Linscott, Gillian 1944-

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Linscott, Gillian 1944-


Born September 27, 1944, in Windsor, England; daughter of Thomas Snow (a shoe shop manager) and Muriel Rosaline (a shop assistant) Linscott; married Anthony Joseph Vincent Geraghty (a writer), June 18, 1988. Education: Somerville College, Oxford, graduated, 1966. Politics: Labour. Religion: Atheist.


Home—Wood View, England. Agent—Teresa Chris, 43 Musard Rd., London W6 8NR, England.


Liverpool Daily Post, Liverpool, England, journalist, 1967-70; Birmingham Post, Birmingham, England, journalist, 1970-72; Guardian, Manchester, England, journalist, 1972-79; British Broadcasting Corp., London, England, journalist, 1979-90.


Society of Authors, Crime Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America.


Herodotus Award, Historical Mystery Appreciation Society, 1999, for best historical mystery; British Crime Writers Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, 2000, for Absent Friends.



A Healthy Body, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1984.

Murder Makes Tracks, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1985.

Knightfall, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1986.

A Whiff of Sulphur, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1987.

Unknown Hand, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1988.

Murder, I Presume, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1990.


Sister beneath the Sheet, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1991.

Hanging on the Wire, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1993.

Stage Fright, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1993.

Widow's Peak, Little, Brown (London, England), 1994, published as An Easy Day for a Lady, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1995.

Crown Witness, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1995.

Dead Man's Sweetheart, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1996.

Dance on Blood, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1998.

Absent Friends, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1999.

The Perfect Daughter, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 2001.

Dead Man Riding, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2002.

Blood on the Wood, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2004.


The Garden, Allison & Busby, 2003.

Also author of radio plays for the British Broadcasting Corp. Contributor of short stories to anthologies.


The Garden was adapted to audio cassette, Soundings, 2003.


Gillian Linscott is a popular British writer best known for her "Nell Bray" historical mysteries. Nell is a passionate suffragette and amateur detective in turn-of-the-twentieth-century London, and a devoted member of the radical Women's Social and Political Union. Her attempts to solve murders sometimes take her into the corridors of political power and sometimes as far afield as Chamonix in the French Alps. Harriet Klausner, in her BookBrowser review of Absent Friends, characterized Nell as "a warm, intelligent protagonist who cannot resist amateur sleuthing." A Publishers Weekly critic found Nell "smart and feisty … an altogether likable heroine."

Nell made her debut in Sister beneath the Sheet, in which a will comes into dispute after the woman who wrote it is found dead. Topaz Brown had left a huge sum of money to the Women's Social and Political Union, and when she apparently commits suicide her brother says she was not of sound mind when she bequeathed her money. Nell, however, sets out to prove that Topaz was a murder victim. Although a Publishers Weekly writer felt that "gratuitous coincidences weaken [the] … plot," the critic praised the author's use of historical detail and how she "leavens her mystery with well-measured wit."

Many reviewers have praised Linscott's research, which makes her plots more complex and interesting by making the characters products of their historical and political reality. "As a historical writer, Linscott stands out with her graceful style and ability to integrate complex political themes," as Nina de Angeli put it in a BookLoons review of Dead Man Riding. In a Publishers Weekly review of A Perfect Daughter, the critic commented that "Linscott effortlessly creates the atmosphere of prewar Britain," and pointed out how the innocence of the time before World War I is reflected in the spirit of the novel's characters.

The historical accuracy of her novels is not all that critics praised, however. Many reviewers also approved of Linscott's skill with plotting and characterization in her mystery series. In a Booklist review of Crown Witness, Emily Melton wrote that Linscott's mysteries are "cleverly plotted, absorbing, [and] carefully researched." John Rowen, in his Booklist review of Absent Friends, noted that the novel "is loaded with interesting history, unique characters, and vivid descriptions." A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that in Absent Friends Linscott "captures the bustling activity of political work as well as the intricacies of Nell's … sleuthing." The reviewer concluded that the "Nell Bray" novels form "a solid series." "Gillian Linscott is a talented storyteller who writes outside the sub-genre box," concluded Harriet Klausner on her Web site.

Linscott once told CA: "I can't remember a time when I wasn't trying to write. I write whodunits for fun and hope that's why people read them. I like the genre because it is not pompous. In my view there are few books that couldn't be improved by dumping a body in them somewhere. The mystery novel is a very artificial creation and I'm not greatly concerned with realism. My books are written as entertainments. My characters are not super sleuths; in fact, Birdie Linnet, the detective in my first four mysteries, is remarkable chiefly for getting the point later than anybody else on the page. He's well-meaning, none too intelligent, and frequently hit on the head."



Booklist, February 15, 1995, Ilene Cooper, review of An Easy Day for a Lady, p. 1063; December 15, 1995, Emily Melton, review of Crown Witness, p. 688; December 15, 1996, Emily Melton, review of Dead Man's Sweetheart, p. 713; April 15, 1998, Emily Melton, review of Dance on Blood, p. 1388; April 15, 1999, John Rowen, review of Absent Friends, p. 1481; March 15, 2004, Barbara Bibel, review of Blood on the Wood, p. 1272.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2001, review of The Perfect Daughter, p. 297; December 1, 2002, review of Dead Man Riding, p. 1736; March 15, 2004, review of Blood on the Wood, p. 251.

Kliatt, May 1, 2002, Pat Dole, review of The Perfect Daughter, p. 52.

Library Journal, April 1, 1998, Rex E. Klett, review of Dance on Blood, p. 129; April 1, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of The Perfect Daughter, p. 137; April 1, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of Blood on the Wood, p. 128.

Publishers Weekly, October 12, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Murder, I Presume, p. 49; July 19, 1991, review of Sister beneath the Sheet, p. 49; November 23, 1992, review of Hanging on the Wire, p. 55; November 1, 1993, review of Stage Fright, p. 70; January 9, 1995, review of An Easy Day for a Lady, p. 59; April 5, 1999, review of Absent Friends, p. 225; March 26, 2001, review of A Perfect Daughter, p. 66; December 23, 2002, review of Dead Man Riding, p. 49; March 8, 2004, review of Blood on the Wood, p. 53.


BookBrowser, (June 4, 2001), Harriet Klausner, review of Absent Friends.

BookLoons, (May 9, 2007), Nina de Angeli, review of Dead Man Riding.

Harriet Klausner's Book Reviews, (May 9, 2007), reviews of Dead Man Riding and Blood on the Wood.

Romantic Times, (May 9, 2007), Donna Carter, review of The Garden; Lorraine Gelly, review of Dead Man Riding; Sheri Melnick, review of Blood on the Wood.

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Linscott, Gillian 1944-

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