Books by Andrew Taylor

THE ASHES OF LONDON by Andrew Taylor
Released: March 28, 2017

"Excellent historical fiction."
As the Great Fire burns the heart of London in 1666, political manipulators and religious fundamentalists struggle behind the scenes for control of the kingdom. Read full book review >
THE SILENT BOY by Andrew Taylor
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A touch of intrigue, a soupçon of espionage, wrapped in tense and suspense-laden mystery."
In Taylor's newest historical crime novel (The Scent of Death, 2014, etc.), Edward Savill, home in London after working for the American Department in New York during the Revolutionary War, must deal with a shocking personal crisis. Read full book review >
THE SCENT OF DEATH by Andrew Taylor
Released: Oct. 14, 2014

"'[A]n not an Englishman any more. He is become quite a different animal' and capable of murder most foul.
In his latest, Taylor (The Anatomy of Ghosts, 2011, etc.) conjures up crime fiction from an unlikely setting—rough-and-tumble New York City during the American Revolution.Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 25, 2011

"Eighteenth-century Cambridge life exquisitely detailed by Taylor, recipient of the Crime Writers Association Cartier Diamond Dagger award (2009)."
University life circa 1786. Read full book review >
Released: March 3, 2009

"A gripping tale whose slow nightmare of terror is made even more resonant by its unimpeachable logic."
Brutality lurks just beneath the surface of 1930s England in this absorbing Gothic mystery from British author Taylor (An Unpardonable Crime, 2004, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

"Very slow-moving, but informative."
A biography of the only mapmaker nonspecialists are likely to have heard of. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2004

"Taylor's creamy prose falters only in one of those mind-numbing wrap-ups that make Conan Doyle a chore."
Ten-year-old Edgar Allan Poe finds criminal doings among arrivistes and aristos in Regency England. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

Taylor completes his unique reverse trilogy, which began in 1995 with The Four Last Things (1997) and traveled back to 1970 with The Judgment of Strangers (1998), in this deceptively quiet cathedral mystery, set in 1957-58, which packs wronged wife Wendy Appleyard to the Dark Hostelry in Rosington, where she licks her wounds at the home of her best friend, Janet Byfield, whose husband David, vice principal at the local theological college, is sedately angling to replace the retiring principal. Working part-time at cataloguing the cathedral library, Wendy becomes fascinated with the dark figure dominating the whole trilogy: Rev. Francis Youlgreave, whose death 50 years earlier hasn't stilled the gossip about his demented poetry, his fondness for mutilating animals, and his scandalous sermon advocating the ordination of women. What became of Simon Martlesham, a boy who ran errands for Youlgreave, and his sister Nancy, who vanished without a trace soon after appearing as an angel (one of several of the creepiest angels imaginable on display here) in a mysterious group photo? Youlgreave's spirit returns with a vengeance in a modern-day murder that looks backward to his own lifetime and forward to the first two chapters of the trilogy. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 19, 1998

Twenty-five years before Michael Appleyard's daughter was kidnapped in The Four Last Things (1997), the pre-teen Michael spent the summer of 1970 visiting his godfather David Byfield, the vicar of Roth. Michael wasn't to know that the events of the summer, David's first with his second wife, publisher Vanessa Forde, would run the gamut from adultery to drug dealing to madness to murder, all evidently presided over by the ghost of the Rev. Francis Youlgreave, the mad poet-priest who communed with dark powers and mutilated animals before he was carried to his grave beneath the vicarage chancel. Writing from the lusty, repressed vicar's point of view, Taylor cloaks all the horrid doings in prose as stately and deliberate as Dorothy Sayers's in The Nine Tailors: —The first time I kissed Joanna was late in the afternoon of Monday, 24th August.— Yet despite portentous foreshadowing out of the Had-I-But-Known school and endless episodes of kissus interruptus, the sense of foul menace mounts to a fine frenzy as David dallies with bored newcomer Joanna Clifford, outraged tearoom historian Audrey Oliphant mourns her beheaded cat, and the villagers punctuate their preparations for the climactic village fete by speculating about what might have happened to village doyenne Lady Youlgreave, mad Francis's horribly dead niece. A superior village mystery that whets the appetite for the promised third volume. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 31, 1997

Veteran Taylor (The Mortal Sickness, 1996, etc.) begins his ``Roth trilogy,'' suspense novels about the Appleyard and Byfield families, with the story of four-year-old Lucy Appleyard's kidnapping out from under the nose of her overburdened minder. Despite the stiff-upper-lip nostrums proffered by Chief Inspector Maxham, Lucy's parents are frantic. Her father Michael, a CID sergeant facing disciplinary charges for striking a suspect, has troubles of his own. And her mother Sally, incoming deacon at St. George's iffy congregation in Kensal Vale, is still smarting under years of opposition to her ordination, first from Michael's imperious godfather, David Byfield, and most recently from Audrey Oliphant, a crazy interloper who interrupted Sally's inaugural sermon with a stream of curses, only to return home and kill herself. The somber atmosphere, awash with intimations of the Four Last Things of Christian eschatology—death, judgment, heaven, and hell—isn't relieved by the revelation that the kidnappers are Eddie Grace, a fragile ex-teacher whose childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and Angel Wharton, the ethereal, hard-as-nails boarder who's kept Eddie effortlessly under her thumb throughout each of their three earlier experiments in child abduction. The constant use of flashbacks piles on the menace while oddly diminishing the immediate peril to Lucy. But it would be unwise to judge such an eschatological fantasy without seeing the design of the whole trilogy. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 15, 1997

