Death of a Mermaid by Lesley Thomson

Published by Head of Zeus on 7 May 2020 in hardback at £18.99 and as an eBook.

Bestselling crime writer Lesley Thomson returns with a heart-stopping standalone thriller.

Freddy Power left her childhood home in Newhaven, East Sussex twenty-two years ago and swore never to return. But now her parents are dead, and she’s back in her hometown to help her brothers manage the family fishmonger. Nothing here has changed: the stink of fish coming up from the marshes; the shopping trolleys half-buried by muddy tides; the neighbours sniffing for a new piece of gossip. 

It’s not what Freddy would have chosen, but at least while she’s here she’ll get to see her childhood best friends, Toni who is now a detective with the Sussex Police and Mags. At school, the three of them were inseparable. The teachers called them the Mermaids for their obsession with the sea, and with each other. 

Then Mags goes missing, and Freddy must decide. Go back home to her new life, or stay in Newhaven and find her friend?

About the Author

Lesley Thomson grew up in west London. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won the People’s Book Prize in 2010.  Her second novel, The Detective’s Daughter, was a number 1 bestseller. 

The other novels in the Detective’s Daughter series include Ghost Girl, The Detective’s Secret,The House with No Rooms, The Dog Walker, The Death Chamber and The Playground Murders. The Detective’s Daughter series has sold over 750,000 copies to date. Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter at @lesleyjmthomson and on Instagram @lesleythomson 

Praise for Lesley Thomson


‘This book has a clever mystery plot – but its excellence is in the characters, all credible and

memorable, and in its setting in a real West London street, exactly described’

Literary Review

‘A haunting novel about loss and reconciliation, driven by a simple but clever plot’

Sunday Times

‘A welcome addition to the roster of London novels: a cunningly plotted novel with, like the city itself, dark currents working under the surface’ Mick Herron, author of Slow Horses

‘A study of memory and guilt with several twists’


‘Tense and gripping … On the edge of my seat? No way – I was cowering under it’


‘A thoughtful, well-observed story … It reminded me of Kate Atkinson’ 

Scott Pack


‘As compelling as its predecessors… A white-knuckle read’

The Tablet

‘This is a dark complex novel with many twists and turns that will keep you turning the page’

Mystery People

It’s a rollercoaster read, but you will come away feeling you’ve made new friends’

Rachael Blok, author of Under the Ice

‘a genuine nail-biter that weaves together two mysteries over the span of almost 40 years…Now I want to read all the other books in the series’

Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Judgment


 ‘A well-crafted, spooky mystery’



 ‘Stella Darnell is without doubt one of the most original characters in British crime fiction’

Crime Review

‘Thomson’s plots are original and she draws her characters with genuine affection’

Sunday Times


 ‘[Thomson] has a great gift for atmosphere. I still felt the chilly, damp and haunted towpath long after I closed the book at the end of the last chapter’ Promoting Crime