Books by Kate Charles

Now it can be revealed: Kate Charles, who was described by Oxford Times as 'a most English writer', is in fact an expatriate American, though an unashamedly Anglophilic one. The insights she gained while working as parish administrator of her local church


FALSE TONGUES by Kate Charles
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

" Callie has never been more appealing than in this sensitive exploration of love and loss."
A trip to her old college offers deacon Callie Anson (Deep Waters, 2009, etc.) both challenges and opportunities.Read full book review >
DEEP WATERS by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 1, 2009

"The mysteries, though authentic, never overwhelm the domestic dramas that unfold in Charles's Pine Valley-on-the-Thames."
Murder and other traumas once more intrude on the lives of a London curate and her friends in Charles's uniquely small-town version of England's greatest city. Read full book review >
SECRET SINS by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 9, 2007

"A police procedural with a weak mystery, romantic overtones and sympathetic characters who draw you in and set you up for future revelations."
Curate Callie Anderson finds her faith tested after being dumped by her boyfriend. Read full book review >
EVIL INTENT by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"Longtime fans of Charles's parish-oriented mysteries (Evil Angels Among Them, 1995, etc.) and the long-winded ecclesiastical mystery will have ample time to contemplate church protocol and missteps. Others might want to skip out before the sermon is over."
Turmoil in the Church of England. Read full book review >
STRANGE CHILDREN by Kate Charles
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 2001

"Charles, admired for her ecclesiastical mysteries (Evil Angels Among Them, 1995, etc.), tweaks the clergy for their emotional reserve, lays on the psychological suspense and neurotic compulsions, and offers a vade mecum to first-trimester pregnancy. "
When Amanda and Ian ditch their mates and marry, the lovelorn Tessa and Rob solace and wed each other, and plan to live happily ever after—until Tessa decides to become pregnant. Appalled for reasons he won't specify (although he does shout, "You'll be a MOTHER!"), Rob stops sleeping with Tessa and reignites his relation with his ex while his forlorn wife, estranged from her cleric dad and missing her own long-dead mum, tries to establish contact with Rob's mother, Linda. At first furious, Rob agrees to meet Tessa at his parents' home, but by the time they arrive, someone's bashed poor Linda's head in with that staple of the British mystery, a fireplace poker. Although Rob still refuses to discuss why he loathes his mum, and the police seem to be making no headway in her murder, Tessa ferrets around, discovering that Linda may have been a prostitute, a madam, or something even worse. Certainly Linda's chief mourners—a banker, a hospital porter, a copper, a wealthy entrepreneur, and a vicar—all share an embarrassing secret, and blackmail potential. The vicar will be coshed with a sacred antique statue, and Tessa will be pushed down the stairs, before a former coworker and friends from a neonatal clinic save the day, if not Tessa's marriage. Read full book review >
EVIL ANGLES AMONG THEM by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 10, 1996

The fifth in the author's Book of Psalms series (A Dead Man Out of Mind, 1995, etc.). Here, once again, detecting duo London lawyer David Middleton-Brown and artist Lucy Kingsley, his reluctant-to-commit lover, are embroiled with a troubled church congregation. This one is set in the tiny East Anglian village of Walston, where David's old friend Stephen Thorncroft is the recently installed, newly married rector of splendid, ancient St. Michaels and All Angels Church. For Stephen's young wife Becca, honeymoon bliss has been replaced by terror, inspired by a series of obscene phone calls that always occur when she's alone, and so shaming that she's been unable to report them to husband or police. The village is presently abuzz with gossip, fueled by mean-spirited neighbor Enid Bletsoe, about the new owners of Foxglove Cottage- -lesbian couple Gillian English and Louise Sutherland, along with Gillian's little daughter Bryony. There's talk, too, of the newly named Churchwarden—social worker Flora Newall—and of how the vote will go for the proposed expansion of Ingram's meatpacking plant, using Church property. All of this pales when Flora dies of poisoning after drinking tea with Gillian, and rector Stephen calls on David and Lucy for help in proving Gillian's innocence. There's another murder before the pair can both identify the real killer and expose Becca's tormentor. Charles goes to her usual extravagant lengths—with Church history, rituals, and politics; subplots galore and endless cups of tea—but still manages to keep her witches' brew a-bubble. Less might have been more, but English-village fans won't complain. Read full book review >
A DEAD MAN OUT OF MIND by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 9, 1995

