Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Half Broken Things

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Half Broken Things

by Morag Joss

Half Broken Things by Morag Joss
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 320 pages

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Morag Joss grew up on the west coast of Scotland, completed a degree in English at St Andrew's University and then studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music. The trigger for her start as a writer was in the mid 1980s when family friend P.D. James came to stay and Joss took her on a tour of the Roman Baths in the city of Bath. While touring the baths Joss jokingly suggested that 'this would be a good place to find a body', they bounced around the idea for a minute or two and then P.D. James said 'Oh, you must go and write it now, dear'. At the time, Joss didn't take the idea seriously but a couple of months later, without telling anyone, she entered a story-writing contest sponsored by Good Housekeeping magazine and was awarded a prize as a runner-up.

This is her 4th book following Funeral Music (1998), Fearful Symmetry (1999) and Fruitful Bodies (2001), all set in Bath, England and based around cellist Sara Selkirk. Half Broken Things, her first stand-alone novel, won the 2003 UK Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger Award.

Her latest novel, Puccini's Ghosts, was published in the UK in July 2005, and will be published in the USA in a couple of weeks (late Aug 2006). It is set in a small coastal town in Scotland in the 1960 and centers around an amateur production of Puccini's last opera, Turandot. Joss says, 'It's really a coming of age kind of novel .... I hope it's sort of grimly funny because the idea of an amateur production of Turandot is preposterous. It's all to do with first falling in love and that hideously obsessive way that first love can practically bring you to your knees and about the difference between theatre and life and reality and illusion.'

This article was originally published in October 2005, and has been updated for the July 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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