Letters from Elsewhere

What an honour! I’ve been joined today by an venerable old woman. I’m not sure how old Irena is, but I’m told she’s the oldest resident in the Tuscan mountain village of Santa Zita. She’s brought a letter to her son, Carlo, who’s been pressing her to help him piece together a mystery that’s puzzled him all his life and which he’s come back to the village to solve after living abroad for many years.

Irena’s chaperone is Katharine Johnson, whose first two novels, Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings and The Silence were very much enjoyed by yours truly. Here’s the letter:

Dear Carlo,

That wedding photograph I said I didn’t remember – I may as well tell you the truth, I suppose. The bride was Martina. And yes, I was the bridesmaid. And the one of the two girls sitting on the wall of the fountain eating ice cream? Martina and me. We must have been how old – twelve? Thirteen? We were best friends back then. I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

I know that will surprise you – she and I were never close when you were growing up. We never spoke to each other again after the war. At least not properly.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. You can laugh but you don’t know what it was like to be with Martina in those days. It’s funny, I remember her saying to me once, “In fifty years time we’ll be sitting here by the fountain and nothing will have changed.” How could either of us have guessed that our lives would change so much?

Sometimes I allow myself a little fantasy – an alternative history in which Martina didn’t do what she did. That she and I could really be sitting there now by the fountain discussing our children and grandchildren. But how could we have had any idea back then how precious and precarious our friendship really was?

You can see how beautiful Martina was. Oh, I know what you’re thinking – how she was a dried-up old prune when you knew her. And that scar was hideous. But life does that to you – war does that to you. In those days I felt very plain in comparison. 

Looking at the picture again, I always had that rather square face and thick eyebrows and I was a heavy build as you can see but I didn’t look so bad, did I? And yet next to Martina I always felt plain and plump and I suppose because of that it made me want to be good at something, so I studied harder than anyone. She and Gianni used to call me the Encyclopaedia. They tested me out in facts and dates – they hardly ever managed to catch me out. They both used to copy my school work, which made me feel proud.

We all thought Martina would be famous one day. She dreamed of moving on, being someone. This place was too small for her. She should have been a Hollywood star. She had that innate sense of glamour – and the temperament to match. If the War hadn’t happened, if she’d had different opportunities, she might have been a star.

So many things would have been different.

I don’t know to this day why she married Gianni. I suppose it was because she could. She said she loved him, but I think what attracted her most was that all the other girls loved him.

Gianni and I were wary of each other for a long time. We both knew we were competing for Martina’s attention. But we came to realise that if we both wanted to be with her we’d have to learn to rub along with each other. I grew fond of him.

God knows, he didn’t to deserve to die the way he did.

That’s enough for now. I wish you’d never asked. Why can’t you leave the past where it belongs?


About The Secret

A beautiful village hides a dark story – two girls growing up in wartime Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences reaching right up to the present day. But as one person tries to uncover the truth, another is determined to keep it hidden.

The Secret will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 1st June.

The Secret


The Silence, which tells of another secret harboured by the same village, was published last summer and is available from Amazon UK or Amazon US.


About Katharine Johnson

Katharine Johnson is a journalist with a passion for mysteries, old houses and all things Italian (except tiramisu). She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children and madcap spaniel. She plays netball badly and is a room guide in a stately home.

You can find Katharine at: Website/blog  Amazon author page  Facebook Twitter

Katharine Johnson


Letters from Elsewhere is taking a break and will be back towards the end of April.


Letters from Elsewhere

A rather scary-looking person has just joined me here. She’s called Belinda MacKenzie and she’s brought her letter to heroine Beth Haldane – heroine, that is, of Alice Castle’s series of crime novels. Let’s see what Belinda wants to say to Beth.

Dear Beth,

I can’t believe I’m having to write to you. I’d like to say that you’re beneath my notice. The truth is that you always have been, up until recently, and not just because you’re such a titch. Honestly, I’m the last person in the world to make personal comments, but don’t you think a simple pair of heels would help? But no, it’s flats. Every. Single. Day. And the way you dress, in those drab colours, anyone would think that you want to be ignored. Well, I’ve always tried to oblige you on that front. But, when there was all that business over at Wyatt’s, somehow there you were, in the thick of it. It’s the best school in Dulwich, so what they were doing employing someone like you, I can’t imagine. But I suppose the archive office is the sort of dusty place you thought you could hide away in.

