Ruined Stones: By the Author of the Guardian Stones

Eric Reed (Author)


Surviving the 1941 Blitz and the predator in her small Shropshire village, policeman's daughter Grace Baxter moves to Newcastle-on-Tyne. Situated on the northern bank of the River Tyne, the ancient northeast city developed around the Roman settlement Pons Aelius - named for the Emperor Hadrian who built the famous wall right at the edge of the then civilized world. No matter its later history as a wool trade, then coal mining center, and the ship building that makes it a German bombing target, Newcastle's Roman past won't be ignored.

Grace is eager to explore city life. And she's turned professional with an official job in the city's constabulary. The war means women can find work, even if most men in the job discount if not actively resent her.

Grace's arrival coincides with the discovery of the body of a young woman, curiously difficult to identify, at the scanty ruins of a Roman temple situated across from a church. The bone-numbing cold, the fogs, and the Blitz, not to mention to peculiar behavior of some of the citizens and the hostility directed towards a woman in man's work, test Grace's resolve to be an effective officer. There are many potential leads, and much suspicious behavior to sort through. What role do ancient rituals play in the murder and what follows? What current misbehavior or crimes is someone, or someones, desperate to cover up? The investigation, carried out through fog and blackout and fear as well as the hostility of her colleagues, tests Grace's resolve to be an effective officer. Will it also endanger her life?

Product Details

Poisoned Pen Press
Publish Date
July 04, 2017
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.4 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

Mary Reed and Eric Mayer are the coauthors of eleven books in the John, the Lord Chamberlain series, set in 6th century Byzantium, as well as The Guardian Stones, the first title published under the pseudonym Eric Reed.


This is such a good historical mystery series. Reed hits all the high notes with a spunky, savvy heroine, small town idiosyncracies and a tumultuous time in world history.

--Rosemary Smith "NetGalley "

Reed (a pseudonym for the wife-and-husband writing team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer) handles the wartime setting (rife with paranoia) and the woman-in-a-man's-world theme with equal skill. A fine period mystery.

--David Pitt "Booklist "

A remote Shropshire town is beset by wartime demons even more insidious than the Third Reich....A fascinating look at a small town mired in the past and confronting the future - with a bombshell ending.

--Kirkus Reviews on The Guardian Stones, the first Grace Baxter mystery

The characters in Ruined Stones are well drawn and quite realistic. The World War II setting was quite compelling and pulled you into the heart of the story very quickly. I found this to be a dark and brooding setting that really highlighted the twisted story line. A mystery with dark and dangerous undercurrents that will keep you turning the pages. A "Must Read" for any serious fan of historical mysteries.

--Kings River Life

An in-depth look at what it was like in England during World War II and how women took over men's jobs, leading to a social revolution that continues today.

--Kirkus Reviews
"I enjoyed this mystery, with its convincing characters, set against the backdrop of the war, as the Germans repeatedly bomb Newcastle and the inhabitants seek shelter in the crypt of the local church, which takes a direct hit. It provides an interesting look at life during the war, complete with black marketeers and criminals taking advantage of the blackout, and the prejudice and fear shown to foreigners and strangers. I was also interested to see the attitudes to women and their work for the police during the war and the hostility towards them from the public and from police officers. And I also enjoyed the hint of the supernatural through Grace's own background."--BooksPlease