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Murder by the Barrel by Lesley Cookman
A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery #18
A new title in the popular cosy crime series by bestselling author Lesley Cookman
When the sleepy village of Steeple Martin announces its first beer festival, the locals are excited. Beer, sun and music, what could possible go wrong?
But when an unexpected death shakes the village, it’s up to Libby Sarjeant to solve the puzzle.
Was it just another rock star death or is there something more sinister afoot?
When I wrote the first Libby Sarjeant book, it wasn’t really intended for publication. It started life in something called “The World One Day Novel Cup”, held over a weekend in the famous Groucho Club in London. It went on to become my dissertation when I went back to university a few years later to do a Master’s degree. I was already a feature writer for business magazines and had worked in the publishing world for years. At the time, the received wisdom in the UK was that this sort of crime story (which was not yet known as “cosy”) was not what the market wanted. A literary agent friend had read it, loved it but said it didn’t stand a hope.
However, someone who had seen the dissertation, a friend from the Master’s course with whom I’d published a charity anthology, had set up a publishing company and asked if I’d written any more of it. I hadn’t, of course, so she asked me if I’d write a little bit more and let her see it. As I had a broken foot at the time and was confined to the couch with my leg up, I did so. And she asked if she could buy it. It was a risk for both of us, but what did I have to lose?
Of course, there was no epublishing then, and no social media, so we relied on the old fashioned method of word of mouth and print books, but somehow, we got by and, having already asked if it could be a series, she asked for a second book. It was at this point I discovered the thriving “cosy” market in the US, informed by an acquaintance who had been writing the same sort of book, which she’d eventually had published by an American company. I was astonished. We had a couple of bookshops in London which specialised in imported fiction, and I went and plundered their shelves.
I was surprised to find that they all followed, more-or-less, the tenets of the Golden Age detective story, in particular, of course, Dame Agatha Christie. I was doing the same thing. Oh, we had a few in the UK already – Simon Brett, Mollie Hardwicke, Natasha Cooper – but nothing like the amount published in the US. After a few years, when epublishing emerged, my publisher put all my backlist, and that of most of her other authors, into ebooks. The subsequent explosion of sales was unexpected and delightful, although sadly, it has slowed down now. And of course we all keep up with each other, and on Amazon US authors and I all appear together in various categories.
The other thing that has amused me over the years is how many authors living in America and Canada write books set in England with British characters. I’m thinking particularly of Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George, whose characters are so very English!
I’m very proud to be upholding this great tradition, and hope to continue to do so for as long as possible. Thank you for reading this.
About the Author
Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. The Libby Sarjeant series is published by Accent Press, who also publish her book, How to Write a Pantomime, with a foreword by Roy Hudd. Lesley is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.
Webpage – http://www.lesleycookman.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/lesleycookman
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