My new murder mystery serie has just been published in Sweden, introducing Berit Gardner, a Swedish-English writer who solves murder when she should be writing.
Berit E.V. Gardner is a forty-something writer who comes to Cornwall to escape the unexpected success of her last novel – and the relentless calls from her agent, asking her to capitalise on it.
Her father was a constant dreamer from England; her mother, a constantly disappointed woman from Sweden. Her mother chose her very prosaic first name, Berit, and her father chose her grandiose middle names, Elizabeth Victoria, and they probably should have realised right then and there that the marriage wouldn’t work. Berit moved from Sweden to London when she was twenty, searching for books and literature. She has been writing ever since, publishing novels that garnered a moderate amount of literary praise and respectable but unexciting sales numbers.
Or, at least that’s how it used to be. Her last novel met with unexpected success, and as her agent implores her to write a sequel, and fast, Berit Gardner is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. For the first time in her life, her head is completely silent. No chatting voices, no imaginary friends,
no half-formed ideas lurking in the shadows, waiting their turn. Nothing.
In desperation, she spends all her royalties on a small cottage in a worn-down village in inland Cornwall, and moves there without ever having seen it. She’s certain she’ll find ideas and inspiration here. She can practically taste it in the names: Wisteria Cottage. Albert Lane. Great Diddling. As the book begins, she is standing in her kitchen, ironing her shirt, getting ready for a tea party where she hopes to get to know the locals and eavesdrop on all their conversations.