Inspector Christy Kennedy books
Inspector Starrett books
Christy Kennedy Books
Kennedy of Camden Town
The Mysteries in order
- Last Boat To Camden Town
- I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass
- Fountain Of Sorrow
- The Ballad Of Sean And Wilko
- The Hissing of the Silent Lonely Room
- I've Heard The Banshee Sing
- The Justice Factory
- The Beautiful Sound of Silence
- A Pleasure To Do Death With You
- Departing Shadows
The Christy Kennedy Mysteries are mostly set round and about Camden Town and Primrose Hill. I've Heard The Banshee Sing is set in Kennedy's native Ulster. Just as in real police work there is usually more than one crime being investigated in the each book. The idea is to develop some of the secondary stories and guest characters over several books until they have evolved sufficiently to take centre stage. At the same time each of the books stand as separate stories.
The Main Characters
Detective Inspector Christy KennedyKennedy is an Ulsterman living in leafy Primrose Hill and working in vibrant Camden Town. Kennedy loves the art of detection, he's addicted to the puzzle of the crime; it's his only drug. He's a bit of a loner and doesn't socialise a lot. He's clean-cut, dresses well, very well, but he doesn't have a drink problem. Not really a career policeman, he's content to work away while others trip over each other as they leapfrog over him for promotion. He's not bothered about the career ladder at all, as long as the powers that be allow him to get on with solving the crime. Kennedy's around about thirty-eight years old, loves tea and the music of the Beatles, Ray Davies and Jackson Browne and not necessarily in that order. He has recently met ann rea whom he considers to be his soul mate. He is desperate for this relationship to work. He has spent his entire life waiting for the someone special to come along and now she has, he feels ill equipped to deal with the politics of love.
ann reaalways small 'a' small 'r'. She nicked the idea of using lower case lettering on her name from kd lang who borrowed the idea from ee cummings. She's a local journalist in her early thirties and, as I say, she has just met up with Kennedy in the first book, I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass. They fall in love. He's convinced about their relationship, she's not and so, consequently, her doubts frequently derail the relationship. As well as being one half of this turbulent affair, ann rea also, occasionally helps shed invaluable background information on Kennedy's current case.
Dr. Leonard Taylorthe pathologist but one whom has been never heard to utter the dreaded, 'I won't guess at the time of death; this is an exact science." He's always prepared to hazard a guess at the times of the victim's demise. Taylor is very old school in dress, gesture and speech. He's based on my childhood family doctor and is theatrical, chubby, resourceful and loveable. Taylor is in his 50's, appears disorganised but knows exactly where everything is filed in his vastly over-filled office.
Detective Sergeant James IrvineScottish with an accent identical to Sean Connery. He's about thirty years old and is Kennedy's main bag manthe officer in charge of the scene of the crime. He's humorous, always on the lookout for new lady friends, never cheats on them but never stays with them very long either. He dresses very wellusually tweeds and brogues. He's efficient and extremely loyal to Kennedy whom he has a lot of time for.
WPC Anne Coles Young about 26 years old and she's just about to move out of uniform and over to the detective side. She's very beautiful, has a stunning figure and wears her long blonde hair tucked under her uniform hat. She's got tons of initiative. Professionally speaking she loves working with Kennedy and never ceases to be intrigued by his slant on solving cases. Privately she has secret desires on Kennedy but with ann rea on the scene she is prepared to bide her time.
Sergeant Timothy FlynnThe desk sergeant at North Bridge Housethe home of Camden Town CID. Flynn has been stationed at North Bridge House for 20 years and knows all the local history and all the local crimes, criminals and characters. He has made running the police station efficiently into an art form.
Superintendent Thomas CastleKennedy's direct superior and canny enough to let his most successful detective just get on with it. Equally, Kennedy is 100% comfortable and confident letting Castle do what he does bestdealing with the politics of running the local branch of a modern police force. He's always in uniform, mentally and physically.
