MK: Your newest release, Murder at the Rocks has quite a bit of intrigue and the makings of a great murder mystery. What pulled you into this genre?
JP: It’s probably because I love reading mysteries. There’s nothing better than trying to figure out who did it. Consequently, when I wrote ‘The Celtic Dagger’ and ‘Murder At The Rocks’, my main aim was to not only to create a page turner, but one where readers would be carried along until the very end before realising who did it.
MK: What is your favorite scene in Murder at the Rocks?
JP: I think my favourite scene would have to be when Laurence Hartford leaves his office one dark night, to find his nemesis, the man with the limp, waiting for him in the laneway. It amused me to see Laurence, an aggressive, loathsome character, squirm.
MK: I’m drawn in just by this book title, but do you have a favorite character in The Celtic Dagger? Who and why?
JP: I have a few favorites in The Celtic Dagger and Tristan Harrow is one of them. He’s not the nicest person on the planet. Rather full of himself. This became obvious as soon as he appeared on the page. He took over and turned out to be a snobby, self obsessed, womanizer who inhabited an untidy office. The kind of person one tends to avoid. Having said that, he isn’t vindictive. One could even say he has a bit of an innocent air about him. My protagonist James Wearing can’t abide the man, but nevertheless, he did come to Tristan’s aid in a particularly sticky situation, and this sparked a glimmer of humility in Tristan.
MK: Without giving it all away, please tell us a little something about how Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn is going to get through his biggest challenges.
JP: Part of the old guard of detectives, Fitzjohn’s methodical, painstaking methods are viewed by some as archaic. Nevertheless, over the years they have brought him success as well as the respect of all but one of his colleagues, Superintendent Grieg. Out to destroy Fitzjohn, Grieg poses one of two challenges. The second is coming to terms with his wife Edith’s death. In Murder At The Rocks, Fitzjohn, finding Grieg in an uncompromising position, gives him the edge, making life that much easier.
MK: What was your greatest challenge in writing Murder at the Rocks?
JP: I don’t write from an outline so my biggest challenge was finding out who killed Laurence Harford. Being such a contemptible character there was a long list of people who would have been more than happy to commit the dirty deed!
MK: Great - now you gone and made us want to read the book! So what is it you enjoy doing most in your beautiful homeland of Australia (when not writing, of course)? Does living there ever inspire your books?
JP: If I only have a few days to spare I go to Sydney for dinner and a show. I also shop. If I have more time to spare, one of my favourite places is Tasmania, Australia’s island state, 240kms off the mainland. The last time I visited I had the opportunity to see the region’s remarkable wildlife. I went on a Bruny Island tour boarding a particularly fast moving boat and headed southward to where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean (nothing between us and the Antartic). With sea eagles and albatross soaring above and a whale off the port side, we came to The Friars a group of rocks that are home to up to 1,000 fur seals. It’s a truly magnificent place.
MK: How do you unwind after a long writing session?
JP: I walk up to an old bench on the hill behind my house where I sit and listen to the silence. I’m a bit of a bird watch so I usually have a camera with me. If it’s early in the morning there are usually a few kangaroos still grazing in the paddock. They look up and stand like frozen sentinels staring at me. Probably wondering what planet I dropped down from.
MK: What do you have in store next for your readers?
JP: In my third Fitzjohn mystery, Once Upon A Lie, Fitzjohn is faced with not only a murdered businessman but also a cold case. And, once again, there are a string of suspects. I wonder who did it! At the same time, Superintendent Grieg continues his hostility toward Fitzjohn, and the greenhouse, filled to capacity with beautiful orchids, finds itself under siege.
Well Jill, I for one look forward to reading both books and following along with Inspector Fitzjohn.
Want to read a great book? There will be 2 winners of 2 books! Each winner will get autographed copy of The Celtic Dagger and Murder at the Rocks! Giveaway ends April 30th!
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THE CELTIC DAGGER
University professor Alex Wearing has been murdered in his study. The weapon is a valuable museum artefact. Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn begins his relentless pursuit seeing James, Alex's brother, as a key suspect in his investigation.
Feeling compelled to clear himself of suspicion, James starts his own investigation. Ultimately, he uncovers long hidden secrets about his brother's life before finally coming face to face with Alex's killer.
MURDER AT THE ROCKS
When Laurence Harford, a prominent businessman and philanthropist is found murdered in the historic Rocks area of Sydney, Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn is asked to solve the crime quickly and discreetly. After barely starting his investigation, uncovering a discarded mistress and disgruntled employees, a second killing occurs.
Meanwhile, Laurence's nephew, Nicholas Hartford, has his certainties in life shaken when he becomes a suspect in his uncle's death, and receives a mysterious gold locket that starts a chain of events unravelling his family's dark truths.
Images provided by guest author.