After dealing with a serial killer in Binary Witness and drug trafficking in Code Runner, I wanted to bring a different kind of crime to Cardiff in Captcha Thief.
I had been fortunate enough to hold my wedding reception at the National Museum of Wales, and the stunning Impressionist collection had caught my eye. The museum’s favourite piece is Renoir’s La Parisienne, colloquially known as “The Blue Lady”. If I was going to write a daring art heist, it had to feature the most renowned painting in the joint.
I am far from an art connoisseur but I am fascinated by the stories of artists and muses behind paintings. It was a very different research angle from the typical cybercrime and police procedure tacks that make up most of The Amy Lane Mysteries. I also enjoyed looking at Pre-Raphaelite art and poetry from the perspective of geeky twenty-first-century hacker Amy Lane, because it makes it much more accessible to an inexpert audience – and I am that audience!
The lives of Elizabeth Siddal and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were brought to my attention by the gorgeous play Lizzie Siddal by Jeremy Green, which I caught in London in 2013. The story of Siddal’s life haunted me and I felt it was helpful for Amy to explore her own mental health struggles through the experiences of a woman who had suffered similarly.
Aside from the unusual marriage of art and hacking, I wanted to explore more of Wales in this novel. Binary Witness had been largely confined to Cardiff and Code Runner had only dared travel a little way along the South Wales coast. Captcha Thief sent Amy’s assistant Jason off on an adventure across Mid Wales and up to Bangor and Anglesey.
I’d already squeezed one story out of my 2010 Anglesey holiday, writing the fantastical short film Dragon Chasers set at the mysterious burial mound of Bryn Celli Ddu. Using the island magical touch for a smuggling operation at the dead of night was a perfect use of its atmosphere. Holyhead Coastguard helpfully provided me with the more eerie, remote spot to land a boat and the rest of that sinister scene fell into place.
Stretching my knowledge of art and wider Wales really helped bring Captcha Thief to life for me, and it enables Amy and Jason to take on new and exciting crimes for their adventures.
Title: CAPTCHA Thief
Author: Rosie Claverton
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
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About the Book:
Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and her sidekick Jason Carr are swept up in a tortuous and increasingly dangerous adventure following the murder of a security guard at the National Museum of Wales and the theft of a priceless Impressionist painting. As Amy seeks to help track an art thief and Jason seeks to impress the National Crime Agency investigator Frieda Haas sent to recover the missing painting – and its abductor—Jason and Amy become entangled in a perilous web. As the evidence leads Amy and the police in circles, Jason finds himself taking more and more risks in his hunt for the thief. Nothing is as it seems. Are Amy and Jason merely playthings for a vicious murderer? Can they survive the game? The stakes are high, and this game is serious. Dead serious….
About the Author:
Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialize in psychiatry. Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm. Between writing and practicing medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series.