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Natasha Cooper - Page 1
Natasha Cooper
 A Poisoned Mind A Poisoned Mind
A Greater EvilA Greater Evil
Gagged and BoundGagged and Bound
Keep Me AliveKeep Me Alive
A Place of SafetyA Place of Safety
Audio Titles
Writing as Clare Layton
Natasha Cooper
Natasha Cooper in Conversation
A Profile of Josephine Tey
About the Author (Photo (c) Fiona Davies)

First British Edition Simon & Schuster (2007)
Buy at A Poisoned Mind
How many people must suffer?
When a chemical explosion rips through quiet fields in the north of England, it destroys much more than the innocent life of the man who farmed them. In her grief his widow, Angie, turns on the company responsible. Enter hotshot barrister Trish Maguire, who finds herself in turmoil when she is called on to defend not the ruined and heartbroken Angie, but the multinational company instead.
As the case develops, Trish comes to believe the explosion can’t possibly have been pure accident. Which leads her to ask who stood to gain most from such a dangerous act of sabotage ...
At the same time, Trish faces emotional explosions at home. Her adopted son David has a new school friend in the damaged and volatile Jay. When Jay’s mother is found brutally beaten, Trish knows she has to help. But in doing so, she finds herself embroiled in two major battles - one for everything she has worked for and one for everything she believes is right …

‘Natasha Cooper is something of a hidden pleasure in the UK’ Observer
`One of the most accomplished crime writers in the country’ Mark Billingham
Praise for A Greater Evil
‘Natasha Cooper is something of a rarity among crime writers these days. She is interested in the psychology of her characters ... she is concerned with issues of social justice, but always as part of her plot-driven credentials; she concentrates on depicting a world most of her readers will be familiar with, instead of producing a tourist murder tour. And, rarest of all, perhaps, she can write’ Times Literary Supplement
‘You know when you pick up a book by Natasha Cooper that you are going to find a literate, intelligent novel about real people ...’ A complex and satisfying mystery’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Cooper is a first-class crime novelist. The narrative of this powerful and densely plotted novel is driven by her sense of injustice ... a strong addition to a series that grows steadily more impressive’ The Spectator
‘Cooper is expert at detailing the effects of emotional crossfire. She turns her penetrating but compassionate gaze on the duties of parents ... and on the complexity of loyalty and trust’ Guardian

First British Edition Simon & Schuster (2007)
Paperback - Pocket Books (2007)
Buy at A Greater Evil
Cecilia Mayford has it all: her career is sucessful; her husband is an internationally renowned sculptor; and their baby due in less than a month. But everywhere she goes, she finds people who are linked to her in the strangest ways. She feels trapped, haunted. Then one morning she is attacked in her husband's studio, so badly beaten that her baby is rescued by Caesarian section only moments before she dies. Her dangerous and vulnerable husband, Sam, was recorded on CCTV entering the building at the crucial time. The police pick him up at once. In his terror and misery he turns to barrister Trish Maguire, who has her own links to both him and Cecilia. Fighting her grief, her pity for Sam - and her suspicion - Trish finds herself in conflict with DCI Caro Lyalt, her greatest friend and the senior investigating officer on the case. Evidence against Sam mounts up. Cecilia's powerful mother is pressing for his arrest. The police hierarchy want him charged. If Trish is to save his reason, she must find out exactly what happened in the studio that morning, and time is running out .

Paperback - Pocket Books (2006)
First British Edition Simon & Schuster (2005)
Buy at Gagged and Bound
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Who says?
Distinguished biographer Beatrice Bowman is being sued for libel by a new member of the House of Lords for implicating him in a thirty-year-old terrorist outrage. At the other end of the legal spectrum, a family of South London villains gags and suffocates those who try to expose their secrets. And Inspector Caro Lyalt has to decide what to do with information from a whistle-blower that could ruin a colleague's career - or her own. Caught in the middle of it all is barrister Trish Maguire. Picking her way through the maze of lies and threats, she brings danger terrifyingly close to herself and the people she loves.
In Gagged and Bound Natasha Cooper explores the full destructive power of the wrong words spoken at the wrong time. Described as 'ahead of most current detective fiction', her books just get better and better.

