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The Swedish Girl
by Alex Gray
on Tour January 8 – February 12, 2018
Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can
When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.
Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | HarperCollins 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗
A day in the life of Alex Gray
As I am a morning person I am up and about before the sunrise when everything is still quiet and peaceful. First thing to attend to is giving my cats their breakfast. Puskas is a white male cat and very gentle and well behaved (except when he is squabbling with the local Thug-cat!) and Katya, a dark grey female is terribly affectionate and playful. One they have been fed I can be assured that there will be no winding of small furry bodies around my legs and my own day can begin.
I may brew a cup of spiced chai then take it to the lounge where I have my quiet time, reading the scriptures. I use Our Daily Bread and have always found it a good start to the day. Sometimes I will look through my emails on my iPad and deal with anything needing immediate attention but mostly I prefer just to head upstairs to my study which is a converted loft in our country cottage. I will seat myself on the posture chair (rather like swinging into the saddle of a very quiet and stationary horse) and open the laptop, ready to begin the day’s work.
I start by reading whatever I wrote the day before and editing it as carefully as I can. Perhaps years of being a High School teacher of English has molded me into this pattern, but I am a stickler for good vocabulary and just the right way of expressing myself. Once that is done then I can write more of whatever manuscript is ongoing. Sometimes I will write about a thousand words, sometimes a lot more, but I do try to aim for that 1,000 mark.
When my stomach begins to grumble I will leave off and head back down to the kitchen for a good breakfast; half a pink grapefruit followed by fat free bacon, mushrooms, tomato and fried egg (always with Fry Light, never with lashings of oil!) More tea or black coffee then it is off for my shower and out of my nightwear! Once dressed and tidied up it is back to work.
If my husband is at home then a cup of tea or coffee will be slipped onto my desk mid-morning (what a gem he is!) and I will continue to write until I feel that I have come to the end of a particular section or said all I want to say for that day.
Lunchtime is spent with my husband and I often have soup and a wholemeal roll with salad. I love cooking and can whip up a pot of soup in my pressure cooker straight after breakfast sometimes!
Depending on my schedule I will try to have a walk in the fresh air or do some garden work in the afternoon. We have a huge garden and it takes all three of us ages to keep it tidy and full of flowers (the third being a professional gardener and ex-cop who comes twice a month. Very helpful for research purposes at times too!)
Since I do most of the cooking I will be writing lists for shopping, browsing amongst my (far too extensive) collection of recipe books and pre-planning the week’s meals. I love food shopping but if I am too busy then my husband will do that particular chore for me. Some days I will be out and about meeting experts in their field and interviewing them for research purposes. I have an extensive list of contacts amongst the police and forensic services and it is always a pleasure to talk to any of them. Asking the right questions can really help to push the plot of a book along.
Around 4 pm I will begin to think about dinner and start to prepare the evening meal. I do lots of batch cooking, though, so the days I am away (at literary festivals or signing books) I can always defrost a meal from the freezer the night before. I have a lot of fruit trees and bushes and love making jams and marmalades in season. One day in January my husband and I spend all day making Seville Orange marmalade as these particular fruits only come into our shops for a very short season. No writing that day!
My evenings are often spent giving talks in libraries or at literary festivals but when at home I do like to watch television, particularly University Challenge, a quiz show that involves students from different universities in the UK. I also love wildlife programmes like Blue Planet.
By ten at night I am getting sleepy since I may have been awake as early as four am! I sleep for about seven or eight hours if I can but an inner clock usually wakes me between three and four am. Depending on whether it is my brain or just my body that is awake I may go back to the warmth of my bed or pull on my dressing gown, find my specs and tip-toe upstairs to begin a new day’s work.
Read an excerpt:
From Chapter 9
Kirsty turned the key in the door and closed it behind her with a sigh. The hall was in darkness and there
was no sound coming from the living room. Her shoulders moved up and down in a shrug of resignation; she was alone in the flat again. Then she remembered. Wasn’t there some party that Eva had mentioned? They’d all be there, wouldn’t they? Pulling off her thin raincoat and hanging it on the old-fashioned wooden coat stand, Kirsty sauntered into the bedroom next to the front door, unbuttoning her jacket. It was fair handy having this big room to herself, especially when she was working late shift at the hotel. Nobody would be disturbed by her comings and goings. She took off her shoes and tossed her jacket, bag and mobile phone onto the bed. Oh, it was good to be home. A wee cup of hot chocolate and some of her own gingerbread would go down well, she thought, already imagining her teeth sinking into a thick slab of treacly cake.
She stopped for a moment, listening. There was a swish then a click as the front door opened and closed again. Then, nothing.
‘Colin? Is that you back already?’ Kirsty wandered out into the hall, her bare feet sinking into the pile of the hall carpet, still thick and soft despite all their winter boots tramping back and forth. Eva’s father had spared no expense in doing up this flat for his daughter and Kirsty Wilson was grateful for those small luxuries that were absent from most of her friends’ student flats.
Frowning slightly, Kirsty padded down the unlit corridor, one hand out ready to flick on the light switch as she reached the kitchen. But something made her turn left into the living room instead, just to see if anyone was at home after all.
At first she imagined the girl had fallen asleep, sprawled out in front of the television.
Kirsty moved forward and bent down, expecting the girl to sit up and yawn. One hand reached out to touch the back of her head but then she drew back as though guided by some inner instinct.
She stood up again and stepped around the recumbent figure, unaware that she was holding her breath.
Then, as Kirsty saw the expression in the dead girl’s eyes, the thin wail escaping from her open mouth turned into a scream of terror.
* * *
Detective Superintendent Lorimer crouched over the body, aware of the sounds of voices coming from the hall. The dead girl was lying on her back, one arm flung out, the fist curled tightly in the moment of death. Her head was bent to one side, blond hair partly obscuring her features, but Lorimer could see enough to make him wonder about the cause of death.
‘Manual strangulation?’ he asked, glancing up at the consultant pathologist who was kneeling on the other side of the girl’s body. The on-duty pathologist tonight was his friend, Dr Rosie Fergusson. He glanced at her with his usual admiration for her calm efficiency, knowing how different she could be at home as a doting mother and as the wife of Professor Brightman, an eminent psychologist and sometime criminal profiler who had worked with Lorimer in the past.
‘Looks like it,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands smoothing the hair from the victim’s face, letting Lorimer see for the first time what Kirsty Wilson had found earlier that night.
Eva Magnusson still had that ethereal quality in death that had captivated those who had gazed upon her: Lorimer saw the perfect oval face with flawless skin and bow-shaped lips that were slightly parted as though she had been taken by surprise. He watched as Rosie reached out to close the dead girl’s eyelids, seeing for the final time those pale blue Scandinavian eyes staring out at a world that had proved less than kind.
Excerpt from Swedish Girl by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.
Catch Up With Alex Gray On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, & Twitter 🔗!
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s A Pound of Flesh. The giveaway begins on January 8 and runs through February 14, 2018.
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Great post. I really enjoyed learning more about this author since I am a big fan. And now it seems we have a lot in common. I al also a morning person and also do bulk cooking for the same reason. Plus I send “care packages to my son.