A High Mortality of Doves

1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four terrible years of war, and now, just when the village is coming to terms with the loss of so many of its sons, the brutal murder of a young girl shatters its hard-won tranquillity.

Myrtle Bligh is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove, a bird of peace.

During the war Myrtle worked as a volunteer nurse with Flora Winsmore, the local doctor's daughter, caring for badly wounded soldiers at the nearby big house, Tarnhey Court.

When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London, a man not only wounded in war but damaged in peace by the death of his young son and his cold, loveless marriage. Once in Wenfield, Albert begins to investigate the three recent murders and the Cartwright family of Tarnhey Court and their staff fall under suspicion as their hidden lives and secrets are uncovered.

With rumours of a ghostly soldier with a painted face being spotted near the scene of the murders, the village is thrown into a state of panic - and with the killer still on the loose, who will be the next to die at the hands of this vicious angel of death?


I loved this novel. Set just after the First World War, its clever plotting hides a powerful story of loss, malice and deception. Ann Cleeves

Imagine a plot as devious as anything Agatha Christie devised, locate it in a Derbyshire village in 1919 and with writing as close to the pulse as Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth and you will have some idea of the extraordinary power of Kate Ellis's new novel. Peter Lovesey

A splendidly macabre thriller with a very dark heart and a hugely effective twist at the end. Andrew Taylor

Kate Ellis has established a deserved reputation for ingenious whodunit plots [and] in A High Mortality of Doves, she breaks new ground. Fascinating, with a characteristically clever twist. Martin Edwards

I absolutely loved this book. It's a perfectly paced crime novel that beautifully evokes both time and place. Kate Ellis keeps you guessing all the way through to the final unexpected twist. This could be an instant classic. L.C. Tyler

In Search of The Classic Mystery Novel

Promoting Crime Fiction


First published 2016 by Piatkus

Hardback - 3 November 2016
Paperback - 4 May 2017
eBook - 3 November 2016

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