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Published MAY 2024

the fifth Jan Christopher Mystery!

There’s a missing girl, annoying decorators, circus performers, and a wanna-be rock star to deal with.
But who remembers the brutal, cold case murder of a policeman?

Easter 1973.
The North London library where Jan Christopher works is in upheaval because the decorators are in to spruce the place up, but there is more for her policeman uncle, DCI Toby Christopher and her fiancé, DS Laurie Walker, to worry about than a few inconvenient pots of paint.

An eleven-year-old girl has not returned home after school, and strange ‘gifts’ are being surreptitiously left for the detective chief inspector’s family to find. Could these items have anything to do with the unsolved murder, fifteen years ago, of Jan’s policeman father?

"Can I say this is the best one (of the series) yet? YES! For the depth of the writing, the maturity of the main character, and the complexity of the premise. It's cosy...with a few chills for good measure!" (Reader's comment)

Published November 2023

HISTORICAL STORIES of EXILE by (in order of appearance)
Annie Whitehead, J.G. Harlond, Helen Hollick, Anna Belfrage, Elizabeth Chadwick, Loretta Livingstone, Elizabeth St.John, Alison Morton, Charlene Newcomb, Marian L Thorpe, Amy Maroney, Cathie Dunn and Cryssa Bazos
With an introduction by Deborah Swift.
~ ~ ~
Exile: a risky defiance, a perilous journey, a family’s tragic choice – or an individual’s final gamble to live. Exile: voluntary or enforced, a falling-out between friends, a lost first love, a prejudiced betrayal – or the only way to survive persecution?

In this historical fiction anthology thirteen authors (they are not superstitious!) have written exclusive short stories on the theme of exile. Some are based on true history, others are speculative fiction. All mine the depths of human emotions: fear, hope, love, and the fortitude to survive.

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the 4th Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery ... 

 "As delicious as a Devon Cream Tea!" (author Elizabeth St John) 
Make hay while the sun shines? 
But what happens when a murder is discovered, and country life is disrupted?

Summer 1972. Young library assistant Jan Christopher and her fiancé, DS Lawrence Walker, are on holiday in North Devon. There are country walks and a day at the races to enjoy, along with Sunday lunch at the village pub, and the hay to help bring in for the neighbouring farmer. But when a body is found the holiday plans are to change into an investigation of murder, hampered by a resting actor, a woman convinced she’s met a leprechaun and a scarecrow on walkabout..

 (the cover is the author's hay meadow in Devon!)  You'll find the first three mysteries on Amazon:

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New Edition
(worldwide except USA & Canada)

The story of a man with ambition, determination and human flaws.
The story of King Arthur as it might have really happened.

worldwide except USA/Canada


The Boy Who became a Man:
Who became a King:
Who became a Legend... KING ARTHUR
There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot.
Instead, the man who became our most enduring hero.


All knew the oath of allegiance:
‘To you, lord, I give my sword and shield, my heart and soul. To you, my Lord Pendragon, I give my life, to command as you will.’

This is the tale of Arthur made flesh and bone. Of the shaping of the man who became the legendary king; a man with dreams, ambitions and human flaws. A man, a warlord, who united the collapsing province of post-Roman Britain, who held the heart of the love of his life, Gwenhwyfar - and who emerged as the most enduring hero of all time.


459 A.D. Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard to gain. But keeping it – and his family – safe, proves to be even harder. Two enemies threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, his vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. In this story of harsh battles, treasonous plots, and the intrigues of political upheaval during Britain’s Dark Ages we do not have the familiar tales of the Arthurian legend, but one much older, darker and deeper.


500 AD. Britain is at peace. But after the war cry – bitter the grave.

At long last, the peace King Arthur has fought for has settled over Britain, but he is a warrior, restless for battle. When his territory of Less Britain is under threat from barbarian raiding he sails to Gaul, intending to be away for only a few months.

When he fails to return, and rumour spreads of his death, who will take his place as King of All Britain – and who will Gwenhwyfar, his wife, take as a new husband?

Not accepting her widowhood she is determined to discover Arthur’s fate.
But sometimes it takes more than courage to face the reality of truth...

A different telling of the later Medieval tales.
This is the story of King Arthur as it might have really happened...

