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John Rawlings Books In Order: How to read Deryn Lake’s Series?

John Rawlings Books In Order: How to read Deryn Lake’s Series?
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The Apothecary is an amateur Sleuth!

Who is John Rawlings?

Coming from Deryn Lake, the pseudonym of a well-known historical novelist Dinah Lampitt, the John Rawlings Mysteries take us to 18th-century London, England.

The story focuses on an apothecary with a talent for detective work called John Rawlings who works at solving murder investigations with John Fielding, the phenomenal blind magistrate whose Runners formed London’s early police force.

Launched in 1994 with the novel Death in the Dark Walk, the John Rawlings series is composed of more than 15 books.

John Rawlings Books In Order:

Every book in the John Rawlings series is offering a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one book to the other.


  1. Death in the Dark Walk – Having just finished his indentures, Rawlings is celebrating in Vaux Hall Pleasure Gardens when he trips over the body of a young girl. Summoned to the magistrate’s office as the prime suspect, Rawlings not only clears his own name but impresses Fielding so much with his power of recollection that he is asked to investigate the crime. From gaming hell to fashionable house, Rawlings follows a trail of lustful liaisons and illicit intrigue which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the girl has had quite a past … a past with threatening secrets.
  2. Death At the Beggar’s Opera – John Rawlings is among the beau monde enjoying a performance of ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ in Drury Lane when the leading actor – the notorious philanderer Jasper Harcross – dramatically falls to his death on stage. As Rawlings and the Blind Beak hunt for vital clues, they discover a hotbed of rivalry both on and off the stage which produces numerous suspects and questions.
  3. Death At the Devil’s Tavern – Stumbling across a corpse that has been fished out of the Thames, he identifies it as Sir William Hartfield, the bridegroom who had failed to show at his own wedding earlier that day. As the drowning reveals itself as murder, Rawlings is called upon by London’s revered sightless magistrate, John Fielding, to investigate the colorful members of Sir William’s family – from terrible old Lady Hodkin to her downtrodden daughter, and from Roger, flamboyant man of fashion to the outrageous twins who share an elaborate past.


  1. Death on the Romney Marsh – Summoned to attend to a patient in a house near the lonely Romney Marsh, Rawlings does not suspect that he is walking into a web of conspiracy, intrigue, and mystery… until he discovers a body near a deserted church, bearing a coded document. Rawlings reports the case to London’s famous blind magistrate John Fielding who identifies the victim as a French spymaster. So Rawlings returns to the marshes to investigate who, amongst the colorful local characters, could be harboring politically explosive secrets…
  2. Death in the Peerless Pool – John Rawlings is relaxing at the popular swimming baths, the Peerless Pool, when his peace is shattered by the alarming discovery of a drowned woman. The victim is identified as Hannah Rankin, an assistant at the nearby St Luke’s asylum for the insane. Assigned to the case by John Fielding, London’s famous blind magistrate, Rawlings doesn’t realize that he’s scratching the surface of something far more complex than an isolated murder.
  3. Death at Apothecaries’ Hall – The Apothecaries’ Hall is buzzing with intrigue after an extraordinary outbreak of food poisoning at the Livery Dinner claims the life of one of its members. But who would want to poison the Apothecaries? And were they targeting the Society or specifically the deceased? John Rawlings is in a perfect position to help London’s famous blind magistrate, John Fielding, with his inquiries. Meanwhile, he is careful not to neglect his own intriguing personal affairs.


  1. Death in the West Wind – April, 1759. John Rawlings and his new bride are honeymooning in Devon, but the discovery of a badly beaten corpse on a ghost ship cuts their holiday short. The death of Juliana van Guylder and the subsequent disappearance of her brother, Richard, draw John into an investigation in which the suspects include the mysterious Society of Angels, a lone highwayman, and a phantom coach complete with headless coachman. Needing answers and knowing he is neglecting his bride in search of the truth, John summons Joe Jago and the Flying Runners from London for help in his investigation.
  2. Death in St James Palace – 1761, London. After years of service, the famous magistrate John Fielding is to receive a knighthood. At the Palace, the invited audience eagerly crane for a first glimpse of the new queen – widely rumored to be the ugliest the country has ever seen. With his wife ill and unable to accompany him to the investiture, Apothecary John Rawlings steps in to attend with Fielding. But he soon finds himself embroiled in a puzzling mystery: nobleman George Goward tumbles down the palace’s great staircase to his death. There are no witnesses save one: Sir John Fielding, whose senses, save sight, are renowned.
  3. Death in the Valley of Shadows – John Rawlings is working in his Piccadilly shop when a panic-stricken man rushes in seeking a place to hide. The stranger is Aidan Fenchurch who reveals to John that he ended his affair with Mrs Ariadne Bussell after he met a widow called Mrs Trewellan whom he had intended to marry. But Ariadne is reluctant to give up the chase. So reluctant, in fact, that she has been shadowing the poor man for years. Aidan thinks that Ariadne wants him dead… That evening, Aidan is bludgeoned to death outside his home in Bloomsbury Square.


