I love writing about antiques dealer Lina Townend. The natural daughter of the disreputable Lord Elham, she's turned out better than anyone could expect after an early life in care - missing school, dabbling in drugs, involved in petty crime. Fortunately for her she was adopted morally, if not legally, by another of my favourite characters, Griff Tripp. It's fun doing the research, too. All those antiques fairs I'm absolutely compelled to visit!
The starting point in her latest adventure actually happened to my husband and me. We were driving quietly along a Cotswold road one bright sunny morning when we spotted the body of a young man lying inaccessibly in a field. Like Lina, when we couldn't rouse him, we did the obvious thing and called the police. Our body didn't, like Lina's, disappear. Prompted by some firm handling by the police, it got to its feet and staggered into consciousness. Yes, he'd enjoyed a May Ball at a local college rather too well, managing to cross two main roads and two hundred yards of open field before deciding to fall asleep.
We don't know what happened next. And that's what so nice about being a writer - you can invent the rest of the story. Inspired by the wonders of the Staffordshire Hoard, I decided to let Lina find a priceless ring. And the story went on from there. Is there a happy ending? Read it and find out.
Severn House Publishers Ltd
6 October 2010
Lina is an endearing but tough character with a great deal of integrity