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As mental health and the issues surrounding it becomes more prevelant in the world today we have invited our panel to come and discuss the depiction and handling of mental health in crime fiction. Barbara and Chris have a unique insight into this topic as their current or previous career paths have seen them working in the field of mental health and they have first hand experience of how this illness can effect lives. It’s not just about fiction versus reality though, as our authors are joined by Dr Liz Brewster a lecturer at Lancaster Medical University whose research on bibliotherapy (the use of books to improve mental health and well-being) has examined the way that reading crime fiction can make us feel better about the world. 

Barbara Nadel

Trained as an actress, Barbara Nadel used to work in mental health services. Born in the East End of London, she now writes full time and has been a visitor to Turkey for over twenty years. She received the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger for her novel DEADLY WEB, and the Swedish Flintax Prize for historical crime fiction for her first Francis Hancock novel, LAST RIGHTS.

Dr Liz Brewster

Dr Liz Brewster is a lecturer at Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University and a crime fiction aficionado. In her day job, she researches the relationship between creativity and well-being, as well as teaching medical students to remember that patients are people too.  Her research on bibliotherapy (the use of books to improve mental health and well-being) has examined the way that reading crime fiction can make us feel better about the world. She favours a classic ‘locked-room’ puzzle and her favourite crime writer is John Dickson Carr

Chris Merritt

As a psychologist who has worked in the NHS with both victims and perpetrators of crime, I write stories that explore why people commit serious offences and how their victims are affected. I try to bring these perspectives together with lots of rich, authentic detail about London and its many communities to let readers discover the city I love.

 

I always wrote - whether blogs, psychology articles or travel pieces - but it wasn't until 2014 that I began writing fiction. I'd spent several years working as a diplomat in Iraq and Jerusalem before I decided to go back to university and retrain as a psychologist. I completed a doctorate in psychology at King's College London in 2016. Now, when I'm not writing, I work on the Wellcome Trust's African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI) at King's College in south London, where I live.

To check out some of these authors' books, visit our Recommended Reading page!