Priscilla Masters, author of the Joanna Piercy and Martha Gunn mystery series, has many strings to her bow – or perhaps we should say harp. With a background in nursing and a hand in the antique market, Priscilla uses her breadth of
experience to inform her fiction; in particular her main characters Martha Gunn, coroner, and DI Joanna Piercy.
To mark the release of her latest Martha Gunn mystery, Recalled to Death, we talked to Priscilla and uncovered some facts that you probably didn’t know about the talented Ms Masters.
Did you know…?
- “I used to play the harp. In fact I still have my harp, though not tuned to concert pitch as the pull on the ancient sounding board would probably cause it to explode – the demise of many nineteenth century harps.”
- “From the age of seven to sixteen I lived in the garden of my parents’ house in a wooden Roman gypsy caravan.”
- “Since retiring from nursing my Saturday job is working in my husband’s antiques shop in Leek, Staffordshire (the setting for my DI Joanna Piercy books).”
- “I am the third of seven multi-racial children adopted by an orthopaedic surgeon and his Classics graduate wife.”
Books I shall never get rid of:
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
- Priscilla’s Caravan by C.H. Abrahall (published in 1939), bought in a second hand book shop in Shrewsbury when I was three years old and the inspiration for an indulgent father’s purchase and the above decampment from house to caravan a few years later.
- The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. (No need for introduction.)
- And a copy of The Six Wives of Henry VIII signed by Antonia Fraser.
One of the films I can watch again and again is The Painted Veil (2006), an adaptation of a novel by Somerset Maughan, starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. It is the story of an ill-fated marriage between a social butterfly and a bacteriologist who works in China dealing with a cholera epidemic. It reminds me of the time my husband and I spent doing voluntary work in Lesotho, and the isolation and romance of working in such a foreign environment.
Priscilla’s latest book, Recalled to Death, is the story of a homeless man who is found murdered and Martha Gunn’s journey to uncover his identity.
On Recalled to Death, Priscilla says:
“This is the sixth case for coroner Martha Gunn to become involved in, a widow with teenage twins, Sam and Sukey. I like the role of a coroner who is usually in a position to give the dead an identity, dignity and personality. In this case, it’s hard to do. Our homeless man is anonymous. Coroners are in a position to make social comment, even as far as suggesting change in legislation (seat belts, fireproof nightdresses, the ban on celluloid dolls and so on). As such the role of coroner or crowner, which dates from the 11th century, is a socially important one.”