Murder she wrote... Harpenden crime writer back for another killing

Author Carol Hedges with her latest book.

Author Carol Hedges with her latest book. - Credit: Archant

A love of Victorian literature lies behind the latest outing for two Scotland Yard detectives by prolific Harpenden author Carol Hedges.

Author Carol Hedges with her latest book.

Author Carol Hedges with her latest book. - Credit: Archant

Murder & Mayhem is the fourth in her Victorian murder/mystery series which started in 2013 with Diamonds & Dust featuring Det Insp Leo Stride and his deputy Det Sgt Jack Cully in 1860s London.

Where it differs from its predecessors however is that Carol, who is also an environmental campaigner in her home town, has published Murder & Mayhem under her own imprint, Little G Books.

All four books in the series focus on Victorian London which Carol puts down to her love of Victorian literature which she studied at university. She admits to being inspired by its good plots and great characters as well as the social history of the time.

She is fascinated by the big divide in society which is as rife today as it was in Victorian times. She said:“It is very very easy to see the correlation between then and now.”

Murder & Mayhem finds London in the grip of railway mania and focuses on the gruesome discovery of several infant corpses in an abandoned house - a clear indication of baby farming.

Meanwhile two school friends, Letitia and Daisy, are on the threshold of womanhood, one longing for marriage and the other craving entry to higher education.

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Their hopes are in sharp contrast to the horror that Bow Street Police Office is tackling and all the events take place as Parliament is threatened by anarchists.

Carol’s novels are plot-driven with social history woven into them. She is currently producing one a year, carrying out research around the old Victorian buildings in London and writing for about four hours a day to produce a first draft.

Unsurprisingly, her fifth novel in the series, Rhyme & Reason, is already finished and due for publication next year and she does not rule out writing a sixth.

Carol first came to prominence as a writer of teenage fiction including her much-acclaimed Spy Girl series which are being re-released next year by Accent Press. But she does not see herself returning to that genre - she regards children’s writing, currently so dominated by celebrities, as a difficult field compared with her ‘niche pastiche Victorian market’.

Her Victorian murder/mystery titles, she said, had been referred to as ‘Terry Pratchett meets Charles Dickens’, a description she is clearly delighted about.

Carol’s decision to set up her own imprint - Little G is named after her granddaughter - was taken because she wanted to reclaim control of her novels. So far it has proved remarkably successful with over 12 five star reviews for Murder & Mayhem as well as blog reviews.

Murder & Mayhem is available as an ebook and in print from Amazon.