I live in a small fishing town, Brixham on the Devon coast. I’m surrounded by beautiful green farmland at the front of my house and a distant view of the sea at the back of the house. My house is about a mile and a half away from Agatha Christie’s house Greenaway. So, I’m surrounded by inspiration for my Miss Underhay series which is set in 1930’s Devon.

I think every cozy mystery writer admires the skill in ‘And Then There were None’, arguably on of Agatha’s best books. I suppose too as writers we all fancy having a go at writing our own version of a murder set on an island, cut off from the world. Someone must have done it, but who? It is really the ultimate locked room mystery.

Near to me I have Burgh Island, often thought to be Agatha’s inspiration and also a curious rocky outcrop visible from Torquay, called Thatcher’s Rock. No one seems to know for certain how Thatcher’s rock got its name. There are various theories, but the best guess is that a man named Thatcher probably owned it at some point.

For Murder at the Island Hotel, I merged the two places together to create my own island, Bird Island, named after the colonies of birds, that live there. It has a fabulous new hotel built in classic art deco style. There is a small lighthouse and a few cottages.

It’s late February, and a time of year notorious for storms, easterly winds and high tides. The perfect time to ensure that Kitty and her friend Alice are stranded on the island with a small group of thespians testing out the new hotel before it officially opens for the season.

Naturally everyone there has secrets, the hotel owner and his fiancée, the staff and all of the visiting actors. When the hotel owner fails to emerge from his office for dinner it seems they have a suicide on their hands. However, it quickly becomes clear that Sir Norman could not have shot himself, so who is responsible and why?

This is probably the most complicated plot I have ever worked on, with lots of twists and turns and a suitably dramatic finale which hopefully will surprise he reader. So far on net galley early readers have loved it, which is always a relief. Even my copyeditor said she got almost to the end and couldn’t guess who the murderer was or why.

I love writing puzzles so this always makes me happy as it means I succeeded in my challenge.

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A gorgeous island off the English coast, a beautiful hotel perched on the cliffs, a group of glamourous friends… and a suspicious death? Kitty Underhay’s invitation didn’t mention murder!

Spring, 1936. As the boat draws into the harbour of Bird Island, Kitty is absolutely delighted to see the stunning hotel for the first time. She and her friend Alice have been asked to join the distinguished guests before the hotel officially opens its doors, but they have barely unpacked when the owner is found dead in his own study…

Sir Norman’s death looks like suicide. But Kitty isn’t convinced – she cannot find a note, and he is left-handed but was shot on the right side of his head. Kitty tries to reach the police, but a violent storm engulfs the island and the power goes out. Kitty and Alice need to move quickly before anyone else finds death on their dinner menu!

With several old friends amongst their suspects, Kitty decides the investigation should stay secret. But it’s not until Kitty uncovers Sir Norman’s financial difficulties that she’s on the killer’s trail. Can Kitty and Alice catch the culprit in time for tea, or will they become the next guests on the murderer’s list?

Fans of T.E. Kinsey, Agatha Christie or Lee Strauss will adore this warm and witty whodunnit. An utter delight to read!

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