Sunday, June 12, 2011

Diane Janes

Diane Janes is a full time author who lives and writes in the English Lake District. Prior to be accepted for publication she was shortlisted twice for the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger and her first novel The Pull of the Moon was a finalist for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in 2010.

Her latest novel is Why Didn't You Come for Me?.

A few weeks ago I asked Janes what she was reading. Her reply:
I am currently working hard on my next novel (working title Flirting with Ghosts) which means I don’t get as much time for reading as I would like. When my mind is busy with the intense stages of my own book, I tend to return to familiar books, which don’t take too much effort and thus I have been re-reading A Horseman Riding By by RF Delderfield. It’s the story of how a young man who unexpectedly comes into a fortune, buys a large English country estate, complete with tenant farms. The book covers the first forty years of the twentieth century and having last read it more than twenty years ago, I am enjoying it anew. Delderfield seems to have gone out of fashion, but he had a great gift both for conveying both landscape and character – anyone who wants a taste of British social history in the first part of the twentieth century could do worse than read his work. My favourite Delderfield book is probably one of the least well known: Come Home Charlie and Face Them – a clever little mystery, set in the Welsh Valleys.

The hero of A Horseman Riding By is Paul Craddock and by a strange coincidence the policeman investigating a death in the book on my bedside table is also called Craddock. The volume in question is A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie. I once owned an almost complete set of paperback Christies, but my parents gave them away by mistake and I am now reassembling them from second hand shops, re-reading each one as I acquire it.

In a final coincidence the one new read I have recently completed is Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey – the true story of an aristocratic dynasty in the twentieth century and thus another story concerned with the fortunes of a large country estate. Bailey chronicles the lives of the Fitzwilliam family and the upheavals, political, social and domestic which shaped their fortunes. This isn’t a book I would have necessarily have chosen, but it came with strong personal recommendation and it is a truly fascinating read, encompassing a wide canvas, and revealing hitherto little known facts about everything from the Treaty of Versailles to the family of JFK.

In some respects this snapshot of my reading is unrepresentative – catching me at a moment when I appear to be focussing almost exclusively on British upper and upper middle class life in the twentieth century – but next week my reading may find me immersed in rural Mississippi, or the Australian outback, twenty first century New York City, or sixteenth century Scotland…
Visit Diane Janes's website.

The Page 69 Test: Why Didn't You Come for Me?.

My Book, The Movie: Why Didn't You Come for Me?.

--Marshal Zeringue