This week I’m delighted to feature Kate Rhodes. Kate is an award winning writer of crime fiction and poetry. She is also a member of the crime writing group Killer Women. Despite both our best efforts we failed to catch up with each other at Harrogate this year, so I’m looking forward to hopefully saying hello at some stage in the future.
Kate Rhodes worked as and English teacher before becoming a crime writer. She published two prize-winning collections of poetry before her first novel was published in 2011. She wrote six psychological crime novels set in her home town of London before beginning her latest series, which is set in the Isle of Scilly, which Kate has visited for many years. Hell Bay, was nominated for the Crime Novel of the Year award in 2018, and the series has been optioned for TV.
So over to Kate:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Music’s always been important to me. I can’t listen to it when I’m writing, but it’s always blasting out when I’m cooking or doing housework, so my neighbours must hate me.
I’d like to choose two songs that remind me of my childhood. My father loved Elvis, so I’ll choose Love Me Tender, and Summertime sung by the late great Nina Simone. I saw her perform at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in my teens, and her voice still sounded glorious.
I also need True by Spandau Ballet, which was inescapable when I got my first job as shop assistant in London. It seemed to be playing in every bar and coffee for months.
I’m a big Scott Matthews fan so I’ll need his beautiful love song Elusive too.
And finally Uptight by Stevie Wonder: I’ve always loved his music but almost any Motown tune will get me on my feet, attempting to dance.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
Writing, obviously. Like all writers I have a love/hate relationship with my computer, but I still feel lucky to make my living from dreaming up stories.
I’d hate to lose Radio 4; it’s provided me with an education and a constant stream of thought-provoking news over the years.
I’d like to keep Wimbledon, please. I’m a useless tennis play but I love watching the game, for its elegant simplicity (and Roger Federer, I admit.)
Lastly, I’d like to keep coffee and chocolate. I’m not crazy about alcohol but love my morning coffee ritual, when it’s accompanied by a chocolate biscuit or two.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Slow down: I panicked about everything when I was young, but feel happier these days. Maybe because I take life at a sedate pace. Almost everything looks better after a siesta, I find.
Learn from your mistakes. I think it took me a while to realise the value of self-reflection, but it feels easier these days.
Give up the day job as soon as you can. I tried to juggle a full-time teaching job with writing for far too long, which made my life difficult for a whole decade.
Seek out the company of other writers. It was only when I became a crime writer and met a great bunch of fellow authors that I realised how much fun and solace comes from having friends who are involved in the same game. These days I have lots of pals to chat to about the wild ups and downs that most writers experience.
Travel more. I’ve gained so much from travelling, I wish that I’d started sooner! I still have several continents to discover.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
My first job was as an usherette at London’s Greenwich Theatre.
I was a poet, before becoming a crime writer.
My husband Dave Pescod is a better writer than me; his short stories have won many competitions and been read on Radio 4.
My stepson Jack Pescod makes his living as a brilliant jazz pianist.
My sister Honor is passionate about the history of London, so I often consult her about plot details.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
I’m happy in my life with Dave, here in Cambridge, and there’s not much I’m yearning to do. But I’d love to return to Venice, to see that magical city of water and light again.
I’d also like to go back to New York.
I’ve never eaten at a Michelin starred restaurant, so that would be fun.
I’d like Scott Matthews to sing for me and my family, in the comfort of my tiny living room.
I am expecting a new grandchild in November and can’t wait to hold him/her in my arms, so I can’t kick the bucket quite yet.
Many thanks for sharing with us today Kate. I need to go and look up Scott Matthews as I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of him. I shall partake of a chocolate biscuit (or two) in your honour while I do so! I’m sure you’ve got some stories to tell from your theatre days? Hope you don’t mind but I’ve included Dave’s book below to share the family book love. I’m with you on New York, I had a short trip several years ago and there is so much to see and do, I’d happily go back again to see the things I didn’t see. Fingers crossed for eating at a Michelin starred restaurant, that I think is do-able. All best wishes for the new arrival in November I’m sure you can’t wait.
Ben Kitto series
DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.
Ben plans to work in his uncle’s boatyard on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of a sixteen-year-old girl is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during the two-day storm.
Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time . . .
THE ISLAND OF TRESCO HOLDS A DARK SECRET SOMEONE WILL KILL TO PROTECT.
