Friday, 13 June 2008

Buried Too Deep

I’ve talked before about the pleasure of meeting fellow crime writers and readers at events. For some reason, when you meet someone in the flesh, it seems all the more appealing to start reading their work, if you haven’t encountered it before.

Jane Finnis is a case in point. I first met her three years ago, at a very enjoyable symposium organised by the northern chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association; we had a pleasant weekend at a waterfront hotel in Lincoln, a city I’d never visited before but really liked. I discovered that Jane was published by Poisoned Pen Press not only in the US (as I am) but also in the UK and that she is a writer of historical mysteries set in Roman Britain. We also bumped into each other last week at Crimefest in Bristol. Jane's latest is Buried Too Deep and this is what she told me about it:

‘I started writing mysteries because I always loved reading them; what's that saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? I chose Roman Britain as my setting because the Ancient Roman world has always fascinated me. I was brought up in Yorkshire, not far from where my books are set, and I remember as a child being curious about the straight Roman roads, and the Roman remains at York. Then I learned at school about all the amazing modern-seeming things the Romans had, like baths and underfloor heating. There was also, of course, the even more interesting stuff: gladiators and chariot racing and orgies...

My third Aurelia Marcella mystery is set in Yorkshire, like its two predecessors, and part of it takes place in the wolds, the gentle green chalk hills near the coast - not so dramatic as the Pennine scenery, but more comfortable and human. Perhaps I just have a soft spot for the wolds because I was brought up there. Some of the action happens by the sea too; I live only a couple of miles from the North Sea now, and you can take it from me that when I describe how cold the water is, or how thick a sea fog can be, I'm speaking from experience!’

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