Everything seemed to happen in May. First of all I managed to send off the manuscript of Wesley Peterson’s twenty fourth case, THE BURIAL CIRCLE, to my lovely editor at Little, Brown. I’m still awaiting her verdict and I’m keeping everything crossed that she likes it.
The paperback of THE BOY WHO LIVED WITH THE DEAD - the follow up to A HIGH MORTALITY OF DOVES and the second in my new Albert Lincoln trilogy – was out at the start of the month and I was lucky enough to be invited to do a book signing at Waterstones in Wilmslow, Cheshire . . . very near to where the book is set. The action of THE BOY WHO LIVED WITH THE DEAD takes place against the dramatic landscape of Alderley Edge (changed to Mabley Ridge in the book to protect the innocent!) in the aftermath of the First World War when the area was populated by wealthy cotton manufacturers (rather than today’s premiership footballers).
The story begins when the body of a woman is discovered in a newly dug grave by Peter, a traumatised nine year old boy who lives in the cemetery lodge. Before the outbreak of war, Peter’s twin brother, Jimmy, was murdered and DI Albert Lincoln travelled up to Cheshire to investigate. The killer was never caught and this professional failure has haunted Albert ever since. Now he finds himself in Mabley Ridge again delving into the lives of the prosperous residents, and as he investigates the woman’s murder and the disappearance of her child he also closes in on the person who killed little Jimmy all those years before.
The action of THE BOY WHO LIVED WITH THE DEAD takes place in the fevered atmosphere of 1920, a time when the young want to shake off the horrors of war and live only for the present, even though the ghosts of war still linger and the traumas aren’t easily forgotten. And the murders aren’t the only things on Albert’s mind. He has his own tragedies to deal with – as well as the search for his lost son. I hope you enjoy THE BOY WHO LIVED WITH THE DEAD and I’ll be starting on Albert’s third and final case very soon.
In the early part of the month I was in Bristol attending CrimeFest. It was held in a new hotel this year but the convivial atmosphere was still the same and it was great to see lots of old friends there (and meet some new ones). I took part in a panel about writing multiple police series (something I know a lot about with my three separate detectives - Wesley, of course, as well as Joe Plantagenet and Albert Lincoln). The following day I moderated a panel about Ten Year Stretch, the anthology of short stories published last year to celebrate CrimeFest’s tenth birthday. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic panel (consisting of Zoe Sharp, Peter Guttridge, Caro Ramsay and Michael Stanley) and there was much hilarity as we discussed the perils and delights of short story writing.
The week after returning from Bristol I was on my travels again, this time to the North East to take part in a Murder Squad weekend at South Shields’ fabulous new library, The Word. Saturday was Readers’ Day with panels and talks – and in the evening I presented a brand new Murder Mystery I’d written especially for the occasion (The Case of the Late Cook). Sunday was Writers’ Day and I held two workshops on writing historic crime. It was a wonderful weekend and it was great to meet so many lovely readers (and aspiring writers) and also to work again with my Murder Squad colleagues, Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards, Cath Staincliffe, Margaret Murphy (aka Ashley Dyer) and Chris Simms. A big thank you to Pauline Martin and all the staff at The Word for hosting the weekend and I hope it won’t be too long before I visit the lovely North East again! Here are a couple of pictures of the six of us at that gorgeous building, The Word.
In June I’m looking forward to visiting Suffolk for the first time. I was thrilled to be invited to speak at Slaughter in Southwold on 15th June. If you’re in the Southwold area, do come along. It would be great to meet you!