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  • Born in Leicester, in the English Midlands, the fifth of six children to a mother whose forebears include: a horse dealer who swindled his mother-in-law; a skinner/leather-dresser’s son who became a general, was knighted and married a Spanish noblewoman (who later left him to become the mistress and eventual wife of a Prince of Württemberg); a Quartermaster and Honorary Captain in the RAMC who had started his career as a boy private, and whose wife mysteriously became pregnant when he was 8,000 miles away; and a man who murdered his wife and was sentenced to imprisonment on Devil’s Island. Father’s ancestors mainly Midlands folk working the land.

      • Peaked academically and athletically at the age of 11, being first in year in all exams and winning the Victrix Ludorum at sports day. Attended grammar school, where exam results were on a par with hockey skills.

          • Passed Cambridge entrance exams. Twice. Failed interviews. Twice. Law degree from Durham University. After the College of Law and two years of articles, deemed a fit and proper person to be a Solicitor of the Supreme Court, with a nice certificate signed by Lord Donaldson. (The signature has now vanished – a neat bit of symbolism there.) 

              • Articled with a South Coast firm which some years later imploded. Shortly afterwards the senior partner was carted off to one of Her Majesty’s less salubrious establishments upon being convicted of theft of £5 million from clients’ estates.

                  • Practised at firms with greatly more trustworthy senior partners in Hampshire and Dorset (consecutively not concurrently) but stress, disillusionment, and general unhappiness grew to intolerable levels. Gave up the law and, eventually, started writing.

                      • Currently living about a mile outside the New Forest National Park with one partner, two cats and, thanks to the cats, a fluctuating population of grass snakes, shrews, field mice and moles.

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