A Brief Biography

I was born in the City of Leicester. My parents were in the tailoring trade, and belonged to the Orthodox Jewish community. They wanted me to be educated, have a career, and marry a nice Jewish doctor. I managed two out of the three. All four of my grandparents had immigrated from Poland early in the 20th century, and my parents were born in London. During the second world war, my parents moved to Leicester, though they maintained close ties with the family in London. I have always felt that if there was any place I really belonged, it was London. Much as I enjoy rural pleasures I am a city person at heart, and nowadays would find it hard to live more than a tube ride from the British Library!

My love affair with the printed word probably started when I was two, when I eagerly absorbed the alphabet as taught to me by my mother. I have had my nose in a book ever since. The scribbling of poems and stories certainly dates back as early as six, and my first efforts at a novel from the age of eleven. I attended Medway Street Infants and Junior School, in the days of the eleven plus, and from there I went to Wyggeston Girls Grammar School. My earliest ambition was to be an astronomer, and I both read and wrote a great deal of science fiction. I also read biology, zoology and medicine, and seriously considered a medical career. By my teens, however, I had developed my absorbing and life-long interest in true crime, probably taking after my mother who loved to read about famous trials.

After taking my O levels, I left school, and trained to be a chemist's dispenser with Boots. I was first married at the age of 18 and my son was born when I was 20.

Whatever I was destined to be it was not a housewife, and I took my A levels and went to Newcastle University in 1971, graduating with first class honours in psychology three years later. I then joined the civil service, and trained to be an Inspector of Taxes.

From the early 70s I was very active in science fiction fandom, attending a great many conventions. I was living in Co. Durham , working in Newcastle, yet virtually everything I wanted to do, and most of my friends were in London. In 1987, unable to resist the pull of London I moved there, and my first husband and I were amicably divorced in 1992. I married my second husband, Gary in 1993. In the same year I began practising aikido, and obtained my black belt in 2000.

In 2001 I left the civil service, and in 2002 was commissioned to write my first published book on the history of chloroform.

Linda Stratmann

 

  • Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion
    A history of the discovery, uses and abuses of chloroform from 1831 to the present. Chloroform revolutionised surgery, but also caused hundreds of sudden deaths, the cause of which was a hotly-debated mystery in which physicians took sides and hurled insults at each other in the medical press.




  • More Essex Murders
    This chilling follow-up to Essex Murders brings together more true cases, dating between 1823 and 1960, that shocked not only the county but also made headline news across the nation.




  • The Crooks Who Conned Millions
    This lively and engaging book tells the stories of some of the biggest fraudsters of the nineteenth century. From the largest fraud on the London Stock Exchange - in which naval hero Lord Cochrane was accused of initiating a rumour that Napoleon had been defeated so that the value of millions of pounds worth of shares which he held would be inflated - to the extraordinary story of Mary Baker, the daughter of a cobbler from Devonshire who fooled society as 'Princess Caraboo of Javasu', this is a fascinating book.
  • The Poisonous Seed
    In 1880, 19 year old Frances Doughty is assisting her ailing father in his Bayswater chemist's shop. When a wealthy customer dies after drinking medicine dispensed at the shop, her father is blamed, and the business collapses. Frances is convinced that the customer was murdered and the only way to prove it is for her to become a detective...


  • Kent Murders
    Among the gruesome cases featured here are the doctor who was poisoned with morphine in Faversham; the couple who were brutally battered to death in their beds in Chislehurst; and the strange death of a young German man whose body was discovered with one hand missing on Ramsgate beach. All manner of murder and mystery are included here, making Kent Murders a must-read for true crime enthusiasts everywhere.
  • The Daughters of Gentlemen
    The sequel to The Poisonous Seed is Frances Doughty's first case as a private detective. With curious goings-on at a respectable private school for well brought up girls, the governors naturally call in a lady detective to investigate, but soon it becomes a case of murder. As election fever hits Bayswater and the formidable ladies of the Bayswater Women's Suffrage Society swing into action, Frances discovers the dark secrets that lie behind the lace curtains.
  • Cruel Deeds and Dreadful Calamities
    The Illustrated Police News is often dismissed as a crude publication which aimed to thrill the undiscerning reader with gruesome pictures. Cruel Deeds and Dreadful Calamities sets out to correct that belief by demonstrating the diversity of its subject matter, examining its social and political agenda and revealing the power and compassion in its images.


  • Middlesex Murders
    Middlesex Murders brings together numerous murderous tales, some of which were little known outside the county, and others which made national headlines. Contained within the pages of this book are the stories behind some of the most heinous crimes ever committed in Middlesex.



  • Essex Murders
    The county of Essex has rolling arable farmland, Epping Forest, sleepy villages, busy market towns and secluded backwaters - a wide variety of settings for murder. This selection of crimes uncovers not only famous cases, but also previously unpublished dramatic and tragic tales.



  • Greater London Murders
    This compendium brings together thirty-three murderous tales - one from each of the capital's boroughs - that not only shocked the City but made headline news across the country. Throughout its history the great urban sprawl of Greater London has been home to some of the most shocking murders in England, many of which have made legal history.


  • Gloucestershire Murders
    Contained within the pages of Gloucestershire Murders are the stories behind some of the most notorious murders in the county's history. The cases covered include the most fascinating but least known crimes, as well as famous murders that gripped not just Gloucestershire but the whole nation.


  • Fraudsters and Charlatans
    (Paperback edition of The Crooks who Conned Millions) - This lively and engaging book tells the stories of some of the biggest fraudsters of the nineteenth century.




  • A Case of Doubtful Death
    Dr Mackenzie’s Lifehouse on the edge of Kensal Green Cemetery is a very unusual mortuary. Designed to reassure its patrons that they need never fear being buried alive, it stores corpses until they begin to decompose and are undeniably beyond revival. One night, with Bayswater blanketed in a choking fog, Mackenzie dies and his assistant vanishes. In the world of the Victorian dead, decay, burial, exhumations and post mortems will follow, and Frances' investigations will take her deep into the catacombs.
  • An Appetite for Murder
    The sudden death of overweight 49-year-old Thomas Whibley sparks off an acrimonious furore in Bayswater, and sparks fly between rival diet doctors, vegetarians and the extremist Pure Food Society. Young sleuth Frances Doughty is engaged to discover the author of anonymous libels...




  • The Children of Silence
    Harriet Antrobus, who suffers from incurable ear pain and tinnitus is anxious to prove that fragments of a corpse found in the Paddington canal basin are the remains of her husband Edwin, whose disappearance three years ago plunged her already troubled life into disarray.  But who was the unknown man Edwin met in Bristol shortly before he vanished, why is Harriet's hearing specialist suing the Bayswater School for the Deaf and how did her doctor lose his mind?...