Author Interview Emma Dakin: Shadows in Sussex

Emma Dakin will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Shadows in Sussex: The British Book Tour Mysteries Book 6

Author Interview: Emma Dakin

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

I have read cozy mysteries as long as I can remember. I love the genre. I hid in out-of-the-way corners of my house so my mother wouldn’t find me and read Patricia Sayers, Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey. One of the joys of growing up was allowing myself time every evening to read. I wrote this particular book because a man I knew died in this way and the circumstances of his death and his back-story haunted me.

2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?

I am the third of six children. There were two older than me and three younger. I learned early how to manipulate the older ones and care for the younger ones. I also learned about the motivations of others: why they did what they did, what was important to them, and what they would do to get what they wanted. I grew up sharing with many people around me. I swear I didn’t get a chocolate bar to myself until I was 21. So many children meant no privacy except for reading. Reading was one of the true places of privacy. I was in the story by myself, without any siblings.

3. Where is your favorite place to write?

It’s not romantic. It’s my office. In front of my computer. I have a view of the street but I seldom look at it. I have a view of the ocean from my front windows but, again, if I’m writing, I don’t see it. Once I went to a ski resort in February, leaving behind my husband and three children, and wrote in my room in the morning and skied in the afternoon. That is a memory I cherish.

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

It depends. Reece, the victim, in Shadows in Sussex caused me some heartache as he was much like someone I lost, so I had to work hard at separating the real man from the fictional man. Most of the time, my victims are either fairly unlovable or not someone I identify with. Claire, on the other hand, has more involvement with victims. In Shadows in Sussex, the young man is truly mourned so Claire goes to his funeral. In Crime in Cornwall, she doesn’t know the victim so isn’t involved in his funeral. In Hazards in Hampshire, Claire finds the body and reports it. She doesn’t physically do anything with the remains but watches the police take the body away. I hadn’t thought of a story where Claire would try to hide a body. Maybe I should consider it.

5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

I would ask Julie Wassmer how she got her wonderful Whitstable series into film. What is that process like? Was she happy with it? I would want to know how she manages to keep the marketing part of writing from impinging on her writing time.

6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.

I plug away on the computer trying to learn Italian. I spoke it once many years ago but it’s drifted away from me and I want it back! It’s a hard process because I was faster at learning it many years ago. But I’m happy when I get it right. I have conversations with the computer program that mystifies my cat.

7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?

A solar-powered cell phone, a solar-powered computer, and a knife. I am sure I’ll find water and food somewhere. Of course, if there is no internet connection, I’m hooped. Perhaps I should substitute paper and pen for the computer. But then the pen will run out of ink eventually. I suppose the most practical item would be a GPS emergency location device. I suppose I would want some way to communicate with others.

8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?

Good health because almost anything is possible if your mind and body work. Superb health would be best. Imagine that? No flu, colds, headaches, joint aches, bruises, twinges, upset stomach, allergies, or more serious concerns. With that superb health would come energy so I could write more books faster.

9. Favorite snack?

Chocolate, of course, Chocolate. I’ll take it in many forms. Dark chocolate neat. Dark chocolate with hazelnuts. Hot chocolate. Chocolate cheesecake. Chocolate cookies.

10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?

I do know where I am going and I drive a little above the speed limit. I don’t know why I do that. I never thought about it until you asked the question. Why drive just above the speed limit? Am I tempting the local police? Do I feel daring? Odd that. I do drive exactly on the speed limit through school zones and on the winding road near my house where I once slammed on the brakes to just clip the backside of a bear. He tumbled over, scrambled to his feet, and raced into the bushes. I was grateful I hadn’t been speeding. No doubt the bear was grateful as well.

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Shadows in Sussex

by Emma Dakin


GENRE: Cozy Mystery



Claire Barclay and her band of tourists are full of enthusiasm for her trip to Sussex and Kent, the beautiful southeastern part of England. A tragic death of a young man the son of the guest house manager sends Claire into comforting mode and makes it more difficult for her to provide a bright and carefree holiday. Laura was not surprised at her son’s death as he had been a drug user and she expected he had taken contaminated drugs, a common fate. But the police lab said otherwise. He was murdered. Claire’s fiancé, Detective Inspector Mark Evans, investigates, so Claire is involved and privy to much information. Too much. In spite of her busy life with demanding guests, she discovers the motive for the murder and finds herself in danger.

A fun tour of Sussex with the extra treat for mystery lovers as Emma Dakin ties places to favorite books

—Rhys Bowen (NYT bestselling author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness series.

If you are looking for a cozy crime novel that evokes a wonderful sense of place – look no further. Emma Dakin skilfully weaves a new mystery into a fascinating and informative tour of Southern England featuring heroine and literary tour guide, Claire Barclay, and a host of interesting characters.

—Julie Wassmer, Author of The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries

This engaging story will appeal to traditional mystery lovers who like their murders set against the authentic backdrop of quaint English villages.

—Clara Benson, USA Today bestselling author of the Angela Marchmont Mysteries



“My name is Mark Evans,” he said. “I’m a detective inspector with the Hampshire constabulary and I’m the fiancé of your tour guide, Claire.” He didn’t mention Reece, so he was here socially.

Susan was the first to respond. “My name is Susan and I’m at delighted to meet you. I’m a great mystery novel fan and I have met many detective inspectors in the pages of books. It’s a pleasure to meet a real English inspector. Please join us.” 

“Bring a chair,” Heather said. “I would love to talk to you about the way English detective inspectors actually deal with a mystery.”

Mark smiled at me again and I could feel my heart expand. I knew he came to the café because I was having trouble with Richard and he wanted to help. I was sure I could handle Richard without any help as Heather was used to dealing with him and the three young women seem quite able to deflect and control him. But my heart warmed at the notion that Mark would come and see if he could be of use to me.

