Interview: Lucy Ribchester
The Amber Shadows dives into the enigmatic mysteries of Bletchley Park
If you walked into any bookshop in 2015, you probably encountered the cheery yellow cover of The Hourglass Factory. Lucy Ribchester's debut novel took us on a romp through the Edwardian era, in which journalist Frankie gets embroiled in the mystery of missing trapeze artist Ebony Diamond. Little over a year later, Ribchester's second novel, The Amber Shadows, brings us Honey Deschamps, another plucky heroine employing her detecting skills, this time during the 1940s in the enigmatic world of Bletchley Park.
'With Honey,' explains the Edinburgh-based author, 'I wanted to create a name that could have belonged to a character in the movies of the time, but which was perhaps somewhat incongruous with her personality. Honey is rather reserved in her way, a little shy, a bit of a film geek and slightly embarrassed about coming from a famous family.' While researching the book, Ribchester revisited the films of Alfred Hitchcock and got hooked onto British crime writer Ethel Lina White (she wrote The Wheel Spins, on which Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes was based). And though she's more relaxed about how people receive her second novel, she's still reeling from the success of her first.
'People were tweeting me pics of the book from places they’d seen it on sale,' she says. 'Readers tweeted me to tell me how much they’d enjoyed the novel. It was dizzying to think that something that started out as such a small scrap of an idea inside my head had gone on its adventures. A friend of mine even told me he’d seen a girl on Tinder with her profile picture showing her reading The Hourglass Factory. That was probably the highlight: I hope it served her well!'
The Amber Shadows launches at Waterstones West End, Edinburgh, Thu 7 Apr and is published that day by Simon & Schuster.