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Paul Doherty Locked Room


DohertyPaul C. Doherty OBE (born 1946) is an award-winning English author, educator, lecturer and historian. He is also the Headmaster of Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex, in the United Kingdom. Doherty is a prolific writer, has produced dozens of historical novels and a number of nonfiction history books, and is an Alexander the Great scholar.

Doherty was born in 1946 and spent his early years in Middlesbrough. After A-levels, he went to Ushaw College, Durham for three years to study for the Catholic priesthood, which he did not pursue. He attended Liverpool University where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in History and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he received a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II. Doherty is a historian who lectures for a number of organisations, particularly on historical mysteries. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to education in 2011.

His other career is that of Headmaster at Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex for 30 years. In 1999, the school was given Beacon status. A February 2006 Ofsted report declared the school Grade 1, “outstanding”. A February 2009 Ofsted report again rated the overall effectiveness of the school as Grade 1, “outstanding” and also again in 2015 the school received “outstanding” .

Doherty has published several series of historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages, Classical, Greek, Ancient Egyptian and other periods. He writes both fiction and non-fiction under his own name, both as P.C. Doherty and Paul C. Doherty, as well as under the pennames Anna Apostolou, Michael Clynes, Ann Dukthas, C. L. Grace, Paul Harding, and Vanessa Alexander.

His works include The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan, the Hugh Corbett medieval mysteries, and the Canterbury Tales of Mystery and Murder. He has written 100 published books which have been printed in multiple languages and published around much of the world.

In 1998 Paul Doherty was included in the Times “Murder They Write: 100 masters of crime” list published as a supplement to the Times on 18 April 1998. The list, compiled by book critics and authors, included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.

He was awarded the Herodotus Award, for lifelong achievement for excellence in the writing of historical mysteries by the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society. ‘Treason of the Ghosts’ was named one of The Times’ Best of this year’s crime novels in 2000.

The UK Channel Five documentary, “The Secret Life of Elizabeth I” (2006), was based on his book of the same title. It explored Doherty’s theory that Elizabeth I may have had a secret love child. The documentary received mixed reviews. The Daily Mail summarised the evidence, concluding “the truth about Elizabeth’s romantic life and possible parenthood will continue to fascinate generations to come.”

He recently appeared in a National Geographic Channel documentary, “Secrets of the Virgin Queen”. The documentary examines some controversial theories as to why Elizabeth never married (2011).

Edited from Wikipedia


Hugh Corbett Locked Room Novels – 13th C England


satan marySatan in St Mary’s (1986) #1
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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****

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Note: Introducing Hugh Corbett!

1284 and Edward I is battling a traitorous movement founded by the late Simon de Montfort, the rebel who lost his life at the Battle of Evesham in 1258. The Pentangle, the movement’s underground society whose members are known to practice the black arts, is thought to be behind the apparent suicide of Lawrence Duket, one of the King’s loyal subjects, in revenge for Duket’s murder of one of their supporters. The King, deeply suspicious of the affair, orders his wily Chancellor, Burnell, to look into the matter. Burnell chooses a sharp and clever clerk from the Court of King’s Bench, Hugh Corbett, to conduct the investigation. Corbett – together with his manservant, Ranulf, late of Newgate – is swiftly drawn into the tangled politics and dark and dangerous underworld of medieval London.


angel deathThe Angel of Death (1989) #4
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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****

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Note: Death in the middle of mass?

In 1298, Edward I of England invaded Scotland and brutally sacked the town of Berwick, razing to the ground the Red House of the Flemings who had permission to trade there. He little knew his action would have far-reaching repercussions. A year later, Edward convokes a great assembly of the realm in St Paul’s Cathedral. They are to hear Mass after which the main celebrant, Walter de Montfort, has been delegated to lecture the King on not taxing the Church. During the Mass, de Montfort dies a sudden and violent death. Hugh Corbett, the King’s clerk, is given the task of solving the mystery and tracking down the murderer. Against the background of Edward’s struggle to maintain himself, both at home and aborad, Corbett’s investigations become tortuous and laced with danger…


assassin greenwoodThe Assassin in the Greenwood (1993) #7
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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Note: Robin Hood!

