Sunderland crime writer Sheila Quigley named above Ruth Rendell and Thomas Harris in new top 20

Sheila Quigley

Sheila Quigley

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A WEARSIDE scribe has sleuthed her way into the top 20 crime authors of all time, according to a new poll.

Sheila Quigley has been voted in at number seven in WH Smith’s Best Crime Authors of All Time, voted for by readers.

Sheila, from Houghton, managed to finish above Silence of the Lambs writer Thomas Harris, recently deceased PD James and Jack Reacher creator Lee Child.

Sheila published her debut novel Run for Home back in 2004, beginning her best-loved series set in the fictional estate of Seahills, based on the Homelands area of her home town.

Sheila’s lead detective, DI Lorraine Hunt has struck a chord with fans with her strong and tough female persona, and was even voted No.10 in the book retailer’s top fictional detectives poll.

“I found out yesterday and it’s just brilliant,” said Sheila, 67.

“I’m over the moon that I’m at number seven. It’s fantastic and a real honour.

“This is voted for by the people – it wasn’t bought and paid for, which makes it even better.”

Sheila, a grandmother and former factory worker, is also the author of the more recent DI Mike Yorke series which has received praise-filled reviews from crime fiction fans.

In September 2010, Sheila published the first of a trilogy of novels featuring DI Yorke and his sidekick Smiler, a psychic street kid.

Last year, Run for Home and its sequel Bad Moon Rising were adapted for the stage by fellow Houghtonian, actor Derek Lawson, who directed the plays at the town’s Zazz Theatre, in Newbottle Street.

Hercule Poirot creator Agatha Christie, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and James Patterson all finished above Sheila in the poll, with Peter James topping the vote.

Sheila, a mum-of-four, grandmother-of-nine and great-grandmother-of-three, is currently busy at home penning her next novel, The Sound of Silence, which is due to be published soon.

“I can’t say what it is about, as there’s a lot of it to do with the previous book, Lady in Red,” added Sheila.

“I can let people know, though, that it should be out in spring.”

The top 20:

1. Peter James

2. James Patterson

3. Val McDermid

4. Ian Rankin

5. Agatha Christie

6. Martina Cole

7. Sheila Quigley

8. RC Bridgestock

9. Karin Slaughter

10. Tess Gerritsen

11. Mark Billingham

12. Patricia Cornwell

13. Ruth Rendell

14. Karen Rose

15. Chris Carter

16. Lee Child

17. Simon Kernick

18. PD James

19. Thomas Harris

20. Stuart MacBride