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Gwendoline Butler Books In Order

Publication Order of John Coffin Books

Receipt for Murder (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead in a Row (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dull Dead (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Murdering Kind (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Interloper (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Lives Next Door aka Dine and Be Dead (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Make Me a Murderer (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin in Oxford (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Coffin for Baby (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin Waiting (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin In Malta (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Nameless Coffin (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin Following (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin's Dark Number (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Coffin from the Past (1970) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sarsen Place aka A Coffin for Pandora (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Coffin for the Canary aka Olivia (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin On the Water (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin in Fashion (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin Underground (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin in the Museum of Crime aka Coffin in the Black Museum (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin and the Paper Man (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin on Murder Street (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cracking Open a Coffin (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Coffin For Charley (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Coffin Tree (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Dark Coffin (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Double Coffin (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin's Game (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Grave Coffin (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin's Ghost (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Cold Coffin (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Coffin Knows the Answer (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Major Mearns and Sergeant Denny Books

The King Cried Murder (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dread Murder (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Vesey Inheritance (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Meadowsweet aka Brides of Friedberg (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Staircase (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Albion Walk (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Butterfly (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Let There Be Love (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Gwendoline Butler was a British author of romance and mystery fiction books since 1956. She was born on 19 August 1922 and died on 5 January 2013 aged 90-years. She spent her childhood years in south London, England with her parents Alice and Alfred Edward Williams. Gwendoline attended Lady Margaret Hall School in Oxford where she majored in History studies and later years, she became a lecturer and lectured in the same institution. Butler is popularly attributed for introducing “woman police procedural”, which is depicted in Charmian Daniels and John Coffin book series.

On October 16, 1949, the author met the love of her life, Dr. Lionel Harry Butler- a Historian, a professor at the University of St. Andrews and the Principal of Royal Holloway College. The couple got married and was blessed with a daughter named Lucilla Butler.

Her first publications John Coffin Series was done in 1956 using her marriage name Gwendoline Butler. Later in 1962, she decided to make her grandmother’s name her pseudonym.

Gwendoline Butler Awards

Gwendoline is one of the most multifaceted women crime writers, with her books scoring in four distinct categories; Romantic novels, Victorian Mysteries, Modern detective and Gothic stories. She was awarded Silver Dagger by the Crime Writers Association (CWA) in 1973 for her novel A Coffin for Pandora. She was a member of CWA committee and Detection Club.

In 1981, Gwendoline Butler was awarded Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the (RNA) Romantic Novelists Association for her novel The Red Staircase.

Gwendoline Butler Books

Gwendoline Butler published several books under her marriage name as well as her pseudonym. John Coffin series features 34 books. The first book in the series is Receipt for Murder published in 1956. The second book in the series is Dead in a Row published a year after the first novel in the series and Coffin Knows the Answer is the last book in the series released in 2002.

Sergeant Denny and Major Mearns series features two novels The King Cried and Dread Murder published in 1999 and 2006 respectively.

Other single novels released by the Gwendoline Butler include; Sarsen Place of 1974, Olivia 1975 and Let There Be Love of 1997.

Charmian Daniels Series written by the same author under her pseudonym-Jennie Melville began publication in 1962 with Come Home and Be Killed being the first novel in the series. The series boasts 22 different novels with Loving Murder (2001) being the last book in the series.

Description of two early books

Inspector Winter is the chief detective in the first three stories of the John Coffin series. However, the inspector made an appearance in the fourth book of the series The Dull Dead. However, the author had already introduced John Coffin in the storyline and thus chose Coffin the lead character of the subsequent novels.

Death lives next door- is the sixth novel in the John Coffin series by Gwendoline Butler. The young, eager detective John coffin is in England in search of a clue to the disappearance Albert Montano-a photographer. He soon discovers that Albert Montano is the latest murder victim stabbed to death in Dr. Marion Manning (a retired anthropologist whose husband died during an expedition in Central America) kitchen. Now the quiet, reserved widow, a reputed philologist, and her vivacious friend Joyo- (who lives with her and does most of her house chores) are the prime suspects according to Oxford police.

On the other hand, Ezra one of the towns abiding tutor treasures his friendship with Dr. Marion; this arouses envy in his girlfriend, Rachael. He had been perturbed about Montano for days before he was murdered.

The arrival of John Coffin sparks a stream of all sorts of violence whose only possible solution would reveal the hidden psychological conflicts.

Murder has a pretty face- Inspector Charmian Daniels is presented with an unusual case. Deerham Hills CID spheres of operation are now a target of series of burglaries from banks to boutiques, and surprisingly the villains enter the premises with keys. The appearance of drag queen becomes the order of the day in the local town. Charmian underequipped and the understaffed department is further strained after the discovery of a body found ashore. The dead person is later identified to be notorious & wanted convict Terry Jarvis, which appear to have been sexually abused and strangled.

In an effort to investigate and uncover the truth, Inspector Charmian forms an undercover operation and teams up with Diana King- the leader of the town local gang comprising of her sister, Manicurist Baby, and Phil- (Baby’s lesbian lover). Charmian goes ahead and convinces Diana that he can help her cover up the bank loot. This unsuspected undercover investigation leads to the solving of the murder case and ensures that justice is served. The twist of events and the use of lively characters make this novel interesting and keeps the readers attentive to every detail of the book.

Witching Murder- Superintendent Charmian Daniels is on his vacation and having fun in her home in Windsor. She is contemplating the unusual behavior of her neighbor Winifred Eagle- the owner of a strange cat, whom she suspects to be the leader of a group of white witches centered on the proprietor of the town local health food store Caprice Dash.

Charmian Daniels investigations identify that Vivian Charles- a newcomer in the town is among the members of the white witches. Her body is later found in her inadequately furnished apartment, the cause of death being stab wounds. She is also surrounded by symbols representing black magic. Charmian decides to get her hands dirty and begins to investigate; she seeks help from her friend Detective Dolly Barstow whom they spend most of their time investigating the local women believed to be associated with black magic and death of Vivien. Charmian is far from finding the answer until when a second murder case is reported, and some clear explanation of Vivien past life before her arrival in Windsor is revealed. The entire story line and how the author has given clues ensure that the reader’s attention from the first section to the very end.

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