The Liar In The Library by Simon Brett
Fethering has everything a sleepy coastal town should: snug English pubs, cosy cottages, a little local library – and the occasional murder . . .
Bestselling author Burton St Clair, complete with soaring ego and wandering hands, has come to town to give a talk. But after his corpse is found slumped in his car, he won’t be leaving. Jude is the prime suspect; she was, after all, the last person to see Burton St Clair alive. If she is to prove her innocence, she will have to dust off her detective skills and recruit her prim and proper neighbour (and partner-in-sleuthing) Carole to find the real culprit.
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) The Liar in the Library is one in my series of Fethering Mysteries, set in an English village on the South Coast and featuring investigators ex-civil servant Carole and healer Jude. In this book a rather self-important writer (one who believes his own publicity) is murdered after giving a talk at Fethering Library.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea, to writing and finally to publication?
A) When writing a crime series, the most important first element is the setting and I had for some time wanted to write a crime novel set around a library. Once I had that, of course, it brought with it a cast of characters – librarians, customers, etc. Then I had to work out how my series characters, Carole and Jude, would become involved in the investigation. After that, it was just a matter of working out a plot and writing the thing.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) I would recommend anything by Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh and Raymond Chandler. With each of them, what I admire is the economy of their writing and their ability to use humour for more than just being funny. I also admire P.G. Wodehouse for the gleeful way he plays with the English language.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) As a child, I enjoyed Enid Blyton, Malcolm Saville and Pamela Brown. I also liked historical novels by authors like Geoffrey Trease and Raphael Sabatini. And I read most of Agatha Christie.
Q) What are you currently reading?
A) I’ve just finished – and greatly enjoyed – The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) The most exciting moment of my literary career was when I heard that my novel, A Shock to the System, was going to be made into a feature film, starring Michael Caine.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) My wife Lucy supported my decision in 1979 to give up my day job as a television producer and has been a great source of strength to me ever since. I am also deeply indebted to Michael Motley, who was my agent for over forty years, and to Lisa Moylett, who is my current agent.