Paula Harmon is the author of six historical mystery novels featuring strong, determined (and sometimes downright pigheaded) women. One of these 'Death In the Last Reel' was short-listed for the Selfies Prize in 2022. She also has two co-written series with Liz Hedgecock, a historical mystery series and a contemporary cozy mystery series. In addition, Paula has published novellas, collections of short fiction and a children's book all of which cover a variety of genres. Paula lives in Dorset and is a committee member for the Blandford Literary Festival, which held its first major event in 2019 and has had spin-off events since. She was born in North London to parents of English, Scottish and Irish descent. Perhaps feeling the need to add a Welsh connection, her father relocated the family every two years from country town to country town moving slowly westwards until they settled in South Wales when Paula was eight. She later graduated from Chichester University before making her home in Gloucestershire and then Dorset. She is married with two adult children, but she retains the ambition she's had since childhood which is to meet a dragon one day. In the hope of keeping any shy, but literate dragons on side, Paula generally tries to include one somehow in most of her books, even as just a reference. She always has several writing projects underway and wonders where the housework fairies are, because the house is a mess and she can’t think why.
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June 1910. Fighting her corner in a man’s world, Dr Margaret Demeray works as a pathologist in a London hospital for the poor. Suppressing her worry that she’s breaching confidentiality, Margaret gives a stranger called Fox information about a dead down-and-out, in the hope he’ll use it to raise awareness of bad working conditions. But when a second man appears to die the same way, Margaret starts to wonder why the enigmatic Fox keeps turning up to ask ever more complex questions. She decides to work alone, uncertain of his motives and wary of her attraction to him. Once she starts investigating however, her home is burgled, she’s attacked in broad daylight and a close friend becomes distant. Fox offers the chance to forge an alliance, saying he knows why the men have died but needs her to find out what is killing them and who is behind it. Yet how come the closer she gets to him the more danger she faces? And how can a memory she’d buried possibly be linked to the deaths? Margaret must discover the truth before someone - known or unknown - silences her for good.
The Wrong Sort To Die
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'I want honesty. I want to know what all this is about.’
‘You don’t know?’ Fox refilled his cup but didn’t drink from it. He watched her through the steam.
‘Know what?’Margaret folded her arms. ‘That two men died unpleasantly in the East End? That’s not unusual. That a stranger asked me for information, which is usual and that I gave it – which is extremely unusual. I can’t think what I thought I was doing. What else is there to know?’
Fox relaxed a little. ‘I believe you.’
‘I’m not sure I believe you. I’ll ask again: what else is there to know?’
Fox leaned forward. ‘Men have died, Dr Demeray. More than two. Unimportant men, men no one cares about, men that don’t matter. But that doesn’t make it right. I’m not sure how many have died or when it started, but it's been at least six years. All I want to do is stop the deaths. All I’ve asked you to do is find out what killed them, and… I hoped you’d be curious enough to find any records of anything similar.’
He sat back again, his eyes not moving from hers, unblinking. His smile was gone.
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