It’s my great pleasure to welcome back crime writer J J Marsh. We met a while ago in a distanced way on Facebook – the two of us belong to the Alliance of Independent Authors – but when she and I were both selected as indie Editor’s Choices in prestigious UK publishing trade magazine ‘The Bookseller’ I invited her to talk to us about her book, Cold Pressed, its world and heroine.
Writer, journalist, teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, Jill has lived and worked all over Europe. Now based in Switzerland, she’s a founder member of Triskele Books, writes for Words with JAM magazine, co-edits Swiss literary hub The Woolf and reviews for Bookmuse.
Why did you write Behind Closed Doors?
After getting heartily sick of crime novels where the only roles for women were mutilated prostitute or ‘feisty kickboxing nubile ladycop’. I wanted to read about women who were good and bad, flawed, complex, morally questionable, physically ordinary and real. So I created Beatrice Stubbs. (And as a reader, I can tell you she’s a wonderful heroine, full of flaws, insight, ordinariness and cleverness at the same time.)
Why do you think Beatrice is like she is?
Beatrice has developed coping strategies after years of struggling with depression and mood swings. After all, she’s from a generation in which mental health is a matter of ‘pulling yourself together’. Her appetites are lusty, her temper unpredictable and her loyalties unswerving. People’s assumptions about her generally work in her favour, so she plays up to them. And still, after all this time, she feels guilty.
What does she think she’s like?
Extract from Human Rites: “Beatrice had always prided herself on a clear-eyed self assessment – she knew she was nothing special. Hard work and application enabled her to rise through the ranks of the Met, because her intelligence was no more than the upper end of average. Talent, kindness and wit, albeit mediocre, were in evidence, as were selfishness and greed. Her looks would never turn heads, apart from her hair, and that caused more alarm than admiration. She lacked vanity, despite a sizeable ego, but on the whole, she’d always quite liked herself. Until her diagnosis.”
Oh, that’s a teaser line to end on!
An unethical banker suffocates. A diamond dealer slits his wrists. A media magnate freezes in the snow. A disgraced CEO inhales exhaust fumes. Four unpopular businessmen, four apparent suicides. Until Interpol find the same DNA at each death.
Beatrice Stubbs, on her first real case since ‘the incident’, arrives in Switzerland to lead the investigation. But there’s more to Zurich than chocolate and charm.
Potential suspects are everywhere, her Swiss counterpart is hostile and the secretive world of international finance seems beyond the law. Battling impossible odds by day and her own demons at night, Beatrice has never felt so alone.
Someone else believes in justice.
The poetic kind.
“Thrilling new crime fiction from a seriously good writer” – Annemarie Neary, author of Siren