Crime solver’s novel change

FIRST PERSON - From the beat to Bala: police officer turned writer, Clare Mackintosh, is relishing her new role...

By Julie McNicholls Vale   |   Deputy news editor   |
Saturday 30th July 2022 12:00 pm
@JulieCambrian
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Clare Mackintosh visited Siop y Pethe in Aberystwyth to give people an insight into The Last Party ()

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“We came for a house but stayed for the lake!”

That’s the reason former police officer turned award-winning author Clare Mackintosh gives for relocating her family from the Cotswolds to Bala.

“We found a house we wanted but that fell through,” she explained, “but I loved the lake so we decided to rent while we looked for another property to buy.

“I became obsessed with the lake, swimming in it and walking round it, so yes, we stayed for the lake!”

That was six years ago and Clare, who is “really aware of property tourism” said she has spent that time trying to compensate for moving to Wales “by being part of the community”.

Clare has learnt Welsh, is on the town council and organises events, such as a New Year’s Day swim to raise money for South Snowdonia Search and Rescue. When asked if her new book, The Last Party, is about Bala, Clare says no, but it does feature a lake.

She said: “One New Year’s Day, the lake was so picture perfect and I stood there looking at it, thinking, what if a body floated through the water now? That’s how this book starts. It’s fictional, but there is a flavour of Bala in it.”

The Last Party is the first in a series of new books by Clare. The main character is DC Ffion Morgan and the series is set in Wales. With Clare’s policing background and love for Bala, it must have been failry easy to write, mustn’t it?

“No! I find writing so hard!” said Clare.

“The last couple of years I’ve really struggled. But now restrictions have lifted, and I’m starting to travel again, it is getting easier. In lockdown my creativity dried up, but when I’m away in a hotel room, or on a plane, I get real clarity.”

Clare and her husband both worked for the police force but left it behind for a new life in Bala. With their three children, a 15-year-old and 14-year-old twins, they have thrown themselves in to the Welsh way of life. Clare, who has already visited bookshops the length and breadth of Wales introducing them to her new series and character, DC Ffion Morgan, will officially launch The Last Party at the Eisteddfod in Tregaron.

The early book tour brought Clare to Siop y Pethe and Waterstones in Aberystwyth, where people got a preview of what The Last Party is all about. Described as a mystery with echoes of Agatha Christie and Scandi-noir but with a modern edge all of Mackintosh’s own, it features her signature strong characters, heartfelt emotion and unpredictable twists and turns. It also draws upon her own experiences as a former police officer.

Clare spent 12 years in the police force, working with CID and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 and now writes full time, a move that’s worked out well. She is a multi-award-winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels and The Last Party could be turned into a TV series thanks to industry exec. David P Davis’ 5 Acts Productions who have optioned the rights for it.

To feature in First Person email Julie at [email protected]

The Last Party

At midnight, one of them is dead.

By morning, all of them are suspects...

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours.

This will be the party to end all parties.

But not everyone is there to celebrate.

By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

The Last Party is out on Thursday, 4 August.

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