  1. Death in the Setting Sun – As Christmas approaches, spirits are high all around and the festive season is in full swing. When Emilia Rawlings is approached by an old school friend to take part in a performance at the royal court in Gunnersbury House. A few days later, John undertakes the journey to join his wife and witness her time in the spotlight. But little does he know his perfect life is on the brink of destruction. A murderer strikes at the royal celebration and John is suddenly found at the scene of utmost brutality with the weapon in his hand and blood running off him.
  2. Death and the Cornish Fiddler – Spring 1767. A welcome sense of recovery sweeps over the recently widowed John Rawlings and his young daughter, Rose. Deciding on one last adventure before they return back to their home in London, the Rawlings, accompanied by John’s old flame, the delectable Elizabeth di Lorenzi, travel to Cornwall to see the famous Helstone Floral Dance. But when they stop at an inn on the way to the festival, a child disappears in strange circumstances.
  3. Death in Hellfire – July 1767. Rumored to have been founded by Sir Francis Dashwood and its members in the highest echelons of British society, the notorious Hellfire Club is a byword for scandalous behavior. Armed with an aristocratic back story, a faithful companion, and a dubious Irish accent, John Rawlings descends on Sir Francis’s home attempting to gain an invite to the debauched gatherings at Hellfire headquarters, Medmenham Abbey. But events soon take a darker turn when one of the club’s attendees is found dead.


  1. Death and the Black Pyramid – John Rawlings has been summoned to Devon by Elizabeth di Lorenzi. Leaving his young daughter Rose in the good care of her grandfather, Rawlings sets off for Exeter on board the stagecoach. His fellow passengers are a motley crew, and include a large and talkative German lady; Cuthbert Simms, a dance-master; and Jack Beef, the so-called ‘Black Pyramid’, a bare-knuckle fighter. Before the journey’s end, a man has been found brutally murdered at the Half Moon Inn.
  2. Death at the Wedding Feast – In Devon in the company of Elizabeth di Lorenzi, John Rawlings learns that Lady Sidmouth’s daughter, Miranda, is to marry the Earl of St Austell, who is fifty-two years her senior. The Earl has a cruel reputation and John feels that no good will come of this unlikely match. As the wedding day approaches, John feels increasingly uneasy, and he is especially mindful of a vision his daughter had about an evil old woman who may do him harm. Before too long John’s fears are confirmed, and he soon finds himself at the center of a murderous plot that must be unraveled…
  3. Death on the Rocks – John Rawlings is intrigued when a letter arrives asking him to investigate an impostor claiming to be the long-lost step-son of a wealthy Bristol merchant in possession of his dead wife’s diamond inheritance. John Rawlings’ father, Sir Gabriel Kent joins him on the trip to take the healing waters at Hotwell where they socialize with the crème of Bristol society. But Rawlings is compelled to try and solve the mystery and so he must trawl through the underbelly of eighteenth-century society to unearth the sordid secrets at the heart of the investigation.


  1. Death at the Boston Tea Party – 1773. Following a long and perilous journey, John Rawlings has arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, to pursue a new business venture… Rawlings finds the place riven with tension and unrest. There are many who feel it’s time the colonies sought freedom from British rule, and the seething resentment erupts into outright rebellion during the notorious Boston Tea Party. But has someone taken advantage of the chaos to commit cold-blooded murder?
  2. Death on the River Thames – Having made a substantial sum selling carbonated water, John Rawlings buys a country house situated on the banks of the Thames in Strand-on-the-Green in Chiswick. But one morning a small child falls into the river, and John, witnessing her rescue, hears her say she did not fall but was pushed. Not long after he is at the theatre with his daughter Rose when a woman is lowered by her ankles from the Slips… As he goes to her aid John Rawlings gets the feeling that some deadly mystery is about to unfold.


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