Monday, November 19, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author D.E. Meredith!

This week I'd like to introduce you to D.E. Meredith, author of two historical mysteries-- Devoured and The Devil's Ribbon-- in the Hatton and Roumande series. Professor Adolphus Hatton is one of London's first forensic detectives, and Albert Roumande is the morgue assistant he simply cannot do without. If you enjoy good historical mysteries filled with atmosphere and period detail, I do hope that you'll give D.E. Meredith's Hatton and Roumande series a try!

I enjoyed D.E.'s author bio at Macmillan so much that I thought I would share it with all of you:

D.E. MEREDITH read English at Cambridge, then ran the press office and the land mines campaign for the Red Cross, traveling extensively to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Rwanda during the conflicts. She worked as a consultant on media relations for Greenpeace and other worthy causes before embarking on "The Hatton and Roumande Mysteries" series for St Martin's Press (DEVOURED, Oct 2010, THE DEVIL'S RIBBON Oct 2011). She has two boys, a tall husband, a barking (mad) Parsons Terrier and lives at a secret location on the River Thames. When not writing, she runs, rides her bike like a lunatic or eats homemade cake.

D.E. Meredith
Now if that bio didn't pique your interest, how about a few links so you can learn even more about this talented writer?

Intro? Check. Bio? Check. Photo? Check. Links? Check.

Time to get to the fun part: the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. I borrowed it from my local library. My Mum would take me every week to “keep me out of mischief”. She’d go off into town and buy her shopping and I’d stay in the upstairs in the reading room. The book,  with its tale of weird magical stones, children spending the holidays with strange relatives, dark wizards and apocalyptic  warnings, swept me away. I didn’t want it to end. 

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

I run or cycle every day. I tend to run about  10 k  along a beautiful stretch of the River Thames, through Ham Meadows and up into Richmond Park,  before I turn back,  down the hill, going like the clappers, home again. Rain, sun, ice, snow. I don’t care.  It clears my head and gives me an endorphin rush. I love walking up mountains or big hills ideally with my family or very special girlfriends.  I used to do quite a lot of yoga but can’t seem to find the time these days. I’m not a big networker or inherently social – an observer, my friend Freya calls me – and that’s true, I guess. I don’t like being the centre of attention (unless I’m drunk  and then I’m an idiot and a shouty but that’s very rare these days). I found my book launch in the UK nerve wracking, but once I got over myself, I loved it!  

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Marble Hill House and Park
I live in a place called St. Margaret’s, sandwiched between Richmond and its slightly more shabby cousin, Twickenham – home of British Rugby.  It has cool cafes, an artisan bread shop, the river, Marble Hill Park where  King George The Something’s  mistress once lived. Many of the names round here are French but I have no idea why.
I would suggest you walk to Orleans House Gallery and have a look at their rather eclectic, eccentric collection of art and then wander along to the eighteenth century White Swan Pub and have a drink and packet  of crisps [potato chips to Americans]. On a lovely summer's day with the river lapping over the terrace, swans glide, mallards quack and ruffle their feathers, and with a topaz glimmer on the water, the world is flooded with light.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Susan Sarandon
I asked my husband this and he said Susan Sarandon, and it’s odd, because she was also the first person who came to my mind. I am very opinionated, have spent much of my career campaigning for humanitarian and environmental issues, and if one word could sum me up, I guess it must be feisty. I wish I had her endless legs, however  and gorgeous cheekbones – sadly, I don’t.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Hercule Poirot and his little grey cells. He’s adorable and inscrutable. In my mind, I associate him strongly with the brilliant work of David Suchet who totally nails him in the BBC productions – for my money, anyway.  My kids love him even more than me. He’s  amusing, wry, clever, and like my protagonist, Professor Hatton, slightly priggish and fussy. What’s not to love?

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?

First U.S. edition
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.  My favourite book which I’ve read  many times. Madame Merle is a wonderful, complex, troubled and evocative character. You want to give Isobel Archer a jolly good slap and yet you stay with her? Why? Because James was a master of  subtle, weaving, delicious psychological narrative.  And so very modern.  For me,  the ultimate fin de siècle writer (along with Joseph Conrad) because  James  pushed  the Nineteenth Century  novel into  a whole new world.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

By crashing my bike into a tree.  I got my deal with St. Martin’s  and to relax after tense times, I had a massage then went on a very fast bike ride. Big mistake. Massages, of course, slightly dent one’s spatial awareness. I came hurtling down a hill, across a road, narrowly missing a car, and whacked into a bollard, got thrown off my bike and carried on flying along a granite path ripping my arm. Very painful and rather undignified. Luckily,  a very handsome man in a Porsche  (I kid you not) helped me up and made sure I was OK.  He even  offered to drive me home. One a look in those smouldering eyes told me he  was almost worth crashing the bike for. I’ve still got the scar.

I’ve only just seen my book appear in book stores because it’s taken two years after my US deal to break into the UK market. Allison and Busby bought my books and launched Devoured this August. Seeing my books in stores, sometimes in the window, often with a review by the owner or manager has been,  and continues to be,  a massive thrill.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.


I’m lucky enough to  have been to the Arctic with WWF US. I would love to go to Antarctica  to hang out with penguins and elephant seals; gaze at the blue icebergs.

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

Goldsboro Books
I am heading for this wonderful independent London bookstore: Goldsboro Books. It’s run by the very dapper David Headley who’s a great supporter of newbie authors like me, and it's set in the very picturesque, Victorian  passageway called Cecil Court. An oasis of calm in the centre of London,  just off St. Martin’s Lane. It still has the original nineteenth century facade,  complete  with hanging lamps. I strongly recommend anyone going to London to drop in there and buy a book from David! It’s a literary cornucopia and specialises in signed First Editions.


Thank you so much for spending this time with us, D.E.-- we certainly appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little better.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. I won this book and can't wait to get to it! Nice interview Cathy, thanks.

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Peggy; I know I did! :-)


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