About J. C. Briggs

Jean Briggs taught English for many years in schools in Cheshire, Hong Kong and Lancashire. She now lives in a cottage in Cumbria. The Murder of Patience Brooke is her first novel featuring Charles Dickens as a detective and his partner, Superintendent Sam Jones.


The idea of Dickens as a detective came about when she read Dickens’s articles about the London police in his periodical Household Words. Dickens was fascinated by police investigation and by murder, in particular – there are plenty of murderers in his writing, and Dickens is credited with the creation of the first literary detective in Inspector Bucket who solves the murder of Mr Tulkinghorn in Bleak House. The second in the series is Death at Hungerford Stairs is published by The History Press in August 2015.

15 thoughts on “About J. C. Briggs


    Dear Jean Briggs
    I am writing to you because I have obtained a copy of Murder by Ghostlight which I very much enjoyed and was of particular interest to me as I am involved in Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester, and you have not only written a good story but involved my favourite author and researched Victorian Manchester so thoroughly. Thank you.
    Is the book still available in hard copy?
    Best wishes Janet Allan

    1. Hello Janet,
      Thank you so much for your comments. It’s lovely to have feedback. I came to the house in October! I did a talk for the Gaskell Society about Geraldine Jewsbury at the Portico. I did enjoy researching the Manchester as I was born in Stretford. The paperback, I think, is still available on Amazon. This is a History Press version. A new version comes out tomorrow and is available as print-on-demand. I do like Mrs Gaskell, too. All best wishes, Jean

      1. Craig MacDougall

        Dear Ms Briggs:

        I am a PhD candidate researching the cultural impact of Dickens as a ‘creation’ rather than a ‘creator’ and would love to speak with you about your work. One of my chapters involves examining CD as a sleuth, and your series of novels are central to this study. Would you be willing to write to me so I can learn more? Sincerely, Craig

  2. Alice Doonan

    Dear Jean. I recently discovered the three of your books :Murder by ghost light . Hungerford stairs and Murder of Patience Drew in my library.All were fascinating not only the imaginative story lines, but as I was born and brought up in Salford just off Trafford road I was interested in the areas and old Victorian asylums and other buildings you wrote about. I looked them up and was amazed at the old photographs and pictures of slums and poor children in rags . I am going to Manchester soon to visit family and I hope to go to Angel meadows. I was very much looking forward to buying your new book but Waterstones says it won’t be in shops only on Amazon?

    Regards Alice Doonan (Plymouth)

    1. Hello Alice,
      I’m afraid it’s true – my publisher deals only with Amazon. I did a lot of research on manchester and Salford in Victorian times – it was fascinating. My mother was brought up in Salford and I was born in Stretford so not far away! Best wishes, Jean

      1. Alice Doonan

        Hello again Jean. I have to tell you that I have just finished reading The quickening and the dead. I was engrossed from the first pages.You have such talent for researching people and events concerning them and cleverly creating a story or situations around them. Your imagination is amazing. I was lost in time and could envisage the scenes you wrote of. Very enjoyable reading. I will be in Eccles and Salford in Manchester (how much it has changed from slum houses to Media city and lovely Lowry Centre )tomorrow for a week and hope to see Angel Meadows. Do I have to wait a while for your next novel.?Only kidding. !!Kind regards and best wishes ,Alice Doonan.

  3. Vicki C

    I am not English but love a good mystery. And I have so enjoyed reading all four of Mr. Dickens’s investigations. Dickens’s world lives in your novels, In all its corrupt character and genuine kindness. I can’t help but feel that today’s world shares many similarities with that of his own era—and that Man is still struggling to achieve true progress.

    I look forward to any future novels with these characters…and I confess I was intrigued with your characters the Scruggs….my family name which is fairly unusual here in America. I was glad they were reet good peoples…I ordered a copy of the second book “Murder at Hungerford Stairs” which included them for my sister… She told me that she was just getting started but was enjoying it…

    1. Hello Vicki,
      Thank you so much for your comments. I really appreciate your taking the time and am glad you enjoyed the books. Number 5 won’t be too long. I do agree that so much seems not to have changed since Dickens’s day. As for the Scruggs family, I looked up the name in the Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames and found Scroggs which means ‘dweller by the brushwood’ from Middle English ‘scrogge’ – I wonder if that’s where Scruggs comes from – very likely, I imagine. Choosing names is great fun – I’ve just found the surname ‘Screech’ – got to use that! All best wishes,

  4. Gina Spurlock

    Thank you so much for these wonderful books! I read voraciously and usually mysteries are just fluff, but the Dicken’s mysteries are so well written and the characters are great. I found myself getting so very involved with the individuals in the stories. Can’t wait for the next one!

    1. Rachael Oulmain

      I have just finished the Murder if Patience Brooke and could not put it down! I’m now starting the second book in the series. I’m so pleased to find you were an English teacher like me. Writing a novel is a dream of mine, but one doesn’t quite know where to start!
      Thank you for the books. I haven’t enjoyed a read like this in a long time. Please keep them coming!
      Best wishes,
      Rachael Oulmain

      1. Thank you so much, Rachael, I really appreciate the feedback. Hope you enjoy the next one. So pleased, too, that a fellow English teacher likes my work. I had to wait to retire before I had tome to write a novel! Too much marking, so you might get the time – eventually. Best wishes, Jean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s