Today was the annual Dickensian Day celebration in my home village of Lymm and a rain-soaked event it proved to be. But very enjoyable all the same and our guests included fellow crime writer Kate Ellis, along with her husband Roger. Kate, like me, is a huge admirer of Charles Dickens, and has contributed a story to Mike Ashley's new anthology, The Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunits; hers is called 'The Divine Nature', and it features malevolent Mr Murdstone from David Copperfield.
Kate's another enthusiast for short stories, and I've had the pleasure of including some excellent contributions from her in anthologies I've edited over the years. 'Les Inconnus', which appeared in Crime in the City, was short-listed for the CWA Short Story Dagger, as was my personal favourite of her shorter works, 'Top Deck', from Crime on the Move.
Kate was born in Liverpool, where I've worked for over 20 years; a great city which is the setting for my Harry Devlin novels and her historical mystery The Devil's Priest. She is, however, best known for her books featuring Wesley Peterson, and is now branching out with a new detective called Joe Plantagenet, who works in Eborby (a thinly disguised York.)
Kate is, like me, a great fan of the Taggart tv series, especially the early episodes featuring Mark McManus as the eponymous cop. Her own titles are, I think, among the best around; examples include The Plague Maiden, The Skeleton Room and The Marriage Hearse. And The Bone Garden is such a good title that now Tess Gerritsen has used it as well.