Author’s Lounge – Jonathan Whitelaw
What is your book all about?
My latest series, The Bingo Hall Detectives, follows the mis-adventures of a mother and son-in-law amateur detective duo solving crimes in the Lake District of England. The first novel, which came out last year, sees them hot on the trail of the killer of a pensioner from the local bingo club. And the new novel – The Villag hall Vendetta, has the bickering and not-s-dynamic duo uncovering the killing of a local businessman who has bought a painting that’s reputedly cursed.
What inspired you to write the book?
I’ve always been a huge fan of cozy crime fiction. It’s enjoying a wonderful renaissance at the moment, but it’s never really gone away. The idea for the series came to me a few years ago but I wrote the first book in the spring of 2021, when the world was a VERY different place.
There’s no coincidence that cozy mysteries see an uptake in popularity when times are tough. And there’s an argument to be made that times have never been so tough as we emerge into a post-pandemic world. I’ve always loved the safety blanket and comfort of a cozy crime noevl. The Bingo Hall Detectives is a series that, hopefully, offers readers that escape that I enjoyed when I was writing it. And gives them a laugh and a chuckle, along with a juicy whodunnit mystery to solve.
What is your target audience for the book?
I’d love to say that the target audience for the series is EVERYONE. But I know that’s a bit of a cheat.
I’ve always seen the BHD series as being for crime fiction fans – not just cozy mystery fans. It’s for anyone who enjoyes a good mystery to solve, with some lovable, quirky characters who endear themselves to you over time.
What do you hope readers could get out from your book?
This is a great question. I guess I’d like readers to take away from the series that age is just a number. The main characters – Jason and Amita – are from very different generations. Jason is younger, in his 40s, and not very good with technology. When we first meet him he’s out of work and a little down. Whereas his mother-in-law Amita is the opposite – she’s 70, active, a pillar of the community. And she’s AMAZING with social media.
Throughout the first novel and the series you see the pair of them go from being quite frosty to each other to getting along and giving each other more credit for who they each are. I think that’s an important part of life and it’s something I’ve always tried to adhere to in my own journey.
What are your future goals/plans for the book?
The BHD is the first of the series. The new novel – The Village Hall Vendetta – is released in North America from HArperCollins Canada on August 29th. Beyond that, the third in the series will be released in Europe in the spring of 2024, with a fourth book in 2025.
And something more about yourself.
Apart from being a full-time writer, I’m also an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, I moved into journalism, covering everything from sports to music to radioactive waste – and everything in between. I’m also a regular reviewer, panellist and commentator on social media, TV and radio. My podcast – Friends of the North – celebrates all things cultural and artistic in the north of the UK. I moved to Canada in May 2022 from Scotland. I’m also a die-hard Everton supporter in soccer and follow the Edmonton Oilers.