When the Library first mooted the project earlier this year, I was intrigued, but slightly daunted by the challenge. The puzzle has to interest customers, but also not be too fiendish, otherwise people will not be able to escape from the shop for hours as they struggle to solve it... But after much thought and trial and error, I came up with the story of Murder at Magenta Manor, the puzzle of who killed Murdo Magenta - and how. Almost inevitably, poisoned chocolates are involved. But what was the poison?
The Library told me they loved the plot. Very encouraging. As a next step, I met the specialist designer from Spain who was tasked with turning my concept into a 3-dimensional shop design. And she and her team did a brilliant job. When, on Thursday, I walked into the shop, I was blown away. The clues are artfully hidden in the shop, and there are all manner of wonderful presents, quite apart from books, to tempt people hunting for Christmas presents. (There are bags bearing the Poisoned Chocolates Case cover artwork, and bags and coasters featuring the artwork for my new winter anthology, Crimson Snow). It really is the most unusual and extraordinary writing
Thursday was a Press evening, and the Library team were delighted by reaction. The excitement even attracted the interest of two real life police officers who came in for a look around and proved very entertaining visitors, happy to enter into the spirit of the mystery. No photos of them on the blog, for obvious reasons, but they made their own contribution to an unforgettable occasion.