Part of the appeal of crime fiction conferences and other events is that you bump into people, perhaps very briefly the first time, and then over a period of time you sometimes have the opportunity to talk to them at greater length, and start getting to know them better.
In just this way, I came across Frances McNeil initially at a Crime Writers’ Association event, and then had the chance of a longer conversation at St Hilda’s. Frances writes crime under the name of Frances Brody, and she is in the exciting position of awaiting the official publication of her first mystery, Dying in the Wool.
This novel, published by Piatkus (who published my first five mysteries – this was in the days before they were part of the Little, Brown group) is due out on 29 October, and I’ve just received an advance copy, boasting an attractive cover. The story is set in 1920s Yorkshire, and is announced as ‘the first book in a wonderfully whimsical new crime series. Imagine Miss Marple in her youth!’ The detective here is Katy Shackleton, a camera-toting amateur sleuth.
As for Frances, she has had a varied life, having lived in the USA before studying at Ruskin College, Oxford and York University. She has written four previous novels and a number of stage plays, and now lives in Leeds, where she grew up (and where I lived for a couple of years in the 70s, when I was training as a solicitor.) I wish her every success with her new career.