The Crime Readers' Association

‘The Shadows of Rutherford House’ by CE Rose

24th November 2022

I was once a solicitor who spent each working day dealing with heinous crimes, difficult divorces and professional negligence claims. Now I’m Caroline England/CE Rose author, the ‘Duchess of Dark Domestic Noir’, who writes about them!

When I turned from lawyer to scribe, I penned accounts of imperfect but relatable characters who had complicated relationships and deeply buried secrets, some of which happened to involve a misdemeanor or two! It turned out my multi-layered, dark and edgy ‘psychological suspense’ tales snugly fitted into the ‘domestic noir’ genre, one categorised by its household setting, its family and friendship ties.

My five ‘Caroline England’ novels – Beneath the Skin, My Husband’s Lies, Betray Her, Truth Games, The Sinner – are all character-led stories with a dark narrative and a sense of claustrophobic danger between couples or parents or friends, with secrets ready to explode. I’m also a sucker for romance, so parts of each twisty saga are wrapped around love or deep attraction between people and the resulting moral grey area…

My three ‘CE Rose’ books all have the word ‘House’ in the title, so it’s no surprise that these dark mysteries also have a domestic arena. However, I have added a hint of gothic by using the settings – be it an ancient Cheshire farmhouse, a cottage by the River Bure or a stately pile in Yorkshire – as a character itself.

The House of Hidden Secrets is set in a Grade II-listed farmhouse bulging with dusty drapes, panelled rooms and antiques, but most of all with dark secrets. What’s going on behind wealthy widower Hayden Ramsay’s watchful eyes? His barrister son Jack has done something dreadful which haunts him day and night. And why is easy-going Hugh living in a shabby caravan at a farm up the road? When Serena arrives with her daughter to take up the role of housekeeper, she unearths the disturbing past. But what is she hiding from? Has she a dreadful secret of her own?

In The House on the Water’s Edge, new mum Ali Baker is a million miles away from the polished barrister she has worked so hard to become. When her mother unexpectedly dies, Ali can’t forget her last words: there is something I really need to tell you… Heading back to the Norfolk Broads to sort her mother’s things, Ali is plunged into memories of her family’s picture-perfect summers on the river. But as she starts to uncover shrouded clues within the isolated house, she is drawn into a dark web that threatens to destroy everything she believed about her childhood. Ali may finally discover her mother’s secrets… but at what cost?

The Shadows of Rutherford House, out now, is set in an ancient, decaying mansion in Yorkshire. Christie is still coming to terms with the sudden and unexplained disappearance of her mother, over twenty years ago, leaving her unable to move on. Through her work as a psychiatric nurse, she becomes drawn to a troubled patient, Lillian, similarly haunted by the loss of her own mother. As she tries to help Lillian leave the hospital and return to her stately childhood home, Christie finds herself fascinated by the mysterious Rutherford-Percy clan. Why is Lillian so terrified of Rutherford House? Why is she so reluctant to embrace her aristocratic legacy? The more Christie learns about the family and their ancestral past, the deeper the mysteries seem to run – until she finds a clue that could help uncover what happened to her own mother. Desperate for answers, Christie puts her job, her family and even her very life on the line. But how much of the truth does she really want to know?

Read more about Caroline and her books here.

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