I finished recording the audiobook of Money in the Morgue at about 3pm this afternoon. As I read the last paragraph, after almost three full days of very intensely concentrated recording, interspersed with very busy Fun Palaces office days, I was almost crying. I walked to the station, got two tubes home, picked up a bit of shopping, walked down our road, got in the front door and burst into tears

I’ve never done an audiobook before (although, gratifyingly, many readers have said they’d like me to) and I think there was something about reading aloud a piece of work that has taken a good chunk of the past two years to create, something that touches the place in me that loved being read to as a child. I had the great good fortune of being the youngest of seven kids, which meant there were many people to read to me, including – once we were in NZ – librarians reading Saturday morning stories at Tokoroa library, that was such a gift, thank you libraries people. Reading was a big deal in our house. My parents both had to leave school at 14, reading was everything.

My mum’s been dead for 15 years. My dad’s been dead for 30 years this October. They’ve been gone such a long time, my father now dead five years longer than he was in my life (I was 25 when he died), and yet I’d love them to know about this book. The NZ WW2 soldier characters in Money in the Morgue have a touch of my father, of my uncles. My joy in reading aloud and sharing stories is of my mother. They don’t know about the book, can’t ever know, they are gone, I know that. And my adult understanding of an often difficult childhood means I look back at those days with very little rose tinting. Regardless, I think they would have been proud. And I’d have loved them to know I did the work.

I’m nearly 55 and today I missed my mum and dad.