Author Archives: Joey
Author Archives: Joey
Domenica de Rosa, better known as Elly Griffiths, is a globally acclaimed British crime-fiction novelist. She’s most widely recognized for her Ruth Galloway and Edgar Stephens mystery novel series. Born and raised in England Griffiths diverted from being an editorial director for children’s books to writing some of the most captivating crime-thriller novels of the present generation.
Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels are inspired by the myths and legends surrounding the Norfolk coast and from her husband who gave up his city job to work as an archeologist. Her novels have a unique style that blends English folklore with modern day science which makes for a highly engaging read for crime-fiction enthusiasts.
Today, we take a brief look into the life and career of Elly Griffiths.
Elly Griffiths is a woman with a unique flair to her personality, and her life has been an interesting one. She was born on 17th August 1963 in London. As claimed by the author herself, Elly Griffiths is not only her pen-name, but also her alter-ego which she adopted right when she got into writing crime fiction novels.
Griffiths spent the first five years of her life in London, after which her family moved to Brighton, an English seaside resort town on the south coast (now part of the city of Brighton and Hove). Being around the picturesque English coast provided her with a great deal of inspiration in writing her novels and most of her mystery novels are based in and around the quaint coastal areas of England.
She went to a local state school and wrote her first book at the tender age of 11. It was a murder mystery set in the village of Rottingdean, a place where she still resides. By the time she entered secondary school, Griffiths was writing fan fiction episodes of Starsky and Hutch.
Here, Elly talks about her writing and also discusses one of her novels, “Woman In Blue“.
She always had a flair for writing literature and knew from early on in her life that writing was the career she was destined for.
Upon leaving school, Elle studied English at King’s College in London and started her first job in a library immediately after graduating. She then moved on to writing for a magazine and finally joined HarperCollins as a Publicity Assistant.
Elle loved working in publishing thanks to her love for literature, and quickly became the Editorial Director for children’s books at the company. The job made it hard for her to devote time towards writing and it was only in 1998 when on maternity leave that she went on to publish her first novel titled “The Italian Quarter.”
The most intriguing fact about the Ruth Galloway series is that Elle drew inspiration for the entire plot of the first novel “The Crossing Places” from her husband who quit his day job to become an archaeologist. The Ruth Galloway series had its inception following an interesting incident which occurred when Elle, along with her family, was on holiday in Norfolk.
As they were walking along the Titchwell Marsh, her husband narrated a story of a prehistoric man who considered the marsh to be sacred. Folklore had it that the marsh was a ‘bridge to the afterlife,’ it was neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. Somehow, this story inspired Elle to begin the Ruth Galloway series, the first novel of which was released in 2009.
The Ruth Galloway Series is undoubtedly one of the finest works of crime-fiction in recent times thanks to a touch of eerie mysticism blended carefully into an incredibly captivating plot. The protagonist of the novels, Ruth Galloway, is a forensic archaeologist who teaches at the University of North Norfolk.
She resides in a remote seaside cottage near King’s Lynn in Norfolk. She is called upon by the DCI, Harry Nelson when the bones of a child are discovered near a prehistoric site on the north Norfolk salt marshes.
Ruth’s makes use of her adept intuition and expertise in the field to investigate the crime but finds herself in danger from a vicious murderer just as she gets close to uncovering the truth.
The Ruth Galloway series has exceptionally well-constructed plots combined with beautifully detailed imagery depicting the eerily beautiful English coast.
It’s a refreshing read and definitely a treat for fans of crime fiction, especially those who enjoy elements of mysticism and mythology in the plot.
This is the newer series written by Elly Griffiths, with five police procedural novels released at the time of writing. Set during the 1950’s in Brighton, the home town of the author, it brings together DI Edgar Stephens and stage magician Max Mephisto who make for a very diverse and unlikely pair of crime fighters.
