Category Archives: Research

Diana’s Virtual Tour of the Kingdom of Fife ~ Cambo Gardens

Breaking my rule of writing these posts chronologically I am jumping to the present. DSCN4464.JPG


Today we visited The Snowdrop Festival at Cambo Gardens between St Andrews and Crail. It is two years since our last visit and the restoration work they have carried out on Cambo Country Estate  is remarkable and its history is fascinating.


The snowdrop walks lead you through woodland;DSCN4468 into more formal gardens where the multitude of varieties are labelled; then most beautiful of all beside the brook on a path towards the sea. A morning here is as enchanting as ever, but now there is a lovely cafe and visitor’s centre too; all tastefully housed in the restored stable block.




We have also visited Cambo in April, which was equally charming, but for anyone in Fife at this time of year, taking a stroll through banks of snowdrops all the way to The Fife Coastal Path and The North Sea is a must. I hope that the photos will speak for themselves.

Isn’t the tapestry below stunning too?



(Author Diana Jackson loves researching social history and this inspires her writing. Her latest release ‘The Healing Paths of Fife’, a fantasy / memoir, reflects her growing love for the Kingdom of Fife.)

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Filed under Fife, Memoirs, Research, Scotland, The Healing Paths of Fife, Virtual tour of Fife

Diana’s Virtual Tour of the Kingdom of Fife ~ Lower Largo

For each of my books I have written virtual tours of the places which have inspired me to write, and Fife is no exception. My tour will be in chronological order rather then geographical, as I discover, explore and come to love this region of the UK.

DSCN4412.JPGI will begin in Lower Largo.

I was visiting my husband one weekend. He was commuting from Bedfordshire to Dunfermline each week and so I flew up to join him.

On the Saturday we went for out a drive.

‘Let’s have a look down there,’ I said, when I noticed a ‘to the beach’ sign from the main road along the coast. It was time for coffee anyway. There we stumbled upon a magical place, reminiscent of Cornwall years ago, before the floods of tourists descended. It was early May in 2013.

DSCN4411.JPGWe stood gazing along the beach for a while towards the peninsula, which pointed out towards North Berwick on the south coast of The Forth. Rocks and sand stretched for what appeared to be miles into the distance. Behind us was a small harbour, The Crusoe Inn Hotel and a viaduct which framed quaint cottages, like a backdrop for an Agatha Christie movie.

We breathed in deeply, hubby after a week’s rewarding but challenging work, and me after a stressful time at college and delayed flights the previous evening. A welcoming coffee at The Crusoe next revealed Lower DSCN4410Largo’s claim to fame as the birth place of the real Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk. Old ‘letters’ adorn the walls of the hotel and you can even ‘walk’ on a footprint of the man himself.

I was so charmed by all of this, my natural curiosity inspired, and thus I began my first research into the history of Fife, the Kingdom I now call home.

(Author Diana Jackson loves researching social history and this inspires her writing. Her latest release ‘The Healing Paths of Fife’, a fantasy / memoir, reflects her growing love for the Kingdom of Fife.)


Filed under Fife, Fife Fantasy, Research, Scotland, The Healing Paths of Fife, Virtual tour of Fife

Can you have a pleasant but misguided protagonist in a Murder Mystery?

I read a great deal of crime, although my choice of reading is an eclectic mix, including historical fiction, humour and even romance to a lesser degree. I prefer romance as a part of life rather than per se.

Sometimes I find the harsh world in much crime fiction difficult to read; the graphic, gory descriptions, the hard language – a world where swearing is in every sentence. My writing isn’t like that, not out of choice but because I can’t be true to myself and be absorbed in a world that is inherently evil at every turn. To write a novel you have to ‘live’ the world you are imagining for months. I could not do that.

So, what inspired me to write a murder mystery?

Ordinary people can be murderers – right or wrong?

I was inspired by an unsolved murder of a young lass from  the island of Jersey back in 1919 in the village nearby where I lived in Bedfordshire. The mystery surrounding her death intrigued me and the more I researched the stronger the ideas formed in my mind of ordinary people being accused of murder ~ how a murderer might be your spouse, your child, your friend or neighbour. They just need a strong enough motive, which may be triggered at any time in life, or it may be a spontaneous act – unpremeditated.

Suspects may have no obvious motive

The next thing that caught my imagination was that people may become suspects even though they have no obvious motive – being in the wrong place at the wrong time or leaving traces at the scene of the crime.

Proving yourself innocent has always been difficult 

It was fun writing two parallel murder mysteries in 1919 and 2019. Weaving the suspects into the plot and linking those from the twentieth century murder to the one in 2019 led to a few sleepless nights ~ although I did solve a few plot twists and turns in my sleep! My interest in family history came into play here.

The sins of the fathers …

Is it difficult for families to shed the shame of a member accused of murder. Is it likely or even possible that the gene which leads a person to murder can be passed on through the generations? I didn’t answer this one, but it was in my mind when writing.

Evil has a way of being found out

Even a century later evil can be uncovered ~ or can it?

Many are hooked on Family Intrigues 

However hard a family may try to suppress its secrets, this intrigue feeds on the curiosity of an individual to find out the truth. This in turn may become an unhealthy obsession.

Now you know what triggered my Murder Mystery. You also know what my writing is not like. If you’d like to find out more then:


Available on Kindle

‘Murder Now and Then’ will be free on Kindle

from Monday 10th July to Friday 14th July

If you do read it and enjoy it, I would be grateful of you could leave an honest review.

Much appreciated,  Diana

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Murder Now and Then, Planning a novel, Research, Writing a novel