The Mystery of the Stolen Brides: An Inspector Dearborn Case arose from a screenplay I wrote which was to have featured Christopher Lee in the lead role of Blakemoor. I met him several times to talk about the part. As can happen in the film world, the last 10% of the finance didn’t come together and Christopher went off to do The Wicker Man. So I rewrote my screenplay as a novel: A Portrait of Barbara, which was published in London and New York in 1978. Although delighted to have the book in print (it was my second novel), I was never comfortable with its ‘horror’ classification. Recently the publishers Sphere (Little, Brown) pronounced it ‘a brilliant classic‘ and published a revised ebook edition on their Crime Vault website. The paperback edition is now available HERE on this page
In the summer of 1891 Detective Inspector Solomon Dearborn has lost the confidence of his superiors. The trail having run cold on the Jack the Ripper investigation in which he was involved, he is pulled from London and sent to Somerset, charged with solving the mysterious disappearance of a young bride on her wedding day. How and why the young bride vanished are questions that urgently need to be answered. The shrewd, plodding Dearborn and his assistant are making progress, but – as with the Ripper – a solution eludes them. Dearborn checks his fob watch, night is falling. Failure is once again pressing upon him, uncomfortably close…
I had always seen the book as a tragic Victorian love story and crime thriller, involving the methodical police work of Detective Inspector Dearborn and his young assistant. My great-grandfather was a Thames river policeman in Victorian London (no motors then, they used oars), and my grandfather was a police sergeant in Edwardian London (in 1911 he was one of the coppers at the Siege of Sidney Street in East London, and once told me how he used his heavy police cape as a surprisingly effective weapon against thugs). As a youngster, and later as a published novelist, I was fascinated by his first-hand accounts, which provided authentic background material and atmosphere for the book.
When I read the story again in preparation for re-publication I was surprised to find how ‘complete’ it was. I kept it much the same while honing the characters of Inspector Dearborn and his detective sergeant, the ambitious Lemuel Sparrowhawk, son of an assimilated East London Jewish family. In particular I clarified what ultimately happened to the pivotal characters from the perspective of the now retired Dearborn, hinting at just the possibility of a supernatural dimension.
The Mystery of the Stolen Brides: An Inspector Dearborn Case
And the stage is set for further Dearborn cases to unfold: I’m working on a prequel about his time on the Ripper case. Dearborn has an interesting angle on the American suspect, Francis Tumblety, but knows it wasn’t him. Why? How? If his colleague at Special Branch, the lately promoted Detective Chief Inspector John George Littlechild has his own theories, so does Dearborn, and they might well surprise you…
Read an extract from The Mystery of the Stolen Brides HERE
Inspiration from HARRY FLOYD, my grandfather, and his father, Metropolitan Police officers in Edwardian and Victorian London
This Post has more about the origins and reworking of The Mystery of the Stolen Brides
The Mystery of the Stolen Brides
By Robin Squire
Paperback and eBook
The Mystery of the Stolen Brides
is available in paperback, price £9.99 (+ p&p)
UK Delivery including p&p = £11.59
Rest of World: £15.39
The Mystery of the Stolen Brides ebook is available from Little, Brown’s Crime Vault
Selected Exmoor outlets are stock the book:
The Exmoor Society, Dulverton
The Villagers’ Stores, Wootton Courtenay
The Fox and Goose, Parracombe
Tarr Farm Inn, Tarr Steps, Dulverton
Exmoor House, Wheddon Cross
Stolen Brides PUBLISHED
For more details or media enquiries please contact my AGENT
Read EXTRACTS from Robin Squire’s books
Linda Louisa Dell
What a great book. And what interesting characters. I can’t wait for the follow up.
All the best from Linda
Good luck, dear Rob, with this further venture. I don’t think I knew our great grandfather was a river policeman – how interesting. Anyway, here’s luck and all best wishes with it all.
Much love, Davina