Theo Duncan is just an ordinary student. Except he also happens to be the son of the Prime Minister, Will Duncan.
When the parliamentary mace is stolen from inside the Houses of Parliament, Theo is determined to help his dad get it back. But he can’t do it alone. And when help is offered, there’s a problem. It comes from the new girl at school, Sammy Jhor, who’s a supporter of the opposition party.
Theo and Sammy form an unlikely team to spy on government officials, sneak through the corridors of Downing Street and pursue the thief through the Palace of Westminster.
But when the evidence points to suspects at the highest levels of government, finding the thief could threaten Will Duncan’s leadership.
Can Theo and Sammy put aside their differences to find the mace – and the thief – before the government is brought to its knees?
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, by the afternoon my brain has usually turned to mush. I have a desk at home where I sometimes write, but I often go out to cafes to write. There’s less chance of me procrastinating by doing the washing up in a café. At least not without raising some eyebrows.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I don’t have any particular writing rituals. I just try to seize the moments when inspiration strikes.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Always a cup of Earl Grey tea, black, no sugar. I’m very much a creature of habit.
– What is your favourite book?
It’s a tie between Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones Diary, which have essentially the same plot. Both written by two of the funniest writers Britain has ever produced.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I have written historical fiction before and I would definitely like to return to that genre in the future.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
No. I do like to steal little details from real people though. Distinctive mannerisms or appearances can make a character come alive. The sort of thing I might pinch is a really great laugh or a very particular fashion sense.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I used to, but so often I’m lugging around half a bookcase in my bag, so less than I used to. Now I rely on the notes app on my phone. Or sometimes I record a voice note for myself, if no one else is around to give me a side eye…
– Which genre do you not like at all?
There is no genre that I wouldn’t read at all. Horror is my least favourite. I’m a total wimp and have been known to have nightmares brought on by stories. I have a very overactive imagination. But I would read any book that I liked the sound of.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Of the dead: Jane Austen. Although I would probably be too intimidated to contribute anything useful. Of the living: Kate Atkinson. Again, I would be totally useless in the writing process. But I would love to see how she works.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I’ve always been fascinated by Egypt. I studied English Literature and Classical Studies at university and I’ve always been interested in classical history – especially ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. I’ve never been to the pyramids, so I would love to come up with an excuse to visit them for research.
About the Author
Sarah Lustig grew up in London and went to school in Westminster, with politicians’ children. Her experiences at school and interest in politics inspired the idea for the Westminster Mysteries series. Mystery in the Palace of Westminster is her debut novel. She has been a book editor for nearly 15 years and now lives in Buckinghamshire, where she spends her time reading, writing and pottering on her balcony garden.