Mountain, Fiona 1974(?)–
MOUNTAIN, Fiona 1974(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1974, in England; married Tim Mountain (a music composer); children: Daniel, James, Gabriel.
CAREER: BBC Radio One, London, England, former press officer; currently runs her own public relations firm in Oxfordshire, England.
Isabella (historical romance novel), Orion Publishing Group (London, England), 1999.
Pale as the Dead ("Natasha Blake" mystery novel), Orion Publishing Group (London, England), 2002, St. Martin's/Minotaur (New York, NY), 2004.
Bloodline ("Natasha Blake" mystery novel), Orion Publishing Group, (London, England), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Fiona Mountain grew up in Sheffield, England, then moved to London at the age of eighteen and began working for the British Broadcasting Corporation as a press and public relations consultant. After nearly a decade, she moved to the Cotswolds, where she lives with her husband, Tim Mountain, and their three sons, and runs a public relations firm. In addition to her PR work, she is the author of several novels, including the "Natasha Blake" detective series.
Mountain's first novel, Isabella, is an historical love story based on the true events behind the mutiny on the HMS Bounty. Shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, the story follows Fletcher Christian's cousin, Isabella Curwen, a rich young heiress with whom Christian was apparently in love.
In her subsequent novels, Mountain has incorporated the detective skills required for her to research the historical background of Christian and his cousin into the story itself, turning her attention to writing mysteries. Pale as the Dead is set in modern times but deals with the study of genealogy, delving into a family's past. Natasha Blake is not your everyday detective; she is a genealogist. When a young girl goes missing, Natasha's investigation leads her into a mystery surrounding the girl's obsession with Lizzie Siddal, the famous wife of pre-Raphaelite poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
In a profile for Shots online, Mountain explained her reason for concentrating on the science of genealogy: "It … seemed the right time to write this kind of book. Not only is genealogy now the most popular hobby in the UK, but there are more web sites devoted to it than any other subject, except pornography." She went on to remark that "it is a real thrill to find, staring up at you from the indexes, or some obscure manuscript or old book, a name, a person you've been searching for. By piecing together strands of evidence of a person's existence they are suddenly made real. And … you want to go on breathing the life back into them."
GraceAnne A. DeCandido, in a review of Pale as the Dead for Booklist, commented that "Mountain captures the silken creepiness of much of the … story without quite revealing its gorgeous artistic legacy." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that the novel's ending is "anticlimactic," but added that "the premise of a genealogist sleuth holds plenty of potential." Harriet Klausner, in a review for AllReaders.com, called the book an "exhilarating opening debut of a fascinating 'detective,'" and went on to state that "this is a unique tale starring a delightful individual who makes a fine sleuth whether it is the past or the present."
Bloodline continues the adventures of the geneologist. In this volume, Natasha finds herself embroiled in a mystery that links an old man's murder to a pair of World War II soldiers, one British and one German, and a secret that has been hidden for decades.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Pale as the Dead, p. 1708.
Denver Post, August 1, 2004, Tom and Enid Schantz, "Caesar Embroils Detective in Conflict," review of Pale as the Dead, p. F12.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of Pale as the Dead, p. 521.
Publishers Weekly, June 21, 2004, review of Pale as the Dead, p. 46.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (February 23, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Pale as the Dead.
Fantastic Fiction Web site, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (February 23, 2005), "Fiona Mountain."
Fiona Mountain Home Page, http://www.fionamountain.com (February 23, 2005).
Orion Books Web site, http://www.orionbooks.com/ (February 23, 2005), "Fiona Mountain."
Shots Online, http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (February 23, 2005), "Fiona Mountain."