review of an evening with writer Jim Kelly

Location, location, location – the importance of place is ever present, particularly in the novels of Ely-based writer Jim Kelly. He, above all, captures the emotions of the sparse Fen environment or the bleak expanses of Norfolk.  Toppings bookstore scored yet again when they enticed this renowned local author to share his thoughts with a host ever-increasing admirers.

 In his talk at St. Mary’s Church, Ely, Jim shared some of the pages of his new novel Death Watch in which Shaw and Valentine return to solve the mysteries of a disappearance and death years apart. 

He intrigued us with informative explanations of his inspiration and motivation. He spoke of his childhood observations of his father, a detective chief superintendent in Scotland Yard. He described a homely scene when his family watched TV shows like Gideon’s Way.  His father was often frustrated with the errors and would cry: “That’s right, put your fingerprints everywhere!”   

Jim introduced the theory that murders are, more often than not, committed by people living in end of terraced houses. Death Watch is set in a terraced house in King’s Lynn and his powers of description create a realistic and ghostly town.

Jim gave an informed and intriguing description of the development of crime writing and the source of much of his and other crime writers’ ideas. Many crime novelists, he said, focus on the plan of houses, be they tiny or grand and Jim’s previous experience as a geographer influences his particular interest in place. In Death Watch he tries to combine a sense of the intimacy of murder in the home and the wider tensions of a street community responding to the trauma of such an event.  

While his books are readily available on audio CDs, there have been discussions of adaptations of his books for TV, but like a solar eclipse, he said, everything has to be exactly in place at the right time for this to come into effect. We watch this space in hope.

More events planned by Toppings include:

Simon Carnell speaking on Thursday 18th March 7.15 for 7.30 at Topping’s Bookshop Ely

John Simpson speaking on Tuesday 23rd March at St. Mary’s Church Ely

Contacts:

http://www.jim-kelly.co.uk

ely@toppingsbooks.co.uk

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