Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.
Connect with Aline at these sites:


Q&A with Aline Templeton

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Both, I suppose, though only in a general way. I never put people I know in my books, though I might see someone who suggests a character. For instance, I once passed a very old lady standing hunched over, smoking, her face wrinkled as a walnut, very shabby, wearing what looked a man’s old tweed jacket and trousers. But she was wearing a bright purple crocheted hat with a bunch of pink, white and purple flowers on it. I didn’t know anything about her but she made a great character in Lamb to the Slaughter.

I don’t write directly about current events but sometimes a news story prompts an idea. The case of Louise Woodward, the nanny convicted of killing her charge, prompted a ‘what-if’ story that was the starting point for Cradle to Grave.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the
beginning and see where the story line brings you?

Somewhere between the two. When I start I usually think I know what the ending will be and I set off towards it. But I could well be wrong – I’m a great believer in letting the story develop. I write because I’m telling myself a story and I want to see what happens. If I knew it all too definitely, I would get bored. In fact, in one of my early books, Past Praying For, I reached the second last chapter and realized I’d got the murderer wrong! I thought, ‘Of course! That’s who did it,’ and went back to change the story to fit – then found that it was all there. It’s amazing what the subconscious can do without you noticing.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Very boring, I’m afraid. I go to my desk at 9.30 and write until just after 1.00. No coffee break – I just make a mug and take it back to my study. In the afternoon I revise and do all the housekeeping related to emails and posts – and a bit of housework as well!

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Yes, it has been for many years.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
In crime, Louise Penny, PD James, Andrea Camilleri. In the classics Jane Austen, of course, and Henry James and Emily Bronte; poets Browning, Kipling, TS Eliot, Robert Frost – and dozens of others. Modern fiction; Tracy Chevalier, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley

What are you reading now?
Sashenka by Simon Sebag-Montefiori. It’s a compelling, moving and impressively-researched story about Russia under Stalin.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
It’s the next in the DI Marjory Fleming series. It begins with a group of hedonistic young people whose excesses end in tragedy when one dies of a drugs overdose and one leaves a suicide note at the edge of a cliff. But two years later a car is found stranded on a mudflat in the Solway Firth after a high tide and the murdered body found in it is that of the man believed to be dead.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
DI Fleming would have to be an actress with a Scottish accent – there’s nothing I hate more than a fake attempt at one – so that rather limits the field. Emma Thomson is English but she spends a lot of time in Scotland so she would probably do it quite well and she’d make a good Big Marge.

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Notes hand-written every time. If I’m starting a book, or if I hit a sticky patch, I always seize one of my trusty Bic fine-point pens and write in longhand – I feel it gets me closer to my characters sometimes.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I love to cook – mainly French influenced, I suppose. Cookery books are my favorite indulgent reading.

Favorite meal?
A light, elegant cappuccino soup like artichoke, roasted roe deer venison, a dessert of three or four minute ‘themed’ puddings – like lemon tart, lemon mousse, lemon sorbet and limoncello jelly. You can tell I take a lot of holidays in France!


This moody and arresting thriller is perfect for fans of Tana French.

On a beautiful, eerily quiet May morning, a girl is found brutally bludgeoned to death. When Detective Marjory Fleming arrives, the silence of the scene is broken only by the ringing of the girl’s cell phone. The nearby community is small and close-knit, but the veneer of contented prosperity conceals nasty secrets and deep betrayals. When another corpse is discovered, Fleming quickly realizes she must watch her own back while she searches for the link between the murders. As she uncovers layer upon layer of intrigue and deceit, it becomes apparent that, while the dead can’t tell lies, the living most certainly can.


The wind had dropped with the sunrise. It was a beautiful May morning, with the soft, pearly light so typical of the south-west corner of Scotland, but it was cool still; vapour clung to the tops of the trees and there was a sweet, damp, earthy smell after a heavy dew. He got up to have a chilly shower – he must see if something couldn’t be done about the hot-water supply – then dressed in his working jeans and checked shirt and went down the rickety staircase and across the living room to open the door.

The wooden shack, his home since he was freed on licence six months ago, had walls weathered by time and the elements to a soft silvery grey. It stood in a clearing surrounded by rough grass studded with the stumps of felled trees, crumbling and mossy now. Beyond that, a tangle of undergrowth formed a natural enclosure: at this time of year the grass had feathery seed heads and thecreamy flowers of hawthorn and cow parsley gleamed against the lush dark green of nettles and docks. From a snarl of brambles, a robin was shouting a melodious challenge to all comers. Sitting down on the dilapidated bench outside the back door, he drank in the peace and freedom which remained a novelty still.


Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2/11/2014
Number of Pages: 513
ISBN: 9780062301758




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1 thought on “Guest Author ALINE TEMPLETON

  1. Thanks so much for introducing us to this author. Though I haven’t read any of her books, she sounds like such an interesting person that I now want to see how her interests are reflected in her writing.

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