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Murder on High Holborn (Exploits of Thomas Chaloner) [Hardcover]

Susanna Gregory
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jan 2014 Exploits of Thomas Chaloner (Book 9)

In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sinking in the Thames of one of the largest ships in the navy - a disastrous tragedy that could very well have been caused by sabotage.

As an experienced investigator, Thomas Chaloner knows that there are very few grains of truth in the shifting sands of the rumour-mill, but the loss of such an important warship and the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, in a brothel favoured by the elite of the Palace of White Hall makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason.

As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists. He suspects his masters are not particularly concerned by their amateur antics, and that the order for him to infiltrate the group is intended to distract him from uncovering some unsavoury facts about Ferine and his courtly associates.

Then, as he comes to know more about the Fifth Monarchists and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a puzzling number of connections - to both Ferine's murder and those involved with the defence of the realm. Connections that he must disentangle before it is too late to save the country ...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (2 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847444334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847444332
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 14.1 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susanna Gregory was a police officer in Leeds before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental consultant, doing fieldwork with whales, seals and walruses during seventeen field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology.

She is the creator of the Thomas Chaloner series of mysteries set in Restoration London as well as the Matthew Bartholomew books, and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.

Product Description


Gregory solidifies her status as one of the best historical mystery writers around with this suspenseful and atmospheric whodunit...notable for an intricate and surprising plot (Publishers Weekly - starred review)

Book Description

The ninth adventure for Chaloner sees the Restoration London spy foil a conspiracy

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consti-pate? Hardly. A marvellous effort 19 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At the heart of this latest Chaloner mystery is the idiom: "the love of money is the root of all evil"; throw in a lot of superstitious ghostly stories around Holborn coupled with a charlatan "warlock", a few ridiculous plots by the Fifth Monarchists, some inept spies and a mighty fine cake maker and you've got all the necessary ingredients for another fine Susanna Gregory novel.
Thomas is back from his swift departure in the last novel to Russia. As predicted, his ship foundered in the ice and he lost all the jewels and missives from his master, the Earl of Clarendon - which provides Gregory a neat segue into this mystery when we open with the sinking of Admiral Lawson's ship, the 'London', in the Thames.
A temporary triumvirate of Clarendon, Prince Rupert and Spymaster Williamson order Thomas to investigate immediately after he's tasked with finding out who killed Paul Ferrine at Temperance's Gentlemans' Club. The former are concerned only to uncover treasonous plots now England is at war with the Dutch, the latter is trying to restore her club's good name. Unfortunately for Thomas he also has to infiltrate the Fifth Monarchists - who are espousing a Easter Day plot to blow up London - alongside the hugely inept spy William Leving. He does so as a gunpowder expert, replacing the dead previous incumbent of the post. On the plus side it does give him fair excuses to keep missing Hannah's pickled ling pie even if he does "feel like the worst kind of coward".
Into the seedy mix comes John Scott, self-professing Cartographer Royal; Lambe, the court mystic who specializes in both a fierce charisma, parlour tricks, and the help of Alice Fanshaw. A combination that predicts dire events that insidiously come to pass through all-too-human, nefarious deeds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gregory is a marvellous writer of diabolically twisted and cunning plots that generally leave you wondering 'whodunit' until the last pages and even then throws in a curveball or two before the final solution is revealed. This is no different. Chaloner is requested to covertly look into various matters on behalf of the court but to do so it has to appear that he and Clarendon, his boss, have parted company - Clarendon as portrayed by Gregory is particularly miserly and leaps at the opportunity to save Chaloners wages for a few days missing the point that this guy is still risking his life on his behalf.

