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I was first published in 1982 and since then have published a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Historical detective fiction and historical romance are a new direction for me and I have adopted the pen name R J Lynch for a series of five books set in County Durham (with one in the revolutionary American colonies) in the 1760s. The first in the series, A Just and Upright Man, was published for Kindle by Mandrill Press on May 24th 2013; publication for other eBook formats will be complete in June 2013.

Mandrill Press is a co-operative set up by me and three other writers to publish the sort of books we wanted to write in the way we wanted to write them. What actually happened is that we were moaning--writers do moan--about publishers and their ever-changing (and ever more ludicrous) demands and my cousin, who is not a writer, said, "There are two things you can do. Join together to publish your own books in the way you want them published. Or shut up. For ever. Because I'm sick of listening to you. I know how to make websites and I know how to run companies, so I'll be your admin guy. If you make a go of it and the books sell, I get ten per cent of the profit. If they don't, well, I'll have enjoyed myself anyway and at least the moaning will stop."

So that's the story of how Mandrill Press came to be.

RJ's Ascribe title is:


Ascribe Novel Solutions: promote, advertise and market your quality self-published book on ascribeme.comA Just And Upright Man

4 stars on Amazon

4.6 stars on Goodreads

Categories: Historical / Romance

"R.J. Lynch has brought to life the country folk from up north, and that of the era in which they exist. This novel is on a par with Thomas Hardy’s meaty offerings of country life and the hardships of the less well off: those beholding to the super-rich of their day... A Just And Upright Man, is nothing short of a very enjoyable and worthwhile read"

Romance Reviews

"An extremely well-constructed mix of historical, crime and romance... The historical fact was extremely well researched and seemed flawless. I cannot praise this book highly enough, it was a novel I did not want to end…so I am delighted to see that it is the first of a planned series – I will be rushing out to purchase the sequel when it is published. A truly superb novel and indie publishing at its very best."

Historical Novel Society


It is 1763. James Blakiston, overseer of Lord Ravenshead’s estate and a newcomer to the Durham parish of Ryton, is determined to solve the mystery of old Reuben Cooper’s murder – but he has no idea how to go about it. As enclosure threatens to make the poor even poorer, Blakiston follows one misguided hunch after another. The only thing that he can really be certain of is his love for the beautiful and spirited Kate Greener – a love he is determined to resist, for Kate is the daughter of a penniless labourer and Blakiston has in any case not recovered from being thrown over by the woman he believed loved him. The mysterious Joseph Kelly, an Irishman who is not an Irishman, falls under suspicion.

But Kelly cannot be found. Then Matthew Higson flees to America, leaving his boyhood love Catherine Robinson behind in his headlong rush to be gone, and the mystery is solved. Higson was the murderer. But when Higson is found, not fled but murdered in his turn, Blakiston’s search resumes. As he builds a picture of the history of the murderous Cooper family over three generations, a missing coat also begins to occupy his mind. How did it get from where it was to where it is? And why? A chance remark by Lady Isabella Claverley opens the door to the murderer at last. And Blakiston rejects love.

But will love let him go?

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