Not Writing But Blogging

Stella Duffy doing this instead of writing …

my books

In order of publication date (backwards) they are …

Lullaby Beach
2021, contemporary fiction
Three generations of women, #MeToo, sisters, aunts and nieces, changing – and not changing – sexual politics.
“Duffy is a fearless writer … A portrait of sisterhood in the wider sense – one that’s as powerful and gritty as it is wise and celebratory.” Daily Mail

Money in the Morgue – with Ngaio Marsh
2018, classic crime
Marsh wrote three and a half short chapters for this novel, along with a few pages of notes, and then abandoned it in the 1940s. Harper Collins asked me to finish it, and here it is.
“Clever stuff. Ngaio Marsh would give it nine out of ten.” Daily Mail
“Duffy captures Marsh’s style, dialogue and mood brilliantly.” The Times
“A complicated tale, so well completed by Stella Duffy that I was quite unable to see the join.” Literary Review

The Hidden Room
2017, psychological thriller
Two women, their kids, a dark cult in the past.
“A stunner…a psychological thriller of depth, intelligence and emotion.” The Times
“Duffy writes with a judicious combination of power and subtlety, to create a haunting tale that lingers in the memory.” Sunday Times Crime Club
“A chilling thriller.” Good Housekeeping
“Deeply creepy, but utterly gripping.” Sunday Mirror

London Lies Beneath
2016, historical
based on a true story from 1912, south London, community, three families, nine drowned boys, grief, loss and living on.
“As gloriously alive as the turn of the century south London streets it portrays.” Red Magazine
“Vivid…[and] full of heart, Duffy’s new novel is a fitting hymn to the city that inspired it.” Financial Times
“A paean not just to South London, but to a vanished way of working-class life…Duffy’s narrative is as fluid as a costermonger’s patter, carrying the reader along.” Daily Mail
“Hauntingly beautiful.” Sunday Mirror

Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined
2014, short story collection
some of my 65+ short stories – the ones Salt Publishing and I liked best, including my two dagger award winning stories, Martha Grace (2002) and Come Away With me (2013)

The Purple Shroud
2012, historical
What Theodora did next.
“Theodora is, in Duffy’s hands, a richly paradoxical character from whom the light of life shines brightly.” Guardian
“Even better than the first book, Duffy’s portrayal of a former actress’s extraordinary rise to power is riveting.” Library Journal

2010, historical
The rags to riches (but hopefully less cliched) story of the Empress Theodora. NOT Procopius’ woman-hating version. With a lovely Publishers Weekly review in the US, and then these from the earlier UK publication :
“A beautifully written, empowering novel about an inspiring woman who broke all the rules.” Mslexia
“Byzantine brilliance” Independent on Sunday
“Noel Streatfield on crack” The Guardian

The Room of Lost Things
2008, contemporary fiction
South London, modern Britain, Loughborough Junction, white working class meets London Asian, the 345 bus, Ruskin Park bandstand, and daffodils on Camberwell Green. Published in France (with a LOVELY cover!) as La Chambre des Vies Oubliees.
Stonewall Writer of the Year 2008, Orange Prize Longlist 2008
“A spellbinding love song to a part of London usually demonised as home to muggings, shootings and feral gangs … a book of great sensitivity and passion.” Independent on Sunday

Parallel Lies
2005, crime
Hollywood gay/secrets, Editor called it “a Sunset Boulevard for our times”. Sometimes I love Editor.
“A book that almost turns its own pages.” Daily Express

Mouths of Babes
2005, crime
the 5th/final (so far) Saz book, Saz’s past in the present
“This book shouldn’t just be seen as a great piece of crime writing; it’s a fine novel, as good as anything you’ll read this year.” Independent on Sunday

State of Happiness
2004, contemporary fiction
NYC/LA, love/illness, life/death, happiness/sadness
Orange Prize Longlist 2004
“Duffy is known for her sharp insights and sharper wit, and both are on display here … Brave, understated and unforgettable.” Daily Mail
people often think this is my ‘cancer novel’ – but I’d started writing it before my first cancer, so …

Immaculate Conceit
2000, contemporary fiction (and some magic)
Lap-dancer gives birth to 2nd messiah (plus Marian theology re concept of acquiescence)
“A sharp-edged satire about mental health and ownership of the body … a witty, funky tale of divine intervention.” The Big Issue

Eating Cake
1999, contemporary fiction
love and affairs, suburbia and settling, how relationships are
“Both funny and compassionate … a sassy, frank and wickedly convincing page-turner.” The List

Fresh Flesh
1999, crime
Saz 4, Saz and Molly get pregnant, past secrets, gay as family
“Confirms without doubt that she’s very near the top of the new generation of modern crime writers.” The Times

Singling Out the Couples
1998, contemporary fiction and magic/fantasy
modern fairy tale, funny/nasty fairy princess breaks up couples, because she can
James Tiptree Jr Award Shortlist 1999
“An extraordinary, glittery parable about the power and cruelty of relationships.” Fay Weldon, Mail on Sunday

