The Leaden Heart

Leeds, England. July, 1899. The city is in the grip of a long, scorching summer, and the only real crime plaguing Detective Superintendent Tom Harper and his squad is a sly, daring burglar. But when his former friend and colleague, Inspector Billy Reed, comes to Leeds to bury his brother, Charlie, something much darker begins to unfold. Charlie had committed suicide and, going through his papers, Billy discovers crippling rent rises and intimidation by a new landlord. Reed asks for Tom’s help in discovering the truth. As Harper investigates, he uncovers a web of violence and corruption that leads back to the mysterious North Leeds Company. Threats quickly become cold, brutal murder as Harper pursues the men pulling the strings. But does he have the power to win?
The first review is in, even before it’s published, and you can read it here:
“It’s a great story too, full of political intrigue and corruption. Harper is a fascinating character, a solid, no-nonsense old school copper with a determination to get to the bottom of what’s going on, no matter the consequences to his reputation.”
Another wonderful this review, this time from the excellent Fully Booked blog (which also does great graphics). Read it here – it’s quite long and gives me a very happy glow.
“Nickson is a writer, however, whose passionate desire for social justice never impedes his ability to tell a great story and weave a dazzling crime mystery.”
Not a review, but my very first interview with a national daily paper, and I’m incredibly happy it’s in in the Morning Star. Tom Harper would be a happy man at that.

Nickson is not particularly interested in the manner of how life is conceived or ends. Rather he is concerned with how life is lived, particularly by those destined to fall through history’s cracks.


He is drawn to political figures like Isabella Ford, Edward Carpenter and Tom McGuire. The latter, a self-educated poet, trade unionist and committed socialist, is a personal hero of Nickson’s. “They figure large in the Leeds landscape but few people know they were even there. It’s trying to dust off the history from them,” he says.

“I have two ancestors buried in unmarked graves in Beckett Street cemetery and another who is in a Guinea grave, so it’s my family history too – and that of a lot of other people.””


And The Leaden Heart made the Yorkshire Post top book pick of the week.


And it’s certainly not every day a rave review like this comes around: ”

Beautifully written and packed with period details, Nickson will draw you in and leave you wanting more. Full of twists, turns, and bumps in the road The Leaden Heart is a carefully crafted balance between thrilling crime and interpersonal drama.”
Read the whole review here (and every word makes me smile!)
Reviewer Meredith Rankin likes the book, giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


“Conflicts in our lives don’t have neatly wrapped up endings with all questions answered. This book doesn’t, either, but there’s enough closure to feel both realistic and satisfying.

A truly enjoyable book. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and mysteries.”

Read the entire review here.

The very first American review has arrived, and it’s a glowing testament from Kirkus Reviews, the first thing I read on a grey Monday morning, and it immediately made the week seem brighter. And it’s a STARRED review!

“Nickson (The Hanging Psalm, 2019, etc.) is a master at mixing social commentary with police procedurals; he digs deep into the backgrounds of his characters and highlights the inequalities so common to the Industrial Revolution while deftly handling several troubling cases.

Nickson’s latest and perhaps finest is a breathless race for the truth from start to finish.”

You can read it all here.

Mystery People seems to like it, too!



Publishers Weekly certainly seems to like the book. A starred review from them! Read it in full here.

“Nickson’s superlative seventh whodunit featuring Leeds police superintendent Tom Harper (after 2018’s The Tin God) …Nickson stands in the front rank of historical mystery writers.”

The Go Buy The Book blog seems to love The Leaden Heart, too. Read the whole review here.

“If you are new to the Tom Harper books, please don’t be put off by the fact that this is the seventh book in the series as it can definitely be read as a standalone. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite so far, and I eagerly anticipate what the next installment brings for Tom, Annabelle and the rest of the characters we have grown to love.”

The Hair Past A Freckle blog seems to like the book: “The Leaden Heart is first-rate historical crime fiction. Highly recommended.” Read the whole review here.