"If only all historical fiction could be this good." Historical Novels Review
"... Juggles a large cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill." Publishers Weekly

"Hollick's writing is one of the best I've come across - her descriptions are so vivid it seems as if there's a movie screen in front of you, playing out the scenes."
 Passages To The Past

"Hollick adds her own unique twists and turns to the familiar mythology" Booklist
"Uniquely compelling... bound to have a lasting and resounding impact on Arthurian literature." 
Books Magazine

(The trilogy contains scenes of an adult nature)

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The third Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery
Was murder deliberate - or a tragic mistake?

January 1972. The Christmas and New Year holiday is over and it is time to go back to work. Newly engaged to Detective Sergeant Laurence Walker, library assistant Jan Christopher is eager to show everyone her diamond ring, and goes off on her scheduled round to deliver library books to the housebound – some of whom she likes; some, she doesn’t.

She encounters a cat in a cupboard, drinks several cups of tea... and loses her ring.
When two murders are committed, can Jan help her policeman uncle, DCI Toby Christopher and her fiancé, Laurie, discover whether murder was a deliberate deed – or a tragic mistake?
* * *
the sixth Sea Witch Voyage

Gallows Wake - the 6th Sea Witch Voyage 

Where the past haunts the future...
Damage to her mast means Sea Witch has to be repaired, but the nearest shipyard is at Gibraltar. Unfortunately for Captain Jesamiah Acorne, several men he does not want to meet are also there, among them, Captain Edward Vernon of the Royal Navy, who would rather see Jesamiah hang.

Then there is the spy, Richie Tearle, and manipulative Ascham Doone who has dubious plans of his own. Plans that involve Jesamiah, who, beyond unravelling the puzzle of a dead person who may not be dead, has a priority concern regarding the wellbeing of his pregnant wife, the white witch, Tiola.

Forced to sail to England without Jesamiah, Tiola must keep herself and others close to her safe, but memories of the past, and the shadow of the gallows haunt her. Dreams disturb her, like a discordant lament at a wake.
But is this the past calling, or the future?

all the Sea Witch Voyages have received the INDIE BRAG Medallion

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A Jan Christopher Mystery - Episode 2
By Helen Hollick

‘Had I known what was to happen soon after we arrived at Mr and Mrs Walker’s lovely old West Country house, my apprehension about spending Christmas in Devon would have dwindled to nothing.’

Library Assistant Jan Christopher is to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, DS Laurie Walker and his family, but when a murder is discovered, followed by a not very accidental accident, the traditional Christmas spirit is somewhat marred... 

What happened to Laurie’s ex-girlfriend? Where is the vicar’s wife? Who took those old photographs? And will the farmer up the lane ever mend those broken fences? 

Set in 1971, this is the second Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery. Join her (and an owl and a teddy bear) in Devon for a Christmas to remember. 

Will the discovery of a murder spoil Christmas for Jan Christopher and her boyfriend DS Laurie Walker 
– or will it bring them closer together?

* * * 
(new edition not US or Canada)

the story of the events that led to 
the Battle of Hastings

* * *

Have you ever wondered what might have happened if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings in 1066? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? Or if Edward the Confessor had died with an heir ready to take his crown? If so – here is the perfect set of short stories for you.

1066 Turned Upside Down explores a variety of ways in which that momentous year could have played out very differently.

Written by nine well-known authors the stories will take you on a journey through the speculative ‘what ifs?’ of England’s most famous year in history.

stories by
Joanna Courtney, Helen Hollick Anna Belfrage, 
Richard Dee, G.K. Holloway, Carol McGrath
Alison Morton, Eliza Redgold, Annie Whitehead 
With a foreword by C.C. Humphreys.
Includes discussion suggestions for schools and 
reading groups.

(goes to a different weblog)
e-book published by Matador
paperback published by Taw River Press

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by Helen Hollick

new edition with new additional scenes 

A prequel short read story to the Sea Witch Voyages of Captain Jesamiah Acorne...

When the only choice is to run, where do you run to?
When the only sound is the song of the sea, do you listen?
Or do you drown in the embrace of a mermaid?

* * * 

by Helen Hollick
The first in a series of cosy mysteries.

Will romance blossom between library assistant Jan Christopher and DC Laurie Walker – or will a brutal murder intervene?

Eighteen-year-old library assistant JaChristopher’s life is to change on a rainy Friday evening in July 1971, when her legal guardian and uncle, DCI Toby Christopher, gives her a lift home after work. Driving the car, is her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker – and it is love at first sight for the young couple. 

