Waterloo Sunset - Readers' Group Information

Background

After three Lake District mysteries, I’ve returned to my first series, set in Liverpool, for my latest novel. Waterloo Sunset features the return of lawyer Harry Devlin, who appeared in seven books in the 1990s. In 2008, Liverpool is European Capital of Culture – a fitting celebration of a place that is as charismatic and exciting as any I know. And the atmosphere of a changing city pervades Waterloo Sunset. All the novels, like this one, take their titles from 1960s pop songs - and in case you’re wondering, Waterloo happens to be a waterfront suburb of Liverpool, which currently features the eerie and unforgettable Antony Gormley statues known as ‘Another Place’. I’ve always had a lot of affection for the character of Harry Devlin, although his life (I too work by day as a lawyer in Liverpool) is very different from mine – thank goodness. His doggedness, integrity and passion for justice seem to me to be admirable qualities. They are certainly much needed in this latest book, which opens with his receipt of a mock-obituary recording his death on Midsummer’s Eve – which happens to be in seven days’ time. The story charts his attempt to discover the truth about his unknown enemy, as well as his unwitting involvement in a series of murders of women in the city. Because several years have passed since the last Devlin book, I was keen to use the gap in time positively, to show how his life had moved on in the interim – and also how the city had developed. Liverpool was once the second city of the British Empire, but over the last fifty years (despite the Beatles and the great pop music era of the Mersey Sound in the 60s) its glories have faded. Now, however, it is enjoying a renaissance; the creation of a mini-Manhattan type skyline along the famous waterfront is only a part of the change that is taking place. I’m aiming to give people who don’t know the city an idea of its amazing character by including not only photos but possibly also some interesting video, on this website and my blog during the course of the year.

I wanted this latest story to play a key part in the series as a whole, charting the city’s fall and rise. This seems to me to be one of the great attractions of a series – over the years, the main characters change and grow, and so does the society in which they live and work. This is the first Devlin mystery to be published around the same time in the US as in the UK. I’m hoping that the new book will interest more readers in the character of Harry, and the city where, in Waterloo Sunset, he faces a fight for his very survival.

Suggested discussion points for readers’ groups

A starting point for debate may be some or all of the following questions:

Waterloo Sunset

Allison & Busby, UK
ISBN-10: 0749080531
ISBN-13: 978-0749080532
ISBN (paperback) 978-07490-7927-7

Poisoned Pen Press, US
ISBN-10: 1590584414
ISBN-13: 978-1590584415