Thursday 11 October 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway - J J Marsh

I am delighted to introduce

© J J Marsh

Author of Behind Closed Door

Suicide -the act of taking one's own life.

Published by Prewett Publishing2012
Triskele Books
Homicide – the act of taking someone else’s.

An unethical banker suffocates. A diamond dealer slits his wrists. A media magnate freezes in the snow. A disgraced CEO inhales exhaust fumes. Four unpopular businessmen, four apparent suicides. Until Interpol find the same DNA at each death.

Beatrice Stubbs, on her first real case since ‘the incident’, arrives in Switzerland to lead the investigation. But there’s more to Zurich than chocolate and charm. Potential suspects are everywhere, her Swiss counterpart is hostile and the secretive world of international finance seems beyond the law. Battling impossible odds by day and her own demons at night, Beatrice has never felt so alone.

She isn’t. Someone’s watching.

Someone else who believes in justice.

The poetic kind.

What inspired you to become an author?

Books. I love stories. On stage, around the fire, on screen and between the pages. I've been telling stories ever since I could speak. As a toddler, I escaped from our back garden. My poor frantic mother found me in field, surrounded by curious cows. I was telling them a story. So I'm proud to say my first audience was a herd of puzzled Friesians.

Where did you get the inspiration for Behind ClosedDoors?

For plot, a magazine article on a German serial killer. For the atmosphere, the city of Zürich. For Beatrice Stubbs ... well, she's been with me a very long time, waiting for the right story.

Where did your research for Behind Closed Doors take you?

Up mountains, down crypts, round police stations, onto polo fields and into the mind of a psychiatrist. But most of the time was spent grubbing about in the back alleys of the Internet.

I find it amazing that so much information is available online. Have you read The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney? An incredible evocation of the desolate, snow-covered landscape of Canada. She's never even been there. Testament to the power of imagination and the wonders of the Worldwide Web.

Which writers have inspired you?

Kate Atkinson, Val McDermid and Alexander McCall Smith in the genre of literary crime and for sense of location. For storytelling skill, Armistead Maupin, JKRowling and Stephen King. And for the brilliant ability to paint the subtlest detail on a huge canvas, Salman Rushdie, Louis de Bernières and ScarlettThomas

Do you have a special place to do your writing?

My study, which overlooks a graveyard. Three of my walls are covered with maps, grids, Post-its, images and reference material; the other is my bookshelf. I write at an old architect's desk and the futon behind me is supposedly for reading and thinking. But I never get a look-in because it's always covered with snoring pugs.

What are you writing next?

Book Four in the Beatrice Stubbs series. Book Three is now complete, and Book Two, Raw Material comes out in December 2012.

Here's an exclusive sneek peek at Raw Material.

Bank Holiday weekend. Beatrice Stubbs takes some holiday snaps on a secluded Welsh beach. Those innocent pictures reveal rather more than cliffs and seagulls, and someone wants them destroyed. But Beatrice has other things on her mind.
 Assigned to the London Transport Police, she’s pursuing the Finsbury Park Flasher, trying to pre-empt a serious sexual offence. Meanwhile, neighbour Adrian and companion Matthew decide to play Poirot, and investigate the mystery of the disappearing photographs. Amateur detectives and professional criminals are a dangerous mix.
From deserted Pembrokeshire beaches, through the shadowy underpasses of North London, to the remote Irish countryside, Beatrice discovers the darker side of human nature.

And finally for fun..

What books are on your bedside table?

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace; The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver; The Confidant, by Helene Grémillon; The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt; and most importantly, The Best of Jackie Annual, full of soft-focus pictures of David Essex and articles on How To Kiss. 

Jill - Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and for allowing us a glimpse into the fascianting world of a writer. We wish you continued success with your writing career, and look forward to meeting up with Beatrice Stubbs in book two !

Jill has very generously offered a paperback copy of Behind Closed Doors to one lucky UK winner of this giveaway.

My thoughts on Behind Closed Doors

Sometimes a book takes you by surprise and Behind Closed Doors certainly surprised me. I don’t normally read books set in Europe but to have a crime book with such a sophisticated plot and with intelligent and witty dialogue was just a delight. I just couldn't stop turning the pages and read the book quickly over the space of a couple of afternoons.

At first detective Beatrice Stubbs is an unlikely protagonist, she deeply flawed from a problem only hinted at, and we are led to believe that her secondment from Scotland Yard to head the Zurich investigation is her last chance at redeeming herself. Leading a group of European experts is never going to be easy, and as the complicated investigation into a series of unrelated high profile suicides gets underway, Beatrice and her new team need to work together in order to discover a possible link between the deaths of such high profile business men.

Behind Closed Doors reads very well, it is neither too graphic nor gratuitously violent, and yet the air of menace is so well maintained that you almost find yourself holding your breath as the twists and turns in the plot get underway. Setting the book in Europe is inspired as it lends a certain solemnity to proceedings which is sometimes lacking in contemporary crime novels and also the occasional snippets of Swiss-German dialogue adds an extra dimension, as does Beatrice’s amusing ability to mix her metaphors. Her European counterparts are well described and form the basis for some interesting shared experiences.

Overall, this was a very good debut novel; Ms Marsh has the undoubted ability to control a complicated plot, and with remarkable skill weaves together all the strands of the story to an exciting conclusion. I would hope that this is not the end of Beatrice; she has so much potential, it would be a crime not to write more about her.



  1. Sounds in intriguing read and a very interesting interview, thanks Josie. Karen x

    1. Hi Karen - Thanks for taking part - good luck :)

  2. Great review and interview, Josie. I agree, Behind Closed Doors is a fabulous read and a promising start to a great series, featuring Beatrice Stubbs.

    1. Hi Liza - Thanks for visiting - I'm looking forward to reading more of Beatrice.

  3. Thanks for hosting me, Jo, and I appreciate your perceptive review. Your site is a source of great enjoyment and informed opinion. Praise from such an astute reader has put a huge smile on my face. Wishing you all the best for the future, Jill (and Beatrice)

    1. Hi Jill - it was a real pleasure to host an interview with you, and to get to know both you and Beatrice was a delight !

      Thank you for your lovely comments - Jaffa and I hope that you come and see us again soon.

  4. I really love the sound of this one Josie, thanks for the review and the interview, and yet another giveaway x

    1. Hi Anne - thanks for taking time to read the interview- good luck in the giveaway :)

  5. Sounds great. Love the image of a toddler telling stories to a herd of cows.

    1. Hi liveotherwise - thanks for visiting us - I love the idea of a toddler and a herd of cows too !

      Good Luck :)


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.