In the summer of 1302 the famous Robin of Locksley, popularly known as Robin Hood, has gone back to his outlaw ways in Sherwood Forest where he battles against royal authority, culminating in the barborous massacre of royal tax collectors and the mysterious murder of Sir Eustace Vechey, one of the sheriffs of Nottingham.


corpse candleCorpse Candle (2001) #13
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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Note: Ghost riders?

The brothers of the abbey of St Martin’s-in-the-Marsh pay little heed to the tales of robber baron Sir Geoffrey Mandeville’s ghost galloping through the Lincolnshire fens with a retinue of ghastly horseman. They may hear the shrill blast of a hunting horn, or see the corpse candles glowing in the dark, but their comfortable life is protected by a high wall and their powerful abbot. Until Abbot Stephen, a friend of the King, is found dead and Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the King’s Seal, arrives to investigate.


waxman murdersThe Waxman Murders (2006) #15
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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****

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Note: Secrets of The Cloister Map!

October, 1300. War cog “The Waxman” is bound for Orwell. Its master, Adam Blackstock, is taking an ancient manuscript, “The Cloister Map”, to be deciphered by his brother. But Blackstock is slaughtered when ships flying the colours of the Hanseatic League overrun the cog. Three years later, Wilhelm Von Paulents, a representative of the League, arrives in Canterbury, in possession of “The Cloister Map”. Sir Hugh Corbett is sent by the king to negotiate for ownership. But less than 24 hours after their arrival, Von Paulents and his entire family are found dead in their house, all of them hanged, despite no sign of a struggle. It falls to Corbett to investigate and as he once again enters the world of shadows, he soon finds his own life under threat..


nightshade PDNightshade (2008) #16
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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****

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Note: A Templar massacre!

January 1304 and Hugh Corbett, devoted emissary of King Edward I, has been charged with yet another dangerous mission. Scrope, an unscrupulous manor lord, has reneged on his promise to hand over a priceless ornate cross he stole from the Templars during the Crusades. Furthermore, he has massacred as heretics fourteen members of a religious order, whose corpses now hang in the woods near Mistleham in Essex. The King, determined to restore order, sends Corbett to Mistleham in his stead. But as Corbett reaches the troubled village, it becomes obvious that the situation has worsened. A mysterious bowman has appeared, killing townspeople at random. Is one of the Brethren responsible, or have the Templars arrived to wreak revenge? Can Corbett restore Mistleham to peace, and return the treasure to the King, before further blood is shed?


mysterium PDThe Mysterium (2010) #17
Author: P.C. Doherty
Detective: Hugh Corbett

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****

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Note: A deadly assassin stalks London!

In Paul Doherty’s brilliant new novel, will Hugh Corbett find the deadly assassin stalking London’s streets? February 1304, and London is in crisis. A succession of brutal murders shocks the city as it comes to terms with the fall from power of Walter Evesham, Chief Justice in the Court of the King’s Bench. Accused of bribery and corruption, Evesham has sought sanctuary to atone for his sins. When Evesham is discovered dead in his cell at the Abbey of Sion though, it appears that the Mysterium, a cunning killer brought to justice by Evesham, has returned to wreak havoc. Sir Hugh Corbett is ordered to investigate the murder. Has the Mysterium returned or is another killer imitating his brutal methods? As Corbett traces the ancient sins that hold the key to discovering the murderer’s identity he must face his most cunning foe yet.


Brother Athelstan Locked Room Mysteries


nightingale galleryThe Nightingale Gallery (1991) #1 
Author: as Paul Harding
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: Intrigue in the court of Richard II

It is 1376, and the famed Black Prince has died of a terrible rotting sickness, closely followed by his father, King Edward III. The crown of England is now left in the hands of a mere boy – the future Richard II – and the great nobles have gathered like hungry wolves around the empty throne. A terrible power struggle threatens the country, and one of London’s powerful merchant princes is foully murdered within a few days of Edward’s death. Coroner Sir John Cranston and Dominican monk Brother Athelstan are ordered to investigate, and the body count begins to rise, Cranston and Athelstan are drawn ever deeper into a dark web of intrigue.


red slayerThe House Of The Red Slayer (1992) #2 
Author: as Paul Harding
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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*****

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Note: Murder in The Tower of London!

