Helen West, Crown prosecutor in domestic violence court, is working up a good case of burnout: justice-by-the-book doesn’t seem to be working for the women she represents. Plus, Helen’s love affair with Police Superintendent Geoffrey Bailey is losing its fire. Things suddenly heat up when Helen learns that humble Cath, her cleaning woman, is being beaten by her husband. Cath has no family-her beautiful brother, Damien, has recently been brutally murdered-and needs all the help she can get. But as the truth of Cath’s young life, marriage, and her brother’s murder begin to take shape, help and justice seem hard to come by . . . and may prove forever beyond reach
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE MYSTERY GENRE, OR DID IT CHOOSE YOU?
The mystery genre chose me rather than the other way round. Always wanted to write from the days of composing gloomy, teenage poetry and winning the essay prize in school, but it took a while to know what to write about. I became a criminal lawyer, with a wild ambition to write romance as an antidote to the daily diet of homicide, theft and lives of quiet desperation.
I came to write mystery fiction because I wanted to explore the unfinished, incomplete stories that unfold in a court room, where no one knows more than half of what really went on. Storytelling, the use of compassionate imagination, penetrates the darkness and squares the circle of half truth like nothing else.
It also allows for wit, humour, irony and romance, and you can always include the enduring power of love, in which I heartily believe. This genre is the best. What better to write about than Crime and Redemption?
I grew up in rural Derbyshire, but my adult life has been spent mostly in London, with long intervals in Norfolk and Deal, all inspiring places. I was educated mostly in convent schools; then studied English and went on to qualify as a solicitor, working for what is now the Crown Prosecution Service, thus learning a bit about murder at second hand. Years later, writing became the real vocation, although the law and its ramifications still haunt me and inform many of my novels.
I’m a novelist, short story writer for magazines and radio, sometime Radio 4 contributor, (Front Row, Quote Unquote, Night Waves,) and presenter of Tales from the Stave. When I’m not working (which is as often as possible), I can be found in the nearest junk/charity shop or auction, looking for the kind of paintings which enhance my life. Otherwise, with a bit of luck, I’m relaxing by the sea with a bottle of wine and a friend or two.
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