Orion Dash has acquired three novels from Sunday Times bestselling author Beezy Marsh in a new gangland crime saga series.

Editorial Director Rhea Kurien bought UK & Commonwealth rights from Giles Milburn here at the MM Agency. The first in the series, Queen of Thieves, will be published on 22nd of August. Rachel Kahan at William Morrow / Harpercollins bought North American rights, and plans to publish in the autumn of 2023.

Based on true events and people, Queen of Thieves is the first in a planned trilogy set in post-war London, featuring an all-female gang of shoplifters, or ‘hoisters’, called the Forty Thieves. If Call the Midwife took a wrong turn down a dark alley in Waterloo, or Mr Selfridge were to look closely at who was pilfering his stock, he’d find the Forty Thieves.

London, 1946.

Alice Diamond, the Queen of the Forty Thieves, rules over her gang of hoisters with a bejewelled fist. Nell is a slum girl from Waterloo, hiding a secret pregnancy and facing a desperately uncertain future.

Sensing an opportunity to exploit Nell’s vulnerabilities, Alice takes her under her wing and, before long, Nell is experiencing the secret world of hoisting, with all the dangers – and glamorous trappings – that comes with this underworld existence.

Alice has a longstanding feud with Billy Sullivan’s all-male gang in Soho, and thinks Nell could be a useful weapon in her vendetta. But Nell has a secret agenda of her own, and is not to be underestimated. And the more she is exploited by both Alice and Billy, the more her hunger for revenge grows. As she embraces the seedy underbelly of London, will she prevail in carving out her own path to power and riches…

…and crown herself the Queen of Thieves?

Kurien said: ‘I knew from the first chapter of Queen of Thieves that I was in the hands of a master storyteller and meticulous researcher. Beezy immediately swept me to 1940s post-war London with larger-than-life characters whose voices leap off the page. I loved that this series covers a part of history and an iconic group of women so little explored in fiction, and Beezy does it with such panache.’

Marsh said: ‘”I am thrilled to be published by Orion Dash and to be working with the dynamic editor Rhea Kurien on this exciting trilogy. The Forty Thieves fired my imagination from the moment I met some of the daughters and granddaughters of original gang and I was delighted to find Giles Milburn of Madeleine Milburn Agency shared that vision too.”

Milburn added: ‘Beezy first approached me in those strange, uneasy early days of the pandemic. Escapism was what I needed, and my word did Beezy deliver. She has given life to a vivid and memorable cast of kickass women who would give the Peaky Blinders a run for their money. Beezy is going to delight her many fans, and collect many new ones too.’

Out on the 22nd of August, you can pre order your copy here now!