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Patricia Hall books in order

Patricia Hall is the pseudonym of British journalist and author Maureen O'Connor.

Best known for writing the novel series revolving around the lives of reporter Laura Ackroyd and DCI Michael Thackeray, Maureen uses the pen name when writing mystery, thriller and crime fiction.

Born in Bradford, England, she completed her studies at Birmingham University before working for several broadcasters, including The BBC and The Guardian.

Maureen was employed as a journalist for several years before making the switch to freelance journalism and fiction writing.

Having made her debut in 1991 with The Poison Pool, Maureen has written several other books, including the Ackroyd and Thackeray Series, and the Kate O'Donnell historical mysteries.

The wife and mother to two grown sons currently resides in Oxford, England.

More about Patricia Hall

Genres: Crime Suspense, Historical Mystery, Mystery, Thriller

United Kingdom

Pseudonym: Patricia Hall


Non Series

  • The Poison Pool (1991)
  • The Coldness of Killers (1992)
  • The Masks of Darkness (2003)

Ackroyd and Thackeray

  1. Death by Election (1993)
  2. Dying Fall (1995)
  3. In the Bleak Midwinter (1995)
  4. Perils Of The Night (1997)
  5. The Italian Girl (1998)
  6. Dead on Arrival (1999)
  7. Skeleton at the Feast (2000)
  8. Deep Freeze (2002)
  9. Death in Dark Waters (2002)
  10. Dead Reckoning (2003)
  11. False Witness (2004)
  12. Sins of the Fathers (2006)
  13. Death in a Far Country (2007)
  14. By Death Divided (2008)
  15. Devil's Game (2009)
  16. Dust to Dust (2011)

Kate O'Donnell

  1. Dead Beat (2011)
  2. Death Trap (2012)
  3. Dressed To Kill (2013)
  4. Blood Brothers (2014)
  5. Deep Waters (2017)
  6. Cover Up (2017)
  7. Playing with Fire (2018)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

The Poison Pool

When old Tom Carter is found bludgeoned to death, Inspector Alex Sinclair makes quick work of arresting the only suspect, Joey Macready, a young man living with his mother. Social worker Kate Weston is convinced that Joey is innocent. Together, the two discover a dark conspiracy deep in the tightly knit Yorkshire community.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1991
ISBN: 978-0373261987
Publisher: Worldwide Library
The Coldness of Killers

When the body of a young drop-out is found stabbed in a struggling Yorkshire school is the motive racism or something even more sinister. His teacher, Joanna Robertson, is sucked into a tangled web in the uneasily mixed community after she finds the dead boy's body. 

The investigation is led by not very politically correct DCI Harry Huddleston, who is looking forward to his retirement, and a new young recruit to the Yorkshire force, DS Kevin Mower, who has left London under a cloud. Joanna finds she, her disabled husband and her lover are dragged into a case which threatens their future and eventually their lives. After the death of Karim Aziz nothing would ever be the same again.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1992
Ebook: B017NLP4DG
Publisher: Patricia Hall
The Masks of Darkness

When recently divorced Jay Morton arrived in her hometown of Pendle Bridge with her young daughter Kate she is looking forward to a new job and a new start in life. But in spite of renewed contacts with her family not all goes according to plan. 

Setting up a new museum in an old and decaying Victorian house should provide an interesting challenge but nothing is quite as it seems at Pendle House and the menacing masks she is to exhibit soon seem far more menacing than she could have dreamed of. Her home town soon begins to reveal secrets far more disturbing than she could have dreamed of. 

Menace soon turns to threat as dark secrets become appalling reality and Jay and her daughter find themselves at risk. Jay soon wonders if there is anyone she can trust to help her as death stalks the town and ancient secrets catch her in a web of intrigue that threatened children years ago and seem to have provoked bloody revenge in the here and now.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0750522359

Ackroyd and Thackeray

Death by Election

When by-election fever grips the North of England town of Bradfield, Laura Ackroyd finds she knows the local scene far better than the national reporters who flock off the London train. Laura is assigned to cover the election campaign and also the police investigation into the discovery of an unidentified body on the moors, the students campaign to "out" various local dignitaries and hints of dirty dealings at the town hall.

