Published by Allison & Busby
ebook, hardback and paperback (21 June 2018)
My thanks to Ailsa of Allison & Busby for the invitation to take part in the tour and to Nicola for providing such an interesting guest post.
| About the Book |
The dead rarely leave matters tidy, widow Clare Hills knows that all too well. In search of a new start, Clare reconnects with university friend Dr David Barbrook and is pleased when he asks for her help sifting through the effects of recently deceased archaeologist Gerald Hart. Together they stumble the lost finds from Gerald’s most glittering dig. Hidden from view for decades, and supposedly destroyed in an arson attack, the discovery of the Hungerbourne Barrows archive is every archaeologist’s dream. However, the dream soon turns to a nightmare which puts Clare at the centre of a murder inquiry.
Living with the Dead: a Double Life
by Nicola Ford
I inhabit a world full of dead people. Of course in one way we all do. We’re all surrounded by the traces of the people who’ve gone before us and shaped the world we live in. But for crime writers exploring and untangling the threads left behind by acts of violence lies at the heart of our craft. And in my day job too, as the National Trust’s Archaeologist for the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site, I spend my days literally sifting through the physical traces that people have left behind to try to bring their stories back into the light. Sometimes that’s sites and artefacts and sometimes it’s their mortal remains.
For me the two halves of what I do and who I am, archaeologist and crime writer, are a natural fit. In my experience both crime writers and archaeologists are people people. We’re nosey, we want to understand what makes (or made) people tick. The difference is as Dr David Barbrook puts it in The Hidden Bones that, ‘Archaeologists normally wait until people have been dead for a few hundred years before they start poking round in their lives.’ Although, if truth be known, we do enjoy a good gossip too.
In The Hidden Bones I’ve invited you (dear reader) into the world of archaeology; a world where I spend my days trying to get inside the heads of people who died, in some cases, many thousands of years ago. My head is, to borrow another phrase from David in The Hidden Bones, ‘Populated with long-dead voices and images.’ And of course as a writer too I spend much of my life – possibly more of it than might be considered healthy – inside other people’s heads. Trying to understand what it’s like to walk in the shoes of others and to help you do that too is a big part of what I do. In The Hidden Bones I want to take you on that roller coaster of discovery with me, because archaeology and crime fiction are both in their own way an attempt to get to understand the human condition. But they’re also, just as importantly, brilliant forms of escapism. And who doesn’t need that in our 21st century world?
Many of the techniques I call upon as an archaeologist to resurrect the dead are the same forensic techniques employed in modern day policing. We can unlock the secrets of someone’s ancestry from their DNA, discover where they were born or brought up from the isotope signatures in their teeth and find out both how they spent their lives and how they died from indications that are, ‘written into the bone.’
And these are also the building blocks that many a modern day crime writer’s protagonists use to get to the heart of a murder investigation. Often you can only understand someone’s death if you can understand their life. And that shared quest, unlocking the secrets of life and death, is at the heart of the world of Clare Hills, David Barbrook and their team of archaeologists in The Hidden Bones.
| Author Bio |
Nicola Ford is the pen-name for archaeologist Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. Through her day-job and now her writing, she’s spent more time than most people thinking about the dead.