AN ELEGANT SOLUTON by Anne Atkins | Blog Tour Guest Post #AnElegantSolution @anne_atkins @malcolmdown #LoveBooksgroup

Published by Malcolm Down Publishing Ltd
Available in ebook, hardback and paperback
404 pages

My thanks to Kelly of Love Books Group for the invitation to take part in the tour. I’m delighted to welcome Anne Atkins with a guest post.


When someone mentions the City of Cambridge you probably think of an iconic building, its four corners stretching out of the once medieval mud and into the arms of everlasting heaven, its white limestone yearning into eternity… and without even knowing exactly what ephemeral joys or permanent wonders the vision brings to mind, it s a safe bet that the one thought which doesn’t occur to you is that the Chapel might not be there by Christmas. Theo (Theophilus Ambrose Fitzwilliam Wedderburn to his friends) is a Junior Research Fellow in Number Theory. Prompted by a supervisee to demonstrate how to trace the provenance of bitcoins, Theo happens across a shocking revelation, with embarrassing ramifications for the whole University. Meanwhile he is being stalked unseen by someone from his childhood. To his annoyance, Theo falls for a cheap con… and discovers a horror set not only to rock the very seat of power itself but to change the face of Cambridge and its beautifully iconic image for ever.

by Anne Atkins

Every work of fiction starts with a “What if?”

What if a young royal heard the ghost of his late father, telling him to commit murder just as he himself had been murdered? What if a great political leader set out to discover and punish the person who had brought a curse on his community, and discovered it was none other than he himself (and moreover that he had killed his own father and married his mother)? Or a more recent example, what if someone set out to assassinate President de Gaulle… it doesn’t matter that we know he can’t possibly succeed because we all know it didn’t happen: the action is still full of suspense.

Eileen Atkins said that in order to play Lady Macbeth, she had to ask herself what could ever bring her to such a point. And for my previous novel, A Fine and Private Place, I asked myself: what if I had committed murder? What could possibly have driven me to it?

For An Elegant Solution, my question was this: what if I were a terrorist? What target would I choose that could have the most devastating impact, the most far-reaching publicity, the most historic and lasting damage? Not just to people and their lives, but to the world and its heritage. How would I drop a pebble in the pond to ripple as far as possible into the six degrees of connection that everyone has, and force the rewriting of every guidebook?

This was the tiny kernel of my plot, the acorn from which everything else grew. From there came the motivation for the crime; the custodians of the targeted site; those responsible for security and safeguarding; all the innocent men, women and children whose lives would be changed for ever.

And from there also came my hero: the only person in the world who could have fallen across such a terrible truth… and perhaps, just possibly, the only one who might be able to fight it.


Anne Atkins is a well-known English broadcaster and journalist, and regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. She took an involuntary, and long, break from writing fiction when her son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, their daughter repeatedly hospitalized with a severe illness, and finally the family was made homeless by the Anglican church. Thankfully those dark days are now behind her and she and her husband Shaun along with some of her children now live happily in Bedford, England.

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