Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia 1948–

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Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia 1948–

(Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse)

PERSONAL: Born August 13, 1948, in London, England; children: Hannah Wrightman, Jane Ellis, Michael Ellis. Education: Attended University of Edinburgh, 1966–67; University College, London, B.A. (with honors), 1972.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—Dorian Agency, Upper Thornehill, 27 Church Rd., St. Mary-church, Torquay, Devon TQ1 4QY, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Worked as sales manager, Coca Cola Co., Edinburgh, Scotland; BBC, London, England, pensions officer. Full-time writer, 1979–.

AWARDS, HONORS: NEL Young Writer's Award, 1972, for The Waiting Game; Romantic Novelists Association award, 1993, for Emily.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

The Waiting Game, NEL (London, England), 1972, New American Library (New York, NY), 1974.

Shadows on the Mountain, NEL (London, England), 1974.

Hollow Night, Methuen (London, England), 1980.

Deadfall, Methuen (London, England), 1982.

The Orange Tree Plot, Sidgwick and Jackson (London, England), 1989.

The Enchanted Isle, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1993.

I, Victoria, Macmillan (London, England), 1994, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Dangerous Love, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1997.

Real Life (short stories), Severn House (Sutton, England), 1999.

Longest Dance, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 2000.

Horsemasters, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 2001.

Julia, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 2002.

The Colonel's Daughter, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 2005.

"BILL SLIDER MYSTERY" SERIES

Orchestrated Death, Macdonald (London, England), 1991, Scribner (New York, NY), 1992.

Death Watch, Little, Brown (London, England), 1992, Scribner (New York, NY), 1993.

Necrochip, Little, Brown (London, England), 1993, published as Death to Go,, Scribner (New York, NY), 1994.

Dead End, Little, Brown (London, England), 1994, published as Grave Music, Scribner (New York, NY), 1995.

Blood Lines, Scribner (New York, NY), 1996.

Killing Time, Little, Brown (London, England), 1996, Scribner (New York, NY), 1998.

The Bill Slider Omnibus (contains Orchestrated Death, Death Watch, and Necrochip), Time Warner (London, England), 1998.

Shallow Grave, Little, Brown (London, England), 1998, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

Blood Sinister, Little, Brown (London, England), 1999, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Gone Tomorrow, Little, Brown (London, England), 2001, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Dear Departed, Time Warner (London, England), 2004, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Second Bill Slider Omnibus (contains Dead End, Blood Lines, and Killing Time), Time Warner (London, England), 2005.

"KIROV" TRILOGY

Anna, Sidgwick and Jackson (London, England), 1990, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Fleur, Sidgwick and Jackson (London, England), 1991, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Emily, Sidgwick and Jackson (London, England), 1992, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

"DYNASTY" NOVELS

The Founding, Macdonald (London, England), 1980, Dell (New York, NY) 1981.

The Dark Rose, Macdonald (London, England), 1981, Dell (New York, NY) 1983.

The Princeling, Macdonald (London, England), 1981, published as The Distant Wood, Dell (New York, NY), 1983.

The Oak Apple, Macdonald (London, England), 1982, published as The Crystal Crown, Dell (New York, NY), 1983.

The Black Pearl, Macdonald (London, England), 1982, Dell (New York, NY) 1983.

The Long Shadow, Macdonald (London, England), 1983, Dell (New York, NY) 1984.

The Chevalier, Macdonald (London, England), 1984.

The Maiden, Macdonald (London, England), 1985.

The Flood-Tide, Macdonald (London, England), 1986.

The Tangled Thread, Macdonald (London, England), 1987.

The Emperor, Macdonald (London, England), 1988.

The Victory, Macdonald (London, England), 1989.

The Regency, Macdonald (London, England), 1990.

The Campaigners, Macdonald (London, England), 1991.

The Reckoning, Macdonald (London, England), 1992.

The Devil's Horse, Little, Brown (London, England), 1993.

The Poison Tree, Little, Brown (London, England), 1994.

The Abyss, Little, Brown (London, England), 1995.

The Hidden Shore, Little, Brown (London, England), 1996.

The Winter Journey, Little, Brown (London, England), 1997.

The Outcast, Little, Brown (London, England), 1998.

The Mirage, Little, Brown (London, England), 1999.

The Cause, Little, Brown (London, England), 2000.

The Homecoming, Little, Brown (London, England), 2001.

