Nicola Ford is the pen name of Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.
Nicola was born amid the hop gardens and apple orchards of Kent but spent many years digging up bits of Gloucestershire before migrating north to Derbyshire.
Over the last three decades Nicola has excavated on sites across Britain and Europe, from Yorkshire to the Czech Republic.
She has also co-directed a number of major research projects – one of which was awarded the Archaeological Research Project of the Year Award.
Today she lives with her partner deep in the ancient heart of Wiltshire, following her twin passions of archaeology and crime writing.
Clare Hills, archaeologist and sometime sleuth, is struggling to finance her recently established university research institute along with her long-time friend, Dr David Barbrook. When Professor Margaret Bockford finds the Hart Unit commercial work with a housing developer on a site in the Cotswolds, the pair are hardly in a position to refuse. There is just one slight catch: the previous site director, Beth Kinsella, was found hanged in a copse on-site, surrounded by mutilated wildlife.
Despite initial misgivings, Clare leads a team to continue work on the dig, but with rumours about Beth’s mental state and her claims that the site was historically significant refusing to be laid to rest, and lingering disquiet between local residents and the developers, progress is impeded at every turn. When one of the workers finds something unsettling, Clare suspects there may be more to Beth’s claims than first thought. But can she uncover the truth before it is hidden forever?
Following the recent death of her husband, Clare Hills is listless and unsure of her place in the world. When her former university friend Dr David Barbrook asks her to help him sift through the effects of deceased archaeologist Gerald Hart, she sees this as a useful distraction from her grief. During her search, Clare stumbles across the unpublished journals detailing Gerald’s most glittering dig. Hidden from view for decades and supposedly destroyed in an arson attack, she cannot believe her luck. Finding the Hungerbourne Barrows archive is every archaeologist’s dream. Determined to document Gerald’s career-defining find for the public, Clare and David delve into his meticulously kept records of the excavation.
But the dream suddenly becomes a nightmare as the pair unearth a disturbing discovery, putting them at the centre of a murder inquiry and in the path of a dangerous killer determined to bury the truth forever.
‘A cracking debut. Ford’s experience as an archaeologist shines through on every page.’
— Mari Hannah