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Gillian Linscott - Page 1
Gillian Linscott
Blood On The WoodBlood On The Wood
The GardenThe Garden
Dead Man RidingDead Man Riding
The Perfect DaughterThe Perfect Daughter
Absent FriendsAbsent Friends
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About the Author

Paperback - Virago (2003)
Buy at Blood On The Wood
Winner of the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2000 & Winner of the Herodotus Award for the Best International Historical Mystery Novel 2000
Nell Bray is despatched to collect a valuable painting which had been left to the suffragette movement by Philomena Venn. The family of the dead woman reluctantly hand it over, but when Nell delivers it to Christie’s for a valuation it turns out to be a fake.
Shamefacedly, Philomena’s husband admits to deception, but demurs at producing the real article. Against her better judgement Nell agrees to liberate the painting herself, only to find herself caught red-handed together with a corpse …
Two of Gillian Linscott's Nell Bray mysteries have been dramatised on BBC Radio 4 and Absent Friends was the winner of the CWA / Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award.

First British Edition Allison & Busby (2003)
Buy at The Garden
‘My dear, you are smothering me with cherries, ambushing me with andromedas, impaling me on ilex. No wonder the purple beech is weeping. I’m sure it is from sheer bewilderment. Oh my girl of little patience, this is not the way one makes a garden, any more than one makes a picture by squeezing every tube to hand onto canvas. I shall explain when I come.’
Holders Hope, Herefordshire. The roots of a great garden are laid in the long summer of the Edwardian age. Grown from a woman’s desperate need to hold on to beauty, created by a man who plants his love for her, hated by a husband it humiliates and imprisons -the garden grows around a secret it will take almost a century to solve.
For two generations the lives of two families are bound up with the garden. The Allegri family, mine owners with the money to pay for it. The Thomas family, mine workers from the Welsh valleys whose care and skill help to shape it. Three children - an unhappy rich girl, a musician and a boy dreaming of revolution - meet in the garden and share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives.
Over some of the most turbulent years of Britain’s history, through the First World War and the industrial strife and poverty of the 1920s, the garden grows, suffers and is almost destroyed by the conflict of the forces that created it. It waits, lost and overgrown, for a young man from the twenty-first century with his own secret who will finally solve its mystery and bring a hope of its re-birth.

Paperback - Virago (2002)
First British Edition Virago (2002)
Buy at Dead Man Riding
‘Other women tend to be asked about their first kiss. In my case it’s my first murder.’
1900 - The young Nell Bray is doing her best to live up to the standards of conduct demanded of an Oxford woman student. A summer reading party in the company of male undergraduates is something of which the authorities would not approve. But when given the opportunity for a few weeks of fresh air and Greek philosophy in the Lake District along with her best friends, it’s an offer she won’t refuse.
Intellectual pursuits become secondary when they discover a house under siege and their host welcoming them with a shotgun blast. They’d been warned the Old Man was eccentric… but not that he was at war with his neighbours, suspected of killing the local magistrate’s son. Doubting his guilt, Nell has to start her first murder investigation. Inquiries take a more desperate turn when a silver stallion comes galloping out of the mist with a dead man on his back.
In Dead Man Riding, Gillian Linscott transports the reader back to the first summer of the twentieth century and the last of Queen Victoria’s reign: the summer when her celebrated sleuthess left her innocence behind, and discovered the depths that humanity can fall to.

'Linscott writes like a rewarding angel' Sunday Times
'Suffragette sleuthess Nell Bray is a smashing creation' The Times
‘Ms Linscott has created a most likable and believable character in her protagonist, and the period detail, lovingly sketched in, adds an extra gloss to the series’ Irish Times
‘From the opening sentences, it is gripping ... Dead Man Riding offers far more than a well told story ... taking us effortlessly into an alien moral landscape which feels packed with contemporary relevance’ Val McDermid, Express
‘The period sense is well conveyed and Nell (bright, tough and without illusions) is an appealing and believable heroine’ Donna Leon

First British Edition Virago (2000)
Paperback - Virago (2002)
Buy at The Perfect Daughter
Gillian Linscott is Winner of the CWA/Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2000 and
Winner of the Herodotus Award for the Best International Historical Mystery Novel 2000
She was the perfect daughter before you got to her
In her family’s eyes, naval officer’s daughter Verona North was all a girl should be at nineteen - talented, brave and attractive, with the world opening out in front of her. But only a few months after leaving home to study art in London, she is found hanging in the family boathouse in Devon - apparently a suicide.
It seems that the daughter had plunged rapidly into left-wing politics and from respectability to drugs and depravity. Her father Ben has no doubt who’s to blame for that - his cousin the suffragette, Nell. Bray. Nell is sure she’s not responsible, and yet ... A sense of guilt at not paying more attention to Verona sets her on a trail from the Bohemian life of art students in Chelsea to darker and more dangerous places in a world heading for war.
Nell discovers that Verona had even more secrets than expected, and some of them involved people who wouldn’t let girl’s life - or Nell’s either – stand in their way.

