Sophie is still out of full-time teaching…
Once upon a time, as a very new writer, I was helped enormously by being showcased in the long-defunct Birmingham Readers' and Writers' Festival, now replaced by the Birmingham Book Festival. Once or twice I helped behind the scenes - stuffing envelopes, for example. Sophie's gone much further than I. Instead of being involved with the hard-working, decent people responsible for the Readers' and Writers' Festival, she finds herself - as you'd expect - in the middle of a murder.
Curiously, the key idea came not from the Festival, but from a conversation I had with a Scene of Crime Officer, who outlined a real life locked room mystery he'd once had to deal with. I was so enthralled I set it at the heart of Sophie's enquiry.
I have to admit the novel ends with a little wish-fulfilment: look at the last chapter and you'll see what I mean.
3 May 2001
…the most popular character in crime fiction at the moment.