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Susanna Calkins

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Connection to Illinois: Susanna Calkins currently lives in Highland Park, IL, and has lived in the area for a number of years. Calkins holds a PhD in history and currently teaches at Northwestern University.

Biography: Susanna Calkins became fascinated with seventeenth-century England while pursuing her doctorate in British history. A former pirate, she once served on the Golden Hinde--a museum replica of Sir Frances Drake's ship--now dry docked in the Thames. Originally from Philadelphia, Calkins now lives outside of Chicago. She writes historical mysteries. Her first series, the award-winning Lucy Campion Mysteries, is set in 17th century London. Her second series, the Speakeasy Mysteries, is set in a Prohibition-Era Chicago speakeasy. She is also the current president of the Sisters in Crime Chicagoland Chapter.

  • -- Macavity (Sue Feder Memorial for HIstorical Mystery), A Murder at Rosamunds Gate
  • -- the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award, The Masque of a Murderer
  • -- Agatha Award (Best Historical), The Masque of a Murderer
  • -- Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery (Lefty), From the Charred Remains
  • -- Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award (Lefty), A Death Along the River Fleet

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Mystery

E-Mail: com

Selected Titles

A Death Along the River Fleet
ISBN: 125005737X OCLC: 908085495

Minotaur/St Martins 2016

Lucy Campion, a ladies' maid turned printer's apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the most vile portion of the River Fleet one morning when she encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. The woman has no memory of who she is or what's happened to her, and the townspeople believe she's possessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman's well-being and takes her to a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman's companion while she remains under the physician's care. As the woman slowly recovers, she begins-with Lucy's help-to reconstruct the terrible events that led her to Holborn Bridge that morning. But when it becomes clear the woman's safety might still be at risk, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications, and she'll have to decide how far she's willing to go to protect the young woman in her care--

A Murder at Rosamunds Gate
ISBN: 1250036992 OCLC: 829445839

Minotaur/St Martins 2013

For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone she loves is wrongly arrested for the crime. In a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren't permitted to defend their clients, and---if the plague doesn't kill them first--public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never see this person alive again. Unless, that is, she can identify the true murderer.

From the Charred Remains
ISBN: 1250060516 OCLC: 867024512

Minotaur/St Martins 2014

It's 1666 and the Great Fire has just decimated an already plague-ridden London. Lady's maid Lucy Campion, along with pretty much everyone else left standing, is doing her part to help the city clean up and recover. But their efforts come to a standstill when a couple of local boys stumble across a dead body that should have been burned up in the fire but miraculously remained intact--the body of a man who died not from the plague or the fire, but from the knife plunged into his chest. Searching for a purpose now that there's no lady in the magistrate's household for her to wait on, Lucy has apprenticed herself to a printmaker. But she can't help but use her free time to help the local constable, and she quickly finds herself embroiled in the murder investigation. It will take all of her wits and charm, not to mention a strong stomach and a will of steel, if Lucy hopes to make it through alive herself, in From the Charred Remains by Susanna Calkins--

Murder Knocks Twice
ISBN: 1250190835 OCLC: 1083675364

Minotaur/St Martins 2019

The first mystery in Susanna Calkins' captivating new series takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920s Chicago speakeasy--

The Masque of a Murderer
ISBN: 1250057396 OCLC: 949280307

Minotaur/St Martins 2015

Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies' maid in the local magistrate's household, has now found gainful employment as a printer's apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate's daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice in 17th century England. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man's last utterances, but she's unprepared for what he reveals to her--that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered. Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate's son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man's background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined. In The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins has once again combined finely wrought characters, a richly detailed historical atmosphere, and a tightly-plotted mystery into a compelling read--

The sign of the gallows /
ISBN: 0727889567 OCLC: 1159500334

"London, 1667. On her way to a new market to peddle her True Accounts and Strange News, printer's apprentice Lucy Campion quickly regrets her decision to take the northwestern road. Dark and desolate, the path leads her to the crossroads - and to the old hanging tree. She doesn't believe in ghosts, but she's not sure ghosts don't believe in her. But before she even reaches the crossroads, she's knocked off her feet by two men in a hurry. What were they running from? To her dismay, she soon discovers for herself: there, dangling from the tree, is the body of a man. Did he commit self-murder, or is there something darker afoot? The more Lucy learns, the more determined she is to uncover the truth. But this time, even the help and protection of magistrate's son Adam, and steadfast Constable Duncan, may not be enough to keep her safe from harm . . ."--Publisher.