Born in Porthcawl, Wales; married Jeffrey Spedding (a painter). Education: Trained in sculpture at Manchester and St. Martin's, London.
Wringland, Pan (London, England), 2002.
Cloven, Macmillan (London, England), 2002.
A Night with No Stars, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2004.
Prey Silence, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2006.
Come and Be Killed, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.
Strangers Waiting (short stories), Bluechrome Publishing (Bristol, England), 2008.
Contributor to anthologies, including Best British Mysteries 2005, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2005; and The Cool EP, Bluechrome Publishing (Bristol, England), 2008.
Sally Spedding is a mystery author who was trained as a sculptor. Commenting on her change in artistic direction, Spedding said on her Web site: "My work was detailed, accurate and in demand, but I began to realize words can deliver so much more than any narrative sculpture or painting." After establishing a home with her husband, who is a painter, in the Pyrenees Mountains in France, she began to publish her writing, which has all been in the mystery genre, though frequently with a twist of the supernatural. "My strong familial connections with the Pyrenees, Germany and Holland have provided me with themes of loss and exclusion. The dark side of people and landscape," she commented. She characterized France as "a country full of unfinished business. Magnetic but disturbing."
In Spedding's first mystery, Wringland, a woman named Abbie Parker works as a sales representative for a high-end housing development that happens to be situated on a reputedly haunted area, the Black Fen. Strange events begin when Abbie is confronted in her office by a woman who demands a particular lot in the development. As the days pass, Abbie's problems increase, including trouble with her boyfriend, unwanted attention from a peculiar clergyman with a disturbed child, and an uneasy feeling that she is involved in some sort of struggle in the spirit world.
Cloven, Spedding's next novel, is set in an ancient Welsh village. The book shifts from past to present. In the first part of the story, the year is 1830. A man named Tomos Richards takes his cattle and his mute, handicapped sister, Sian, on the road to London. He hopes to sell the animals and find a doctor who can cure his sister's ills, but, after some serious mishaps, she ends up on the road alone, except for her dog and her pony. The story eventually shifts forward to modern times, when a teacher comes to live in the cottage where Sian died. Reviewing Cloven for the SF Site, Cindy Lynn Speer found that "the historical elements are handled very well, giving us a real feeling for the time, the cold, and the desperation." She added that Cloven is "a creepy and sorrowful look at the darker side of the human heart with enough of the lighter side to give us hope."
A Night with No Stars tells the story of Lucy Mitchell, an editor who moves to Wales to try to start a new, rural lifestyle at Ravenstone Estate. She finds that the place has a violent history and begins to investigate the grisly murder that took place there some fourteen years earlier. The theme of attempted escape is repeated in Come and Be Killed. In this story, Frankie Holt leaves a gritty environment in Manchester for a job taking care of two wealthy siblings. Her new employers do not realize that Frankie's past includes the attempted murder of her own sister. It is a "fiendishly clever" story with lots of plot twists, stated Emily Melton in Booklist.
In Spedding's Prey Silence, another protagonist makes a move in the hope of starting over with life. In this novel, Tom and his wife Kathy uproot themselves from England and take over a small farm in southwest France. Instead of improving their situation, however, the move makes everything worse. Kathy's depression intensifies, and soon the family is threatened, even attacked. One of the children is abducted, and Max teams with an animal-rights activist to try to locate his son and save his marriage. Reviewing this book for Tangled Web, Judith Jones commented that Prey Silence is not easy reading, but added that "it's ultimately rewarding—especially for conspiracy theorists and Francophones."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2007, Emily Melton, review of Come and Be Killed, p. 28.
Sally Spedding's Home Page,http://www.sallyspedding.com (January 27, 2008).
SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (January 16, 2008), review of Cloven.
Tangled Web,http://www.twbooks.co.uk/ (January, 2007), Judith Jones, review of Prey Silence.