The Maiden

Kate Foster

27 April 2023
384 pages


'A masterpiece' – Janice Hallett, bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code

'Exceptional — a tense, thrilling investigation, with a decidedly feminist slant
' Daily Mail

'A mystery full of twists' – The Times

Winner of the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect Award 2022 and the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2023. Kate Foster's The Maiden is a remarkable story with a feminist revisionist twist, inspired by a real-life case, giving a voice to women otherwise silenced by history.

"In the end, it did not matter what I said at my trial. No one believed me."

Edinburgh, October 1679. Lady Christian is arrested and charged with the murder of her lover, James Forrester. News of her imprisonment and subsequent trial is splashed across the broadsides, with headlines that leave little room for doubt: Adulteress. Whore. Murderess.

Only a year before, Lady Christian was newly married, leading a life of privilege and respectability. So, what led her to risk everything for an affair? And does that make her guilty of murder? She wasn't the only woman in Forrester's life, and certainly not the only one who might have had cause to wish him dead . . .

'Threat hangs over every page like the awaiting guillotine, but the women in this book gleam sharper. Witty, gritty and full of heart, their voices rise through the brutality and hardship of 17th century Edinburgh, battling to be heard' – Cari Thomas, bestselling author of Threadneedle

The Maiden is a masterpiece. A thrilling historical murder tale but so much more. Vivid, evocative and full of humanity. I took each and every character to my heart. The fact this is inspired by a true story makes it all the more chilling and relevant. I was transported to 17th Century Edinburgh so completely, I’m sure a part of me is still there
This riveting debut novel by Kate Foster takes the true story of the murder [of James Forrester] and spins it into a mystery full of twists . . . Christian and Violet leap from the page, and Foster plays with the reader’s ideas about guilt and innocence. She is clever, too, on how women can become complicit in their abuse. The tension persists until the last page.
Kate Foster expands the slender facts of the case into something exceptional — a tense, thrilling investigation, with a decidedly feminist slant. Foster recreates the Edinburgh of 1679 with great aplomb. A mucky, malodorous place, where a man's sexual proclivities are a given and a woman's are judged immoral, as revealed by the testimony of fierce Christian and the irrepressible Violet, a prostitute, who's all too familiar with Forrester, the world and its ways