M. R. Hall lives and works in the Wye valley in South Wales. Born in London in 1967, he was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Worcester College, Oxford, where he graduated in law.
During a career at the Bar, working mostly in the field of criminal law, he tried to learn the craft of screen writing, eventually getting his first commission in television writing an episode of the ITV hit series, Kavanagh QC starring John Thaw. He went on to write further episodes and shortly afterwards was commissioned to create a series for the new Channel Five, Wing And A Prayer. The first season earned him a BAFTA nomination in the best series category.
For over ten years Matthew has been a screen writer and producer, and has written over forty hours of prime time drama for BBC1 and ITV.
His debut novel, The Coroner, was published by Pan Macmillan in the UK in 2009 and has been nominated for the Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger in the best novel category.
The second novel in the series, The Disappeared, was published in the USA by Simon and Schuster on December 1st 2009 and in the UK by Pan Macmillan in January 2010. The third novel in the series, The Redeemed, is out in April 2011.
Translation rights to both The Coroner and The Disappeared have been sold across the world.
Matthew spends much of his spare time looking after his sixteen acres of woodland and working for the conservation of the countryside.
Click here to read a Q & A with this author.
Author photo © Alexander James
A family tragedy. A buried secret. What lies hidden in the flames? A dense, bitterly cold fog has settled over the Wye Valley when Bristol Coroner Jenny Cooper is called to the scene of a dreadful tragedy: in the village of Blackstone Ley, a house has burned to the ground with three members of a family inside. Though evidence of foul play is quickly uncovered, it isn't long before the police investigation is drawn to a close. It seems certain that the fire was started by one of the victims, Ed Morgan, in a fit of jealous rage. But their infant son is still missing and Ed had left a message for his surviving wife, Kelly Hart, telling her that she would never find the child ...As Jenny prepares the inquest, she finds herself troubled by the official version of events. What could have provoked Ed's murderous rampage? How might the other, guarded inhabitants of the village have been involved? And what could the connection be with the mysterious abduction of a little girl ten years ago? Battling to supress gruelling events in her own life, Jenny soon becomes entangled in another perplexing inquiry that may have surprising links to this one. Can she unearth Blackstone Ley's secrets, before it's too late?
Coroner Jenny Cooper investigates ...An unlikely suicide or a deadly conspiracy? When Bristol Coroner Jenny Cooper investigates the fatal plunge of a man from a motorway bridge, she little suspects that it has any connection with the sudden death of a friend's thirteen year old daughter from a deadly strain of meningitis. But as Jenny pieces together the dead man's last days, she's drawn into a mystery whose dark ripples stretch across continents and back through decades. In an investigation which will take her into the sinister realms of unbridled human ambition and corrupt scientific endeavour, Jenny is soon forced to risk the love and lives of those closest to her, as a deadly race to uncover the truth begins ...
September 2010 Book of the Month. This is the second case to feature the coroner Jenny Cooper, a divorcee, single mum of a difficult teenage son, a woman prone to anxieties and panic attacks who is on heavy medication … interesting. She is certainly a refreshing change from the normal private eye or police detective who star in this genre. The Coroner was a great introduction to her and now we must let the series develop for I am sure it will become a very memorable one. Jenny Cooper series:1. The Coroner2. The Disappeared3. The Redeemed Comparison: Stuart MacBride, Peter James, John Harvey.
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2012. CWA Judges' comment: “Coroner Jenny Cooper attempts to tackle the fall-out after an air disaster in the Severn estuary. Good balance of the domestic and the professional together with high-tech detail make this an absolutely fascinating and chillingly plausible read.”
The third stunning Jenny Cooper novel from the author of The Coroner and The Disappeared. Jenny’s lone quest for justice will take her to the dark heart of an establishment who wish to silence her, and on an inner journey to confront ghosts that have haunted her for a lifetime. For Jenny Cooper answers to no one but the dead . . . Jenny Cooper series:1. The Coroner2. The Disappeared3. The Redeemed
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2009. CWA Judges’ comments: ‘A very strong debut with a highly original female protagonist.’ This is a fantastic book that was deservedly shortlisted for a CWA Gold Dagger. It introduces a highly original female protagonist, Jenny Cooper, the troubled new coroner to the Severn Vale District in one of the most exciting new crime series in years. Jenny takes on the establishment in search of truth and justice whilst dealing with a broken personal life you can really relate to. We could not put the book down and can’t wait for the next in the series. Click here to view some Reading Group questions for this title. Jenny Cooper series:1. The Coroner2. The Disappeared3. The Redeemed Comparison: Lynda La Plante, Peter James, Mark Billingham.
A man's body is discovered in a church yard, the sign of the cross carved into his abdomen. Later he is found to be Alan Jacobs, a troubled psychiatric nurse. It seems to Jenny Cooper, Severn Vale District Coroner, this is likely to be an open and shut suicide case, but something tells her to probe a little deeper. After another tragic death, Jenny's suspicions turn toward a powerful new global phenomenon: the politically ambitious and intoxicatingly charismatic Mission Church of God. Meanwhile Jenny must finally confront the demons of her past, and as her private life threatens to shatter, she faces intense pressure from all angles to cease her investigations. But to Jenny Cooper, whose whole life has been governed by deception, the truth is everything.
Two young British students, Nazim Jamal and Rafi Hassan, vanish without a trace. The police write them off as runaways, but seven years later, Nazim's grief stricken mother is still unconvinced. Jenny Cooper is finally settling into her role as Coroner for the Severn Valley; the ghosts of her past banished to the sidelines once more. But as an inquest into Nazim's disappearance gets underway, the stink of corruption and conspiracy becomes clear. As the pressure from above increases, a code of silence is imposed and events begin to spiral out of control, pushing Jenny to the breaking point. For how could she have known that by unravelling the mysteries of the disappeared, she would begin to unearth her own buried secrets?
When lawyer Jenny Cooper is appointed Severn Vale District Coroner, she's hoping for a quiet life and space to recover from a traumatic divorce, but the office she inherits from the recently deceased Harry Marshall contains neglected files hiding dark secrets and a trail of buried evidence. Could the tragic death in custody of a young boy be linked to the apparent suicide of a teenage prostitute and the fate of Marshall himself? Jenny's curiosity is aroused. Why was Marshall behaving so strangely before he died? What injustice was he planning to uncover? And what caused his abrupt change of heart? In the face of powerful and sinister forces determined to keep both the truth hidden and the troublesome coroner in check, Jenny embarks on a lonely and dangerous one woman crusade for justice which threatens not only her career but also her sanity.