The problem, as ever, appears simple on the surface but Chaloner is soon drawn into a web of intrigue that requires all his intelligencier skills to not only solve but to ensure his own survival. This is book is number nine in the series and as such there is a lot of background that it is assumed you would know; Clarendon's relationship with Chaloner, Clarendon's precarious position within the Stuart court and his relationships with other courtiers, Chaloner's relationship with his wife, the antipathy between Chaloner and other 'professional' intelligence agents and agencies, Chaloner's family history (his Uncle was the Chaloner that signed the warrent for King Charles execution in 1649), Chaloner's relationship with his old boss John Thurloe and the 'Pillars of Hercules' owner Temperance and as all of this background has influences on the plot it is important stuff, that will leave a reader head scratching otherwise. Samuel Pepys makes another appearance albeit in the background and briefly and I wonder if this is for future plot development as we head toward 1666 and the great fire. Another good outing and I look forward to the next installment to see what other plots Gregory can thrust Chaloner into the centre of.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this, although not as much as some of ... 12 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this, although not as much as some of Gregory's other Chaloner exploits. Was a bit disappointed that much of the adventure took him away from London as her descriptions of the era are a huge part of what I enjoy. Was also bit phased when it appeared to be about ships but this didn't last long & Chaloner was soon embroiled in the usual puzzle of endless intoxicating characters...possibly nearly too many this time. Will still be counting the months until Chaloner comes back in another chaotic adventure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Susanna you are a genius 28 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Riveting from start to finish I never get bored with the adventures of this unassuming fellow. I am not much of an historian but the way in which Susanna describes Chaloner's surroundings portrays a dark damp atmosphere for the 'common' man as well as the luxurious environs of the rich aristocracy.

I can't wait for the next book
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ninth Book of the Series 6 May 2014
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Susanna Gregory is a prolific author and there is never too long a period between books, whether they be the Chaloner books A Conspiracy Of Violence (Book 1, 2006, or the Matthew Bartholomew series A Plague On Both Your Houses (Book 1, 1996). This can only be to the benefit of a reader like myself, who thoroughly enjoys both series of books

This is now the ninth book in the Thomas Chaloner series, and the character of Thomas has blossomed, becoming more likable and confident in the tasks he has to perform, albeit on occasions still plagued with periods of self doubt, more often than not brought on by the actions of other people. Also his former links to the Cromwell regime still do not sit well with his master, the Earl of Clarendon, who has often threatened to dispense with Chaloner's services.

The probability of war with the Dutch seems to be looming ever closer and the sinking of a Royal Navy ship in the Thames does nothing to allay the fears of a nervous Lord Chamberlain. Clarendon wishes Chaloner to look into the demise of a prominent courtier, Paul Ferine, but as usual Chaloner's master is not content with giving his spy a single task to perform. Clarendon also wants Thomas to attempt to find the leaders of a fanatical sect. It soon becomes apparent to Thomas that the two tasks are more than likely intertwined and if he continues his investigations he may uncover something unpleasant about Ferine and his courtly friends.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read!
It was enjoyable holiday reading, good plot and Chaloner is up to his usual standard.
Looking forward to the next book.
Published 14 days ago by Sarah Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder on High Holborn
Another good read from Susanna Gregory. I'm looking forward to the next Thomas Chaloner novel "The Cheapside Corpse", which I have already pre-ordered.
Published 17 days ago by Yve H
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder on High Holborn
This book is up to standard as all the other Chaloner books, a good read. Up to the usual stadard of Susanna Gregory
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. Audrey Ring
5.0 out of 5 stars A very exciting read!
This book is the 9th volume of the delightful Thomas Chaloner series.
As always this particular period of history has been very well researched by Susanna Gregory. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Anastatius
3.0 out of 5 stars Chaloner saves the day.
If you like Susanna Gregory's weird collection of characters then this won't disappoint.The book starts with chaloner being given the task of finding out who murdered one of the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by stephen barlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Author
As usual I really enjoyed Susanna Gregory's book. Her characters are believable and she paints a very convincing piture of Court life.
Published 6 months ago by Bookworm1
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read by an author who reasearches her subject well
Susanna Gregory has written another fascinating novel giving readers a good insight into life in 17th century England. Read more
Published 6 months ago by John R. Barnes
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder on High Holborn
I am still reading this book but I have always enjoyed Susannah Gregory's Books. She evokes the restoratuion Age with consummate ease
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. T. J. Tomkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as always!
Am in love with Thurloe!! These novels transport you to the 1660s: such a fascinating era, the juncture between old and modern. It's such an enjoyable visit! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Katy
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