Five on Friday with Alison Lingwood #FiveOnFriday

I’m delighted to feature author Alison Lingwood today. We met at one of the regular Stoke author/blogger meets ups. We initially bonded over dog related stories and reminiscences which is always a good start for me. Alison has written a series of detective stories featuring Detective Christopher Timothy and they are all set in North Staffordshire.


Alison Lingwood


About Alison

Alison was born in south Manchester and has two children. Her daughter, son-in law and granddaughter live locally in Newcastle under Lyme. Her son, daughter in law and grandson live in London.

Having worked in the civil service and as a secretary she then trained as a teacher and taught in a Further Education College before setting up her own training and development business, working primarily on contracts with the Welsh Assembly Government.

Hobbies include reading, writing, gardening and quizzes as well as visiting car boot sales and charity shops.

Her first book Portal to Murder was published in 2012, since when a further five books in the series have been published, also through Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. A seventh novel in the series is due for publication early in 2020.

So over to Alison:-


Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?


Difficult this as music doesn’t play a massive role in my life, but here goes

Everything I own by Bread. David Gates wrote this just after his father, and mine, had died and it always resonates with me as something very beautiful.

Norwegian Wood by the Beatles. My early teens and this made an impact on me because it was so different from all the music I had heard before – my parents’ taste and so on. Still know all the words.

The Chain by Fleetwood Mac aka the theme music to Formula One Racing. I’ve not followed the racing so much in recent years, but at one time every race weekend was a festival of practice, qualifying and race day; and the music of course.

Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix takes me back to 1967 when I saw Hendrix perform in Manchester, including playing the guitar with his teeth. Backing groups The Move, The Nice, Pink Floyd and Amen Corner. Tickets cost £1. Amazing.

The Dam Busters Theme Back to my dad. This was his favourite film and music that I think defies anyone to remain unmoved.


Which 5 things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without


A dog, or dogs, in my life. When we lost both of our beagles during 2018 it was awful going home to an empty house.

Books. Real books with paper pages, not electronic books. I don’t care if they are tatty and scuffed – it just means they’ve been loved.

My computer. Although this is a love/hate relationship. I couldn’t publish my work without it, yet I hate the feeling of dependence, and impotence when it goes wrong.

Wine. Preferably Merlot if anyone’s offering.

My car. It’s a basic model, inexpensive make but it gets me where I want to go


Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?


Remember what’s right for everyone else isn’t necessarily right for you. Be yourself

Not being an achiever at 16 years old doesn’t mean you’ll never amount to much. I started university when my daughter started school, and later achieved an MSc just before I turned 50.

Have confidence in your own ideas

Make a will that’s clear and cannot be misinterpreted

Grown-ups don’t always know best


Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.


Wrote and published my first novel aged 60

Not a fan of Indian food

Basically I’m very shy but these days I think I hide it quite well

As well as the murder mystery series I have also written several short stories of the “feel good” type and hope to publish a collection

My great-uncle was a Bishop based in Hydrabad.


What are 5 things you’d like to do? 


To be able to do basic repairs around the house, so I’m not always waiting for someone else.
To be more domesticated
To be able to continue to keep rescue hens in the back garden instead of being unable to look after them properly any more.
To make people understand that I don’t want to go on an exotic holiday/round the world cruise but am happy in the UK.
To understand how to use my technology better and get the best from it.



Thanks for joining us today Alison. I’m pretty envious of you seeing that concert. What a line-up, I was never a Jimi Hendrix fan, but would happily have paid a £1 to see those backing groups. I fully understand that empty house feeling without a dog, mine has a dog shaped hole at the minute. I’m also a big believer in be yourself and also went to university a little later in life. I’m not a big fan of Indian food either – most of it is too spicy for me. I’m beginning to see why we get on!



Alison’s Books


Portal to MurderPortal to Murder

This is a story of the use and misuse of the internet.
Angela is a bored, middle-aged spinster approached on the internet by an ex schoolfriend Kevin.

Concerned that her boring existence will not hold his interest, she weaves a fabric of lies, becoming more and more obsessed with her fantasy life.

But Kevin too is not who he claims to be, and the relationship between the two of them leads to death and destruction.



The Bridport DaggerThe Bridport Dagger

This is the second novel to feature DI Christopher Timothy.

On the night upon which Chris and his wife Pippa arrive in Dorset on holiday, two deaths occur in separate parts of the country.

With the holiday interrupted, DI Timothy works alongside an unknown team to investigate the local death. He has to delve back over forty years, and expose a further tragedy, in order to make sense of the mysterious events.



A Wild Kind of JusticeA Wild Kind of Justice

When a survey is ordered on a building site over a defunct coal mine in north Staffordshire, part of a human body is unearthed.

Christopher Timothy, now a Detective Chief Inspector, is put in charge of the investigation, until murder comes calling too close to home, when it stalks through his property and touches an old acquaintance.




Stains of SuspicionStains of Suspicion

Ben Hanchurch gave the shroud a professional flick, to reveal the face. For a moment they thought Clive was overcome with emotion, but then he said decisively, ‘That’s not my sister.’
So who is the mystery woman in the morgue? How and why did she die? And what has happened to Clive Boulstridge’s sister?
DCI Christopher Timothy, back at work part-time after an attack left him unconscious for months, comes into conflict with his partner as he tries to make sense of these riddles, and his new place within the team.



The Calibre of DeathThe Calibre of Death

Staffordshire villagers, concerned at the development of the HS2 rail link, attend a protest meeting. Next day one of their opponents is shot dead having cancelled an important meeting.

DCI Timothy heads up the case, while juggling turmoil at home when his young sister-in-law comes to stay.




Immersed in MurderImmersed in Murder

Returning from holiday to find a body in your home is the stuff of nightmares. Who is the mystery woman?

Where are her clothes and personal effects? Why has she been left in the home of a family apparently unknown to her?

In this sixth DCI Chris Timothy novel, the detective works with his old colleague Pete Talbot across two policing areas to solve these puzzles.


The seventh book in the series is due out early 2020



  1. Most people forget the Bread version of Everything I Own. A brilliant song, and a sentiment I relate to. Great gigging experience there, too. Perhaps I could get a guest post on my Gigging Years series. I’ll look forward to that conversation with Alison at the next Stoke event!
    Yet another great post, Jill

    Liked by 1 person

      • As you may have gathered from the range of gigs I went to, I wasn’t the most discerning of concert-goers. Any kind of music as long as it was entertaining. Funnily enough, I saw Bread twice, so I’ve heard Everything I Own live – just haven’t got around to those gigs yet. Similarly, I have seen Pink Floyd and, although I’m too young for The Move, I did see ELO, there was some crossover with Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan.
        If you fancy doing a guest post about a gig (or series of gigs) you went to, feel free to write one and send it to me. I’ll schedule it in and let you know when it’s going live.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Should I ever feel the urge to share my teeny bopper experiences I’ll be in touch. Not sure that Mud, the New Seekers, Showaddywaddy and David Cassidy would go down too well. I did have some more ‘respectable’ ones later though, Joan Armatrading, Rod Stewart, Squeeze and Phil Collins to name a few.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As I’ve seen Mud (without Les Gray, sadly), Squeeze, Rod and PHil – albeit with Genesis – and had a drink with a member of Showaddywaddy, I think it’s safe to say I’d be happy to read about any and all of your gigging experiences – even the New Seekers!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aww Les Gray was the best thing about Mud! You have a fairly eclectic taste in music too – my concerts in the past year have included Josh Groban, Enrique Iglesias, Joan Armatrading, Juan Martin and Ralph McTell so still mixing it up. Have a great Christmas and happy gigging!


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