Murder Most Foul

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Elf Ahearn on grisly murders in the Regency era.

The grisly Ratcliffe Highway murders caused panic in London in 1811, yet there were no police to arrest the perpetrator(s), no detectives to hunt them down, and no officials to cordon off the locations. In fact, the public lined up to view the crime scenes, taking whatever souvenirs they could lay their hands .

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Near midnight on Saturday, December 7th, a servant working for Timothy Marr, a linen draper, returned after an errand to find the body of the apprentice boy with his head beaten in, the violence of the blows splattering blood and brains all the way to the ceiling. The bodies of Mr. Marr and his wife were found in a similar state, and then, most horrific of all, their baby’s corpse was discovered in the cradle. The child’s mouth had been slashed, his face battered, and his throat slit almost clean from his tiny body. Twelve nights later, the proprietor of the King’s Arms pub, his wife, and their maid were murdered in the same brutal fashion: heads bashed in, throats slashed.

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A step-by-step account of the ensuing investigation and court action are laid out in The Maul and the Pear Tree by bestselling author P.D. James with the help of historian T.A. Critchley. This marvelous book was my primary source for a novel I’m shopping to agents and publishers titled The Baron of Bad Behavior. Nothing as appalling as the Ratcliffe Highway murders occurs in Baron, but I wanted an understanding of how police action and inquests were conducted during the Regency. Frankly, it was a scary time with little, if any, oversite. P.D. James, for example, concludes that the real killer in 1811 was never found, that instead an innocent man hanged for the crime.

A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, which for one brief shining moment hit #1 in its genre on Amazon, contains no bloodshed, though it neatly fits my tag: “Regency romance with a Gothic twist.”

About the Book

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In Lord Hugh Davenport’s opinion, women of the ton perpetually hide behind a mask of deception. That’s hard for Ellie Albright, the daughter of an earl, to swallow—especially since she’s disguised herself as a stable hand to get back the prized stallion her father sold to Hugh to pay a debt. If Hugh learns her true identity she’ll lose the horse and her family will go bankrupt. Somehow, though, losing Hugh’s affection is beginning to seem even worse…

Already a step away from being snagged in her own web of lies, Ellie’s deceit threatens to spin out of control when Hugh’s mother invites Ellie and her sisters to a house party. Now Ellie has to scramble to keep Hugh from knowing she’s the stable girl he wants to marry, while simultaneously trying to win his trust as herself. Can she keep her costumes straight long enough to save her family? And even if she does, will it be worth losing his love?

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About the Author

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Elf Ahearn, yes, that is her real name, lives in New York with her wonderful husband and a pesky (yet irresistible) cat.

To learn more about Elf visit To learn more about her cat, subscribe to The Writer’s Cat, a very infrequent newsletter, by sending an email to

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Contact Info

Caroline Warfield, Author

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