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The Sweet Smell of Decay

Cover of The Sweet Smell of DecayRead An Extract of The Sweet Smell of Decay

Author: Paul Lawrence

Genre: Crime, Mystery & Thriller
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780749015428
Rights: World English
Pub. Date: 27th January 2014

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Price: £7.99

Format: Paperback

Part of the series:
Chronicles of Harry Lytle

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Synopsis of book»

It’s London, 1664, and Harry has a big problem.
Harry Lytle has just discovered he has a young cousin, Anne Giles. But he’s had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time as a corpse. With some robust assistance from David Dowling, a resourceful, impressively well-built, but hygiene-deficient, butcher, Harry sets out to track down Anne’s killer. Together they follow a trail of blood, conspiracy and corruption that takes them to the dark and murky corners of Restoration London, featuring a great cast of ne’er-do-wells, cheeky wenches, harmless witches, likeable villains, and not a few unsavoury fellows keen on sending Lytle and his companion to an early grave.

What Critics Have Said»

'You can pretty much smell the stinking air as Lytle and Dowling squelch their way through the investigation... From an assured and 'cut above' writer, 'The Sweet Smell of Decay' comes very highly recommended'Cheltenham Standard

What You Say»                                                             Add your review »

The Sweet Smell of Decay, Paul Lawrence's first installment of the Harry Lytle Chronicles, opens in the year 1664, with Oliver Cromwell dead and Charles Stuart occupying the throne of England where feuds abound, religious temper seethes, and witch-hunting is heinous sport.
Accompanied by the pious butcher, Davy Dowling, Harry Lytle finds himself standing reluctantly in the vestry of St. Brides Church. Is this woman lying before him a cousin - or no? Harry hasn't a clue. Other than the cryptic letter from his father tucked safely in his pocket. Nor does the relationship in question even matter as he stands over Anne Giles' ravaged corpse. What had she done to deserve such a dastardly end to her young life? Her slight body bound to the pulpit, red hair splayed about her shoulders and breasts, eyes gouged from their sockets and a cord tied around her mouth with such force the killer broke her teeth.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? Clues Harry will seek, and clues he will find, for he and Dowling have been charged with solving this gruesome murder by a trusted advisor to the King himself!
Not that Harry Lytle goes about the countryside seeking to solve crimes of such vileness. He much rather fancies himself in one of London's fine taverns like the Crowne where he partakes to his heart's content of pipes and ale.
But he is Anne Giles relative, is he not?
Now, where shall he and Dowling begin their search? Perhaps with St. Brides' rector who speaks of witchery and missing keys? The old woman, Mary Bedford, selling meats in the village and perceived to practice the black arts? Or maybe young Anne's husband, the very cause of her estrangement from her family?
The trail of "What ifs" steer Harry and Dowling hastily to the dungeon-like cells of Newgate prison where a man named Richard Joyce is already held for Anne's murder, and within days, will be tried, hung, drawn and quartered if found guilty - and he will be found guilty. But Harry's gut says Joyce killed no woman. Alas, Harry's confounded gut screams Joyce's innocence!
From Westminster Hall to The Mermaid Tavern on Cheapside, a dank cellar in Alsatia and concluding in a shocking courtroom trial with a most surprising outcome, Paul Lawrence invites readers to accompany Harry Lytle on a dangerous tromp through city and countryside where no one and nothing is as it seems. Time and again, while reading Lawrence's novel, I mused at how his historical mystery could be transported to modern times and easily hold its own.
The Sweet Smell of Decay is followed by the sequel, A Plague of Sinners. I'm pleased to report I've read both, and Paul Lawrence has me thoroughly hooked. If you like well-crafted, witty tales with endearing characters, revolting villains, clever twists and unpredicted turns, this series does not disappoint. I eagerly await the third installment.SHARON CUPP PENNINGTON

Books in this series                                  See full list »

  • The Sweet Smell of Decay
  • A Plague of Sinners
  • Hearts of Darkness

Other Books by this author                                  See full list »

  • A Plague of Sinners
  • Hearts of Darkness
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