The Hanging Psalm (A Simon Westow Mystery #1)
Introducing thief-taker Simon Westow in the first in a new historical mystery series set in Regency Leeds. Leeds, 1820. Thief-taker Simon Westow knows all about lost property. A boy from the workhouse, he now has a comfortable business finding and returning his clients' stolen possessions. But when John Milner, a successful Leeds businessman, seeks out Simon's services to find his kidnapped daughter, Hannah, it's clear he faces a challenge like no other.Accompanied by his enigmatic and capable young assistant, Jane, Simon takes to the dark, shadowy streets of Leeds for information - streets he knows like the back of his hand. But his enquiries lead Simon and Jane into great danger. Could the answers lie in Simon's own past, and an old enemy seeking revenge?

The Hanging Psalm (A Simon Westow Mystery #1) Details

TitleThe Hanging Psalm (A Simon Westow Mystery #1)
Author
ReleaseJan 1st, 2019
PublisherSevern House Publishers
ISBN-139780727888310
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Hanging Psalm (A Simon Westow Mystery #1) Review

  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    Author Chris Nickson presents a gripping new series set during the Regency period in his home city of Leeds, featuring ‘thief taker’ Simon Westow. Simon is a product of the workhouse, a place where the cruelty he suffered still causes him pain today, albeit affecting his mental rather than his physical health. Despite all of this, he’s managed to carve a niche for himself, finding and returning stolen possessions to their rightful owners for a fee, but when businessman John Milner calls on his s Author Chris Nickson presents a gripping new series set during the Regency period in his home city of Leeds, featuring ‘thief taker’ Simon Westow. Simon is a product of the workhouse, a place where the cruelty he suffered still causes him pain today, albeit affecting his mental rather than his physical health. Despite all of this, he’s managed to carve a niche for himself, finding and returning stolen possessions to their rightful owners for a fee, but when businessman John Milner calls on his services to find his kidnapped daughter Hannah, it unleashes a terrifying chain of events for Simon and his family.It’s 1820 and an adversary from his past will entice Simon and his assistant Jane into the dark forbidding courts and alleyways of Leeds - scary places where all manner of criminal activities occur. Jane makes an excellent partner but although she’s lived with Simon and his wife Rosie and their two children for 2 years, they still know very little about her - she appears to have no feelings at all - very cold and distant, but she actually feels very deeply about things in her life, she just doesn’t show it to the world - she won’t let anyone in, but woe betide anyone who thinks they’ll get the better of her, they might just pay with their life!I really enjoyed this one, the characters were great, the plot was gripping and the author really captured the sense of a place. I’ve previously read some of this author’s books and I recognise and appreciate the research that goes into them, because as well as including locations that still exist today, he also mentions a network of mean, dirty, cobbled yards and courts, places where sunlight never penetrated - these places actually existed but have long since disappeared from the landscape of Leeds, however the author manages to bring them vividly back to life in a most frightening manner, and the bonus? He has a real gift when it comes to writing good old fashioned historical crime. If you haven’t read any of his books yet, you’re missing a treat!*My thanks to Severn House Publishers for my ARC for which I have given an honest unbiased review *
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Never vanishing. Never fading.Chris Nickson sets the stage for The Hanging Psalm with Simon Westow appearing before the Child Labour Commission. It's 1820 in Leeds and the heaviness in the air reflects the somber tone of his statement. Simon has carried the emotional and physical burden of his seven years from age 6 to 13 in a government workhouse after his parents died. Even at age thirty, the memories almost choke him in the re-telling. But not one commissioner asks for the names of the mill o Never vanishing. Never fading.Chris Nickson sets the stage for The Hanging Psalm with Simon Westow appearing before the Child Labour Commission. It's 1820 in Leeds and the heaviness in the air reflects the somber tone of his statement. Simon has carried the emotional and physical burden of his seven years from age 6 to 13 in a government workhouse after his parents died. Even at age thirty, the memories almost choke him in the re-telling. But not one commissioner asks