National Trust archaeologist launches crime novel

By Jamie Hill - 29 June 2018

Arts and CultureCommunity

The Hidden Bones is the enigmatic title of the debut crime novel by Nicola Ford, the pen name for Dr Nick Snashall, the National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. This Saturday, at 2pm, Nicola will be giving a book reading at Cobblestones second-hand books in Avebury High Street.

Over the last three decades Nick has worked as an archaeologist across Britain and Europe, the last fourteen for the National Trust, but this is her first venture into the world of crime writing. Based at Avebury and Stonehenge, she knows the landscapes of Wiltshire intimately and has used the Marlborough Downs as the backdrop for her novel.

Through her day job and now her writing, she has spent more time than most people thinking about the dead. Her skills are now brought together in this gripping tale of archaeology and murder.

Working as an archaeologist by day and a writer by night, Nicola explains what attracted her to the world of crime writing ‘The ability to conjure up a place, a long-dead person or a story from your imagination and share them with someone seems to me a magical process. Bringing together the world that I inhabit as an archaeologist with crime fiction – the genre I love – was a natural fit.’

Publishers, Allison & Busby, have already commissioned the next novel in the Hills and Barbrook series.

At this event, in the second-hand bookshop in Avebury, she will read snippets from her novel, talk about the archaeology and what inspired her to start writing followed by a question and answer session. Afterwards she’ll be signing copies of her book in the National Trust shop in the Old Farmyard, where there will also be free tastings from the shops delicious range of food and drinks.

This is a free event and open to everyone.  More information can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury

The story …

Following the recent death of her husband, Clare Hills is listless and unsure of her place in the world. When her former university friend Dr David Barbrook asks her to help him sift through the effects of deceased archaeologist Gerald Hart, she sees this as a useful distraction from her grief. During her search, Clare stumbles across the unpublished journals detailing Gerald’s most glittering dig. Hidden from view for decades and supposedly destroyed in an arson attack, she cannot believe her luck. Finding the Hungerbourne Barrows archive is every archaeologist's dream. Determined to document Gerald’s career-defining find for the public, Clare and David delve into his meticulously kept records of the excavation.

But the dream suddenly becomes a nightmare as the pair unearth a disturbing discovery, putting them at the centre of a murder inquiry and in the path of a dangerous killer determined to bury the truth forever.

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