Cosy mysteries from Helen Hollick, a writer of historical fiction

For my blog this time, I have chosen to tell you about a well known writer of historical fiction who has taken a break from her passion to relive the distant past to write some delightful light-hearted mystery stories in the ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her Jan Christopher Mysteries, set in the 1970s.

Helen Hollick was first accepted for traditional publication in 1993, when she became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being two novels that explore the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend and is packed with historical detail.

She is currently writing Jamaica Gold, the latest book in a nautical adventure/supernatural series, The Sea Witch Voyages, which promises to be as exciting as the previous ones.

This energetic and prolific writer also writes non-fiction books, which include Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler – a fascinating book which I read when I was researching for one of my own historical novels and needed to brush up on my knowledge about pirates – and she is currently writing about the ghosts of North Devon for Amberley Press. 

Besides spending her time writing, Helen is an animal lover and lives with her family in an eighteenth-century farmhouse on a North Devon farm, with a collection of dogs and cats, show jumper horses, fat Exmoor ponies, an elderly Welsh pony, geese, ducks and  hens. And several resident ghosts, she tells me. I expect we will read about the ghosts some time in the near future. In the meantime let’s take a look at the Jan Christopher Mysteries.


A Memory of Murder – a new  cosy murder mystery to solve –  along with library assistant Jan Christopher, her fiancé, Detective Sergeant Laurie Walker and her uncle, Detective Chief Inspector Toby Christopher.

Set in the 1970s this easy-read cosy mystery series is based around the years when Helen was a north-east London library assistant, using many of her remembered anecdotes, some hilarious – like the boy who wanted a book on Copper Knickers. (You’ll have to read the first book, A Mirror Murder to find out more!)

The mysteries alternate between Jan’s home town, and where Laurie’s parents live in North Devon, (where Helen herself now lives.)

In this fifth episode, 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?

Buy Link:

Amazon universal: (e-book available for pre-order: published on 18th May –  paperback release to follow)

Or order from any bookstore(cheaper on Amazon)

Reader’s comments:

“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!” Elizabeth St John, author

“I sank into this gentle cosy mystery story with the same enthusiasm and relish as I approach a hot bubble bath, (in fact this would be a great book to relax in the bath with!), and really enjoyed getting to know the central character…” Debbie Young bestselling cosy mystery author

“Jan is a charming heroine. You feel you get to know her and her love of books and her interest in the people in the library where she works. She’s also funny, and her Aunt Madge bursts with character – the sort of aunt I would love to have had. I remember the 70s very well and Ms Hollick certainly gives a good flavour of the period.” Denise Barnes (bestselling romance author Molly Green)

“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)

“Every sentence pulls you back into the early 1970s… The Darling Buds of May, but Devon not Kent. The countryside itself is a character and Hollick imbues it with plenty of emotion” Alison Morton, author

“An enjoyable novella with a twist in who done it. I spent the entire read trying to decide what was a clue and what wasn’t … Kept me thinking the entire time. I call that a success.” Reader’s Review

If you want to find out more about Helen and her books have a look at her webpage and follow the links below.



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Joan Fallon is a writer and novelist living in Spain.