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Home Page for: The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS NOVEL...
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A killer to unmask - on an English country estate. So far the police have failed, but Jennifer Lloyd has a devious plan.
A feisty TV reporter - prepared to go the extra mile to secure her career in television. Blogging deficiencies or a dodgy CV might otherwise lead to her downfall.
A high-risk strategy - accusing someone of murder while filming a documentary about his beloved gardens. Will Jennifer's self-defence skills save her when the knives come out?
Unusually, Jen Lloyd came to me ready-formed!
Something amazing happened when the idea of this novel popped
into my head. Its protagonist, Jennifer Lloyd, came to me fully-formed.
It was as if I already knew her as a real person. Normally an author gets
to know principal characters gradually, or creates something like a fictional
CV in order to put flesh onto the bones and personality into a mind-set.
Not so in the case of ‘Jen’ (who, by the way, only lets her
close friends call her that). She came over with such strength she virtually
dictated the way she wanted to be represented, right from the start. She’s
an ambitious girl, determined to raise her profile as a television reporter/presenter,
but she’s from a broken background and was abused in a children’s
home. But “the girl made good”—although she is very
untrusting of just about everyone except her friend Ami, and you: the
I believe a novel should have strong characterisation and a convincing sense of place. But when it comes to murder, it’s as well to make the crime scene fictitious to placate local sensibilities. So while this book contains many real locations in and around Christchurch in Dorset, England, the murder scene, Solent House and Gardens, is purely fictional; it is a composite of three different gardens I know. To save you wondering, and allowing for artistic licence, the imagined location of this fictional garden is where you can find Highcliffe Castle—but that is not at all like my fictional setting—apart from its stunning view across the sea to the Isle of Wight.
So what is the book about?
This is a psychological/mystery thriller featuring Jennifer Lloyd. Although she's effectively an orphan, she's learned how to be a survivor, and she's concentrating on her television career - and how to stand out and get noticed. With the certain knowledge she will one day become famous, she decides to keep a journal about her reporting and presenting adventures but, in order to capture her knowledge and emotions as they happen - in real-time - she goes for writing it in what reads like a fictional format. Hence the book! It's an angle which allows her to talk to the reader as a close friend - and another close friend would be great for her, because she only really has one person she fully trusts: a Chinese girl called Ami Tan who shared a bedroom with her in a children's home. So the thing is, will you be her friend and confidant?
Wealthy landowner, Digby Barrington-Smith, was arrested three years ago after the suspicious drowning of his wife within the grounds of their famous Dorset attraction: Solent House and Gardens. Due to lack of evidence, and because their handyman inexplicably disappeared immediately afterwards, Digby was released due to lack of evidence. So why did Digby then become a virtual hermit when he once liked nothing better than to chat with visitors to his beloved gardens? Feisty TV reporter Jennifer Lloyd smells a rat.
Unmasking a murderer on-camera seems a great way to fame and fortune for Jennifer. With visions of making her name by filming protracted interviews along the lines of Martin Bashir’s exposure of Michael Jackson, Jennifer employs the ruse of producing a documentary about the history of the gardens and Digby’s expertise as a plantsman. Is it possible to gain the trust of the eccentric who now lurks in virtual squalor within the grand house? Can she worm her way into finding out more than the police by befriending his sons and defensive staff? More importantly, will Jennifer survive an escalating series of death threats aimed directly at her?
This novel describes Jen's first dramatic adventure. Will there be more? There could be, because I've built in back-story to take her career and adventures further. If I get an encouraging number of good reviews on Amazon I'll probably start working on that. (Otherwise I shall be looking for a new protagonist!) Thankfully, the comments in the pre-publication reviews have been very exciting, which is very encouraging at this juncture.
I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out. If you'd like an email when that happens, please just drop me an email at:
My Writing Style and Influencers
If you haven't read me before, the article on My Writing Style and Influencers might help you decide if I fit your reading style!
Reading Group Notes
Because of the unusually strong connection between the reader and the protagonist in this novel, there is good scope for discussion regarding this active first-person point-of-view as opposed to other approaches which might have been taken. Apart from that, there's a lot to talk about in this unusual novel which combines crime, mystery, character-depth, real locations in the south of England, and an unusual point-of-view.