Somehow, and don’t ask me how you managed it, you got yourself into the middle of quite a nasty business, and almost ruined the reputation of Wyatt’s into the bargain. Luckily, the headmaster, Dr Grover, managed to sort all that out. I’d hate there to be a stain on the place’s reputation, as my two boys, Billy and Bobby, are bound to be going there – did I mention it’s the best school in Dulwich?

And then, I couldn’t believe it but there you were, somehow, in the thick of the next awful scandal to hit Dulwich. Well, the Picture Gallery is just the sort of place that someone like you would poke around in. But those poor teenage girls. Well, they’d gone off the rails. Not like my own daughter, Allegra. What? No, I don’t know what she’s up to every minute of the day, she’s in such demand, like her mother, some people might say. When you’re popular, you have to spread yourself thinly. Not that you’d know that. But, even though she’s out a lot, I know I can absolutely trust her, one hundred per cent. And if her clothes sometimes smell of cigarettes, well, some of her friends will experiment. Same goes for alcohol. She tells me that some girls are knocking back the booze, but my Leggy? Oh no. I don’t have any worries at all on that score.

I’m wondering how we’ll get on, Beth, now that our sons are sharing a tutor as the Wyatt’s entrance exam approaches. Well, my boys don’t really need it, but I decided to be kind to you when someone else dropped out. As you’d know, if you’d ever put any effort into your boy’s schooling, it’s not easy to get an appointment with the best exam coaches. And, let’s face it, your kid needs all the help he can get. But he’s no competition to my two, so that’s fine.

And I’m beginning to find myself intrigued by you, I must admit. That way you have of seeming to shun the limelight, yet falling into adventure after adventure… it’s rather clever. Maybe I could pick up a tip or two from you. In any case, I’ll be watching you closely in future. Oh yes, Beth Haldane. I’ve got my eye on you.

With warmest wishes,

Ahem. I’m glad I’ve never had to deal with anyone like Belinda.

Apparently, Belinda MacKenzie is the terrifying Queen Bee of the Village Primary School playground and nemesis of single mum amateur sleuth Beth Haldane. Beth, star of cosy crime whodunits Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery, stumbles on a murder on her first day at work and has to clear her name.

About Death in Dulwich

Alice Castle - Death in DulwichAlready described by reviewers as ‘murderously good fun’ (author TP Fielden), a ‘keenly observed page turner … highly recommended’ (Amazon) and ‘well-written, engaging and fun,’ (author Jo Blakeley), Death in Dulwich is the story of thirty-something widow Beth Haldane.

Beth has her hands full – she has a bouncy nine-year-old son, a haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and a ton of bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush south London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap.

That’s why she is thrilled to land a job as archivist at top local school Wyatt’s – though she has an inkling the post is not what it seems and she doesn’t think much of her new boss, Dr Jenkins, either. Then, on her first day at work, Dr Jenkins is brutally murdered. Beth finds the body, and realises she is the prime suspect, with means, opportunity and a motive.

Beth has no choice but to try and clear her name, bringing herself into conflict with the police and the school. But who is the real culprit? And is the cause of the killing a horrifying secret buried deep in the school’s past, or does evil lurk behind the comfortable façade of daily Dulwich life?

Beth grows in confidence during her dogged pursuit of the murderer and, by the end of the book, is ready for any adventures that may come her way. Which is just as well, because there’s trouble brewing at the Dulwich Picture Gallery ….

Buy Death in Dulwich here.

About The Girl in the Gallery

Alice CastleTheGirl In The GalleryJust when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

Buy The Girl in the Gallery here.

About Alice Castle

AliceCastle2Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series. It will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Camberwell. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at www.dulwichdivorcee.com.

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Links to Alice:

Author website            Facebook page            Twitter

Hunter'sChaseBanner (ValPenny)

Have you ever done crime? I mean, of course, have you ever written about crime? Would you like to write about crime? Why would you write about crime?

ValPennyI can’t answer those questions for myself, let alone for you. Fortunately, I don’t have to, because fellow Crooked Cat author, Val Penny is here to share some of her experience and answer those difficult questions.

Take it away, Val!

Reasons to Write a Crime Novel

People like crime, at least in novels! Often, I meet dentists and bank managers with clever plot ideas, or nurses who read every crime novel they can lay their hands on. If I visit a writing group, there are always members keenly producing new murderous plots. Lawyers and convicts show equal enthusiasm for this genre. For those who want to write a crime novel, there are several reasons to want to do so. Here are a few of them.

Emotional Release

Often, those who write crime novels find an emotional release in their craft. Crime novelists deal with the dark things that people usually push to the side of their minds in order to get on with every day life. The cathartic attraction of writing can be decisive.

