Kate Ellis is a popular historical mystery author with over 30 books under her belt written in three series. Wesley Peterson is the author’s first series which currently includes 22 books. It is also the first one I’ve started reading many years ago, back when I was also reading Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody archeological historical mysteries. She has been a British author on my TBR list ever since.
Here are the Kate Ellis books in order of reading and publication for the series and standalone novels.
New Kate Ellis Books
Wesley Peterson Series in Order
- The Merchant’s House, 1998
- The Armada Boy, 1999
- An Unhallowed Grave, 1999
- The Funeral Boat, 2000
- The Bone Garden, 2001
- A Painted Doom, 2002
- The Skeleton Room, 2002
- The Plague Maiden, 2004
- A Cursed Inheritance, 2005
- The Marriage Hearse, 2006
- The Shining Skull, 2007
- The Blood Pit, 2008
- A Perfect Death, 2009
- The Flesh Tailor, 2010
- The Jackal Man, 2011
- The Cadaver Game, 2012
- The Shadow Collector, 2013
- The Shroud Maker, 2014
- The Death Season, 2015
- The House of Eyes, 2016
- The Mermaid’s Scream, 2017
- The Mechanical Devil, 2018
- Dead Man’s Lane, 2019
Albert Lincoln Trilogy
Joe Plantagenet Series in Order
- Seeking the Dead, 2008
- Playing with Bones, 2009
- Kissing the Demons, 2011
- Watching the Ghosts, 2012
- Walking by Night, 2015
Standalone Kate Ellis Books
- The Devil’s Priest, 2006
Kate Ellis Biography
Kate Ellis (not to be confused with the Australian politician) was born and grew up in Liverpool. After she moved to Manchester to study drama, she really began her love affair with creative arts. Over the years, she worked as a teacher and also worked in marketing and accounting before she was reading to release her first book into the world.
Her real success came after her manuscript won the North West Playwrights competition, and this is when Kate Ellis knew she would become a real full-time author.
Her books are historical mysteries focused on archaeology. Wesley Peterson is a black archeologist graduate who is now a detective sergeant. The setting for the Wesley Peterson books is a somewhat altered Devon, a place that the author discovered while on holidays. She has been visiting Devon with her family from the 980s, so she knew the location, people, and area pretty well.
She changed a bit some names of places and the locations, and the holiday paradise became a place where crime is solved with passion. As for the main character being black – the author mentioned that she created Wesley Peterson after a friend from Trinidad whose family is also well-educated, from a medical background.
The Wesley Peterson series is loved by anyone who enjoys reading archaeological historical mysteries. Each book in the series is a mix of contemporary crime and historical one which run parallel to each other.
The second main series by the author features Joe Plantagenet a DI and is set in York, with a slight touch of the supernatural. The books are quite atmospheric, and even though their setting is a fictional place, everyone who’s ever been in York will recognize the place immediately.
The place came to Kate as setting after she visited York, where her son was studying archaeology in the university at King’s Manor. They were both on an archaeological dig, and one day, while taking a guided tour of the city, she realized that it’s, indeed, a very haunted city. Some say it is the most haunted city in the whole of England. The first Joe Plantagenet book was written very loosely based on a local ghost story.
The third series, Albert Lincoln, is a trilogy, and the second book is out already. It is again a historical mystery series, this time set in England after the end of WWI. This series is a classic historical one with no archaeology or ghosts in sight, although one might notice a Gothic atmosphere throughout the books.
The Kate Ellis books should be read in order of publication (as it is also the reading order). For example, The Boy Who Lived with the Dead should be read after A High Mortality of Doves, as in the second book some things are not spelled out, so there is a chance of missing out of pertinent background information.
Dead Man’s Lane, the 23rd Wesley Peterson book, takes us to Strangefields Farm, which is a place with a very dark past – a house where a notorious serial killer got young women to model for the artist, after which they were murdered. Now, the house is about to be turned into a holiday village, however, that dream might just get shattered when a skill is found on the premises. Is this something from the past, or is a copy-cat killer on the loose determined to make the original serial killer justice?
Kate Ellis lives in North Cheshire, England, with her husband and two grown sons. She is currently working on her next books. She is currently a member of the Crime Writers Association and The Detection Group. 2017, Kate Ellis was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. The Plague Maiden was also nominated for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year award. Over the years, she also wrote short stories for crime fiction anthologies and magazines, and several were nominated for various awards.
Praise for the Kate Ellis Books
[Kate Ellis is] A beguiling author who interweaves past and present (The Times)
Kate Ellis skilfully weaves crimes of past and present into a seamless narrative…The plotting is intricate and the finale totally unexpected. (Scotsman)
Well worth a read for anyone who enjoys a traditional detective story with an intriguing historical twist . . . Ellis is a fine storyteller, weaving the past and present in a way that makes you want to read on Peterborough Evening Telegraph
An exciting blend of historical and present-day police procedural, this first novel stars Wesley Peterson, a black British detective who majored in archaeology. (Library Journal on The Merchant’s House)
Good straightforward story-telling with lots of interesting characters, pleasant humor, and a nicely done setting. (Birmingham Post)