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Death of the Elver Man: Crime Novelist, Jennie Finch, Releases Fictional Reminder of 1980s Britain

Set during the peak of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, a compelling new series of crime novels by Jennie Finch calls on real-world social and political history to transport readers into the mind of a determined and formidable Probation Officer.


Saltburn-by-Sea, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/13/2012 -- As the 1980s drew out, the relationship between British society and its politics grew sourer by the day. While some prefer to commit this period to a distant memory, writer Jennie Finch drags it into the present as the setting for a compelling new series of British crime novels.

With a focus on protagonist Alex Hastings, readers visit the natural beauty of Somerset for an enthralling literary journey. The series’ first book, ‘Death of the Elver Man’, kicks things off to a very gripping start.

Probation officer Alex Hastings is struggling with the customs, dialect and prejudice she faces as an ‘incomer’ to the Somerset Levels. When one of her probationers, Kevin Mallory, is charged with murdering the ‘Elver Man’, who operated in the poaching underworld, she is embroiled in the investigation.

Determined to prove Mallory is innocent, Alex puts her own career at risk as she searches for the truth behind the Elver Man’s death, but her efforts attract the attention of the real killer. Alex finds herself drawn into a web of family feuds, gang loyalties and revenge killings as an unknown predator stalks her across the eerie landscape of the Levels.

This is the first of four crime novels set in the 1980s, in the now-vanishing landscape of rural Somerset. Many of the stories have some basis in real life events (though fictionalized) and I lived and worked in Somerset during this time.

As the author explains, the book offers an insightful glimpse at Britain’s bleakest period.

“Set during the peak of Thatcher's Britain, society changed beyond all recognition. These were hard times financially, with inflation running as high as 18%. Unemployment soared, greed was applauded and a whole underclass was created, a morass of individuals with no hope and no future,” says Finch, who has wide professional experience of working with offenders.

She continues, “The impact of this is felt today, even as current conditions begin to duplicate events. There is no excuse for criminal behaviour but if you don't help (or teach) people to solve their problems in legal ways they will take any route out they can. These are stories, but perhaps we can learn something from events of 30 years ago.”

To date, the book has enjoyed much acclaim. Her writing attracted accolades from both the Lit Award of the Ruhr and the Impress prize for new writers, with the latter also spurring on a publishing deal which has catapulted its success.

Many critics praise Finch for the depth of character within her book. As she explains, this was also the result of diligent work.

“I have a degree in psychology which has given me more insight into my characters and patterns of behaviour, invaluable support for a crime novelist,” Finch adds.

With so much success in her hands, Finch has recently announced that the series’ next instalment, ‘The Drowners’, will be released in January. The third title is also in the works, with details expected soon.

Until then, ‘Death of the Elver Man’ is available for purchase from Amazon: http://amzn.to/T22Mk4

For more information, please visit the author’s official website: http://www.jenniefinch.me.uk/

About Jennie Finch, in her own words
I did not expect to be a crime writer. Although I have always read a lot of crime and detective novels I always thought my work leaned more towards science fiction or horror so no-one was more surprised than I when "Death of the Elver Man" was short-listed for the Impress Prize in 2010 under its original (and rather insipid) title "On the Level". Since its publication I have been working on the next book, "The Drowners", and plotting out the last two books in the series and I have to say it is the most fun I've had in ages.

Whilst I was never a probation officer like Alex, I do live with an ex-probation officer and in the 1980s did a lot of work with offenders and young people at risk. I have been a producer of educational programs at the Tate Gallery, worked in accounts, had a very brief stint as a motorcycle messenger, been a teacher and lecturer and assessed and supported a large number of students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. I currently teach psychology for the Open University, do some reporting for a local newspaper and try to keep my characters under control and following my nicely worked out plot. Sadly most of them get the better of me on numerous occasions.