for the names of the mill owners and overseers. As usual, cruelty rides away on its dark horse.Simon, through hard work and a determined spirit, has become a "Thief Taker". His newly found profession is likened to a bounty hunter of stolen property. And Simon is quite good at what he does while making a living for his resourceful wife, Rosie, and their twin sons. Simon has engaged a young waif by the name of Jane who knows the streets like the back of her hand. Jane will become a central figure as the story progresses.John Milner, an investment businessman, visits Simon with a very serious request. His daughter, Hannah, has been kidnapped. Milner bluntly puts it out there that a daughter is a valuable commodity. A good marriage can never be arranged if said daughter has been damaged in any way. The ransom note threatens irrevocable harm to Hannah if payment is not made. With more concern than what has been shown by the father, Simon and Jane set out to find Hannah.Chris Nickson paints a vision of Leeds in which the reader is immersed in the sights, the smells, and the atmosphere of mud-filled streets and shabby storefronts. His characters wear faces of rejection and the stain of poverty. "Existence drained you." Nickson reveals layer upon layer of Jane's backstory and the deep impact that it has had on her life. Her shaky footsteps through the darkened winding streets of Leeds speak of survival in spite of the odds.Nickson will see to it that you are engulfed in the heightening bolts of electricity as the pressure keeps escalating at the end. Simon and his family may have laid a rut of tracks for a profound evil to wind its way into their nest. And young Jane will be a constant presence in which you beg for mercy for those whom life has betrayed time and time again.I've read many books by this talented author, but The Hanging Psalm has to be one of my favorites. Chris Nickson is a master of historical fiction. I received a copy through NetGalley and wish to extend by thanks to both Chris Nickson and to Severn House for the opportunity.
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  • Joanne Harris
    January 1, 1970
    Thief-taker Simon Westow is the latest of Chris Nickson's superbly-drawn historical sleuths, and having greatly enjoyed the rest of his work, I'm hoping that this is the first in another series. The author's storytelling is beautifully-balanced between suspense and action; the characters rich and vibrant; the historical background - in this case, Regency Leeds - as always, engaging, detailed and authentic. I'd love to see these books attract a larger audience - I can easily seem them being adapt Thief-taker Simon Westow is the latest of Chris Nickson's superbly-drawn historical sleuths, and having greatly enjoyed the rest of his work, I'm hoping that this is the first in another series. The author's storytelling is beautifully-balanced between suspense and action; the characters rich and vibrant; the historical background - in this case, Regency Leeds - as always, engaging, detailed and authentic. I'd love to see these books attract a larger audience - I can easily seem them being adapted for television, where the vivid description and colourful cast would find an appreciative audience...
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  • eyes.2c
    January 1, 1970
    Dark deeds and vengeance!I'm loving the lead character Simon Westow and in particular his assistant Jane. A damaged young woman who does what she has to survive on the dark streets of the underbelly of Regency 1820's Leeds.Simon, a thief-taker has been asked to find businessman John Milner's kidnapped daughter Hannah. The taking of Hannah leads Simon and Jane down some twisted paths and into the path of a wholly unexpected enemy.A gripping story of revenge and corruption. The character of Jane i Dark deeds and vengeance!I'm loving the lead character Simon Westow and in particular his assistant Jane. A damaged young woman who does what she has to survive on the dark streets of the underbelly of Regency 1820's Leeds.Simon, a thief-taker has been asked to find businessman John Milner's kidnapped daughter Hannah. The taking of Hannah leads Simon and Jane down some twisted paths and into the path of a wholly unexpected enemy.A gripping story of revenge and corruption. The character of Jane is fascinating. Can she become more or is she destined to a life lived within the confines of her traumatic past, allowing it to define her? Exciting read!A NetGalley ARC
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I read quite a lot of historical fiction so I was very pleased to be advanced a copy from Netgalley. I found the story and historical detail lacked complexity and there was a lot of telling not showing. This is an enjoyable read.