Paperback - Virago (1999)
Buy at Absent Friends
It takes Nell to late 1918, when the Vote has been won and Nell is standing as a candidate in the first general election in which women could vote. But somebody has a murderous hatred for politicians and one of the other would-be candidates has been blown to pieces at a firework party before the campaign opens. For her own sake as well as others’, Nell has to find his killer as well as contending with everything a rural constituency can throw at her.
'Another finely constructed and engrossing book ... Nell once again shows her intelligence and fortitude' Sunday Telegraph
‘Just the right mix of period detail, character psychology and suspense’ The Express

About The Author
September 2000 Update
Gillian Linscott has been awarded this year’s CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award for Absent Friends, featuring her suffragette detective, Nell Bray.
Gillian Linscott has written seven other novels featuring Nell Bray: Sister Beneath The Sheet, Hanging On The Wire, Stage Fright, Widow’s Peak, Crown Witness, Dead Man’s Music, Dance On Blood.
She is published by Virago.
Her latest The Perfect Daughter will be published by Virago on 16 November 2000.
Nell Bray On Radio
On 4 November 2000 an adaptation of an earlier Nell Bray novel Stage Fright will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Adapted by Michael Bakewell, directed by Enyd Williams and featuring Susannah Corbett as Nell.
Gillian Linscott is the creator of Nell Bray, a militant suffragette who combines detection with the struggle for the Vote and is first introduced to the reader when newly out of Holloway prison for throwing a half brick through the window of 10 Downing Street. (In Sister Beneath The Sheet.) Nell Bray has been translated into German, Spanish and Italian.
Gillian's own contact with Number Ten has been more decorous. She attended press briefings there while working as a BBC parliamentary reporter for local radio stations. Her earlier journalistic career included seven years as a Guardian reporter. She also worked for the Liverpool Post and the Birmingham Post.
She now writes full time and lives in Herefordshire. Interests: horse riding, hill walking, vegetable growing, politics.
Educated: Maidenhead High School, Somerville College, Oxford.
A note on NELL BRAY - by Nell Bray
"I was born in Liverpool in 1877. My father, Charles Bray, a doctor, was working there at the time. I have a brother, Stuart, my senior by three years. My mother Ida (nee Kellman-McCloud) came from Edinburgh. When I was a child we moved around frequently because my father combined a strong sense of duty with tactlessness on a grand scale - a quality some people say I inherited. He was a rebellious younger son from a family of minor landed gentry and twice stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a radical. He'd recover from his political disappointments by going climbing in the Alps - a taste I share. My mother loved amateur theatricals and caused some scandal by taking part in early productions of Ibsen.
As a child, I wanted to be an actress, later a barrister. It was planned that I should follow my brother to Oxford. The death of my father in a diptheria epidemic when I was 17 prevented this. My mother took to travelling and for several years I had to look after her while we wandered around Europe, usually on unfounded rumours that meals and a roof over our heads would be cheaper in the next country. At least during this period I had a chance to develop my interest in languages. When I was 20, we went to Athens, where my mother met and married a German professor of classical archaeology. This meant I was free at last to go up to Oxford. I attended Somerville College for three years.
While I was growing up, we'd always assumed that by the time I reached voting age, the suffrage would have been extended to women. When it became obvious that this was not going to happen I knew that any career or personal ambitions must give way to this struggle. I set myself up as a freelance translator to get enough money to live on and joined the most militant and effective of the groups fighting for the Vote, the Women's Social and Political Union, soon after it was founded by Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903."
Short stories in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine:
Also short stories in various anthologies, British and American


N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.

  • Blood On The Wood (Virago, 2003) Virago Pbk Jul 03 (Nell Bray)
  • The Garden (Allison & Busby, 2003)
  • Dead Man Riding (Virago, 2002) Virago Pbk Mar 02 (Nell Bray)
  • The Perfect Daughter (Virago, 2000) Winner of the CWA/Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2000 Virago Pbk Jan 02 (Nell Bray)
  • Absent Friends ( 1999) Awarded this year’s CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award Virago Pbk Dec 99 (Nell Bray)
  • Dance On Blood (Little,Brown Pbk, 1998) (Nell Bray)
  • Dead Man's Music (Little,Brown, 1996) Published as "Dead Man's Sweetheart" in the United States Virago Pbk 1997 (Nell Bray)
  • Crown Witness (Little,Brown, 1995) Virago Pbk 1998 (Nell Bray)
  • Widow's Peak (Little,Brown, 1994) Published as "An Easy Day for a Lady" in the United States (Nell Bray)
  • Stage Fright (Little,Brown, 1993) (Nell Bray)
  • Hanging on the Wire (Little,Brown, 1992) (Nell Bray)
  • Sister Beneath the Sheet (Scribner, 1991) (Nell Bray)
  • Murder, I Presume (Macmillan, 1990)
  • A Healthy Body (Macmillan, 1984)
  • Unknown Hand (Macmillan)
  • A Whiff Of Sulphur (Macmillan)
  • Knightfall (Macmillan)
  • Murder Makes Tracks (Macmillan)

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