AN ESTABLISHED children’s author from Alton is celebrating the release of her first book for adults.
Suzi Cresswell’s latest work, Everything but the Girl, is a ‘cosy crime’ novel parodying light-hearted ‘who done it’ stories like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.
The main character, a bumbling amateur sleuth called Liddy Marbles, is, like Mrs Cresswell, an educational psychologist.
However, her questionable detective skills result a series of comical errors and misunderstandings, scattered with ‘moments of inspiration’ that keep the storyline flowing.
Partnered with her ‘mad, Irish’ ex-mother-in-law, Everything but the Girl’s heroine, who also has a sideline as an animal behaviourist, investigates the death and disappearance, respectively, of two young girls.
Mrs Cresswell told the Advertiser her new release is a more adult version of her children’s books Jane Fry Private Eye, published by Educational Printing.
She said: “It’s not a gritty police drama by any means. It’s intended to make people laugh.
“There are lots of comical misunderstandings and failures, like Liddy trying to get reluctant horses into a horse boxes and tailing the wrong person.
“I love Agatha Christie and there are loads of unashamed nods to her work, making fun of it in a very affectionate way.
“I wrote the book a few years ago and never did anything with it until my twin sister read it and said I should put it out there.
“I got a good reaction from the friends and family who read it and I decided I should just go for it.
“Liddy isn’t based on me but I her profession is obviously one I know a lot about and felt it would be wise to make her an educational psychologist.”
Mrs Cresswell’s previous releases have been aimed at eight-to-12-year-olds who have trouble getting into reading.
The are focused on containing ‘more action and less description’ to ease struggling youngsters into the world of books.
She said she will pursue writing books for grown-ups in the future after ‘really enjoying’ creating Everything but the Girl.
She said: “It’s an accessible book for a wide audience. You don’t have to be a serious reader to enjoy it but, if you are, you will doubtless find Everything but the Girl funny and light-hearted.
“My next book will be in a similar vein, using many of the same characters, and I’m already half way through it.
“I’ve enjoyed the freedom you get from writing for adults. When writing for children, you’re obviously much more restricted as to the subject matter, style and language you can use.
“Everything but the Girl obviously isn’t Jane Austen – I love classics but can’t say my writing is particularly influenced by them – but it’s obviously more grown-up and sophisticated than my other work to date.
“I like writing about eccentric characters and, while I’m still learning as a writer, I like to think my style balances developing the plot and the characters in equal measure.
“At the end of the day, my aim as an author is to enjoy my work – it doesn’t feel like a job at all – and make readers smile.”
Mrs Cresswell is a mother-of-three and lives in Alton with her husband and children.
She said: “I don’t very much care for house work and shopping so I spend most of my spare time doing what I love – writing.”
Everything but the Girl is available to download as an e-book online at www.amazon.co.uk.