Inspector Sam Blackstone
The early Inspector Sam Blackstone mysteries are set in Victorian London, although in later books he is called on to solve perplexing mysteries further afield - in New York, in the WW1 trenches in France, and in Moscow as the Russian Revolution breaks out.
Sam often finds that his humble origins bring him into conflict with the ruling classes, but his persistence and intelligence win through..
Note: All of the novels in the Blackstone series were originally published by Severn House, in hardback - including large print editions - and in paperback, not all of which are still in print. Endeavour Press has published kindle editions of the first six in the series, some with new titles, and Severn House has brought out kindle editions of the last four in the series.
9th Blackstone Novel
Blackstone and the
The 1st novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death
As the fog clears, a brutally murdered corpse turns up, caught in the ropes of a barge in the Thames.
Ordinarily, this would be a run-of-the-mill incident, but in this particular case, Inspector Blackstone quickly realizes he is well and truly out of his depth. The clothes may belong to a poor man, but the face does not; and to Blackstone, the aristocracy are in themselves a mystery whose authority far outweighs his own.
Blackstone's horizons are to be widened still further as the investigation leads him to Little Russia, an emigre area where he finds still more people who aren't used to taking the British bobby remotely seriously.
"This new series from the author of the Chief Inspector Woodend novels features a nicely captured Victorian ethos, solid prose, and winning subplot diversions."
(Review by Library Journal. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.)
Endeavour kindle ed. 2014. This book was originally published as "Rendezvous with Death" (Severn House, 2003)
The 2nd novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Great Game
A series of kidnappings seemed like straightforward, run-of-the-mill crimes at first, but Inspector Sam Blackstone soon realizes they are anything but.
This gang is so ruthless that it shocks even the hardened London criminal underworld — so efficient and meticulous in its planning that it evades all the traps the police set for it with almost contemptuous ease.
When the son of the visiting Maharajah of Chandrapore - known to all as the Tiger - is taken in a full-on ambush, Blackstone realises that the previous kidnappings were just practice for a plot that impacts not only Britain, but its whole Empire.
Blackstone finds himself caught up in a game of cat and mouse, frantically trying to pin down the loose threads to find the lost prince before it’s too late.But with the criminals always appearing to be one step ahead of the Inspector, he begins to suspect that the threat is closer to home than he previously thought . . .
Endeavour kindle ed. 2014. This book was originally published as "Blackstone and the Tiger" (Severn House, 2003)
The 3rd novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the House of Secrets
The theft of the fabulous Faberge golden egg from a Russian country estate goes far beyond the bounds of mere robbery, Blackstone is warned in London.
The victim is the Prince of Wales, the egg itself a gift from the Russian Tsar — and if the Tsar takes offence at the Prince's carelessness in losing it, the delicate balance of power in Europe could be destroyed for ever.
Yet if Blackstone is investigating a simple robbery, why is there an attempt on his life the moment he sets foot in Russia — an attempt which would have succeeded but for the intervention of mysterious masked figures?
“Vivid characters, a dazzling plot, authentic period details, and plenty of surprising twists make this latest effort by Sally Spencer an outstanding choice for historical mystery fans” - Review by Booklist
Endeavour kindle ed. 2014. This book was originally published as "Blackstone and the Golden Egg" (Severn House, 2004)
The 4th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Burning Secret
Inspector Sam Blackstone has dealt with arsonists before — but never one quite like this. If the arsonist’s true purpose is to make the government hand over one hundred thousand pounds, why does he seem so reluctant to apply the necessary pressure?
Why does he content himself with burning down a single warehouse, when he could set an entire riverside wharf ablaze?
And why firebomb a single sloop, when it would have been just as easy to destroy the whole fleet?
In order to answer these questions, Blackstone—aided by Dr Ellie Carr, a passionate disciple of the new science of criminal pathology—must follow a trail of death and destruction.
Author Sally Spencer has crafted a fine procedural that evokes a realistic sense of turn-of-the-century London. The characters are rich and complex, the plot is unusual and inventive, but it's the delightfully droll, wonderfully witty doses of humor that make the novel such a pleasure.
-Emily Melton Copyright 2005 Booklist
Endeavour kindle ed. 2014. This book was originally published as "Blackstone and the Firebug" (Severn House, 2005)
The 5th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and The Stage of Death
On the face of it, this is the simplest murder Blackstone has ever had to solve. The entire audience at the George Theatre saw Charlotte Devaraux stab William Kirkpatrick with a fake dagger. They gasped as he fell. But they gasped even more when they realized he was dead.