She also comes across the new and enigmatic DCI Michael Thackeray who is feeling his way through the tangle of mysteries and indiscretions which surround Richard Thurston's campaign to take the Bradfield seat. 

As the veneer is peeled away from each and every participant, violence touches the candidate and most of the other main players in the increasingly vicious struggle and even touches Laura herself. Could there, she wonders, be a common thread linking all these events, a thread which Michael Thackeray is barely aware of? The conclusion is as violent as it is unexpected when twisted loyalties are eventually untangled, leaving unexpected victims in its wake.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-1903552513
Publisher: Back-In-Print Books
Dying Fall

Midsummer heat is building up tension on one of Bradfield's decaying housing estates and fires are stoked when two young car thieves are killed in an encounter with the police. The screws are tightened when a young girl goes missing in what looks like a carbon copy of a murder ten years before.

Laura Ackroyd, reporter on the local paper, begins to wonder if the police got the wrong man all those years ago. But it's a notion fiercely resisted by DCI Michael Thackeray in spite of the growing mutual attraction between him and the red-headed reporter. Not for the first time their professional lives clash while their personal encounters become closer and anger and violence grow more threatening as they both begin to probe what happened on the Heights now and in the past.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-0751512045
Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks
In the Bleak Midwinter

In a bitter winter in Yorkshire, DCI Michael Thackeray investigates the unexplained death of a young estate agent, Linda Wright, found apparently drowned after her car plunged into a remote reservoir in the Dales beyond Bradfield. Meanwhile reporter Laura Ackroyd finds herself reluctantly transferred to run the weekly newspaper in the market town of Arnedale, not far from where Linda has been discovered.

The welcome there is far from friendly, from colleagues or local worthies, and Thackeray, her on and off lover, is uncomfortable to find her investigating the home town he left years before under a cloud. Secrecy, corruption and prejudice soon flare into violence as Laura discovers that crime is not confined to city streets but can flourish behind the picturesque fields and moors where Thackeray was raised.

NB: This book is also known as The Dead of Winter.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-0751517125
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Perils Of The Night

When reporter Laura Ackroydre rashly agrees to investigate Bradfield's red light district, she ends up in a police cell facing an embarrassed and angry DCI Michael Thackeray. Happily for her he is called away by the news that a young girl has been found stabbed to death in the very street where Laura has been arrested with a group of prostitutes. But the victim in not one of the working girls. She is a student, a regular at the local church and working hard for her exams. Who could have wanted to murder her so brutally.

With the street girls besieged by vigilantes and a second death, Ackroyd and Thackeray find their loyalties stretched both professionally and personally. When one of the dead student's house-mates disappears it looks as if a suspect may have emerged but the involvement of the charismatic local vicar is also in question, as is the way the impoverished students might have been supplementing their grants. Nobody on Whitley Street turns out to be quite what they seem, and the climax is as tragic as it is horrific.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-0312199968
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
The Italian Girl

Long gone and best forgotten had been Bradfield's harsh verdict on the beautiful Italian girl who had gone missing on Coronation Day. But when a young woman's bones are dug up on a building site bitter memories and old hatreds surface too. DCI Michael Thackeray meets only deceit and evasion when he starts his investigation but when one crucial witness is found dead old murder turns brutally new. 

His girl-friend Laura Ackroyd finds her own reasons to be interested in the case when it emerges that her own father played with the gang of children who were the last to see the Italian girl alive. And to her consternation she finds deceit touching her own life too. How long, she wonders, can her relationship with Thackeray survive?

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1853899348
Publisher: Magna Large Print Books
Dead on Arrival

Laura Ackroyd, furious with DCI Michael Thackeray's dissembling, goes to London in search of career new opportunities in "the big smoke". But while an editor is keen to buy her work - and get to know her better - she witnesses a brutal murder in the East End where she is staying with a friend. To her astonishment the police show little interest in the suspects and much more in the boy's brother, a possible illegal immigrant who has vanished. 

