Life Sentence was a very difficult book to write since it drew on painful personal experiences, shared, I should imagine, by all too many men and women in their middle years: how do you manage to work and look after aged relatives miles away from where you live?
For years my sister and I commuted to Devon from Sheffield and Birmingham respectively to provide as best we could the care that Social Services couldn't offer. Eventually, when my mother was widowed and moved into a care home, my sister heroically surrendered her perfectly happy existence in the North and moved down to keep an eye on things. She has made a much better fist of settling down than my protagonist Fran Harman would ever have done, but such sacrifices should never be underestimated.
Fran's parents are not our parents, but they do share the problems of growing old and losing control of your life, unable to understand that their daughters (do men have similar pressures?) have other responsibilities and indeed personal ties.
For all that, I hope you find Life Sentence an optimistic novel: Fran solves her crimes, sorts out her family problems and embarks on what I hope is a wonderful relationship with an old friend turned lover.
Allison & Busby
31 October 2005
…the different themes relate together in a very satisfying way… Frances Harman… is a very sympathetic character facing the difficulties of her position and age with great determination…
Never a dull moment in a crime novel that probes new boundaries and introduces a war horse of a character who deserves another run.