The Crime Readers' Association

Author in Lockdown: Merryn Allingham

30th June 2020

Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.

I currently write what might be called traditional crime. It’s historical—the Tremayne Mysteries Series is set in the 1950s—and I have a female amateur sleuth rather than a police procedural. A circuitous route brought me to crime: my first published novels were Regency romances, followed by sagas (at least that was how the publisher labelled them) and then historical mysteries. Now I’m into dead bodies!

Tell us about what you are doing during lockdown/while social distancing?

It’s odd, but I seem to be very busy. Lockdown, of course, is perfect for writing as long as you can conjure up the will. But I’m also trying to make sure I walk every day – I’m lucky to have the South Downs on my doorstep— trying to keep up my Italian through Duolingo, and even trying to keep up with adult ballet classes via video. And then there are the Zoom meetings with friends, with writing groups, my book group. I feel quite exhausted writing this.

How does the above differ from your usual routine?

The main difference, as with everyone I suspect, is that I’ve lost the social life I loved. No coffees with friends, no lunches out, no gallery visits, cinema, shopping trips.

 Tell us about your most recent/forthcoming book.

I’ve written a prequel to the Tremayne Mysteries Series, The Dangerous Promise. It’s set in London and tells the story of Nancy, who made a promise and paid dearly for breaking it! The sustained campaign of terror my heroine faces helps to explain why she takes on the role of amateur sleuth in the rest of the series.

Why will it appeal to lovers of crime fiction?

Readers who enjoy historical settings and feisty heroines should like the book. It has tension and threat, a woman in jeopardy, but should also appeal to readers for whom personal relationships are as intriguing as blood and gore.

What CWA member writers are you reading during NCRM?

I’ve just finished Vaseem Khan’s book,  The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, but I’ve been reading far and wide, not just crime. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, so very different, though certainly Gilead is a monstrous crime, and currently on Bel Canto by AnnPatchett, different again, but there are bodies. You can’t get away from them.

What one thing are you planning to do once lockdown is over?

Have a party! This was a big family year which has got lost in the mayhem, so we need to reinstate it.


Find out more about author Merryn Allingham here:

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