Some crime authors tell of poor sleep patterns, punctured by nightmares that are repaired when they start to write. Others panic, constantly scanning doorways for signs of danger. The stiffening fear that afflicts them resolves when they are busy writing crime.

The Story-Telling Urge

The sources for crime novels are many and varied. Ideas can spring from the news and current affairs; memories from the past and historical events or things that puzzle or fascinate the writer. Once an author begins to exercise their creative muscles, they often find that they run into stories demanding to be told. The stories demand to be told and will not stop coming.

For Companionship

It is often said that writers can be difficult people: gloomy, competitive and quarrelsome. However, for the most part, I have found crime writers to be an inclusive and convivial bunch. They are certainly hard-working. The pressure of producing a book a year is intense, yet they never seem to turn their backs on fun. If you have a chance to go to a crime-writers’ convention, do take it. They are exhausting, exhilarating and irresistible.

An Outlet for Aggression

Most crime-writers will tell you that they are good company because they channel all their belligerent thoughts into their stories, so in real life, the authors are meek and mild. It is not always true, but I can confirm that a crime novel is an excellent place to park your rage! The prospect of giving vent to righteous anger in a safe form can be a particularly pleasing device. When characters require to act in a violent way or commit violence the reader is willing to witness this on the page but they would shy from it in real life. Crime writers can let rip on the page in a way they avoid doing in the real world.

The Thrill of Research

I can personally confirm that the research you do for crime novels and for academic purposes are equally satisfying. It is also extremely diverse. It may involve visiting prisons, refuges, police stations or drug dens. Police are often very willing to be of assistance to crime writers, even if it is just to avoid being irritated when otherwise the writers would get police procedures wrong. This information is most useful and helpful. Indeed, when you are writing a novel, no information or experience is wasted!

Thank you for that, Val.

Val Penny’s debut novel, Hunter’s Chase, was published just last week. Here’s the blurb:

Hunter'sChaseCover (Val Penny)Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.


Letters from ElsewhereI’m delighted to welcome Beth to the blog. Beth has a few questions about what her friend Flora is getting up to in a little village in Portugal. She’s even nipped out of Forest Dancer by Susan Roebuck to ask them. Over to you, Beth.

Darling Flora,

You can’t even BEGIN to imagine how much I miss you. Even the Ballet Master (the old bastard) said the same the other day. Anastasia had to come out of her understudy role in Swan Lake and actually dance as Odette. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it, because she got that audition over you, didn’t she (well we all know why with Daddy being such a big donator?). But she’s a better Odile – she’s got that wicked look down to a tee – but she just can’t be sweet Odette. So she’s grinning like a monkey and fawning over Prince Siegfried like a sack of potatoes, and that’s when the BM said, “Perhaps we should’ve picked Flora after all.”

You see? Maybe all’s not lost. Come back, Flora. I know you lost your house (what WAS your father thinking of, leaving you a measly cottage in the middle of nowhere in Portugal?). You could stay with me here in London.

Mind you, we’ve got a new choreographer for Don Quixote who is driving me mad. She wants us to do cardio-work-outs and pilates, as well as rehearsals from midday to seven, when we’re not performing Swan Lake. She’s mad. She’s even talking about us taking a run at the end of the day. Give me the pub any time.

Well, enough of me. Tell me about this forest ranger that’s got you all riled up? You said he was living in your cottage with his wife and daughter. Flora – are you getting involved with a married man? Tell me you’re not. And I speak from experience as you know.

The little village of Aurora sounds sweet, up there in the cool mountains, and your descriptions of the Portuguese cakes that they sell in that funny-looking kiosk sound delicious – our choreographer wouldn’t let us eat them though. I think I’ll take a little holiday and visit, and get fat.

You know? I’m beginning to think ballet isn’t for me. We couldn’t get out of the Corps de Ballet, could we, although you should’ve been at least a Coryphee ages ago. Unlike me, you love it, don’t you? I remember you saying that ‘the feeling you have when you are dancing and your whole heart and soul are in it is indescribable’. You’re a proper dancer.

Send me all your news soon – and think about coming back. Please.

All my love,

Thank you, Beth. Now I want to know the answers, too. I wonder how I’m going to find out. Hmm, I think I know…

Forest Dancer - Susan RoebuckAbout Forest Dancer

Forest Dancer is a story that fans of Polina will enjoy with characters that are genuinely flawed yet decided on bringing out the best in themselves. Flora Gatehouse has just recently lost her father, but she has also suffered a devastating blow in her career: her failed audition that sees her moving to a small cottage in Lisbon, Portugal, the only inheritance left to her by her father. Follow her story as she embraces the life of a small village with its dark secrets, and falls for the forest ranger, Marco. But can she totally become part of this little hamlet and can she ever reconnect with her dream to become a principal ballerina?

