Detective Chief Inspector Jim Pendlebury almost died at the end of his last big case.
Three years later, he is struggling to cope with forced retirement and the frustration of failing to convict the teacher accused of killing an 18-year-old student after seducing her.
Now, he must try one more time to search for the vital piece of missing evidence the Police failed to find during the initial investigation .
Whatever the cost, this time he will make sure justice is served for the cruel murder of the beautiful young woman the media dubbed Miss Perfect.
When and where do you prefer to write?
I have a study at home where I’m happily surrounded by books, files and mementoes and the walls are covered in posters, photos and postcards, all linked to my past travels and experiences. It is my happy place and is so gloriously cluttered that my partner doesn’t like to set foot through the door.
I shut myself away to do all my writing or general computer work, like home admin and journey planning. There is always a distraction or three but I’m usually able to muster the discipline to write in the afternoon through to the evening.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
I shouldn’t, because all through my working life I needed to be creative in a busy, often noisy, environment and just got on with it. However, when I’m in the zone with a novel I cannot stand to have the distraction of any sound, even background music.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Probably Jonathan Coe, because I love his wit and observation. Writing with him strikes me as potentially being great fun, though I’d probably let him do most of the writing and then take a disproportionately large share of the credit afterwards.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I’ve been very fortunate through my career as a sports writer to meet and interview so many sportsmen and women I admire. Sugar Ray Leonard, Shane Warne, Viv Richards, Joe Calzaghe and Ronnie O’Sullivan come immediately to mind. Last year, I interviewed Kit de Waal for an online book festival and found that very interesting. Probably because I’ve done so many interviews over the years, I’d prefer just to sit and chat with others I admire, if I had the chance. Sharing a few beers with Dave Grohl, Kate Bush or Billy Connolly would be nice.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
You can’t. I hide.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
There’s a fair chance you’ll find me watching live cricket or football or catching up with recorded sport on TV. Then again, I might be out exploring in the Derbyshire Dales or looking around a National Trust place. If I’m not there, I’m probably being (reluctantly) dragged somewhere to look at soft furnishings etc.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
An enormous sense of achievement. There’s nothing quite like that thrill.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
Only once have I had to really think about what I’m going to call a book while I’m writing it. All the other times the title has been decided at the ideas stage, before a word is written. In a way, deciding a title kind of dictates to me how the story will go and it’s probably not supposed to work that way. Is it?
How do you pick a cover for your book?
An image will come to mind through the writing stage and I will communicate that to the designer, but I try not to be too dictatorial because I’m conscious the designer knows their job better than I do. I’ll always encourage them to introduce their ideas and if theirs is better, I’ll go with it. I do still insist on trusting my eye over every detail before final approval, though. I try not to be too much of a pain, but you only get one shot at it, so you have to be completely happy.
About the Author
Long before Mark first became a published author, writing was his living.
His background is as a newspaper journalist, starting out with the South Yorkshire Times in 1984 and then on to the Derby Telegraph, until leaving full-time work in March 2020.
Most of Mark’s time at the Telegraph was as their cricket writer, a role that brought national recognition in the 2012 and 2013 England and Wales Cricket Board awards. He contributed for 12 years to the famed Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and had many articles published in national magazines, annuals and newspapers.
Writing as a profession meant writing for pleasure had to be put on the back burner but when his work role changed, Mark returned to one of the many half-formed novels in his computer files and, this time, saw it through to publication.
The Murder of Miss Perfect is his first novel for SpellBound, but Mark has previously self-published Sunbeam (November 2019), Family Business (June 2020) and Catalyst (February 2021). The earlier three are to be re-published through SpellBound soon.
All four are fast-moving, plot-twisting thrillers set in the city of his birth, Sheffield.
Mark lives in Derby with his partner, Sue. They have two adult sons and have been adopted by a cat.