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BBC Look North’s Peter Levy On Stage In New Crime Novel
Hull crime writer Penny Grubb gives local TV and radio presenter Peter Levy a walk-on part in her new book, Like False Money, which sold out its first edition in under a fortnight and has now been nominated for the international John Creasey Dagger
Penny says, ‘Crime fiction needs to be set in real places these days. Even if readers don’t travel themselves, they know the world through TV and the internet and want to buy into the idea that the story is happening in a real place. I used landmarks such as the Deep to anchor the story firmly in Hull.’
The heroine, Annie, arrives in East Yorkshire at the start of the book. ‘I wanted Annie to be new to the area,’ Penny says, ‘because this allowed me to explore Hull and Holderness through the eyes of a stranger. It’s an area that takes people by surprise. Most people don’t know you can travel 20 miles east from Hull without falling in the sea. They arrive with few expectations and are bowled over by what they find’.
Local television has a small but vital role in unravelling of one of Annie’s cases. But why choose Peter Levy?
Penny won’t be drawn on the exact role Peter plays. ‘This is a whodunit,’ she says. ‘And I shouldn’t give away its secrets, but Peter’s strapline on the Look North website is “a familiar face on television”. That and the fact he interviews a wide variety of people is what made him perfect for the role he plays in the book.’
Penny stresses that the book is a work of fiction. ‘I research what I can, and I’ve found myself in some tight corners,’ she says. ‘But the characters get up to a lot of things that I’ve never done. I’ve never murdered anyone, I’ve never baked chocolate chip cookies, and I’ve never seduced a policeman. However, the forensics are authentic. The deaths could have happened the way they are described.’
Penny is a scientist who has worked in hospitals and pathology labs across Europe. She is currently Chairperson of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the largest writers’ organisation in the world. In 2004, she won an international award, the CWA Debut Dagger, for a later novel in the Annie series. The finished version of this novel, the Doll Makers, will be published in June.
Penny says, ‘I’ve been a writer all my life. I won my first writing competition at age 9. And I have my eye on the Mayor of Wetwang for a walk-on part in a future book.’
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Penny Grubb is a crime writer, an academic and current Chair of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. She teaches courses on non-fiction and creative writing.