At last I’ve managed to find a moment to write this diary! I assure you my absence hasn’t been due to sloth (although writers are often tempted by that particular deadly sin!) but rather to the fact that it’s been a busy time.
First there was the launch of A HIGH MORTALITY OF DOVES to organise. It was a wonderful event and more than fifty people – family and friends but mostly readers – gathered at Simply Books, an award winning independent bookshop in Cheshire, to celebrate. I began by speaking about how I came to write the book (which is a departure from my two crime series) and how the idea had nagged away in the back of my head for a few years before I began to write. After my talk I did a reading before everyone retired upstairs for a convivial get together.
I was joined at the launch by three fellow members of the Murder Squad – Martin Edwards, Margaret Murphy (who writes as AD Garrett) and Chris Simms (see below).
I always find historical research absorbing but researching A HIGH MORTALITY OF DOVES turned out to be a very moving experience. I discovered how wounded servicemen were treated during the First World War and visited a reconstructed military hospital at Dunham Massey in Cheshire several times. Shortly after this I found a couple of letters amongst my late mother’s belongings. They were from the Matron of a base hospital (a military hospital near the French coast that received casualties from the trenches prior to them being shipped back to England . . . if they survived). The Matron told the soldier’s mother that he was gravely ill and close to death. Fortunately, that soldier miraculously survived to become my grandfather but many weren’t so lucky. I read out these letters at the launch, a tribute to all those brave men who fought and gave their lives or suffered grave injuries.
A HIGH MORTALITY OF DOVES deals with the aftermath of war – how people came to terms with returning to everyday life after such a traumatic time. The story begins when a small Derbyshire community is still reeling from the losses of war and then a series of bizarre deaths once more throws the village into turmoil. When Inspector Albert Lincoln is called in from Scotland Yard, he uncovers a web of pain and intrigue that leads to a gripping and shocking conclusion. I’m delighted to say that the book has been really well received and has been featured as Book of the Month by the Crime Writers’ Association and also named as ‘In Search of the Classic Mystery’ book of the month
After the excitement of the launch it was back to work again, rewriting Wesley Peterson’s twenty second case (to be published in 2018). I then took a break to visit York for a few days (a great place for Christmas shopping and visiting St Nicholas Fair). While I was there I kept having ideas for a new Joe Plantagenet book – it’s just a matter of finding the time.
THE MERMAID’S SCREAM (Wesley Peterson’s next case) will be published in February and I think it’s one of his most intriguing cases yet. I’ll put all the details on this website nearer the time.
So now I’ve written all my Christmas cards and there are only a few more presents to buy, I can start thinking about 2017. I already have several events and conferences arranged and I was delighted to be invited to speak (and present a Murder Mystery) at a conference at Gladstones Library near Chester to be held in June (watch this space for details).
I hope all my readers have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year – and I look forward to ‘meeting’ you in 2017!