The joy of finding a new author

So, you know how it is. You’re all readers. You get it. That delightful thrill, that frisson of sheer pleasure, when you stumble across a new author whose books hit that sweet reading spot. It happened to me in York, in the lovely Waterstones store in Coney Street. Glenda Larke and I were there signing our stock for them and I, of course, couldn’t leave without a quick squizz at the shelves. Crime, this time. I love crime and mystery as much as spec fic. Grabbed a title and author I didn’t recognise, opened to the first page, and found this:

Between the parishes of Shetfold and Marslake in Somerset existed an area of no man’s land and a lot of ill feeling.

Boom! Sold. The book is The Assassin’s Prayer, by Ariana Franklin. It’s historical mystery, set in the time of Henry II. As it happens, this is the fourth book in the series. As a rule I don’t like reading series out of order but I was enchanted by that first line and needing something new, so I bought it. I’m so glad I did. I now have the first three books as well, and am halfway through book one, Mistress of the Art of Death.

The series’ protagonist is one Adelia Aguilar, a woman doctor trained in the enlightened medical school of Salerno. Think of her as the medieval world’s answer to Kay Scarpetta. Adelia solves murders forensically while fighting the extreme misogyny and superstition of the medieval church. She’s a wonderful hero: brave and ethical and witty and stubborn.

If you like murder mysteries, especially the historical kind, I can’t recommend these books highly enough. The research is impeccable and seamlessly woven into the narrative. It’s world-building of the highest order – aspiring novelists take note!

So there you have it. Two thumbs up for this amazing crime series. Go forth and read! And let me know what you think.

4 thoughts on “The joy of finding a new author

    • One of the great frustrations of my life at the moment is the fact that I’m doing so much research reading, and so much writing, it means my pleasure reading has taken a serious hit. I couldn’t tell you the last time (before this UK trip, and running from bookshop to bookshop) when I simply browsed shelves looking for something new. At home I’m far more likely to drag one of my comfy slipper books off the shelf to tip me into dreamland once I’ve gone to bed.

      I really miss it. And it excites me so much to find a great new writer (to me) and share that excitement with other readers. Guess I never got over being a bookseller!

      • Agreed, it does happen too rarely. I’ve become a bit complacent and simply buy a kindle version whenever a favourite author has a new book out. My “discovery” only happens in the sense that I am following a few booktube youtubers and will check out their recommendations.
        Going to bookstores is something I only do when I’m on vacation, come to think of it.

      • It’s the price of living in a fast paced world, I’m afraid. But for me there’s nothing like browsing the shelves in a real shop and making an exciting discovery.

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