December, 1377. A great frost has London in its icy grip; even the Thames is frozen bank to bank. The Constable of the Tower of London, Sir Ralph Witton, is found murdered in a cold, bleak chamber in the North Bastion. The door is still locked from the inside and guarded by trusted retainers. So how did the assassins slip across a frozen moat to climb the sheer wall to commit such a dreadful crime? Appointed to investigate, Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston soon discover that Sir Ralph’s murder is only the first in a series of macabre killings which have their roots in a terrible act of betrayal committed many years previously.


murder holyMurder Most Holy (1992) #3
Author: as Paul Harding
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: Terror in a locked chamber!

Summer, 1379. Sir John Cranston, coroner of the city of London, is trapped into a wager with Signor Gian Galeazzo, Lord of Cremona, when challenged to resolve a certain murder mystery within two weeks. Men have been found dead in the scarlet chamber of one of Cremona’s manors. They have no mark upon them; they have neither drunk nor eaten poison; there are no secret passageways or entrances to the room. And they all have an awful expression of terror upon their faces. Realising his reputation and future wealth rest upon the solving of this mystery, Cranston seeks the help of his faithful secretarius, Brother Athelstan.


murders lightBy Murder’s Bright Light (1994) #5
Author: as Paul Harding
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: An ill omened warship!

It is the winter of 1379 and a sea of trouble is besetting England as French privateers continue to attack the southern coast on a path to threaten London itself. In response an English flotilla of warships, with God’s Bright Light in its number, has dropped anchor in the Thames. When the sun rises on the flotilla’s first morning, the first mate and two of the crew of God’s Bright Light have disappeared without a trace. Sir John Cranston – the wine-loving Coroner of the City – and his clerk Brother Athelstan are summoned to resolve the mysteries on board the ill-omened warship. In particular, they must search out the truth behind the death of Sir Henry Ospring, who after visiting the ship’s captain was later viciously stabbed to death in a tavern chamber. As Cranston and Brother Athelstan investigate, they find themselves in the thick of a bloody battle as scandal, treason, and murder rule the day.


assassins riddleThe Assassin’s Riddle (1996) #7
Author: as Paul Harding
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: Murder by crossbow in a locked strongroom!

It’s the summer of 1380 and the corpse of Edwin Chapler, clerk of the Office of the Green Wax of the Chancery, has been pulled from the Thames.

Chapler has drowned, but not before he received a vicious blow to the back of the head. Then Bartholomew Drayton, a usurer and money-lender, is found dead in his strongroom, a crossbow firmly embedded in his chest: a real mystery because the windowless strongroom was locked and barred from the inside. So who killed him; And how; And are the two deaths connected; Sir John Cranston, the Coroner of the City of London, comes to survey the scene. When other clerks are murdered, each with a riddle pinned to his corpse, Cranston enlists the help of his secretarius, Brother Athelstan; and together they must pit their wits against a deadly adversary bent on murder and mayhem.


devils domainThe Devil’s Domain (1998) #8
Author: as Paul Harding
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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***

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Note: A French prisoner murdered in a locked cell!

In the summer of 1380 a French captain is murdered in Hawkmere Manor – a lonely, gloomy dwelling place, otherwise known as the ‘Devil’s Domain’, which is used by Regent John of Gaunt to house French prisoners captured during the bloody battles waged between the French and the English on the Narrow Seas. Sir John Cranston and Brother Athelstan are summoned to investigate the mysterious death but their path is riddled with obstacles. How could the murderer have entered the Frenchman’s chamber when the room was locked from within? Their aide, Sir Maurice Maltravers, is more of a hindrance than a help, as he faces the misery of heartbreak. Lady Angelica, the woman he intended to marry, has been whisked away to a convent by her tyrannical and disapproving father. It soon becomes apparent that only when the lovers are reunited will any progress be made in the murder investigation…


bloodstone PDBloodstone (2011) #11
Author: as Paul Doherty
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: Impossible murder and robbery!

December, 1380. When the corpse of Sir Robert Kilverby is discovered in a locked room, Brother Athelstan accompanies the King’s coroner to investigate. For Sir Robert had in his possession a priceless relic, a sacred bloodstone, which has now disappeared. Did Sir Robert die of natural causes or was he murdered? Athelstan is sceptical of rumours of a curse hanging over Sir Robert, but when it is discovered that a second old soldier has been gruesomely slain on the same night, the rumours no longer seem so far-fetched.


straw menThe Straw Men (2012) #12
Author: as Paul Doherty
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: Two beheadings on stage!

