Eva enters the literary ring in Somerset but is soon back in London. This book won the CWA's Silver Dagger.

Some of the people Eva mixes with in this book first appeared in the story, Lucky Dip.

That's not Eva in love, surely... The German Marlowe Society awarded this book its annual "Marlowe" as best foreign novel.

Some reviews of the Eva Wylie books.

"A staggering achievement... A breath-taking tour de force."
Sara Paretsky

"...Eva is a wondrous creation - an incorrigible innocent in a story that crackles with energy. Super Cody."
Kirkus Reviews

"Original and witty, with maxims to relish... Rueful, racy, quite irresistible."
Philip Oakes, Literary Review

"One of the best conceived and beautifully drawn characters in modern crime fictin."
Mystery News

"It's like a rock-and-roll version of Pilgrim's Progress. Eva is rude, crude, funny, touching and perhaps the boldest creation to land in recent crime fiction"
Philadelphia Inquirer

"Triumphant... Big, meaty and bouncing, Eva is to charm what Godzilla is to fondue-dipping."
Yorkshire Post

Bucket Nut, Monkey Wrench and Musclebound: the Eva Wylie trilogy.

Eva is not a resonable woman. She is society's nightmare of what happens to the ugly, uneducated, angry, neglected child when she grows up to be a big, strong, ugly woman. It's hard to be ugly in a world that values women for youth, beauty and shagability.

Eva thinks, if she thinks at all, that she has turned a minus into a plus by becoming a villain in the pantomime world of professional wrestling. It's a world where insults and violence are prized.

So warped is she that she counts the volume of boos, catcalls and rejection from the audience as signs of success. I am warped enough myself to see that as a feminist statement.

I have to admit too that I was a little fed up with people's expectations of private detectives and the perception that I was writing about a role model, a "good deed in a naughty world." And everyone seemed to want a "strong, female central character" from me. So I thought - if they want a strong woman, I'll give them one, but she isn't going to be anyone's idea of a role model. And along came Eva - shouting her head off.

At the time, the women's UK Wrestling Champion was Klondyke Kate - a woman who looked like an XL rain barrel in a leotard.

I first saw her snarling face on a poster, placed, coincidentally, next to a Max Factor poster advertising lipstick. The contrast was wonderful - the Max Factor woman was saying, "Love me, fancy me, envy me," while Kate in the wrestling poster was saying, "Get stuffed." An unusual message from a woman in an advertisement.

So I went to watch her fight and was thrilled to discover that our "champion" was a cheat and a dirty fighter. She totally demolished the crowd's favourite - a pretty-in-pink blonde - and was then disqualified for breaking every rule in the book.

She drove the crowd into a frenzy of rage and hatred, and I thought, "an ugly woman has no choice - she has to be the villain and somehow transmute hatred into love." Where most of us court approval, in order to succeed, a villain has to court hatred.

A little old man was so consumed with rage that he ran down to ringside. Emotion made him almost speechless and he couldn't think of an insult bad enough, until at last he screamed, "You... you... bucket nut!" Meaning, of course, that Kate was so ugly she had a face like a bucket. (Bucket Nut became the title of the first Eva book. So thanks, little old guy. Though your face wasn't anything to write home about either.)

Selected Works

Don't judge a book by its cover, or a bag lady by her appearance. "I didn't always look like this," she says. "Being barmy doesn't mean I'm stupid." Lady Bag does have her problems - her close relationship with cheap red wine, for example. When she gets hammered she talks to her dog. When she's extra-hammered her dog talks to her. Guess who makes better sense. She and her greyhound, Electra, wander through the streets of London, seeing a Dickensian side of the capital city that's only visible to the homeless. Together they accept the kindness or unkindness of strangers with the same wry patience. Until, on one dreadful day, they meet the Devil outside the National Portrait Gallery.
All Birdie Walker wants is some justice for her husband, Jack. But since Jack was a rock star and the justice has to come from the music business, Birdie absolutely has to take some extreme measures.Click on the title for more information.
Short stories
All my short stories up to 2003 are in this collection. It includes two written specially. Click on the title for a bit about how I came to write short stories and more information.
The Anna Lee series
I wrote six novels about Anna Lee. Click on the titles for more information.
The Bucket Nut Trilogy
Professional wrestler Eva Wylie appeared in three novels in the '90s. Click on the titles for more information.
Other stand-alone novels
RIFT is set in the Ethiopia of the 1970s. BALLAD is the story of a girl with a miraculous musical talent. MISS TERRY is the story of what happens to someone who looks different from her neighbours when a grisly discovery is made. Click on the titles for more information.
The story collections I co-edited for Britain's Crime Writers' Association.
In the early '90s I helped edit these three books - aiming them to be more annuals than anthologies. They include many things we're proud to have published. Click on the titles for more information.