The Maiden

Kate Foster

29 February 2024
384 pages


The Times Bestseller

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

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

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

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 . . .

'Riveting . . . the tension persists until the last page’ — The Times

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 seventeenth-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