The books are fiction inspired by fact, and many of the places, people and events you will read about were real, while others are not. The series begins in October 1888 when the East End of London is gripped by fear of ‘The Ripper’. In Clearwater’s world, however, the Ripper is targeting rent boys.
It is best to read them in order to appreciate how the characters and their relationships develop through their adventures. Sign up to my newsletter for more news!
The Victorian East End lives in fear of the Ripper and his mission to kill rent boys. Silas Hawkins, nineteen and forging a life on the streets could well be the next victim, but when he meets Archer, his life changes forever. Young, attractive and rich, Archer is The Viscount Clearwater, a philanthropist, adventurer and homosexual.
When Archer suspects the Ripper is killing to lure him to a confrontation, he risks his reputation and his life to stop the madman’s murders. Every man must play his part, including Silas.
A mashup of mystery, romance and adventure, Deviant Desire is set in an imaginary London of 1888. The first in an on-going series, it takes the theme of loyalty and friendship in a world where homosexuality is a crime. Secrets must be kept, lovers must be protected, and for Archer and Silas, it marks the start of their biggest adventure – love.
The story continues directly from ‘Deviant Desire.’
An intercepted telegram, a coded invitation and the threat of exposure. Viscount Clearwater must once again put his life on the line to defend his reputation. The mystery is complicated by the arrival of a new servant experiencing the confusion of first gay love, and Archer’s feelings towards his recently fired footman.
Deviant forces are at work as Archer’s enemies plot to expose his homosexuality and bring him down. Only the bonds of loyalty and friendship can protect him and those he loves as he struggles to protect his young lover, Silas, and his alliance of devoted servants.
“Death will come da capo, suddenly silent, and you will not hear your final applause. Fail us, and you die.”
Blackmail, a death threat and an opera. The Clearwater Foundation is to be launched with a charity gala at the City Opera House where Archer’s old friend, Cadwell Roxton, is to star. But Roxton has a dark secret. He will be murdered during his performance unless he exposes Lord Clearwater’s homosexuality.
Archer’s lover, Silas enlists the help of the new footman, James to unlock the mystery and save Roxton, the performance and the viscount’s reputation — without raising suspicion. With only three days to go before the gala, it’s a race against time that takes us from the notorious Cleaver Street brothel to the Royal Opera House and a thrilling climax with love, liberty and lives at stake.
“We have his sisters. Involve your catamite, and they will die before the shortest day.”
A kidnapping, a threat and a deadly showdown force Lord Clearwater and his coachman, Andrej, on a secret mission to save two innocent girls. But where are they? The clue to the location is wrapped up in a Tennyson poem, and time is fast running out.
With only three days to find the answers, all evidence points to a location known only to Tennyson himself, and an enemy thought dead.
But what if James is wrong?
Following an accident, a schoolboy and a tattooed Romanian find themselves unexpected guests at Clearwater’s country house, Larkspur Hall.
Ancestral feuds, a pocket watch and a rare Romanian wine are seemingly random connections until Silas breaks into a London theatre, and James rescues a boy from drowning. Then, it’s a race against time to prevent a hideous murder and Archer’s ruin.
Bitter Bloodline is a no-heat mystery that sees Archer’s loyal servants become their own band of Protectori.
“Deception. The lie that tells the truth.”
A damaged painting tempts Clearwater to a final battle with his arch-enemy, and it’s not a summons he can ignore. Archer must free his homicidal brother from incarceration and reinstate him to the title. He will be left humiliated and penniless, but free to live his life with Silas with no threat of exposure. The alternative is death.
Drawing inspiration from a work of art, Clearwater manipulates a series of illusions to stay one step ahead of the endgame. While James, Tom and Silas race to solve clues and reach Archer before the fatal deadline, the assassin, Dorjan, remains hot on his heels ready to kill.
The sixth book in The Clearwater Mysteries series brings back popular characters from previous adventures in a fast-paced, twisting mystery that can have only one of two possible endings.
Or perhaps one of three. After all, deception is the lie that tells the truth.
After their wild and dangerous adventures, Archer and his crew are happy to take on a cosy mystery.
Two new staff join Clearwater House. One of them, Jasper Blackwood, comes with an enigmatic, limited edition songbook that suggests he is no ordinary lad from the workhouse. When Archer investigates Jasper’s past, he soon realises that his origins, if known, will cause a scandal for one of his closest friends. The question is, how to reunite father and son without disrupting their lives?
In the space of one week, Jasper’s life changes in ways he never expected, and when he meets Billy Barnett, what was once a shameful longing for the companionship of another man, quickly becomes his reason for living.