More work for the undertaker in the 50-year-old village of Lydmouth, where the cast's memories of the late war are eclipsed this time by the image of a man left dangling from the storied Hanging Tree in nearby Ashbridge. Inspector Richard Thornhill is informed that the corpse is that of Les Carrick, of Moat Farm, but it isn't—it's his twin brother Mervyn, a master at the Ashbridge School. (Is it really Les after all? Or did someone murder Mervyn mistaking him for Les? Time will tell.) Meanwhile, a Peeping Tom has set his prying eyes on higher sights, moving up from boring holes in the ceiling of a public convenience to peering in a window at Larry Jordan, the famous actor visiting the Bull Hotel incognito, to flashing Lydmouth Gazette reporter Jill Francis. In addition, Taylor (The Mortal Sickness, 1996, etc.) presents a properly suspicious Italian hand who just won't leave Moat Farm to return to his own country; decorous hints of adultery, illegitimacy, and blackmail; and an observant sixth- former whose story about seeing the late Mervyn Carrick just before he was killed keeps changing with the moon—in other words, nothing unfamiliar, nothing untoward, and all tossed together with a soothing lack of dramatic urgency, or of tangible clues. Readers who, beguiled by Taylor's understated wit and nostalgic charm, persist to the end will be rewarded for their patience by an unguessable killer. Read full book review >
Released: July 8, 1996

Secrets abound in the postWW II, conventional-seeming lives of the residents of Lydmouth, an English town much centered on its church—St. John's—where the gentle new vicar, Alec Sutton, is at odds with some of his parishioners. The congregation wants the church's 13th-century Lydmouth Chalice, kept locked in the vestry, to be sold for much needed repairs. Sutton has refused to go along, but the question becomes academic when the Chalice is stolen, the thief leaving behind the body of a regular churchgoer, Catherine Kymin, killed by a blow to the head. Jill Francis (An Air That Kills, 1995, not reviewed), a writer for the town's Gazette, is the forerunner of a dozen reporters who arrive to do a piece on the Chalice almost as the body is discovered. Meanwhile, a series of anonymous letters to town and church bigwigs muddies the waters for Inspector Thornhill and Sergeant Brian Kirby. Kirby is already unsettled by his secret affair with Jemima Orepool, the wanton, orphaned niece of church patron Sir Anthony Ruispidge, who's keeping her on a short leash, away from London's fleshpots. Kirby is not her only conquest, as becomes apparent after Jill gets bonked on the head in the barn of the Bull Hotel, and after yet another murder victim is discovered. The author rambles leisurely from one (mostly dysfunctional) relationship to another, dwelling at length on looks, sighs, and touches—revealing the killer early on in a story more given to fine-tuned domestic drama than to suspense. Still, intriguing enough to hold most readers to the finish. Read full book review >
THE PRIVATE NOSE by Andrew Taylor
Released: March 1, 1993

Jack Watson has never heard of Sherlock Holmes until a new girl moves in next door; her name is Saturday Holmes; and since she has a ``nose'' for solving mysteries, she loves practicing her skills as a detective. Becoming (inevitably) this Holmes's sidekick, young Watson helps her solve three mysteries concerning some missing teddy bears and neighborhood ghosts. In his first book for younger readers, Taylor—who writes adult mysteries- -imbues both his characters and his writing style with a quaint, rather old-fashioned charm that is nicely extended in Schongut's appealing pen drawings—which reveal that this is an interracial friendship. Accessible language and the story format make this an equally good choice for reading aloud or for encouraging reluctant readers. (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
BLOOD RELATION by Andrew Taylor
Released: April 1, 1991

A new puzzle for William Dougal low-keyed part-time P.I., part-time book editor who now works for once shady long time friend James Hanbury (an old school tie, etc.), the respectable division head of a huge security business called Custodemus, founded by daughter Victoria to secretly investigate the disappearance of her lover Oz Finwood, a publisher, who was nowhere to be found when she arrived at the cottage they'd borrowed for a week's vacation, although his car and clothes were in place. It's William who discovers Oz's body on the property, victim of an accident, according to police, but Victoria's not satisfied. Unanswered questions multiply as William meets Oz's ex-wife, child and mother- in-law. A con man brother-in-law supposedly living in Turkey lurks in the background, along with a mysterious best-selling author. William doggedly pursues his leads and tries to attain some contentment with his independent girl friend Celia and their baby daughter Eleanor. The story that unfolds is complex but believable; the characters convincingly quirky; the ending ambiguous — overall, neat, liberate and entertaining. Read full book review >