This novel reflects on the rumours and theories surrounding a number of real-life events, including the death of the Duke of Kent and the aircraft crashes of Short Sunderland W4032 and Avro Anson DJ106.
Wing Commander Robert Sutherland has left his days as a pre-war detective far behind him. Or so he thinks. On 25 August 1942 the Duke of Kent, brother of King George VI, is killed in northern Scotland in an unexplained air crash; a second crash soon after suggests a shared, possibly sinister, cause. Bob Sutherland is tasked with visiting the aircraft’s base in Oban and the first crash site in Caithness to gather clues as to who might have had reason to sabotage one, or both, of the aircraft.
Set against the background of a country that is far from united behind Winston Churchill, and the ever-present threat from the enemy, we follow Bob as he unravels layers of deceit and intrigue far beyond anything he expects.
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
I’ve invariably got a book to hand that I’m reading while at home, sometimes more than one. And in the background, there are always several waiting to be read. But I spend a lot of time away – in more normal times at least – and when out and about my reading matter tends to be exclusively about the place I’m visiting. I think that makes the short answer to the question ‘no’: reading for pleasure tends to be a home-based activity.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Is it avoiding the question to say, ‘the memorable one’, whether good or bad? I suspect that in practice this probably mean I’d prefer to be a bad character as, main protagonists apart, they can often be the most memorable characters in a book.
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
I tend to keep up a reasonably regular public commentary about my writing, on my website at http://www.kenlussey.com/ This is backed up by fairly frequent posts on Twitter at @KenLussey and on Instagram at instagram.com/kenlussey/
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
Books have always been a passion of mine. I spent my childhood moving around the world and attending seven different schools. I worked my way through the libraries of most of them and this has translated itself in adult life into an inability to pass a bookshop by without going inside.
6. What are you most proud of?
First, my two daughters, grandson and 25 years of marriage to my wife Maureen. Second, my two thrillers set in Scotland during World War Two and published by Fledgling Press, ‘Eyes Turned Skywards’ and ‘The Danger of Life’. And, third, my first book, ‘A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to Great Britain’, published by Penguin Books all the way back in 1983.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
It feels rather presumptuous to think I’ve got any advice that anyone else might find helpful. I suppose the two things I’d say are: ‘if it works for you, do it’; and ‘if at first you don’t succeed then welcome to the world of the aspiring author.’
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Vera Eriksen, the real woman whose amazing and extremely dark story formed the basis for Monique Dubois, a.k.a. Vera Duval, one of the two central characters in my World War Two thrillers. The real Vera Eriksen disappeared during the war after the two German spies she landed with at Port Gordon were tried and executed. I’d love to know her real story.
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
The actual writing takes place exclusively at my office desk on a desktop computer. But that’s only the final stage in a much longer process. Collecting ideas and developing storylines can happen anywhere: but especially while visiting locations I intend to use and in the middle of the night in bed.
Thank you, Ken Lussey and Love Books Group Tours.
About the author
Ken Lussey spent his first 17 years following his family – his father was a Royal Air Force navigator – around the world, a process that involved seven schools and a dozen different postal addresses. He went to Hull University in 1975, spending his time there meeting his wife Maureen, hitch-hiking around Great Britain, and doing just enough actual work to gain a reasonable degree in that most useful of subjects, philosophy.
The next step seemed obvious. He researched and wrote ‘A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to Great Britain’, which was published by Penguin Books in 1983. An inexplicable regression into conformity saw him become a civil servant for the next couple of decades, during which time he fulfilled the long-held ambition of moving to Scotland. In more recent times he has helped Maureen establish the website ‘Undiscovered Scotland’ as the ultimate online guide to Scotland. ‘Eyes Turned Skywards’ was his first novel and ‘The Danger of Life’ is his second.