I love doing research, which is just as well really. All the Ruth books feature a particular archaeological discovery. The Crossing Places had an Iron Age body and a Bronze Age henge. The Janus Stone featured Roman remains and so-called ‘foundation sacrifices’. The House at Sea’s End explored more recent history with the Second World War (as well as coastal erosion). A Room Full of Bones featured a museum and the repatriation of indigenous Australian artefacts. For Dying Fall I travelled farther afield and explored the Pendle Hills and the legend of King Arthur. The Outcast Dead involved Victorian prisons and body snatchers. The action in The Ghost Fields takes place amongst the abandoned airfields of Norfolk. The Woman in Blue is set in the shrine town of Walsingham and my research involved going on a pilgrimage.
For the Stephens and Mephisto books, I got to explore my home town of Brighton. They are set in the 1950s, which doesn’t seem that long ago, and many people were very generous with their time and memories. My grandfather was a music hall comedian so I have drawn very heavily on his experiences and on his collection of playbills.