I was so distracted it took me a moment to realize that Andy Forsyth was with him.

“Please join us,” I said, then turned to the guests. “This is Detective Sergeant Andrew Forsythe. He’s Mark’s teammate.”

“Hello, everyone,” Andy said. “We have eaten, but we love to join you for tea.”

Andy was dressed impeccably in pressed jeans and a blue, open-necked sports shirt. He wore a gold earring and the wedding band I’d watched his husband Bruce put on his finger. That had been quite the society wedding. Bruce comes from a wealthy and supportive family and they had hosted an elaborate reception.

Susan brought me back to the present. 

“That would be wonderful.” Susan invited him by a gesture to sit beside her. “What’s it like to be a sergeant in the Hampshire police force?”

He laughed. “It’s pretty busy.”

“I was wondering if the police still give those warnings that I read about in novels.” 

“Not quite the way you read them in the novels,” Andy said. “I read thrillers myself so I pay attention to police procedure. We do make a statement when we make an arrest, but not the one you commonly see in fiction.”

Mark was at the other end of the table and seemed to be having quite a lively conversation with Heather, Richard, Howard and Poppy.

I ordered some small fairy cakes and some chocolate and nuts to be passed around with coffee and tea. The guests stayed for some time chatting with each other and with Mark and Andy. The group was enjoying themselves but eventually prepared to leave. The older guests were returning to Rother Manor House. The three young ones told me they were going to visit a pub.

“Waterworks Pub is a nice one,” Andy advised. “It’s just down the street on this block.”

“Sounds perfect,” Julie said. “We’re not big drinkers. We just like the liveliness of the English pubs. At least we think we will.”

“You have my cell number,” I said. “Just call if you need help or for anything at all.”

“We’ll be fine,” Julie said. “Thank you for a delicious dinner.” Off they went, leaving Mark, Andy and me at the table.

“How do you like working with DS Flynn?” I asked.

“He’s a marvel,” Andy answered me. “Meticulous, conscientious. Digs for information.”

Mark leaned forward. “He’s so competent that if the Super gets wind of him, Andy will be recalled.”

That was a possibility. Superintendent Addison wasn’t one to waste personnel.

“What about DC Sandhu?”

They both grinned. I expect Jas Sandhu had that effect on most people.

“I can work with him,” Mark said. “He seems a good team player with Flynn.”

I could see that: one was methodical and one imaginative.

“Flynn put Jas onto tracing Reece’s movements on his last day. Once Travis has the info, he’ll put it on a chart for us.”

“We’re looking into a gang motivation. That’s my job,” Andy said. “I have an appointment with someone in the know later tonight.”

“Be careful,” I said.

“Shouldn’t be a problem.”

I don’t know why I urged Andy to be careful. He was always careful. It must be some kind of superstition that makes those of us who have no control over the situation offer a kind of blessing on the one in danger. My mum used to caution me to stay dry if it looked like rain. Of course, I’d try to stay dry. But cautioning me was her way of trying to protect me. It can be annoying.

 “Do you still think Reece was murdered?” I asked into the silence created by our mutual concern about a gang contact.

“Looks like it. He would be unlikely to get hold of Nembutal. None of that drug is circulating in this area.”

“We aren’t positive, though,” Andy said. “All we can say is that he died of Nembutal poisoning and it is unlikely he gave it to himself.”

“He could have taken it by accident, thinking it was something else.”

“He could have, but we are going to treat this case as homicide until we can prove it isn’t, or until we run out of leads.”

Andy left us at the door of the café to walk back to the Rye Lodge Hotel while Mark escorted me to the Rother Manor House.

I invited him to my room where I plugged in the tea kettle and set out two cups and some biscuits—not that we needed any more to eat. While the room was small, it had a table and two chairs near the window.

For some reason we talked about birds. Mark had recently visited his Uncle Lionel and gone on a birding venture with him along the coastal walk of Cornwall. Mark was only mildly interested in birds, but enjoyed his uncle’s enthusiasm. Like Lionel, I was keen on birds, so I listened to Mark’s descriptions, enjoying the sound of his voice.

We spent quite a few minutes saying goodbye, but he finally left me for the night. I heard the front door close but couldn’t watch him leave from my back garden window.

It was going to be a busy day tomorrow as I had to drive Richard and the older guests to Godinton House and deposit the three young women at the train station in Ashford. I checked that I had fresh supplies for their daily packs: chocolates, biscuits, hand sanitizers and tissues. I wished Mark could have stayed but I understood his need to be with Andy and available to the local constabulary. We were both working. We were used to being apart for weeks. Still, he wasn’t far away but I wished he was with me. I conjured up a picture of Gulliver. I expect he was cuddled up with Deirdre’s two dogs and was happy enough. I missed him as well.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Emma Dakin writes a series of mysteries set in Britain. Her protagonist is a tour guide who takes different characters in each book to the sites of mystery novels in the countryside. She appreciates the elegant people and humor of each area. But in that idyllic country, Claire stumbles on murder. Author Emma Dakin has five books so far in this series with the latest release September 12, 2023. A historical mystery set in Vancouver in 1886 is due out soon. She won a prestigious 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Community History Award for her non-fiction account of life in the 60s.





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In The Key Of Love

I should have known I would end up here... Give me a good book and I'm in heaven. Especially romance, mystery, mayhem, the fantastic and the fey. Give me a laptop and I'm writing any one of these, and not in any particular order.

13 thoughts on “Author Interview Emma Dakin: Shadows in Sussex”

    1. Thank you. I am delighted to be a feature on this site. It took me a few days to find the comment section but at last I did. A nice surprise. to read the comments.

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