The first book in the series, The Zig-Zag Girl, investigates a murder that reminds Stephens of a magic trick that he had seen, resulting in him enlisting the help of Max, a wartime colleague and friend who served with him in a special operations army unit in World War II that incorporated the use of magic trickery against the enemy. Max is now a full-time stage musician and actor and is reluctant to leave his burgeoning career to help solve a mystery but it turns out that the first victim is a former assistant to his act, so any reluctance is put aside.
This starts the pair on the road to solving mysteries together, a detective along with a master of trickery.
As with the Ruth Galloway novels, the author knows the locales intimately, using real street names and locations, something that always makes for a better read in my eyes.
Elle Griffiths is a phenomenal writer whose books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide. She is also the recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award and the prestigious CWA Dagger in the Library Award, an award dedicated to writers of crime fiction.
Apart from the awards, her work has been praised by numerous forums and personalities worldwide. A few of which include the likes of Louise Penny, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press.
Griffiths currently enjoys a peaceful life near Brighton, England, where she lives along with her husband, two children, and a cat. She enjoys socializing with other like-minded people at different festivals and exhibitions. She writes two books a year, one for each of the two mystery series to her name.
Anne Perry is an internationally acclaimed English novelist who is widely recognized for her bestselling Thomas Pitt and William Monk detective novels. Born in London, Perry’s life itself makes for a story that wouldn’t seem out of place in a crime fiction novel. With a massive list of titles to her credit, Perry is hailed to be one of the finest writers of the historical crime fiction genre of this generation. Perry’s novels have sold over 26 Million copies worldwide, with her Victorian Age novels featuring Thomas Pitt and William Monk being bestsellers. Her sheer volume of work is incredible enough on it’s own and when combined with the quality of her work, she stands out from the crowd. Today, we will take a small tour of Perry’s rather intriguing life.
The early life of Anne Perry had been one that had seen several unpleasant events, some of which are rather dark in nature. She was born in Blackheath, London on 28th October 1938 and was the daughter of a well-known physicist, Dr. Henry Rainsford Hulme. Early in her life, Perry was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent to the Caribbean, and later to South Africa, in hopes that a warmer climate would prove to be a cure for her ailment. In 1948, Perry, along with her family, moved to a private island off the coast of New Zealand where Perry enjoyed a life of luxury and independence.
By the time she turned ten, Perry had missed nearly three years of school. But thanks to her mother who taught her to read and write at an early age, Perry had been able to catch up and swiftly grew fond of literature. Unfortunately for Perry, bad times seemed to catch up with her yet again as she fell ill once again at the tender age of thirteen. This left her parents with no choice but to take her out of school and as a result, Perry never received any further formal education.
The darkest phase of her life came at the age of fifteen when she, along with her best friend Pauline Parker, murdered Parker’s mother, Honorah Reiper. The duo committed the crime on 22nd June 1954 in a park in Christchurch where they battered to death Honorah Reiper with a brick wrapped in stockings. The supposed reason behind the ghastly act was the fact that Anne’s parents were in the process of separation and she was to be taken to South Africa to live with some relatives. The two teenage best friends who were deeply engaged with each other did not want to be separated and hoped the murder would somehow stop their separation.
There was, and continued to be for many years, a lot of speculation raised on her relationship with Pauline Parker, the daughter of her victim. In those times, it was considered a controversial subject.
Perry was convicted of the crime and faced five years in prison after which she changed her original name (Juliet Marion Hulme) to her current one and moved back to England. The Parker-Hulme murder case formed the basis of a Hollywood film, “Heavenly Creatures,” starring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Surprisingly, it was only a few months after the film’s release that the word got out on Anne Perry’s past, most of which was hidden till then.
Her career as a writer didn’t actually begin until 1979 with the publication of her first novel “The Cater Street Hangman,” which introduced us to Detective Thomas Pitt. Following this book’s release she was on a rapid upward spiral.
Anne Perry is most widely celebrated for two of her bestselling Victorian England historical crime thrillers, the Thomas Pitt Series and the William Monk Series. Both of the two novel series feature one male and one female protagonist. The Thomas Pitt series is undoubtedly one of her finest works and deals with the detective Thomas Pitt aided by his wife, Charlotte, who is also well connected in society through family. Often with her relative’s help, they investigate mysterious crimes in the streets of Victorian London.
