The Newest Dramatic Historical Novel from Richard Helms!
On a frigid January day on London’s Whitehall in 1843, a Scottish woodturner named Daniel M’Naghten guns down Edward Drummond, believing him to be British Prime Minister Robert Peel. M'Naghten, who sympathizes with the Chartist cause in Great Britain, claims he intended to murder the Prime Minister—a Tory—because he blames Peel for persecution by the Tories in his home city of Glasgow.
Queen Victoria, incensed at the most recent attempt on a high government official’s life, demands that M’Naghten be hanged. M’Naghten, however, demonstrates every accepted sign of insanity, which would save him a visit to Tyburn Tree.
Queen's Counsel Alexander Cockburn is hired to defend M'Naghten, and he recruits legendary thief-taker Vicar Brekonridge to travel to Glasgow to investigate M'Naghten's claims, with the goal of supporting an insanity plea. He sends young law clerk Simon Daughtrey to Glasgow with Brekonridge, and together they uncover contradictory evidence suggesting that M’Naghten’s motivations in the murder of Edward Drummond might be considerably more sinister than mental illness.
With M’Naghten’s trial days away, Brekonridge and Daughtrey race to find the truth behind the assassination of Edward Drummond.
“In a seamless blending of historical fact and narrative skill, Richard Helms reimagines the sensational case of Daniel M’Naghten, whose 1843 murder trial set a precedent that reverberates to this day. Helms has crafted a thoroughly gripping historical mystery that will leave readers eager to hear more of the “notorious thief-taker” Vicar Brekonridge. "
—Daniel Stashower, Edgar Award Winning Author of American Demon
“VICAR BREKONRIDGE may be one of (Richard Helms’) more intriguing creations…a fascinating character to follow around, as he makes his way through the streets and back alleys of London, through its open air markets and dingy taverns or journeying out to Newgate Prison to visit a man he put there…For all his rough-and-tumble manners, cynical bravado, mercenary motives and sliding scale honesty, in a shady profession not particularly known for its integrity, he struts through the streets of London, a cloud of hemp in his wake, hewing to some inexplicable personal code that betrays a startling even-minded empathy for the criminals he hunts down, and a concern for — of all things — justice, which reminded me of Sam Spade‘s moral ambivalence. “
—Kevin Burton Smith, Thrilling Detective Website
Vicar Brekonridge, the 23rd novel by Silver Falchion, Derringer, Thriller, Macavity, and Shamus Award-winning author Richard Helms, will be available on all online bookseller sites in October 2023!