Friday, January 16, 2015

A Visit with Lesley Cookman

I'm pleased to welcome Lesley Cookman to the blog today. Lesley writes the Libby Sarjeant Mystery series. Murder Out of Tune is the the 14th book in the series.

Kathy: Libby Sarjeant is a retired actress. You were once an actor as was I. Studying theatre is more useful in "real life" than non theatre people realize. How do those skills help Libby?

LC: I think they help in questioning people’s motives and how they react. Playing a character on stage requires you to think about the background, and play the “what if” game quite a lot! And Libby can pretend to be both more intelligent and more dumb than she really is quite convincingly.

Kathy: In Murder Out of Tune a member of a local ukulele group is found dead. I must admit, I've never heard of a ukulele group. What made you choose ukuleles?

LC: It was my elder son’s idea. (He has quite a lot of them.) In the UK at the moment there is a ukulele craze, and every town and village seems to have a group. Ukes are comparatively easy to play, although the results can be a bit ear shattering, and it seemed to be a good setting for yet another murder.

Kathy: Libby and the gang are gearing for a Christmas concert and pantomime. Do you have any special memories of such events in your past?

LC: I am involved in pantomime almost every year at our local theatre, and my pantomimes are performed all over the UK so I have so many memories they get all muddled up. I have also written a book about pantomime, which is now in its third edition.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

LC: I read all my parents’ Golden Age detective stories when I was young, and they have remained my favourite genre of fiction. Libby, I hope, follows in its footsteps.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LC: I have written romance (not very well!) and there are two books available somewhere under a different name, both written in the eighties. Not telling you about them!

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

LC: The Libby Sarjeant series is a cosy series in the amateur sleuth tradition, with a regular setting and cast of characters.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

LC: I love them all, but apart from Libby, perhaps Harry, the chef-patron of The Pink Geranium restaurant, because of his brashness, irreverence and hidden vulnerability.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

LC: The first book was inspired by learning about the history of Hop Pickers in Kent in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It grew from there.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LC: I was approached by my publisher before the first book was finished. I had been a working journalist and stage writer for years before then.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

LC: Ngaio Marsh, Jerome K Jerome, Dodie Smith and Rex Stout.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LC: The Cinderella Killer by Simon Brett.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

LC: Reading and theatre – particularly pantomime and Music Hall.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

LC: Tinned tomatoes, minced (ground) beef, onions, potatoes.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

LC: Murder In the Blood will be out in May or June, and Murder En Pointe in October. I have a few ideas for other series, but I’m not sure I will ever get around to them. Libby takes up so much of my time!

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

LC: Working from home, choosing my own hours and the friendship of other authors.


  1. I must get started on this series. It reminds me of an older series starring an actress in England.

  2. Ah! Would that be the Ann Morice Tessa Chrichton books?