Clara Benson books in order
Clara Benson is a British USA Today bestselling author of historical mystery and historical fiction novels.
Although she is known for writing the Freddy Pilkington-Soames Mysteries as well as a number of standalone novels such as The Lucases of Lucas Lodge (2016), In Darkness, Look for Stars (2020), and The Stolen Letter (2020), her most notable work is the bestselling Angela Marchmont Mysteries.
Passionate about books and storytelling, Clara enjoys writing traditional English mysteries in its original style set in the 1920s and 30s.
A resident of the northern side of England where she lives with her family, Clara also writes under the pseudonym Antonia Frost.
A lover of whodunit mysteries, her dream is to drink cocktails and solve mysteries in a sequined dress and evening gloves.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery
Pseudonym: Also known as Antonia Frost
- The Lucases of Lucas Lodge (2016)
- In Darkness, Look for Stars (2020)
- The Stolen Letter (2020)
Angela Marchmont Mystery
- The Man on the Train: An Angela Marchmont Mystery Prequel Novella (2018)
- The Murder At Sissingham Hall (2013)
- The Mystery At Underwood House (2013)
- The Treasure At Poldarrow Point (2013)
- The Riddle At Gipsy's Mile (2014)
- The Incident at Fives Castle (2014)
- A Question of Hats: An Angela Marchmont Mystery Novella (2018)
- The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi (2014)
- The Problem at Two Tithes (2015)
- The Trouble at Wakeley Court (2015)
- The Scandal at 23 Mount Street (2015)
- The Shadow at Greystone Chase (2015)
- Angela's Christmas Adventure: An Angela Marchmont Mystery Sequel Novella (2016)
- A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia (2016)
- A Case of Murder in Mayfair (2016)
- A Case of Conspiracy in Clerkenwell (2017)
- A Case of Duplicity in Dorset (2017)
- A Case of Suicide in St. James's (2019)
- A Case of Robbery on the Riviera (2020)
- A Case of Perplexity in Piccadilly (2022)
Detailed book overview
Maria Lucas is quite resigned to never marrying, but when a new family comes to live at Netherfield Park, she suddenly finds herself with not one suitor, but two. As a friend schemes against her and misunderstandings abound, can Maria avoid the unwelcome advances of the man all Meryton expects her to marry, and win the heart of the man she truly loves?
Paris, 1941: Going against her mother’s orders, spirited Maggie devotes herself to the Resistance. Her life is a whirlwind of forged passports and secret midnight runs, helping Jews escape Paris, which grows more dangerous by the day. Under the cloak of darkness, she bids farewell to fellow fighter Emil, who flees the city with the Nazis hot on his heels.
Emil is bound for Maggie’s sister, Cecilia, hundreds of miles away in the south of France. Innocent and shy Cecilia is shocked to the core when Emil turns up, seeking refuge. Up until now, she has lived a sheltered existence: wild and dangerous Emil turns her world upside down. She risks everything to protect him and soon puts her life on the line to aid the secret work of the Resistance.
As each day passes and the war rages on, Cecilia cannot help being drawn to Emil. But as the Nazis close in on them, she faces a terrible choice. Exactly how far is she willing to go for love? And will she be able to live with herself, whatever choice she makes?
Italy, 1944: Stella stared at the envelope addressed to her, dated from the day of his death. With a trembling hand she opened it, tears rolling down her cheeks. She read the letter that should have made it to her years ago – the letter that had been ruthlessly stolen from her. It held his last words, and it changed everything.
1938: When Stella arrives in Italy, it’s love at first sight. She is wowed by the rolling hills dotted with olive trees, the buttermilk villas with shuttered windows and terracotta roofs that glow gloriously in the sunlight. Even the breeze holds the scent of freedom – freedom from England, where the shadow of her past haunted her.
Then there is Ted, an American journalist who is wild and mischievous, with an arrogance bordering on rude. Stella is infuriated by him – yet she cannot deny the lure of the danger and excitement he promises.
