Born in Geneva, I grew up on a farm on the South Downs in Sussex. I was educated at Lancing College, near Brighton, where the Careers Officer suggested to me in my final year that I become an actuary. An actuary, I have since discovered, has something to do with calculating risk for insurance premiums, which I can only imagine requires a certain degree of numeracy. Given that I then went on to fail my Maths A Level (with a now-defunct ‘O’ grade), the insurance industry is surely better off without me.

After leaving Cambridge University, where I studied History and History of Art, I went to live in Italy, south of Siena. On returning to England a couple of years later, I got a job as a reader for Paramount Pictures, who had recently opened an office in London. Reading film scripts gradually gave way to writing them, and so things continued for a good decade.

My first book, The Whaleboat House (a.k.a. Amagansett), started life as a film idea, although it soon became clear that it was better suited to a novel. This marked a pleasing move into the world of written prose, of crime fiction. With five books now under my belt, and a sixth on the go, I still feel like a novice, and I can’t imagine that will ever change.