Welcome to the first of our alumni bookshelf features, where we celebrate the creative endeavours of our alumni and the power of the written word.
In this feature we take a look at author Karen Charlton (English, 1983), whose Detective Lavender mystery series has sold over 500,000 books and are loosely based on real-life crimes solved by the famous Bow Street Runner, Stephen Lavender.
In addition, we’ll meet John Fuery (American Studies, 1978), whose 40 year career in advertising has seen him collect a wealth of stories from Hong Kong, Bahrain, Dubai, Kenya and Vietnam, Australia, Ethiopia, Kuwait and Singapore.
About Karen Charlton
Originally from Leeds, Karen Charlton (née James) took an English degree at Hull University (1980-1983) and later studied for a post graduate teaching certificate at Durham University. After a few years roaming between various jobs in Harrogate, Ripon and Scarborough she finally settled in Teesside, where she taught English at a Stockton secondary school.
Karen always was a ‘scribbler’. She wrote theatre reviews for the local newspaper and scripts for murder weekends for a country house hotel but her writing career didn’t really take off until 2012 when she found a publisher for her debut novel Catching the Eagle. This is based on the true story of the family black sheep, who was controversially accused of Northumberland’s most notorious burglary back in 1809.
Now published by Thomas & Mercer, Karen’s best-selling novels are the Detective Lavender Mysteries, which are loosely based on real-life crimes solved by the famous Bow Street Runner, Stephen Lavender. She has sold 500,000 books.
Karen has two grown-up children and a little grandson, Bruce. She lives in a North Yorkshire fishing village and she now writes full-time – except on Thursdays.
On Thursdays, she and Little Bruce go exploring together, looking out for adventure.
About Murder in Park Lane
The Detective Lavender Mysteries Book 5
London, 1812. At a fashionable address in leafy Mayfair, a far cry from Detective Stephen Lavender’s usual haunts, a man is found dead in his room. He has been brutally stabbed, but the door is locked from the inside and the weapon is missing.
The deceased is David MacAdam, an Essex businessman with expensive tastes. As Lavender and Constable Ned Woods travel between London and Chelmsford seeking to understand MacAdam’s final hours and unearth the grisly truth, they uncover a tangled web of deceit behind his stylish facade. The unusual circumstances of MacAdam’s death are nothing compared to the shady nature of his life and it seems the house on Park Lane is at the heart of a dark conspiracy.
But when a second body turns up, everything they think they’ve learned is thrown into doubt. Can Lavender and Woods find out who’s behind these shocking murders before more lives are ruined?
(This book can read as part of the series or as a stand-alone novel.)
About John Fuery
John followed fellow Coventrian and former Hull Uni librarian, Philip Larkin, to Humberside in 1975 and divided the next three years between our American Studies department and several less salubrious Spring Bank boozers. After finally meeting “Mr. They fuck you up, your mum and dad” during an anti-apartheid occupation of the Administration Block, John began an initially bumpy career as an advertising copywriter in Manchester in early 1979. The intervening 40 years have seen him wield his pen everywhere from post-Death of a Princess Saudi Arabia to pre-1997 handover Hong Kong. Along the way John was also fortunate enough to spend extended periods in Bahrain, Dubai, Kenya and Vietnam, as well as shorter stints in countries such as Australia, Ethiopia, Kuwait and Singapore. In 2000, John established his own freelance creative consultancy in Hong Kong, often working as a “script doctor” for EDKO Picture’s Academy Award-nominated HK producer, Bill Kong. In autumn 2013, he moved back to Ireland to be close to what was left of his family. He has spent much of his semi-retirement/declining years crafting a lifetime’s worth of sometimes scabrous but never less than entertaining anecdotes into his warts’n’all Amazon Kindle-published autobiog, Good Morning, Mr. Sh*ttybottom.
About Good Morning, Mr. Sh*ttybottom
Eager to establish just how far you need to turn back your watch before your plane lands in Saudi Arabia? – about 1400 years apparently. Or why you should never, ever eat scrambled eggs you’ve not prepared yourself? – trust us, you really don’t want to know! They’re just two of the many terrific tales Hull Uni alumni, John Fuery, has squeezed into the 489 pages of Good Morning, Mr. Sh*ttybottom following a 40-year globe-trotting advertising career. Those putting in a reluctant cameo include the arrogant Western CEO whose poor treatment of his Chinese staff resulted in their losing face and his receiving the come-uppance that gives Fuery’s book its title. There’s even some semi-naked gyrating from The Spice Girls whose TV commercial the author managed to get pulled off the airwaves in Vietnam. As eye-catching as its contents are audacious, the book’s cover should have had dead-tree and kindle copies of Fuery’s meisterwork flying off both physical store and virtual bookshelves. Frustratingly, while happy to publish and sell the book, Amazon refused to allow the author to run an ad campaign on its behalf. As Fuery says himself, “no one ever said this writing malarkey was going to be easy”.