In the summer of 1736, Marius Hope, a troubled young doctor, takes leave of his responsibilities at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, and journeys to The Wells (Royal Tunbridge Wells) - an up-and-coming spa town set to rival Bath. Hope establishes a close friendship with Roger Dashwood, a man long acquainted with The Wells and its people. As he is introduced into society, Hope meets Elizabeth Conyers, the niece of Maurice Conyers, The Lord of The Mar. Their mutual attraction proves a welcome diversion for Hope. But, Hope's idyllic new life is interrupted when he finds himself caught up in a series of events - two fatal fires and a death on the town racecourse. He soon discovers that the incidents are linked to a scheme to wrest ownership of The Walks (The Pantiles) from The Lord of The Mar and its freeholders. Hope is called upon to make use of his medical background to aid the authorities in exposing the culprits. As his relationship with Elizabeth Conyers strengthens, the young doctor is forced to confront his increasing suspicion that Maurice Conyers is behind the murders and the plot to take control of The Walks. Drawn ever deeper into the intrigues of the spa town, Hope is exposed to ruthless attack. The pressure is on for him to find the mastermind of the plot or lose his life at the hands of his unkwn adversary. This vel is based on historical fact, with many of the characters involved in the scandal contributing to the narrative.
Born in London, Patrick has enjoyed an interesting and varied career. He studied the History of Art and went on to lecture at the Central School of Art and Design in London. He has also worked for many years as a marketing professional for British, German and American international companies. One of his roles was chief executive of a British government-inspired trade council. Later, at the request of the Spanish government, Patrick established and managed 'Foods From Spain', a campaign to promote Spanish foods and wines in the UK. For his service, Patrick was awarded the title 'Commander of Civil Merit' by King Juan Carlos. Thereafter, Patrick joined his wife's trade development company, which specialised in providing marketing support for governments of countries exporting their goods to Britain. It was whilst travelling to all parts of Europe, Central and South America that Patrick began writing to while away the hours. He wrote several novels and it was at his wife's insistence that he sought to have them published. Married with two sons, Patrick Gooch lives close to the Ashdown forest in East Sussex.