I write historical fiction. My central themes are love, time and the search for meaning. Sometimes, there are jokes.
My latest novel is The Great Passion. It is set in eighteenth-century Germany. This is about Johann Sebastian Bach and the composition of The St Matthew Passion. The central idea is to ask how one particular piece of music became such a consummate work of art, faith, compassion and understanding.
My first publication was The Discovery of Chocolate a comic novel about the dangers of immortality. This is a time-travelling picaresque adventure story featuring a man who drinks the elixir of life by accident during the conquest of Mexico in 1518. He then spends the next five hundred years searching for love while perfecting the art of making decent chocolate.
Then came The Colour of Heaven, a historical romance that begins in Venice in 1290. This is about art, love and beauty across the silk route. It also features lapis lazuli, Italian painting and the invention of spectacles.
I then wrote two British stories: Canvey Island, which tells the story of post war Britain by concentrating on one family caught up in the Canvey Island floods of 1953. This was followed by a story set in contemporary Scotland, East Fortune, about three brothers. The themes are love, marriage, children and the nature of secrets.
These two books think about time, place, history and family life, contrasting individual lives with ideas about national identity and our place in the world.
Then, in 2011, I had the idea to do a series of novels about a clerical detective, Sidney Chambers. These would also explore the nature of post war Britain but through the prism of crime. There are six volumes of The Grantchester Mysteries; Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death (2012), Sidney Chambers and The Perils of the Night (2013), Sidney Chambers and The Problem of Evil (2014), Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins (2015), Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation (2016), Sidney Chambers and The Persistence of Love (2017). The prequel is The Road to Grantchester (2019). This has been developed for television as Grantchester.
I am currently writing a crime novel set in Victorian Scotland, provisionally titled A Natural History of Murder.