January, 1381. Guests of the Regent, John of Gaunt, Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston have been attending a mystery play performed by the Straw Men, Gaunt’s personal acting troupe, when the evening’s entertainment is rudely interrupted by the sudden, violent deaths of two of Gaunt’s VIP guests, their severed heads left on stage. The Regent orders Athelstan to find out who committed such a heinous act, leading Athelstan to tackle his most baffling case yet.


candle flameCandle Flame (2014) #13
Author: as Paul Doherty
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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*****

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Note: Beowulf stalks John of Gaunt!

February, 1381. London lies frozen in the grip of one of the bitterest winters on record. The ever-rising taxes demanded by the Regent, John of Gaunt, are causing increasing resentment among the city’s poor. When the seething unrest boils over into a bloody massacre at a splendid Southwark tavern, The Candle Flame, in which nine people, including Gaunt’s tax collectors, their military escort and the prostitutes entertaining them, are brutally murdered, the furious Regent orders Brother Athelstan to get to the bottom of the matter.

For not only has Gaunt’s treasure trove been stolen, he has reason to believe a French spy is active along the Thames, carefully recording for his masters in the Louvre the state of English war cogs. And a professional assassin, Beowulf, who has sworn vengeance against Gaunt and his minions, also stalks the shadows. Once again, Athelstan must enter the murky world of murder, where the darkness constantly shifts and no one is who or what they seem.


herald hellThe Herald of Hell (2016) #15
Author: as Paul Doherty
Detective: Brother Athelstan

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****

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Note: Suicide after a devilish visit?

May, 1381. The Great Revolt draws ever nearer. The Upright Men openly roam the streets of London, waiting for the violence to begin. Their mysterious envoy, the Herald of Hell, appears at night all over the city, striking terror into the hearts of those who oppose them. But who is he?

When his chancery clerk is found hanged in a notorious Southwark brothel, the ruthless Thibault, John of Gaunt’s Master of Secrets, summons Brother Athelstan to investigate. Did Amaury Whitfield really kill himself following a visit from the terrifying Herald of Hell? Athelstan is unconvinced.


The Egyptian Mysteries Locked Room


anubis slayingsThe Anubis Slayings (2000) #3
Author: Paul Doherty
Detective: Amerokte

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****

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Note: Murder in the inner sanctum!

A series of grisly slayings ignite passions in Pharaoh’s Egypt. Is it the work of humans or has the god Anubis himself come to earth intent on sabotaging peace negotiations with the dreaded Mitanni? Only Amerotke, wise and trusted judge of the powerful female Pharaoh, Hatusu, can sort through the tangle of intrigue that surrounds the killings and discover the truth. It began in the temple of Anubis. With the hated but humbled Mitanni camped outside Thebes, preparing to prostrate themselves before Pharaoh, few things could be worse for Egypt’s bargaining position than a series of sensational murders right in the inner sanctum of its most heavily guarded temple. Except perhaps the daring theft of its most cherished national treasure. Or maybe the mysterious deaths of several Mitanni ambassadors who’d been assured Pharaoh’s divine protection . . . Now Amerotke is up to his ears in intrigue. As the body count grows, it becomes apparent that someone-or something-wants his name added to it. But is the jackal-headed god, Anubis, really stalking his enemies? Or is there a logical explanation? It will take all of Amerotke’s powers of reason to find the answer before Egypt’s enemies move the strong and seductive Pharaoh into checkmate. 


poisoner ptahThe Poisoner of Ptah (2007) #6
Author: Paul Doherty
Detective: Amerokte

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****

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Note: The return of the poisoner of Ptah?

At a peace treaty signing between Egypt and Libya in Thebes, three of Egypt`s leading scribes die violently on the Temple forecourt, the victims of a vile poisoning. To add to the mounting unease, a prosperous merchant and his young wife are found drowned. Rumors soon sweep the imperial city. The Poisoner of Ptah has returned. It falls to Amerotke, Chief Judge of the Halls of Two Truths, to investigate these hideous crimes – his hunt for the Poisoner leads him to discover yet more suspicion and potential danger. This story sees the Judge pit his wits against a cunning opponent who seems intent on spreading his death-dealing powders. Amerotke enters the twilight world of glorious Thebes where life can be so rich and yet death so swift and brutal.


spies sobeckThe Spies of Sobeck (2008) #8
Author: Paul Doherty
Detective: Amerokte

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****

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Note: Mass murder at the Necropolis!