Beneath the Blonde
1997, crime
Saz 3, bands/groupies/group dynamics (years in the same impro company!) – and a twist
“Duffy gives good story.” Time Out

1996, crime
Saz 2, Molly arrives, bad things happen (not connected)
“A pleasure and a relief to read someone who is not only first-class, but also thoroughly in tune with today’s attitudes, feelings and language.” The Times

Calendar Girl
1994, crime
the first Saz book, my First Book.
5th equal in The Big Gay Read – I’m particularly proud about this, as it was the only book in the top five that hadn’t been on telly.
“Funny, sharp and sexy … an impressive debut.” Telegraph

and, co-edited with Lauren Henderson :
Tart Noir

sexy/funny/nasty/noir-y stories and not a hero-rushing-to-the-rescue (or a serial killer butchering prostitutes) in sight. yay us.
CWA Short Story Dagger Award 2002 for Martha Grace.
“No meek and mild heroines here. They’re tough and uncompromising and take no prisoners.” Independent on Sunday

32 thoughts on “my books

  1. Hi Stella,

    I cant believe I am on your blog ! Its me Mary of the odd book classifications!

    How are you ?

    I am reading the room of lost things, its bloody fantastic. I am going really slow as I don’t want it to end. Stella I love your books, I love Roberts character he needs Dyna-rod in to unblock his emotions !!!

    I got it wrong Stella your books are EXTRA ordinary ! Thanks for the joy of them

    Mary xxx


  2. ah thanks Mary. but I still LOVE the term ‘ordinary’ books. they are – all books are just books, all this fuss about putting them into categories just helps people sell them (also a good thing!), but I don’t think many writers think about it a great deal in the process of making the book. we just want to tell the story.
    we clearly need another north east party to catch up again …


  3. I bought ‘Singling Out the Couples’ while browsing W.H Smith one day and I am so excited that I did; you are the kind of writer I have been searching for for some time and I can’t wait to read your other works. 🙂


  4. I’m glad you did too, Jenny. (glad too you found it in Smiths, sadly I’m not often overly stocked there … maybe you’ll change my luck!)


  5. Hi Stella! i ‘ve just finished my first book (fresh flesh) of you and i really enjoyed it! thank you so much for this moment 🙂
    excuse my bad english but i’m french…
    can you tell me if “Mouths of babes” will be translated in french?
    anyway i can read the 3 others 😉


  6. hi Karen, Mouths of Babes isn’t in French yet, mais il y a tres autres – Les Effeileuses, Déferlante, and Chair Fraîche, all by Serpent a Plumes. The latest, The Room of Lost things will be published by Grasset in mid Janvier – La Chambre des Vies Oubliees.
    I’m glad you’ve found me – and I can assure you, your english is better than my french!
    Stella x


  7. Hi Stella,
    I’ve never imagined I would one day write to an author. Until I find your blog.
    I’m glad to tell you that your book “La chambre de vies oubliées” is good.
    Common stories of common people imbricating to reveal a whole picture of a “slice of life”. At first it seems simple small things but each time I finish a chapter I keep thinking a while before beginning the other one.
    As if all these simple facts gathered were full of meaning reader has to “digest”.
    I didn’t finish it yet. I’ll let you know my final feelings. (I agree with u the French cover is great = I love the London Tube Map).
    Eric the French


  8. thank you so much Eric. it’s been a real joy to me that The Room of Lost Things/La Chambre des Vies Oubliees has been well-received in France. I think perhaps the French have a great appreciation for a book of ideas, moving slowly? I hope you still feel the same when you’ve finished.


  9. Kia Ora Stella,

    I hope that things are going well for you in the UK with the Theodora book, and life in general. Nice interview in The Scotsman recently by the way.

    I’ve managed to recently get my hands on copies of your Saz Martin series, so I am looking forward to reading them soon (I prefer crime books to ‘ordinary books’, overall). Any chance you might make a return to crime writing at some stage?

    By the way, I’ve now launched an ongoing series of quickfire author interviews on Crime Watch (my crime fiction blog), with the likes of Lee Child, Craig Russell, John Connolly and several other international crime writers already featured (along with several Kiwi writers). I was hoping you might be interested in being part of the series? I’d love to include you, especially given your NZ connections.

    Hope all is well. Kia kaha from Aotearoa,



  10. Just finished Parallel Lies. I thought that Penny was a brilliant character. I had a book series planned & ready for you to write. Penny’s been to Hollywood so:
    Penny 2: Penny Meets Madonna (jogging in Central Park … saves her from a mugger … becomes her PA … murder in the entourage).
    Penny 3: Penny Goes to War (Afghanistan … Guardian journo … friend (platonic) of Julian Assange … lover of first female US Infantry General who is a reader of Sun Tzu AND Virginia Woolf, Clausewitz AND Shakespeare, Macchiavelli AND Stella Duffy … murder in the field).
    However, plans foiled on page 160 of PL.
    Then, plans resurrected on page 248 of PL. Aha, Penny is Stella’s Ripley. Simples!


