Menace and Mystery - an evening with Elly Griffiths and Lesley Thomson -- by Joy Kluver

Huge apologies for missing my slot! I'm normally on the 7th of each month but my daughter came home from uni for reading week and I lost track of the dates. On the 27th February, we welcomed Elly Griffiths and Lesley Thomson to West Barnes Library. Here's my report on the evening.

Well, it's been eighteen months in the planning but it was definitely worth the wait! We had a fabulous evening with Elly Griffiths and Lesley Thomson at West Barnes Library. Of course, I'm struggling to remember today what was said but I have a few snippets to share with you plus lots of  photos. But before I regale some of the evening, here are the blurbs for the books.

The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths

When builders renovating a café in King's Lynn find a human skeleton behind a wall, they call for DCI Harry Nelson and Dr Ruth Galloway, Head of Archaeology at the nearby University of North Norfolk. Ruth is preoccupied with the threatened closure of her department and by her ever-complicated relationship with Nelson. However, she agrees to look at the case.

Ruth sees at once that the bones are modern. They are identified as the remains of Emily Pickering, a young archaeology student who went missing in the 1990s. Emily attended a course run by her Cambridge tutor. Suspicion falls on him and also on another course member - Ruth's friend Cathbad, who is still frail following his near death from Covid.

As they investigate, Nelson and his team uncover a tangled web of relationships within the student group and the adults leading them. What was the link between the group and the King's Lynn café where Emily's bones were found?

Then, just when the team seem to be making progress, Cathbad disappears. Was it guilt that led him to flee?

The trail leads Ruth and Nelson to the Neolithic flint mines in Grimes Graves which are as spooky as their name. The race is on, first to find Cathbad and then to exonerate him, but will Ruth and Nelson uncover the truth in time to save their friend?

You can buy The Last Remains here.

The Companion by Lesley Thomson

In a grand old mansion in the middle of the Sussex countryside, seven people have seen more than they should....

James Ritchie was looking forward to a boys' day out with his son, Wilbur—even if he was a little late picking him up from the home of his ex-wife, Anna. Annoyed by his late arrival, and competing for their son's attention, Anna leaves the two of them to their day with the promise of a roast dinner when Wilbur returns.

But Anna will never see her family again. That afternoon, James and Wilbur are found dead, the victims of a double stabbing on the beach.

DI Toni Kemp, of Sussex police, must unravel a case that shocked the county to its core. What she discovers will lead her to Blacklock House, a grand country mansion, long ago converted into flats. Here in the middle of nowhere, where a peacock struts the lawn, and a fountain plays intermittently, seven long-term residents have seen more than they should.

But this is a community who are good at keeping secrets....

 To buy The Companion, click here.


One of the questions I asked last night was how the authors get inspiration for their books.

For Lesley, it's often about seeing something and she told us about a memorial that she'd seen in Worthing Cemetery. At first, she thought it was an angel but when she got closer, she saw it was a Madonna. Even before she read the inscription, she could feel the grief coming off the statue. It was for a sixteen year old girl. Lesley used it in a story but had it as an angel.

For Elly, Norfolk is full of bones and folklore! So, it's quite easy for her to find inspiration. She's also visited all the places she writes about in her Dr Ruth Galloway books, including Grime Graves, some very old chalk pits that feature in The Last Remains. This involved her climbing down several feet into the pits and then crawling through some narrow tunnels. I think this is real dedication!

Lesley has Blacklock House in her novel, The Companion. It's based on Sheffield Park House in Sussex. Although Lesley had already started writing The Companion, she got the opportunity to look round a flat at the property as a friend lives there. Having just looked up the house, I can see now where the inspiration came from! It's very similar from what I'd imagined through Lesley's detailed description.

With The Last Remains being the fifteenth and final book in the Dr Ruth Galloway series (for now, anyway), I wanted to know how Elly had approached writing it. She knew it would be the final one and had released that information before the book came out. After fifteen years, she thought it was time to finally answer the question -- will they, won't they -- in regards to Ruth and Nelson. There are little nods in the book back to past cases too, and although a lot of things are tied up, it's not entirely a closed book.

An audience member asked about TV options and if Lesley or Elly had been approached. Both have. As they pointed out though, being approached and actually having the programme made are two very different things! Having said that, Elly has decided on her main casting -- she'd like Ruth Jones as Dr Ruth Galloway and Richard Armitage as DCI Harry Nelson. I think this could work very well! Our authors would consider a cameo.

In terms of what's next for our authors, Lesley has just delivered book nine in her The Detective's Daughter series. Elly's finishing off another novel in her Brighton mystery series with Stephens and Mephisto. She's also thinking about a new series but there's no more information about that -- so watch this space!

We had a great time and I'd just like to thank Lesley and Elly again for making the journey to West Barnes Library, for entertaining us so well and for signing books! Also, thanks to the Friends of West Barnes Library for helping to make this happen, and also to our audience for braving a cold night to come out. June is Crime Reading Month so I'm hoping to put an event together for then. See you in the summer!


Umberto Tosi said…
Thanks for the reviews and visit with esteemed mystery writers Griffiths and Thompson at West Barnes Library, which I especially enjoyed from the perspective of book readings I've attended and done in my own small way - ever engaging events. It was the next best thing to crossing the Pond and being there.

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