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Spotlight on...


Welcome to SPOTLIGHT, the regular feature that highlights the work of individual authors in the form of biographies, reviews of at least 3 novels and links to more information. On this occasion its beam settles on crime author, Margaret Murphy.

Over time, we at www.chrishigh.com hope to build a portfolio of information on the best authors working, with insight and facts that we hope you find enjoyable. Please don't forget to let us know what you think in the Guest Book under the Feedback link.
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Margaret Murphy - author promotional image


Margaret Murphy first went to university against her parent's wishes. 'In my second year, Dad refused to sign the grant forms so I earned a living first by charring and later by working as a park ranger on the Wirral, taking guided walks.'.

Her first career was in teaching. After gaining a degree in Environmental Biology, she taught science and biology in St Helens, Liverpool and the Wirral, first as a biology teacher, and then later as head of the dyslexia unit in an independent school. She started writing in earnest in 1990 after a serious illness, penning three novels before having her work accepted. Margaret's debut, Goodnight My Angel, was published in 1996; among the first to explore the cyber-stalking, it was short-listed for the First Blood Award.

Her novels are now published in the USA, and in translation in half-a-dozen European countries. 'Since giving up school teaching in 1998, I've gained an MA in Writing, worked freelance for the Open College of the Arts, completed the first year of a degree course in psychology and now tutor MA students at Liverpool John Moores University.' Margaret's ninth novel, Now You See Me, is published by Hodder & Stoughton on November 7th, 2005.


Now You See Me
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 0-340-83771-3

Margaret Murphy's latest in her Rickman / Foster series is easily her best novel to date. Following on from The Dispossessed, the author has managed to instil a sense of roundedness to her characters that makes the reader want to reach out and shake their hands, so warm and believable do they appear to be.

Front cover of the book ' Now You See Me' written by Margaret Murphy


When Megan Ward goes missing, suspicion falls on the stalker seen outside her house The police would love it to be so simple, but the closer they look, the more mysterious Megan herself becomes. The police find no photos, no passport, no family or friends. Only the corrupted computer files in Megan's strangely impersonal room.

When her landlady is murdered, the shadowy Megan re-merges and the woman who doesn't exist becomes very real, very elusive and very dangerous.

Meanwhile, Patrick Doran, owner of Safe Hands Security, is living his own nightmare. A hacker has breached his computer network, where he thought he had safely buried his past.

Now You See Me is two stories in one, as it follows the hunt for the killer through Sergeant Lee Foster and DC Naomi Hart's efforts, but also sees DCI Jeff Rickman take charge of his first investigation since the traumatic experiences of the year previously. The way Murphy balances the two scenarios and maintains the break-neck pace of the story truly underlines her ability to create menace and compassion in equal measures without ever over-egging either component. The dialogue and description is written so well that one can see and smell the environment described, as well as being able to eavesdrop into private conversations, whilst the mystique that surrounds Megan Ward illustrates that no matter how well we think we may somebody, we don't necessarily know everything.

Cyber-crime is on the increase and the warnings fly at us through TV and Press information bulletins on a daily basis. Whilst being informative, Now You See Me also serves as a reminder of how easy it is to be scammed in such a way without ever lecturing on the fact.

Fast, solid, believable and utterly unputdownable, Margaret Murphy's latest novel is a must have addition to any Crime Fiction collection.

Review also at: www.macavitys.co.uk/?q=catalogue/nowyouseeme#review

The Dispossessed
Publisher: Hodder

Margaret Murphy's most powerful novel to date, The Dispossessed follows the hunt for the murderer of a young, female Afghan refugee who has been dumped into a wheelie bin to die in Liverpool.

Assigned to the case is DI Jeff Rickman who, despite having deep-rooted family problems that he is unwilling to face, is soon drawn into a web of lie and counter lie, until events twist dramatically and so make things become very personal.

Front cover of 'The Dispossessed written by Margaret Murphy


The Dispossessed is the first in a series of Rickman books, with a second novel being released in October of this year entitled Now You See Me.

By writing about such a topical and controversial subject, Murphy - who herself is a volunteer helping refugees at Liverpool's Advocacy Project - has managed to explode some myths surrounding the refugee and asylum issues, without ever becoming a preacher. The recurring theme of the novel is that, from first page to last, nothing is what it seems and the reader's view of who the "bad guys" really are, changes on almost every page. Added to this is an increasingly moving and vivid use of language, description and tone, making it little wonder that Margaret Murphy is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of Crime literature.

Weaving Shadows
New English Library 2004.
ISBN: 0-340-82055-1

In Weaving Shadows, Merseyside author Margaret Murphy has encapsulated perfectly everything good about the British Crime genre, today.

Her central character, Clara Pascal, a prominent barrister recovering slowly from her past experiences, is led to believe that she's taking on an every-day child custody case. Clara is finding life difficult and struggles to keep the events of the recent past from affecting her friends, family and work. But sleep is growing ever more difficult to come by, as the shadows of her trauma continue to plague her nighttimes.

Front cover of the book 'Weaving Shadows' by Margaret Murphy


Then - courtesy of her friend and employer - she finds herself thrown back into taking on a criminal case she wants nothing to do with. Her client is Ian Clemence, a convicted and brutal murderer who is now the prime suspect in the death of one of his former lecturers. But once she is forced into starting her research, why is it that Clara - despite her misgivings - begins to believe that Clemence is innocent of the crimes with which he being linked?

Margaret Murphy is clinical in her prose and tantalising in her description. She writes in a style that makes - begs, almost - the reader to turn the pages so as to see what happens next, by making every word count. Her characters are 'real' and their situations convincing. Read the section where the victim is discovered and you'll realise that you know everything you need to about the discoverer, inside of five lines of meeting them. Such is the ability of the author.

As a sequel it works brilliantly, but that does not mean to say that its predecessor - Darkness Falls - needs to be read so as to be able to follow this story.

The world of Crime fiction has moved on from Holmes and Frost and Morse. Devotees of this genre are demanding a more informed better-researched crime novel and Margaret Murphy certainly does not disappoint in this respect. The complex storyline is deftly handled, precise, and above all, unpredictable, which makes her ability to enthral even more powerful. The plot ducks and dives, twists and turns on every page, but never in a confusing or confused manner and is a story which climaxes in a way that can only amaze.

As fellow author Mo Hayder has said: "Margaret Murphy is just what British crime writing has been waiting for."

Order Margaret Murphy's books online - Linghams Booksellers



“Once more, Chris High shows himself to be as on the ball as Beckham.;-) Thanks for your encouraging comments re. award nominations for Cath Staincliffe, Margaret Murphy, and Martin Edwards - Murder Squad members all. Your readers might be interested to know that another member of the Squad, Ann Cleeves, has been short-listed for the top UK Award - the CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger! ”
Margaret Murphy 2006

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Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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