Sheila Rainey

A music lover, Sheila Rainey has worked with major orchestras and conductors, including the Philharmonia, English Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Academy, attending them at all concerts in the UK and abroad. While with BBC Publications she prepared printed programmes for concerts, commissioning and editing programme notes. A lifelong lover of literature, in her spare time she contributed articles and stories for house and local magazines.

A road accident in 1981 resulted in serious leg injuries and an inability to work for several months. She then obtained work as receptionist in naturalist Gilbert White’s Museum in Selborn. During the winter months she catalogued the Holt White archives, among which were the series of letters from Gilbert White’s niece Mary to her brother Thomas Holt White, as described in the Preface.  She prepared a transcription of the letters for an M.Phil. degree, awarded in 1990. 

Sheila moved to Eastbury, near Lambourn, carrying out freelance work for a Newbury publisher, Countryside Books, editing, proofreading and indexing. Failing sight forced her to relinquish this work. It was in Eastbury that she started her Shefford series of detective novels. 

After moving to Froxfield, she continued writing the Shefford novels and it was here that Innocents in London was born. Sheila now lives in Kathleen Chambers House, a care home for the blind and partially sighted. Despite sight problems she continued during the Covid lockdowns to revise Innocents in London, the Shefford series and to write Alec in BlunderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland as viewed by a grumpy complaining old man. She hopes to celebrate her 97th birthday in August and intends to continue writing so long as wits and sight permit.