Here we are on day 22 of the #MysteryNovember book tour.
Our guest today is Nell Peters and her book By Any Other Name
Emily Kelly cannot believe her luck when she is employed as companion to wealthy Sir Gerald Ffinche. (OK, luck had nothing to do with it – but all’s fair in love and job-seeking, right?)
She soon settles in chez Ffinche and builds an excellent rapport with Sir Gerald – but it’s his son Richard who really interests her, and they quickly become inseparable.
However, it seems their happiness has enraged someone closely associated with the family, and a series of tragic events is set in motion. Subtle clues are left to incriminate Emily and when she determines to expose the real culprit, she is spoiled for choice. As the body count mounts, Emily and Richard – as well as the police – are perplexed. They’re clearly looking for someone who projects a mask of sanity to the world whilst being dangerously disturbed: but who?
With a whole shoal of red herrings and a plot that veers from the almost-cosy to a taut psychological thriller, By Any Other Name is an enthralling, chilling whodunit.
Where is your home town?
I spent the majority of my childhood in Twickenham – which everyone and their dog has heard of now courtesy the recent Rugby World Cup, and I’ve lived in a few places, including overseas. However, we bought this falling-down house in Norfolk a fraction over twenty years ago, and so I guess Kings Lynn has become my home town.
What do you like about writing in the mystery genre?
It’s a challenge to come up with a plot that has enough red herrings to lull the reader into a false sense of security, before you knock their socks off, and mentally juggle multiple threads toward a (hopefully totally unexpected) conclusion. Trick is, not to strangle oneself. It’s great when plot twists suggest themselves out of nowhere – but that also means I’m constantly battling with some very weird stuff in my head. However, I tell myself even the most evil thoughts are OK – it’s in the line of duty, after all. I long ago accepted that I have a warped mind.
What sub-genre of mystery does your book fit?
By Any Other Name is essentially a crime novel which hops around other genres. There are healthy doses of romance (though not so healthy for everyone concerned), humour and of course the police investigation into whodunit. There’s also some non-fiction psychological insight – I knew that stupid degree would come in handy sometime.
Where is your book set?
I invite readers to imagine the idyllic English countryside location (as I did) where the main action takes place – though I do mention a Manchester connection early on, to give subtle geographical guidance. Quite honestly, a specific location isn’t vital to the plot in this instance.
Can you introduce us to the main characters?
Emily Kelly is a mature psychology student, who needs a summer holiday job to earn money. She is interviewed by Jemima Ffinche, seeking a temporary companion for her elderly father, Sir Gerald, while she works away. When Emily gets the job and moves to Chaffinche House, she meets Richard Ffinche, Jemima’s brother and they quickly become an item – which rather upsets an old flame of Richard’s. Could bitter and twisted Liz Thorne be the one responsible for the ‘accidents’ which start to happen, with clues left to incriminate Emily? Or there’s odious Kevin Peterson, teenage son of the resident housekeeper and gardener. Enter detective Alan Jenkins and his sidekick Thomas Sutton, tasked with solving who is responsible for a mounting body count.
Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
I have a Nell Peters author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NellPetersAuthor
WordPress is where I rest my blog: http://nellpeters.wordpress.com/
I’m on Twitter @paegon
Where can readers find your book?
The international link to my book on Amazon is: http://viewbook.at/By_Any_Other_Name_by_Nell_Peters
It’s published by Accent Press and is also available from their web site: