City of Devils
1887 James Murray, a young Scottish doctor, has travelled to Turin to study with Professor Lombroso, a world-renowned criminologist who believes criminals can be identified by their physical attributes. But, just hours after Murray's arrival, Lombroso is sought out by the police. A horrifically mutilated body has been found - and the professor himself is implicated. James must put his knowledge to the test if he wants to stop the rapidly escalating bloodbath and catch one of the most brutal and cunning killers the city has ever known.
... his last thought, as he felt the garrotte tighten around his throat, was not of his family or acquaintances – all of whom loathed him. He didn’t even ask himself why he was being murdered. He knew perfectly well there were plenty who would wish him dead. Instead, ever the professional criminal, he wondered why his killer needed a knife. He could have sworn that he had glimpsed a tell tale glint of metal as the noose was slipped around his neck with the deftness of the skilled assassin. Then the final blackness descended upon him and for Soldate it ceased to matter.
... it was, though, just as well that he did not live long enough to find out the answer to his final question. The knife was put to work in such a hideous fashion that those who saw the body were quite unable to put the image from their minds.
The Devil’s Daughters
(out August 31st 2015)
When young Scottish scientist James Murray receives a letter from Sofia Esposito, a woman he once loved and lost, he cannot refuse her cry for help. Sofia’s young cousin has vanished but the police are unwilling to investigate.
Accompanied by his younger sister Lucy, Murray returns to the city of Turin where he was once apprenticed to the world-famous criminologist, Cesare Lombroso. As he embarks on a search for the missing girl, Murray uncovers a series of mysterious disappearances of young women and rumours of a haunted abbey on the outskirts of the city. When the body of one of the girls turns up bearing evidence of a satanic ritual, Murray begins to slot together the pieces of the puzzle. But as two more bodies are discovered, fear grips the city and a desperate hunt begins to find a truly terrifying killer before he claims his next victim.
Portsmouth Fairy Tales for Grown Ups
25 Stories, 11 writers, 1 city
This collection of fairy tales for grown-ups contains dark moral tales,
historical fiction, sci-fi, comedy, fantasy, crime, memoir and surreal
fiction. All the stories have been freshly-written and all are set in and
around the UK’s only island city.
No chocolate box visions or soppy princesses in sight, the writers have used this magical genre to explore grown-up dilemmas, such as money problems, fear of rivalry in a relationship, floods, memories and changing bodies.
Find out why the real Guildhall clock is buried in an underground city to save time. Hear about the man who wished himself onto a ship in a whisky bottle. Discover why a Victorian detective joined forces with the circus to fight Spice Island’s criminals. Embrace your bank statement or the ghost ship will get you.
Some stories delve into the city’s rich island geography, others focus on rural Hampshire, its cow pats, mushrooms and breweries. Some have taken their favourite urban location and woven it into fantastical narratives that stretch back to Victorian times, or forward to a dystopian future.
Raw, mischievous, dark and yet familiar, these tales showcase a city bubbling with literary minds.