Peer’s debut novel blends the exotic with the erotic ...

Baroness Massey writes under the pen name of Elizabeth J. Hall
Baroness Massey writes under the pen name of Elizabeth J. Hall

A member of the House of Lords, from Lewes, has written her debut novel after being inspired by a tragic family story.

Doreen Massey – Baroness Massey of Darwen – joined the Lords in 1999.

Now the Labour peer has penned ‘Love and Death in Shanghai’, a fast-paced story about a young man’s search for love and adventure.

Writing under the pseudonym of Elizabeth J. Hall, it is set in exotic Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s.

Sam Shuttleworth joins the Municipal Police looking for adventure and to escape his working class roots in Lancashire.

Shanghai is a glamorous, fascinating place - with an extremely dangerous criminal underworld. Sam rises through the ranks and marries his glamorous Russian lover Lulu, but the relationship is tumultuous, with infidelities on both sides.

In the 1930s, as Japan invades China and moves into Shanghai with appalling violence, Sam has to negotiate between warring sides, and wonders if he will ever find peace amidst the chaos of his relationships and the bloody events of his career.

Baroness Massey was inspired by the life and death of her uncle who worked in the Shanghai Municipal Police in the era in which her story is set. Her first memory is of her mother crying when she received a telegram reporting his assassination.

Jill Dawson, author of ‘The Great Lover’, has described the book as “a riveting account of a compelling and erotic story”.

‘Love and Death in Shanghai’ will be launched next month at Depot Cinema in Lewes (supported by Waterstones).