The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder wins the People’s Book Prize for fiction 2020/2021

I cannot believe that The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder has won the People’s Book Prize for fiction! I just wanted to say thank you to all the wonderful readers, reviewers, bloggers and authors who have been so supportive over the last year. I received the announcement on the book’s first birthday – what an amazing present! I can’t believe it’s been a year! I’ve learned so much and met so many amazing people. Most of all I want to say a massive thank you to Joffe Books for taking a chance on a dark comedy whodunnit that was an homage to Golden Age fiction – not something everyone would be willing to take a chance on! Jasper, Emma, Laurel, Nina, Annie and all the team are unbelievable, kind and brilliant. Thank you so much for giving me my dream. Here’s a link to the prize and the truly amazing trophy!!!

A review in The Arbuturian

So incredibly excited to see a review of Body on the Island in The Arbuturian magazine. This is a seriously fabulous magazine with some gorgeous articles. I’m very honoured to have such an amazing review in there. Thank you so much.

You can see the review here but I’d urge you to look at the whole of this amazing publication too. Just wonderful!

I can’t ask for a better review than this!

I’m incredibly grateful to have received this magnificent review in the Yorkshire Times. Thank you so much. That’s one to frame for the days when the plots won’t work and the characters won’t say much. Writers live for days like this so I’m going to cherish this one! Here’s the link.

And here’s the full review, which is brilliantly written by Paul Spalding-Mulcock. Thank you so much!

up her sleeve. The first is her ability to segue from farcical comedy and witty dialogue into almost poetically verdant descriptive prose: ‘There was little sleep to be had in the unearthly night. The bitter air spread through our limbs. Strange, disgruntled noises rose from the shadows and slipped across the darkness. I could hear the island’s siren voices arcing over the dunes and down towards the sea. I was hollowed by fear, the cold worming its way through my joints’.

The second ace to be played in the novel’s high stakes poker game is characterisation. Pandora, Ursula’s strident mother and the matriarchal doyen of the cohort she dominates is once again rendered with consummate skill. Saturnine and the epitome of procrustean intolerance, Pandora’s dogmatic, brassbound force leaves the pages and can be heard upbraiding the reader for the slightest misdeed they commit whilst savouring the story. Yet beneath her crustacean exterior beats the heart of a broken woman and a devoted, if over protective mother.

Whilst the delightfully deadly pantomime’s supporting cast are all drawn with aplomb, Bottlenose the boat’s captain stands out for special praise. Part alcoholic evil twin of Captain Birdseye, part Ancient Mariner sans the albatross and Christian allegory, he breathes his booze-drenched folkloric tales through the narrative with eccentric elan. His every utterance darkens the novel’s ambience lending it a benighted surrealism which hovers on the border between hysterically funny and ominously unsettling. Fittingly, Bottlenose is the novel’s atmospheric barometer only rivalled for the role by Dowd’s use of prosopopoeia to employ the island itself and the elements torturing it as an insidious force in its own right.

So, Body on the Island is a beguiling blast. I was entirely outwitted by Dowd who played me like a fiddle. I closed the book utterly satisfied, having been joyfully entertained. If you are looking for a murder mystery suffused with comedy, but dripping with maleficent intrigue, this one is likely to delight. Needless to say, there may be many things ‘Mother does not do’, but she does provide the basis for a damn fine read !

Body on the Island is published by Joffe Books

The Last Reading of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder

I know a lot of you have been kind enough to listen to me reading from this every week. I started in the first lockdown and today we reach the end! It’s been a marathon but I’ve loved doing these and thank you so much to everyone who has been watching. It’s been a real highlight of the last year for me. Thank you. Have a lovely day and I hope you enjoy this last reading. xx

A review of Body on the Island from this fantastic crime reviewer.

My new book has just been reviewed by this amazing reviewer. This is a real crime aficionado so I’m incredibly chuffed and love her analysis of the genre. And I love the fact that Body on the Island is ‘Standing Trial’!

This quote from her review has made my week!

I thought her variation of the dying message clue, was brilliantly executed in a very creative way.

You can see the full review here and there are lots of wonderful books on the rest of the site. Thank you so much.