OK, I’ve written 26 books, but I’ve never dreamed of tackling crime fiction – it just wasn’t my thing, I assumed. So how come I’m now publishing a novel with “murderer” in the title?
Well, it came about in a random sort of way, when I was helping my brother write his Memoir. Up to that time, he and I had never been close, living as we did in different parts of the country, and with very different views and interests. But, as he discussed his outline, it struck me how prosperous and privileged his life had always been, cocooned as he was in wealth and security and with a definite sense of entitlement. And it appeared he had no experience of – and apparently little interest in – the have-nots in society. And, suddenly, the idea for the novel flashed into my mind. My protagonist would be similarly privileged, but would lose everything at a stroke: his high-powered job and status, his circle of wealthy and well-educated friends, his wife, his home, his future.
Only then did I realize that I’d need to include some serious wrong-doing to account for such a startling fall from grace, so, almost without meaning to, I embarked blithely on what did at the start resemble a crime novel. I say “blithely” because I had no idea at that stage how much research this would entail. I was shamefully ignorant of police procedure and the legal system, and because I don’t own a television, I hadn’t even watched programmes like Line of Duty or Accused – familiar fare for most people. In fact, had I known what a steep learning curve it would prove to be, I’m not sure it I’d have gone ahead. Sometimes, it seemed, I had enrolled on a taxing degree-course in criminology!