Sunday 14 December 2008

Seeking the Dead

I’ve been trying to get round to reading Kate Ellis’s latest book, Seeking the Dead, for ages, but life keeps getting in the way. In the meantime she kindly agreed to contribute her thoughts about it to this blog:

Seeking the Dead, is set in the ancient Yorkshire city of Eborby (a thinly disguised York) and the story begins when a young woman called Carmel Hennessy arrives in Eborby to start a new job. However, she finds the city gripped by fear because a killer is on the prowl, a killer the press are calling the Resurrection Man because he leaves the naked bodies of his victims in isolated churchyards, looking as though they’ve just crawled from the grave. Carmel knows Detective Inspector Joe Plantagenet through tragic events in her past and, when she starts to receive mysterious threats after sensing a malevolent presence in her new flat, she asks for his help.

My younger son has just graduated from York University and during his time there, I came to know the city quite well. I love its rich and eventful history and its fascinating nooks and crannies. Being the principal city in the north of England in the medieval period, it also has quite a dark past and over the centuries it has seen civil wars, massacres and public executions. It is also reputed to be the most haunted city in England and I must admit that one of York’s better known ghost stories provided my initial inspiration. It was a story that, once heard, stuck in my mind: all the occupants of a house near the Minster died of the plague, except for one girl who was left to starve to death because nobody dared enter the house for fear of infection. It is said that to this day, the unfortunate girl can be seen looking out of a window, pleading for help (although I must add that I didn’t spot her). However, this story planted the germ of an idea in my mind that was to grow into Seeking the Dead.

Joe Planagenet himself is an interesting character. Even though he is relatively young, he has known a lot of tragedy in his past. He was born and raised in Liverpool, son of an Irish mother and a father from Eborby. During a bout of youthful idealism he began to train for the priesthood but then he met his future wife and concluded that a life of celibacy wasn’t for him. Then his life fell apart when his wife died tragically soon after their wedding. And after he was injured in a shooting which killed his colleague, he made the decision to leave Merseyside and make a new start in his father’s city, Eborby. His family’s explanation for his unusual surname is that they are descended from an illegitimate child of King Richard III who, in York, was regarded as a great hero rather than the villain of popular legend.

I’d like to make it clear to all Wesley’s fans that I haven’t abandoned him. His next investigation A Perfect Death is out next spring and I’m working on my fourteenth book in the series at the moment. What I really wanted, however, was to write another, completely different series, with a new setting and a new detective. I’ve found the challenge very rewarding and I’m delighted with the result.


Jilly said...

I found this interesting as by coincidence I started reading 'Seeking the Dead' myself yesterday.

Martin Edwards said...

Let us know what you think, Jilly.

Jilly said...

I have posted a review on Amazon and on my blog - verdict - excellent! I shall definitely be reading the next one.