A Dickensian murder mystery. A brutal modern-day gang. Can Helen Oddfellow outwit an old enemy – or will she be his next victim?
When literary researcher Helen Oddfellow finds an old newspaper clipping in an antiquarian bookshop in Rochester, she uncovers a Dickensian murder mystery. But her quest to solve the puzzle takes a dangerous turn when the bookshop owner disappears.
The 200-year-old report of a woman’s murder on the steps of London Bridge provides clues to the real-life inspiration for Nancy, one of Charles Dickens best-loved characters. As Helen investigates, she discovers the woman died because she knew a secret that the British establishment was intent on covering up. Now Helen knows… and the secret is still alive today.
Helen teams up with the booksellers’ distraught teenage daughter, and enlists help from a charming businessman who seems to have more than a passing interest in Helen herself.
As they follows the trail, Helen discovers that the eerie marshes of north Kent are home to a modern-day criminal gang more brutal than anything Dickens dreamed up. On the bleak shore of the Thames estuary, she comes face to face with an old enemy . Can she keep Nancy’s secret from him, without sharing her fate?
Published August 2022
Long-listed for the Stockholm Writers Festival’s First 5 Pages prize.
“I thoroughly enjoyed this novel on so many levels, as a contemporary thriller and a literary search as well as a well plotted novel. I recommend it to anyone in search of a good read with a contemporary theme and literary aspects with fascinating characters.” Northern Reader
“Wonderfully paced, with great twists and turns, keeping me turning the pages, wanting to know what would happen next. Once again the enjoyable and informative links back to a historical literary figure with wonderfully effective description of place and setting make me really look forward to seeing who the author chooses next!” Babbage and Sweetcorn
“Combining a page-turning literary mystery with a contemporary thriller and plenty of intellectual puzzles, Folly Ditch is another successful outing for Helen Oddfellow. Fans of the series will be delighted by her return.” Shelf of Unread Books
Watch Anna Sayburn Lane read from Folly Ditch here.