The Question, Little, Brown (London, England), 2002.

The Dream Kingdom, Little, Brown (London, England), 2003.

The Restless Sea, Time Warner (London, England), 2004.

The White Road, Time Warner (London, England), 2005.

The Burning Roses, Time Warner (London, England), 2006.

NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM EMMA WOODHOUSE

A Rainbow Summer, Granada (London, England), 1976, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1994.

A Well-Painted Passion, Granada (London, England), 1976, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles as Play for Love, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1994.

Romany Magic, Granada (London, England), 1977, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles as A Cornish Affair, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1996.

Love's Perilous Passage, Sphere (London, England) 1978.

On Wings of Love, Sphere (London, England), 1978, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1999.

Never Love a Stranger, Sphere (London, England), 1978, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles as Divided Love, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1998.

NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM ELIZABETH BENNETT

Title Role, NEL (London, England), 1980, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles as Nobody's Fool, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1997.

The Unfinished, NEL (London, England), 1983, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles as Keeping Secrets, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1998.

Even Chance, NEL (London, England), 1984, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1994.

Last Run, NEL (London, England), 1984, republished under author name Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Severn House Publishers (Sutton, England), 1994.

SIDELIGHTS: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is a prolific author of genre fiction, including romance novels and mysteries. Her well-known "Dynasty" series is about the Morland family, and the series spans from the War of the Roses through the Napoleonic years. Harrod-Eagles told Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, "The Dynasty series was conceived as a kind of history without tears, a saga following the fortunes of the late Middle Ages to the present day. While the Morland family is purely fictional, the background to their lives is the real history of England, carefully researched and accurately recorded, so that the reader should emerge with a good overview of the flow of social development during the last five hundred years: how people lived, what they ate, what they wore, how they viewed the world they lived in."

The Founding is the first novel in the "Dynasty" series, and tells how the family was established by the marriage of Eleanor Courtney to Robert Morland, a son of a sheep farmer. Harrod-Eagles also uses this novel to establish the characteristics of the series. While the settings change from one book to another, there are recurring characters, situations, and themes. In each novel Harrod-Eagles includes a source list to lend historical credibility and a family tree so readers can more easily follow the dynastic lines. The plan of Morland Place is also part of each novel, and in seeing how it changes with the Morlands' wealth and status, readers come to see it not just as a home, but also as a symbol.

Harrod-Eagles has also completed the "Kirov" trilogy, which is set in nineteenth-century Russia, picking up during the Napoleonic invasion and proceeding through the Bolshevik Revolution. In the first of the series, Anna, the title character is orphaned and jobless as she arrives in Russia to serve as the Kirovs' governess. The novel discusses Russian society, life, and major events without reading like a history lesson. Harrod-Eagles achieves this partly by enhancing the narrative with details of clothing, dress, buildings, and language, which together paint a clear picture of aristocratic life in nineteenth-century Russia. The novels in the "Kirov" trilogy are all named after their heroines. This is consistent with Harrod-Eagles's salute to women in the "Dynasty" series, where the men pass Morland Place down from son to son, but it is the women who are the dominant characters.

Ferelith Horton observed in Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers that Harrod-Eagles presents her stories from many viewpoints, which gives her books a wide range of characters and social situations. Although she pointed out that many of these characters are stereotypes of the romance genre, Horton noted that "when she allows them enough space in the action to develop, Harrod-Eagles can create enjoyable and distinctive people who enlist sympathy and add depth to the relentless progress of both sagas."

Harrod-Eagles has also written a number of stand-alone romances. Set in post-World War II London, Julia features the womanizing musician Peter Kane, who first seduces and then marries his children's babysitter, Julia. Their love is not blissful, however, for Kane's eye for women does not leave him once remarried to the younger woman. Writing in Booklist, Lynne Welch felt that this "tale exerts a powerful fascination," and also "crosses the line from popular to literary fiction." The Colonel's Daughter is set in a similar historical period, ranging from 1950 to 1964 in England. A romance with a "suspenseful twist," according to Booklist contributor Emily Melton, The Colonel's Daughter deals with the thwarted love of a working class youth serving in the army for the mysterious daughter of his company commander. Melton praised the "vivid characters,… enthralling plot, and realistic ambience" in this period romance. Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the author "captures an unusual personality and a complex period beautifully."

