WIRRAL-based author Margaret Murphy has a string of highly acclaimed novels to her back catalogue; 2005's The Dispossessed being just one.

On Monday, March 26 at Bebington Central Library, Margaret will be presenting Where do you get your ideas from? as a part of the launch of her latest novel Splinter in the Blood.

The book was written under the pseudonym of Ashley Dyer with the assistance of forensics expert Helen Pepper, advisor on TV shows Shetland and Vera.

The event will be a chance for the audience to learn from a former CSI how forensic investigations happen, see how an expert 'lifts' fingerprints and also try their hand at identifying footwear evidence.

"It promises to be a really fun afternoon for the grown-ups," Margaret said.

"There will be the opportunity for photographs to be taken with both myself and Helen, a presentation showing some of the techniques involved in tracking down criminals, a chance to chat and ask those all questions you wanted answers too about how your favourite crime series and novels are put together, as well as having a few laughs.

"It promises to be a lovely afternoon and I’m really excited about it."

Margaret has been advised on Splinter in the Blood by Helen, senior lecturer in policing at Teeside University and a former crime scene manager.

Wirral Globe:

Front cover of Splinter in the Blood

Helen is also a judge for the Crime Writers' Association Non-fiction Dagger Award, so couldn't have asked anybody more qualiofied to help with the science parts of Splinter in the Blood.

"Helen and I were aware of each other and had met several times on the crime conference circuit," Margaret explained.

"Helen has been advising Ann Cleeves for many years on the Vera and Shetland TV series, and Ann and I are both friends and fellow Murder Squad members, a group of crime writers based in northern England.

"When I started looking for a forensic adviser, I naturally asked Ann about Helen.

"She's really great to work with and willing to go the extra mile to help out with a tricky plot or procedural problem.

"I approached her, and I'm delighted that she agreed to work with me on the books."

So having already established herself as a leading crime author, why the need for the pseudonym?

"People tell me that this new Lake and Carver series is different from anything I've written before.

"I disagreed at first, but I'm starting to think they're right. Splinter in the Blood is harder in tone and more sparely written than any of my other novels.

"It also focuses on serial killers with a sense of the dramatic – which is a first for me.

"I wanted to separate this work from my other creations and so hence the new pseudonym."

Margaret is right.

Splinter in the Blood is harder, grittier and quite brutal in places; more so arguably than anything she’s written before in many ways.

"I hope this is because I managed to make the victims real people readers can care about.

"I get to know my characters fairly well at the outlining stage, but they can always surprise you – I'm finding out new things about DS Ruth Lake all the time.

"I'm also quite glad you didn't say 'gory' though as there’s probably less in this novel than in several of my earlier works.

In the novel, Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver are on the hunt for a serial killer who carefully poses his victims and covers every inch of their bodies in intricate, cryptic tattoos.

Dubbed the 'Thorn Killer', by the media, the killer uses a primitive and excruciatingly painful thorn method to etch his victims.

After many months, a breakthrough feels imminent.

Then the killer gets personal.

The latest victim - a student found only a week earlier - is staged to look like Carver's wife.

Margaret continued: "Many of my earlier novels spend some time in the heads of the victims, but in Splinter in the Blood we get to know them through the investigators' eyes; one of the choices I consciously made.

"I wanted to take a closer look at both the killer's and the cops' psychology, writing in that spare, edgier style I mentioned earlier.

"Foreign rights for Splinter in the Blood have sold around the world, and the novel even went to multiple competitive bids in Germany.

"It will be a lead title for Blanvalet in Germany this autumn, and the second in the series has also been commissioned worldwide, so the focus for now is firmly on Carver and Lake.

"Book Two in the series is already well under way and, if anything, this one is darker than Splinter in the Blood and reveals some disturbing secrets about Ruth Lake's past too."

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From? Featuring Ashley Dyer & Helen Pepper takes place at Bebington Central Library on Monday March 26.

Tickets for the event, which starts at 2.30pm, are £3 and available at the venue.

Ashley Dyer's website is: www.ashley-dyer.com