You can find Forest Dancer (paperback and ebook) on Amazon.

About Susan Roebuck

Susan RoebuckSue Roebuck is British born and bred, but when she met her husband (who’s Portuguese) in London she was then exported to Portugal and now lives by the Atlantic Ocean watching the cruise ships arrive and depart. She loves her adopted country and believes that her novels about it can bring the beauty and diversity of Portugal to the rest of the world.


Find Susan on Facebook and Twitter, and on her blog.


Letters from Elsewhere

Readers, please welcome Walter Perch to the blog. It sounds as if he needs cheering up and maybe you can help. Walter Perch has come from the pages of Dortmund Hibernate by C.J. Sutton, which will be published by Crooked Cat Books in July 2018.

Dear reader,

My name is Walter Perch. I am a guard up at Dortmund Asylum. You’ve never been to Dortmund. No, it’s not the popular German location. You’ve probably never even heard of this place; a small rural town known only for the crazies on the hill and the animals in our zoo. People get these two institutions confused, and it’s not hard to see why. The nine inmates (and believe me, they’re inmates) would kill you for a hot meal, no two ways about it. I try to avoid their stares, to drown out their voices with earphones blasting rock music, and to limit my inhale to the excretions tossed about their cells. But I am not alone.

Brian, Shirley and Carter are the other full-time guards up here. They look to me, I think, to lead them in some capacity. Carter has been here the longest, but his age (and solid drinking) has started to impact his work. The other day he couldn’t remember if he locked a cell that contained a man your children would tell horror stories about. Lucky for us, he had. Lucky for Dortmund, only two Scotch-coffee cocktails had been consumed that morning.

I don’t much like Dortmund. I’ve lived here most of my life. In the beginning it was a peaceful bubble hours away from the Big City. Now, the only interruptions to my solitude are the faces behind the bars and the sly drinkers at the pub. Maybe I’ll leave soon. I wouldn’t know where to start in the Big City. What does a man like me do in such a place?  

We have a new doctor arriving next week. ‘Dr Magnus Paul’. He sounds fancy, a young hot-shot psychologist who brought someone back from looney town. He’ll have no such luck here. Nobody can save the nine. They’ll live within these dank walls until the skin rots from their bones. And I’ll probably still be walking the corridors, checking in to make sure they’re contained.

I’m writing this, dear reader, because I don’t get to talk much. People are either waiting for a command or asking about one of the nine. Every conversation is business, and the business is death. Humour me, if you will, and read this last paragraph:

What is it like, to attend a football match with family and friends? How does it feel to move in the swell of a crowd, surrounded by concrete buildings pushing through the clouds? When cheers erupt at such a volume, does the ground shake? I watch these games on TV and marvel at the scenes. I picture myself in the midst of it all, just watching normal people chant wildly for those on the field. For those who mean no harm.

Do not pity me, dear reader, for I do not seek your help. I merely ask for words not concerned with nine condemned souls. For when Magnus arrives, it all starts again.

Write me, if you will. Address it to Dortmund Asylum. Nobody else here receives mail, and I would find it quite amusing to see the postman drive up this hill for the first time in years.

Yours sincerely,
Walter Perch

You see, he doesn’t ask for much – just a letter. I’m sure we can all manage that. You know what? I’ll make it easier for you. Write your missives to Walter in the comments and I’ll forward them.

About Dortmund Hibernate


Dortmund Hibernate, yet to be covered

Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum; nine criminally insane individuals hidden from the world due to the extremity of their cases. Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act. The small rural town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill. As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the Asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare. And the most notorious man of all is strapped to the floor of his cell, urging Magnus towards a new life of desire…



About C.J. Sutton

C.J. SuttonC.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Postgraduate Degree in journalism and creative writing, and supports the value of study through correspondence. His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us. As a professional writer C.J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete attention. Dortmund Hibernate is his debut novel.

C.J. can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on his website. Happy Australia Day, CJ!


Letters from ElsewhereWelcome to another letter from elsewhere, brought to you by Helen from The Forgotten by J.V. Baptie, due to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 13 June, this year. Over to you, Helen.

August 6th 1970

Dear Mum,

I’ve tried a few times to get you on the telephone, I hope everything is well at home. Not much new to report here. I’m sorry I missed Carol’s wedding. Did she get the card I sent?  The training is going really well at the police college and I couldn’t miss it. We’re training with the male police officers too and it’s quite strict. Once this is over I’ll be looking into missing persons.  How exciting!

