To The Dark by Chris Nickson
Book Review - Blog Tour - Giveaway (US Only)

Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Series: A Simon Westow Mystery, Book 3
Genre: Historical Mystery


Winter is about to take a chilling twist...

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence's room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who's now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon's hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who'll happily kill him in a heartbeat - if they can.

My Thoughts

Simon Westow is a thief taker: he recovers stolen goods for a fee. He is ably assisted by his wife Rosie and a young lady named Jane, who has a dark history, which even Simon and Rosie aren't privy to. Simon, also, has a past moulded by time spent in a workhouse as a young lad. All are familiar with the grimy streets and atmosphere of industrial Leeds, its poor and its criminals.

When Laurence Poole's body is uncovered by melting snow, Simon is asked by Constable Williams to track down the murderer of the petty thief. Williams and Simon have an uneasy relationship and Simon is wary, but the payment offered for this job is too tempting for Simon to pass it over.

With clues revealed in a coded notebook, Simon, Rosie and Jane uncover what Laurence was involved in and why a well-known fence has skipped town fearing for his life. With his own freedom in jeopardy - hanging or transportation a possibility - Simon follows through with his plan to bring the murderer to justice. But this brings reprisals and, to finally bring the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion, both Simon and Rosie must risk their lives further.

To the Dark is a great historical mystery that will keep you enthralled page after page. Chris Nickson's descriptions of 19th century Leeds, gripped in the throes of the industrial revolution, makes you feel you are there amid the grime and the polluted air.

Simon is an intriguing character. He is the father of twin boys and takes great pleasure in his family. To provide for them, he earns a living by associating with criminals and occasionally has to break the law himself without being caught. Hence his relationship with Constable Williams, who is all to eager to slap him in irons. Simon's family man persona is at odds with his role as thief-taker, but makes this man a very likeable character.

Jane, too, is intriguing. As mentioned before, she has a dark history. She also bears the scars of self-mutilation. Her full story has yet to be revealed, but she is very capable of looking after herself and her knowledge of the streets and the people, plus her ability to seem invisible, are a great asset to Simon's work.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Chris Nickson mystery and look forward to reading more of this series.

Where to Purchase

Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Meet the Author

I'm a novelist and music journalist, the author of many books set between the 1730s and 1950s in Leeds, as well as others in medieval Chesterfield and 1980s Seattle.

Above all, though, it's Leeds I love, the people, the sense of the place changing with time. Yes, I write mysteries, but ultimately they're books about people and their relationships, and the crime becomes a moral framework for the story.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule
Friday, February 26
Review at Novels Alive

Saturday, February 27
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Sunday, February 28
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, March 1
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Tuesday, March 2
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, March 3
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, March 4
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Friday, March 5
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at A Darn Good Read

Giveaway (US Only)

Enter HERE to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


  1. Great review, Yvonne! Thank you so much for hosting the tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours