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Dr Mark Baker helps leading author write murdery-mystery based at Gwrych Castle

Dr Mark Baker helps leading author write murdery-mystery based at Gwrych Castle

A former Rydal Penrhos pupil has teamed up with a notorious crime writer to produce a murder-mystery novel.

Dr Mark Baker, who left the school in 2003, is an historian and found of the Gwyrch Castle preservation trust, who have been working hard to restore the Grade I Listed site.

The castle is the setting for the latest in the Penny Brannigan series, Murder is for Keeps, written by Canadian author Elizabeth J Duncan.

Speaking to the Daily Post, the writer said: “There was something romantic yet mysterious about it.

"I wanted to get to know it and explore it. It’s a little bit different too, as unfortunately Gwrych has fallen into disrepair. It’s a beautiful shell of what it used to be.

“But as soon as I saw it, I knew this was the project I wanted to work on.

“Out of all my settings, this is my favourite. I just hope I gave it justice. It’s such a charming and beautiful building.”

The book, which is based around three mysteries, is the latest in the award-winning series that was devised in 2004 when Mrs Duncan won a trip to North Wales.

There are plans being formed to release the book in the medium of Welsh, and the pair are on the lookout for any local publishers that want to get involved.

Dr Baker, who also appears as himself in the book, added: “I’m a stickler for detail. What attracted me to the book, aside from it being about Gwrych, was that it was real in terms of background and the story. Obviously the murders are fictional but it was that reality that I was really impressed with.

“I’m honoured to be involved.”

Murder is for Keeps is released on May 2 and is available from Amazon. All eight previous books in the series are also online, and the entire Penny Brannigan series is also available through the Conwy Library Service.

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