Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Sally Spencer (aka Alan Rustage)

Cover of Echoes of the Dead by Sally Spencer

When Alan Rustage submitted his first novel, Salt of the Earth, for publication, the publisher thought the intended readership was women, who would not want to read a book written by a man. Silly as this seemed, Rustage then submitted the book to a different publisher under the name Sally Spencer and it was immediately accepted, with the caveat that it retain the author’s name as Sally Spencer. However, the Blackstone series is published as “Sally Spencer Writing As Alan Rustage.” Rustage grew up in the north of England, and has taught in England and Iran. After living in Madrid for over twenty years, he and his wife, plus cats and dogs, now live in Spain’s Costa Blanca.

What s/he writes: Vivid, interesting characters, authentic period details, and lively plots with plenty of twists and surprises characterize Spencer’s mystery series. The Sam Blackstone police procedural series takes place in Victorian London and should appeal to Anne Perry fans, while the Chief Inspector Woodend series takes place in 1960’s England. Charlie Woodend is a middle-aged Scotland Yard detective, an expert on the northern regions of England. He is educated and intuitive. DCI Monika Paniatowski is Woodend’s successor as DCI. Set a decade later, in this series Paniatowski must face the resentment of her male colleagues who believe a woman’s place is in the home.


List of works
Inspector Blackstone series
  Rendezvous with Death (2003) Blackstone and the Balloon of Death (2006)
  Blackstone and the Tiger (2004) Blackstone and the Heart of Darkness (2007)
  Blackstone and the Golden Egg (2005) Blackstone and the New World (2009)
  Blackstone and the Firebug (2005) Blackstone and the Wolf of Wall Street (2010)
Chief Inspector Woodend series
  The Salton Killings (1998) The Witch Maker (2004)
  Murder at Swann's Lake (1999) The Butcher Beyond (2004)
  Death of a Cave Dweller (2000) Dying in the Dark (2005)
  The Dark Lady (2000) Stone Killer (2005)
  The Golden Mile to Murder (2001) A Long Time Dead (2006)
  Dead on Cue (2001) Sins of the Fathers (2006)
  The Red Herring (2002) Dangerous Games (2007)
  Death of an Innocent (2002) Death Watch (2007)
  The Enemy Within (2003) A Dying Fall (2008)
  A Death Left Hanging (2003) Fatal Quest (2008)
DCI Monika Paniatowski series
  The Dead Hand of History (2009)  
  The Ring of Death (2010)  
  Click Here for Murder (2011)  
Other works
  The Paradise Job (1999)
  The Inspector Paco Ruiz mysteries, set in Madrid and published under the name James García Woods, as well as several historical sagas and other novels by Sally Spencer, are not available in the United States.
What the critics say about the Sam Blackstone series
"Humorous, intriguing and perplexing, Rustage's book paints a vividly authentic picture of Victorian times and offers an appealingly down-to-earth hero and plenty of unexpected twists." - Booklist
What the critics say about the Charlie Woodend series
"This fine mystery succeeds both as a nuts-and-bolts procedural and as a portrayal of an English village moving from the quiet rhythms of rural life to the more contemporary beat of rock 'n roll." - Booklist
"Spencer's murders have a genuine catlike creepiness about them and her bloodcurdling finale leaves one with a maniacal grin. Her fifth Charlie Woodend procedural is a walk on the wild side of Blackpool, Britain's R-rated Disneyland for the working classes... An accomplished craftsman who serves up a good puzzle and deftly solves it with intelligence and insight." - Publishers Weekly
"The setting, an old estate, effectively mixes Gothic and noir: the moody ambience draws equally from Stephen King and Raymond Chandler. Spencer's gift for bringing remote corners of 1960s England to vivid life is on a par with the best historical mystery writers, as is her ability to construct a multifaceted plot." - Booklist
What the critics say about the Monika Paniatowski series
"As usual, Spencer produces a hugely entertaining police procedural, but it’s her keen perception of human nature and her ability to draw flawed but sympathetic characters that make this extension of the Woodend series such a standout." - Booklist


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