I met Marni Graff at Bouchercon in North Carolina last year. As well as being a crime author, she is also a book reviewer and an enthusiastic supporter of new writers. She kindly interviewed me for her website and took me out for a gorgeous seafood dinner.
Marni is best known for her series featuring Nora Tierney, an American writer living in Oxford. However, her latest book, Death Unscripted, has a nurse, Trudy Genova, working a medical consultant for the TV series ‘Thornfield Place’. When the lead actor, Griff Kennedy, dies suddenly on set while pointing an accusing finger at Trudy, she is chief suspect especially as she recently rejected Griff’s advances. Trudy suspects death by poisoning and begins her own investigation, to the chagrin of the police.
The author is both a former nurse and has worked in a television environment. She brings a lighthearted touch to the descriptions of trying to insert medical realism into the TV hospital scenes. In many ways it’s a clash of two cultures: Trudy is a capable and lively professional and the world of hospital drama is filled with large egos and executives watching their backs. Griff makes an ideal victim, he’s not particularly likeable in the early scenes, and we’re rooting for Trudy from the start.
There’s a strong focus on character in Death Unscripted. Written in the first person we see Trudy’s interactions with her best friend, Meg, and Ned one of the New York detectives. In many respects, it’s a mystery in the ‘classic’ mould with parallel investigations undertaken by Trudy and the police. I’m sure anyone who loves golden age mysteries would love the feel of this book. It’s a page-turning read and written with a light-hearted charm which was hugely enjoyable.