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I can finally share the specifics of the lovely news: The Whole World and The Start of Everything have been picked up by UK publisher Allison & Busby. In June, The Whole World will come out in paperback to accompany the launch of The Start of Everything in hardcover. Hooray!
This is partly thanks to the behind-the-scenes influence of bookseller Richard Reynolds of Heffers, whose crime fiction expertise is legend. He is devoted especially to crime fiction set in Cambridge, and Cambridge is very lucky to have him.
It’s a general principle that all meetings in publishing happen over lunch. Allison & Busby publishing director Susie Dunlop and I met at the cafe in John Lewis in Cambridge, and I was honored that she’d travelled up from London to see me. She said I would know her by the Allison & Busby tote bag she carried. I said she would know me by the new bright pink coat I had just bought at Marks & Spencer. It’s a lovely coat, new for the season, and I should have foreseen that I wouldn’t be the only woman in that packed cafe wearing one! There were about four of us. Ah, well. Susie and I eventually managed to find one another, and fell easily into conversation. She is going to be wonderful to work with.
Susie gave me that tote bag she was carrying, and it was full of a selection of their lovely books. I’m thrilled to be sharing a publisher with Laurie R. King, Jacqueline Winspear, D.E. Meredith, and Jamie Ford. I’m especially enchanted by the cover of D.E. Meredith’s Devoured, with its textured dustjacket and the old map of London printed on the hardcover underneath.
As I finish The Start of Everything‘s launch month in the US, it’s wonderful to have June to look forward to.
I’m a wee little bit late posting this, but I had a great time teaching a crime-plotting workshop at Lucy Cavendish College’s “Women’s Word” lit festival. My angle was the puzzle at the heart of crime novel, based on my puzzle-designing past.
Part of what we did was take the puzzles at the start of two crime stories (one a novel, one a TV episode) and brainstorm solutions. My point was that you don’t need just one good solution, you need lots, because the bulk of your story will be spent cycling through wrong ones. Wrong, yes, but each one still must be interesting.
We started with the puzzle in Sophie Hannah’s “Little Face”: a new mother returns home from an outing and discovers her baby has been replaced by a different baby; her husband, who was home with the child the whole time, claims it is the same baby. These are some of the answers we came up with (and not one was the ultimate answer from the book!):
The second one was from a Jonathan Creek episode, in which a dozen apparently clean, unladdered stockings were found in the rubbish bin. Again, of all the answers we brainstormed, none was the one the show used:
(You can click on the images to make them larger and easier to read.)
Once we’d brainstormed all these potential solutions, we talked about reasons for making one the right answer over all the others, and the kinds of characters we’d need to champion the various wrong answers.
One of the nicest things about Cambridge is the people. All the attendees were creative and talkative, which made for a great class.