Death in the Last Reel by Paula Harmon / #Interview #BlogTour @zooloosBT @Paula_S_Harmon


‘Stop standing in the way of bullets.’

‘I will if you will.’

Does the camera ever lie?

1911: After the violent murder of three policemen in the line of duty, tensions between London constabulary and Whitechapel anarchists simmer. Meanwhile accusations and counter accusations of espionage further weaken relations between Germany and Britain. Can Margaret Demeray and Fox find out which potential enemy is behind a threat to the capital before it’s too late?

In the shadow of violence in the East End, just as Dr Margaret Demeray starts to gain recognition for her pathology work, a personal decision puts her career at the hospital under threat. Needing to explore alternative options, she tries working with another female doctor in Glassmakers Lane. But in that genteel street, a new moving-picture studio is the only thing of any interest, and Margaret’s boredom and frustration lead to an obsessive interest in the natural death of a young woman in a town far away.

Meanwhile intelligence agent Fox is trying to establish whether rumours of a major threat to London are linked to known anarchist gangs or someone outside Britain with a different agenda. When another mission fails and he asks Margaret to help find out who provided the false intelligence that led him in the wrong direction, she can’t wait to assist.

But enquiries in wealthy Hampstead and then assaults in poverty-stricken Whitechapel lead unexpectedly back to Glassmakers Lane. How can such a quiet place be important? And is the dead young woman Margaret a critical link or a coincidental irrelevance?

Margaret and Fox need to work together; but both of them are independent, private and stubborn, and have yet to negotiate the terms of their relationship.

How can Margaret persuade Fox to stop protecting her so that she can ask the questions he can’t? And even if she does, how can they discover is behind the threat to London when it’s not entirely clear what the threat actually is?




When and where do you prefer to write?

I prefer to write between 10 & 4. I’ve learned to write anywhere, but ideally a quiet place with good light and no music – just the sound of nature (even if it’s rain), although I quite like writing on trains for some reason, I think because I feel like I’m in limbo with no demands on me from outside (plus it’s great for people watching).

Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?

Yes. I can’t listen to songs at all – the lyrics get into my subconscious and I start following them. If the house is noisy (which it often is) then I listen to natural sounds via headphones. Sometimes I’ve looked up and wondered why the sun’s shining, because I’ve been listening to ‘rain on a tent’ for an hour or so.

If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?

I have co-written 6 novels and 1 novella in the Caster & Fleet series with Liz Hedgecock and I have an anthology of short stories with Val Portelli called ‘Weird and Peculiar Tales’. I never expected to co-write any books but Liz and I found we had a common interests in wanting to explore the increasing freedoms young women started to experience at the end of the 19th century AND we both loved mystery fiction! We worked out how to co-write so that each of us kept our voice, which was important to both of us and took a character each and wrote alternate chapters from that woman’s point of view. Margaret from ‘The Wrong Sort To Die’ and ‘Death In The Last Reel’ was a minor character in the Caster & Fleet series who wanted to have her own series and Liz has written her own series about one of the other minor characters. That aside, Liz and I may yet write more books together – if either of us find the time between the ones we’re writing alone!

Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?

Paulas often seem to be baddies in books so I’d like to be a ‘good one’!

Who would you like/have liked to interview?

Agatha Christie – I’d like to know about her childhood and experiences as a dispensary assistant in WWI and about the times she went on archaeological digs with her second husband. I don’t think she liked talking about the writing process much, but I’d love to know whether there were ever any mysteries she thought she couldn’t write in her time but could write now, and whether, if she read her earlier books nowadays, how she’d view them.

Where can I find you when you are reading?

Somewhere comfortable – a favourite sofa, in bed, in the sunshine preferably or possibly on a train.

Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?

If I’m not working on the day job (office – currently home – based) then probably in the kitchen concocting something.

What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?

I can’t believe I did it!

How do you come up with a title for your book?

I always find finding titles a difficult process. ‘The Wrong Sort To Die’ went through a number of variations but eventually I found something within the text which seemed to hit the nail on the head. Because it’s the second in the series, I picked up on the dying theme for ‘Death in the Last Reel’, combined it with the connection to the growing moving picture industry that’s in the book itself and also again, some of the elements within the plot.

How do you pick a cover for your book?

I do look at other books in the same or similar genre and I ask opinions, even if the answer is not what I expected. I wanted to be able to convey an era and also a mystery. It’s surprisingly hard to get a cover with a dynamic woman in a historical setting. They tend to look like they need rescuing rather than that they might possibly rescue someone or at least do something assertive. The cover for ‘Death in the Last Reel’ and the new cover for ‘The Wrong Sort To Die’ were created by and they worked with me till we were satisfied with the result.

Thank you, Paula Harmon and Zooloo’s Book Tours


About the author

Paula Harmon was born in North London to parents of English, Scottish and Irish descent. Perhaps feeling the need to add a Welsh connection, her father relocated the family every two years from country town to country town moving slowly westwards until they settled in South Wales when Paula was eight. She later graduated from Chichester University before making her home in Gloucestershire and then Dorset where she has lived since 2005. She is a civil servant, married with two adult children. Paula has several writing projects underway and wonders where the housework fairies are, because the house is a mess and she can’t think why.


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