This week came an announcement that gave me a lot of pleasure. I've signed a deal with Head of Zeus to publish two more books set in the 1930s, taking forward the mysterious career of Rachel Savernake and her not entirely reliable sidekick Jacob Flint. I'm hugely committed to these books. Writing them is so rewarding. The reaction from reviewers and readers has been fantastic.
When I wrote Gallows Court, I was nervous about the response because although I wanted to write a twisty thriller with a difference, I was conscious that it was very different from, say, a conventional Golden Age pastiche. There is definitely a Gothic flavour to these stories. The same is true, though not quite in the same way, with Mortmain Hall. True originality is rare (I'll talk about this on the blog next week) but I do think these books are not quite like anything else on the market. Of course that carries some risks - this type of writing is not to everyone's taste, but it seems to have appealed to a lot of people, definitely at the top end of my hopes, let alone my expectations.
One positive consequence of lockdown is that I've been able to crack on with the next book in the series. In between lockdowns one and two, I did quite a bit of location research, when such a thing was possible, and very enjoyable it proved. The new book (which may be called Blackstone Fell, rather than Darkstone Falls as announced - we'll see...) is again an attempt to do something unusual with the classic crime story. I think it likely that this book will be published early next year, with Sepulchre Street to follow in 2023.
What of this year? Well, I'm delighted to say that in June, Allison & Busby will publish the eighth and latest Lake District Mystery, The Crooked Shore. The US edition from Poisoned Pen Press will follow at a later date. It's quite a few years since The Dungeon House appeared, and I think the break has done me and the series a great deal of good. The Crooked Shore takes the lives of Hannah and Daniel a stage further, but again I like to think it offers something rather unusual compared to the typical series mystery. I'll be talking more about this book nearer the time of publication. In the meantime, I can say that I loved writing about the Lakes once again, and my personal feeling is that there is still a huge amount of life and potential in this series for future development.