The Dead Hand
by Judith Cutler

While hosting a group of academics at Thorncroft House, Harriet and Matthew Rowsley find themselves confronted with bigger – and bloodier! – issues than unruly guests . . . The fifth instalment of the Harriet and Matthew Rowsley Victorian mystery series sets in England during the great Victorian era.

June 1861, Victorian England. A house full of academics should imply calm and quiet, but much to housekeeper Harriet Rowsley’s dismay some of the guests seem to have problems with the estate’s unconventional practices and aren’t afraid of voicing their concerns. Having Harriet and her husband and interim estate manager Matthew as the hosts of Thorncroft House, while his lordship is ill and the trustees are seeking for his heir, is obviously not to everyone’s taste!

But Harriet won’t let their patronising opinions get in the way of running the household as it was entrusted to her. She and her husband seem to have things under control until a series of unusual accidents occur around them. To make matters worse and more pressing, one of these accidents proves fatal . . .

With a house now full of suspects, Harriet and Matthew have to find out who is causing chaos and why. While everyone is focused on drawing out the culprit and searching for a motive, Harriet has her own theory as to why these incidents happen and decides to follow her hunch – after all, every aspect should be considered, just in case!

For fans of Downton Abbey who love a thrilling murder mystery twist and authentic depictions of the Victorian period. This is a compelling upstairs-downstairs mystery featuring a husband and wife detective duo.


“A treat for historical mystery fans”


“Cutler’s quirky series blazes its own path”

Kirkus Reviews

“The mystery is suffused with gripping, often playful, twists and turns as it reaches its climax, and the ending is deliciously unexpected”

Mystery People

“With twists and turns aplenty, Cutler's variation on the classic locked-house mystery combines the requisite cast of colorful characters — in particular, the amiable sleuths — with a vivid depiction of upstairs-downstairs life in the Victorian era”

Booklist on A House Divided

“Offbeat cozy of manners”

Kirkus Reviews on A House Divided

“Fans of other married sleuths, such as ANNE PERRY’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, may want to check this out”

Publishers Weekly on A House Divided

“Thrilling, engaging and enjoyable from beginning to end”

Mystery People on A House Divided

A gripping locked-room mystery with a suitably twisty plot, Cutler’s latest also offers an intriguing look at social customs and gender roles during the Victorian period

Booklist on Death’s Long Shadow

A lively, enjoyable book . . . Recommended for fans of Downton Abbey

Library Journal on The Wages of Sin

A captivating series launch . . . Readers will look forward to seeing more of this enterprising duo

Publishers Weekly on The Wages of Sin

Judith Cutler

A former secretary of the Crime Writers’ Association, Judith Cutler has taught Creative Writing at universities and colleges for over thirty years and has run occasional courses elsewhere (from a maximum-security prison to an idyllic Greek island). She is the author of more than forty novels.

View author page


The Dead Hand by Judith Cutler is available in the following formats

Hardback97814483113237th November 2023145 X 225mm240$29.99
Hardback97814483113237th November 2023145 X 225mm240£21.99
Ebook97814483113307th November 2023N/A240$24.99
Ebook97814483113307th November 2023N/A240£20.99
Paperback978144831460726th November 2024138 X 216mm240$18.99
Paperback978144831460726th September 2024138 X 216mm240£13.99
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