  • Kirsty 📚📖❤️
    January 1, 1970
    A new historical series form Leeds writer Nickson and this time we're in 1820. I found this one darker than the other series although all are crime books. I think possibly because unlike the others Simon Westow isn't a policeman/sheriff but a thief taker (he finds stolen goods and returns for a fee). His assistant Jane is a very dark character, a past victim of abuse and a secret self harmer, there are some mental health issues that she's hiding and it will be interesting to see how this develop A new historical series form Leeds writer Nickson and this time we're in 1820. I found this one darker than the other series although all are crime books. I think possibly because unlike the others Simon Westow isn't a policeman/sheriff but a thief taker (he finds stolen goods and returns for a fee). His assistant Jane is a very dark character, a past victim of abuse and a secret self harmer, there are some mental health issues that she's hiding and it will be interesting to see how this development changes over time.  There are a lot of twists and turns in this book. You think you have a handle on who may be responsible the crimes but then it changes completely and occasionally we go around to the same people a few times until Simon finally works everything out. I enjoy the art of story telling and mystery solving without the modern day need for forensics and CSI-style drama but using good old fashioned footwork and plugging away until all the answers are in place and this book delivers that for me. A great addition to the other works from the author
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  • Puzzle Doctor
    January 1, 1970
    Great historical evocation, but more of a thriller than a mystery. Full review at classicmystery.blog
  • Jan Jones
    January 1, 1970
    As with all Chris Nickson's books, you can feel yourself sinking into history as soon as you start reading the first page. I am familiar with the period - and to my mind he has got the mores and the morals spot on - but I don't know Leeds, so was fascinated by the descriptions of the city.The story itself I found utterly believable, the characterisation of Simon, Jane and Rosie was very good. I have always been drawn more to the problems of the middle class and working class, and this is a slice As with all Chris Nickson's books, you can feel yourself sinking into history as soon as you start reading the first page. I am familiar with the period - and to my mind he has got the mores and the morals spot on - but I don't know Leeds, so was fascinated by the descriptions of the city.The story itself I found utterly believable, the characterisation of Simon, Jane and Rosie was very good. I have always been drawn more to the problems of the middle class and working class, and this is a slice of life that Chris Nickson describes very well. He pulls no punches, so the book isn't an easy read by any means. It does, however, feel very real.I'm looking forward to further stories featuring Simon Westrow and his world.
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  • Mrsk Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    The Hanging Psalm, by Chris Nickson, is a murder mystery set in early nineteenth century Leeds, England which also sheds a great deal of light on both the living conditions and the working conditions endured by children of the poor. Also emphasized by Nickson is the great divide which results from class structure.The protagonist, Simon Westow, manages to scrape out a life for his family by retrieving stolen property for wealthy individuals. In The Hanging Psalm the stolen property he is tasked t The Hanging Psalm, by Chris Nickson, is a murder mystery set in early nineteenth century Leeds, England which also sheds a great deal of light on both the living conditions and the working conditions endured by children of the poor. Also emphasized by Nickson is the great divide which results from class structure.The protagonist, Simon Westow, manages to scrape out a life for his family by retrieving stolen property for wealthy individuals. In The Hanging Psalm the stolen property he is tasked to find is a teenage daughter, who indeed is little more than property to her father and her potential fiance. Retrieving the young lady leads Simon, and his delightful assistant, through a tangled web of deceit and murder. Ultimately it is realized that the evil being rendered upon Simon and all whom he loves is an act of revenge by a person from his past.Nickson has done a great deal of research into the Leeds of 200 years ago, He eloquently describes the lack of sanitation, the buildings, the roads and the various types of people and occupations that could be found therein. He is especially poignant when describing the lot of the poor and homeless, in a time when there was absolutely no social network available. His descriptions leads one to reflect on the progress that may, or may not, have been made by modern day society.All in all, The Hanging Psalm is an exciting and suspenseful read which accurately reflects its time and place.I received a free copy of this ebook via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rosanne Lortz
    January 1, 1970
