Praise from the Morse's mouth

"A sparkling star, newly risen in the crime fiction firmament" said none other than Colin Dexter of Inspector Morse fame. He was talking about Jim Kelly, the Financial Times education correspondent, enjoying rave reviews for his novel, The Water Clock, this week.

Kelly doesn't hold back on gory details - opening the book with a body found in a block of ice on the Fens and a corpse "riding" on a stone gargoyle high on Ely Cathedral. But he had to be tactful to avoid offending Ely's teachers.

"There is a school in The Water Clock and I wanted it to be really quite rough. I live in Ely and there is only one secondary school there. In order not to offend anyone, I had to create two schools, one inside the ring road, which is the real one, and one outside, which is rough," said Mr Kelly, who has a young daughter who may eventually go to the real school.

He is now finishing a sequel to The Water Clock, called The Fire Baby, again starring detective and journalist Philip Dryden ("a nod to Marlowe"). A key character will be a female teacher called Estelle. "I am struggling to make sure that the character isn't like Estelle Morris," Mr Kelly says. We look forward to reading the result.

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