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Novelist Christina James on her upcoming new book - and being nominated for the 'Not the Booker Prize'




Former Spalding High School student and crime novelist, Christina James, says she was thrilled to see her latest book nominated for a prestigious award.

Christina James is the writing name of Linda Bennett, who sets her novels in and around Lincolnshire.

Following the cases of her character DI Tim Yates, her eighth novel in the series, ‘Chasing Hares ’ was among the nominations that made the ‘long list’ for the ‘Not the Booker Prize’ competition.

Author Christina James.
Author Christina James.

The competition, run by the Guardian newspaper, is seen as the award for authors who ‘just missed out on being long listed for the Booker Prize itself.’

After finding out she was on the 'long list' for the Not the Booker Prize, Linda said: “It was good to be nominated. There are some very famous names on the list. Philip Pullman is on there!

“I don’t know who nominated me. It was not my publisher. They contacted me and said ‘do you know you’ve been nominated?’”

Chasing Hares by Christina James. Bookmark in Spalding's Book of the Week. (21482843)
Chasing Hares by Christina James. Bookmark in Spalding's Book of the Week. (21482843)

But while she didn’t quite make the shortlist, the nomination has surely helped to continue to raise the profile of her novels.

“I am now working on a sequel to Sausage Hall, which is set in Sutterton,” she explained.

Sausage Hall, also part of the DI Yates series, tells the story of millionaire Kevan de Vries, the grandson of a Dutch immigrant farmer and owner of a successful business.

But when ‘sleazy’ MD Tony Sentance persuades de Vries to branch out into the luxury holiday trade there is a turn of events at Sausage Hall and a young employee of de Vries is found dead in the woods at Sandringham.

Christina James (Linda Bennett) speaking at the launch of her book Chasing Hares in Spalding last November.
Christina James (Linda Bennett) speaking at the launch of her book Chasing Hares in Spalding last November.

Linda later became friends with the owners of the house that Sausage Hall is based on.

“They got in touch with me and said ‘we think your novel is set in our house!’”

Sausage Hall is the third book in the DI Yates series.

Speaking about the follow-up to Sausage Hall, Linda explained: "It is called De Vries, and continues the story of Kevan de Vries, who returns to Sutterton – and Sausage Hall – seven years later.

"He lives there in secret, because he is wanted by the police about the unexplained disappearance of Tony Sentance, the former FD of de Vries Industries.

"He is helped by Jackie Briggs, the wife of Harry Briggs, who is now in prison, and Jean Rook, his solicitor – but there are strings attached: Jean wants to renew their former liaison.

"At first he goes along with this, but then he meets Agnes Price, a primary school teacher, at an open day held by the Archaeological Society that he attends incognito.

"Meanwhile, Sentance’s sister Carole is pestering DI Tim Yates and DS Juliet Armstrong to have her brother declared dead so she can claim his estate; and Audrey Furby, niece of the local schools inspector, vanishes..."

Chasing Hares, the book nominated for the ‘Not for the Booker Prize’ is set in Spalding and Deeping St Nicholas.

It includes larger than life characters at a murder mystery weekend where a real-life murder later takes place.

It also tackles the crime of hare coursing - a hot topic in the county.

For more about Christina James's novels, click here.



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