The Word Association

Victoria Blake

Victoria Blake Like Alice Liddell of Alice in Wonderland and the fictional Lyra of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, Victoria Blake was brought up in an Oxford college because her father, the historian Robert Blake, was the Provost of Queen’s College. She studied history at LMH, then lawand subsequently worked in publishing (Gerald Duckworth) and bookselling (The Silver Moon Bookshop and Bookcase). She is the author of the Sam Falconer crime series (set in Oxford and London) published by Orion and two true crime books published by the National Archives: one on Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, the other on Mrs Maybrick, a Victorian arsenic poisoner.

Latest book: TITIAN’S BOATMAN (January 2017)

Victoria Blake - Titian's Boatman Renaissance Venice was an extraordinarily beautiful, brutal, corrupt and compellingcity, a melting pot pulsating with painters, merchants, patricians and courtesans. LaSerenissima was a place where one in five of the population was reputedly a prostitute; acity where the nuns were as likely to proposition you or throw stones at you, as to prayfor you. This was a city which belonged to the rat as much as the swallow. Titian’s Boatman begins in the year 1576 when Venice has been ravaged by eighteen months of plague. Titian, one of the greatest painters of the age, a man who has painted Emperor, Pope, Doge and King is in his nineties and going blind. He refuses to leave the city and his son Orazio stays behind to look after him. Both men die and Titian’sestranged son, Pomponio, a priest, returns to the city to discover that his father’s studiohas been ransacked and paintings aremissing. Titian’s Boatman imagines whathappens next. Interwoven with stories of RenaissanceVenice, Titian’s Boatman tracks some of thestolen paintings to contemporary times. InNew York, over four hundred years later,Aurora Famosa, venerates a painting of StSebastian that hangs in the apartment thatshe cleans every week and in London,Terry Jardine, an actor rehearsing TheWinter’s Tale, stands in front of hisfavourite painting in The National Gallery,Titian’s The Man with the Blue Sleeve. Muchto Terry’s alarm and confusion, the man inthe painting starts to speak to him,announcing his impending death.Titian’s Boatman is a story of resurrection, redemption and revenge. Ultimately it is astory for anyone who has ever stood in front of an exquisite work of art and been filledwith wonder.


Mrs Maybrick was either a vile poisoner or a Victorian victim, falsely accused of administering arsenic when her husband James died in agony at their Liverpool home.

The case against the Alabama belle was complicated by intrigue, adultery and drug abuse, but the British establishment was convinced of her guilt - with tragic results.


TITIAN’S BOATMAN (Black and White Publishing , 2017) MRS MAYBRICK (The National Archives, 2008); RUTH ELLIS (The National Archives, 2008); JUMPING THE CRACKS (Orion, 2007, Norway - Cappelen Damm); SKIN AND BLISTER (Orion, 2006); CUTTING BLADES (Orion, 2005, US - Berkley, Netherlands - De Boekerij); BLOODLESS SHADOW (Orion, 2003, US - Berkley, The Netherlands - De Boekerij, Norway - Cappelen Damm).