Set in the timeline between 1880s-1890s, Perry skillfully brings the setting to life through some fantastic use of imagery and wordplay and swiftly gets the readers engrossed in the well-crafted mysteries of Victorian England. The Thomas Pitt series features a total of thirty-two novels with Murder on the Serpentine being the latest installment to the series
The William Monk mystery series is set on a slightly earlier timeline compared to the Thomas Pitt novels, with its events occurring between the years 1850 to 1860. This series features the amnesiac William Monk matched with Hester Latterly, a Crimean war nurse as they put pieces together in uncovering some of the darkest mysteries of Victorian England. Monk’s partner, Hester Latterly plays a crucial role throughout the entire series, often proving to be a better detective than the protagonist.
Here, Anne Perry discusses her William Monk character
Both of these bestselling crime-fiction novel series feature captivating storylines combined with incredibly detailed character-centric themes. The Thomas Pitt and William Monk detective novels are one of the finest specimens of historical crime novels that are a definite must-read for readers who enjoy the crime-thriller genre!
Anne Perry has not been the recipient of many major accolades and awards which in my mind, and in those of far more intelligent people than I, is probably owing to a rather dark past in spite of her incredible talent as a writer. However, Perry did receive the prestigious Edgar Award in 2000 for her short story titled “Heroes.” She has also been the guest of honor at BoucherCON and Killer Nashville.
Much of Anne Perry’s adult life was spent in keeping away from her controversial and tragic past. Now, at the age of 79, Perry lives a secluded lifestyle in Scotland. She lives with three dogs and two cats in a restored stone barn in a tiny coastal village o\n Scotland’s north east coast. She is also rumored to be an avid listener of opera and loves to knit in her free time.
Her biography, The Search for Anne Perry, was released in 2012 and hoped to answer the questions of a vast number of curious minds that want to delve deep into the past of this mysterious writer.
Lonely Hearts (1989)
Rough Treatment (1990)
Cutting Edge (1991)
Off Minor (1992)
Wasted Years (1993)
Cold Light (1994)
Living Proof (1995)
Easy Meat (1996)
Still Water (1997)
Last Rites (1998)
Cold in Hand (2008)
Darkness, Darkness (2014)
Cold Granite (2005)
Dying Light (2006)
Flesh House (2008)
Blind Eye (2009)
Dark Blood (2010)
Shatter The Bones (2011)
Close to the Bone (2013)
The Missing and the Dead (2015)
In the Cold Dark Ground (2016)
The Blood Road (2018)
The Man With a Load of Mischief (1981)
The Old Fox Deceiv’d (1982)
The Anodyne Necklace (1983)
The Dirty Duck (1984)
Jerusalem Inn (1984)
Help the Poor Struggler (1985)
The Deer Leap (1985)
I Am the Only Running Footman (1986)
The Five Bells and Bladebone (1987)
The Old Silent (1989)
The Old Contemptibles (1991)
The Horse You Came In On (1993)
Rainbow’s End (1995)
The Case Has Altered (1997)
The Stargazey (1998)
The Lamorna Wink (1999)
The Blue Last (2001)
The Grave Maurice (2002)
The Winds of Change (2004)
The Old Wine Shades (2006)
Dust ( 2007)
The Black Cat ( 2010)
Vertigo 42 ( 2014)
The Knowledge (2018)
You may have read many critically acclaimed detective novels, but it’s likely that you haven’t come across many characters like Richard Jury. Authored by Martha Grimes, who at the time of writing is now 86 years of age, the Richard Jury series of novels are often referred to as “cozy crime fiction.” But what does the term even mean?
Well, cozy crime fiction implies that the stories are mostly light-hearted, relaxing reads that are meant to be enjoyed over the weekend. However, Grimes has written every book in such a way that it becomes impossible to put down once you have read a few lines.
