Some reviews of RIFT

"Original and exciting. Full marks for Ms Cody."
Literary Review

"Poverty-stricken Ethiopia and its inhabitants are the vivid setting for this provocative thriller that showcases Cody's deft, sparse literary style."
Publisher's Weekly

"Fresh, original, and spellbinding... A winner."
Kirkus Reviews

Care to guess who the model for this cover was? A rainy day on four flights of stairs in central Bath.

About Ballad of a Dead Nobody

"I was gripped... [Told] beautifully, touchingly, sometimes brutally..."
Peter Lovesey

"Adventurous in form, sparklingly written and with every page more gripping than the last, this bluesy novel may well be the already garlanded Cody's best yet."
Mat Coward Morning Star

And for the figure in this picture? Taken on the canal in Bath.

About Miss Terry

"Compelling... warm and amusing, written with the characteristic Cody honesty... a terrific read"
Peter Lovesey


Rift is an adventure story about an ingenue called Fay Jassahn who travels up the Rift Valley from Kenya to Ethiopia and then doesn't know how to get home.

It's based on a trip I made myself at a time of famine and revolution. All the places are real, as are a lot of the characters and some of the events. I should not have been there, because to witness events like those and yet be able to do nothing to help made me part of the problem. I thought about it for over 10 years before I dared write about it. But even after 10 years, the trip was, in memory, still so catastrophic that I needed to face it and try to make sense of the experience.

I don't actually believe that writing a novel was the appropriate response, but it's the only skill I can use to remind people about other, godforsaken parts of the world where ordinary folk, just like you and me, endure or die in unbelievable suffering.

Even as I write this - July 08 - the Horn of Africa is facing another catastrophe, provoked by climate, rising food prices, the cost of oil and the criminal neglect of bad or no government. It's the same stuff that makes you and me complain at the gas station or wince at the supermarket check-out. But the stuff that merely pisses us off actually kills them - kills their children and makes them watch their families die.

Ballad of a Dead Nobody involves the efforts of a biographer to unravel the story of the live, and death, of Elly Astoria, a teenager with extraordinary musical abilities. As a little girl, Elly taught herself to play guitar and keyboard so that she could feed herself and her mother. One rainy night she was spotted singing and playing by the founder of an indy women's band. Later, cleaned up and better fed, she caught the eye of her future manager - and his creepy sister. It should have been a rags to riches story. Instead Elly's career was cut short by her perverted and grisly murder.

Years after her death it looks as if Elly's life has been overlooked. If anyone deserves rediscovery and biographer, it's her. Clearly there's a story to be told and a mystery to be solved. But how?

Miss Terry is about Nita Tehri, who seems to have her life sorted. She has a good job she likes, she lives in a pretty apartment in a quiet street and she has escaped from the family who endangered her.

Yet despite everything she's achieved, she still has a problem. She doesn't look like her neighbours. And when a grisly discovery is made outside her door, all eyes turn her way.

She's done nothing wrong. But slowly, inexorably, her life turns inside-out. How can people she used to think of as her friends and colleagues behave so irrationally in modern, enlightened England? Little by little her faith in society and British justice is ended.

It isn't only her belief in fair play that's threatened. One thing is certain - if she survives, her life will never be the same.

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.