Life in the capital becomes increasingly dangerous and to her surprise the case begins to pull her inexorably back to Bradfield again, where Thackeray and Mower are investigating the disappearance of a young Asian girl in mysterious circumstances. But it is not just Safi who seems to have gone missing nor just her family who are unwilling to talk to the police. The truth is more terrible, and plunges Laura into mortal danger and Kevin Mower into a personal tragedy from which he looks unlikely to recover.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-0312265724
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Skeleton at the Feast

When Chief Inspector Michael Thackeray is sent on a training course to his alma mater, St Frideswide's College, Oxford, the memories come flooding back. He finds himself sleeping in the same kind of cold garret room he slept in as a student, bumping into his old tutors in the quadrangles, eating in the grand hall... Oxford is just as he remembers it. But life amongst the dreaming spires is not as tranquil as it may seem. 

A senior tutor has recently gone missing - taking his mistress and #1m of the college's money with him. Thackeray reluctantly joins the investigation into his whereabouts and, as he discovers more about the cloistered world of Oxford colleges, it rapidly becomes clear that there are untold horrors just waiting to be uncovered...

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-0749005504
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Deep Freeze

The May Anderson Hospital is the most controversial establishment in Bradfield. One of the few local clinics to offer abortions, it provokes strong reactions in the community. But when a young girl is gunned down as she walks out of the clinic, almost everyone is outraged. Who could do such a thing? 

Reporter Laura Ackroyd and her policeman boyfriend, DCI Michael Thackeray, are both soon immersed in the case. It quickly becomes clear that the maverick surgeon who runs the abortion unit, is not a popular man. - could the bullet have been intended for him? Is it something to do with the flamboyant American evangelist who has just swung into town with his rather intimidating entourage? 

Ackroyd and Thackeray are convinced that there is more to the case than meets the eye. And with very different attitudes towards the subject of abortion, it is not long before the issues raised threaten to destroy their own relationship...

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0749005641
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Death in Dark Waters

After a night out clubbing, the son of a wealthy local businessman is knocked down and left in a coma. His father wants to know who supplied him with ecstasy and Michael Thackery is put on the case. Meanwhile his girlfriend, Laura Ackroyd, is conducting her own investigation into the local drugs problem. 

The Wuthering Heights estate is controlled by the dealers and they undermine any attempts to improve life in the area. So it is no surprise when the local youth training project is targeted by vandals – but when heroin is found on site and the staff arrested, it seems as though things have started to get serious…

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0749006662
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Dead Reckoning

Earnshaw’s mill is one of the last remnants of Bradfield’s glorious industrial past; however, times are changing, and Earnshaw’s future is hanging in the balance. Staff cuts need to be made if the mill is going to survive but the union is unhappy and its members are threatening strike action. 

With racial tensions already running high throughout the city, the prospect of mass redundancies at the heart of Bradfield’s Muslim community could cause even more trouble. The Earnshaw family’s problems spiral out of control when they discover that their son Simon has been murdered. 

As Michael Thackeray’s team investigate the death the mill is left teetering on the brink. And as the increasing popular far right political group the British Patriotic Party start campaigning for local elections violence spills on the streets of the city and it isn’t long before areas of Bradfield go up in flames.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0749006747
Publisher: Allison & Busby
False Witness

A teacher is bludgeoned to death and a volatile black teenager is arrested: as far as DCI Michael Thackeray is concerned, that’s it, case closed. Though absent at the time of the murder and subsequent arrest, Thackeray is convinced that it was an open-and-shut case; that justice has been done. 

But when his long-term girlfriend, Laura Ackroyd, begins digging into the case for a newspaper article she’s working on, some disturbing facts come to light – facts that cause the case against the accused youngster to unravel at an alarming rate and lead Thackeray to wonder if there could have been a sinister reason behind the youth’s speedy arrest. 

With the case re-opened, it becomes clear that difficult questions need to be asked and Thackeray soon finds himself under attack from within the Police Force, as his own loyalty and integrity are called into question. Under threat from all sides, can Thackeray – his career and his personal life – survive the heavy strain of suspicion, or will the pressure finally become too much?

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-0749082352
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Sins of the Fathers

A young boy running for his life through the snow, his sister hovering between life and death in intensive care: it seems that another father has been driven to the edge and turned on his family when DCI Michael Thackeray reluctantly enters a family home turned blood-stained charnel house. But as he and his lover Laura Ackroyd dig deeper the tragedy becomes darker and much more dangerous.