The plot contains the perfect mix of humor and violence to make the books stand out from the likes of novels published by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, etc. Most of the events taking place in the novels are based in quaint villages and are riddled with numerous quirky characters that are unforgettable.
There is plenty to talk about with this author and her lifetime worth of accomplishments, which we shall now briefly touch upon in this article.
About Martha Grimes and her early life
Martha Grimes can be counted among the top detective fiction authors to come out of America. Born on May 2, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she spent most of her childhood in western Maryland along with her brother. Her father was William Dermit Grimes, city Solicitor of Pittsburgh; her mother was Jude Dunnington, owner of Mountain Lake hotel in western Maryland.
Not much is known about the hobbies and interests of her younger years, but she did earn B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Maryland. She later went on to teach in some prestigious institutes like Montgomery College, Frostburg State University, and the University of Iowa. She never prioritized writing at the peak of her professional career and was only partly content with teaching.
She made a name for herself by writing stories that fall into the category of “literary mystery,” which emphasizes a lot on characters and less on violence, even though many of the victims come to a a rather messy end.. Even though it took nearly 60 years for her to come into the spotlight, she bagged massive recognition for her series of Richard Jury novels. She named each of her novels after fictional pubs.
For those who are just starting to read the series and are doing it out of order, things can appear to be a lot out of place. Of course, readers also agree that most of Grimes’ work is a bit of an acquired taste.
Her first book ever published was in 1981, titled The Man with a Load of Mischief. Only 3,000 copies were printed, and they all sold out faster than expected. Since then, the author has published a book or two every year for the last 25 years.
Here the author describes how she goes about writing her books even though she often doesn’t really have a plot in mind at the outset.
About the best-selling Richard Jury novels.
Richard Jury is the lead character in the series of mystery books written by Martha Grimes. He is introduced as a Chief Inspector, who later goes on to become a Superintendent. The detective is almost always assisted by his friend, Melrose Plant, who hails from a lineage of British aristocrats, who he met in the first Jury novel, set in the fictional village of Long Piddleton, Northamptonshire. His other “sidekick” is Alfred Wiggins, the sergeant he can always count on.
Jury is moody and melancholic in nature, which is perhaps because of growing up as an orphan to some extent. He lived a hard life; he lost his father in combat during the Second World War, and the mother died in the German bombing of London when Jury was only four years old. Even though his uncle took him in, the experience of living as a family came to an abrupt end when the uncle also died.
The detective is portrayed to be handsome and kind-hearted, making him attractive to women of all sorts. However, like most detective leading characters with troubled pasts, he too struggles with succeeding in romantic relationships. Jury is sometimes portrayed to be such a womanizer, that he even becomes an object of envy by his friend, Plant, who is somewhat more cultured.
None of the two men are particularly successful in maintaining relationships, and perhaps that is one of the few binds that hold them together. The novels are set in the recent past, and according to The Dirty Duck, published in 1984, Jury was then aged 43. Miss Grimes opted to keep both the lead characters under 50 by often slowing down the time passed between novels. Perhaps she never thought this series would be such a success!
As touched on above, I recommend that you read these books in order if at all possible.You will find that some characters appear and disappear and it can be a little confusing, but each book does stand on it’s own merit, so don’t let that stop you.
Awards and honors
35 years ago, Martha Grimes was a single mother battling alcohol addiction. It wasn’t until her late 40s that she entertained the thought of becoming a published author. And now, at 86 years of age, she’s going strong as ever. After winning the Nero Award for the Jury series in 1983, she won the Grand Master Award at the Edgar’s in 2012.
Her books have been published in over 17 countries and have sold over 10 million copies in the US alone. However, Richard Jury is not the only series of novels she is renowned for; her Emma Graham series featuring a 12-year-old girl detective is also widely known. She is arguably most popular in Germany, where there is a show airing that’s based on the Jury novels.
Despite only having started writing after hitting 50, and the first time she was featured on a bestseller’s list was at the age of 56. Ms. Grimes’ life tale is nothing short of an incredible story itself and how she turned her life around is a source of inspiration for many fans and admirers.