But there is something dark under the bright surface of this beautiful country, with unspeakable tragedies just around the corner. When the Nazis take control of Italy, Stella and Ted – and whatever dreams the future held for them – are ripped apart. Ted is torn away, to report from the perilous frontline.
Meanwhile, Stella is paralyzed with fear as screeching bombs descend, destroying everything in their wake. There is nothing left to do but sit in darkness, praying to see tomorrow.
And it seems that even in Italy, Stella’s past has found her. Somewhere in the winding streets of Florence there is a letter that will change the course of her fate. Unknown to her, it holds a secret with the power to rewrite her past, and everything she has been running away from. But will it come too late? And with the odds stacked against her, will she ever see Ted again?
Angela Marchmont Mystery
On his return from South Africa, Charles Knox is invited to spend the weekend at the country home of Sir Neville Strickland, whose beautiful wife Rosamund was once Knox's fiancée. But in the dead of night Sir Neville is murdered. Who did it? As suspicion falls on each of the house guests in turn, Knox finds himself faced with deception and betrayal on all sides, and only the enigmatic Angela Marchmont seems to offer a solution to the mystery.
Old Philip Haynes was never happier than when his family were at each other's throats. Even after his death the terms of his will ensured they would keep on feuding. But now three people are dead and the accusations are flying. Can there really be a murderer in the family? Torn between friendship and duty, Angela Marchmont must find out the truth before the killer can strike again.
When Angela Marchmont goes to Cornwall on doctor's orders she is looking forward to a nice rest and nothing more exciting than a little sea-bathing. But her plans for a quiet holiday are dashed when she is caught up in the hunt for a diamond necklace which, according to legend, has been hidden in the old smugglers' house at Poldarrow Point for over a century.
Aided by the house's elderly owner, an irrepressible twelve-year-old, and a handsome Scotland Yard detective, Angela soon finds herself embroiled in the most perplexing of mysteries.
Who is the author of the anonymous letters? Why is someone breaking into the house at night? And is it really true that a notorious jewel-thief is after the treasure too? Angela must use all her powers of deduction to solve the case and find the necklace—before someone else does.
Lost in the mists of the Romney Marsh, Angela Marchmont stumbles upon the body of a woman whose face has been disfigured—presumably to prevent recognition. Who is she, and what was she doing out there in the middle of nowhere? The search for answers will take Angela from a grand stately home to London’s most fashionable—and disreputable—nightclub, and into a murky world of illegal drinking, jazz music and lost souls.
It is Hogmanay, and Angela Marchmont is at Fives Castle, the Scottish seat of the Earl of Strathmerrick, to see in the start of 1928. But when she finds out that the Foreign Secretary, the American Ambassador and the Head of British Intelligence are also among the guests, Angela begins to suspect that something momentous is afoot. Before long, they are all snowed in and a body is discovered, and Angela soon finds suspicion directed against herself...
When a mysterious parcel containing a hat is delivered by mistake to Angela Marchmont she thinks little of it, except to note that she wouldn’t be seen dead in the thing. But if she doesn’t want it, there are plenty of other people who do—and who are prepared to take it from her by force if necessary. It soon turns out there’s more than just a hat at stake, and now it’s up to Angela to discover what’s been going on—before someone else gets there first!
While holidaying in Italy, Angela Marchmont is persuaded to postpone her trip to Venice and go to Stresa instead, to investigate a pair of spiritualists who are suspected of defrauding some of the town’s English residents out of their money. But what starts out as a minor matter swiftly becomes more serious when one of the residents in question is found dead in the beautiful gardens of his home, having apparently committed suicide.
Seduced by the heady sights and scents of the Italian Lakes, and distracted by an unexpected encounter with an old adversary who seems bent on provoking her, Angela sets out to find out the truth of the affair and resume her journey to Venice before she forgets herself and loses her head—and her heart.
On a reluctant visit to her painfully respectable brother and his wife, Angela Marchmont finds herself once again caught up in murder when a local farmer is shot dead, apparently at the hands of his sworn enemy. But the case is not as simple as it seems, for other motives and suspects soon come to light.
