt.
But if Grey can't solve the mystery of George Barwell's death within a week, Mardike will be tried for witchcraft - and the sentence has already been decided . . .