I write historical crime fiction. My amateur detective is the great Victorian novelist, Charles Dickens. Dickens was fascinated by crime and murder. He went out with the London Police into the grim slums of London and visited the police stations to see how they all worked. According to a recent biographer, Dickens would have enjoyed being a detective. I gave him his wish. He makes a good detective - he is very observant, very clever at working out motive and following the clues with his partner, Superintendent Jones of Bow Street. Victorian London is a great setting for a murder mystery - all that fog and very sinister alleys. It is fascinating to research the period from Dickens's own novels, the biographies and Dickens's letters. I like to know what he's up to in the periods of his life when the stories take place. All the books are based on something which really happened in Dickens's life. He set up a home for fallen women. I wondered what he would do if one of the girls was murdered and that was the idea for the first book. When I'm not reading Dickens or writing Dickens, I give talks about him and other Victorian novelists and enjoy my garden in the Yorkshire Dales.