A thrilling and dramatic tale of Edie who is coming to terms with the loss of her mother. Author Anthony Kessel has written a piece about writing The Five Clues.
I have always loved reading and have always loved writing – from as long ago as I can remember to the present day. As a young child I would be lost in a book in my bedroom while the family watched TV, oblivious to their shouts to join, and can recall winning a school short story competition when I was seven with a tale I created about a Viking walking into a modern day town. My mum was so proud.
Through my professional career as a doctor and university professor this interest in the written word continued and I published countless academic articles, book chapters and magazine reports – about medical ethics, global health and the environment – until my penchant for telling stories took my pen in a different direction. When my daughter, Leone, was of single-digit age (she’s now a Bristol University student) I told her a bed-time story every Friday evening about the adventures of a cat called Perch and her feline friends. Leone adored those sessions, as did I. After a year or so, I began to write down some of the Perch stories which, a few years later, became my first children’s book. The seed of my passion for writing children’s fiction had been sown.
What I realised in creating the cat book was how much I enjoyed the creative process, the mental immersion into a different space and place from which the written product emerges. For me, being ‘in the (creative) zone’ is a peaceful, relaxing and enriching experience, where the mental chatter of the external world evaporates and I feel connected to a deeper sense of self. I relished more of that experience and thus, from the thought factory that resides in all of our heads, the ideas behind a new book, The Five Clues, germinated.
Set in and around London over four weeks, The Five Clues is a real-time murder-mystery thriller and family drama, combining an exciting race against time with a moving examination of a teenager learning to live with the loss of a beloved parent. The book centres on 13-year-old detective Edie Marble who discovers, at the stone-setting ceremony at the cemetery, that her mum’s death a year earlier was perhaps not an accident. Picking up her mum’s dangerous case as a human rights investigator, Edie uses her own wit and determination to solve clues, decipher the trail and outsmart brutal villains. Ingredients include murder, a hitman, and a ruthless public health conspiracy.
This is not a fantasy or dystopian book, but is grounded in the real world and present day. My interest is in providing readers with a straight-up thrilling adventure story, which also has a heart and poignancy. Embedded gently through the book, and indeed through the four-book ‘Don’t Doubt the Rainbow’ series, is an approach to understanding how the mind works that will support readers’ own psychological well-being and resilience.
The Five Clues is published by Crown House Publishing and is available now from book retailers.