The Word Association


Jim Kelly Jim was born in Barnet, north London, the son of a Scotland Yard detective and wartime Commando. He was told at an early age that he could pursue any career except - the police force. The youngest of three brothers, he studied geography – especially the perception of landscape – at Sheffield University. After graduation he became a reporter on the Bedfordshire Times, chief reporter of the Bedford Express, and Deputy News Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Press. He specialized in covering crime and politics. He took a sabbatical to study freedom of information legislation at Wolfson College, Cambridge, before moving to the Financial Times, where he was UK Pages Editor of the International Edition, Tax Correspondent, and finally Education Correspondent. In 1994 he married fellow writer Midge Gillies, and moved to the cathedral Fen city of Ely. He wrote the draft of his first book –The Water Clock - on the daily train journeys to and from London. Jim’s sleuth in these books was a local newspaper journalist. After winning the CWA Dagger in the Library he was encouraged to start a new series based on the north Norfolk coast, featuring the mis-matched police duo of DI Peter Shaw, and his side-kick DS George Valentine. He has reflected that the first of these is a version of his father as a young man, the second his father near retirement. It is little wonder they didn’t get on. Jim’s third series is set in Cambridge during the Second World War, and features Inspector Eden Brooke. The stories draw on his interest in wartime history, a passion shared with Midge, who has published several books on the period. She is Academic Director of Creative Writing for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall. They have a daughter who is studying fine art.


Jim Kelly Cambridge,1940. It is the first winter of the war, and snow is falling. When an evacuee drowns in the river, his body swept away, Detective Inspector Eden Brooke sets out to investigate what seems to be a vicious attack. The following night, a local electronics factory is attacked, and an Irish republican slogan is left at the scene. The IRA is campaigning to win freedom for Ulster, but why has Cambridge been chosen as a target? And when Brooke learns that the drowned boy was in the care of the close-knit local Irish Catholic community, he begins to question whether there may be a connection between the boy's death and the IRA’s so-called S-Plan – for sabotage. As more riddles emerge, can Brooke solve the mystery before the IRA closes in on its next target?


The Philip Dryden mysteries. THE WATER CLOCK (Penguin Books 2003), THE FIRE BABY (Penguin Books, 2004), THE MOON TUNNEL (Penguin Books, 2005), THE COLDEST BLOOD (Penguin Books, 2006), THE SKELETON MAN (Penguin Books, 2007). Overseas editions: US, Germany, Norway, Italy, and Japan. NIGHTRISE (Severn House, 2012), THE FUNERAL OWL (Severn House, 2013)

The Shaw & Valentine mysteries. DEATH WORE WHITE (Penguin Books, 2008), DEATH WATCH (Penguin Books, 2010), DEATH TOLL (Penguin Books, 2011). Overseas editions: US, Japan, Italy. DEATH’S DOOR (Severn House, 2012), AT DEATH’S WINDOW (Severn House, 2014), DEATH ON DEMAND (Severn House, 2015), DEATH SHIP (Severn House, 2016)

The Eden Brooke mysteries. THE GREAT DARKNESS (Allison & Busby, 2018), THE MATHEMATICAL BRIDGE (Allison & Busby, 2019), THE NIGHT RAIDS (Allison & Busby, 2020)

Short story: THE MAN WHO DIDN’T BREATHE. (Graffeg books, 2015). The Starlings & Other Stories. Editor Ann Cleeves.