With reporters hot on the scent and her friend Inspector Jameson battling a conflict of interest, Angela must use all her ingenuity to unravel the case and bring the murderer to justice—or more than one person will suffer the consequences.
When the Grand Duke of Morania learns of a plot to assassinate him, he sends his daughter Princess Irina to school in England, out of harm’s way. British Intelligence scent trouble and ask Angela Marchmont to investigate. But dark forces are at work, and when the Princess disappears in mysterious circumstances Angela must race against time to find her, before the throne falls and Morania is plunged into revolution—or war.
When an unwelcome figure from her past turns up unexpectedly, Angela Marchmont has no idea that she is about to become the most notorious woman in Britain. Forced to reveal secrets she has kept to herself for many years and which she had thought were safely buried, Angela faces a fight for her very life which she looks almost certain to lose without the help of the man she loves. But what hope does she have when the one man who can save her is the one man who has every reason to abandon her to her fate?
After her bruising encounter with the law, Angela Marchmont has vowed to give up detecting, and is doing her best to forget the events of last winter and the terrible lie she told to save herself. So when a letter arrives from beyond the grave requesting her help and reminding her of the past, she is anything but pleased.
Drawn reluctantly into one final case and spurred on by her guilty conscience, Angela soon discovers a viper's nest of family betrayals and hidden enmities which have lain undisturbed for years, and which may have led to the deaths of more than one person.
Despite her unwillingness to reopen old wounds, Angela knows she must put aside her own feelings and solve the mystery if she is ever to find peace. Can she get to the heart of the matter, right the wrong she has done and be happy at last?
Angela Marchmont is looking forward to spending a nice, cosy Christmas à deux in Saratoga Springs, but before she can set off she finds herself caught up in the search for her elderly neighbour's missing diamond ring. Can Angela find it and help a young couple celebrate their own happy Christmas? This is a short story of ten thousand words, or seven chapters—just right for an afternoon curled up on the sofa!
Angela's Christmas Adventure contains spoilers from the Angela Marchmont Mysteries, and so is best enjoyed as a sequel to the series.
It's 1929, and Ticky Maltravers is the toast of London high society, adored by everyone—or so it seems, until somebody poisons him over dinner. Now it turns out that numerous people with secrets to hide had every reason to wish him dead.
Which of them murdered him? For Freddy Pilkington-Soames, newspaper reporter and man-about-town, the question hits a little too close to home, thanks to an unfortunate drunken encounter with Ticky's corpse which he'd much rather the police didn't find out about—and thanks also to his exasperating mother Cynthia's seeming determination to get herself arrested by tampering with the evidence.
But a pretty girl with big blue eyes is demanding his help in solving the mystery, so what can he do but agree? Now all he has to do is hide the wrong clues, find the right ones, and unmask the murderer before the police discover what's really been going on.
That ought to be easy enough. If only people didn't keep getting killed...
When Hollywood star Dorothy Dacres plummets six floors from her hotel terrace on the night of her greatest triumph, it initially looks like a tragic accident. But her death is so very convenient to her many enemies that press-man Freddy Pilkington-Soames, who was there on the night she died, begins to suspect foul play. And when cocaine is found in her room, it only complicates matters further.
Soon Freddy is chasing across London on the trail of drug dealers, in reluctant company with his deadly rival Corky Beckwith, the most unscrupulous reporter in Fleet Street, who will do anything for a story. With the future of a film studio at stake, can Freddy find the culprit—and get one up on Corky—before he becomes the killer's next victim?
The ladies of Clerkenwell Central Hall are none too pleased at having their Temperance meetings disrupted by the rowdy Communists next door, but for Miss Olive Stapleton in particular, the uneasy coexistence proves fatal when she is found stabbed through the heart with a paper-knife.
Enter Freddy Pilkington-Soames, who’s been recruited by British Intelligence to investigate a suspected Communist plot to stir up a general strike. Freddy thinks there’s more to Miss Stapleton’s death than meets the eye, but as he delves more deeply into the mystery it only becomes more puzzling.
