Canelo set to publish historical crime debut from B. M. Howard

August 24, 2022

Commissioning editor Kit Nevile has acquired World English Language rights to the Gracchus and Vanderville Historical Mysteries series by B. M. Howard in a three-book deal.

The series will chart Napoleon’s relentless sweep through Europe, Africa and Asia, with ex-magistrate Felix Gracchus and an ambitious young lieutenant called Vanderville forming a close partnership as they deal with the damage left as a result of the indomitable Bonaparte’s ascent to Emperor. In Blood and Fireflies, they must solve the mystifying murder of an Italian count, owner of the Villa Mombello, a grand house where Napoleon has made his court. They will unravel a twisted knot of lies, betrayals and affairs, uncovering a terrible secret about the Bonaparte family in the process.

B. M. Howard is an internationally recognised historian and storyteller. His profound interest in the shadowy fringes of history, particularly concerning the Bonapartes, lies in uncovering the unremembered and obscured protagonists who fiddled unseen at the levers of power.

Kit Nevile says: ‘Blood and Fireflies is the perfect historical mystery thriller: thorough period detail handled with panache, blended with a twisty, razor-sharp crime narrative and two riotously entertaining protagonists. For all fans of crime and historical fiction, Gracchus and Vanderville are due to be your next obsession!’

B. M. Howard says: ‘Everyone has an opinion about Napoleon. My passion is concerned with the family dynamics of the other Bonapartes, who make the murderous Borgias seem like a well-adjusted household. I think it’s time we heard a bit more from his mother and his sisters in particular, so the opportunity to work with Kit at Canelo to develop these stories, which are a combination of two of my favourite pursuits – history and crime novels – is a dream come true.’

Blood and Fireflies will be published in February, 2023, in MMP and ebook, with a second book to follow in October 2023, and a third in June 2024. For more information please contact