In addition to romance works, Harrod-Eagles has also penned a series of novels featuring London's Detective Inspector Bill Slider, a protagonist blessed and cursed with an "ability to see the complexity in the people around him," according to Booklist contributor Bill Ott. Long on relationships and rather shorter on police procedure, the novels in this series are "highly literate," as a reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted. The series began with Orchestrated Death, in which Slider, married, first meets violinist Johanna Marshall. The two are immediately attracted to one another, and ultimately, as the series progresses, Slider leaves his wife for Johanna. Another main character in the series is Slider's partner, Jim Atherton. In Killing Time Slider investigates the death of a gay exotic dancer, offering "another solid addition to an outstanding series," according to a Publishers Weekly critic. In Shallow Grave, Slider and Atherton investigate the death of a promiscuous woman in an upper-class West London suburb. A contributor for Publishers Weekly praised the "emotional complexity and intelligent dialogue" in this and other installments in the series, while Booklist critic Ott commended the author's "ability to plumb the pathos from the depths of daily life."

After a journalist gets her neck broken in Blood Sinister, Slider and Atherton are once again on the hunt for a killer. Though finding the story's puzzle "atypically unpuzzling," a critic for Kirkus Reviews went on to applaud the "deliciously droll" characters, Harrod-Eagles's "customary biting wit," as well as a "complexity all too rare in mystery fiction." Melton, writing in Booklist, thought Harrod-Eagles deserved "five stars and two thumbs up for another superb procedural."

Several deaths get the attention of Slider in the ninth installment in the series, Gone Tomorrow, and domestic issues also arise, as Johanna announces she is pregnant with Slider's child. A critic for Kirkus Reviews felt this novel was a "real poser for puzzle-hounds," while Booklist reviewer Jenny McLarin called the same work "another winner in a consistently superb series." A contributor for Publishers Weekly also had praise for Harrod-Eagles, observing that she writes "complex puzzles that are lightened with pungent wit."

Slider investigates what is thought to be the third victim of a serial killer in Dear Departed, only to discover it is a copycat killing. Connie Fletcher commended the novel's "deft plotting and solid procedure" in a Booklist review. Similarly, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "delightful dialogue and carefully observed details" make this book a "winner."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

PERIODICALS

Armchair Detective, fall, 1992, review of Orchestrated Death, p. 433; summer, 1994, review of Death to Go, p. 371.

Booklist, November 15, 1997, Bill Ott, review of Killing Time, p. 547; April 15, 1999, Brad Hooper, review of Killing Time, p. 1457; August, 1999, Bill Ott, review of Shallow Grave, p. 2034; September 15, 2001, Emily Melton, review of Blood Sinister, p. 198; February 15, 2002, Lynne Welch, review of The Horsemasters, p. 992; November 15, 2002, Jenny McLarin, review of Gone Tomorrow, p. 580; March 1, 2003, Lynne Welch, review of Julia, p. 1150; October 15, 2005, Connie Fletcher, review of Dear Departed, p. 32; November 1, 2005, Emily Melton, review of The Colonel's Daughter, p. 30.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2001, review of Blood Sinister, p. 1167; October 15, 2002, review of Gone Tomorrow, p. 1508.

Library Journal, October 1, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of Blood Sinister, p. 146; December, 2002, Rex Klett, review of Gone Tomorrow, p. 184; October 15, 2005, Elizabeth Mellett, review of The Colonel's Daughter, p. 45.

New York Times Book Review, March 1, 1992, Marilyn Stasio, review of Orchestrated Death, p. 25; February 21, 1993, Marilyn Stasio, review of Death Watch, p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, November 10, 1997, review of Killing Time, p. 58; June 28, 1999, review of Shallow Grave, p. 56; November 25, 2002, review of Gone Tomorrow, p. 46; September 5, 2005, review of Dear Departed, p. 37; November 28, 2005, review of The Colonel's Daughter, p. 25.

Washington Post Book World, February 16, 1992, review of Orchestrated Death, p. 8.

ONLINE

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Home Page, http://www.cynthiaharrodeagles.com (September 24, 2006).

Mystery Ink, http://www.mysteryinkonline.com/ (September 24, 2006), Yvette Banek, review of Dear Departed.

Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (September 24, 2006), Andy Plonka, review of Killing Time.

Who Dunnit, http://www.who-dunnit.com/ (September 24, 2006), Alan Paul Curtis, reviews of Orchestrated Death and Dear Departed.

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