Murder, mystery and madness surround a Keighley mill in novelist Alison Joseph's latest book.

The fictional mill in Joseph's novel 'A Dark and Sinful Death' is situated between Keighley and Ilkley and is based on Keighley's old wool spinning mills. Set around the mill are rows of terraced Victorian houses to keep to the traditions of the town.

Alison says: "The people of Keighley were very, very helpful in aiding the setting of my novel - a mill going through hard times and the affect it has on the community.

"I am interested in human characters whose lives get out of control, such as in this novel, where the community depends on the success of the mill, but the mill goes wrong.

"Keighley was an area I was really interested in setting a novel and I would love to do something else set in that area. It's difficult though because my nun, Sister Agnes, who is my fictional detective, is generally based in London and I have to try and keep her life realistic.

"I just love Yorkshire."

A Dark and Sinful Death tells the tale of a contemporary nun, Sister Agnes, who has been sent by her order to Yorkshire to teach in their convent boarding school. Set against a background of murder and interwoven family histories, Agnes is drawn into a world with Allbright's mill at its centre.

To complete the novel, Joseph spent many days visiting different parts of Keighley, such as terraced housing estates, the mills and the police station. One community constable walked Joseph around his patch and told her how police dealt with different crimes in that area.

Alison says: "I would like to thank everyone at Keighley police station for all their help."

The novel is the fourth in Mrs Joseph's Sister Agnes series about the life of a contemporary nun. Sister Agnes lives in a Southwark flat and belongs to a London-based order. For the previous three novels - Sacred Hearts, The Hour of Our Death and The Quick and the Dead - she works in a hostel for homeless people in Southwark.

Agnes, who is half-French, married a wealthy but violent man at an early age. She fled from him and became a nun. Her life is full of conflict and obedience does not come easily to her. She loves fast cars, designer clothes and good food.

Joseph is currently working on a fifth Sister Agnes novel in which the famous nun works as a prison chaplain back in London. It is due to be published this year.

The London-based novelist has also written short stories for Radio 4, YOU magazine, Critical Quarterly and for various women's magazines.

A Dark and Sinful Death is published in paperback by Headline and is priced at £5.99.

A book-signing event for A Dark and Sinful Death will take place in Utley - at a venue to be confirmed - on Saturday February 7.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.