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By day Mary Andrea Clarke holds down a responsible position in the Civil Service - but by night she is a Mystery Woman!


Her love of crime fiction led her to join the vibrant group of readers and writers (not all female!) who organise events and meetings all over the UK.


The Crimson Cavalier series grew out of a desire to explore the challenges faced by an intelligent, independent woman in an era before equality of opportunity between the sexes became the norm.

Murder and mystery is timeless; browse the crime fiction in any bookshop and you’ll find it spans the millennia. But until about 150 years ago, formal police forces didn’t exist. So, in the absence of a mediaeval Morse or Regency Rebus, one of the challenges facing any writer of historical crime fiction is creating a sleuth to solve the mystery.

Mary Andrea Clarke, author of the third Period Piece in innovative indie publisher Crème de la Crime’s new strand, doesn’t believe in making it easy for herself. Her debut novel The Crimson Cavalier is set in an era when the roles of men and women were fixed by unbending arbiters of behaviour - and her intrepid female investigator risks not only life and limb but also reputation and place in society to bring the villain to justice. Fans of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances will be familiar with the late 18th century world Mary lovingly recreates. Gentlemen’s clubs, racing curricles, morning calls and evening parties all have a part to play in this rollicking adventure - alongside highway robbery, stolen pistols and corruption in the highest ranks. Her heroine Georgiana Grey is up there with Ms Heyer’s feistiest: intelligent and outspoken, and most of all determinedly independent, she flouts the rules with style and panache, and not only gets away with it but leaves the men standing in the quest to track down the murderer.