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Last Updated onSimone St James is the author of several standalone historical gothic mystery novels, including The Haunting of Maddy Clare, The Broken Girls, and The Sun Down Motel.
The author’s debut novel was published in 2012 with the title The Haunting of Maddy Clare, the book that established her under this genre.
Here are the Simon St James books in order for novels she has so far written. The list is, of course, updated as soon as new books are released.
New Simone St James Book
Simone St James Books in Order
- The Haunting of Maddy Clare, 2012
- An Inquiry Into Love and Death, 2013
- Silence for the Dead, 2014
- The Other Side of Midnight, 2015
- Lost Among the Living, 2016
- The Broken Girls, 2018
- The Sun Down Motel, 2020
Simone St. James Books Synopsis
The Haunting of Maddy Clare
The author’s debut novel is, of course, a ghost story, and it features Sarah Piper, who is given by the temporary employment agency the task of helping a ghost hunter, who happens to be Alistair Gellis. He is a rich, eccentric and quite a handsome guy who has been in WWI, and who is obsessed with ghosts. Alistair’s assistant is Matthew Ryder, who tags along as well.
Their first job together is to deal with the ghost of Maddy Clare, an old maid who hated men in real life. She is a real ghost, she still hates people even in death. She committed suicide at the age of 19 in a barn, but since Piper is the only female in their trio, she is tasked to speak with the ghost. They need to find out why Maddie is so angry, so they can bring her to the light.
An Inquiry Into Love and Death
The second Simon St. James book features Oxford student Jillian, whose ghost-hunting uncle Toby passed away. Now, she has to drive all the way to the seaside village of Rothewell, so she can pack up his things. However, soon after she is in the house, an angry ghost wants to get in as well. Jillian suspects it is Walking John, a 200-year-old ghost who might have reason to still hang around. And now it’s Jillian’s job to find out why Walking John is still here and what are the secrets he needs to tell.
Silence for the Dead
It is 1919. Kitty Weekes is on the run, so she falsifies documents and gets a job as a nurse at the Portis House to care for the WWI veterans who suffered from what we today know as PTSD.
Soon after, however, she realizes that there is something on the premises that causes all sorts of mayhem, something that affects the patients’ dreams profoundly. Even the previous owners left the premises in a hurry. Meet Jack Yates, an inmate who might have been a war hero. Together, they work to find out the horrific truth surrounding the old mansion.
The Other Side of Midnight
The author’s fourth book is yet another historical slightly paranormal mystery novel. We are in 1925, in London. Ellie Winter used to be a medium and contact the dead, but she doesn’t do that anymore. These days she specializes in finding lost items. However, when her former friend and rival, Gloria Sutter, a medium herself, contacts her from beyond the grave, it is up to Ellie to find out why Gloria asked for her help. She is also surrounded by James Hawley, a handsome but damaged war veteran, who is the opposite of all that Gloria and Ellie are all about. He is debunking psychics.
As Ellie and James work together to find out what happened to Gloria, they become more than just simple friends. However, there is something out there that wants to keep the secret of what is hidden at all costs, even if it means someone else has to die.
Lost Among the Living
Again, we are in London, this time in 1921. Jo Manders is still mourning the death of her husband who was shot down three years ago by the Germans. She is working as a paid companion to her hubby’s aunt, Dottie Forsyth, with whom she travels to the Sussex countryside, to the family estate, called Wych Elm House.
The mansion seems to be haunted, as Jo hears footsteps behind her all the time as she walks the floors of the estate. Also, many items in the various bedrooms seem to rearrange themselves without any external help. The locals believe the family is cursed, and it is up to Jo to find out the truth about the haunting.
The Broken Girls
The Broken Girls departs from the UK and takes place in Vermont, in 1950, which is a more contemporary setting than the author’s previous post-WWI books. We are in Idlewild Hall, a home for broken girls whom nobody wants. There is a rumor about the boarding school that it is haunted. Four girls become friends, however, but when one of them disappears, they fear the worst.
