I’m pleased to be welcoming Lesley Kelly to the blog today. I have read and enjoyed all of Lesley’s books – you’ll find reviews of them all on the blog. As she mentions below in her #TenThings piece, she has written a series of novels set in a pandemic world – The Health of Strangers series – the most recent of which is Murder at the Music Factory. Even though these were written well before the current crisis, she was scarily accurate in some of what she thought might happen. I’m really hoping she will be writing about a post-pandemic world before long…
- I’m two submarines short of a celebration. Allow me to explain… at the beginning of 2020 I had a significant birthday (21, obvs) and decided that I wanted to do something I’d never done before to celebrate. I’d never been on a submarine so this seemed like an achievable new adventure. We arranged to visit a submarine museum near Hamburg, Germany, only for Covid to put the kibosh on our trip.
- I have a good friend, Philippe, who is French. On hearing of my planned trip to see a German U-boot, he suggested that I come and visit a French submarine in a museum near him in Normandy. Again, Covid did for us. It’s not that seeing a submarine was a lifelong dream or anything like that, but one little trip to celebrate five decades on the planet would have been nice (OK, you got me, I’m not really 21 at all!)
- At school I studied both French and German. I forgot all of it the second I left, but then went to live in Hamburg for a year in my twenties and got reasonably fluent in German. I then forgot it all again, until Brexit happened and I’m now determined to pick it up once more and not be a monolingual Brit. Good old Duolingo.
- The older I get, the more fascinating I find the politics of my teens and twenties, when the Cold War was in its later stages. Needless to say I’m a huge fan of Deutschland 83/86/89!
- My younger son loves board games and has managed to get me hooked. We’ve recently played Twilight Struggle (about the Cold War), Pandemic (a topical Christmas present) and Foul Play, a murder-mystery game invented by the guys who run the Morecambe and Vice Crime Festival!
- I wrote a series of novels called the Health of Strangers, set during a pandemic. At the launch of the first book we had virus-themed food, everyone was given a Virus Protection Pack as a gift, and I wore a hamzat suit. At the end I made everyone put on a facemask and wave for a Twitter pic. The marketing hasn’t aged well…
- The third book, Death in the Plague Museum, featured an imaginary heritage institution dedicated to all things plague and pandemic. What are the chances of someone actually opening such a museum in the near future in real live?
- My imaginary Museum of Plagues and Pandemics was located on York Place in Edinburgh, on the site of the former Lothian and Borders Police Club. I had memories of visiting it with my late father, who was a Police Sergeant in Leith.
- Also on York Place is The Stand Comedy Club, where once upon a time I used to do stand up comedy. Literary audiences are much politer that comedy club patrons!
- There are a lot of fans of crime fiction in Germany (‘krimi’). The Munich Caledonians held a series of ceilidhs celebrating different Scottish crime writers, including myself and Sandra Ireland. Germans have remarkably good taste. https://www.the-munich-caledonians.org/program.html Danke und tschüss!
You will find details of all Lesley’s books and buying links on the Sandstone Press website
Lesley Kelly Sandstone page