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Detective Lavender Mystery Books In Order

Publication Order of Detective Lavender Mystery Books

The Missing Heiress aka The Heiress of Linn Hagh (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mystery of the Skelton Diamonds (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sans Pareil Mystery (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Piccadilly Pickpocket (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sculthorpe Murder (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Plague Pits & River Bones (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Detective Lavender Mystery series is a collection of novels from Karen Charlton that explore the adventures of two members of the Bow Street Runners, a police force of sorts that existed in Regency England.

+The Story

‘Catching the Eagle’ was one of Karen Charlton’s earliest works. The book came about when the author and her family went digging into their ancestry. She was surprised to learn that Jamie Charlton, an ancestor on her husband’s side, had been quite the criminal.

This inspired Karen to write a story set in Regency England and which looked at the manner in which mysteries were solved at the time. The book told the story of a farm laborer by the names of Jamie Charlton who was accused of stealing a considerable sum.

‘Catching the Eagle’ matters because it marked the first appearance of Detective Stephen Lavender, a principal officer of the Bow Street Magistrate’s court who was called in to investigate the situation.

Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods were just supporting characters when they were first introduced. However, with the relative success of ‘Catching the Eagle’, Karen Charlton decided to spin them off into their own story, creating the Detective Lavender Mystery series.

The books take place in England in the early 1800s. The protagonists are written to operate as part of the Bow Street Runners, the creation of a Chief Magistrate in London by the names of Henry Fielding, working essentially as the first professional police force in the area.

Stephen Lavender was a real person, a historical figure who people might stumble upon if they dig into court cases from that time period. Karen Charlton took this individual and fleshed him out to create a fully realized character that fights crime in the 1800s.

Detective Lavender is a strong, intelligent and pretty well off individual. He has a good head on his shoulders and it looks like he comes from a privileged section of society. When he is first introduced, the detective is in his early thirties, however, he is so stuffy and cardboard in the way he acts that many readers have admitted to initially confusing him for a much older individual.

Ned Woods is Lavender’s opposite, a constable that shouldn’t have anything to do with Detective Lavender’s murder cases but who keeps getting roped into the renowned officer’s business.

Woods and Lavender are best friends, even though that doesn’t always seem like the case. Of the two, Woods is the nice one. He is warm and earthy and kind. He generally puts people at ease.

And as the talker of the duo, he tends to do most of the interacting with witnesses and victims. People are happy to invite Woods into their lives. With Lavender, things are a little more complicated.

Lavender is prone to disappearing into his mind and getting lost in his thoughts and ruminations. He has a tendency to put people off and to make them feel like he is disregarding them.

This is partially the reason why their partnership works. Woods might not be the smartest cookie in the jar but he has the tact necessary to get information out of people. Lavender’s social skills are a little lacking but he knows how to put information together to form cogent conclusions.

While Lavender and Woods normally drive the mystery aspect of the Detective Lavender Mystery series, Dona Magdalena plays just as important a role. The Spanish woman is Lavender’s love interest.

She is described as a spicy and feisty woman with demons in her past. She fled a conflict in Europe and currently lives in England as an immigrant.

The Detective Lavender Mystery series has been criticized for some of its inconsistencies. For instance, because Detective Lavender clearly has an aristocratic background, some fans do not believe that he would freely mix with so many characters that are clearly in a much lower social class.

Additionally, some of the language isn’t as accurate as historically savvy readers would like. This isn’t even taking into account all the aristocratic female characters that Karen Charlton creates who live very independent lives that see them running their own businesses and supporting entire families despite living in a society that would have greatly restricted them.

Karen Charlton often fields questions regarding the fact that her characters are living in the Regency period but they feel like they would be perfectly at home in the 21st Century.

Of course, there are those audiences that have lauded Karen for so thoroughly immersing them in the period of Regency England through the sights, sounds and smells she describes in her scenes.

Karen’s biggest strength in the Detective Lavender Mystery series isn’t the mysteries themselves but her ability to create and manage complex plots. More often than not, readers have said that they had the mysteries of the author’s different books figured out by the half way mark. But that did not stop them from enjoying the process Lavender went through to come to the right conclusion.

+The Heiress of Linn Hagh

A beautiful woman goes missing at Linn Hagh. No one knows how she left her locked bedchamber. They do not even know whether she was kidnapped or simply escaped.

And as a notable heiress, her case is of such importance that Detective Lavender and Constable Woods are summoned to investigate. There are a lot of rumors swirling about the situation but no solid leads.

No one will talk to Lavender and Woods, not the servants and certainly not the heiress’ siblings. There seems to be a feud simmering and the only way Detective Lavender can hope to put the case to rest is if he brings to light a series of family secrets.

+The Sans Pareil Mystery

April Clare was a promising young actress, so her passing is greatly felt at the Sans Pareil Theatre. And because her remains were found in suspicious circumstances, Detective Lavender and Constable Woods are summoned to investigate.

It doesn’t take them long to learn that there’s more going on than meets the eye. They must unravel the many mysteries they discover quickly as the Napoleonic War is looming across the channel. There’s a lot of suspicion of treachery in the air

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