Amerotke, Chief Judge of the Hall of Two Truths, is once again summoned to the Imperial Palaceo: Tekreth, Guardian of the Door of Sobeck, has fallen to his death from the roof of his stately mansion. According to all evidence, it was an accident but Pharaoh Queen Hatusu is not convinced. Increasingly worried about reports of mysterious disappearances along the Sobeck Road, the imperial highway stretching south, she believes that Tekreth’s death could be part of a far greater problem. Amerotke, aware of the reports from the Sobeck Road, has also heard rumours about the Shemai, a cult devoted to death, based along its borders. Before Amerotke can start to consider either of these matters though, a gruesome mass murder occurs at the Necropolis. The funeral party for revered scribe, Ptulimis, has been poisoned and Amerotke must immediately investigate the abomination. As Amerotke probes further, he suspects that all these events may be connected and that dangerous forces are at work in Pharaoh Hatusu’s realm. Will Amerotke be able to uncover the truth before Egypt is overrun by its sinister and dangerous underworld?


Other Locked Room Mysteries


white rose PDThe White Rose Mystery (1991)
Author: as Michael Clynes
Detective: Sir Roger Shallot 

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****

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Note: Poisoned in a locked and guarded cell!

In 1517 the English armies have defeated and killed James IV of Scotland at Flodden and James’s widow-queen, Margaret, sister to Henry VIII, has fled to England, leaving her crown under a Council of Regency. Roger Shallot is drawn into a web of mystery and murder by his close friendship with Benjamin Daunbey, the nephew of Cardinal Wolsey, first minister of Henry VIII. Benjamin and Roger are ordered into Margaret’s household to resolve certain mysteries as well as to bring about her restoration to Scotland. They begin by questioning Selkirk, a half-mad physician imprisoned in the Tower. He is subsequently found poisoned in a locked chamber guarded by soldiers. The only clue is a poem of riddles. However, the poem contains the seeds for other gruesome murders. The faceless assassin always leaves a white rose, the mark of Les Blancs Sangliers, a secret society plotting the overthrow of the Tudor monarchy… This novel was previously published under the pseudonym Michael Clynes.


godless manThe Godless Man (2002)
Author: Paul Doherty
Detective: Telamon & Alexander the Great

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****

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Note: A death in the House of Medusa!

Having smashed the armies of the great Darius III, Alexander is roaming through the Persian Empire, living up to his reputation as ” the Wolf of Macedon”. Arriving at Ephesus, the success of his campaign is suddenly threatened by a series of violent murders carried out by a Persian spy known as ” the Centaur”. Then Alexander’s old tutor Leonidas is found in a stagnant pool in the House of Medusa – a place linked to a guild of assassins. Once again, Telemon, the king’s friend and physician, must set about unravelling a swirling mass of mystery, working hand in hand with Alexander’s eerie Master of Secrets whilst coping with the unpredictable nature of Alexander himself.


immortal maskMurder’s Immortal Mask (2008)
Author: Paul Doherty
Detective: Claudia in Ancient Rome

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****

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Note: The return of The Nefandus?

When two prostitutes are found with their bodies ripped open and their right eyes gouged out, it is widely feared that a notorious killer, the Nefandus, has returned to the streets of Rome. Rumored to be an former imperial officer, he once waged bloody murder amongst Rome’s prostitutes but vanished before his identity could be discovered. Has he reappeared, or is someone working in his guise? Desperate to retain order, the Empress Helena turns to her most trusted agent, Claudia, to discover the truth behind the Nefandus before the city descends further into chaos and confusion.


Author Locked Room Short Stories


historical whodunnitsThe Confession of Brother Athelstan
Detective: Brother Athelstan

Collection: Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunnits, Vol. 1

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Note: Who rigged the joust?

Brother Athelstan accompanies Sir John Cranston, Lady Cranston, and Benedicta to a friendly joust, which turns fatal; they must then determine who tampered with the knights’ equipment.


Paul Doherty Bibliography


Locked Room 101: The Masters


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