The First Murder
A Historical Mystery by the Medieval Murderers
When, in 1154, the first performance of The Play of Adam at Oseney Priory ends in tragedy, the playwright issues a grim warning for generations to come: 'beware the sins of envy and vainglory, else foul murder ends your story'. In four acts, a prologue and an epilogue, the Medieval Murderers trace Prior Wigod's curse, from medieval Oxfordshire to Surrey, 1944.
Elizabeth Taylor: Three Novels
Memorably described by fellow novelist Paul Bailey as 'reports from the chintz-bedecked battlefields', the novels of Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) are subtle, sophisticated portraits of English domestic life, its cruelties and its inadvertent comedy. Our three are A View of the Harbour (1947), set in a small coastal community; Angel (1957), the life of a writer of very bad novels; and Taylor's penultimate book, Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1971). With introductions by Sarah Waters, Hilary Mantel and Paul Bailey.
Jonathan Coe: Three Novels
This set of three novels by the award-winning author of What a Carve Up! comprises his first book, The Accidental Woman (1987); The Dwarves of Death (1990), in which a small-time rock-band musician becomes embroiled in a murder mystery; and Coe's funny and painfully honest story of boys growing up in the 1970s, The Rotters' Club (2001).
The Many Lives of Amory Clay
William Boyd's novel tells the life story of Amory Clay, whose career as a photographer starts in 1920s London and Berlin, moves to New York in the 1930s, through the Second World War as a war photographer, then on to other wars, lovers, husbands and children.
One of the best-loved adventure stories ever written, here is Stevenson's tale of pirates, lost treasure maps, mutiny and derring-do, in a reprint of the first-edition text (1883). This edition from the Adlard Coles Maritime Classics series has a biographical note on Stevenson and foreword by the actor Mackenzie Crook.
Theodore Boone: The Activist
Theodore Boone, the 13-year-old lawyer, is campaigning to stop his friend's house being bulldozed to make way for a bypass; but things become complicated when he stumbles upon a terrible secret about the corrupt developers - a secret it is illegal for him to know. Age 9+
3Before the History You Know... A Novel of Louis XIV
Set in the French court at Fontainebleau, Karleen Koen's meticulously researched novel imagines the young Louis XIV in 1661, about to take control of France on the death of Cardinal Mazarin, and falling in love with the wrong woman.
An Englishman in Madrid
This prize-winning novel sees art historian Anthony Whitelands in Madrid in the run-up to the civil war, where he discovers a priceless painting but finds himself adrift in an increasingly complicated plot involving the Spanish authorities, Soviet spies, the Nationalist movement and a duke's beautiful daughter.
In Paris in August 1918, Captain Alan Clinton spent the night with a young Frenchwoman and disclosed British military secrets: 17 years later his indiscretion has disastrous consequences. First published in 1936, Horler's spy novel is now part of the British Library's Classic Thrillers series.
Trouble on the Thames
Newly colour-blind, Owen Bradwell believes his naval career is over. But as Hitler's Germany threatens, he is assigned a special mission: to spy on a spy over a fishing weekend. First published in 1945, this vintage, twist-filled thriller was written by a prolific and unduly forgotten author.
The Grantchester Mysteries
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death
A popular ITV adaptation has brought vicar and part-time detective Sidney Chambers to our TV screens. He investigates six cases in this anthology of short stories including the apparent suicide of a solicitor, a jewellery theft on New Year's Eve and a shocking art forgery.
Set in Victorian London, where a young artists' model, Eliza Dunlop, meets the illusionist Hector Crumhall, aka Devil Wix, and his companions at the run-down Palmyra Theatre, this is the story of one woman and four men and the dark threads that entangle them. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge and slightly off-mint.
Echo's Bones was originally intended as an end-piece for More Pricks Than Kicks (1934); but although the publisher had requested the extra story, it was declared 'a nightmare' and remained unpublished. The story of Belacqua's resurrection in all its brilliant improbability is here edited, introduced and annotated by Mark Nixon.
Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Young Couples
with Sketches of Young Ladies by Edward Caswall
Following the success of Sketches by Boz, Dickens wrote these two short collections of 'sketches' anonymously; while Sketches of Young Ladies was written by 'Quiz', posthumously revealed to be Edward Caswall. They are reprinted here with the original illustrations by Phiz and an introduction by Paul Schlicke.
The Factory on the Cliff
After dislocating his thumb, the remaining fortnight of George Templeton's golfing holiday in Aberdeenshire was looking bleak; but when he stumbles upon suspicious goings-on at a cliff-top farmstead, things become rather too interesting. This early thriller of Macdonell's dates from 1928.
The Master of Ballantrae and Weir of Hermiston
Introduced by John Burnside, these are two fast-paced, gripping tales from Stevenson: The Master of Ballantrae is a story of bitter fraternal hatred, piracy, political intrigue and buried treasure. Weir of Hermiston, set in Scotland during the Napoleonic Wars, finds the romantic Archie Weir dangerously at odds with his formidable father Lord Hermiston.
Part of His Life
An under-rated classic of Scottish literature, this novel follows the life of Andy Walker, a farm labourer whose quick temper and callous attitude to women land him in constant trouble. The book's realistic depiction of life for the rural poor in south-west Scotland caused a furore when it first appeared in 1939. Edited, with an introduction and notes by the author's son, Andrew McNeillie.
The Christmas Books, Ghost Stories and Other Tales
Beginning with the most famous of all, A Christmas Carol, this great omnibus edition contains Dickens's five Christmas books (the others are The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man), along with 14 ghost stories and a collection of 37 other tales and early 'sketches'. The stories are reprinted with their original magazine illustrations and bound in gold-embossed red linen. No jacket.
Field of Honour
A country lad on the streets of Barcelona in the months leading up to the Spanish Civil War, Rafael Lopez Serrador encounters the conflicts and ideals of revolutionaries and rogues that inform and echo his own troubled coming-of-age. First published in 1943, this is the first, self-contained novel in Max Aub's celebrated six-part epic of the Spanish Civil War, The Magic Labyrinth. Translated by Gerald Martin, with an introduction by Ronald Fraser.
Tales From Shakespeare
Charles and Mary Lamb produced their Tales From Shakespeare in the early 1800s and it remains one of the most enjoyable introductions to Shakespeare's plays for young readers and an easy reference for adults. This fine hardback edition presents 20 tales, covering all the most popular plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet, without the authors' preface, but with the addition of 50 colour plates by various artists including Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and W Heath Robinson. No jacket.
Return of the Thin Man
After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man
Following the success of MGM's film adaptation of his novel The Thin Man in 1934, Dashiell Hammett wrote the two novellas published here as screen stories for sequels. After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man continue the exploits of ex- detective Nick Charles and his wife Nora, with knife-edge dialogue and hairpin plot twists. Edited, with introductions, by Richard Layman and Julie M Rivett.
One of the best-loved adventure stories ever written, here is Stevenson's tale of pirates, lost treasure maps, mutiny and derring- do, in a reprint of the first edition text (1883). This Oneworld Classics edition includes a short biography of Stevenson and his own essay on Treasure Island, 'My First Book'.