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Margaret Duffy was born in Woodford, then in Essex, now Greater London. A few years later her parents moved to the south coast, Lancing in Sussex. Margaret has always thought that she inherited her writing ability from her grandad, who was Czech. Czechs are renowned story-tellers and she can remember the tales he told her of spooky castle corridors with following footsteps where the candle sudden blew out.
A career in the Civil Service and Ministry of Defence followed, sufficiently boring perhaps to make the author-to-be an avid reader who spent a lot of time in libraries. It was about this time that her father had a novel, Many Bridges, published, which although fiction had a strong, and true, background of the Czech Resistance during the Second World War. At the time family members used to say to Margaret, ‘What a shame you can’t sew like your mother’, who was a court dressmaker. But Margaret, who could just about manage re-attaching buttons, wanted to write like her father.
They say that people with the urge to write create the books they can’t find to read. Margaret began by writing science fiction as in those days the market seemed to be in the hands of a few highly successful American authors which weren’t Margaret’s kind of thing at all. She wrote three novels of which publishers liked the writing style but declined to go ahead with.
Perhaps the way forward was to drag her main character, Patrick Gillard, out of the future and turn him into first an operative for MI5 and then a policeman. Add a clever and sparky wife, Ingrid, an author, who endeavours to keep him and his blazing temper under control, and stir gently. The result was the first crime novel, A Murder of Crows, published in 1987.