The Mysteries in Detail
(in reverse order—latest releases at the top)
DI Christy Kennedy returns in Departing Shadows, a deceit-laden tale of intrigue, which takes him from London to Brighton and back, and into the arms of the West End's most celebrated up-and-coming actress, Nealey Dean. But all's not well in vibey Camden Town, as Kennedy investigates a death just outside a diplomatic compound, and finds his investigation immediately stymied by the invocation of diplomatic privilege. The deceased, an actress of a different sort, hostess and social media influencer Gabriella Byrne, left behind a world of mystery, where even those who knew her best did not know her well. As Kennedy interviews witnesses and checks alibis, his investigation brings him from London's hallowed palaces of power to seamy lap-dance clubs, each with smoke and mirrors of their own. Along the way, he discovers just how far some people will go to protect their darkest secrets.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Dufour Editions, hardcover, October 2019, ISBN: 978-0802313638
"Paul Charles is a great storyteller. This (Departing Shadows) is the eleventh in the D.I. Christy Kennedy series. The plot is riveting and the writing style is conversational and magnetic. The book is just a pleasurable reading experience."
—Frank West, Irish American News
"Well crafted, sensitive, literate, sharply observed and deeply enjoyable."
"It's nice to see Kennedy again; he's a likable fellow, good at his job, and not likely to put up with nonsense on an investigation. Kennedy belongs in the venerable tradition of world-weary coppers (think John Harvey's Charlie Resnick and Ian Rankin's John Rebus) who are equally adept at fighting crime and doing battle with the bureaucrats who surround him."
"Outside the London embassy of the People's Republic of Gomorrah, Kennedy and his team from Camden Town find the body of porn star Gabriella Byrne, who had big plans for a mainstream film career."
"Paul Charles is a master of his craft."
—Hot Press Magazine
"It's a tough one for Kennedy who has a few distractions of his own to deal with. Welcome back fella. It's always a pleasure."
—Jon Wise, Sunday Sport
"A traditional music and tea-loving Irish London cop with a nod to Inspector Morse, Christy Kennedy is dogged and gently eccentric... Evocative, and never less than absorbing, an impeccable British police procedural with a strong sense of rigour and tradition."
—Maxim Jakubowski Crime Time
"Departing Shadows is an absolute joy, a veritable rollercoaster of emotions. His ability to go the extra mile in terms of exploring every aspect of the characters and their personality quirks makes them leap from the page and into one's consciousness."
A Pleasure To Do Death With You
In this the 10th Mystery, Kennedy is faced with the dilemma of being the alibi for one of the many suspects in the bizarre death of a local investment banker Patrick Mylan. Other suspects include: former pop singing sensation Tim Higgins; Higgins' trusted roadie Marcus Urry; Higgins' loyal PA, Alice Robins; Mylan's accountant Rodney Stuart; Mylan's associates Martin Friel and Tony Stevenson. Then Mylan's (French)man Friday, Jean Claude Banks and housekeeper Cynthia Cox who seem to be up to a bit of deviousness of their own. Even with the growing list of suspects Kennedy also knows that Mylan's death could have been nothing more than an autoerotic escapade gone wrong. Mylan's current girlfriend refers to herself as his concubine
While Kennedy's back is giving him major jip and his romantic relationship with local journalist, ann rea, seems to be collapsing, doesn't one of his main suspects, only go and abscond to California.
Kennedy (leaving trusted DS Irvine and WDC King to the investigation in Camden Town) gives chase and ends up in Half Moon Bay, just outside of San Francisco where local Chief Ed Donohue, his daughter Officer Grace Scott and Officer Kevin "Mactoo" Mac Cormac offer assistance... and more.
While tracking down his suspect in America and trying to work out the exact details of Mylan's murder, Kennedy is charmed into helping Officer Scott on her pet cold case: the murder, of her husband, Officer Steve Scott. Unlike the Mylan case back in Camden Town there is not one suspect on the Half Moon Bay case that is until Kennedy focuses his unique investigation methods on to the very cold trail.
