The Fourth Friend by Joy Ellis
FOUR LOST FRIENDS. FOUR TASKS TO COMPLETE. ONE BIG MYSTERY LEFT.
Police detective Carter McLean is the only survivor of a plane crash that kills his four best friends. He returns to work but he is left full of guilt and terrible flashbacks. So for each of his four friends he decides to complete something that they left unfinished.
Eighteen months before the crash, Suzanne Holland disappeared, leaving a room with traces of blood, but no other leads. Suzanne was the wife of one of Carter’s four best friends.
Adding to the pressure, the boss’s daughter has a stalker. Due to the sensitivity of the Holland case, Carter is put on this investigation.
DS Marie Evans is the only person Carter can confide in. But even she begins to doubt whether he can really cope and whether he is actually losing his mind.
DI Jackman and DS Evans of the Fenland police face a battle to untangle three mysteries, and can they really believe their friend and colleague Carter?
Questions that readers ask me.
How did you start working with Joffe Books?
My first two books were taken up by Robert Hale and produced as hardbacks. Although at the time, seeing my books published was a dream come true, I arrived at a rather bad time in the mainstream publishing world. My last royalties were so low that my agent paid me in postage stamps as it wasn’t worth writing a cheque! Then my lovely agent sadly passed away, and just as I was about to throw in the towel and give up writing for ever… I had a call from Jasper Joffe. As we talked I knew that things were about to change, I just never realised quite how radical that change would be. I love working with Jasper and the Joffe books team and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for me, (and for Nikki Galena, and Rowan Jackman, and Stella North!)
What’s your favourite/ most memorable reader review?
Tough one. Some of them have left me speechless; several have reduced me to tears, in a good way! I really could not pick a favourite, and I honestly think I would feel like a bit of a show-off to start quoting 5* reviews. However, I did love a comment at the end of one review that said, “I wish Joy Ellis could write a book a day!” So does Joy Ellis!
Do you get a lot of fan mail?
Quite a bit. I do have to be structured in taking the time to reply to everyone, or I could finish up with no time left for writing. However, I try to deal with incoming mail as quickly as possible, and I do answer every email. If someone has been kind enough to contact me, the least I can do is thank them and have a bit of a chat! I have had some wonderful letters and now have a band of Fen Followers all around the world. They are lovely people and I’m proud to keep in touch with them. I know some of them almost as well as my close friends. I know their dogs names, where they go on holiday and what they are growing in their gardens. We swap photos and stories. It’s quite amazing what books can do to bring people together.
Are the Fens really so full of mysteries?
On a misty morning, should you take a shortcut across the fen lanes, you would agree that it certainly is, especially if you get lost, and that’s very easy to do. The area abounds in folklore, and parts, although the fens are farmed, are very remote. There are still villages, miles from anywhere, with no bus service and no facilities at all. The skies however, make this part of the country very special. 360 degrees of sky with every imaginable type of cloud, and sometimes a Lancaster bomber or Spitfires and Hurricanes growl their way overhead. And sunsets! Ah, the sunsets. I must have hundreds of photographs taken from the bottom of my garden and looking across the fields to where the sun goes down. Hundreds of shots of the same view, and everyone different.
Will you ever set a mystery in London?
I love London. I started work as an apprentice in Mayfair in the 60’s, then moved up to live there for many years. It was a tough, but magical time. Because of the nature of the books I write now, I doubt I would set a crime novel there. My location is the fenlands, and so much of the character’s lives are tied up with here. One day though, maybe I’ll write an account of being a young woman in 1960’s London. I certainly do have some stories to tell!
Do you like TV crime shows?
I rarely get time to watch them! But, yes, I love them, especially Endeavour. I think that is one of the best. I love the combination of the hard-hitting storylines, the portrayal of the police force at the time, and the highly charged emotional lives of the characters. A lovely synergy. I think British crime drama is unsurpassable, and we have some amazing actors. Anyone want to give DI Nikki Galena a chance??
What does your partner think about your books?
Jacquie is as astounded as I am! But she says to say that she is very proud of me. And I’m very proud of her too. She was a serving police officer for thirty years and was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery. Without her I would never have been able to write as confidently as I do; her help with police procedural and judicial law is invaluable. And she makes very good tea!
Web site: http://www.joyellis.info
“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!
And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!”
ALSO BY JOY ELLIS
THE NIKKI GALENA SERIES
Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS
JACKMAN & EVANS
Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON
Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS
Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND