Charles Dickens Investigates

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Charles Dickens wrote twelve complete novels – the thirteenth, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, remains a mystery. Dickens died before he could unmask the murderer. He was fascinated by crime and police work. And when I read about his outings with Inspector Charles Field of the Metropolitan Police, I wondered what might happen if Charles Dickens was ever called upon to investigate a murder. Someone wrote of Dickens that he would have liked to be a detective – I gave him his first case. Dickens founded a home for fallen women in 1847 with Miss Angela Burdett Coutts to rescue young women who had nowhere else to go.

What if a murder took place at the home? Charles Dickens would surely want to find out who did it.

The Murder of Patience Brooke (Charles Dickens Investigations Book 1)

The Murder of Patience Brooke

A brutal murder in Victorian London forces a famous writer to solve the mystery…

London, 1849

Charles Dickens has set up Urania Cottage as a sanctuary for fallen women.

But he is shocked when the matron’s assistant – Patience Brooke – is found hanging outside the property, covered in blood.

Desperate to protect the reputation of the Home and to stop a scandal from spreading, Dickens takes the investigation into his own hands.

With the help of his good friend, Superintendent Sam Jones of Bow Street, and a description of the suspect as ‘a man with a crooked face’, Dickens’s search takes him deep into the filthy slums of Victorian London.

Can Dickens save his reputation? Will he find out the secrets of Patience Brooke’s troubled past? Or will the killer strike again …?


Death at Hungerford Stairs (Charles Dickens Investigations Book 2) 


London, November 1849.

When a boy is found drowned in the River Thames at Hungerford Stairs, novelist Charles Dickens and Superintendent Jones of Bow Street are mystified to discover that the child is not the missing youngster for whom they have been searching.

But when two more boys are brutally murdered, the trail leads them on a hunt for a serial killer in a complicated case that tests their abilities to the limit.



Murder by Ghostlight (Charles Dickens Investigations Book 3)

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London, 1850.

When Charles Dickens discovers the corpse of an actor on the empty stage of a Manchester theatre Dickens himself becomes the number one suspect.

But with the help of colleague and trusted friend Superintendent Jones of Bow Street the two set out to find the identity of the real murderer.

The search takes them into the slums of Manchester and to the fog-bound streets of London, where some startling discoveries are made and Dickens’s life is threatened before this unusual case reaches its ultimate and thrilling climax.

The Quickening and the Dead (Charles Dickens Investigations Book 4) is coming soon!


Praise for the Charles Dickens Investigations

The Murder of Patience Brooke

This is a well-written and engaging novel. The pages keep turning, and the evocation of foggy Victorian London is excellent …’ (Historical Novel Society)

(An) aspect of this novel that adds to its enjoyability is the fact that it feels very much like a traditional gaslight mystery, with footsteps in the fog, an unseen person with sinister voice singing a well-known tune … Put all these elements together and it creates just the right amount of suspense.’  (Crime Fiction Lover)

Death at Hungerford Stairs

Briggs’s real triumph is the creation of secondary characters who could have come straight out of Oliver twist and whose fates will tug at readers’ heartstrings … (Publishers’ Weekly)

This is a cleverly crafted story with magnificent period detail to flesh out the circumstances in large and small ways. All the characters whether major or minor ring true in this Dickens London. (Jennifer Palmer: Promoting Crime Fiction)

The dark side of Victorian London is effectively portrayed in a chilling tale of child murder, deceit and madness … (Historical Novel Society)

Murder by Ghostlight

This is a fast-paced and page-turning tale, and the author clearly pays homage to Dickens in the style of writing (Dickensian descriptions of poverty, industry and gloomy weather abound), but also in the colourfully named characters, such as razor-nosed Eva Stabb and solicitors Tape and Binding. This a cleverly written Victorian mystery … While the author doesn’t stint on the gore, the narrative is witty and intriguing …  (Historical Novel Society)

This is another enjoyable book from J.C. Briggs with its fascinating characters, real and imagined, its intricate mystery and its evocation of Victorian London and Manchester.    (Jennifer S. Palmer: Promoting Crime Fiction)

Briggs has captured Dickens’s gift of caricature and sense of the ridiculous side of life. That, taken with the social comment, is still as relevant as when Dickens was writing. (Crime Review)