Forced to read Georgette Heyer at school, I avoided historical fiction for years. “Bloodie Bones”, a gritty detective mystery set in 1796, is as far removed from genteel Georgette as James Patterson is from Barbara Cartland. The award-winning story follows Bow Street Runner Dan Foster as he goes undercover to catch a murderer in the Somerset village of Barcombe.
Barcombe is not a happy place. The local squire, Lord Oldfield, has annexed its woodland and is about to take more land away from the villagers. His gamekeeper has been murdered and threats have been made against his life by the mysterious Bloodie Bones. Rumour suggests this is a phantom. Dan Foster, however, doesn’t believe in ghosts – he believes in bringing villains to justice.
As a policeman, Dan has a respectable, middle-class lifestyle, but dark memories underpin it. A former street urchin and bare knuckle fighter, he has known poverty. He is not, therefore, a great fan of Lord Oldfield, who is effectively stealing the villagers’ land from them under the Enclosure Acts. Nevertheless, the lord is acting within the law, and those who kill his gamekeeper and poach his game are not. Dan cannot allow sympathy for the villagers to stop him doing his job. Accordingly, he puts his life as risk – and comes within a whisker of losing it – to bring the culprit to justice.
This is not only a rollicking, twist-filled read, but a slice of social history. Writer Lucienne Boyce explains movingly how the dice were loaded against ordinary working people in the 18th century. Dan Foster is lucky to have escaped the horrors of his upbringing – and, in “Bloodie Bones”, he is lucky to escape with his life.
Take a look at crime thriller “Bloodie Bones” on Amazon – click on the cover to look inside. If you’d like to read some of my own stories, subscribe for my newsletter and I’ll send you a free e-book of short stories.