‘Home From Nowhere’ begins on the day Artful Deception ends. This is a comfortable, low-heat mystery set against a young man’s coming of age in 1889 London. It can be read as a standalone novel, but it’s best to have read the previous books in the series first.
‘Love is more than just a chemical reaction.’ James Wright, the lead detective of the new Clearwater Detective Agency, faces a pair of unsolvable problems. Life is going well for Jasper and Billy. Young, talented, and falling in love, the two can look forward to a rosy future. But Billy’s master, Colonel Ware, is slowly being poisoned, and if he dies, Billy’s family will be forced to emigrate.It falls to James to investigate the poisoning, but there are no suspects and no motives. Worse, if he fails, a good man will die, and Jasper and Billy will never know the fullness of their love. Enlisting the help of brilliant, but scatter-brained, Dr Markland while mentoring Jasper through the pain of his first love, James embarks on a mystery that takes him from the Greychurch morgue to Ireland, where tide and time wait for no man. It is a journey of discovery, both scientific and emotional.‘One of a Pair’ is a mild-heat, romantic mystery with some comedy, and the eighth book in the ongoing Clearwater Mystery series.
Silas Hawkins, once a trickster from the slums, is now the public face of the Clearwater Foundation. As London society gathers to celebrate its success, and Prince Albert Victor considers becoming its new patron, life for Archer, Silas and the crew could not be better. But everyone has a past, especially Silas, a man ripe for blackmail.
Photographs, demands, a dead photographer and a mystery amid the influenza pandemic of 1889, it falls to James, Silas and Fecker to find the blackmailer before Silas’ sordid past leads to public downfall.
But then Silas disappears, and all James has is a burnt letter, a missing railway timetable and a man with two names. He also has Fecker, and together, they must race to solve the riddle and find Silas before he kills either the blackmailer or himself.
‘No one can take away your name.’
Clearwater will lose his entire fortune unless he cracks a musical code.
If Archer’s insane brother dies, their distant cousin, the evil Count Movileşti, will inherit everything, and with the influenza pandemic threatening the brother’s asylum, the outlook is grave. The only thing that can ensure Archer’s future is a legal document left behind by his grandfather, but the clue to its location is hidden within two pieces of music. Archer has one; the other is in Movileşti’s collection at Castle Rasnov.
Archer dispatches two of his team to the Transylvanian castle, and two to the Clearwater Archives in London, leaving the rest to search every inch of his country house. The men face their pasts and decide their futures as loyalties are tested, and death stalks the corridors of Larkspur Hall. With Movileşti on his way to claim the inheritance, everyone has a vital part to play and everything to lose as they race against time.
Set during the 1890 Russian influenza pandemic, The Clearwater Inheritance is a mystery thriller that takes us from Cornwall to Transylvania, and from the cellars of Larkspur Hall to the Orient Express.
A mashup of romance, mystery and adventure, the tenth book ties up previous threads, answers questions, and sets the scene for the Clearwater future.
The story of how a Ukrainian refugee and the son of an Irish immigrant come to meet in the East End of London in 1884. It is a story about friendship.
1881. Andrej’s family are dead or missing, and his village in Ukraine decimated. Aged thirteen, he walks west to find a boat to take him to London. Three years later, homeless, starving and having resorted to prostitution, he finds safe passage and arrives in London alone but determined.
1884. Silas’ mother has died, leaving him to fend for his twin sisters in the hellish world of the Westerpool slums. Silas only knows the work of a thief and trickster and at sixteen, heads to London to make his money. What he finds is poverty, starvation and the Greychurch workhouse. About to give up, he encounters a giant Ukrainian, proud, handsome, and renting his body in the alleys of the East End.
Silas (Banyak) and Andrej (Fecks) make an unlikely pair, but their friendship is all they need to survive life in London’s notorious East End. When disaster robs them of their home, they have no choice but to live rough and work the streets. Lodging houses, rope houses, arrest, violence and prostitution, they face it together.
But when the Ripper starts slaughtering Greychurch rent boys, Banyak and Fecks have only their friendship to ensure their survival.
“A colourful and enchanting tale. Beautifully written. Marsh does an excellent job of evoking the look and feel of a different age.”Olivier Bosman author of the DS Billings Victorian Mysteries
‘Banyak & Fecks’ ends the day before the first Clearwater Mystery, ‘Deviant Desire’ begins. It is a story of friendship and platonic love set in Greychurch, the imaginary Whitechapel of the Clearwater world. Extensively researched, readers are taken from the Russian steppe and the Wirral slums to the squalor of the East End in the late 1880s.