Winter of Despair
by Cora Harrison

“Stellar … Superior plotting and characterization lift this entry. Fans of Harrison’s Burren mysteries will be pleased”Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Wilkie Collins must prove his brother is innocent of murder in the second of the compelling new Gaslight mystery series.

November, 1853.
Inspector Field has summoned his friends Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins to examine a body found in an attic studio, its throat cut. Around the body lie the lacerated fragments of canvas of a painting titled A Winter of Despair.

On closer examination, Wilkie realizes he recognizes the victim, for he had been due to dine with him that very evening. The dead man is Edwin Milton-Hayes, one of Wilkie’s brother Charley’s artist friends. But what is the significance of the strange series of faceless paintings Milton-Hayes had been worked on when he died? And why is Charley acting so strangely?

With his own brother under suspicion of murder, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens set out to uncover the truth. What secrets lie among the close-knit group of Pre-Raphaelite painters who were the dead man’s friends? And who is the killer in their midst?


Stellar … Superior plotting and characterization lift this entry. Fans of Harrison’s Burren mysteries will be pleased

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Engaging … Another strong entry in a series tailor-made for the Masterpiece crowd


Harrison deftly taps into the heart and soul of Victorian London and the strata of society – from the slums to the studios of Pre-Raphaelite painters

Historical Novel Review

A surprising conclusion, coupled with vivid characters, authentic period details, and a constantly zigzagging plot, makes this a good choice for fans of historical murder mysteries

Booklist on Season of Darkness

Harrison is at the top of her game ... The fair-play puzzle is among her finest

Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Murder at the Queen's Old Castle

Highly readable ... Perfect for fans of authors who focus on a vivid locale such as Andrea Camilleri or Ann Cleeves

Library Journal on Murder at the Queen's Old Castle

Engrossing ... Reverend Mother will appeal to admirers of Ellis Peters's 'Brother Cadfael' mysteries

Library Journal Starred Review of Death of a Novice

Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison turned to writing historical fiction after she retired from teaching to live on a farm near the Burren in the west of Ireland. As well as the Reverend Mother series, she is the author of the ‘Mara’ series of Celtic mysteries, set in sixteenth-century Ireland, and the new Gaslight mystery series set in Victorian

View author page


Winter of Despair by Cora Harrison is available in the following formats

Hardback97807278891267th January 2020145 X 221mm240$28.99
Hardback978072788912630th September 2019145 X 221mm240£20.99
FormatISBNPublication DateDimensionsPagesPrice