This week we’re meeting Hannah Weybridge from Perdition’s Child by Anna Coates. This is the fourth in the Hannah Weybridge detective series. Let’s take a look at the cover and blurb then we’ll move onto the interview.
Dulwich library is the scene of a ‘suspicious death’, followed swiftly by another in Manchester, the victims linked by nothing other than their Australian nationality. Police dismiss the idea of a serial killer, but journalist Hannah Weybridge isn’t convinced. She is drawn into an investigation in which more Australian men are killed as they try to trace their British families. Her research reveals past horrors and present sadness, and loss linked to children who went missing after the Second World War. Have those children – now adults – returned? Once again Hannah finds herself embroiled in a deadly mystery, a mystery complicated by the murder of Harry Peters; brother of Lucy, one of the residents of Cardboard City she had become friendly with. It soon becomes clear Lucy is protecting secrets of her own – what is Lucy’s link to the murders and can Hannah discover the truth before the killer strikes again?
Now let’s move onto Anne’s interview with Hannah Weybridge
Hi Hannah it’s good to meet up with you. How are you?
H: I’m fine, thank you but I must say I don’t feel comfortable with this. I prefer to be the one asking the questions. But fire away.
You’ve gained quite a reputation as an investigative journalist. How did that come about?
H: I’d been a freelance journalist for some time then I was in the right place at the right time I suppose. I was commissioned by The News to interview a prostitute and a police officer to tie in with a TV documentary. I discovered that several sex workers had gone missing only to be found dead some time later. That led to uncovering a horrible vice ring involving a lot of well known, high profile men. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sounds fascinating but do you think being a single mum has affected your career or influences your actions?
H: That’s an interesting question. I think the answer is twofold. People tend to underestimate women anyway and if you have a young child they think your brain doesn’t function properly. Plus they think you aren’t fully committed to your work. People underestimate me, which means they make mistakes. From my point of view, I’ve found having a baby has concentrated my mind. I have to earn a living and I’m focused on that so we can have a good life together.
Does that mean the father isn’t involved?
H: I’ll pass on that question, thank you.
You’ve found yourself in some pretty scary situations. Do you think you should have exposed yourself like that when you have are the sole carer for your child?
H: Would you have asked me that question if I were a man? No of course you wouldn’t. I would never deliberately put myself in harm’s way but with the stories I’ve been investigating – like the death of prostitutes my first big exposé – you do sometimes find yourself in some pretty hairy situations and I’ve met some nasty, vicious people. My motivation is always to make sure victims get the justice they deserve and sometimes that does put me at risk. I don’t do that lightly.
Don’t you get scared?
H: Oh my goodness, yes I do but it’s usually after the event. At the time, my anger usually gives me an adrenaline rush, which carries me through. Afterwards the terror sets in but not for too long. Having a child keeps me grounded.
Really? I got the impression you carried a lot of baggage. And your house security is… what shall we say? Like Fort Knox?
H: I can’t discuss that as I had to sign the Official Secrets Act.
Okay. I notice that you have a good relationship with certain police officers. Does this give you an advantage over your newspaper’s competitors?
H: I have a good working relationship with the police and we sometimes share information. They have also saved me from a few extremely awkward situations. I assume other journalists have their own contacts. Journalists, as you well know, never divulge their sources.
So it seems! Okay, so how do you wind down?
H: A glass or two of Chablis helps! Plus I love Indian food. My local, Dulwich Tandoori, is fabulous. I don’t often eat in the restaurant as I’d have to arrange a babysitter but their takeaways are a good substitute.
That’s good to hear. I think I can hear your daughter in the background so I’ll leave you to get on with your afternoon. Thank you for your time Hannah.
H: You’re welcome.
If the blurb and interview have whetted your appetite you can get a copy of the book here:
As a journalist, Anne interviewed all types of people and some of their situations made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born… The Hannah Weybridge series currently consists of four books, all published by Urbane Publications: ‘Dancers in the Wind’ (2016), ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ (2017), and ‘Songs of Innocence’ (2018) and ‘Perdition’s Child’ (2020). Anne is currently working on the fifth book as well as a standalone psychological thriller.She lives in London with three unimpressed cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining.
Some 5 star Amazon reviews:
“Tightly plotted, carefully researched and superbly narrated, Perdition’s Child is a worthy addition, not only to Anne Coates’s page-turning series, but to the British crime fiction library as a whole.”
“A fantastically dark, beautifully written book that had me utterly gripped. Compulsive reading.”
“Best book I’ve read this year! If you like a fast paced crime story, you’ll love this.”