Hello, you’ve reached the website of Manchester based, crime writer Cath Staincliffe. I’m the author of the Sal Kilkenny private eye stories and creator and scriptwriter of Blue Murder, ITV’s hit detective drama starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis. I write the Scott & Bailey books, based on the much loved ITV1 police series. My standalone titles, psychological fiction, explore the lives of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. Thank you to everyone who has borrowed, bought or downloaded one of my books. Happy reading.
Another clutch of books that have completely captivated me. All those different worlds. Although libraries and bookshops are still closed in the lockdown you can order online from some suppliers (there may be a wait for delivery). You can also buy digital books and you can borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks from libraries through the BorrowBox scheme.
Take care, stay safe and happy reading.
The Whisper Man by Alex North
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Things Can Only Get Better by David Barnett
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better by Benjamin Wood
Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
During the lockdown when libraries and bookshops are closed you can still order books online from some suppliers (though there may be a wait for delivery). You can also buy digital books and you can borrow digital editions from libraries through the BorrowBox scheme. Here are some titles I’ve really enjoyed – what strikes me about this selection is the variety, they all take place in really different worlds. So if you want transporting somewhere new there might be a place for you somewhere here…
Violet by SJI Holliday
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
Saltwater by Jessica Andrews
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Conviction by Denise Mina
Most of us need no excuse but if you’re staying in more at the moment and want something new to read here are seven very different stories from seven brilliant authors. Enjoy!
All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison
Platform Seven by Louise Doughty
Big Sky by Kate Atkinson
The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood
All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew
Circe by Madeline Miller
Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession
A perennial question I’m asked about my work is how much planning I do. When I started out it was very little. I needed to set off with the characters (I always have to know who the characters are from the start) and see where the story took me. And given that my earlier works were the Sal Kilkenny and Blue Murder detective series there was a natural structure to the story, of uncovering the truth and solving a mystery. In itself it was a rough plan of how things would go. Once I turned to writing stand-alone novels, where those at the centre of the story were people whose lives had been torn apart by crime (victims, relatives, even suspects) but not investigators, there was less of a clear blueprint to follow. I liked that freedom and found that how much planning I did was a movable feast – it depended very much on the story itself and whether I could get away with improvising. By the way, that approach is NOT applicable to TV or Radio scriptwriting where every last detail needs to be agreed and nailed down before a line of dialogue is written. A process that I found very challenging as it went against my natural inclination.
My current work in progress follows people on the run and people after them and so part of the planning involved a geographical outline for the moves everyone is making and where their paths cross. As you can see, from the beautiful diagram above, it’s quite complicated and will be even more so when I try and match it to real locations in the Derbyshire Peaks. Or maybe I’ll make them up too.
Happy New Year! Here are ten books that I thoroughly recommend. You might have seen them on my #FridayReads on Twitter during 2019. They’ll transport you to pastures new in the coming year.
The Birdwatcher by William Shaw
In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newman
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
A Window Breaks by Chris Ewan
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Wolf Country by Tunde Farrand
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
I’m currently writing Quiet Acts of Violence, a follow-up to The Girl in the Green Dress and featuring the same detective duo – DI Donna Bell and DC Jade Bradshaw. Originally I wasn’t sure whether the two women would become series characters though I recognised they had the potential to return. Then readers of The Girl in the Green Dress asked me if I’d plans to write more Donna and Jade, they were keen to see them again. Given I’d enjoyed writing them so much and felt there was lots still to discover about them it seemed increasingly like an excellent idea. So here I am. Quiet Acts of Violence sees Donna and Jade investigating the death of a newborn baby and launching a hunt for her missing mother. It’s a novel about family and betrayal, injustice and poverty, the ties that bind and those that break us. Publication date is July 2nd 2020.
When I read I want to be drawn into another world, share someone else’s adventure. There’s nothing quite like losing myself in a good story. And all these books, different though they are from each other, gave me that pleasure.
Brother by David Chariandy
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
I need say no more.
The Last by Hanna Jameson
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
Dead Lions by Mick Herron
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Sealskin by Su Bristow
The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald
Some people get more chance to read in the summer holidays so here are a few suggestions for you. Most were recommended by other people – in reviews, on Twitter, from short-lists and by word of mouth. They are books that captivated me and I want to spread the word about them. Happy reading!
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
The Wall by John Lanchester
Sal by Mick Kitson
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman
Scrublands by Chris Hammer
Here are some more of my recent reads (well – not so recent as it’s been three months since I last posted any). Whether you’re going away on holiday or not these books will take you everywhere from the battlefields of Ancient Greece to the stark landscape of the Irish Famine, from the stifling heat of Mississippi to the devastating legacy of the Iraq War, from the American Frontier to a dystopian near-future. Brilliant stories all.
The Wych Elm by Tana French
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Digging to America by Anne Tyler
Grace by Paul Lynch
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato
West by Carys Davies
84K by Claire North
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker