PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys


Ladies, gentleman and wee beasties – excellent news! PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys is now available for your enjoyment in paperback, as well as ebook format (click above!) Whilst you take a moment to gather yourselves following this thrilling revelation, I shall tell you about a post I have had sitting in my drafts folder for quite sometime. It has the working title of ‘Forgetting The Truth’ and is a very honest missive about what really happened during my brief (yet eventful) time as Deputy Head Porter at one of Cambridge’s foremost Colleges. I am not sure that I ever intend to publish it, but I feel it had to be written nonetheless.

I have always maintained that I would not personally name that illustrious institution (although its identity has been widely revealed on other platforms – the College’s own Wikipedia page, for starters), nor would I betray the finer details of life inside those ancient walls. This is all sounds dreadfully magnanimous and worthy, but is proving something of a stumbling block now that I come to handling the dreaded promotion of the book. I have turned down a couple of TV interviews now, as the focus of both was to fall firmly in the camp of revealing all about the real Old College. Needless to say, the publisher is none too pleased.

Having fallen foul of the press once or twice before (the notorious Putin interview still makes me wince), I am naturally somewhat averse to speaking on the record with scurrilous scribblers and media types. Whilst my prose might make passable reading, in real life I am scatty, verbose and often unintentionally offensive – my internal editor applies almost exclusively to the written word, leaving my conversational manner colourful to say the least.

There is, perhaps, a ruse that might keep everyone happy. I thought that I might develop a sanitised version of my real College days, carefully practiced and light on scandal, to share with the hacks – enough to sound half interesting but not enough to be spun into something potentially lawsuit-inducing. If (and it’s a big ‘if’) I am to share the truth of the matter with the world, I would much prefer it to be by my own pen and with my own intentions made clear. In other words, I will probably be talking a lot of bollocks in the coming weeks and months. (The first person to say ‘no change there, then’ is going right over my knee for a bloody good spanking).

And as for the actual truth? I tell you what – I shall write it all down somewhere suitably sibylline, to be discovered soon after my no doubt dramatic death.

You see? I’m really getting the hang of this writer lark.

(Also buy my book)

Grumpy Interview

I wasn’t my usual chipper self when giving this interview, and when I received the notes back I realised that I sound like a proper arsey little madam!

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Looking pretty arsey here.


1. I was surprised when you told me that Porters in a College don’t actually carry any bags for anyone. They simply guard the keys.

Portering is far more than just guarding keys, I assure you! The Porters ensure the smooth running of the day-to-day business of College life, handling everything from the post to broken hearts. They are the backbone of academia – providing security, advice and a friendly ear at any time of the day or night. Guarding keys, indeed. Pah! Philistine. 

2. PorterGirl is a work of fiction but based heavily on your life as the first female Deputy Head Porter at a Cambridge college. What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

There was nothing hard about writing the book at all, I loved writing the book. Editing the book, promoting the book – that’s another story.

3. Was there lots you had to leave out so you weren’t sued? If so, can you hint at some of them?

There was never any question of me being (successfully) sued, the libel laws in this country leave a lot of scope for satire and parody. Although the publicity would be handy right about now, don’t you think? There are certainly things I could have written differently to give a more accurate account of my time there, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun. If you are hinting at nefarious goings on, well – it’s all in there, one way or another, if you know where to look.


4. It is a story about a woman finding it hard to fit in to what was a male dominated world. What are your views on that word then and now?

I came into that world wide-eyed and dumbfounded by the history, the elitism and the sheer otherworldliness of it all. As a very working class girl with little education to speak of, it really was like entering Wonderland. The casual misogyny was quite amusing at first and, to be honest, in reality it was limited to a few antiquated old duffers who probably still thought there was a war on. A lot of people were quite pleased to see me. That didn’t last long. Although it is a world I could never really fit in to, I have enormous respect and admiration for Cambridge University. You don’t get to be at the top of your game for over 800 years without doing something right.

Actual real-life Portering occurring before your very eyes

5. PorterGirl isn’t a super hero though some might think she sounds like one, you just need the cape and knickers over your trousers. What super powers would you give her and why?

Invisibility, so she could listen in to all the plotting, unnoticed.

6. And what about you Lucy Brazier, what super powers would you like and why?

A bottomless stomach and a psychotic metabolism, so I could eat all the time and not get fat. Also being able to turn water into wine would be cool. I can do it the other way round, but that’s not so special.


Head Porter, your breakfast is making me laugh.

7. PorterGirl is a murder mystery, I’ll not give too many spoilers, of who, how or when. Who are your favourite murder mystery writers and why?

Agatha Christie is the absolute last word in murder mystery. No one does it as well as her. Her mysteries are so devilishly crafted and her characters beautifully presented. In all her books, the clues are there for the reader to solve, if only they can pick them out. She is also the master of the red herring, a notoriously tricky thing to pull off in writing.

8. If PorterGirl was made into a movie or TV series who would you like to play the lead role and why?

It has been mentioned before that Sheridan Smith would be perfect. Although Eddie Izzard in drag would probably be closer to what I am actually like.


9. If they did, would you do a cameo role and if so what part would you give yourself? 

Absolutely not, I hate being on camera. But if I absolutely had to, I would play a visiting food tester who embarks on a passionate affair with Head Gardener (played by Sean Bean).

10. Are we to read more PorterGirl murder adventures? If so can you hint at the next story?

There will certainly be more PorterGirl, but the murders are the sub-plot, really. The next tale will involve a mysterious theft and relations with arch rivals Hawkins College will be further inflamed when they are implicated. But all is not as it seems and our bowler hatted heroes find themselves embroiled in something quite unexpected. Old College has a bloody and brutal history, however, and that isn’t going away any time soon.

11. Is there romance in PorterGirl’s life? If so, when and with who?

I have no idea how to write romance, so the chances of her having anything beyond a passing flirtation are slim. She has always held a torch for The Dean, of course, but College hierarchy could never allow for a relationship between a member of The Fellowship and a College servant. There is a quirky American Professor who joins Old College at the same time she does and there is definitely an attraction between them. We will have to wait and see how that develops. Illicit romps with Head Gardener (played by Sean Bean) are a possibility.


12. How much of you is in PorterGirl and how much of her is in you?

Deputy Head Porter is just me with all the flaws airbrushed out. When I first started writing the blog, I was still at the College and it was a documentation of my time there, so I was writing very much in my own ‘voice’. She is a heavily filtered version of me. The unfiltered version of me would not work well with cosy fiction.

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13. What do you like most about writing PorterGirl?

It just writes itself! It is an awful lot of fun to write and because it doesn’t fit squarely into any particular genre or style, I can write it just how I want.

14. What advice would you give to any up and coming writer or someone trying a new career for that matter?

I am still up and coming myself, so all I can advise is just keep writing, every day, no excuses. You are not a writer if you don’t write. Start by writing what you love, find your own style and your own unique way of putting words on a page. Then, look for your market, your audience – find out what they want and give it to them, but with your own stamp all over it. As for trying a new career, embrace the change! Comfort zones are overrated. Get out there and scare yourself. And maybe keep a diary, too, just in case…






First Lady Of The Keys – Available Now To Pre-Order!

It was bound to happen sooner or later and now, ladies and gentlemen, the time is upon us – time for some shameless and unabashed promotion of the new PorterGirl novel – First Lady Of The Keys.


‘Porters are not the carriers of bags, they are the keepers of keys!’

As one of the most ancient and esteemed establishments of the academic elite, Old College is in for something of a shock when it appoints its very first female Deputy Head Porter.

She struggles to get to grips with this eccentric world, far removed from everyday life. PorterGirl, the proverbial square peg in the round hole, begins to wonder quite what she is doing here.

PorterGirl – First Lady Of The Keys is a touching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, glimpse into a world that is usually reserved for the upper echelons of society.

Whether she is chasing after naked students, drinking copious amounts of tea or getting embroiled in quaint, polite murders, Deputy Head Porter is never far from adventure.

You can pre-order your very own copy from Amazon:



So.. erm… yeah – buy my book. And such.