As part of a two-week staff exchange scheme, Peter 'Mad Max' Maxwell is swapping the delights of Leighford High for the altogether more sophisticated charms of local private school, Grimmonds. This is a school where the teachers wear gowns, a school with interhouse rugby, debating societies and fencing lessons. It's a far cry from his familiar comprehensive - Grimmods is steeped in tradition and dripping with money. But within a day of stepping through the imposing school gates, Maxwell has yet again stumbled upon an unnatural death. One of the Housemasters has fallen from the school roof - but did he jump or was he pushed? Two days later another teacher is found floating in the lake and this time it's definitely murder. As the pack of journalists at the gates grows and parents start removing their children from the school, the Headmaster has his work cut out to protect Grimmonds' reputation. And when DS Jacquie Carpenter, Maxwell's girlfriend, gets assigned to the case he finds himself caught up in a complex police investigation and a tangled web of secrets.
M J Trow (the 'M' as most people know by now stands for Meirion, a Welsh name few can manage, so he writes as M J, is known by all and sundry as Mei, rhyming with 'my') has been writing for many years, with his first book - The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade - being published in 1984 by Macmillan. More Lestrades followed and then some true crime and somehow it all snowballed so now he has many historical biographies and two other crime series (Maxwell and Marlowe, the latter written with his wife, writing as Maryanne Coleman, though her name is Carol, actually!) to his credit. He claims to be retired, but that's just from teaching. In fact he has never been busier and is a sought after 'ghost' these days as well as historian and novelist, with many different subjects' stories having been told through him. He has recently started collaborating on fiction projects (with someone other than his wife, that is) and finds it a really exciting and pleasurable experience.
To relax he ... actually, that's a bit tricky, as he doesn't really ever relax. He has been known to garden, he is a keen cook and artist and likes to travel. This is rather easier these days as he is a popular speaker on cruise ships - in fact his profile picture was taken on a very gusty day in Cape Town this February, setting off on a long voyage home to Southampton through some of the scariest seas he and his wife have had the pleasure to meet! It really was the calm before the storm, despite being a Force 9 just leaving the Bay.
Family is important and he is very proud of his wife, Carol (aka Maryanne Coleman) for her own books and also the ones they write together, the Kit Marlowe series. His son, Taliesin, known as Tali, is a writer who has written a biography of the Tudor explorer Martin Frobisher as well as collaborating with Mei on several biographies. An exciting series is in the melting pot at the moment and will hopefully be appearing soon; remember where you heard it first. Tali is also a musician, playing various instruments with some acclaimed bands from the alt-bluegrass of the fabulous Coal Porters, through the classic acid folk of Lords of Thyme to the ethereal melodies of Fawn. His crystal vocals enhance everything he does and it's just as well someone in the family can sing, as it is the first thing anyone asks a Welshman!