But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby boy is taken from his pram,  a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered... 

Are the events related? How will they affect the staff and public of the local library where Jan works – and will a blossoming romance survive a police investigation into  murder?


A delightful read about an unexpected murder in North East London. Told from the viewpoint of a young library assistant, the author draws on her own experience to weave an intriguing tale.” Richard Ashen (South Chingford Community Library)

Available now from Amazon

(e-book and paperback)

* * *

The North Finchley Writers’ Group 
By Richard Tearle
with Helen Hollick

When a group of north London writers meet each month for a chat, coffee, and cake – what else is on their agenda? Constructive criticism? New Ideas? An exciting project? And maybe, more than one prospective romance...? Eavesdrop on the monthly meetings of the North Finchley Writers' Group, follow some ordinary people with a love of story writing, and an eagerness for success. Discover, along with them, the mysteries of creating characters and plot, of what inspires ideas, and how real life can, occasionally, divert the dream...


Born in Walthamstow, North East London, in 1953 I began writing at the age of thirteen. Desperately wanting a pony of my own, but not being able to afford one, I invented an imaginary pony instead, writing stories about our adventures together at every spare opportunity. In the seventies I turned to science fiction - this was the age of Dr. Who, Star Trek and Star Wars. I still have an unfinished adventure about a bit of a rogue who travelled space with his family, making an honest(ish) living and getting into all sorts of scrapes. Perhaps one day I might finish it.

I had wanted to become a journalist when leaving secondary school, but my careers advice was not helpful. "Don't be silly," I was told, "you can't type."  (I still can't, I use four fingers.)  Instead, I worked in a Chingford library where I stayed for thirteen years although I was not very happy there - I did not realise it, but I wanted to write. The one advantage of the library, however, was access to books, and it was there that I came across the Roman historical novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, the Arthurian trilogy by Mary Stewart, and the historian Geoffrey Ashe. I was hooked on Roman Britain - and King Arthur.

Reading everything I could, I eventually became frustrated that these novels were not how I personally felt about the matter of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere).

By this time, I was married with a young daughter. I had time on my hands and so I started writing my idea of Arthurian Britain. I deliberately decided not to include Merlin and Lancelot, there was to be no magic or Medieval myth. My book was to be a 'what might have really happened' historical novel. What I didn't know, when I started, was that my one book was to grow into enough words to make a complete trilogy.

I found an agent who placed me with William Heinemann - I was accepted for publication just after my fortieth birthday. The best birthday present I have ever had.

I had previously had a smaller success with a children's personal safety book (stranger danger) called "Come and Tell Me," a little story that I had written for my daughter when she was three. I wanted to tell her how to keep safe in a clear and simple manner - with a message that could be easily remembered. 'Always come and tell me before you go anywhere with anyone' fitted nicely. I was immensely proud when my little story was taken up as an official safety book by the British Home Office to be used nationally by the police and schools. Unfortunately it is now out of print.

Now parted from my ex-agent, I am Indie published in the UK by a small Bristol-based independent publisher SilverWood Books UK and mainstream in the US by Sourcebooks Inc and Penmore Press. I am aslo published in German, Turkish and Italian.

I have no qualifications, nor have I been to college or university, although I have studied part-time for my Medieval History Diploma, which, I'm pleased to report, I passed with honours. One day I might get around to finishing the complete degree. If ever I find the spare time.

I run the historical fiction review blog, Discovering Diamonds

 In January 2013 I moved to North Devon with my family to an eighteenth century farmhouse overlooking part of the Taw River Valley. We have thirteen acres of land for our horses, dogs  and the rest of the menagerie.

My books are below. I decided to start a 'cosy mystery series' because I wanted to write something light-hearted and different. Jan Christopher, her Uncle Toby and Laurie duly presented themselves. At the same time I made the decision to publish the first  in the series (and others, I hope) D.I.Y., as self-publish, instead of using a company to do the honours.

Thus, Taw River Press was born.


Society of Authors


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Sherlock Bear
courtesy author Debbie Young

Taw River is a private press
does not accept submissions

All Cover Design and Graphics for Taw River Press 
are created by, and are © of 

* Public domain  from Wikipedia  © 
"I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law."