I am F.E. Birch, also known as Effie Merryl. I am an ex-cop and award winning businesswoman from the North-East of England and have lived in London and Scotland and often inside my head. I write crime, mostly dark, and I love a twist.
My 20yr career in policing found me pounding the streets of London, both East End and West End and other places inbetween. I worked in uniform, CID, Plain Clothes and Undercover, Murder Squads, Domestic Violence and Vunerable Persons Units and spent many years working in Child Protection. I felt privileged to do my job. I am passionate about people and getting it right for them and whether it was finding a lost dog, dealing with families of the bereaved, or securing strong convictions for the victims. Compassion and empathy are key.
After policing, I owned a business, employing many people over 16yrs and providing childcare for 100s of families in my home town. It was a large enterprise and we worked hard to secure Outstanding from Ofsted. We won two huge national industry awards and a number of local business awards. In 2022 we were selected by the Social Mobility Commission to be showcased for the good work we did in the community for children and families.
I now work as a safeguarding consultant, assisting those working in early years with any safeguarding matter. I also hope to spend a lot more time writing.
My debut crime novel, She's Not There, is published by Red Dragon Publishing. This book is a police procedural set in the gateway to the highlands, in the beautiful surroundings of Perthshire. I won the first Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect competition in 2012 with the premise for this book, but as ever it does, life became messy. The book is now here!
Harper Collins published me in 2013, a book written under a psuedonym for reasons that will be obvious if you know, or have read the book. It's been a bestseller in it's category and still sells well today.
I am a prolific short story writer with a trail of pseudonyms and publications behind me. With a penchant for dark, deep and disturbing, my crimes are rarely cosy. I have self published two collections of some of my competition winning and/or previously published stories - Bowl of Cherries and Rather Like Marzipan.
With a bendy EDS body, GSOH, and a tad clumsy, I wear many hats and I love wigs. Friends call me Effie.
What is a writer without a reader?
What is a reader without a great story to read?
I was inspired to write from the minute I could read but back then, in the late 60's and early 70s, I was told people like us read books, we don't write them.
Today, that 7yr old ragamuffin kid from the cold north-east streets is thrilled to be published!
If you've read any of my work, I'd love to hear from you.
If my stories aren't to your taste, then thank you for reading. I promise I won't put you in a story - unless you want me to, then let me know and tell me why!
Influence is everywhere and a germ of story can be found in everything ...