Author uses Banbury and nearby villages as setting for new murder mystery novel
The Oxford-based writer also wanted her story about extraordinary events happening to ordinary people to be set somewhere she is familiar with after spending much time in the area.
Rachel said: “I used to work for Oxfordshire Health and have spent a lot of time walking and visiting the National Trust houses in the area, so I am very familiar with the area, and choosing Banbury as the setting was important to me.
"Another compelling part of setting the story in the Banbury region is that it is in the middle of the country, and it doesn’t feature very much in fiction, and I like the idea of it being the untold everyman’s story."
In the story, Ben and Rebecca, a couple in their 30s, search for the answers behind the shocking murder of Ben’s mother, who disappeared when he was only seven years old.
Rachel said: “Their car broke down on the motorway, and Ben’s mother went to get help and never came back and was found murdered in the woodland near the road, with her killer never found.
"Although carrying some mental trauma from childhood, Ben manages to create an idyllic homelife with Rebecca, keeping dogs and beehives in a village, which I think of as near Brackley.
"Then Rebecca gets a commission for a huge mural painting at a big house somewhere near Shipston-on-Stour that is being restored by a wealthy businessman, and that is when things begin to get creepy."
Rachel says that the story is told from several different points of view, which helps to create a sense of entangled emotions and eventually leads up to the dramatic discovery of who murdered Ben’s mother.
She said: “It’s sort of a murder mystery, but it's not because there are no police involved. It's sort of a family saga that has elements of a psychological thriller in it and quite a lot of mystery.
"It should appeal to a wider range of audiences; it's a book club-style book.”