British Book Database

MW Craven's Washington Poe Books in Order

The Puppet Show (2019)

Someone is torturing and burning wealthy old men alive, then leaving their remains in stone circles around Cumbria. With virtually no evidence to go on, disgraced detective Washington Poe and talented young data analyst Tilly Bradshaw will have to unravel the mystery and stop the killer.

As if that's not enough pressure on its own, there's also a bit of evidence that suggests Poe himself might be one of the next targets.


Note: There's a particularly gruesome description of the crimes at the very beginning, but it gets better after that. If you have a week stomach, you may want to skip over that initial bit.

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Prominent chef Jared Keaton is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his daughter Elizabeth. Though her body was never found, detective Washington Poe's evidence and testimony was enough for a conviction.

Years after the supposed murder, a young woman shows up at a police claiming to be Elizabeth Keaton. She says she's been locked up for years, tortured and forced to use drugs – and the evidence seems irrefutable.

How could Poe have gotten it so wrong? Did he put away an innocent man – and worse yet, did his actions lead to years of misery for the young woman? Before he can get to the bottom of it, she goes missing again.

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It's Christmas time in Cumbria, and someone is leaving body parts around the county. At each scene, there's a strange message: #BSC6

Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw tackle the case, trying to figure out how the victims are connected and why some were anaesthetized while others died in agony. Stranger still, the only suspect seems an unlikely murderer.

Then, a disgraced FBI agent reaches out with a theory that sends the case in an even darker direction. Could they be dealing with someone even worse than your garden variety serial killer?

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This book sees Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw dragged into the world of spies and national security. What begins as the simple murder of a man in a brothel gets complicated quickly when they discover connections to the military and a high-profile event.

Dead Ground has a significantly different feel compared to the other books in the series, and Tilly fades to the background for much of the story – but as there's ongoing development of the characters from book to book – and the rest are so good – that we wouldn't recommend skipping it.

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In this book, Poe's friend Estelle Doyle appears to be guilty of her father's murder. All signs point to her guilt, but she's said just three words since her arrest: “Tell Washington Poe.”

At the same time, a poisoner known only as The Botanist is sending poems and pressed flowers to celebrities. Even though his targets get advance warning of his attentions, he or she seems to be able to kill with impunity.

In July 2023, this book was named the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

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