Friday, December 29, 2017

Alice Castle - A Talented Crime-Writer

Alice Castle







Please welcome today Alice Castle - a fellow Crooked Cat Books author -  who everyone has their eye on as being The Next Best Thing in Crime-Writing !








   The first in her London Mystery series is Death in Dulwich:

Click on the cover to go to Amazon

Here is my review:

There's murder involved but Death in Dulwich is a great read for a rainy day in front of the fire. Beth, the main character, is a gentle, intelligent and lovely single-mother to a typical nine-year old boy (who tells her that his school projects are due that day at six in the morning), and she's determined to find the killer of the Archivist at the school she's just started working for. Red herrings are dotted tantaslisingly about, leading the reader to one possible conclusion after another. Beth makes an excellent sleuth - she's determined too. Rather more so than Harry York, the detective who (to my mind) is sexy as hell. As this is subtitled "The London Murder Mysteries 1" - I have every hope that York emerges again in the next book, and Beth too. Together I hope...let's see. Alice Castle has a tendency to tease. Loved the story (and Beth's fringe).

I loved the book so much, I sidled up to Alice to ask her a few questions:


Sue: For those of us who have never been to (or even heard of) Dulwich, tell us something about the place and why you decided to set your books there.

Alice: Dulwich is a little oasis in south London, a very beautiful and green area which is quite distinct from the districts around it. I was lucky enough to live in Dulwich for four years after returning to the UK from nearly ten years in Brussels and I think the time I spent abroad made me see the place in quite a detached way. I was fascinated by the village feel to a place that is only eight minutes by train from London Bridge. It struck me that it’s about as close as you can get to Agatha Christie’s fictional St Mary Mead (home of Miss Marple), yet still be living in one of the major capitals of the world. I also love the idea that people think they know everybody and everything in a place like this – but there are always secrets swirling around, and they can be deadly.

Sue: Dulwich will be on my itinerary when I next visit London!

Alice’s second book in the London Mystery series is:

Click on the cover to go to Amazon

The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle

Just 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.


Here’s my review (I loved it!)

Inspector Harry York is back! And so is the lovely Beth, archivist at Wyatt's. This is the second in Alice Castle's London Murder series, both of which have been set in well-to-do Dulwich where murders and such just do not happen. But they do - and our Beth (I can say that as I already consider her a friend) unwittingly discovers them. Wandering through Dulwich Art Gallery, Beth comes across a girl's body lying on a sarcophagus. Cue Inspector Harry York. Then another unconscious body is found - a girl from the same class as the other one. Beth finds the coincidence too great and begins her own speculations and investigations (much to York's chagrin).

Ms Castle deftly juggles serious social concerns (teenage angst, bullying) with her light-hearted observations of the Dulwich well-to-do community. Her prose flows beautifully and kept me reading The Girl in the Gallery in almost one go. By the way, what the author doesn't know about the art world, just isn't worth knowing. On top of the mystery, red-herrings, social issues, and wit, The Girl in the Gallery is also an education.


Sue: “The Girl in the Gallery” is a much-awaited second book in the crime/thriller series. Can you tell us about it?

Alice: Thank you so much for saying it’s much-awaited, that’s lovely! I’m really thrilled to have had this book published in 2017, as it’s the 200th anniversary of the Dulwich Picture Gallery opening to the public. My book is set in the Gallery, which is one of my favourite places. The building was designed by Sir John Soane, and it’s a very unusual piece of architecture, not least because it has a rather grisly secret built right into its heart. I won’t say much more, except that you’ll be looking around you a bit more carefully next time you go to an art gallery!

Sue: What a great way to celebrate the Gallery's anniversary. Is it difficult to write crime/mystery/thriller books? (I’m asking this as an author who hasn’t tried yet, but would love to!)

Alice: I absolutely love writing crime fiction and have spent a lifetime reading mystery novels and watching thrillers on TV and in film, which I’m now considering an apprenticeship instead of a shocking waste of time. Writing any book is hard, as we know, but if you love your subject then that makes it worth the effort. There’s definitely something cathartic about killing people! You do have to have an eagle eye for detail, though. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night thinking, that bag couldn’t have been in X’s hand, it should have been on the bicycle,’ or whatever. Readers quite rightly get exasperated by any detail which hasn’t been pinned down (I know I do) so checking the plot is watertight is absolutely mandatory. Thinking of new ways to evade detection in an increasingly technological society is tricky, too – CCTV is not the crime writer’s friend. But don’t let me put you off, I hope you give it a go. I’d love to read your crime novel.

Sue: Well, there may be a bit of crime in my next novel 😀 . Do you have any plans for future books? Can you tell us about them or is it a big secret? Go on…tell us…

Alice: Oh yes, lots of plans, Beth Haldane has only just got started… her next outing will be in Peril in Peckham, once again with DI York helping, restraining or impeding her, depending on who’s point of view you take. And after that? Well, London is a big place…

Hooray! DI York’s coming back. And we’re off to Peckham next…

All about Alice:

Before 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 buy books: MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery  myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich, myBook.to/HotChocolate