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When asked how the plot for Hostage to Fortune came about Carolyn McCrae explained:

“I was ‘between books’ in February 2017 when husband Colin and I went on holiday to Spain – Second Strand had been published and the main push of marketing was over. I had in mind that Skye and Fergal Shepherd ‘historical investigators’ should have another adventure (not a ‘sequel’ - more another story with some of the same characters) but I had no idea what that adventure might be.”

“The paper in the imaginary typewriter was blank?”

“A blank Word screen, yes! But not for long. As we drove around the Mediterranean coast between Alicante and Gibraltar, visiting Cartagena, La Herradura, Almeria, Estepona and Almuñecar, I began to think about the events of that country’s Civil War. It revived an interest I had had when I lived in Spain in the late 1960s, when it was clear that memories of that war, then less than thirty years in the past, were still very raw. I thought Skye and Fergal would be interested too.”

“So it’s about the Spanish Civil War?

“Not exactly, though Skye and Fergal have to learn about the events of that time to solve the mysteries they have been set to investigate.”

“Mysteries? Plural?”

“As in Second Strand, set to solve one mystery they get diverted into others. This time, asked to find a missing woman, they involve themselves in looking into an assassination and at least two murders.

“A complex plot then?”

“Certainly intricate and certainly (I hope) not formulaic but not unduly complicated, though I didn’t have a complete say in how the plot developed.”

“Other people were involved?”

By the time Colin and I returned home (we were living in Dartmouth, Devon at that time) the plot was almost formed and after three days I had mapped out what I thought would be the chapters. As ever, though, as I wrote the protagonists themselves began to have a say in how their stories developed and so it was they: Arjun, Ryan, Pat and Diane, Jenna and Wave, but most especially Guy, who really led the development of the plot.”

What’s it about?

Skye and Fergal are asked to investigate the disappearance of Diane Hammill, a keeper of a safe house in Dartmouth (she appeared in Second Strand). Within a few days they believe they have located her but, against direct instructions from Gordon Hamilton (Her Parents’ Daughter and Second Strand), they involve themselves in two other, seemingly unconnected, events that occur in the same town within days of her disappearance: the assassination of prominent politician, Warwick Eden, and the apparent suicide of Ryan O’Donnell, a crew-member on Eden’s luxury yacht.

What they learn of four generations of the Eden family leads them to Southern Spain, to the horrific events of 1936 and that country’s Civil War and it is there that they find the solution to the mystery Gordon had intended them to investigate all along. Not Diane’s disappearance, not the assassination, nor the subsequent murders, but something altogether more interesting.

Published by Troubador January 2018
ISBN: 978-1788037853 (PB)
ISBN: 978-1788033770 (e-Book)