A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
It still amazes me that I’m allowed to get away with murder every time I publish a book. I write the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries – four titles out so far, and a fifth, Mistletoe and Murder, on the way in October 2016. I first sat down to write Murder Most Unladylike in 2010 because I’ve been fascinated with crime, and with murder mysteries in particular, since I was younger than my main characters Hazel and Daisy.
I love the logic puzzle aspect of a good murder mystery – the way that you follow along with the detective as they narrow down suspects and line up clues. When the murderer is revealed, you should be able to see the pattern that’s been running through the book all along. I’m someone who likes closure in my books, and you can’t get much more complete than that.
But I think the thing that really attracts me to murder mysteries, as opposed to any other sort of crime novel, is the murder itself. Death is such a big, scary thought, and the question of why someone would kill someone else seems so insoluble. Murder mysteries allow you to explore that. They take you very close to very frightening things – and then their solutions help you feel like it’ll all be OK in the end.
Kids are just as interested in the big questions as adults. I definitely was, and the kids I meet when I talk about my books still are. But adults try to shield children from the realities of life, in a slightly random and rubbish way that leaves kids even more confused and curious than they were to begin with. Aged 12 I would have killed (not literally) for a book I was allowed to read that was about murder, and that’s what I wanted to give readers when I was writing Murder Most Unladylike. The books are puzzles, they’re supposed to be fun and fantastical (no one’s really likely to stumble upon five murders in just over one year), but they’re also my way of thinking about dark things – and deciding that kindness and cleverness can make everything all right in the end.