Debut author Laura Shepherd-Robinson appeared at our 2019 Festival to talk about her novel Blood Sugar and the journey to becoming a writer. We invited Laura to share more about her literary inspirations with us in a series of guest blogs.

Books that inspired me to write #1: An Instance of the Fingerpost

I first read An Instance of the Fingerpost when it came out in 1997, and it’s safe to say that it was like no crime novel I’d ever read before.

Majestic in scope, in the midst of a gripping murder mystery, we learn about the development of enlightenment thought; the political conspiracies of the civil war and Restoration; military history; medicine; science; religion; superstition and prejudice; not to mention love and suppressed sexuality!

An Instance of the Fingerpost taught me much about how to write history: voice, scene, wearing research lightly, as well as the use of real historical characters in a work of fiction. One day I would love to attempt something as ambitious as this in terms of structure.

If you haven’t read it, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a masterpiece and the book, more than any other, that encouraged me to write.


Read more of Laura’s thoughts on An Instance of the Fingerpost at her blog.

Look out for the next instalment of her guest posts here at Derby Book Festival.

Sign up for our eshot and get all the latest Festival news sent straight to your inbox.

Derby Book Festival

29 May – 6 June 2020

Site by Codemakers

Derby Book Festival is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales Number 1159763