Elizabeth Haynes
Also by this author

The Murder of Harriet Monckton

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'Elizabeth Haynes is bliddy-well BRILLIANT.'—Marian Keyes

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From the award-winning and bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner comes a delicious Victorian crime novel based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation.

On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, is found murdered in the privy behind the chapel she regularly attended in Bromley, Kent.

The community is appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the surgeon reports that Harriet was around six months pregnant.

Drawing on the coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, Elizabeth Haynes builds a compelling picture of Harriet’s final hours through the eyes of those closest to her and the last people to see her alive. Her fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, her former lover—all are suspects; each has a reason to want her dead.

Brimming with lust, mistrust and guilt, The Murder of Harriet Monckton is a masterclass of suspense from one of our greatest crime writers.

Elizabeth Haynes is also the author of Revenge of the Tide, Human Remains and Never Alone.

The Pool

25 September 2018
Bestselling crime writer Elizabeth Haynes (Into The Darkest Corner) has turned her attention to an unsolved true Victorian crime: the discovery of the body of 23-year-old Harriet Monckton behind a chapel in Bromley, Kent. She was five or six months pregnant at the time and a number of people would have had motive for killing her: her closest friend, her would-be fiancé, her seducer and her former lover. Haynes tells the story from the point of all four with painstaking detail – this an expertly crafted slow burn of a novel, immersing you in the double standards of Victorian Bromley (yes, Market Square before McDonald’s and The Glades took hold, for those who know it). Harriet Monckton, by all accounts, was a vivacious, dynamic, sexually active unmarried woman – everything Victorian morality couldn’t cope with. And she suffered for it. Perfect autumn sofa fodder for an empty weekend.
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Off The Shelf Books

21 September 2018
The Murder of Harriet Monckton is exquisite - a haunting and compelling historical whodunnit. It's based on a Victorian crime, using original research materials to explore what happened to a young woman, Harriet Monckton, who was murdered with her unborn son. Reading this book felt like reading the script of an Agatha Christie movie. The chapters switch from one character to the next and then back again, building up their layers, turning them into well-rounded and very real individuals. Elizabeth Haynes brings each character to life - Harriet's friends, family and other locals - exploring their possible motives, all being potential suspects with something to hide. The Murder of Harriet Monckton is more than just a true crime murder mystery. It's a 'me too' story of the 1840s, a disturbing insight into the social expectations, naivety of young women and the importance of religion within communities. The story felt authentic from start to finish, thanks to meticulous research providing specific details in the descriptions of the characters, setting and social interactions of that era.
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Sarra Manning, Red Magazine

20 September 2018
Fans of The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher will also like this novelisation of a real-life murder that shocked the inhabitants of a small Kentish town. In 1843, Harriet Monckton’s body was found in a chapel privy, poisoned and pregnant. This novel follows Harriet’s final days as seen by the people closest to her, who may also have wanted her dead.
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Waterstones—staff pick

3 September 2018
Elizabeth Haynes has written a fantastic novel, using old documents relating to Harriet Monckton’s murder which happened in 1843 in Bromley. Narrated by a colourful cast of characters and imaginative plot and dialogues, she was able to reconstruct the story of this cold case. She brings alive the Victorian era and Victorian Bromley alive. You simply cannot put it down until the last page as you try to guess who the real culprit is amongst all the suspects. This fascinating story is a real page turner.
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15 August 2018
Probably the best historical crime novel I have ever read. Elizabeth Haynes’ skill as a writer was in every word of every page; not once did I doubt that I was in Bromley in 1843. The characters were superb: villains, lovers, friends and Harriet herself were so well-formed with distinctive voices. The mystery was gripping and I was thrilled to discover I’d guessed the murderer wrong. Haynes passion for Harriet’s story (it's based on a real crime) is the life blood of this book and I found the Afterward about the author’s research very touching. Captivating, masterful and moving this is one book—and one death—I will remember for a very long time.

Julia Crouch

30 July 2018

Elizabeth Haynes is one of the top storytellers in a genre bursting with the best tale-spinners in the world.

I wouldn’t normally turn to historical crime fiction, but Elizabeth’s unearthing and championing of Harriet Monckton’s case has changed my mind. She has charged it with compassion, wisdom and, crucially, a modern understanding of human nature and psychology.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton is a page-turning mystery, a parade of testimonies that gets you under the skin of the characters surrounding the real and terrible tragedy of poor Harriet Monckton.

It is also a #MeToo for the Victorian era—a humane defence of women of all eras who choose not to conform, who, within the confines of a highly circumscribed society, manage to make their own way. History is crowded with ‘fallen’ women like Harriet—victims of a cruel world stacked against female interests, experiences and biology.  However much they are ultimately made to suffer, their trailblazing is to be celebrated.

This is an important book, one which I just could not put down. If spirits exist, Harriet's will take some comfort knowing that Elizabeth Haynes has set her trained, empathetic, forensic eye to vindicate her.

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