Body on the Island playlist

The Smart women have a playlist! I was asked in a recent interview if I would ever consider doing one for the book and it kind of kick started this. I’ve been adding to it over time and really it’s become more what I thought Ursula would listen to rather than just me. Here’s a link to it if you’d like a listen. There’s also a clue to what might be in store for Ursula in later books! If you prefer Spotify to Apple music, here’s the link to that too.

Crediton Literary Festival 2021

Crediton Literary Festival was fabulous fun this year. I gave a talk on Agatha Christie and the rules of modern detective fiction. As you can see, great fun was had by all! It was recorded for their Youtube channel so you can watch the full event and all the other panels too. It was a real whistle stop tour through some of Agatha Christie’s ground breaking novels and some very recent whodunnits that have redefined the genre too. Here’s the link to the talk and I hope you enjoy it. x

And here’s the award!

The People’s Book Prize 2020/2021 for fiction. Hats reader’s own.

I still cannot believe The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder has won The People’s Book Prize! To celebrate, here’s a reading of my very favourite bit of the book and an introduction to Ursula’s darker side. I hope you enjoy it and thank you so so much for all the support. It means the world! Here’s the link to the reading.

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