    When Simon Westow is hired to find a missing girl, he doesn't realize just how close to home this case will hit. A thief-taker in Leeds, Simon is used to finding missing property. But the villain who took the factory-owner's daughter has hidden her more carefully than any stolen locket or ring of gold. Aided by Jane, a young girl who knows how to become nearly invisible on the streets, Simon must thwart this master criminal and avoid losing his family to the vengeance of a longtime enemy.This no When Simon Westow is hired to find a missing girl, he doesn't realize just how close to home this case will hit. A thief-taker in Leeds, Simon is used to finding missing property. But the villain who took the factory-owner's daughter has hidden her more carefully than any stolen locket or ring of gold. Aided by Jane, a young girl who knows how to become nearly invisible on the streets, Simon must thwart this master criminal and avoid losing his family to the vengeance of a longtime enemy.This novel, although set during the same era as many Regency romances, is far from a cozy mystery. Its gritty atmosphere and gruesome detail make it a historical thriller of the first order. Can Simon bring justice to the corrupt city of Leeds? And will he lose his wife and children in the process? Throughout the book, Simon is as hard as nails but surprisingly tender with his wife Rosie and his three-year-old twins. Although he is not omniscient, he is indefatigable about running down all the red herrings that crop up in the case. Jane is a fascinating sidekick, a wraith-like adolescent who has lodged with Simon's family for two years but refuses to let them into her secrets or her past. She blames herself for everything that goes wrong in the case and is just as merciless about exacting punishment on herself as she is in hunting down the evildoer.All in all, this book was a well-written page-turner with intriguing characters and a promising launch to a new mystery series. Recommended for those without weak stomachs. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Negalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Simon Westow is a thief taker in 1732 in Leeds. He is hired to retrieve lost items and then collects the reward. He is hired to find and return the daughter of a local landowner. She was taken from her home and her parents want her returned before her reputation is ruined. When Simon locates the girl, he discovers that she was just a ploy. The man behind the theft was Simon White, who was send to Australia for crimes he committed in Leeds. He is back and wants revenge upon those who sent him awa Simon Westow is a thief taker in 1732 in Leeds. He is hired to retrieve lost items and then collects the reward. He is hired to find and return the daughter of a local landowner. She was taken from her home and her parents want her returned before her reputation is ruined. When Simon locates the girl, he discovers that she was just a ploy. The man behind the theft was Simon White, who was send to Australia for crimes he committed in Leeds. He is back and wants revenge upon those who sent him away. Including Simon and his wife. An excellent read.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    "The Hanging Psalm" is a dark suspense set in 1820 in Leeds, England. Details about the time period and the city were woven into the story and brought it alive in my imagination. We follow a team--the husband finds and returns stolen goods for a reward and he is assisted by his wife and a street girl with a traumatic past and habit of cutting.We start with a rich man who wants his kidnapped daughter found and returned so he doesn't have to pay a ransom for her safe return. There's a time limit a "The Hanging Psalm" is a dark suspense set in 1820 in Leeds, England. Details about the time period and the city were woven into the story and brought it alive in my imagination. We follow a team--the husband finds and returns stolen goods for a reward and he is assisted by his wife and a street girl with a traumatic past and habit of cutting.We start with a rich man who wants his kidnapped daughter found and returned so he doesn't have to pay a ransom for her safe return. There's a time limit and the kidnapping is to remain a secret, so they rush around asking questions and following leads. Things don't go as expected, and soon they learn that a murderer from their past with friends in high places is out to get his revenge by killing them. He's very clever, so they must find and defeat him before his assassins kill them.There was some bad language. Simon interrupts a man having sex with a whore, so there was a brief mention of how they were positioned and his sending her away (only vaguely described). Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful story to those who don't mind darker, damaged main characters.I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley, Severn House and of course the great writer Chris Nickson. WOW what a nailbiter but I got to the end safely ( of course). Leeds 1820:"Thief-taker Simon Westow knows all about lost property. A boy from the workhouse, he now has a comfortable business finding and returning his clients' stolen possessions." Simon, his wife Rosie and their protégé, the young girl Jane, were all damaged in some ways by early life experiences. Simon and Rosie had managed to make a life, with norma Thanks to NetGalley, Severn House and of course the great writer Chris Nickson. WOW what a nailbiter but I got to the end safely ( of course). Leeds 1820:"Thief-taker Simon Westow knows all about lost property. A boy from the workhouse, he now has a comfortable business finding and returning his clients' stolen possessions." Simon, his wife Rosie and their protégé, the young girl Jane, were all damaged in some ways by early life experiences. Simon and Rosie had managed to make a life, with normalcy, together and for their twin sons. Rosie was intuitive and loving but with a core of fierceness. Jane lives in their house but shares nothing of her painful past to anyone. All three straddle a normal existence with much darker elements. Will they change their lives after this episode?The details of this complicated and darkish mystery I will leave to you, the reader, at least partly because it is difficult to unweave this complex tale. Recommended to historical mystery lovers.
