Margaret’s father had a novel published in 1957 entitled Many Bridges.
It was based on the continuing Czech resistance after World War II when, in his words, “the double-edged ‘ liberating’ sword of Communism swept into Czechoslovakia to add further iniquities to the Nazi defilement of this beautiful country”. So she supposes writing is in her blood. Grandfather was Czech by birth — Margaret’s maiden name was Zenker — and that nation has a tradition of story-telling. She can remember Grandad telling her stories when she was a child — he died when she was in her early teens — that always seemed to involve dark castle corridors, ghostly footsteps and guttering candles that were suddenly blown out.
Her first job was with the Civil Service, first the Inland Revenue in Sussex and then the Ministry of Defence in Bath. That lovely historic city is used as a setting for some of her novels. She now lives in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor, a place that has its own stories that reach into the distant past. She started writing in 1980 and after four science fiction novels that had no success, her first crime novel, A Murder of Crows, was published in 1987. The twenty third, Dark Side, was published at the end of November 2013. These mostly involve Patrick Gillard and Ingrid Langley. Those that mostly don’t — there is a little overlapping — concern James Carrick, a Scottish DCI in Bath, eventually to be brought, together with Joanna Mackenzie, once his sergeant, now his wife, into the Gillard and Langley series. Two stand alone stories are Man of Blood and Corpse Candle.