Troubador A Stroke of Bad Luck

Released: 28/06/2019

ISBN: 9781789017762

eISBN: 9781789019735

Format: Paperback/eBook

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A Stroke of Bad Luck


On a bitter day in January 1934 a young woman pays an unexpected visit to the occupant of the condemned cell in Armley Jail in Leeds. The man is Ernest Brown, who stands convicted of the murder of his employer, Frederick Morton, and is soon to be hanged. The woman is Florence Morton, the victim’s sister. Florence knows that Ernest is a bad lot. He deserted from the army, acquired a criminal record for theft and drunken driving, and has admitted to having had an affair with the victim’s wife. But did he kill her brother, Freddy Morton? 

Based on a true story, the mystery surrounding Freddy Morton’s death unfolds page by page, drawing the reader into a fascinating web of conflicting statements, competing loyalties, and a seemingly impossible murder scenario. As the clock ticks and the day of Ernest’s execution approaches, will Florence manage to discover the truth about the brutal murder of her brother?

Both Ends of the Circle by Nell Finnemore will be published in July 2021.

This was a great read. I was intrigued about the real case that this book was based on and actually did research on it. The author did a great job of fictionalizing this story.

by Cristie

Diane James's characters are well-defined and credible, and their interactions make for some fascinating reading. I particularly enjoyed the mysterious plot that is is based on real events.. A fine crime story to get lost in !!

by Kelly

I thought this was a very well written book. It is the tale (based on a true story) of a prisoner who may or may not have committed murder. A visitor hears his story and wants to help. We know he’s a bad guy but did he or didn’t he? The author makes courtrooms sound exciting, so if you really enjoy trial books, you’ll love this. I confess, I usually am not into trials but this one kept me reading til the end. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to preview this book!

by Linda

Picking up this book and reading it was A stroke of truly good luck! And I almost didn't. Honestly, I did not find the cover of this one to be enticing, and kept putting reading this back and back - my loss! They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and this just one of those books that this applies to. The content within is truly at odds with its dull blue cover - it's gripping and taut. This book was different is quite different from my general go-to genre of thrillers, nonetheless, this book made it very high up in my rating. I have a feeling that this is one of those stories that will stay with me for a long time!

Based on the Saxton-Grange murder that shook Yorkshire residents in 1933, this book takes you on a journey that will imprint on your mind just maybe forever. Most of the scenes in this book are set in a courtroom - something that would generally not interest me, but I surprisingly found myself turning page after page to get to the end. Having been unaware of the real case added to the tension and I just could not put this one down! This book was a big diversion from what I prefer to read and enjoy reading, but I'm very glad I picked this one up! The ending left me with a mix of emotions - I was shocked, outraged and a little sad.

by Samantha

I read a lot of true crime, and have been very impressed by Diane Janes' previous books on the Croydon Arsenic Poisonings ('Poisonous Lies') and the killing of Evelyn Foster ('Death at Wolf's Nick') among others. She researches immaculately, gives a real sense of period and place, and presents everything with human sympathy, cool detachment and sense of justice, without the prurient relish or glib moral judgements so many true crime writers indulge in. I had always worried about the 1933 Saxton Grange murder, finding the evidence of chief prosecution witness Dorothy Morton at odds with the facts and her character as revealed in Ernest Brown's trial for the murder of her husband. Diane Janes offers this story firmly within carefully researched facts and available documents, but filling it out fictionally; and the result is a hugely satisfying whodunit, exposing a major miscarriage of justice that provokes feelings of outrage. Read it.

by Timster

Diane Janes

Diane Janes is a full-time author who writes both crime novels and historical true crime books. As well as contemporary psychological thrillers, she is the creator of the Black & Dod historical mysteries series. Her novels have been shortlisted for various awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger and the CWA New Blood Dagger and she has been awarded a Red Herring for services to the crime-writing genre. You can find out more about Diane's forthcoming novels, public appearances etc. by visiting her website

Diane also writes mainstream novels under the pen name Nell Finnemore, the first of which will be published by Troubador in summer 2021.

Diane Janes a.k.a. Nell Finnemore
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