Kennedy finds himself enjoying his time away from Camden Town. He wonders if that might have anything to do with a certain Grace Scott.
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Dufour Editions, hardcover, May 2012, ISBN: 978-0802313522
The Beautiful Sound of Silence
A body is discovered in the middle of a blazing bonfire on the top of Primrose Hill on Halloween. Pathologist Dr. Taylor recognizes the teeth as belong to a Superintendent recently retired from Camden Town CID. Kennedy and team head off on a somewhat precarious trail only to find a long list of suspects all with grievances. Meanwhile Kennedy is mindful of the considerable amount of attention ann rea is being paid by a photographer colleague.
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Brandon Books, hardcover, December 2008, ISBN: 978-0863223778
Brandon Books, paperback, September 2009, ISBN: 978-0863223983
Kennedy, while recuperating from an injury, is working on a Missing Person case when an acquaintance of his, Harry Ford, is murdered. The investigation uncovers the lives and loves and disappointments of four university friends, one of which, a Father Vincent O'Connor may also be involved in the original Mispers (Missing Persons) case.
However the suspect list goes beyond this group of friends, and their spouses, when Kennedy discovers exactly how ambitious one of Ford's work colleagues was. WPC Coles has been transferred and a new member, the young, effervescent and enthusiastic WPC Dot King fills the gap in the team as they try to solve perhaps the most complicated murder any of them have ever worked on.
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Brandon Books, hardcover, June 2007, ISBN: 978-0863223563
Brandon Books, paperback, November 2007, ISBN: 978-0863223679
The Justice Factory
While attending a funeral in a rain-drenched churchyard on the borders of Camden Town, Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy is as surprised as anyone by what's found in the recently dug grave. His subsequent investigation uncovers a labyrinth of secrets, lies and deceit. All members of Kennedy's teamespecially Detective Sergeant James Irvinefind themselves personally involved and vulnerable. And is WDC Anne Coles paying as much attention to solving the case as Kennedy's estranged lover ann rea would like?
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Do-Not Press, hardcover, January 2004, ISBN: 978-1904316329
Do-Not Press, paperback, January 2004, ISBN: 978-1904316336
I've Heard The Banshee Sing
In 1942 a troupe of The Royal Ulster Rifles are holed up in a church tower North-West of Troarn in Normandy. In the middle of the night their guard Rifleman Victor Dugdale deserts his post thereby allowing a squad of Germans to ambush and mortally wounds five of the seven sleeping Ulstermen.
In the year 2000 seven people, four men and three women, make their way from Ballyneagh in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, to London's Camden Town. Eight hours after the same seven men and three women catch the Heathrow to Belfast Shuttle the seventy five year Dugdale is found dead in the Black Cat Building in Camden Town
Kennedy and ann rea visit several locations in Northern Ireland including Ballyneagh and Portrush, the detective's birthplace, and discover just how destructive an old grudge can be. But it doesn't end there. ann rea disappears just as Kennedy is tracking down members of the local Bridge Club who seem to have more in common than their weekly card games. Redemption appears to be making way for a different kind of justice.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Do-Not Press, hardcover, March 2003, ISBN: 978-1904316039
Do-Not Press, paperback, March 2003, ISBN: 978-1904316336
The Hissing of the Silent Lonely Room
Kennedy and his team are called to a house in Eaton Terrace where the body of young woman, Esther Bluewood, has been found in a kitchen smelling of gas. It would appear that she has committed suicide although no final note is evident and both kitchen windows are open.
