The first John Grey historical mysteryThe theatres are padlocked.
Christmas has been cancelled.
It is 1657 and the unloved English Republic is eight years old. Though Cromwell's joyless grip on 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 a restoration. For the officers of the Republic, constant vigilance is needed. So, when the bloody corpse of a Royalist spy is discovered on the dung heap of a small Essex village, why is the local magistrate so reluctant to investigate? John Grey, a young lawyer with no clients, finds himself alone in believing that the murdered man deserves justice. Grey is drawn into a vortex of plot and counter-plot and into the all-encompassing web of intrigue spun by Cromwell's own spy-master, John Thurloe. So when nothing is what is seems, can Grey trust anyone?'Tyler juggles his characters, story wit and clever one liners with perfect balance' - The Times'A cracking pace, lively dialogue, wickedly witty one-liners salted with sophistication . . . Why would we not want more of John Grey?' - The Bookbag
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?
Last seen boarding a plane which exploded mid-flight, crime writer Ethelred 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.Elsie's prime suspect is the obnoxious Herbie Proctor, whose reasons for being at the hotel at all are unclear, but who seems to be investigating Elsie while she investigates him. 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 . . .
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, including Geraldine's sister, bank manager and former partner, Rupert. Geraldine was a woman with debts. Soon the nosy, chocoloate-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.
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. Herring on the Nile is an ingenious mystery, and a darkly funny tribute to Agatha Christie and the golden age of crime fiction.
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, half way 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 has 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 account be trusted?