printed copy

The Sixth Victim: A Constance Piper Mystery

Tessa Harris

ISBN 9781496706546
Publish Date 5/30/2017
Format Hardcover
Categories General, Historical Mystery, Kensington, New Series

London’s East End, 1888: When darkness falls, terror begins . . .

The foggy streets of London’s Whitechapel district have become a nocturnal hunting ground for Jack the Ripper, and no woman is safe. Flower girl Constance Piper is not immune to dread, but she is more preoccupied with her own strange experiences of late.

Clairvoyants seem to be everywhere these days. Constance’s mother has found comfort in contacting her late father in a séance. But are such powers real? And could Constance really be possessed of second sight? She longs for the wise counsel of her mentor and champion of the poor, Emily Tindall, but the kind missionary has gone missing.

Following the latest grisly discovery, Constance is contacted by a high-born lady of means who fears the victim may be her missing sister. She implores Constance to use her clairvoyance to help solve the crime, which the press is calling “the Whitechapel Mystery,” attributing the murder to the Ripper.

As Constance becomes embroiled in intrigue far more sinister than she could have imagined, assistance comes in a startling manner that profoundly challenges her assumptions about the nature of reality. She’ll need all the help she can get—because there may be more than one depraved killer out there . . .

“A reinterpretation of Jack the Ripper with a supernatural touch . . . combines two perceptive points of view with a convincing portrait of London's seamier side and a neat twist of an ending.” – Kirkus Reviews

"In The Sixth Victim Tessa Harris has again produced a highly imaginative and entertaining book, brimming with atmosphere and suspense. This latest work, set in a time dominated by the murders of Jack the Ripper, exemplifies Harris's ability as a storyteller and demonstrates her outstanding knowledge of London's history." - David Bullock, author of The Man Who Would Be Jack

Praise for Tessa Harris and the Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mysteries

The Lazarus Curse

“Stellar . . . Harris’s prose and characterizations have only become more assured.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Harris successfully balances history, homicide, sorcery and social justice in her idealistic hero’s fourth case.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Devil’s Breath

“Excellent . . . Both literally and figuratively atmospheric, this will appeal to fans of Imogen Robertson’s series during the same period.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Dead Shall Not Rest

“Populated with real historical characters and admirably researched, Harris’s novel features a complex and engrossing plot. A touch of romance makes this sophomore outing even more enticing. Savvy readers will also recall Hilary Mantel’s The Giant, O’Brien.” —Library Journal

The Anatomist's Apprentice

“Densely plotted . . . We await—indeed, demand—the sequel.” —The New York Times Book Review

About Tessa Harris:

Since leaving Oxford University with a History degree, Tessa Harris has been a journalist and editor, contributing to many national publications such as The Times and The Telegraph. She has also acted as a literary publicist for several well-known authors. Winning a European-wide screenplay writing competition led to the optioning of a screenplay, set in 18th-century England. Using her researches into the period, she wrote The Anatomist’s Apprentice.

Maureen McLean Photography

Shadow of the Raven Q&A

At the end of The Lazarus Curse you left your readers hanging on a cliff. Is that situation resolved in Shadow of the Raven?

Yes. In fact a few readers asked me to tell them what happens next! Obviously I’m not going to let on, save to say that while the course of true love does not run smoothly in Shadow of the Raven, it comes a little closer to a resolution.

Romantic Times said: “The twists and turns never stop, making Shadow of the Raven impossible to put down”. How do you keep your plots boiling?

There’s some careful planning, but there’s also an element of chance, too. A word, a phrase or a situation may trigger something completely different in my mind. The plot has sometimes turned on a sixpence and gone off in another direction. I very often start off with a murderer, only to change the identity of the culprit at the end. It certainly makes the writing process exciting for me and, I hope, it keeps the reader guessing all the time, too.

Each novel seems to have a different theme or backdrop. What is it in Shadow of the Raven?

The latter half of the 18th century was a time of incredible social upheaval in the countryside. In England it also saw the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. The villagers and commoners on the Boughton estate face eviction in this novel, as well as having to deal with the fall-out from at least one murder deep in the woods, as well as being rocked by some shattering news.

Your research appears very detailed. How do you go about it?

Most authors of historical novels will tell you that the research is absolutely the best bit! For ‘Shadow’ I visited some wonderful open air museums that focused on rural crafts and traditions. I talked to people who practice the ancient crafts of coppicing and charcoal making, too. I also went on a tour of mills in the Cotswolds, as well as trawling through lots of old documents. Fascinating stuff!

What’s next for Dr Silkstone?

I’m currently working on the sixth novel in this series. The past comes back to haunt Thomas and Lydia in this one. Fans of The Anatomist’s Apprentice will recognize some of the characters and it’s going to get very nasty!


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