Today Martha Grimes now shifts between homes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Washington DC. Her last Richard Jury novel was published in 2014 and it isn’t known when the next book will be released.
She has been very active with charity work, and has donated a lot of her royalties to organizations that give shelter and protection to animals that had suffered abuse.
The latest Kindle, the Kindle Oasis, has more features than it’s predecessors which is not unusual, but it also brings yet another dimension to reading – it’s waterproof.
Yes, it can tolerate water up to 2 meters deep, which unfortunately takes you deep sea divers out of it, and withstand being underwater for a whole hour. Why anyone wants to read underwater beats me, but I imagine it’s simply designed for the average klutz in this world. Reading in the shower is also a possibility I suppose, so if your significant other isn’t around to play with, you can take your Kindle with you – not quite the same, but to each their own.
The slimmest yet at only 3.4 mm (less than 1/4 of an inch), and the lightest at under 200 g (about 6 ounces).
The screen is 7 inches as opposed to 6 inches on previous models.
Memory capacity of 8GB or 32GB – enough space for thousands of books. Previous models 4GB – still ample room for most people.
Battery life up to six weeks.
Includes Audible which means you can listen to your favorite books as well as read them – just not at the same time. Basically, you can be reading your book on your Kindle Oasis, and let’s imagine you then have to get in the car and drive somewhere, you can carry on listening from where you left off.
A feature that is not new with this model but a reminder of just one of the amazing features:
Ever carried on reading a book that you had not looked at for a few days or weeks, and couldn’t remember, for example, the details of one of the characters and what they had said or done? I have, many times. Well, the X-Ray timeline view lets you easily flip through passages to remind yourself of what’s happened in the book.
It also allows you to see all the passages across a book that mention relevant ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places, or topics of interest. If, for example, you are reading a book set in Dover, England, you can look up more information about that city directly on your device. The relevant information is stored on the device or the app – you do not need an internet connection. Not all books have this feature.
Here’s a quick demo of the first Kindle that was equipped with X-Ray”
Do you like the idea of this new Kindle? Then how about trading in your old Kindle?
The price, set at $249, is not exactly cheap, but if you want the latest including the fact it’s waterproof, you pay for it. If you’re prone to dropping things in the water, or reading in the bath or shower, then this might be for you. The added feature of Audible is interesting and in my mind, useful, but for myself, I’m fine without upgrading.
I reviewed the Kindle Paperwhite before, and at $119. it does everything I need.
Either way, check out Kindle – it’s changing the way we read, which may or may not be a good thing.
See the Roy Grace Novels at Amazon………..
Peter James is one of the most flamboyant crime fiction writers of the 21st century, and true crime fiction aficionados must already be familiar with his work. If you are among the few who have not come across his work, then you should immediately get on with it, once you are done reading this article.
Peter James was born on 22nd August 1968 in Brighton, East Sussex, England. His mother Cornelia James was the Glovemaker to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, and she ran the business with his father who was a chartered accountant. Fun fact, another famous writer’s father was also a Glovemaker for the British royal family, and his name just happens to be William Shakespeare.
James attended Charterhouse School, after which he went to Ravensbourne Film School. Interestingly, his humble beginnings can be traced back to his film school where he worked as Orson Welles’ house cleaner. For those of you who are not familiar with Orson Welles, he was a legendary film director, writer, actor and more. He is most well-known for directing Citizen Kane, for which he also won an Oscar.
Following his time at Ravensbourne, Peter James went on to spend several years in North America, where he worked as a screenwriter and film producer. James started out his work in Canada as a gofer. After a short stint as a gofer, he then went on to become a writer on the children’s television series Polka Dot Door.
Before James began his work on the highly acclaimed Roy Grace novels, he created a huge controversy in 1994 when Penguin published his novel, Host, in print format as well as on floppy disks. It was the world’s first electronic novel, but the mainstream media did not take too kindly to it. Many newspapers across the world were infuriated by this as they thought Peter James was trying to destroy the novel.