The woman and her husband, Paul Yeats, who have had some very public arguments, are both songwriters and Kennedy, encouraged by several visual clues, tries to figure out a system by which one could appear to have gassed themselves.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Do-Not Press, hardcover, April 2002, ISBN: 978-1899344703
Do-Not Press, paperback, April 2002, ISBN: 978-1899344710
The Ballad of Sean and Wilko
Sean Green and Wilko Robertson are the two principals of a rock group called Circles. Circles were fabulously successful in the seventies but are now struggling to find an audience. They are performing at Dingwalls Dancehall, Camden Lock, when Wilko is discovered dead in his dressing room, where the door has been locked from the inside.
Kennedy and his team plough through the band's coloured and chequered past turning up an amazing array of music business characters. The detective discovers he's never had so many suspects in a case before.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Do-Not Press, hardcover, September 2000, ISBN: 978-1899344581
Do-Not Press, paperback, September 2000, ISBN: 978-1899344574
Fountain of Sorrow
In this third Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy Mystery, the Camden Town detective and his team are racing against the clock to discover the truth about two bizarre and savage killings
First the mutilated corpse of 'Flute' Burton is discovered beside an ornate fountain in Camden Town, his throat seemingly ripped out by a wild animal. Then, two days later, the bludgeoned body of estate agent John B Stone is found nearby. Is there any connection between the two deaths?
It doesn't help when Kennedy's romantic partner, ann rea, leaves London to go and visit an old friend by the sea-side. But soon she is unwittingly providing answers to some very disturbing questions... To add colour and humour to the proceedings, as all of the above is going on, a "B" Division pop star, Pauley Valentine, hijacks the radio station GLR in a last ditch effort to get someone to play his music.
This Kennedy mystery pits Kennedy against his most devious adversary to date and reacquaints him with the wheeling and dealing of the music industry.
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Do-Not Press, hardcover, March 1999, ISBN: 978-1899344383
Dufour Editions, paperback, March 1999, ISBN: 978-1899344390
I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass
Peter O'Browne, managing director of Camden Town Records, is missing. Is his disappearance connected with a mysterious fire, which ravages his north London home? And just who was using his credit cards in darkest Dorset?
Although up to his neck in other casesincluding a sex murder and a particularly vicious attack on an old womanDetective Inspector Christy Kennedy and his team investigate, plumbing the hidden depths of London's music industry, turning up chart-rigging scams, blackmail and worse.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Minotaur, hardcover, October 2004, ISBN: 978-0312319021
Do-Not Press, paperback, January 1997, ISBN: 978-1899344161
Last Boat to Camden Town
Last Boat to Camden Town tells us how Kennedy met local journalist ann rea his love interest, friend and confidante.
Naturally enough it was murder that brought them togetheror was it?
The body of Doctor Edmund Godfrey Berry is discovered at the bottom of Regent's Canal, in the heart of Kennedy's patch of Camden Town. Did Dr Berry jump, or was he pushed? And does his death have anything to do with the mysterious demise of teacher, and one of Berry's former patients, Susanne Collins?
It soon transpires that beneath the surface of comfortable respectability, there lurks a secret more terrible than even Kennedy could imagine.
ORDER THE BOOK:
Minotaur, hardcover, November 2003, ISBN: 978-0312318727
Do-Not Press, paperback, September 1998, ISBN: 978-1899344307
"Its masterful sleuthing and romantic sub plot make for two excellent reasons to settle down for some serious reading. Charles is a writer of real substance."
What's On In London
"More original than the usual run of police novels. Charles makes good use of his inside knowledge of the rock businessan author to watch."
Martin Edwards, Solicitor's Journal
"All (are) intricately plotted and move along faster than a block busting beat. Reflective, tea drinking Irish detective, Christy Kennedy, is a wonderful creation."
"A tricky elegant plotmuch like the novels of Ross MacDonald."
"If you enjoy Morse you'll enjoy Kennedy."
BBC Radio 2
"Agatha Christie for people who inhale."
"A writer who treads in the classic footsteps of Morse and Maigret."
"Kennedy is not the clichéd cop of so much crime fiction. He is a well-rounded laconic hero who takes a philosophical approach to crime solving and life in general. Likewise the novels are cliché-free as well and tend to be cleverly plotted stories with the emphasis on character and atmosphere rather than gimmicky twists and turns."
