Kate Colquhoun

Add to shortlist

Books

Agent: Caroline Dawnay
Associate : Sophie Scard

Books

Kate Colquhoun is the author THE THRIFTY COOKBOOK, TASTE: The Story of Britain Through it's Cooking and also of A THING IN DISGUISE: The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton, which was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize 2004 and longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2003. Her most recent book, DID SHE KILL HIM? was shortlisted for Crime Writers Association Dagger Award for Non-Fiction 2014.  She reviews regularly for the Daily Telegraph and contributes to a wide range of other publications.  As a food historian and campaigner against food waste she appears regularly on national radio and television. She lives in London.

Latest publication:

DID SHE KILL HIM?, Little, Brown, 2014

The sensational murder trial of Florence Maybrick that gripped Victorian society.

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick.

'The Maybrick Mystery' had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence's past and glimpse her likeness in Madame Tussaud's.

Florence's fate was fiercely debated in the courtroom, on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country. Did she poison her husband? Was her previous infidelity proof of murderous intentions? Was James' own habit of self-medicating to blame for his demise?

Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him?

Reviews

Accomplished biographer and social commentator Kate Colquhoun is taking on Victorian murder in Did She Kill Him? Conveying the hypocrisy and claustrophobia of middle-class life at the time it is likely to hit the spot with anyone who was intrigued by The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. — Daily Express - Top titles for 2014
 
With deliciously dark elements of addiction, deception, torrid adultery and poison, this is the riveting true story of a sensational Victorian trial of 1889 . . . Colquhoun's writing has a wonderful slow burn to it, and until the final page, she keeps us guessing: guilty, or not guilty? — The Bookseller
 
Exhaustively researched and not for the faint-hearted. Her descriptions of the autopsy carried out in the victim's bedroom would make Kay Scarpetta wince . . . But there is another element that Colquhoun hauls blinking into the light: the changing moral climate of the time and the conflict between the patriarchal regime and the emergence of the New Woman — Daily Express
 
Sensibly, if tantalisingly, Kate Colquhoun offers no final answers in her absorbing review of this old scandal . . . she highlights what the case can tell us about late Victorian England - its flawed legal processes and dangerous medical practices, its predatory appetite for gossip, and above all the uncertain position of its women. What Colquhoun reveals is a persistent doubleness - respectability concealing transgression . . . Restlessness, rather than complacency, characterises the society that she describes — Guardian
 
Intriguing, forensic . . . a moral fable of the age, intelligently told by Colquhoun, who places her sources cleverly within historical and literary context . . . gripping — The Times
 
While [Did She Kill Him] is a carefully researched account, based on contemporary sources, it reads more like a novel — Liverpool Echo
 
[Colquhoun] builds an almost unbearable tension into the events . . . This book is much more than a real-life murder mystery. Colquhoun has researched her subject thoroughly and presents a forensic account of the facts as known . . . Colquhoun spins a tale rich in detail and atmosphere, and her meticulous research never overshadows her obvious talent for storytelling — Herald

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2009

Bloomsbury

476 ways to eat well with leftovers. This book is not about buying fresh, organic, sustainable, free-range ingredients. It’s about the bit that comes afterwards, the bit about eating it all up

2011

Little, Brown

In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was travelling home after visiting his niece and her husband for dinner. He entered a First Class carriage on the 9.45pm Hackney service of the North London railway. At Hackney, two bank clerks entered the carriage and discovered blood in the seat cushions; also on the floor, windows and sides of the carriage. A bloodstained hat was found on the seat along with a broken link from a watch chain.

The race to identify the killer and catch him as he flees on a boat to America was eagerly followed by citizens both sides of the Atlantic. Kate Colquhoun tells a gripping tale of a crime that shocked the nation.

2007

Bloomsbury

The story of Britain through its cooking. TASTE tells a story as rich and diverse as a five-course dinner.

2003

BLOOMSBURY

Biography of Joseph Paxton, English gardener and architect, best known for designing The Crystal Palace