‘No matter how dark and grisly the world of her novels, Cooper never loses sight of the compassion and emotional intelligence that have become keynote elements of her work’ Val McDermid

First British Edition Simon & Schuster (2004)
Paperback - Pocket Books (2005)
Buy at Keep Me Alive
Why did investigative journalist Jamie Maxden die? The coroner says it was suicide. Jamie’s family agree. The case is closed. Only one man fights to re-open it. Will Applewood is sure Jamie was about to expose a scandal that would shame the British food industry. But Will is notorious for his conspiracy theories. No one listens to him. In despair he turns to his barrister, Trish Maguire.
Felled by food poisoning in the middle of Will’s case against a huge supermarket chain, Trish is ready to believe any story about dangers lurking inside the pretty packaging of food we all eat. Even though she has more than enough to do already with the trial, an attempt to save a child at terrible risk, and plenty of emotional complications of her own, she agrees to help.
Will’s campaign takes her deep into the countryside, revealing a world that seems quite different from the metropolitan life she knows. But human nature doesn’t change - whatever the environment. Cruelty and intimidation can flourish in the ravishing landscape just as they do in the grimmest of inner-city housing estates.
Moving between the two, trying to save lives and sanity, inexhaustible Trish is driven into a crusade - both personal and professional - that combines excitement, drama and agonising human tragedy.

'One of Natasha Cooper's best books. Trish Maguire is on top form' Sunday Telegraph
Praise For Natasha Cooper
'Confirms Trish as the lawyer you'd want on your side' Sunday Telegraph
'Ahead of most current detective fiction… A detective more in the tradition of Maigret than Marlow' Times Literary Supplement
'Rattles along at an exhilarating clip, with several thrilling plot twists' Sunday Tribune
'Like Minette Walters… Cooper writes methodical, meticulous crime' Mirror
‘Natasha Cooper is a fiercely intelligent writer with a hotline to the darker side of modern life’ Crime Time
‘Well-written, with a nicely worked-out plot and an attractive protagonist… it will keep you reading until the last page’ The Irish Times
‘Natasha Cooper brings a keen emotional intelligence to bear on the dark side of contemporary life. Trish Maguire is a heroine for the new millennium - competent, tenacious and adamant in her pursuit of the justice that sometimes eludes the law’ Val McDermid
`Convincing and hard-hitting, Cooper’s novels explore how ordinary people get caught up in appalling events’ The Times
`Both bitter and believable’; Sunday Telegraph
‘Trish is an engaging character, warm, human, and well drawn’ Sunday Times

Paperback - Pocket Books (2004)
First British Edition Simon & Schuster (2003)
Buy at A Place of Safety
The greatest masterpiece is survival
Barrister Trish Maguire needs all the time she can find to help her young half-brother adjust to life after the violent death of his mother. Sir Henry Buxford, an influential acquaintance, has other ideas. He asks Trish to investigate one of his private charities, a magnificent art collection built up before 1914 and lost for most of the twentieth century.
Taking a crash course in the murkier aspects of the art world, Trish is determined to unlock the secrets she is sure are hidden somewhere in the collection. Her research takes her not only into the heart of an engrossing love story, but also the agonizing reality of life in the trenches of the First World War. She soon discovers a web of deceit that has spanned the decades since, catching all kinds of people in its filaments. Now, the innocent, the violent, and the victims all have to free themselves. And someone dies.
With her trademark dexterity and hard-hitting suspense, Natasha Cooper brings us the unstoppable Trish Maguire in her most challenging and enthralling case to date.

`Inspiringly original ... ahead of most current detective fiction’ Justin Warshaw, Times Literary Supplement
`Cooper is one of the most reliable practitioners of the genre at work today, and this is splendid stuff’ Publishing News
`Cooper creates a dark and savage story with a deviously clever plot, convincing and complex characters, and a shocking climax’ Booklist
`Complex, suspenseful, character-driven stuff ... Trish is a great character, and this is one of her most intriguing cases yet’ Sherlock Magazine