"Paul Charles is one of the hidden treasures of British crime fiction. There is a humanity, wit and compassion in these books, but most of all a fundamental decency to the central characters that makes the reader feel that if this is not always the way the world is, then it is the way the world should be."
"Kennedy is from the gentle school of policemen (with the kettle on the boil rather than the bottle in the drawer)... well worth seeking out."
Cath Staincliffe, Manchester Evening News
"Charles draws the reader in with an easy style and the result is an excellent thriller."
Dublin Evening Herald
"I'm becoming fond of this North London police procedural series."
"A good puzzle, memorable character and an elegant, if not simple, solution should help Charles' series into the top rank of British police procedurals."
"Relective tea-drinking Irish Detective Christy Kennedy is a wonderful creation."
"Christy is an engaging type, as he stumbles through the investigation, and the method of killing is highly original in the extreme. And there's a very nice little twist in the closing chapter that caught me unawares."
The Irish Times
"The puzzle slowly fits together, exposing a rich pageant of human relationships. An exemplary case for the quiet sleuth of British Crime fiction."
Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
"The real mystery here is why... Paul Charles' Christy Kennedy is not as famous as Ian Rankin's DI John Rebus, Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse or Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe."
The Irish Independent
"This series deserves recognition on a par with those of Inspectors Jury, Morse and Tennyson."
"What's most impressive about (these) novels is how he's managed to carve out a niche in what has become a very crowded market place, creating in DI Christy Kennedy, a laconic, sweetly philosophical hero without a cop cliché in sight."
Camden New Journal
"Two things lift this series out of the ordinary: one is the sense of place; the other is the character of Kennedy, a refreshingly gimmick-free old school copper."
Mail on Sunday
"The Beautiful Sound of SilenceOne of the strongest in an impressive series... Veterans and newcomers alike will appreciate the smart writing and ingenious planting of clues."
"Christy Kennedy is no Cracker or Sherlockhe prefers tea to whiskey or junkbut his passion for solving complex puzzles and cunning crimes drives this book, page after page."
News of the World
"I Love the Sound of Breaking GlassAn intriguing glimpse of how the Music Business worksa Smash Hit!"
The Press Association
"I Love The Sound of Breaking GlassPaul Charles reveals himself as a master of the crime novel ... Judging by the cracking good read of this, his debut effort, he has a lot to offer readers eager not only for a fast-moving, intelligent plot, but also in terms of gaining an insight into the heady, wheeling-dealing world of the record industry."
The Big Issue
"A detective story with a difference and difficult to put down. Very readable."
The Ulster Star
"Paul Charles feels for the small corners of a big city, and his sympathy for his large cast of characters, give his book a life which you leave thinking you would like to revisit it soon."
The Irish Independent
"Paul Charles is a voice to challenge the "quiet" writers of mystery. The Justice Factory is an excellent read and highly recommended. I will certainly be hunting down the previous volumes in the series and waiting with baited breath for the eight book in the series."
"Its musings in love and music are almost Hornbyesque at times and the compelling mystery makes The Justice Factory an impressive addition to the Kennedy canon."
Evening Herald, Dublin
"... a superbly ingenious murder method which must have John Dickson Carr turning in his grave with envy."
"The explosive characters and riveting plot amount to a truly enjoyable and worthwhile read."
Waterstone's Guide to Irish Books
"Beautifully crafted mysteries."
Scene of the Crime
"The Hissing of the Silent Lonely RoomFor someone who is dead when the narrative opens, Esther emerges as an extraordinarily vital character, warmed to life by an uncommonly sensitive cop."
New York Times
Buy the Books
See the buy links under each book, or check out the links below.
All the Kennedy titles are avails from the good people at No Alibis, Belfast.
Norwegian translation of the first three Christy Kennedy Mysteries is available in one Anthology. Click here for more information.