Today is the publication day of the novel Dead to Me by Cath Staincliffe. My full review can be found here. But if you do not have the time at the moment.
A girl has been stabbed, there is a possibility of rape, drugs play a part somewhere and the victim’s mother wants justice; she is convinced it is the boyfriend. She wants blame to be apportioned so that she feels after leaving her daughter in care to be looked after the system has not failed her.
DCI Gill Murray is heading up the investigate team and she has her faithful DC Janet Scott with her, but there is a new girl on the block Rachel Bailey; gun-ho, arrogant and a bit of a risk to a well established team. Murray teams her up with Scott in the hope that Scott’s calmness, experience and ease with events takes some of the arrogance away.
Who is Cath Staincliffe?
Cath was brought up in Bradford and hoped to become an entomologist (insects) then a trapeze artist before settling on acting at the age of eight. She graduated from Birmingham University with a Drama and Theatre Arts degree and moved to work as a community artist in Manchester where she now lives with her partner and their children.
Cath is the author of the acclaimed Sal Kilkenny mysteries. Looking for Trouble launched private eye Sal, a single parent struggling to juggle work and home, onto Manchester’s mean streets. It was short listed for the Crime Writers Association’s John Creasey best first novel award, serialised on BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour and awarded Le Masque de l’Année in France. Since then, Cath has published six further Sal Kilkenny mysteries.
Cath is also a scriptwriter, creator of ITV’s hit police series, Blue Murder, which ran for five series from 2003 – 2009 starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis. Blue Murder has been sold around the globe in places as diverse as Fiji, Iceland and Yemen.
Cath writes for radio and created the Legacy drama series which features a chalk-and-cheese, brother and sister duo of heir hunters whose searches take them into the past lives of families torn apart by events.
Trio, a stand-alone novel, moves away from crime to explore adoption and growing up in the 1960s. Cath’s own story, of tracing and being re-united with her Irish birth family and her seven brothers and sisters, has been featured in the television documentaryFinding Cath from RTE.
Cath’s latest novels each feature ordinary people facing ethical dilemmas. The stand-alone stories, published by Constable & Robinson, include The Kindest Thing a love story turned nightmare when a woman helps her husband die and is tried for murder, and Witness (April 2011) which explores what it might be like, as an innocent bystander, to have to testify in a murder trial.
Transworld Publishers have signed up Cath Staincliffe to write an original crime novel based on the ratings winning ITV1 crime drama series Scott & Bailey. Transworld approached RED Production Company with the proposal for a prequel to the TV series, set in Manchester, which explores the early careers and personal lives of the three main protagonists: D. C. Rachel Bailey (played on screen by Suranne Jones), D. C. Janet Scott (played by Lesley Sharp) and D. C. I. Gill Murray (played by Amelia Bullmore). The publication has the full backing of Sally Wainwright, the TV series writer, and Diane Taylor, her co-creator, who is a retired Detective Inspector from the Greater Manchester Police Force’s Major Incident Team
What this book did do was interest me in the chosen title – Dead to Me. Titles can say a lot about a book, and I realise they can also confuse. I have been careful to avoid spoilers but I may intimate at the plot in some cases so please do not read on as I do not want to spoil the book for you if you intend to read it.
Let me start with the detectives; they have the death of the victim to deal with but death comes in many different forms. Looking at what death means in the use of the word.
DCI Gill Murray has a dead relationship. There is just her now and her son. Her husband having gone off with a younger woman. This affected her high flying career which is now perhaps dead in the water until the job she finds herself in now?
Janet Scott could go further in her career. However she choses to stay where she is. Why? Through the book we find out, how her and Gill actually became friends and got to know each other. Through the death of a child – Janet’s. It never leaves a mother and never leaves Janet, she becomes focused on the case. Can her other children and husband deal with the role Janet has taken or is it the death of her family?
Rachel Bailey is trying to keep her family dead. The memories of that family dead. But she cannot, too much about the case reminds her of what she has left behind. Her upbringing probably does not match that of her colleagues. However Rachel lives in fear that her dysfunctional family; will affect the career she has chosen for herself. A career which goes against their grain.
The we have the victim – Without sounding flippant, death is obvious for the murder victim. However, you could question whether her life was already dead. Having been rejected and accepted by her mother more than once, would make you question what your family life was like. Her brother has chosen one path, which affects them all. Has he suffered as well. Does he feel the same? Were all their feelings dead that they could not talk about them? So many questions but are there ever any answers?
If you get the chance to read this book then do so, I would love to hear what you think about it. Perhaps I have overlooked something about the title?
Being a voracious reader, I think perhaps I overlook titles, but I do try and see their relevance to the plot line or characters. Sometimes it is an obvious one, but in this case it is not, it actually means many different things. It certainly was not a title, where I have gone – why have they called it that!