A history of secrets and lies . . .
DS Wesley Peterson, newly arrived in the West Country town of Tradmouth, has his hands full when a child goes missing and a young woman is brutally murdered on a lonely cliff path. Then his old friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, unearths the skeletons of a woman and a newborn baby in the cellar of an ancient merchant's house nearby.
As they begin to investigate the murders, Wesley starts to suspect that these deaths, centuries apart, may be linked by age-old motives of jealousy and sexual obsession. And the pressure is on if he is going to prevent a further tragedy . . .
The first mystery in the bestselling Wesley Peterson series from Kate Ellis, the award-winning author of the 2019 CWA Dagger in the Library.
What readers are saying about The Merchant's House . . .
'I couldn't stop turning the pages . . . Something about this book just hooked me!' Goodreads Review, 5 stars
'Superb . . . Five stars' Reader review, 5 stars
'If you like Ian Rankin, LJ Ross, Elly Griffiths and James Oswald, you will enjoy Kate Ellis' Reader review, 5 stars
'Gripping . . . Love how the past and present bring the story together' Reader review, 5 stars
'You'll fall in love with coastal England and find yourself walking the cobbled lanes in your imagination . . . Do not miss this series!' Reader review, 5 stars
'The first in an outstanding series of contemporary crime fiction' Reader review, 5 stars
'Fantastic read' Reader review, 5 stars
'Compelling . . Kept you guessing from start to finish. I would highly recommend it' Reader review, 5 stars
'Loved it!!' Reader review, 5 stars
'Kate Ellis has certainly got a talent for story telling which can grab the imagination from the start' Reader review, 5 stars
'Really unputdownable' Reader review, 5 stars
'Gripping. Kate Ellis is my new favourite author' Reader review, 5 stars
'A page-turner' Reader review, 5 stars
Enough promise survives this choppy debut to warrant hope for future mysteries by Ellis. British Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson's transfer from London to Tradmouth in South Devon promises a fresh start near his wife's hometown. Peterson, a black detective with a degree in archeology, is warmly received by his new colleagues, among whom are unorthodox Detective Inspector Gerry Heffernan and bright Detective Constable Rachel Tracey. Although Tradmouth is a small town, the precinct has its hands full with two puzzling cases: one involves the kidnapping of a young boy, the other the brutal murder of an anonymous woman. As Peterson and his colleagues track down the identity of the murder victim and find her killer, Ellis unfolds a parallel mystery set 400 years earlier by placing short excerpts from an old journal at the beginning of each chapter. All the while, Peterson also follows a longtime archeologist friend's excavation of a 17th-century house that contains the skeletons of two bodies. Peterson, Heffernan and their colleagues form an interesting ensemble, and an effective subplot concerning Peterson's wife's anxiety over her inability to conceive a child adds emotional punch to the tale. Ultimately, however, the coincidences converge too neatly, and the clumsy tying together of the historical and present mysteries undermines the novel.