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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Goldsboro First Monday Meet the Authors

Goldsboro First Monday Meet the Authors
6 March 2017
Judges Room, Brown’s Hotel, St Martin’s Lane, London
Report by Radmila May

As the March First Monday Meet the Authors event was starting and the moderator Barry Forshaw was introducing the four speakers, the last of the early spring daylight illuminated the fine interior of the Judges’ Room, Brown’s Hotel, in the heart of the West End. Each speaker described their novel and answered questions from Barry and from members of the audience.

From left to right Barry Forshaw, Erin Kelly, Julia Crouch and Daniel Cole
Photograph courtesy of Gary Stratmann
M. J. (Matt) Arlidge’s novel, Hide and Seek, is the sixth in his Detective Inspector Helen Grace series. This time she is in prison, framed for a murder she did not commit and, as a police officer, vilified by staff and other inmates alike. When the scrupulously mutilated body of another prisoner is found in a locked cell, she knows that the perpetrator who committed a number of other murders will be after her and if she does not identify the perpetrator she will be next. Helen Grace is herself, so Matt told us, a deeply flawed character so as well as unmasking the killer she has to cope with her own personal problems. Before turning to crime, Matt worked in television as a scriptwriter for many years including crime serials such as Silent Witness.

Julia Crouch’s fourth novel, Her Husband’s Lover, is a standalone psychological suspense (in fact, Julia told us, it was she who coined the epithet ‘domestic noir’). A young widow, Louisa, whose husband and children died in a car accident, is trying to overcome the pain of the past. For years she had been in the thrall of her violent and abusive husband Sam and now she discovers that her husband’s lover Sophie is determined to rob her of everything else as well, even her life. Before turning to writing, Julia, after a drama degree, worked in the theatre as a playwright and director.

Debut novelist Daniel Cole’s first novel, Ragdoll, is both a police procedural and a serial killer story in which Detective Inspector William ‘Wolf’ Faulkes and Detective Emily Baxter investigate a murder in which the corpse consists of various body parts stitched together. Then it becomes apparent that there will be other similar murders. Previous to writing this novel, Daniel had worked as a paramedic and for the RNLI and then submitted various screen plays one of which was a pilot which eventually became Ragdoll.

Erin Kelly also writes psychological suspense novels: He Said/She Said is her sixth in which eclipse-chaser Laura sees something apparently dreadful but when she informs the police she does not tell the whole truth and the consequences eventually not only threaten her life but that of her partner Kit. Erin’s first novel, The Poison Tree, was an immediate success when first published; among her other novels is one based on the TV series Broadchurch.

Among the questions asked was whether publishers still preferred series to standalones. But both Erin and Julia said their publishers had never put them under any pressure to launch on a series, although Matt said that television producers almost always look for a series in the hope that it will continue for a long, long time.

The meeting closed with applause for the participants, and for Barrie, who chaired the meeting with his usual wit and charm.

Radmila May was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.

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