While Thackeray seeks to find where the children’s father has gone, Laura begins to ask just who he is. This seems to have been a family with no past long before its future was so brutally taken away. Who is Gordon Christie? Who is he hiding from? Is it only the police who are looking for him? Where has he gone with a loaded gun and his son in tow? And who seems to be obstructing Thackeray’s inquiry at every turn, driving him to the brink of resignation and Laura to despair?

As things fall apart, the tangle of violence they uncover turns lethal and their lives hang in the balance as the police eventually uncover the full tragedy of the elusive Gordon Christie.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0749082895
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Death in a Far Country

The dark of the night. Two girls are running for their lives. Terrified, one falls, and unable to get up, she forces her friend to go on without her, to save herself. For her there is no escape as their attackers close in…

The following morning the body of a young girl is found in the canal. DCI Thackeray, recently returned to the force after a bungled kidnapping operation left him near death, is put on the case. But with the entire town’s attention focused on the football team’s upcoming match against Chelsea, no one seems to be able to tell the police anything about how the girl died, let alone identify her.

Thackeray’s girlfriend, reporter Laura Ackroyd, also has much to investigate. The appointment of a female chairman at the football club has annoyed many people, in particular the men who dominate the share holders and who will apparently stop at nothing to force her out.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0749079871
Publisher: Allison & Busby
By Death Divided

Laura Ackroyd, journalist girlfriend of DCI Michael Thackeray, becomes drawn into the plight of Julie Holden and her daughter Anna when she writes an article about domestic abuse. Julie takes flight to a women's refuge, but her dreams of safety are shattered when Anna goes missing... Meanwhile Mohammed Sharif is trying to keep the balance between his traditional Muslim family and his job as a policeman. 

When his newly-married cousin Faria Aziz disappears, his private enquiries soon become a police matter, and Thackeray and his team must tread a careful path to avoid upsetting Bradfield's Muslim community as they investigate.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0749007751
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Devil's Game

Journalist Laura Ackroyd has a lot on her plate. Having recently discovered she is pregnant, she must now gather her courage to tell her partner, DCI Michael Thackeray. 

So she could have done without the task of profiling Sir David Murgatroyd, the wealthy venture capitalist taking over a local school, especially as, apart from learning from learning of the tragic suicide of his mother, Laura finds him to be an elusive subject. Gradually, Laura discovers more about Murgatroyd, his beliefs, and his power to persuade those around him to his way of thinking. But is there a more sinister side to him that Laura has yet to discover? 

Meanwhile, Thackeray, in the dark about his impending fatherhood, is busy with the disappearance of Karen Bastable, a young woman who went missing after an illicit meeting in the local forest. As the two parents' careers collide, a web of secrecy is revealed, and Laura must think of her own safety as she becomes entangled in a reality that is far darker than she could have ever imagined.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2009
Ebook: B008UEHH7C
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Dust to Dust

To DCI Michael Thackeray's dismay, reporter Laura Ackroyd pursues a new crusade to clear a miner of the brutal murder of a policeman during the bruising coalfield strike of the 1980s. She soon finds old hatreds returning to haunt survivors and sparking fresh violence.

A second murder brings Thackeray and his team onto the scene. With lives and their tangled relationship in jeopardy, they find revenge and retribution stalking the coalfield again and taking a horrifying toll amongst guilty and innocent alike.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B0064BQUXK
Publisher: Patricia Hall

Kate O'Donnell

Dead Beat

A tense and gripping mystery set in 1960s London and Liverpool - When photographer Kate O'Donnell takes off for London from swinging Liverpool she has two things in mind: to make a career and to track down her missing older brother. But when she does find a trace of Tom, he's still missing - leaving behind a dead flatmate and some very suspicious cops, including Harry Barnard of the vice squad. Kate determines to clear her brother's name, but her investigations take her on a terrifying journey, and soon she isn't sure if even the charming Barnard can be trusted . . .

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1780295046
Publisher: Crème de la Crime
Death Trap

With Beatlemania having finally reached the capital, it’s an exciting time to be in London. Especially for young photographer Kate O’Donnell, who left her native Liverpool six months previously to share a dilapidated flat with two girlfriends in trendy Notting Hill. But there’s a darker side to 1960s’ London, Kate discovers, when she and her neighbours are menaced by an unscrupulous landlord, seemingly intent on convicting his tenants by fair means or foul.

