Award-winning author Elly Griffiths joins LoveReading as our new Guest Editor, and along with dancing a jig as we welcome her and her chosen theme and collection of books, we can also shout about her fabulous new novel. Elly Griffiths is one of our go-to authors, she has given the world a number of different series, including of course the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries and the Brighton Mysteries. She not only creates brilliantly twisty plots, her novels are oh-so readable with a vivid sense of place. She is also a fabulous observer of humanity, her characters climb from the page and take up lodging in your thoughts, and I have particularly fallen for Detective Harbinder Kaur. I was thrilled when she was joined by a group of amateur detectives in The Postscript Murders which is now out in paperback, followed by the linked yet standalone novel The Last Word, which was published in hardback in January 2024. We so enjoyed both of these crime novels set within the publishing and book world, that our staff chose them as LoveReading Star Books.

I always love introducing our guest editors, and get a real kick out of opening the email containing their recommendations. I can hand-on-heart confirm that was certainly the case here with Elly. For any aspiring authors out there, you’ll be interested in hearing about her writing journey from being a ‘book-mad teenager’ through to being published, and you will also discover that Elly Griffiths isn’t her actual name. I was tickled pink when I saw the topic chosen, devoured her list of recommended books, and of course now have several new books to add to my to-be-read pile! 


Elly Griffiths is the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries and the Brighton Mysteries. She has won the CWA Dagger in the Library and been shortlisted six times for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her trilogy featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur includes The Stranger Diaries which won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in the USA; The Postscript Murders, shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and Bleeding Heart Yard. Elly has two grown-up children and lives near Brighton with her archaeologist husband.


I wrote my first crime novel when I was eleven. It was called The Hair of the Dog and was set in a country village where nothing much happened. A group of young people decide to stage a fake murder which, of course, turns into the real thing. And who was murdered? An author who stole someone else’s plot. It’s hard to say why this device appealed to a child who knew nothing about the writing business but it sparked a lifelong interest in books about books.

The Hair of the Dog was never published. Over the years, most of it has disappeared but I still have the maths exercise book containing the first few chapters. Some of the names might be familiar to my readers. Edgar and Max both appear and the detective is called Mike Griffiths.

Although the writing journey takes many paths, I did all the things you might advise a book-mad teenager to do. I read English at university, then I worked in a library and, after a few years,  got a job in publishing. I started as a publicity assistant and eventually became editorial director for children’s fiction. Along the way, I wrote another novel. It was called Between the Covers and it was a no-holds-barred account of the steamy side of the publishing business. Sadly, no-one wanted to publish it because the book world really isn’t all that steamy.

Incidentally, books and films about publishing often make the mistake of assuming editors are more powerful than they are. It’s understandable.  To an author, your editor is a God but, in real life, these deities usually don’t live in vast London apartments or swan around New York in designer clothing. It’s one of the best jobs in the world but glamorous it isn’t.

I finally got published when I was nearly forty. My first novel was a fictionalised account of my father’s life, called The Italian Quarter and written under my real name, Domenica de Rosa. It wasn’t until I turned to crime as Elly Griffiths that my fascination with fiction resurfaced. My latest book, The Last Word, is about the mysterious death of a romance author. The trail leads the amateur detectives to a very sinister writing retreat and an even more sinister book group.

Here are five of my favourite books about books.

Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang

This story of a writer who steals her dead friend’s unpublished manuscript was deservedly a smash hit. It is by turns hilarious and tragic and says important things about cultural appropriation and the corrosive nature of success. I defy any ex-publisher not to cringe at the editorial scenes.

Possession by A.S. Byatt

This is a literary tour-de-force including letters, diary entries and reams of poetry supposedly written by fictional Victorian writers Henry Ash and Cristobel LaMotte. Their love story is decoded by two modern-day academics, Ronald Mitchell and Maud Bailey. Did the dead authors have a relationship and possibly even a child? What is the written evidence and to whom does it belong? The investigation involves love, betrayal and even grave-robbing. Possession is, ultimately, both a detective story and a romance. It also has one of the best epilogues in fiction. 

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Delilah Harris

Nella Rodgers is the only black employee at a New York publishing house. Why, when another black woman joins, do people listen to her views while Nella’s are ignored? Part office comedy, part fantasy, this book asks serious questions about diversity in the writing world. Once again, the editorial meetings are spot on.

The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves 

Ann Cleeves is one of the most successful crime writers in the country. She also a great champion of books, reading and libraries. This book is set at a writer’s retreat with a stunning glass observatory. It’s the perfect location for a classic locked-room mystery with Ann’s usual clever twists and hall-of-mirrors misdirection. What’s not to love? As an added bonus, you have the delight of DI Vera Stanhope mixing with the arty types. 

Real People by Alison Lurie

The late, much-missed Alison Lurie is one of my favourite writers. This deceptively slim volume is set at an exclusive artists’ retreat. Janet Belle Smith, a moderately successful author, is thrilled to be amongst what she sees as her peers. Illyria is the perfect setting for a writer but why can’t Janet write there? It seems that, over the years, Janet has been taking away from reality rather than adding to it. This is why her stories are becoming shorter and her life less fulfilling. A cautionary tale for any creative.