A Murder in Ashwood

An Avenging Angel Detective Agency Mystery

Scandals and Secrets in the Gilded Age

New Year’s Day, 1902: Ashwood awakens to a foul murder …

Buffalo, New York … as the remains of the great Pan-American Exposition are swept away, and the bitter memories of William McKinley’s assassination at last dwindle away … the city reels again after the sensational murder of successful businessman Edward Miller, bludgeoned to death in his cozy den, in one of the city’s most fashionable enclaves:  Ashwood.

But for all its glamor, Ashwood guards the dark secrets of many of its young, up-and-coming residents … including those of Edward’s estranged wife Alicia, her lover Arthur Pendle, and would-be detective Sarah Payne.  Soon, they will all face a hurricane of courtroom drama, public outrage, and the behind-the-scenes scheming of cold and corrupt District Attorney Terence Penrose.

Meanwhile those caught up in the most scandalous crime of a new century have reputations to protect … skeletons best kept hidden away in the tidy closets of fashionable Ashwood … and plenty of reasons to prevent the truth behind Edward Miller’s murder from ever seeing the light of day – the truth that only Edward Miller, it seems, knew.

Can justice be done … and the truth uncovered by Sarah’s fledgling Avenging Angel Detective Agency … before the killer strikes again?


Reviews and Praise for A Murder in Ashwood

“…Setting this series apart from other historical mysteries is Brighton’s deft hand at capturing dishy lives of long ago, as his Ashwood residents gossip, scheme, preen, and love…has the feel of a great cocktail party…a polished, rewarding page-turner…”

- BookLife Reviews

Editor's Pick

“…The author is a talented storyteller, and it is hard to resist the very detailed and authentic world he creates … [Alicia] and Sarah [Payne, founder of the Avenging Angel Detective Agency] are wonderful complements and effectively drive the plot…Time and place are fully realized in this murder story … a fascinating period piece.”

- Kirkus Reviews

“A Murder in Ashwood  is … a captivating novel of betrayal, deception, power, conscience, crime, and love … dynamic and thought-provoking … a beautiful and engaging story written by a talented writer … Five Stars …”

- Readers’ Favorite


"Brighton weaves a scandalous story full of murder, infidelity, and a web of lies. Spectacularly naughty, A Murder in Ashwood paints a picture of revenge with characters that are seductive and sly. Readers who enjoy mysteries set in the Gilded Age era will delight in this novel."

- Seattle Book Review

“A Murder in Ashwood by Robert Brighton is the ultimate turn-of-the-century murder mystery … from the beginning, the reader plunges into the heart of the action in this enthralling historical mystery novel, with strong, well-developed characters and raw, emotional dialogue. The author is descriptive, unveiling each scene and event so that readers can see it clearly in their minds, noting any possible clues that may be revealed …

The author brings a unique writing style and characters to the traditional murder-mystery genre with page-turning excitement and the determination of Sarah of the Avenging Angel Detective Agency to solve the case. I enjoyed the modern twist of a woman detective … kept me reading from one chapter to the next … an excellent read for fans of murder mysteries and suspense.”


- Literary Review

Robert Brighton's A Murder in Ashwood is a meticulously crafted mystery notable for its well-crafted narrative. While it serves as a sequel, it functions seamlessly as a standalone novel, requiring no prior knowledge of the series. The story eschews unnecessary filler, placing a heavy emphasis on natural and engaging dialogue. Characters behave convincingly and realistically, reflecting Brighton's thorough research into the societal norms and behaviors of the chosen period. The result is a remarkable historical mystery that defies conventional expectations.

The heart of the mystery in this novel…shifts the focus onto the journey rather than the destination. How did the murderer execute their plan? How many allies were involved? Can truth and justice prevail against an orchestrated web of corruption and oppressive authority? These are the mysteries that our protagonists must unravel, and their ultimate triumph remains uncertain. As they inch closer to the truth, they begin to question the very values that initially drove them to seek justice, leaving readers to ponder their fate with bated breath.

— Literary Titan


Selected Passages from A Murder in Ashwood


A Murder In Ashwood ...

"A tense courtroom drama, and a web of intrigue and obsession ...

ensnare aspiring detective Sarah Payne and her Avenging Angel Detective Agency as they race to find a killer before he strikes again.  Meanwhile, sultry, cunning Alicia Miller has scores to settle ... not only with Buffalo's power-brokers, but also with her friend-turned-nemesis Sarah. A Murder in Ashwood will immerse you in a world you'll want to revisit again and again.”

Robert Brighton, Author of The Unsealing