Later this year, my second novel’s due to be published. The action takes place in Cambridge, and it has a new set of characters. Meanwhile, I’ve written a follow-up novella to You Think You Know Me (set in London once again) and also a second book in the Cambridge series. Both strands have something in common, so Choc Lit is calling them the London and Cambridge mysteries.
I was thinking about what it is that links them, in case anyone should ask. (I’m not too bad at stringing a story together on paper, but talking about stuff takes more preparation…)
Ordinary women in extraordinary situations
In You Think You Know Me, Anna meets a charismatic stranger at a smart London gallery. She falls for him on sight, only to find he’s given her a false name. Torn between backing off and allowing him to explain, she gets drawn in. Before long, she discovers the secret that links their past and finds a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.
In my new story, Ruby is offered a house-sitting job, giving her a roof over her head when she’s made a bolt from home. But it’s soon clear the absent owner likes to play games with women and she finds she’s being controlled by a man she’s never met. As she explores his house she sees signs of a talent for cruelty that’s been given free rein. But now he’s crossed the wrong person, and Ruby’s about to get caught up in a chain of deadly consequences.
Couples in crime
Both strands of the series have leading men who are also involved in solving the mysteries. (I grew up watching TV programmes like Moonlighting, and love crime-solving partnerships, from Tommy and Tuppence to Stephanie Plum and Joe Morelli, so this was bound to happen.) However, in You Think You Know Me, it’s not clear (I hope!) who the good guy is until the end.
Mystery and suspense
In both the London and Cambridge books, intrigue builds to a climax, and there’s always life and death danger involved by the end. But I love the puzzle element of the traditional detective story too, so each novel contains a series of clues to unravel. I really want the reader to look back at the end of the book and find the solution to the mystery rings true.
So these are the key ingredients for the London and Cambridge mysteries. My manuscript for the first Cambridge story is back with my editor now – line edits next – and then hopefully publication day in December!