About The Author
Clare Layton is another pseudonym of Natasha Cooper, who was born in London and educated at a Berkshire convent, worked in publishing for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her first crime novel, written under the name Natasha Cooper, was Festering Lilies published in 1990, the year she joined the Crime Writers’ Association. The millennium saw her taking the chair of the CWA and publishing both Prey to All, her tenth crime novel, and Clutch of Phantoms, her first foray into Clare Layton’s world of psychological suspense. Barry Forshaw wrote of Clutch of Phantoms: ‘Those who follow the impeccable thrillers of Natasha Cooper will be intrigued by the inauguration of a new nom de plume, Clare Layton… Cooper could not help but write a novel overflowing with psychological acuity under any name… As this brilliantly orchestrated piece moves towards its sombre finale, the reader is both beguiled by an intense novel of character and obliged to confront the myths and realities of how much we are in thrall to genetic inheritance.’
Simon Shaw called it ‘a tense and gripping thriller’ in the Mail on Sunday, and Ian Rankin wrote: ‘Clare Layton is one to watch: this is a gripping psychological thriller with above average intelligence from a writer who knows her stuff. Highly enjoyable and thoroughly recommended.’
Her first six Natasha Cooper crime novels form the tongue-in-cheek series that stars Willow King, a severe civil servant with a secret double life as glamorous romantic novelist, Cressida Woodruffe. They allowed Cooper to take a frivolously irreverent look at various institutions that affect life in Britain, and to challenge the lazy habits of those who make judgements about people on the basis of their appearance.
Creeping Ivy was something of a turning point, with Willow/Cressida taking only a walk-on role. That novel belongs to Trish Maguire, Cooper’s new heroine, who features in novels that are grittier and more realistic than the earlier series. Trish is a thirty-something barrister, specialising in family law. Reviews of Prey to All include: 'Trish is an engaging character, warm and human, and well drawn’ (Donna Leon, The Sunday Times); ‘Natasha Cooper possesses the ability to write some of the most dark and realistic crime novels around’ (Birmingham Post); ‘Cooper’s novels are a welcome alternative [to the violence of much recent crime fiction]: convincing and hard-hitting, they explore how ordinary people get caught up in appalling events’ (The Times); ‘Natasha Cooper is another writer who deals with real life. Trish Maguire, a lawyer, is a flesh and blood character with a likeable personality…The ending of this accomplished novel is both bitter and believable’ (Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph).
In the late 1990s, Cooper decided to add an extra dimension to her writing life, looking not so much at current crime and investigation as at the long-term effects of violence on perpetrators, sufferers, and their friends and family. In order to distinguish these novels from her others, she writes them as Clare Layton. The first, Clutch of Phantoms, is a two-hander. One of the principal characters is 74-year-old Livia Claughton, just out of prison after an extended life sentence for the murder of her husband and his mistress. The other is her grand-daughter, a 27-year-old hotshot City trader, who believes her grandparents died in a car crash. Their developing relationship, as well as the friendship Livia makes with an 11-year-old arsonist, and Cass’s dealings with Christopher Bromyard, make this novel warm as well as hard-hitting.
The second Clare Layton novel (which is about Ginty Schell, a thirty-year-old freelance journalist investigating not only her own past and character, but also rape, the self-protecting instincts of the establishment and the difficulties faced by men in a world in which their traditional skills and attitudes are no longer needed) was published in paperback by HarperCollins at the end of 2001. She is now at work on her third.
In addition to her two novel-writing personae, she also reviews for a variety of newspapers and journals, including Crime Time and The Times Literary Supplement. She regularly speaks at crime-writing conferences and on the radio, and participated at a debate at the Oxford Union on the James Bulger murder. She is a member of The Unusual Suspects. In 2002 she was shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library, an award that goes `to the author whose work has given most pleasure to readers’. Her main interests outside work lie, as readers of her early crime novels may guess, in food and wine. She is a good cook and an even better eater, and she believes that one of the greatest pleasures in life is to sit over a leisurely meal with friends, talking….a lot.

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

  • A Poisoned Mind (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
  • A Greater Evil (Simon & Schuster, 2007) Pocket Books Pbk Feb 07
  • Gagged and Bound (Simon & Schuster, 2005) Pocket Books Pbk Aug 06
  • Keep Me Alive (Simon & Schuster, 2004) Pocket Books Pbk Jun 05 (Trish Maguire)
  • A Place of Safety (Simon & Schuster, 2003) Pocket Books Pbk May 04 (Trish Maguire)
  • Out of the Dark (Simon & Schuster, 2002) Pocket Books Pbk Jul 02 (Trish Maguire)
  • Prey to All (Simon & Schuster, 2000) Pocket Books Pbk Jul 01 (Trish Maguire)
  • Fault Lines (Simon & Schuster, 1999) Pocket Books Pbk Jul 00 (Trish Maguire)
  • Creeping Ivy (Simon & Schuster, 1998) Pocket Books Pbk Jun 05 (Trish Maguire)
  • Sour Grapes (Simon & Schuster, 1997) Simon & Schuster Jul 97 (Willow King)
  • Fruiting Bodies (Simon & Schuster, 1996) Pocket Books Pbk 1997 (Willow King)
  • Bloody Roses (Willow King)
  • Poison Flowers (Willow King)
  • Festering Lilies (Willow King)
  • Rotten Apples (Willow King)
  • Bitter Herbs (Willow King)

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