Lindsey Davis, author of the Falco novels, is someone I had the pleasure of getting to know a little when she was chair of the Crime Writers’ Association a few years back. In my capacity as editor of the CWA’s annual anthology, I need to liaise with the Chair on various practical matters, and I always find them kindly and supportive. That was certainly true of Lindsey.
I’ve read a few of the Falco stories, and their amiable wit is characteristic of their author. I was delighted, incidentally, when (although not a keen short story writer) she contributed a story to one of my anthologies. And now, I’ve received a review copy of her latest, a book that will delight many of her fans – Falco: The Official Companion. I shall be reviewing it fully after publication on 3 June.
In fact, it’s much more than a mere guide to the books. There is a good deal of autobiographical detail, much of it previously unknown to me. Lindsey has endured a number of heart-rending experiences. Her mother had a nervous breakdown, and her brother committed suicide. I did know that, recently, her partner died after a period of illness. Yet she writes about these tragedies with not a trace of self-pity.
One of the many interesting aspects of the book is this passage: ‘I don’t say a writer must live alone; that is clearly untrue. But it helps…Richard and I had the closest companionship for over thirty years, but I remained single. I did most of my creative writing at times when I was alone in a quiet house.’
Very thought-provoking, don’t you think? This is a subject on which it’s extremely difficult to generalise, but perhaps it’s true that most writers have solitary instincts. And my guess is that, of the writers I know personally, a higher percentage than the average population is childless. But in my own case, the distraction of children is certainly a pleasure, even if I don't always admit it to them. It’s the day job that really gets in the way!