Arts Derbyshire

Artist profile

James Ellson

Writer and smallholder


James Ellson was a police officer for 15 years, starting in London and finishing as a Detective Inspector at Moss Side in Manchester. He now wears two hats, crime writer and smallholder.

His debut novel The Trail was published in 2020. “A pacy and intelligent thriller” (Paula Hawkins)

The sequel Cold Dawn will be published in Spring 2022.

He lives in the Peak District with his wife, and manages their smallholding, which includes bees and an orchard. He offers tours, and gives talks on sustainability, apples, and writing.


Creative Genre

  • Short stories Crime fiction Thrillers (fiction)

Work Undertaken

  • Speaking events (alone or with other people) (eg book groups
  • festivals
  • WIs
  • Probus groups
  • libraries
  • schools
  • colleges) Short story course Currently
  • I offer 4 talks: • Living sustainably - is it really possible? (tips for eating and living more sustainably in order to combat global warming) • I Ate My Last Herefordshire Russet This Morning – An Introduction To Growing Apple Trees (inc. a demonstration of whip and tongue grafting) • Cops & Notebooks / The Long Road to Publication - A talk about James Ellson’s twin careers of detective and crime writer
  • and why and how it took so long to publish his debut novel The Trail • (from January 2022) From double-glazing to crime fiction: how to sell a book (or anything) in a crowded marketplace



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