What is the connection between the murder and the coded newspaper advertisements? Is a Welsh firebrand politician really as harmless as he seems? And what does the beautiful wife of an Austrian revolutionary philosopher want from him?
It all points to one thing: danger ahead. But time is running out, and Freddy must act fast to stop the conspirators, or risk becoming the unwitting pawn in a deadly game that threatens to bring the country to its knees.
When the Duke of Purbeck throws a house party to celebrate his daughter's twenty-first birthday and present her with a family heirloom, nobody expects that the weekend will end in murder.
The fabled Belsingham pearls have a history steeped in blood and slaughter dating back more than a century—and now it seems they've claimed another life, when the interfering and opinionated Professor Coddington is found dead in the library with the pearls clutched in his hand.
It looks like a robbery gone wrong, but then why didn't the thief take the necklace? And how did he escape unnoticed, given that half the guests were seemingly wandering around the house at the time of the murder?
House guest Freddy Pilkington-Soames has enough on his plate already, with a lecherous nuisance of a grandfather to keep an eye on, a girlfriend his mother disapproves of, and an ex-girlfriend who's engaged to another man but shows signs of changing her mind.
But with a killer on the loose in the house, it's time to forget his own troubles and rise to the occasion—or risk a scandal that could destroy the reputation of his whole family.
When Douglas Westray, the son of an eminent aircraft manufacturer, is found shot dead in a locked room at a society ball, it seems obvious that it’s suicide—after all, he had two failed engagements behind him, and had lost the family firm a prestigious prize through his own neglect.
But not everybody is convinced—including Freddy Pilkington-Soames, who soon discovers that there are still questions to be answered. Why was Douglas wearing the wrong shoes when he was found? What is the connection with a near-disaster at an air show? And was Freddy’s narrow escape from death under the wheels of a car an accident or something more sinister?
Assisted by his old friend, the wayward and irrepressible Lady Gertie McAloon, and pestered at every turn by rival reporter Corky Beckwith, Freddy finds himself drawn into a world of sabotage, blackmail and shady deals which threaten to scupper the success of a new fighter plane before it even gets off the ground.
But there’s more at stake than just money, and now it’s up to Freddy to untangle the clues and unravel the dark secret of a murderer who has already killed at least once and will think nothing of killing again.
‘Oh, something is bound to go wrong, but one might as well start out from a position of optimism, don’t you think?’ said Angela.
It's fair to say that Freddy Pilkington-Soames is not having a good day. His grandmother is threatening to marry a lounge lizard, his old friend has lost her lover, a racehorse has been kidnapped, a priceless diamond has gone missing, and everybody seems to think he should sort it all out.
(Oh, and there's a dead body on the terrace.)
Now Freddy's on the sunny French Riviera, caught in the crossfire of a feud between an audacious thief he's locked horns with before and a murderous gang who will stop at nothing to get what they want. He'd keep his head down if he could, but there are questions that need answering. Who took the diamond? Who is double-crossing whom? And is his grandmother's intended quite all he seems?
(And where did that dead body go?)
A political scandal at the highest level is looming and the future of an international conference hangs in the balance, and once again it's up to Freddy to save the day—in more ways than one.
West End theatre impresario Septimus Gooch is a man with many enemies, but when he's found dead in his leading lady's dressing-room the police put it down to an accident.
The cast of Septimus's latest musical production at the Jollity Theatre are having none of it, however—this is the second mysterious death in two months, and they're convinced Septimus died after being frightened out of his wits by the ghost that's haunted the theatre ever since it burned to the ground many years ago. A malevolent spirit is on the loose, striking them down one by one. Which of them will be next?
Press-man Freddy Pilkington-Soames was backstage at the Jollity on the night Septimus died. He doesn't believe in ghosts, but he knows a suspicious death when he sees one—and when a third person dies there's no doubt this time that a human hand was behind it.
Freddy's fending off the attentions of several chorus-girls at once, so has his own distractions to contend with. But murder's no joke, and he'll do anything he can to catch the killer before the whole production falls apart.
After all, the show must go on.