NOVELIST Alison Joseph has chosen Ilkley's picturesque moor as one of the settings for her latest work.

A Dark and Sinful Death is her latest mystery about Sister Agnes - the nun turned detective - who moves from London to an Ilkley convent school and finds herself involved in the murder of an Ilkley man.

Alison said: "The novel is set in Ilkley and Keighley and the peripheral areas, and although the two towns aren't metioned in the book because of libelling someone, I used them as bases for the story.

"Sister Agnes is a character who has developed over the years. I spent a lot of time thinking about detectives and found the most successful ones were those without any ties, such as Phillip Marlowe. So I chose a nun as it's difficult to think of a female character who doesn't have anyone relying on her, such as a mother, daughter, or partner.

"Sister Agnes is separate from everyone else and has deliberately severed any family ties she had."

In researching her book, Alison travelled from her London home to visit both towns.

"I wandered around Ilkley Moor and took in the beautiful scenery - I just love the moor and always have since I was a student at Leeds University," said the 39-year-old.

Alison studied French and Philosophy in Leeds before becoming a producer and presenter for Radio Aire and now writes novels.

"I really love the north, it was such a change for me to go to Leeds and it was really good for me," she said.

"Life in the north is more real - it's the true way of British life and I wanted to use that in this book," she added.

Alison and her husband, Tim, brought their children, Nat, ten, Wilfie, seven, and Edith, four, to Addingham on holiday last summer.

"We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast farm and spent a lot of time walking on Ilkley Moor because the air is so clean up there. Betty's Tea Room was also a favourite of everybody's," said Alison.

Alison will be making another trip to Ilkley next week when she will be signing copies of her book at The Grove Bookshop, The Grove, on Saturday, February 7. The time of the signing is to be announced.

l A Dark and Sinful Death, published by Headline, is on sale now at book shops priced £5.99.

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