reading on location



I’d always wanted to write a mystery set in England. No place could be more mysterious to the mind of a young girl who hardly knew anything outside of her working-class, suburban neighborhood at the southern tip of New York City.

When I was in my late teens, I traveled to London with no itinerary and an open return ticket. I was reading Agatha Christie. I know that sounds like a total cliché, but my mom really loved her stuff and had given me The Murder of Roger Ackroyd when I left for the trip. Everything seemed so foreign, but also strangely familiar at the same time. That trip changed the way that I saw the world. I was on my own, living as cheaply as possible, haunting the corridors of the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. And walking for hours and hours. Foggy or rainy or – on rare occasion – sunny, I’d be out wandering the streets. I walked the pavement along the length of Regent’s Canal, following the towpath where it existed, circling around the side streets to find it again when the path was blocked by overgrown weeds or barbed wire. These images of the waterway stayed with me, eventually becoming key locations in This Dark Place.

As a native New Yorker, I started to imagine what it would be like for a NYC cop to work on a case with British detectives. I never stopped thinking about the idea. In secret, I thought of myself as a writer, and scenes for a book would pop into my head at all sorts of odd times. When I wasn’t walking, I was writing. Thoughts, impressions, descriptions of people I’d encountered that day.

Back in New York, those notes sat on a shelf for years. Once in a while I’d pull out my old journal to sift through the ramblings my romantic youth, and the idea of writing that book never quite died. Then I saw her. A police officer standing at the entrance to a courtroom. I was waiting to see a judge about a traffic ticket – that I got while riding a bicycle through a red light, but that’s a different story. She was in uniform, wearing tons of gear – flashlight, radio, pistol, notebook – a total bad-ass. She had an asymmetrical haircut with a bright magenta streak dyed into the top. I didn’t know a thing about her, but I went home and sketched out the details of an imagined life.

NYPD Detective Kelly Moore was born.


This Dark Place, the first Kelly Moore book, is published by Delicate Prey Publishing

| ebook | paperback |

Amazon UK
Amazon US


Claire Kittridge grew up in Brooklyn. An avid reader, triathlete and boxing fan, she fell in love with England and its great fictional detectives, while traveling around Britain as a teenager. Claire lives in New York City with her cat, Chairman Meow. She is currently writing her second Kelly Moore novel.


This piece is published as part of the blog tour for This Dark Place. Thanks to Anne Cater, the author and Marc Lepson. This article is © 2018 by Claire Kittridge. All rights reserved.


Also of interest: Vita Sackville-West’s gardens at Sissinghurst – writers on location; Woolbridge Manor, the real Wellbridge House in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles – writers on location











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