John Blake

Carol Ann Lee

Something Wicked

The Lives, Crimes and Deaths of the Pendle Witches

John Blake (July 2024)

Lee Something WickedOn 20 August 1612, ten people from Pendle were executed before a vast crowd at Lancaster’s Gallows Hill. The condemned and their associates had endured six months of accusations, imprisonment and torture; their treatment was such that one of the group died in Lancaster Castle’s dungeons, while awaiting trial.

Today, a thriving tourism industry exists in and around Pendle, the former home of the so-called witches, yet virtually everything we know about the case originates from a single source: Thomas Potts’ Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches, hurriedly published in 1613 and distinctly skewed in favour of the prosecution. Until now…

Sunday Times bestselling author Carol Ann Lee brings an entirely fresh perspective to the story by approaching it as true crime. Having worked in the genre for more than a decade, her research leads to revelatory discoveries, transforming our knowledge of those shadowy figures behind ill-famed names, and the terrible events that befell them.

After four centuries of superstition and surmise, the two central, warring families – each headed by a fiercely independent widow working as ‘cunning women’ – emerge fully formed, as the book uncovers the reality of their lives and their alleged crimes before exploring the trial and executions.

Along the way, we uncover the truth behind some of the story’s most enduring mysteries: the legend of Malkin Tower and the final resting place of the Pendle witches.
This is a ground-breaking book that will take the reader on a spellbinding journey into the dark heart of England’s largest and most notorious witch trial.

Carol Ann Lee

A Passion For Poison

The Extraordinary Crimes of Graham Young

John Blake (August 2021)

Lee A Passion For Poison‘The whole story is so terrible. You will be disgusted and amazed.’
Graham Young, confessing his crimes to detectives

There are few criminal cases more astonishing yet less well-known than that of Graham Young. A quintessentially British crime story, it involves two sensational trials, murders both certain and probable, a clutch of forgiving relatives, and scores of surviving victims.

A Passion for Poison tells the absorbing life of master poisoner, Graham Young, who killed many tens of people in a murderous career, which began as a 13 year-old schoolboy in a North-west London suburb, with the murder of his step-mother in 1960 before culminating in four further life sentences in 1971.

Best-selling true crime writer, Carol Ann Lee takes the reader on an extraordinary journey through suburban streets with which we are all familiar, but where the commonplace – dull, even – soon becomes oppressively sinister. Set against the backdrop of modern Britain, from post-war austerity to the gloom and glam of the 1970s, it sheds light on a rapidly changing society and a gruesome British true crime story.

Marie McCourt

with Fiona Duffy

Justice for Helen

John Blake (February 2021)

Justice for HelenBurying a child is every parent’s nightmare. But Marie McCourt has spent 31 years yearning to do just that.

On February 9th, 1988, her 22-year-old daughter, Helen, left her office in Liverpool city centre, and began her usual commute home. But she was never seen again… Within days, local pub landlord, Ian Simms was identified as her murderer; and despite Helen’s body not being found, a mass of incontrovertible DNA and witness evidence at his trial twelve months later resulted in a life sentence.

But Simms has refused to disclose the whereabouts of Helen’s body, meaning Marie and her family have never been able to get closure. They’ve never had a grave at which they can pay their respects.

Marie has fought for the last 30 years to find her daughter’s body and to stop other families facing the same horrifying fate, recently winning the Ministry of Justice’s approval for “Helen’s Law”, characterised by the slogan: “No Body No Parole”, to be enacted.

This is the incredible story of the crushing devastation of a mother from the loss of her daughter, a callous murderer and the indomitable strength of a woman, who would not be bowed by an outdated law.