Monday, 29 October 2007

In Search of Inspiration

I’m combining a couple of things at present. First, working on the final edit of Waterloo Sunset. Second, mulling over ideas for the fourth Lake District Mystery.

This weekend I spent a little time up in the Lakes with the family, wandering in the area around Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere, where the next book is likely to be set. Saturday was grey and wet, but still the roads were packed with traffic and almost all the hotels had ‘no vacancies’ signs. We had an evening meal in a crowded pub, full of people cheering the rugby on television. Maybe this will give me an atmospheric future scene, but more important was a possible idea for the main plot, which came from a chance remark made by my wife Helena - as we queued in traffic on the M6.

Hunting round for background colour, I picked up a magazine called ‘Lake District Life’ and was startled – and, of course, gratified - to find an article about crime fiction in the Lakes which gave generous coverage to my books as well as the recent stand-alones by Reg Hill and Val McDermid. So quite a productive trip, despite the weather.

The article also mentioned a novel I’m not familiar with by Gillian Linscott. I vividly remember appearing in the theatre at Nottingham with Gillian and Stephen Murray in the mid 90s. We performed a show that she and Stephen had written about the history of crime fiction. As our car ground to a standstill at roadworks on the way home, I reflected that Stephen is another of those crime novelists who seems to have disappeared from the scene in recent years. A shame, because his books, which featured in the late lamented Collins Crime Club, were polished and highly readable.

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