Archive for the ‘America / Pam Dorman Books’ Category

CircleofShad_JKFWhen I research my novels I spend a lot of time in libraries, but occasionally I find an excuse to get out and see a bit of the world. I realised early on that automata were going to be an important part of the story, and was lucky enough to find The House of Automata as I began looking for the sorts of automata that were being made during the period. Michael and Maria Start were kind enough to let me visit them and see some of the amazing clockwork models they make and restore, and being there was the inspiration for the workshop in the novel.

Though the Duchy Maulberg is fictional the palaces, towns, villages and landscapes are based on real places in the south-west of modern Germany.

So this little video shows you some of the pictures I took while with Michael and Maria or in Germany and then used to inspire me. The music is Vivaldi, not quite the period of the novel, but I listened to a lot of his music while I wrote it anyway. This is his Motet for Soprano and Orchestra (Nulla in mundo pax sincera (RV 630)) played by the Advent Chamber Orchestra from Bolingbrook, Illinois. The soloist is Cristina Piccardi.


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I’m delighted that the fourth Westerman and Crowther novel is now out in the US!

And very pleased with this review from Publishers Weekly:


And here’s something I wrote about the inspiration for the novel when it came out in the UK:


I’m just finishing writing my next Westerman and Crowther book, but in celebration of publication day, I shall put together a slide show of some of my research photographs and share that with you a little later.

You can buy the book from Barnes and Noble via this link

or Amazon via this one!

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This is such a great idea from Marshal Zeringue. An author looks at the 69th page of their novel and considers how well or not it reflects the book as a whole. This is my account of how Anatomy of Murder does.


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Just had this online banner advert of Anatomy of Murder forwarded to me by a friend.

You have to click on it to see it in all its animated glory, because I’m not smart enough to resize it for this blog. Please do.

As you can probably guess, I think it looks wonderful.

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Nice boost for Anatomy of Murder in the US to be on this list of Great Reads. Thank you, booksellers!

For anyone who wants to know a bit more about the book, here is the copy from the American jacket:


From Anatomy of Murder:

The little clock on the mantelpiece marked the half-hour with an elaborate chime that made Mrs. Westerman start. But neither she nor Crowther made him any reply.

“We are at war,” Mr. Palmer said after some moments of silence. “Information can be as vital, or as deadly, as ordnance. If news—accurate news—of the preparedness of our ships, stores, or troops regularly reaches the French naval command, men will die. I come in all humility to ask for your assistance.”

Crowther tented his fingers again and said, “Then, Mr. Palmer, you shall have it.”


London, 1781. The streets of London seethe with rumor and conspiracy as the King’s navy battles the French. Harriet Westerman anxiously awaits news of her husband, a ship’s captain who has been gravely injured at sea. And while the banks of the Thames swarm with the hustle and bustle of life, a body is dragged from its murky waters.

Having gained a measure of fame for unraveling the mysteries of Thornleigh Hall, Mrs. Westerman and reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther are called on to investigate the case of the dead man. They accept, not knowing the heights from which their assistance has been requested. In this intricate novel, Mrs. Westerman and Crowther will discover that this is no ordinary drowning—the victim is part of a plot to betray England’s most precious secrets.

The critics raved about their first adventure and clamored for more. Anatomy of Murder is gripping historical suspense at its best, featuring the smart and spirited duo from Instruments of Darkness and a thrilling tale of maritime intrigue and national consequence.

To which I say, thanks, I do my best.

For anyone who wants to know a lot about the book, no plot spoilers though, here’s a video I did about some of the London locations in the book. The cover shown is the UK hardback

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Anatomy of Murder is coming out in the US in the new year, and I’m delighted to have got this review from Publisher’s Weekly in the run up to publication.  Ned sighed rather deeply when I was whimpering for coffee this morning, so I countered with ‘but darling, I’ve got memorable prose.’ Coffee came.

And the review wasn’t the only nice thing that happened yesterday. I am lucky enough to be on Amanda Craig’s guest-list for her salon, and we met up last night. Amanda has written about the salon for the current edition of Mslexia. (Fantastic magazine. They published my first short story, so have a lot to answer for). I always come home very cheerful from Amanda’s evenings. Basically it’s all very casual and a chance to chat with a bunch of other female authors about anything, personal or professional, over dinner. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been talking to someone there, then about ten minutes into the conversation discovered they are as famous as God and have probably sold as many books. Well, you know, close. And people are just very friendly and helpful. It’s a safe place to sound off, make friends, get advice. I met Mary Hoffman there, and got involved with The History Girls Blog as a result, which is another reason to be grateful. I hope Amanda realises how much we appreciate it.

Right. Coffee is here and it’s time to work.

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Click to go to Amazon.comJason Goodwin has reviewed Instruments for the New York Times.

He doesn’t think the book is perfect, but I think his comments are fair. Bloody hell,though! I am astonished reviewed in the NYT. And at length! They’ve even drawn a picture! It’s a massive boost. There are so many books out there, and most newspapers have cut the number of pages they devote to reviewing fiction, so to find myself in this iconic newspaper with a debut genre fiction book is an astonishing stroke of luck. Of course, I’m imagining the women from Sex in the City, Woody Allen, Alan Alda and the cast of every off-Broadway show reading it and deciding they should pick up the book after brunch. In bright sunshine. This makes me happy.

So how did this amazing stroke of luck come about? I’ve no idea. Ned says it’s because I’m brilliant, but it’s his job to say things like that. I have my suspicions though. Jason Goodwin is a very well-known writer of Historical Mysteries himself, so maybe that sparked his interest. I also think that the fact you can still see an early draft of the first 1000 words of the novel online was a factor. It’s not often you can start a review with that sort of before and after picture. So my suspicion is that I have The Daily Telegraph to thank again. Thank you.

For those that don’t know, I was one of five winners in a competition run by the newspaper in 2007 for the first thousand words of a novel. It was the culmination of a series of excellent columns by Louise Doughty on how to write a novel in a year and was judged by Louise, Sam Leith, and Louise’s agent and publisher at the time. The prize was lunch with the judges and the other winners and a lovely lunch it was too, but personally speaking the prize was a great deal more than that. It was winning the competition and the kind words of the judges that gave me the courage to stop directing and write full-time till I had a completed manuscript. It was a daft thing to do really, but sometimes you’ve just got to make a leap of faith. The manuscript got me my lovely agent, Annette. Then Headline gave me my first two-book deal and Pam Dorman bought the books for publication in America, and now among many other blessings I have a big old review in NYT. So that was the prize, really. An entire career.

Just goes to show. If you’re an aspiring writer, enter those competitions. Maybe it could lead to Meg Ryan popping into her local Borders with your name on her lips… (Cue Central Park montage with Gershwin soundtrack).

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