A Victorian police procedural.
Who is DI Tom Harper?
Taking place at the end of the Victorian era, this historical mystery series about the investigations of a Detective Inspector is written by British novelist Chris Nickson.
More precisely, the stories focus on the work of DI Tom Harper—and his team—who mostly lead complex investigations in murder cases around Leeds, England, during the 1890s.
DI Tom Harper Books in Order:
- Gods of Gold – June 1890. The beat constable claims eight-year-old Martha Parkinson has disappeared. Her father insists she’s visiting an aunt in Halifax – but Detective Inspector Tom Harper doesn’t believe him. When Col Parkinson is found dead the following morning, the case takes on an increasing desperation.
- Two Bronze Pennies – Christmas Eve, 1890. DI Tom Harper is looking forward to a well-earned rest. But it’s not to be. A young man has been found stabbed to death in the city’s poverty-stricken Jewish district, his body carefully arranged in the shape of a cross, two bronze pennies covering his eyes. Could someone be pursuing a personal vendetta against the Jews?
- Skin Like Silver – October, 1891. An unclaimed parcel at the Central Post Office is discovered to contain the decomposing body of a baby boy. It’s a gruesome case for DI Tom Harper. Then a fire during the night destroys half the railway station. The next day a woman’s body is found in the rubble. But Catherine Carr didn’t die in the blaze: she’d been stabbed to death – and Harper has to find her killer.
- The Iron Water – July, 1893. D.I. Tom Harper is witnessing the demonstration of a devastating new naval weapon, the torpedo, at Roundhay Park. The explosion brings up a body in the lake, a rope lashed tightly around its waist.
- On Copper Street – March, 1895. The day after his release from prison, petty criminal Henry White is found stabbed to death at his terraced home on Copper Street. Pursuing enquiries in a neighbourhood where people are suspicious of strangers and hostile to the police, DI Tom Harper and his team find the investigation hard going. If anyone knows anything about Henry White’s murder – or the robbery that landed him in gaol in the first place – they are unable or unwilling to say.
- The Tin God – October, 1897. Superintendent Harper is proud of his wife Annabelle. She’s one of seven women selected to stand for election as a Poor Law Guardian. But even as the campaign begins, Annabelle and the other female candidates start to receive anonymous letters from someone who believes a woman’s place lies firmly in the home. The threats escalate into outright violence when an explosion rips through the church hall where Annabelle is due to hold a meeting – with fatal consequences.
- The Leaden Heart – July, 1899. The hot summer has been fairly quiet for Detective Superintendent Tom Harper and his squad, until a daring burglary occurs at an expensive Leeds address. Then his friend and former colleague, Inspector Billy Reed, asks for his help. Billy’s brother, Charlie, a shopkeeper, has committed suicide. Going through Charlie’s papers, Billy discovers crippling rent rises demanded by his new landlord. Could these have driven him to his death?