Charles, a masterly chronicler of English High Church rites and their practitioners (Appointed to Die, etc.), tackles the odd goings-on at London's paired churches—St. Margaret's and St. Jude's. A bungled robbery at St. Margaret's has left young curate Father Julian Piper dead and pushed Father Keble Smythe, the vicar, into hiring curate Rachel Nightingale to ease his workload—thus infuriating the parish's antiwomen-clerics contingent, headed by vitriolic Dolly Topping. Rachel is no stranger to Emily Neville, wife of Archdeacon Gabriel, who knew her at Cambridge before the tragic car accident that took her daughter's life and left her husband in a long-term coma. Meanwhile, church members Lucy Kingsley and lawyer David Middleton-Brown, who live together, are playing short-term hosts to Lucy's niece Ruth, a teenager from hell who develops a powerful case of hero-worship for Rachel and is devastated when she's killed, in an apparent hit-and-run. Ruth's doubts about the ``accident'' are shared by David, who quietly begins investigating a possible connection to the death of Father Julian, still unsolved; to the recent appearance of a stolen silver chalice in Christie's catalogue; and to the marriage-certification case of his young client Justin Thymme. The incredibly involved murder mystery plays second fiddle to a fascinating array of characters and a close-up look into their crisscrossing, frustrating, intimate lives. Devotees of traditional English village sagas will love this fourth in the series; puzzle fans may be put off by its overcontrived red herringsand overleisurely pace. (Author tour) Read full book review >
APPOINTED TO DIE by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

The news that faithful old Canon Arthur Brydges-ffrench, the stuck-in-the-mud subdeacon of Malbury Cathedral, has been passed over for the deanship in favor of pushy, politically connected Londoner Stuart Latimer sets two novels—well, one and a half—in motion. The first is a disarming comedy of clerical manners in which the cathedral's four canons, their wives, the caddish cathedral architect, the predatory head of the Friends of the Cathedral, the holders of the franchises for the cathedral refectory and gift shop, and the retired schoolmistress still hoping to snare the subdeacon into marriage all scheme endlessly to get the better of the new dean, or, failing that, to get on his good side or bail out. It's so amusing to watch the touchingly venial machinations of the good-hearted Malbury Close regulars that it's a shame when a fatal poisoning—no, it's not the well-hated new dean after all—kicks off the second novel, a whodunit that's shorter, less persuasive, even more amateurish, than the first, as if Charles (The Snares of Death, 1993, etc.) had suddenly remembered that her regular sleuths, artist Lucy Kingsley (whose father is the least devious of the canons) and her lover, solicitor David Middleton-Brown, were waiting with the meter running and nothing to do. About what you'd expect if Trollope decided that what the Barsetshire novels needed to juice them up was a tincture of illicit (albeit well-bred) passion and homicide. Read full book review >
THE SNARES OF DEATH by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Dec. 1, 1993

For two-thirds of the book, obnoxious Evangelical minister Bob Dexter antagonizes his wife, daughter, new parishioners, animal- rights activists, and millionaire Noah Gates of the Gates of Heaven Printing Company, and then, finally, someone picks up part of an altar rail and dispatches him. Artist Lucy Kingsley and her solicitor lover David Middletown-Brown (A Drink of Deadly Wine) rush in to defend Father Stephen Thorncroft, whose prints were found on the murder weapon—and who may have been having an affair with Dexter's daughter. Among their findings: Lucy's ex-husband, art expert Geoffrey Pickering, was sniffing around the church treasures that Dexter was selling off; Gates had disowned his son after Dexter informed him that the lad was a homosexual; handsome Father Mark was having an affair with Dexter's daughter, not Stephen. While ten thousand faithful gather at Walsingham for their annual national pilgrimage, Lucy meets up with the killer, but, David arrives just in time. Wildly improbable character motivation, but vintage village mystery buffs will adore the prissy parish spinsters, the long- suffering vicar's wife and the fortuitously dropped bits of gossip that fuel the sluggish plot. Read full book review >
A DRINK OF DEADLY WINE by Kate Charles
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

A leisurely study of a High Church congregation that, despite its London locale, contains all the stalwarts of the vintage village-mystery—the choirmaster who panders to a wealthy older woman; the lovelorn spinster schoolteacher; the former Wing Commander; several inveterate gossips; a lovely vicar's wife; an eloquent vicar (with a secret); one blackmailer; one thief; and one murderer. Father Gabriel, with a variety of homosexual liaisons before he turned 30 and married Emily, turns to former lover David Middleton-Brown when someone sends him an anonymous letter and insists he resign—and this just when he's in line to be named the Area Archdeacon! David, alas, between polite teas with Lady Constance, the church's grand patroness, and walks in Kensington Gardens with warm, sensitive Lucy, continually guesses wrong, leading to the death of nasty-tongued Mavis at a church fete. Eventually all comes clear, and everyone—save the blackmailer- -survives. An impossibly corny ending, but a pleasant debut nonetheless. Read full book review >