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  • Theresa Larson
    January 1, 1970
    The Hanging PsalmBy: Chris NicksonSevern House PublishersPublication Date: January 01, 20194 StarsThe Hanging Psalm is a historical suspense-mystery novel set in Leeds in the early 1800s. The main character, Simon Westow, is a thief-taker, a man who recovers stolen property. Simon is hired by a wealthy businessman to secure the return of his kidnapped daughter. Simon, with the help of his young, streetwise assistant, Jane, seek out the young lady. The case grows into far more than a simple kidna The Hanging PsalmBy: Chris NicksonSevern House PublishersPublication Date: January 01, 20194 StarsThe Hanging Psalm is a historical suspense-mystery novel set in Leeds in the early 1800s. The main character, Simon Westow, is a thief-taker, a man who recovers stolen property. Simon is hired by a wealthy businessman to secure the return of his kidnapped daughter. Simon, with the help of his young, streetwise assistant, Jane, seek out the young lady. The case grows into far more than a simple kidnapping though, and Simon finds himself embroiled in his toughest assignment yet. Simon and Jane must be careful because there is danger lurking around the far too many dark corners of Leeds.This is the first book I’ve read by Chris Nickson, and I’m very impressed. The novel was exciting from start to finish. It was a hard book to put down because I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. Each chapter brought exhilarating plot developments. The book also made me think about what defines something as right and wrong. I’m hooked, and I plan on reading any future titles in this series. His other books sound equally as intriguing and I plan to read them as well.The author did a great job describing both the tangible and intangible facets of 1820’s Leeds. It wasn’t hard to imagine the dark and gritty town that Simon and Jane are dodging in and out of. The characters are very complex and gripping. Simon had a hard life growing up in a workhouse from a young age. There he was mistreated, overworked, and underfed. Simon had to be strong to make it through those kinds of conditions. That toughness that he acquires carried through to his adult life and it is useful as his job as a thief-taker. Yet, that toughness does not define his whole person. He is a loving family man and is driven by the differences between right and wrong. Jane seems impenetrable. She is both street-smart and street-tough. As tough as she is on the bad guys, she is even tougher on herself. She holds both her secrets and her past close to her chest, and doesn’t let other get close to her.Thanks to Net Galley and Severn House Publishers for an ARC of this book. #NetGalley #TheHangingPsalm
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  • Viccy
    January 1, 1970
    Simon Westow is a thief taker working in Leeds in 1820. He finds stolen things and recovers them for the reward. He grew up as an orphan and worked in the factories, where life was hard. He is married to Rosie and they have two boys, Amos and Noah. He is hired by John Milner to find his missing daughter, Hannah. This hunt will threaten everything and everyone Simon holds dear. Finding Hannah is not the issue, the repercussions will involve an old case from his past. Assisted by Janie, another re Simon Westow is a thief taker working in Leeds in 1820. He finds stolen things and recovers them for the reward. He grew up as an orphan and worked in the factories, where life was hard. He is married to Rosie and they have two boys, Amos and Noah. He is hired by John Milner to find his missing daughter, Hannah. This hunt will threaten everything and everyone Simon holds dear. Finding Hannah is not the issue, the repercussions will involve an old case from his past. Assisted by Janie, another refugee from the poorhouse, Simon will be challenged as never before. This is the first in a new historical series by Nickson; he writes excellent stories with spot-on historical details. His characters are complex and are remarkably well-done. Recommended for anyone who likes historical mysteries.
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  • Bialey
    January 1, 1970
    A good tale.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    In 1820 Leeds, Simon Westow makes a living as a thief-taker, recovering lost property. He is approached by John Milner, businessman, to find his daughter who has been kidnapped. Find her before he has to pay the ransom. Westow and his assistant Jane set the enquiries in motion. But how far back in Westow's past do they need to go.A really good mystery, well-written and with good well-developed characters. A very good, solid, start to a new series which I look forward to reading more.A NetGalley In 1820 Leeds, Simon Westow makes a living as a thief-taker, recovering lost property. He is approached by John Milner, businessman, to find his daughter who has been kidnapped. Find her before he has to pay the ransom. Westow and his assistant Jane set the enquiries in motion. But how far back in Westow's past do they need to go.A really good mystery, well-written and with good well-developed characters. A very good, solid, start to a new series which I look forward to reading more.A NetGalley Book
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