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Lesley Thomson

  • Publication date: May 2013
  • Publisher: HEAD OF ZEUS
  • Country: GB
  • 470 print pages
  • Detective novel/Crime fiction


  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 20th century, 21st century
  • Location setting: United Kingdom
  • Themes: FAMILY, Childhood, Filiation, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Search for origins, Search for the truth, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Friendship, Death, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Rivalry, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, CHARACTERS, Strong Female Character


A series following Stella, who runs a successful cleaning company in London. Her father was a senior detective in the Metropolitan police. Like him, Stella roots into shadowy places and restores order. In Book 1, she joins forces with Jack to solve his mother's murder in 1981.


The series has sold over 750, 000 copies as of October 2018.

Six books have been published in the series, with Book 7, THE PLAYGROUND MURDERS, coming out in April 2019.

Rather than a tension filled, character driven crime novel, this is clearly the first book in a series in which the heroine, who had been estranged from her father since the age of seven when her parents divorced, slowly begins to connect with who her father was and discovers they have quite a bit in common.
The novel also has a kind of sardonic tone which gives it perhaps a little more edge than the usual mainstream thriller.


A series following Stella Darnell, who runs a successful cleaning company in West London. Her father was a senior detective in the Metropolitan police. Like him, Stella roots into shadowy places and restores order. But while Terry Darnell had honed his detection skills over his years in the Force, his daughter is a natural. Bringing her cleaning methods to bear on each investigation, she strips away layers of untruths and fabrications to uncover the killer, just as she would eradicate stains and sweep up dirt.

Her sidekick sleuth, Jack Harmon, is a night-time London Underground train driver. Where Stella is rational and practical, Jack is capricious and quirky. He sees ghosts, is governed by intuition, discerns patterns everywhere and takes action accordingly. Unafraid to enter the mind of a murderer, he walks into the nocturnal darkness to understand the killer’s motives and anticipate their next move.

Jack and Stella’s different skills and view of the world make them a successful detective partnership. Together they solve murder cases.


In July 1981, a young woman named called Kate Rokesmith is strangled while out walking with her two-year-old son on the banks of the River Thames. Her murderer is never found. In 2007, a man named Jack Harmon sets out to find the truth and it later emerges he is Kate’s son, the only witness to the murder. He joins forces with Stella, the daughter of the detective who led the investigation 24 years ago and this uneasy team delve into the dangerous past to try and discover who killed Kate.

Report available
Books 2 - 7

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  • Author’s biography

    Lesley Thomson (born 1958) is a British novelist and creative writing tutor at West Dean College. Her crime novel A KIND OF VANISHING (2007) was republished with an afterword by the author and an endorsement from Ian Rankin in 2011 after winning the 2010 People's Book Prize for Fiction. Her book THE DETECTIVE’S DAUGHTER, Book 1 in the series, won the eBook of the Year award on Sainsbury's eBooks as it was the most recommended book of 2013.