Tainted Innocence, a historical mystery set in Cambridge, England, in 1524, is my first novel. Published by Carina Press, a division of Harlequin, the international publisher, it tells the story of Bryony, an illiterate laundress and a stranger to the town, who lives in constant fear that her unusual upbringing and lack of friends will leave her vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft. When Matthew Hobson, a scholar at the college, is found murdered Bryony becomes a suspect. But she is not the only one. Luke Hobson, a taciturn local tradesman who has sacrificed much for his charismatic but selfish brother, also has a motive for the murder.
Here’s an extract from the novel:
It would not be the first time Bryony had risked the branding iron, but before she’d been sick with hunger. This was different. This wouldn’t be stealing to stop the gnawing in her belly. This would be stealing just because she wanted it.
She caressed the smooth leather binding of the book. It was not so large; it could be concealed in the folds of her shawl, and none would be the wiser. One chilblained finger traced the flowing curves of gold. She knew that first letter—a B—the same as a priest once told her began her own name. Bryony. A pagan name, he had called it, not really a name at all but that of a plant with poisonous berries, and he had urged her to adopt another one, one from the holy saints. Bertha or Barbara.