It seems a long time since I attended CrimeFest in Bristol. I can’t believe the months flash by so fast. CrimeFest itself was fantastic and it was lovely to see my fellow writers again after so long. I took part in panels; the first discussed the enduring fascination with historical crime fiction and the second concerned the advantages and disadvantages of writing a long running series (something I know a lot about). All in all it was concluded that the pros of writing a series outweighed the cons and I would certainly agree with this. I love writing about Wesley, Gerry, Neil and Rachel; they’ve become almost like family and I never tire of thinking up new challenges for them.
Since my visit to Bristol I’ve been working hard on Wesley Peterson’s next case and it’s now been accepted by my publisher. It hasn’t got a title yet (my working title didn’t really ‘work’) but all I can say at the moment is that it involves Georgian secret societies, a series of mysterious shootings in a Devon village and an eighteenth century privateer (a more respectable name for pirate).
In between bouts of writing, there’s been some time for leisure – but is a writer ever at leisure when even the most relaxed trip turns into research for a future book or short story? In June I had a break in northern France with my husband and some friends. We were based in Rouen (a delightfully historical town) and enjoyed trips to see the Bayeux tapestry, Arramanche beach, the site of the D Day landings, and Monet’s house & garden (photo below) at Giverny.
It was a fascinating holiday but one of the highlights for me was visiting the Aitre Saint Maclou, a courtyard in the centre of Rouen surrounded by a half timbered ossuary. The courtyard was a plague cemetery and the surrounding buildings were constructed to house the bones of the dead. The building resembled a black and white manor house courtyard – except for the carvings on the wooden beams depicting skulls, bones and gravediggers’ implements. I have a feeling it (or something very like it) might feature in a future story!
The big news, however, is that Wesley Peterson’s twenty sixth case, SERPENT’S POINT, is now out in hardback and ebook.
Serpent’s Point in South Devon is the focus of local legends. The large house on the headland is shrouded in an ancient tale of evil, and when a woman is found strangled on the coastal path nearby, DI Wesley Peterson is called in to investigate.
The woman had been house-sitting at Serpent’s Point and Wesley is surprised to discover that she was conducting an investigation of her own into unsolved missing persons cases. Could these enquires have led to her murder? In the meantime, while the case takes Wesley to Yorkshire and the Cotswolds, his friend, archaeologist Neil Watson makes a dramatic discovery of his own in a field near Serpent’s Point.
Then, when a skeleton is uncovered, the pressure rises to find a killer and Wesley and Neil discover that Serpent’s Point holds more deadly secrets than anyone could have imagined.
It’s already had some fantastic reviews and I hope all my readers enjoy it.
Next month I’ll be travelling to Devon to take part in the International Agatha Christie Festival (as well as undertaking more research). https://www.iacf-uk.org/festival-2022
I’m very much looking forward to taking part, especially as I will be in conversation with Robert Goddard, a writer whose work I’ve admired for many years. I also hope to visit some book shops while I’m down in the South West and I hope this will give me an opportunity to meet some of my readers.