Ben Kitto is the Scilly Isles’ Deputy Chief of Police, but as the island’s lazy summer takes hold, he finds himself missing the excitement of the murder squad in London – until the body of a diver is discovered, anchored to the rocks of a nearby cave.
At first it appears that the young woman’s death was a tragic accident, but when evidence is found that suggests otherwise, the islanders close ranks. With even those closest to the victim refusing to talk, Ben questions whether more than one resident might have had reason to harm her . . .
Everyone is a suspect. No one is safe.
INTRUDERS HERE ARE BOUND TO DIE . . .
As the sun sets on a cold November evening, the tiny community of St Agnes prepares for their annual Fifth-of-November festivities. Moments before the fireworks are scheduled to commence, an islander discovers a charred body left on the bonfire, and quickly it becomes clear that a killer is at large.
Ben Kitto is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Scilly Isles, and with a killer on the loose, he has no choice but to forbid all residents from leaving the island. With a population of just eighty people, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.
When threats start appearing, written in the old Cornish language, Ben suspects that the killer’s motive is to rid the island of the newcomers who threaten their traditions. With time running out, Ben hurries to discover the secrets of the island’s peculiar residents, but he knows it’s only a matter of time before another fire is started . . .
No place to run.
No place to hide.
Alice Quentin series
Ray and Marie Benson killed 13 women before they were caught, tried and imprisoned. Five of their victims were never found.
Six years later, psychologist Alice Quentin discovers a woman’s body on the waste ground at Crossbones Yard. The wounds are horrifyingly similar to the Bensons’ signature style. But who would want to copy their crimes?
When Alice is called in to consult, her first instinct is to say no. She wants to focus on treating her patients, not analysing the mind of a murderer.
But the body at Crossbones Yard is just the start, and the killer may already be closer than Alice knows.
At the height of a summer heatwave, a killer stalks the City of London.
The avenging angel leaves behind a scattering of feathers with each body – but why these victims? What were their sins?
Psychologist Alice Quentin only agrees to help out on the case because she owes Detective Don Burns a favour. But soon she finds herself deep in the toxic heart of the Square Mile – a place where money means more than life, and no one can be counted innocent.
Ella Williams is ten years old. She loves her granddad and her sister and her shiny new red shoes.
She’s just been abducted by a killer – someone who kidnaps young girls, holds them for a few weeks then returns their bodies clothed in white foundling dresses.
The crimes are clearly linked to notorious child murderer Louis Kinsella, locked away in a high-security hospital. Is it a copycat? Or is he giving someone direct orders from behind bars?
To save Ella’s life, psychologist Alice Quentin must form a relationship with Kinsella. But he is slow to give up his secrets, and all the while, time is running out…
Jude Shelley, the daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, was assaulted and left for dead in the river Thames. Her attacker was never caught. A year later, forensic psychologist Alice Quentin is asked to re-examine the case.
Then another body is found: an elderly priest, washed up at Westminster Pier. An ancient glass bead is tied to his wrist.
Alice is certain that the Shelleys are hiding something – and that there will be more victims unless she can persuade them to share what they know.
The Thames has always been a site of violent sacrifice. And Alice is about to learn that some people still believe in its power…
Clare Riordan and her son Mikey are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a pack of Clare’s blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of the City of London.
Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatised child uncover his memories – which might lead them to his mother’s captors. But she swiftly realises Clare is not the first victim… nor will she be the last.
The killers are driven by a desire for revenge… and in the end, it will all come down to blood.
When madness and genius collide the results are deadly…
Adrian Stone believes he is a genius. A narcissist, with a psychotic desire to pursue his ambition to become the world’s most revered pianist, Stone joined London’s Royal College of Music as a child prodigy, believing his path to fame was secure. But when his parents decided to send him back to school, he slaughtered them and his older sister in their Richmond home, landing himself in Rampton’s high-security unit.
Nine years later Stone escapes with two goals in mind: to kill those who denied his destiny and pursue his musical ambitions.
As bodies start to appear around London Dr Alice Quentin is brought in from the Met’s Forensic Psychology Unit. But when she realises her name is on Stone’s list of potential victims, the case becomes personal.
Working alongside her boyfriend, DI Don Burns, London’s most successful murder investigator, Alice must stop Stone to save her own life.
Alice realises that there is logic to the music left at each murder scene, and thinks she’s cracked the case, but little does she know what Stone has in store for his grand finale…
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