In advance of the publication of Mortmain Hall, I was invited to contribute an original new short story in the Golden Age vein as a promotional exercise. The commission came from My Weekly, a magazine that I must confess I wasn't familiar with, and the brief was quite a challenge, because the word count was tight - the story had to fit into two pages of the magazine.
However, I found myself tempted, remembering that my very first published crime fiction was a very short (one page!) story for Bella, in the long gone days when that magazine published stories. I'd won a contest judged by Bella's fiction editor, and I can still remember how excited I was. And with that in mind, I decided to have a go.
I was clear that it wasn't practicable to write a story about Rachel Savernake and Jacob Flint. Their cases tend to be pretty complicated and I couldn't see how I could pare a story about them down, even if only one of them featured. So after some thought I decided to create a new character. And I called her Miriam Ackroyd, in tribute to...well, any detectives among you can easily guess!
The story was called 'Respect and Respectability' and it was published in the June 2 issue of My Weekly - and rather splendidly illustrated, too. Despite its brevity, I've received very good feedback and I've been invited to write more about Miriam. Whilst I don't have any specific story planned at the moment, I did enjoy writing about her, so it's quite likely she'll make a comeback one of these fine days.