THE MYSTERY WRITER by Jessica Mann
The Wartime Evacuation of Children from Britain
Allison and Busby, £14.99
I started writing The Mystery Writer while I was still working on Out of Harm's Way, which is a non-fiction book telling the story of the overseas evacuation of children from Britain during the Second World War. I was one of those evacuees myself but remember nothing at all about my early childhood in Canada and America so the information is derived from other peoples' memories and documentary research. The natural tendency of a novelist is to make things up but in writing Out of Harm's Way I resisted that temptation and stuck firmly to the facts. Some of those facts are the basis of this story. Turning them into fiction left me free to invent and embellish, bringing together history and imagination, actual places and altered ones, real people and others who never existed, though the only real name I have used is my own.. The Mystery Writer contains some truths and some untruths. In literature, as in life, it is not always obvious which is which.