The Funeral Boat At the end of the first millennium South Devon was plagued by Viking raiders. A thousand years later history seems to be repeating itself as the police are kept busy investigating a series of brutal armed robberies at isolated farmhouses. Then young Carl Palister unearths a skeleton on his mothers smallholding and DS Wesley Peterson and his boss Gerry Heffernan are called in to investigate.
Heffernan is convinced that the remains are those of Carls father, a local villain who vanished from the district three years before. But Wesley isnt convinced so he calls in his old university friend, archaeologist Neil Watson. They find evidence that the skeleton could be a thousand years old and Wesley is intrigued by the possibility that it might be a Viking corpse, buried in keeping with ancient traditions. But then Wesley finds that he has a rather more urgent crime to solve - the disappearance of a Danish tourist.
When disturbing evidence comes to light that the attractive Dane, Ingeborg Larsen, has been abducted, Gerry Heffernan believes that her disappearance is connected to the spate of farm robberies. But Wesley begins to suspect that her disappearance is linked to far older events. For it seems that this may not have been Ingeborgs first visit to this far from quiet West Country backwater...
Paperback - Piatkus (1999)
First British Edition Piatkus (1999)
The Armada Boy Norman Openheim is an American Veteran of the D Day Landings, on a sentimental journey with his old unit to their West Country base. His is the last body archaeologist Neil Watson expects to find in the ruins of an old chantry chapel.
Neil naturally turns to his old friend from student days, Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson, for help. Ironically, both men are looking at an invading force - Wesley the World War Two American veterans, and Neil a group of shipwrecked Spaniards reputed to have met a sticky end at the hands of outraged locals as they limped from the wreckage of the great Armada in 1588. Local memories prove retentive and Wesley is soon caught up in old accusations, resentments and romances from fifty years before. But the coolness of Openheims wife, Dorinda, and her reliance on a fellow veteran in the party, offer an all-too-familiar motive for murder.
A belligerent group of homeless youths are also under suspicion: then another veterans wife disappears. Wesleys case grows more perplexing, while Neil uncovers a tragic story from the distant past. Over four hundred years apart two strangers in a strange land have died violently. Could the same motives of hatred, jealousy and revenge be at work? Traditional detective fiction with a historical twist. Fans...will love it. Scotland on Sunday
Enjoyable whodunit. Eastern Evening News
...good...atmospheric thriller...plenty of intriguing background and some oddball protagonists. The Bookseller
There is plenty going on and the whole affair is recounted with pleasant wit and genuine feeling for character and plot. Birmingham Post
First British Edition Piatkus (1999)
An Unhallowed Grave When the body of a middle aged woman is found hanging from a yew tree in Stokeworthy churchyard, the police suspect foul play. But the victim, Pauline Brent, the local doctors receptionist, was well liked with no real enemies...and yet someone killed her.
Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson is determined to discover the truth and, once again, it is history that provides him with a clue. His archaeologist friend, Neil Watson, is excavating the site of a proposed holiday development nearby when he discovers an ancient corpse. Local legend has it that a young woman was hanged from the yew in the churchyard many centuries before. Has Neil discovered her body buried at the crossroads in an unhallowed grave? Why was she hanged? And why is she sharing her last resting place with a set of rare medieval statues?
It seems an unlikely coincidence - two women hanged from the same tree many centuries apart. Wesley is forced to consider that the killer also knows the trees history. Has Pauline Brent been executed rather than murdered? And if so, for what crime?
As Wesley tries to discover as much as he can about the victim, and the dark history of the village, the case becomes more intriguing. Pauline Brent appears to have been a woman with few friends, no relatives...and a past she has carefully tried to hide! Nicely paced detective yarn with the added fascination of an historical mystery tangled with a modern murder. South Wales Argus
Peterson links up events...to find a chilling solution. The Scotsman
This novel is fantastic. It keeps you hooked to the story from the beginning. Bradford Telegraph and Argus
Kate Ellis is a fine story-teller, whose characters are well realised, and this one gripped me to the end. Shots
Paperback - Piatkus
First British Edition Piatkus (1998)
The Merchant's House Detective Sergeant Wesley Petersons first day in his new posting in South Devon finds him investigating the brutal death of a young woman on a cliff path while his new colleagues are searching desperately for a missing child. Then Wesleys old friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, unearths the bodies of a strangled young woman and a new-born baby on the site of a seventeenth century merchants house: though luckily for the overstretched police force the skeletons are centuries old. But as the search for the missing child intensifies and the true identity of the body on the cliff path in established, Wesley begins to suspect a tragic link, spanning the centuries between his investigations and Neils: for motives of jealousy, sexual obsession and desperate longing are as old as time. And when the dark secret of the merchants house is finally revealed, Wesley must act swiftly to avert a further tragedy. Fascinating first novel...mixes a seventeenth century mystery with a present day one to good effect. The Bookseller
If you want a cracking good thriller with an historical or archaeological twist, look no further. Kingsbridge Gazette
Good straightforward story telling with lots of interesting characters, pleasant humour and a nicely done setting. Birmingham Post
A highly readable novel...a good start to what promises to be an entertaining series.
About The Author Kate Ellis was born and brought up in Liverpool and she studied drama in Manchester. She worked in teaching, marketing and accountancy before first enjoying writing success as a winner of the North West Playwrights competition. Keenly interested in medieval history and archaeology, Kate lives in north Cheshire with her husband and their two sons.
Bibliography N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.