I’m delighted to welcome Thorne Moore, author of Shadows, to Linda’s Book Bag today. I adore the atmospheric cover of Shadows and although I haven’t had time to read it yet, I was so pleased when Thorne agreed to come on the blog and tell me a bit about it.
Shadows was published on 14th June 2017 by Endeavour Press and is available for purchase in e-book here.
Kate Lawrence can sense the shadow of violent death, past and present.
In her struggle to cope with her unwelcome gift, she has frozen people out of her life. Her marriage is on the rocks, her career is in chaos and she urgently needs to get a grip.
So she decides to start again, by joining her effervescent cousin Sylvia and partner Michael in their mission to restore and revitalise Llys y Garn, an old mansion in the wilds of North Pembrokeshire.
It is certainly a new start, as she takes on Sylvia’s grandiose schemes, but it brings Kate to a place that is thick with the shadows of past deaths.
The house and grounds are full of mysteries that only she can sense, but she is determined to face them down – so determined that she fails to notice that ancient energies are not the only shadows threatening the seemingly idyllic world of Llys y Garn.
The happy equilibrium is disrupted by the arrival of Sylvia’s sadistic and manipulative son, Christian – but just how dangerous is he?
Then, once more, Kate senses that a violent death has occurred…
Set in the majestic and magical Welsh countryside, Shadows is a haunting exploration of the dark side of people and landscape.
Unsolved and Unexplained
A Guest Post by Thorne Moore
Kate Lawrence has a psychic gift – or a curse. She is tuned in to the imprint cast by violent death. So she is bound to face problems when she comes to stay with her cousin Sylvia, who has bought a Victorian mansion in Pembrokeshire. Llys y Garn is older than it looks. It has a lot of history, casting a lot of shadows. Who or what cast them? She can’t tell. Between the lines of recorded history are the vast echoing spaces of people and events that have slipped into oblivion. Sometimes they leave hints of mysteries that will never be explained.
Llys y Garn, stands in a deep wooded valley in North Pembrokeshire. It’s a fictional house, but there are plenty like it in the area. The setting is important. Kate is hypersensitive to shadows of the past, but this is a place where you’d have to be totally insensitive to escape them. Many houses hide behind deceptively bland exteriors that belie their age. I know this. My house is a Victorian farm cottage, two up, two down, with a lean-to scullery, onto which a flat-roofed extension had been added back in the 1970s. Nothing to get excited about. It was only when I glanced through a book of old Pembrokeshire houses that I came across my house listed as a former Mediaeval manor, held by Jenkin ap Howell who was slain at Banbury in 1469. Well well. By 1811, it was described as “now but an ordinary farmhouse and bears no marks of its former consequence.”
I may be left without a mansion of consequence, but I am left with the conviction that things will have happened here over the centuries. Probably some bad things. Almost certainly some deaths. An account, hand-written in Welsh by a Victorian vicar, suggests that mediaeval bones had recently been dug up on this property and so it must once have been a churchyard or a site of battle. I’ve come across no other mention of these bones, but I do wonder what I might unearth if I ploughed a little deeper in the garden.
Old properties will have old secrets and naturally, Llys y Garn has them too. It has the façade of a Victorian Gothic mansion, but there’s a Mediaeval hall hidden behind, and a suggestion of a Bronze Age settlement in the grounds. Things have been happening there for generations. As one of the characters points out, “I bet every place as old as this has half a dozen grisly secrets buried away, but no one thinks of looking.” Unfortunately for Kate, at Llys y Garn people do think of looking.
I would not define myself as a crime writer, but I do write about crime and its impact on individuals, families, communities and even places. Not just the crimes that are formally investigated, with clues slipped nearly into place like a jigsaw puzzle, and put to bed with some act of “justice.” Perhaps the crimes that are never solved are more interesting. According to Home Office statistics, something like 20% of reported homicides lead to no identified suspects or any legal action, and that is with all the benefit of modern, scientific investigative tools. How many murders went unresolved in the past? And how many were not even recognised as murders? Over a couple of decades, Harold Shipman killed at least 200 people before anyone thought to question the deaths. We’ll never know what the real total was.
It is tempting, as an author, to delve into historical cold cases and come up with a convincing resolution. In a way, I have done that with my previous books, examining old (fictional) crimes and ultimately resolving them. In Shadows, I do things differently. Old murders are suspected – Kate can feel their imprint – and sometimes more than suspected, because tangible evidence comes to light. But it doesn’t mean they will ever be explained. And it means that some things happening now, under our noses, might never be explained either. Which is intriguing.
(Oo – it certainly is Thorne – can’t wait to read Shadows and find out more.)
About Thorne Moore
Thorne was born in Luton and graduated from Aberystwyth University (history) and from the Open University (Law). She set up a restaurant with her sister but now spends her time writing and making miniature furniture for collectors. She lives in Pembrokeshire, which forms a background for much of her writing, as does Luton. She writes psychological mysteries, or “domestic noir,” and her first novel, A Time For Silence, was published by Honno in 2012. Motherlove and The Unravelling followed, also published by Honno. She has also brought out a book of short stories, Moments of Consequence. She’s a member of the Crime Writers Association.