The publisher suggested including Reading Group Notes because of this and I was pleased to co-operate. I love feedback anyway, therefore I have included the suggestion that if the group leader of a reading group emails me with the group's consolidated conclusions after their discussion, I will provide the group with personal feedback. Many thank you to anyone who participates in this incentive.
The following Giveaway
is for entrants in the UK, USA & Canada:
This book has Real Settings in England
Some reviewers comment this book has a great sense of place - and that is perhaps because it is set in real places! Most of the action takes place in or around Christchurch, in Dorset, a lovely little market town near where I live. The book also mentions Highcliffe, Bournemouth, Swanage and Southampton, which are nearby towns.
Jen lives in Christchurch, which is why much of the action centres there. But Solent House and Gardens is a purely fictitious setting which I transplanted on the location currenly occupied by the Highcliffe Castle grounds.
I have prepared two walks so you can enjoy these places and spot some of the landmarks mentioned in the book. So you can walk and even have coffee or dine in Jennifer Lloyd's footsteps. Click here for further details.
Hi! I'm Jennifer Lloyd.
I can't wait to meet you! I have so much to tell. And I need a trusting ear. The thing is, I could lose my job if I can't pull this one off. OK, there might be risks, but I can take care of myself. Im taking kick-boxing lessons and people soon learn not to mess with me. I was sexually-abused as a kid, but the abuser came of worse than I did. Trust me!
Do I sound a tough cookie. I do come over that way, but that's all down to conscious effort. I had to be like that to survive my childhood in a children's home. Only my closest friends discover what I'm really like, what my weakness are, how I use body language to read people - and my "womanly wiles" to persuade them to my way of thinking.
This is the first time I've had to used those talents to unmask a murderer on-camera, though. But, hey, it should make good television!
Want to read another novel set in and around Christchurch and Bournemouth? Try Sandman!
If you live in the Bournemouth area, or know it, and would like to read another of my novels set in Christchurch, Mudeford, Hengistbury Head, and on Mudeford Sandbank, then check out my first thriller: Sandman!
Why not watch the 47 second trailer below?
A fine melding of mystery thriller and contemporary fiction, but refreshingly free of the clichés of either, The Grave Concerns Of Jennifer Lloyd is the new release from Ian Kingsley, and it’s an impressive accomplishment...
Exceptionally entertaining, The Grave Concerns Of Jennifer Lloyd proves Kingsley’s prowess as a multi-genre author and is recommended without reservation.
- Stephan J Myers (Book Viral)
From its first paragraph, The Grave Concerns draws readers in with a flash and a bang. "I plan to start with a murder. That should get me noticed. I’m after headlines and television news. Or, to put it more bluntly: fame."
Murder mystery and thriller readers will relish The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd. The feisty and conflicted world of Jen and how she chooses to navigate her obstacles makes for a powerful, compelling read that's hard to put down.
– D. Donovan (Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review)
Ian Kingsley has created a charming and real young woman whose ambition and logic usually prevail, but who has genuinely believable faults which could also be her undoing. The narrative style allows Jennifer to speak directly to her audience, creating a sometimes cosy atmosphere which is engaging to read, but also allowing access straight into the character’s mind at the most tense moments of the plot. What I enjoyed most about The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd was the utter Britishness of the gentry and the television industry, for the action and thrills of this novel come from somewhere authentic, which makes them all the more entertaining.
–K.C. Finn (Readers' Favorite)
Ian Kingsley has his own style of introducing characters and letting them weave their way through a labyrinthine plot. In thi one he creates a sense of place that's particularly palpable and is always in keeping with the characters in play. With clever and deeply layered narrative it's without a doubt my favourite so far.
ML. H. (Amazon.co.uk reader)
One of the most intriguing mystery novels I have read in a long time. The plot is very well conceived with multiple threads to keep the suspense but it is the characters that really mad this a special read for me. Too often characters come across as generic or wooden but Ian Kingsley really brings them to life, warts and all. A very talented author.
Avid Reader (Amazon.com reader)
If you are looking for well written fiction that's a cut above the rest you should start with The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd... The central character is strong. This is Jennifer Lloyd and she's a nice mix of complex, vulnerable and quirky. I could imagine her character from the start and I think this would make a really good film.
Annastew1144hotmail.com (Goodreads reader)
This was a fun book tor read AND I did not guess who the murderer was, which is always nice. The protagonist is a smart, brave and amusing woman! I would really enjoy another book of her adventures.
Turi (Goodreads reader)