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Paul C. Doherty

Paul C. Doherty British educator and author

British educator and author
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro British educator and author
Countries United Kingdom
Occupations Writer Historian Novelist
Gender male
Birth 21 September 1946 (Middlesbrough)
The details

Paul C. Doherty OBE (born 21 September 1946) is an award-winning English author, educator, lecturer and historian. He is also the Headmaster of Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex, in the United Kingdom. Doherty is a prolific writer, has produced dozens of historical novels and a number of nonfiction history books, and is an Alexander the Great scholar.


Doherty was born in 1946 and spent his early years in Middlesbrough. After A-levels, he went to Ushaw College, Durham for three years to study for the Catholic priesthood, which he did not pursue. He attended Liverpool University where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in History and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he received a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II. Doherty is a historian who lectures for a number of organisations, particularly on historical mysteries. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to education in 2011.

His other career is that of Headmaster at Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex for 30 years. In 1999, the school was given Beacon status. A February 2006 Ofsted report declared the school Grade 1, "outstanding". A February 2009 Ofsted report again rated the overall effectiveness of the school as Grade 1, "outstanding" and also again in 2015 the school received "outstanding" .

Literary career

Doherty has published several series of historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages, Classical, Greek, Ancient Egyptian and other periods. He writes both fiction and non-fiction under his own name, both as P.C. Doherty and Paul C. Doherty, as well as under the pennames Anna Apostolou, Michael Clynes, Ann Dukthas, C. L. Grace, Paul Harding, and Vanessa Alexander.

His works include The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan, the Hugh Corbett medieval mysteries, and the Canterbury Tales of Mystery and Murder, which are listed below. He has written 100 published books which have been printed in multiple languages and published around much of the world.

In a Doherty interview with Michael Shankland, the latter says of Doherty: "I admire how this writer can use the medium of a novel to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the complex working of early 14th-century diplomacy and espionage. Paul C. Doherty seems to be one of the few writers focusing on the Hundred Years’ War who understands the importance of the relationship between England and Gascony during this era".

A review of The Horus Killings at reviewingtheevidence.com opines that Doherty maintains a balance between historical description and the action of the plot on perfect pitch. "The mix is near perfect. The descriptive passages enhance the story, allowing the reader to vividly visualize an unfamiliar setting without detracting from the page-turning pace desirable in a light mystery." Harriet Klausner states in her review of this same book that "Ancient historical fiction/mystery readers, especially Egyptologists, will cherish this novel."

A 2009 review by Mike Ripley, himself an acclaimed author and regular contributor of SHOTS Crime and Mystery magazine, states of Doherty's book "The Spies of Sobeck":

"A very wise literary agent (and there are some) once told me that the trick with historical mysteries was to hook the reader early on with the mystery and then give them the history lesson. They know the lesson is coming but they want to be lured, almost fooled, into listening to it. Paul Doherty goes out of his way to break this rule. His latest novel and the seventh in his 'Ancient Egyptian Mysteries' series, "The Spies of Sobeck" starts (and ends) with historical notes by the author; there's also a map and a list of characters and their position in the hierarchy of Egypt in 1477BC. So the reader is left in no doubt that they are in for a history lesson and they get one; and it is the positive master class we have come to expect from Paul Doherty. This is history red in tooth and claw and Doherty has proved, in more than fifty novels over a variety of historical settings, that when he gives a history lesson, readers sit up straight and pay attention."

In 1998 Paul Doherty was included in the Times "Murder They Write: 100 masters of crime" list published as a supplement to the Times on 18 April 1998. The list, compiled by book critics and authors, included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler.

He was awarded the Herodotus Award, for lifelong achievement for excellence in the writing of historical mysteries by the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society. Treason of the Ghosts was named one of The Times' Best of this year's crime novels in 2000.


The UK Channel Five documentary, The Secret Life of Elizabeth I (2006), was based on his book of the same title. It explored Doherty's theory that Elizabeth I may have had a secret love child. The documentary received mixed reviews. The Daily Mail summarised the evidence, concluding "the truth about Elizabeth's romantic life and possible parenthood will continue to fascinate generations to come."

He recently appeared in a National Geographic Channel documentary, Secrets of the Virgin Queen. The documentary examines some controversial theories as to why Elizabeth never married (2011).

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