However, a wise man once said that all publicity is good publicity, and that is especially true in this case. In fact, in 1996, James became the media spokesperson for what was soon to become the digital publishing age. He was even invited as a keynote speaker at the UCLA conference alongside Steve Jobs and the CEO of Time Warner, to shed some light on this topic.
Since then, Peter James has written a total of 35 novels, out of which 13 are from the highly popular Roy Grace series. The first novel from the series, “Dead Simple”, was released in May 2005 and ever since then, James has consistently published a Roy Grace novel every year. Interestingly, his novels have always come out in either the month of May or June.
Here, in this 2012 interview at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, Peter James talks about his latest book at the time, and his writing.
This international best-selling crime thriller series has sold over 18 million copies around the entire world. Moreover, James’ Roy Grace novels have given him 11 back-to-back UK Sunday Times number ones, as well as number ones in various countries, including Germany, Canada, Russia, and France. On top of that, he is also a New York Times bestseller. If that was not enough, then the fact that his Roy Grace novels were translated into 37 different languages should definitely impress anyone.
Now, let us talk a bit about Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and the dawn of his story. As described by James himself, Roy Grace is a unique detective, who is based in the city of Brighton, England which was notoriously famous for being inhabited by first division criminals.
Detective Roy Grace keeps an open mind to all the different methods of police work, after suffering the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Sandy. While he is solving a case, he is always on the lookout for clues that will lead him to his wife; this is a recurring theme in his books. Another prominent aspect of his novels is that there are generally two seemingly totally separate storylines that James expertly brings together in the later stages.
Up until 2017, Peter James has been shortlisted for a total of 44 awards, out of which he has won quite a few. That is impressive when you consider the fact that it is more than the number of novels he wrote. While we cannot list all his awards for the sake of this article, we will list a few of them.
In the year of 2012, Peter James received the “US Barry Award, Best British Crime Novel of 2011”, for his thrilling Roy Grace novel, “Dead Man’s Grip”. He also won the “Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year”, in the year of 2014 for yet another Roy Grace novel, “Want You Dead”. Apart from winning awards for his novels, has also received awards such as “The 2013 Argus Outstanding Contribution To Sussex Award”. He was even awarded the “Sussex Police – Outstanding Public Service Award 2012” for his support of the Sussex Police force.
Nowadays, Peter James splits his time between his country home in Brighton, Sussex and his apartment in Notting Hill, London. He shares a deep interest and love for criminology, science, animals and fast cars. In fact, he has confessed to being a true “petrol head”.
He has owned several fast cars, including a Bentley Continental GT Speed, an AMG Mercedes, a Brabus Mercedes, two stunningly beautiful Jaguar E-Types, a 1987 Mercedes 500SL, and four Aston Martins among others.
Moreover, his love for cars does not just end with his incredible collection. He holds an international racing license and has competed in quite a few racing events. Currently, Peter James races three cars, namely, his 1965 BMW 1800 Ti, a 1958 Austin A35 and finally, his 1958 Fiat Abarth Evocation. He also managed to rank in the top 10 along with his co-driver, Steve Soper, in the St Mary’s Trophy at the Goodwood Revival racing event of 2013.
Just like his passion for cars, he also has a deep love for animals. He has multiple dogs, hens, alpacas, emus and even Indian Runner Ducks. James’ love for a wide variety of things is almost synonymous with the character of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.
He is very generous with devoting his time to charities and many philanthropic endeavors ranging from supporting the Sussex police, a local hospice, and helping people to read, among several worthy causes.
He continues to live out his life to the fullest, and for the sake of crime fiction aficionados, we hope that he keeps pumping out more exciting novels in the years to come.
Frost At Christmas (1984)
A Touch Of Frost (1987)
Night Frost (1992)
Hard Frost (1995)
Winter Frost (1999)
A Killing Frost (2008)
The following novels were written, with the consent of the Wingfield family, under the pseudonym of James Henry.
First Frost (2011)
Fatal Frost (2012)
Morning frost (2013)