CRIME writer Leigh Russell, creator of the crime fiction series featuring Geraldine Steel, is visiting York this weekend, but she won't be bringing Geraldine with her.
The Hertfordshire writer is spinning off a new series from her original novels, this time promoting Steel's sidekick, Sergeant Ian Peterson, to a detective inspector with his own series of novels, set here in York.
Peterson is chasing a promotion and he moves to York, much to the irritation of his wife, Bev, who had wanted to stay in the south.
Race To Death, the first book in the York series, begins with a death at York racecourse which the police quickly realise was no accident.
As Peterson struggles to make sense of the murder of a man who had been enjoying a day at the races, the body of a young woman is discovered beside the river.
"As Ian begins to piece together what has happened, he sets off a course of events that threatens to destroy everything he cares about," says writer Leigh. "And if you want to know what happens, you will have to read the book."
Leigh's interest in York came about as the result of a personal connection.
"My husband attended the University of York and we'd already spent some time there, revisiting his old haunts. It's such a fascinating place.
"Walking along a narrow snickelway that leads from a medieval church to a modern street, is almost like walking through time. I considered several possible locations for Ian Peterson's series, but there was really only ever one setting for me.
"Moving my detective to York means I can visit the city more often to research the area. As a student in York all those years ago, my husband never dreamed he would be returning so often to have afternoon tea at Bettys."
Recently Leigh was one of ten authors long-listed for the CWA Dagger in the Library, a list chosen by public vote. "It's a huge thrill to know that so many readers voted for me," says Leigh, whose novels bear the backing of Lee Child, who describes her as "One to watch" .
Race To Death is a fast-paced thriller, with more murders than are usually to be found in York, and a satisfying twist near its denouement.
Further murderous mayhem in York is promised from Leigh, who has retired from her job as a teacher and now writes two novels a year, one featuring Geraldine Steel and the other dedicated to the relocated Ian Peterson.
Leigh will be signing books at WH Smith in Coney Street today from 10.30am to 4pm and at WH Smith at Monks Cross tomorrow, also from 10.30am to 4pm. She will be talking to students at York College on Monday and will give a talk at Acomb Library on Wednesday at 6.30pm. Further signings are due at Waterstones in York on October 15 at 11am, with sessions due at WHSmith on October 18 and 19.
Links to Leigh's books, blog, facebook and twitter can be found at leighrussell.co.uk