Cath Staincliffe is a best-selling, award-winning novelist, radio playwright and the creator of ITV’s hit series, Blue Murder, starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis. Cath’s books have been short-listed for the British Crime Writers Association best first novel award, for the Dagger in the Library three times and twice for the Short Story Dagger, winning in 2012. She was a winner of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Best Radio Drama Award in 2019. Cath’s Sal Kilkenny private eye series features a single-parent sleuth working the mean streets of Manchester. Her debut Looking For Trouble was serialised on BBC Radio 4. Trio, a stand-alone novel moved away from crime to explore adoption and growing up in the 1960s, informed by Cath’s own experience. Letters To My Daughter’s Killer was selected for Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club in 2014 and featured on ITV3’s Crime Thriller Club. Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey novels based on the popular UK TV series. Cath created the probate detective series Legacy for BBC Radio 4 and guest writes on the Stone police drama. Her recent stand-alone novels examine the impact of crime on ordinary families. The Girl in the Green Dress was inspired by her experience as the parent of a transgender child and was optioned for TV. Running Out of Road was short-listed for the CrimeFest eDunnit Award for the best novel of 2021. It tells the story of eleven-year-old Scarlett, abducted by her estranged father and driven up into the hills with the police in hot pursuit. It’s a race against time played out in the brooding wilderness, the limestone gorges and gritstone edges of the Derbyshire Peaks. Her Blue Murder novels – gripping crime thrillers filled with twists – are newly published on Amazon as ebooks, audible or paperbacks.
Cath is one of the founding members of Murder Squad – a group of Northern crime writers who give readings, talks and signings around the country. Cath was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, UK and now lives in Manchester, Lancashire with her family.
Tell me about your book and why we should read it?
Running out of Road is the story of eleven-year-old Scarlett, abducted by her estranged father and driven up into the hills with the police in hot pursuit. The lives of several characters are set on collision course and it all unfolds over a dark and stormy night. It’s a race against time that I hope will have you turning the pages but also make you cry. It’ll introduce you to the brooding wilderness, the limestone gorges and gritstone edges of the Derbyshire Peaks. And … it was shortlisted for the CrimeFest eDunnit Award for best ebook.
If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?
Identity Unknown – A Crime Writer’s True Life Mystery (I’m adopted).
What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?
It’s always strange when people get in touch wanting me to write their life story. I’m not sure they’re exactly fans.
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
This notion fills me with dread. So it’d have to be someone wise and funny. Terry Pratchett or Sue Townsend.
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).
I failed my cycling proficiency test as a ten-year-old (absolutely heartbroken). But then was given a certificate saying I’d passed. I’m in possession of a fraudulent document.
Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.
Oxblood by Tom Benn
This is an astonishing piece of work. It captures the stories of three women from a criminal underworld family living on the Wythenshawe estate in Manchester through the 60s, 70s and 80s, with ferocious honesty and compassion. Audacious writing – visceral, rich and intense. And unforgettable characters who are haunted by violence and grief.
Before You Knew My Name by Jaqueline Bublitz
‘Not just another novel about a dead girl.’ A brilliant debut from this New Zealand author. Here’s the story of a murder victim, the woman who found her, and the bond between them. It’s a finely written, moving, perceptive look at male violence against women. Eloquent on friendship and a love letter to New York.
Matrix by Lauren Groff
A vibrant historical novel with amazing atmosphere and characterisation. A pioneering medieval woman (the poet Marie de France) is banished to live in a convent in England. Her struggles to improve the lot of the community are captivating and moving and threaded with humour. Wonderfully imagined and a unique read.