Undercover: Close to Home

I’ve written a number of radio dramas over the past fifteen years, most of them crime or mystery series. You can see the full list on my TV and Radio page. And during the last year I’ve been working on Undercover: Close To Home, a new three-part thriller for BBC Radio Drama. While the original idea for the story has stayed the same, the scripts have been through many rewrites with changes to the beginning, the ending and much of the middle! As well as alterations to the weight given to some of the characters and developments in the themes.

There’s a lovely intimacy in scripting for radio, with the writer working alongside a producer/director (in my case the wonderful Nadia Molinari) to develop the piece, and then being closely involved in the recording process. At that stage the actors work their alchemy, along with the geniuses in sound design and recording. It’s a pleasure witnessing them bring the story to life and make it their own. We’ve a great cast signed up and I’m so looking forward to that experience later this month.

Undercover: Close To Home will air on BBC Radio 4 at 2.15 pm on June 8th, 15th and 22nd.

Recommended Reads

I love variety in my reading and this batch certainly has that. Settings include a West Yorkshire millowner’s estate in 1904, the Pyrenees in a snowstorm in the 1920s, civil-rights era Harlem, the Glasgow tenements of the 1980s, contemporary Sweden and the Peak District during the covid pandemic. Some tales are creepy, some funny, some suspenseful, most moving and all are captivating. Happy reading!

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

The Fell by Sarah Moss

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Early Warning by Jane Smiley

Amy and Lan by Sadie Jones

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

What Are You Reading?

Looking for some holiday reading? Or a treat for the New Year? Here are some books I’ve really enjoyed. Maybe something here will pique your interest. Happy Reading!

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

Golden Age by Jane Smiley

Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

Rizzio by Denise Mina

Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz and Rachel Ward

56 Days by Catherine Ryan

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly

Light to the Hills by Bonnie Blaylock

French Braid by Anne Tyler

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Fantastic Stories

I love to read different genres (though I probably read more crime novels than any other). But I enjoy variety and really appreciate writers who can whisk me away into a new world. The list here are all books that were compelling and truly memorable. Happy reading!

Wake by Shelley Burr

Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan

No Country For Girls by Emma Styles

The Skin Code by Stephen Williams

The Island of Lost Girls by Alex Marwood

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Books, Books, Books.

I can’t believe it’s so long since I posted a list of recommended reads – way back in January. I guess there has been a lot going on with my own books and that’s commanded attention on the blog. But here’s a round dozen titles that I really enjoyed. Hope you’ll find something there to try too. Happy reading!

Exit by Belinda Bauer

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Oxblood by Tom Benn

The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

The Interview by C M Ewan

Midnight Atlanta by Thomas Mullen

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

Astral Travel by Elizabeth Baines

Desperate Measures

Desperate Measures (Detective Janine Lewis Mysteries #4) is out now from Joffe Books. That means all 4 novels in the series are available in digital, paperback and on audio. I’m delighted with the new look and want to say a big thank you to everyone who has already bought a copy of one of the titles. Happy reading!

Hit and Run









Hit and Run (Detective Janine Lewis Mysteries Book 2) is out now from Joffe Books. And on offer for only 99p/99c. I was delighted to see Blue Murder climbing the charts on its recent release, reaching the top 30 in Kindle Store and a #1 Bestseller in English Crime. Massive thanks to Joffe books and especially to all the people who bought that and all who so kindly left a review. I do hope readers will enjoy this next instalment which sees Janine just back at work from maternity leave and dealing with two very tough cases.

Blue Murder – a gripping crime thriller filled with twists

Blue Murder is out from Joffe Books now with a great new cover! And Hit and Run will kick off August. I’m really looking forward to the stories reaching a whole new audience. The books are based on my scripts from Blue Murder, the TV series I created almost twenty years ago. It all began with an unpublished novel and a tip from my Murder Squad pal Ann Cleeves, who knew Granada TV were looking for crime-drama ideas with women detectives at the centre. I was incredibly lucky to get Blue Murder commissioned by ITV and the show went on to be broadcast around the world in places from Iceland to Afghanistan, Fiji to Brazil. Now I hope that readers here and abroad will enjoy getting to know Janine Lewis, who juggles a demanding family life and a challenging job, and her Manchester team.  And for those of you who like audiobooks, Blue Murder is also available on Audible.

‘Uncluttered and finely detailed prose.’ Birmingham Post

‘Complex and satisfying in its handling of Lewis’s agonised attempts to be both a good cop and a good mother’ The Sunday Times

‘Beautifully realised little snapshots of the different characters’ lives … Compelling stuff.’ Sherlock Magazine

 ‘A swift, satisfying read.’ City Life

 ‘Precise and detailed delineation of contemporary family relationships.’ Tangled Web

‘Lewis seems set to become another very popular string to Staincliffe’s bow as one of the leading English murder writers.’ Manchester Metro

 ‘Pace and plenty of human interest.’ Publishing News

‘Blending the warmth of family life with the demands of a police investigation.’ Manchester Evening News

‘Juggling work and family is a challenge of modern life and encountering realistically portrayed women with family responsibilities is a pleasure. Staincliffe is a veteran crime fiction writer and so her plots are well-thought-out and puzzling.’ Deadly Pleasures

Dagger in the Library!

I am delighted to be short-listed for the CWA Dagger in the Library. This is an award for a writer whose body of work is popular with library users, and who supports libraries. It means a lot to me as I’ve been a lifelong library user, grateful that I’ve been able to satisfy my love of reading via my library card. I enjoy very much visiting libraries to talk about my work and share a pleasure in books with other keen readers. And I know the great majority of people who read my books borrow them from libraries. So thanks to them and the wonderful librarians who staff our libraries and our brilliant Public Lending Right system, which pays authors a few pence for every library loan. The Dagger Awards will be announced on June 29th.

Here are two of my favourite quotes about libraries, they sum up perfectly how I feel:

‘Congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you – and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.’ Isaac Asimov

‘Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.’ Lady Bird Johnson

Happy Reading!