Gothic books

“Graceful, moving, confident and intricate, like slipping into a warm bath and finding secret thorns there to pierce the heart.” – Catherynne Valente

The walton & waltraud series of uncanny mysteries

1901. Helena Walton-Cisneros is a London-based detective of Spanish ascendency, posing as a medium in order to gain entrance to all sectors of English society. While investigating the vanishing of three girls in Norfolk she meets Eliza Waltraud, a scientifically-minded young woman who does not believe in the supernatural. Helena might have shared her views, but uncanny and eerie secrets abound in the Fens, and the resolution to the mystery changes both Helena and Eliza forever.

Their next adventure takes the female detectives from London to Paris, to investigate a possible haunting in Versailles, and dwell further into the enigma that is the Society for Psychical Research, their adversaries, intent on discrediting any woman involved with the supernatural. Jocasta Webster, a north American librarian, joins the group in their new detective agency, together with Aurora, a Cartomancy expert and owner of Chaffins’s Antique Collectables, a purveyor of occult artifacts to the British Museum. 

Set at the beginning of the twentieth century, and featuring ghostly vanishings, mutating landscapes, time-slips, and science that resembles magic, the world of the series is one on the verge of rapid scientific advances, where nonetheless the uncanny and the supernatural have not yet been completely vanquished.

The series features appearances of notable historical female figures which, in some cases, have been forgotten, or at least not given their due, such as Eunice Foote, Alice Guy, Élisabeth Vigée le Brun, or Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain.

The books so far:

  • The Golden Key – Novel (Titan Books, 2020)
  • On The Nature of Magic – Novel (Titan Books, 2023)
  • Casting the Ruins – Novel (Forthcoming)
  • Searching for Eunice – An Eliza Waltraud Novella (Forthcoming)

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PRAISE FOR THE GOLDEN KEY

“A fascinating, unsettling tale that shifts. A weird and brilliant debut novel.”  Lisa Tuttle

“Slow-burning gothic to folk horror to environmentalism and the destructive arrogance of imperialism. The end result is a smart, haunting novel that stuns the reader with its elegance and beauty but refuses to leave their mind after reading.”  Jonathan Thornton, The Fantasy Hive

“Precise and eerie … Readers will be rewarded with moments of disquieting beauty.” Publishers Weekly

“It’s in keeping with Womack’s past work that the most resonant moments in this novel are those where the landscape becomes a character, and arguably the most sinister one to be found within these pages.” – Tobias Carroll, Tor.com

“An intriguing and unsettling tale… Womack brings a great sense of the uncanny to the Fens.” Alison Littlewood

“Graceful, moving, confident and intricate, like slipping into a warm bath and finding secret thorns there to pierce the heart.” Catherynne Valente

“A beguiling mystery that lingers long after reading, much like the unsettling mists of the Fens that creep through this story. The Golden Key mesmerises.” Katherine Stansfield

“A compelling mystery in which everyone has hidden facets, this book gives up its secrets like a puzzle box.” G.V. Anderson