Search Sue's Blog

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Review: THE CONTRABAND KILLINGS by Lucienne Boyce

London and North Wales, 1799

Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is sent to collect smuggler Watcyn Jones from Beaumaris Gaol on Anglesey, and bring him back to London for trial at the Old Bailey. As if having to travel to the wilds of North Wales isn’t bad enough, Dan is saddled with an inexperienced constable as his interpreter and assistant. At least it’s a routine assignment and shouldn’t take more than a few days. 

But when the prison escort is ambushed and Watcyn Jones escapes, a straightforward transfer turns into a desperate manhunt. And as Jones’s enemies start to die, the chase becomes more urgent than ever. Dan’s search for the killer brings him up against a ruthless smuggling gang – and his chances of getting off the island alive begin to look far from promising.


Purchase Links 

US -

UK -


As a frequent visitor to the Isle of Anglesey and the area around Beaumaris, I was particularly keen to read this novel.  It did not disappoint.  The characters are very well drawn, and the setting and the era really come to life on the page.  The author has clearly done her research meticulously – both about the practice of smuggling and about the history of Beaumaris.  And the plot is a real page-turner; I stayed up well past my normal bedtime to finish the book and was genuinely sorry when I reached the last page.  


Although this is the fourth book in a series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  Having said that, I’m now keen to read the earlier books to find out more about the characters’ intriguing backstories.


Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA in English Literature, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical novel, To The Fair Land (2012, reissued 2021), an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.

Her second historical novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (2015, reissued 2022) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block (2017, reissued 2022), was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction (2019, reissued 2022), is also an IndieBrag Medallion honoree, recipient of Chill With a Book Premium Readers’ Award, and a joint Discovering Diamonds book of the month. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was published by S-Books. The Fatal Coin is now available in paperback.

The Bristol Suffragettes, a history of the suffragette campaign in Bristol and the South West of England, was published in 2013. In 2017 Lucienne published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign


Other Publications

Not So Militant Browne in Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth (Stevenage Museum, 2019)

Victoria Lidiard in The Women Who Built Bristol, Jane Duffus (Tangent Books, 2018)

Tramgirls, Tommies and the Vote in Bristol and the First World War: The Great Reading Adventure 2014 (Bristol Cultural Development Partnership/Bristol Festival of Ideas, 2014)


Social Media



Twitter: @LucienneWrite




Huge thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour.  Do check out the other posts – details are on the banner above.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review and for being part of the blog tour. I'm glad you enjoyed The Contraband Killings!