We’re several decades later, in 2014, still in Vermont. Journalist Fiona Sheridan is still deeply troubled by the murder of her older sister some two decades ago. Her body was found near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. Her boyfriend was found guilty of the crime, but Fiona never really believed he killed her.
When an anonymous benefactor decides to restore Idlewild Hall, Fiona wants to write an article about it for the newspaper. But the walls of the former boarding school hold something sinister that someone wants very much kept hidden for good.
The Sun Down Motel
We’re once again in the US, in a more modern setting. It’s 1982, Upstate NY, in a small town called Fell. 20-year-old Viv Delaney is a night clerk at the hotel, working to have enough money to move to New York. At some point, she realizes that the hotel is haunted, as she notices the usual weird things that people associated with hauntings. Unfortunately, when she begins investigating the weird things, she disappears.
In 2017, Vivian’s niece, Carly, wants answers about her aunt’s disappearance, so she goes to Fell and starts working at the same hotel, doing the same job her aunt did those decades ago as well. Soon, just like her aunt, she also beings to noticed weird things going on. And, soon, her life is in danger the more she investigates, just like her aunts. But can she manage to solve the riddle before she becomes a next victim?
Simone St James Biography
Simone St. James was born in Canada. She began writing her first ghost stories back in high school. Back then, she didn’t know that writing books was a profession, so before devoting her time to writing books as the main career, she worked in the television business for about 20 years.
After going home late from work, she would spend her time writing manuscript after manuscript in her free time, which also included weekends and holidays. Even though her first books were rejected, eventually she broke through with The Haunting of Maddy Clare.
She currently lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, while working on her next book.
The Simon St James books are all set around the 1920s, close the First World War period. In an earlier interview, the author mentioned that she is drawn to this period since it is a time of change for most women.
After the war, women became more liberated for the first time. It was a very different time from the way their own parents lived. And, invariably, those times offered plenty of drama and suspense, which is what many good books are using for great plot options.
The author was always drawn to ghost stories, and she often read books by prolific writers in the genre such as Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart (two of my favorite gothic mystery authors as well), along with non-fiction ghost books by Colin Dickey.
Since the books are ghost stories, there is a degree of supernatural within the pages, especially ghosts.
Before getting her first book published, she had her manuscripts rejected several times. After the publication of The Haunting of Maddie Clare, it received not one but two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, as well as an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. Other books were nominated for various awards as well.
The setting of the first five books is England, however, with Broken Girls, the author changed it to the US, specifically New England. This book is also different in that it spans across two timelines: Vermont in 1950 and Vermont in 2014. In addition, in The Broken Girls, the story is told in different points of view, which is also something new that the author is experimenting with, and it seems to work quite well.
Each book is atmospheric, befitting ghost tales, which are eerie and full of mystery. Even though the author often mentioned that she has never seen a ghost, she believes in them, and her books reflect that believe and beg the question What If.
I love paranormal mysteries featuring ghosts and love gothic romance and mystery novels, so the Simone St James books fit the bill nicely. Regardless in which order you read her novels, if you love this genre, make sure you pick them up. You won’t regret it.
Praise for Simon St. James
[The Broken Girls] mixes a creepy supernatural tale with a gripping mystery. It also works well as a story about unshakeable friendship, parenting issues, obsession and sexism folded into a satisfying plot that straddles two eras of time. (Associated Press)
The Broken Girls is equal parts captivating and disturbing.—(HelloGiggles)
The Broken Girls is clever and wonderfully chilling. It held me hostage in a very modern ghost story until the early hours (Fiona Barton)
Part hauntingly gothic and part suspenseful crime drama (Karen White)
Downright scary and atmospheric. I flew through the pages. (Lisa Gardner)
A haunting tale of love, passion, friendship, and revenge. (Popsugar)
I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe every word of this fast-paced, compelling story. (Madeline Hunter)
- Simone St. James author website
- Author publisher page
- Simone St. James interview with Kate Braithwaite