Monday 24 September 2018

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes Blog Tour @Elizjhaynes @MyriadEditions @EmmaDowson1 #HarrietMonckton

The Murder of Harriet Monckton is based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation. 

On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, was found murdered in the privy behind the dissenting chapel she had regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. The community was appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the autopsy revealed that Harriet was six months pregnant. 

Drawing on the coroner's reports and witness testimonies, the novel unfolds from the viewpoints of each of the main characters, each of whom have a reason to want her dead. Harriet Monckton had at least three lovers and several people were suspected of her murder, including her close companion and fellow teacher, Miss Frances Williams. The scandal ripped through the community, the murderer was never found and for years the inhabitants of Bromley slept less soundly. 

This rich, robust novel is full of suggestion and suspicion, with the innocent looking guilty and the guilty hiding behind their piety. It is also a novel that exposes the perilous position of unmarried women, the scandal of sex out of wedlock and the hypocrisy of upstanding, church-going folk.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes is published by Myriad Editions on 28 September 2018. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part in the Blog Tour. I am honoured that Random Things is the first stop on this tour.

I can't describe how I felt when I opened the beautifully wrapped parcel that contained my copy of
The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes.
I know that I gasped out loud, as I had no idea that this book was being written and this author is one of my all time favourites.

I was intrigued to find that this was not another psychological thriller or police procedurals, but a historical crime novel, and based on real events. Whilst historical fiction is not my favourite genre, I was convinced that this fabulous author would nail it.
And she has.

Elizabeth Haynes came across transcripts from Harriet Monckton's murder case whilst researching another story and became intrigued and fascinated by them.  The result of her fascination is this wonderfully written and absolutely compelling story that will grip any reader.

Twenty three year old Harriet Monckton was found dead in the privy behind a chapel in Bromley. Harriet was a well respected woman, from a good family and a regular church goer. Her death shocked the community. The reader is given a glimpse into Harriet's death in the enticing prologue and we are then taken through the following days, as members of the community realise that she's missing and the search begins.

Harriet was known by many people, and had plenty of secrets that are elegantly unfolded throughout the story. When the post mortem reveals that Harriet was pregnant, the case becomes more urgent. It's clear that Harriet was murdered and what becomes clearer is that there a many suspects. So many characters in this tale have their own reason to want her out of the picture.

There are a lot of characters, and the author jumps from one to another quite quickly. Revealing their innermost thoughts and their actions. It did take me a while to get used to this style, and to remember just who was who. However, the creation of each character is so brilliantly done that their own individual voices soon begin to shine, they become instantly recognisable to the reader.

It is not only the intriguing and mysterious plot, or the cleverly created characters that make this book something quite special. Elizabeth Haynes brings Bromley to life so well too. Her writing conjures up the dark and foreboding back streets of this London borough so well, giving such a realistic sense of place that adds such a wonderful depth to the tale.

I defy anyone to guess the outcome of this one. It's so well put together, with an unexpected twist here and a quirky turn there that I certainly was led down the completely wrong track, which for me, is another sign of the intelligent and purely crafted plotting and story telling.

I will remember this story, and Harriet for a long time. Elizabeth Haynes has taken a long-forgotten murder case and brought it to life quite wonderfully. Her passion for the subject shines through in her writing. Highly recommended.

Elizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst.
Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, has been published in 37 countries.
It was Amazon's Best Book of the Year and a New York Times bestseller.
She has written a further three psychological thrillers - Revenge of the Tide, Human Remains and Never Alone - and two novels in the DCI Louisa Smith series, Under a Silent Moon and Behind Closed Doors.

For more information visit
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @Elizjhaynes

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