FICTION: As Jessica Mann I write crime fiction.
My novels arenít autobiographical but they are set in the world I know, often in the places I have lived in: Cornwall, Edinburgh, Leicester (which I called Ferriby) and London. Others were inspired by travelling to, for example, Egypt or the Isles of Scilly. Some have domestic settings, some archaeological, and I have sometimes combined mystery plots with with political themes or historical sections. Thereís no running hero or heroine, except for the six books featuring the archaeologist Tamara Hoyland, first encountered in Funeral Sites. But several characters, major and minor, have reappeared over the years, among them Professor Thea Crawford, and more recently the psychiatrist Dr Fidelis Berlin, whose first appearance is in A Private Inquiry. You can catch up with her in The Voice From The Grave , and in my latest book, Dead Woman Walking.
AND FACT: Iím also a journalist, broadcaster and author of non-fiction. I have contributed features , columns, think-pieces and book reviews to many magazines and newspapers including the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian, The Western Morning News, House & Garden, The Oldie, Standpoint etc. I am the crime fiction reviewer for The Literary Review.
I was born in London, my parents Jewish (though non-practising) refugees from Nazi Germany. During the war, my brother aged 4 and I aged 2 were sent as evacuees to safety in Canada and America, returning in 1943. I grew up in London going to St.Paulís Girls School, before taking degrees in Archaeology at Newnham College, Cambridge and Law at Leicester University. I married the archaeologist Professor Charles Thomas, and after ten years in Edinburgh and three in Leicester we moved to Cornwall, where we still live. We have two sons, two daughters and 11 grandchildren.
As JESSICA THOMAS, I have been a Planning Inspector, chaired public committees, served on Employment Tribunals and on many NHS committees.
The story of the overseas evacuation of children in WW2 is told in my book Out of Harmís Way. I described growing up in the forties and fifties, and what life was like before the liberating reforms that began in the late 1960s, in The Fifties Mystique. In Deadlier Than The Male, I discussed the question: why are respectable English women so good at crime?
A biography of my father appeared in 2013: F.A.Mann, A Memoir by Geoffrey Lewis.