I hope I didn’t let Uncle Bill down too much by turning down his lovely offer to work in his practice. Truthfully, I wasted two years after university working in Wimpey because I couldn’t face working in there. I think we both know if I had accepted that job I’d never have applied for the police.  There’s a few other things I need to tell you but it’s best to tell you them in person.

Talk soon love
Helen xx

Ah, now I’m wondering about those few other things…


The Forgotten by J.V. Baptie, yet to be covered.

About The Forgotten

Newly promoted into CID, acting Detective Sergeant Helen Carter has a lot on her hands. When a body is found in an abandoned cinema, no one in the team has seen anything like it before and when the business card of an ex-cop private detective is found, the case takes a chilling turn.

As the body count mounts, can Helen find the killer while her own life is falling apart?

About J.V.

JV Baptie.





J.V. Baptie graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she is also an actress and has appeared in a variety of children’s shows and stage plays. JV lives near Edinburgh where her novel is set.



You can find J.V. on her website on Facebook and on Twitter.


Letters from Elsewhere

I’m delighted… I have much pleasure in…. My guest today is someone I feel I know intimately. That’s because I edited the book he comes from: Purgatory Hotel by Crooked Cat author, Anne-Marie Ormsby. And that’s why I’m having difficulty introducing him – because, between you and me, I’m not sure I really want to meet him.

Ah, here he is! Welcome to the blog, Jackson. Do tell us what disappointed you today.


You came down for breakfast late today, only a few minutes but I noticed.

You wouldn’t look at me. Why?

You wore that Lolita book cover t-shirt that I bought you, and I always feel like you’re communicating with me when you wear it. Or if you are reading a book I gave you, I feel like you must be thinking about me.

You looked tired, like you didn’t sleep all night, had you been crying?

I couldn’t bear it. I just wanted to get up and pull you up into my arms, and make you OK again, like it didn’t matter anymore about anything else. It just mattered that I hold you then, at that moment, that I let you know how much I love you and that everything would be fine and I didn’t care who knew it.

When you left I hoped you would look at me for just a second, just turn your beautiful eyes to me, just long enough so I’d know you’d seen me, just one look is enough to let me know you are still mine.

But you didn’t look at me, you just mumbled a goodbye and walked out.

And I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Like I’d actually lost you, you had finally gone, the spell broken, the dream over.

But it’s me that’s under your spell isn’t it? It’s me who’s trapped, my soul tethered to yours forever.

Some days I feel like you’ve been dragging me around for centuries. Me forever your shadow, ghosting you in silence.

But some nights when you look at me, and you truly see me, it’s like that first moment we saw each other. It’s all new again and I’m more alive than I have ever been, every nerve electric, my heart clattering in my chest, banging out your name.

If only you had looked at me this morning. Just for a second.

It rained all day and I felt like I had lost you.

But I’m always losing you. Every day. Every night.

Please come back to me, please.



Thank you for that, Jackson. Erm, nice meeting you.

Readers, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. But Jackson is not what he seems from this letter. I think he’s very selfish and inconsiderate, but that might just be me.

Purgatory Hotel by Anne-Marie OrmsbyAbout Purgatory Hotel

Dakota Crow has been murdered, her body dumped in a lonely part of the woods, and nobody knows but her and her killer.

Stranded in Purgatory, a rotting hotel on the edge of forever, with no memory of her death, Dakota knows she must have done something bad to be deposited among murderers and rapists. To get to somewhere safer, she must hide from the shadowy stranger stalking her through the corridors of the hotel, and find out how to repent for her sins.

But first she must re-live her life.

Soon she will learn about her double life, a damaging love affair, terrible secrets, and lies that led to her violent death.
Dakota must face her own demons, and make amends for her own crimes before she can solve her murder and move on.

But when she finds out what she did wrong, will she be truly sorry?

You can find Purgatory Hotel on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

About Anne-Marie Ormsby

Anne-Marie OrmsbyOn a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost. Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both. She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school after reading the book The October Country by Ray Bradbury. He was and still is her favourite author and the reason she decided at age 9 that she too would be a writer someday. In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens. In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel and wrote one by the age of 20 that she then put away, fearing it was too weird for publication. She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but again kept it aside after several rejections from publishers. Luckily for her, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books. Her favourite authors include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. She also takes great inspiration from music and movies, her favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher. Anne-Marie moved to London in 2008 where she lives to this day, amidst books and DVDs, with her husband and daughter.

Anne-Marie Ormsby can be found on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.