Books by Nicholas Rhea
No Rest for Constable Nick
The Constable books are probably Nicholas Rhea's best known work, since they form the rootstock from which the much-loved TV series, Heartbeat, sprang. Author Nicholas Rhea drew on his own experiences as a local bobby for a small Yorkshire village in the 1960s to chronicle the career of Constable Nick, from his first arrival in Aidensfield in Constable on the Hill (first published in 1979) to his retirement in Constable over the Hill (2011). And even after his retirement, Nick hasn't been taking it easy: he has been helping to create a small private police force of monk-constables serving Maddleskirk Abbey and its adjoining college (see below).
There are more stories to be told, as well, about Nick's earlier life. Constable on Trial, the first volume of a projected new series, takes us back in time as Detective Constable Rhea, stationed in the popular seaside resort of Strensford as a somewhat raw recruit, is given an attachment to CID. As Nicholas Rhea explains, there is an autobiographical element in this, too: "When patrolling in uniform, especially in the lonely night hours, young constables would dream of becoming a detective or having their own country beat. I was no exception and although the seaside town where I served my two years' probation provided much of interest, the CID promised extra excitement and intrigue.
Throughout his early days Nick, like many other detectives, nurses an ambition to arrest a murderer, but no opportunities come his way - until a killer on the run seeks refuge in Strensford and an elderly lady is found dead at home.
Order Constable on Trial via Amazon UK or from any bookshop (it may help to tell them the ISBN: 978-0-7198-1814-1); it is now also available as an audiobook, read by Nick McArdle: download it now from Amazon or order direct from Soundings in a choice of formats.
Endeavour Press, the UK's leading independent digital publisher, have been hunting for treasure on Nicholas Rhea's backlist, and finding more and more gems to offer to readers.
First they reissued two adventures of Detective Inspector Montague Pluke the CID's most superstitious police officer, then they asked Detective Superintendent Mark Pemberton to help with their enquiries.
Both of these characters proved so popular that they added additional titles to the list. Whether you prefer the whimsical adventures of Montague Pluke (and a taste of Yorkshire folklore on the side) or the classic detective mysteries featuring Detective Superintendent Mark Pemberton, told with Nicholas Rhea's trademark mixture of entertaining story-telling and police procedure based on personal experience, you no longer have to search for a highly collectable copy of that original hardback edition - now, thanks the Criminal Endeavours, it's easy to download an eBook edition!
The next step, of course, was to make those titles available in paperback - and that is what Endeavour Press have now done.
Nicholas Rhea made good his promise to complete his much loved Constable series with the tale of Nick's retirement. But Nick hasn't been taking it entirely easy: he has been helping the monks of Maddleskirk Abbey to create a small private police force of monk-constables serving the Abbey and its adjoining college - not so much Constable as monkstables.
Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey, the first book in this new series, showed the monkstables using their knowledge of the abbey, its history, practices and personnel to solve a case of murder - with the help of some old friends. And they were so successful in this that Nicholas Rhea has given them another case to untangle in his latest book, published in April 2015, Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey.
When a woman confesses to Father Will, one of the monk-constables at Maddleskirk Abbey, that she has committed murder, he can do nothing but absolve her from her sin. The Seal of Confession is absolute. He cannot discuss her crime, ask the identity of her victim, or share the responsibility of this information with anyone. His hands are tied. When a body is found in the nearby woodland, his moral dilemma grows.
Now Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey is available as an audiobook read by Gordon Griffin from the publisher, Isis Soundings in a choice of formats or as an audio download from Amazon.
Nicholas Rhea talks about his books at the Robert Hale Book Blog.
Blessed Nicholas Postgate - the Martyr of the Moors
In another enthralling tale of religious life - and death - in Yorkshire, Nicholas Rhea tells the story of his namesake, Nicholas Postgate, one of England's best-loved martyrs whose lonely mission in the wilds of the North York Moors has captured the imagination of people of all faiths. He lived in the seventeenth century, at a time when being a Catholic priest carried a cruel death penalty, and he earned the name 'The Good Samaritan of the Moors' due to his generosity to all, regardless of their status or religion.
Nicholas Rhea explains: "The desire to produce a book about this charismatic priest of the North York Moors has remained with me since the earliest days of my writing career. In recent months, I have made time to research his life not only from previous publications and records but also from visits to his native moorland - along with some help from my family and my computer. The results have astounded me!"
Read more about Blessed Nicholas Postgate - and the discoveries that so surprised Nicholas Rhea while he was researching his book.
The Assured books draw on Nicholas Rhea's childhood memories of life in rural Yorkshire a generation before Heartbeat. This has appealed to his readership, and four installments are now available. The fourth, Life Assured reveals how Matthew and Evelyn cope, when Matthew's motorcycle accident leaves him unable to make his rounds of his far-flung moorland agency.
In addition to all these current series, Nicholas Rhea has a long backlist of books written under a variety of names (see below). And he knows that some of his readers are serious collectors of his earlier works. But when he went to Holman's bookshop in December 2007, ready to sign copies of his latest book, plus any other books that readers might bring with them, he wasn't expecting to see a copy of his very first book, Carnaby and the Hijackers (published forty years ago)! That's what regular visitor Willie MacFarlane had brought all the way from Perth in Scotland. "It's amazing where they find my very old books!" says Nicholas Rhea.
Other names, other books
Over the last 30 years, Nicholas Rhea has created a portfolio of books remarkable both in its size (more than 90 titles, 158 publications) and its diversity. Follow the links for a full list of his publications arranged alphabetically by title or in date order, from the very first to forthcoming titles. And here is an aide mémoire to help you:
Written from a desire to mix humorous fictitious characters with facts and real-life experience in the North Yorkshire Police, Rhea's books invariably satisfy readers who love detective and police novels and the Yorkshire countryside. Not all of his books are currently in print. Some are extremely collectable, and there is information elsewhere on the site which may help to track these down. Or you can order current titles from Amazon by clicking on the links provided, or by using the search box below.