Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A High Mortality of Doves

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch, at Simply Books in Bramhall (a very good indie bookshop, by the way) of Kate Ellis's new book.A High Mortality of Doves is published by Piatkus, part of the Little, Brown group. My companions included fellow crime writers Margaret Murphy and Chris Simms, who are, like Kate and me, members of the Murder Squad group (see below photo). It was a convivial occasion; the photos, by the way, were taken by Kate's son Tom.

Kate is a friend of mine, and so you would expect me to be favourably disposed to her work, as I am. For a good many years, I've believed that she is a writer whose ability to develop the traditional detective mystery story in interesting ways is under-valued. Years ago, I thought the same about some of my other favourite writers - Peter Robinson, Ann Cleeves, Ian Rankin, and Andrew Taylor .That quartet are all bestsellers now,and deservedly so. I look forward to Kate joining their ranks.

A High Mortality of Doves marks a departure for her. It's set in the aftermath of the First World War, and the backdrop is Derbyshire, a gorgeous county, home of lovely landscapes (and unlucky cricketers). I know that, in researching the book, Kate visited the military hospital exhibition at Dunham Massey, a marvellous National Trust property near Altrincham, which told the story of how wartime casualties were treated. I visited Dunham Massey too, and found the whole experience very moving.

I don't want to say too much about the plot of the book, which boasts a dramatic revelation at the end. I didn't see it coming, even though I'd anticipated one aspect of the solution. When the book has been widely read, I look forward to debating the craft involved in coming up with that particular twist. In the meantime, watch out for A High Mortality of Doves. I suspect that it will be Kate's breakthrough book.  

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