  11. yay, Penny as Ripley! I love it. and couldn’t think of a more glorious comparison than to a Highsmith character! how very very flattering. thank you. you’ve made my (wet, wet, grey London) day. x


  12. thank you so much for the saz martin series. they were the only books i could read when i was pregnant a few years ago and apart from lots of knitting made the time so much more pleasurable.


  13. Just finished “Theodora” and can’t wait to review it on netGalley. This is my cup of tea, and I intend to follow up with more reading on this fascinating woman. Thank you from Texas, USA (where it was 110 degrees F yesterday). Stay cool!


  14. Thank you so much Jan, I’m delighted you enjoyed it, the larger US market is all new to me, so the US responses are really interesting. Thank you for taking the time to tell me. And stay cool!


  15. Thank you so much for Theodora. I usually ignore historical fiction, and only read this because you wrote it. An amazingly absorbing book and I can’t wait for the sequel. Jan


  16. thanks Jan, and am so glad you leapt over your historical ban … I too, have some areas of writing I feel I don’t usually ‘do’, and almost without exception, when I make the effort (or am forced to) I enjoy what I’ve previously assumed I wouldn’t!


  17. Just started reading your “Singing out the Couples” I had bought it in a second hand book store ironically in Notting Hill! Its such a fab read I can’t put it down 🙂


  18. I’ve always loved ancient history. I studied it (and archaeology) at a time before feminism had made inroads into the discipline, the past was overrun with men and I was far more interested in women. Long years spent working at the non-academic, fieldwork end of (british) archaeology have made me somewhat jaded (no men or women, just mud, rain and technical reports). So it’s great to have a reminder of why I got into the whole thing in the first place, namely: the ancient past is many weird and wonderful places filled with great stories and people, some of whom – now, finally! – are women. And while I could confine myself to purely archaeological or historical works, sometimes you can’t beat a good story, well told. (Also, easier to recommend to all my non-classically inclined friends who nontheless ask ‘what was it like back then?’)
    So thank you for Theodora, for finding this amazing woman, bringing her and the world she lives in so vividly to life. I eagerly await the sequel.


  19. Thank you for saying so. I love that someone who knows about the difficulties of digging up ‘truth’ enjoyed it! And yay for sharing with your friends …


  20. Hello Mrs Duffy, I am trying to find Theodora in french, does it exist? I love La chambre des vies oubliées but it is difficult to find your other books in France. Thank you in advance. Gaelle.


  21. Thank you for asking, but I’m sorry, not yet. Macedonian, Serbian and Polish, but not yet in French. Several of my early novels from my crime series were published in French by Serpent a Plumes, I’m not sure if they’re still in print though. There were a couple of mass market editions with J’ai Lu. I hope you can find them! And I hope we can have a French edition of Theodora soon too …


  22. Thank you. So I will start to learn Macedonian! 🙂 I read the first 3 crime stories but the other 2 are not translated… fustrating. What is Serpent a Plumes doing??


  23. Hello, I read La Chambre , it was splendid! Thank you! I am looking for more of your work in french (Novels or other work) . Can you help me? I only discovered your blog so it is somewhere maybe. thank you in advance and best wishes, Laurent


  24. hi Laurent. very glad you enjoyed La Chambre. some of my crime novels were also published in French, by Serpent a Plumes and they were in mass market pb with J’ai Lu.
    That was quite a long time ago, so I’m not sure if they’re still available. maybe second hand …?
    all best,


  25. Thank you very much Stella,
    I have ordered your other books (I found 4), 2 are still available, 2 occasion. I loved La Chambre because there are many characters and every reader can associate to someone. I thought La Chambre was a more recent book because I see it in many shops at the moment. We are late at the party here! I plan to visit this part of London when I visit next! I wish you many happy things for the festivities and thank you for your beautiful story.


  26. Hi Stella,

    I LOVE your Saz series. You are such a talented writer and I hope your Saz chronicles continue!



  27. ah, thank you Rachel. those books are very old now and I don’t have any plans for bringing Saz back at the moment, but you might enjoy The Hidden Room, which features a couple who could almost be Saz and Molly …


  28. Singling OTCs has something in it which i can’t think i’ve ever struck before. It comes from a different angle with regard to ego; the writer’s ego and the writer’s ego projected on the characters. I’ll be looking for more. Lots of love from Golden Bay NZ, and more power to youze in your grassroots culture ventures. It’s desperately needed everywhere.


  29. oh, not sure what you mean re ego (have been studying lots of Freud recently, so am very caught in the classic definitions) – and I do hope you don’t confuse me & Cushla! – but it def is a book that has stuck with me over time. It’s also the only story that ever arrived, fully formed , in my mind, so it has a different feel to it than my other work (to me at least). Loads of love to GLORIOUS Golden bay – feel free to join us in Fun Palaces!


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