I used to be a doctor but I now write crime fiction with a very unhealthy dose of medicine! My debut, Death By Appointment is due for re-launch by Bloodhound Books in January 2022. It is the first in the Dr Cathy Moreland Mystery series, in which Cathy, an overworked general practitioner recuperating from a severe mental breakdown, travels to a remote Scottish coastal village hoping to find peace. While there, she is told of a tragedy from thirty years ago when a local woman jumped from the rocky headland clutching her newborn baby. Hearing this, Cathy is obviously upset but when another tragedy occurs at exactly the same spot, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. A deadly malice creeps the winding lanes that surround the hamlet. Its stealthy footfalls are tender and reassuring but its true intent is as cruel as the sea itself ...
The book is a heartfelt murder mystery and I hope the solution will challenge even to most ardent murder mystery fans. When I’m not plotting murders, I enjoy reading my ever-expanding British classic crime collection and riding my three horses.
Are you working on something now?
I have finished writing the first seven books in the Dr Cathy Moreland Mystery series and am already plotting the eighth! The series will be published throughout 2022. Having a doctor as a protagonist is great fun! She meets lots of interesting characters and gets herself into many perilous situations going about her business! Having worked as a doctor myself, I can provide some very authentic insider details that might be amusing and eye-opening to some of my readers!
Tell us about yourself?
Which six books will you take to the Island?
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
This book is like a fleecy jumper and hot mug of tea for me. I still remember reading it for the first time when I was fifteen and felt as if I would never be the same person again. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny, but the whimsical satire mixed with romance never fails to floor me.
The Nine Tailors – Dorothy L. Sayers
I realise that this is probably a controversial choice for Sayers’ enthusiasts but it was one of the first ones I read and quite apart from the beautiful writing and my love-at-first-sight swoon on meeting Lord Peter Wimsey, I was struck by the solution to the crime. It stayed with me for such a long time and when I’m writing now, I still find myself trying to emulate the shock factor that Sayers managed in this book.
The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey
Like many of my favourite books, my father recommended and then gifted this to me. It is a quiet unobtrusive mystery solved from a hospital bed. It might be low on action but the mental agility required to make the book sing as it does to the reader is a real triumph.
The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
I moved straight from Enid Blyton to Christie and had to be forcibly moved on to other books by my English teacher at school! For me, this was the grown-up world of the Famous Five. I felt as if I’d made the most amazing discovery and I became obsessed with all mysteries after this. Of course, it was nearly impossible to choose a single book by Christie but the brilliant twist to The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd will always delight new readers and it deserves its place as one of my top six.
Antidote To Venom – Freeman Wills Crofts
This is another of my dad’s recommendations and he tells a similar story about discovering FWC and thinking he’d struck gold. This is a beautiful and rather ridiculous book, in that the actual crime is quite implausible, but the way FWC deals with the story is breathtaking. We view the crime through the eyes of the killer and his success at completing the perfect murder and then, downfall, is perfectly handled so that we feel repulsion and empathy in equal doses.
Which disc will you take to the Island?
Hey Jude – The Beatles
I hated having to choose one song by The Beatles but I guess this will have to be it. I’ve seen Paul McCartney live twice and I’ve been a Beatles fan since I can remember. Hey Jude feels as if it has always been in my life. I never felt that I learned the words, it was like I was born knowing the whole song. When I’m frightened or anxious about anything, this song is like a prayer for me. I hum it and feel instantly better.
What will be your luxury item?
I was going to say a photo of my beloved son. It’s corny and predictable but his sweet face is the one thing I’d never tire of looking at. But I thought about this a lot and like any mother, I can picture him without seeing him. So I changed my mind. He’s a real talker, even as an irritable teenager, and if I could have a little recording of his voice chattering away, maybe humming in the shower or giggling at a silly in-joke we have, that would be lovely!
Which fictional character will you meet?
I suppose he was my first ever crush growing up. (I have a habit of falling for fictional characters rather than real people!) Sherlock’s intellect is obviously a curiosity, but it’s his flaws that interest me. I think few would disagree that he has a personality disorder of sorts and from a medical point of view, I’d love to take a full psychiatric history from him!