I was drawn to Devon 30 years ago and amazingly discovered a family tree firmly rooted in Devon soil. Westward Ho! and Lundy feature in Shadow Child, my latest novel. True to my murder mystery background, it has a deadly secret at its heart, but it’s also a tribute to the children I had the privilege to work with as a social worker.
And the murder mystery? That came from a change of tack when I founded The Whodunnit Company. It was a great time, directing some amazingly talented actors in the UK and abroad.
One location, Lynmouth in North Devon, provided the inspiration for Seeds of Doubt. Suspicions that government interference played a part in the 1952 Lynmouth floods led me to Top Secret documents at the National Archives. The book is a fictional thriller but firmly based on the truth I uncovered there.
My passion for dusty archives also resulted in The Power of Three, an account of the self-taught Devon genius, Thomas Fowler. His inspirational work, that anticipated the computer age by over a century, is finally achieving the recognition he worked so hard to achieve during his lifetime.
I’m particularly proud of On Course for Recovery, a self-help book based on personal experience, offering a road to recovery for those suffering from chronic illness.
I still live and write in Devon, a fantastic county that continues to inspire.
On the evening of August 15th, 1952 the worst floods ever to hit the West of England destroyed the beautiful coastal village of Lynmouth in North Devon. Torrential rainfall transformed moorland streams into raging rivers that carved a terrifying path to the sea.
Thirty-four men, women and children lost their lives that night.
Running from the ghosts of her past, Ingrid Clarke stumbles across evidence that this tragedy was not so much an Act of God as an Act of Man. She has to uncover the truth – whatever the personal cost.
But others are determined it’s a truth that will never be told: those who will go to any lengths to conceal their manipulation of one of the greatest powers on earth.
Some secrets should never be told.
Nine year old Paul wakes to find his mother standing at his bedroom door. ‘I’ll just be a minute,’ she says. And disappears. He fights against a future decided by others, certain of only one thing – his mother’s love. But why did she leave? Where did she go? He never stops searching. Not as a child. Not as a man.
Finally he has answers. But the right ones? The past casts a long shadow – ensnaring in a relentless search for the truth – whatever the cost.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of North Devon and the Island of Lundy, Shadow Child draws the reader into a world of loss and longing, a world with a deadly secret at its heart.