The already tense atmosphere worsens when a prostitute is found murdered off the Portobello Road and a West Indian immigrant is arrested, inflaming the district’s simmering racial tension to breaking point. The accused is Nelson Mackintosh, the father of one of Kate’s flatmate Tess’s pupils. Convinced of Nelson’s innocence, Kate determines to track down the real killer.

But when her activities attract the attention of notorious West Indian gangster King Devine, not even Kate’s old sparring partner DS Harry Barnard can ensure her safety.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-1847518330
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Dressed To Kill

It’s 1963. A new band called the Rolling Stones is beginning to make its mark and the mini-skirt is coming into fashion. For young Liverpudlian photographer Kate O’Donnell, it’s an exciting time to be in the capital – especially as she’s on secondment to an up-and-coming fashion photographer’s studio. 

But there’s a darker side to 1960s’ London, Kate discovers, when the naked, battered body of a teenage prostitute is found amongst the rubbish bins behind a Soho jazz club – and it turns out the victim was a former model at the studio where Kate’s working.

When a second young model disappears, Kate enlists her friend DS Harry Barnard’s help to find out exactly what’s going on. Together, they uncover the first of several dark secrets surrounding Andrei Lubin’s fashion studio and the notorious Jazz Cellar.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1847519030
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Blood Brothers

1963. A badly mutilated corpse is discovered on the site of the new Centre Point Tower currently under construction in London’s West End. With fingers and toes severed, it has all the hallmarks of a gangland killing. But Detective Sergeant Harry Barnard isn’t convinced.

Meanwhile, a key witness has disappeared before the upcoming trial of East End gangster Georgie Robertson. Is there a connection? At the same time, young photographer Kate O’Donnell’s current assignment with the crime reporter of a national newspaper is causing a rift in her relationship with Harry Barnard. And Harry’s association with Georgie Robertson’s gangster brother Ray is causing concern among his colleagues. Has the line between criminal and copper become too blurred?

As the atmosphere of suspicion intensifies, Kate finds that her role with Globe reporter Carter Price is about to lead her into unexpected danger.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2014
Ebook: B00JPBFL0E
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Deep Waters

1964. Detective Sergeant Harry Barnard has been ordered to track down notorious Soho club owner Ray Robertson, who hasn’t been seen for several days. The case takes on a greater urgency when a battered body is discovered at the gym Ray owns. Is Ray the killer … or is he a victim?

Photographer Kate O’Donnell meanwhile is working on a feature about the regeneration of Canvey Island, finally being rebuilt after the devastating East Coast floods of 1953. But as Kate and Harry are about to discover, the Canvey Island floods, the murder and Ray Robertson’s disappearance are connected in more ways than one …

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1847517074
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Cover Up

On a busy Friday night in 1964, a woman’s partially clothed body is discovered in London’s Soho Square. She has been raped and strangled. With no one reported missing, her identity remains a mystery. Assuming the victim to be a prostitute, DCI Jackson is inclined to dismiss the case. Detective Sergeant Harry Barnard disagrees.

Harry’s partner Kate meanwhile has been dispatched to her native Liverpool to work on a magazine feature about the city’s remarkable regeneration, timed to coincide with the release of the Beatles’ movie, A Hard Day’s Night.

As Harry’s investigations point to evidence of a cover-up at the highest level, Kate’s assignment leads her to uncover a darker side to 1960s’ Liverpool – and a possible link to the Soho murder victim. Are she and Harry getting into something too deep and dangerous for them to handle?

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1847518033
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Playing with Fire

London, 1964. At three a.m. on a chilly autumn morning, Detective Sergeant Harry Barnard is called to a club in Greek Street where a young girl has fallen to her death from a top-floor window. A new breed of fans is flocking to Soho's rock and roll haunts. But was it a tragic accident, or something more sinister?

Meanwhile, Kate O’Donnell, Harry’s photographer girlfriend, receives a call from her Liverpudlian ex, Dave Donovan, pleading for her help. His new squeeze, Bernie Collins, set off for London in the hope of getting a recording contract, but she’s not answering her phone. Where is she?

With simmering tensions, intimidation and terror rife on Soho’s streets, Harry and Kate are drawn into its dark underbelly in their attempts to find answers.

Author: Patricia Hall
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1847519498
Publisher: Severn House Publishers