How did the murderer manage to exchange the fake dagger for a real one? What is the source of the exotic poison smeared on the dagger's blade? And who is the mysterious little old man who keeps appearing on the edges of the investigation?
Assisted by the amiable Sergeant Patterson and the brilliant Dr Ellie Carr, Blackstone follows the trail of the killer from the theatre to the world of the Victorian freak show and into the depths of a lunatic asylum. And though he does not know it, another murder is already being planned.
With a plot that moves from theater dressing rooms to a terrifying mental asylum, from a weird Victorian freak show to a hot-air balloon chase, Rustage delivers another well-written, entertaining Victorian police procedural.
-Emily Melton Copyright 2006 Booklist
Endeavour kindle ed. 2014. This book was originally published as "Blackstone and the Balloon of Death" (Severn House, 2006)
The 6th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Heart of Darkness
It is a worried letter from Tom Yardley, an old army comrade who once saved his life, that takes Inspector Sam Blackstone to the salt mining village of Marston. But by the time he arrives there, Yardley is already dead - blown to pieces in what was apparently a freak accident.
Acting strictly unofficially, and without the assistance of his usual team - Ellie Carr is helping to track down a violent serial killer in Staffordshire; Archie Patterson is on the trail of a child prostitution ring in London - Blackstone begins to investigate Yardley's convenient death.
It does not take him long to realize that there is true evil lurking in - and under - the village.
And before the horrifying truth can finally be revealed, there will be three more deaths, and an attempt on Blackstone's own life
.... the payoff, which piles surprise upon surprise, is well worth the wait.
- Kirkus Review
The 7th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the New World
July 1900: Sam Blackstone has gone to New York to pick up a prisoner, but he soon finds himself drafted in to investigate the murder of Inspector O'Brien who is famed for rooting out police corruption.
Working with an enthusiastic young detective who worshipped O'Brien, Blackstone scours the city in search of the killer.
And the more he searches, the more he becomes convinced that the police department doesnt really want the murder to be solved.
Spencer’s procedural, set in the bustling New York City of 1900, offers a fresh venue for the hero and provides a satisfying twist at the end.
- Kirkus Review
The 8th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Wolf of Wall Street
August, 1900. William Holt, a reclusive millionaire businessman, has been kidnapped from his grand Coney Island home after the brutal murder of his two bodyguards.
Soon, a huge ransom is demanded, and the victim's two sons are given just days to find the money.
Inspector Sam Blackstone, now seconded to the New York Police Department, and his partner, Alex Meade, are charged with solving the case, but they'll need to keep their wits about them if they are to solve it in time . . .
Clever plotting, well-developed characters, and realistically drawn period detail make this a solid choice for historical-mystery fans.
-Emily Melton Copyright 2010 Booklist
The 9th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Great War
France, World War One.
Inspector Blackstone thought he was done with the army, but when a general he served with asks him to investigate the brutal murder of his grandson – a young British officer in the trenches – Blackstone feels he can’t say no.
Surrounded by young men over half his age, Blackstone must face the horror of modern warfare and the prejudices of the officer class, if he is to gain justice for the murdered man.
While this is first and foremost an intelligent murder mystery featuring the decent, gifted, irascible Blackstone, it is also a story about the brutality of war, the blatant snobbery of the British upper class in the early twentieth century, and the heart-breaking bravery of those who fought in WWI.
Emily Melton Copyright 2010 Booklist
The 10th novel in the Inspector Sam Blackstone Series:
Blackstone and the Endgame
December, 1916. Inspector Sam Blackstone is suspicious when he is called to the office of Superintendent Brigham - the new head of special branch - and confused that Brigham seems to want to see him as little as Sam himself wishes to be there. An already stranger situation grows more strange when Sam discovers what he's there for: a German traitor wants 25,000 in exchange for secret intelligence on U-boat locations, and 'Max' has specifically asked for Blackstone to be the one to deliver the money - alone.
Blackstone, and his sergeant, Archie Patterson, are certain there's more to it than that, but Blackstone can't turn down the job - if he doesn't do it, some other poor fool will have to.
But that is little comfort when, as suspected, it all goes wrong, and Blackstone finds himself on the run from his own colleagues, with Patterson languishing in a cell, looking at a twenty year stretch, if he's lucky . . .
A chance meeting with a Russian former colleague seems to provide a lifeline, but his help comes at a cost . . .
Spencer has outdone herself in this latest Blackstone adventure. With its vivid characters, far-fetched but compelling plot, and fanciful twists, it’s a gripping page-turner that will appeal to a wide range of fans. -Starred Review by Emily Melton, Copyright 2013 Booklist