Monday 19 February 2024

Bill Knox, Sue Ward, and The Lazarus Widow

It's hard for me to believe, but twenty-five years have passed since I was commissioned to finish Bill Knox's last novel, The Lazarus Widow, which was published under our joint names way back in 1999. This was the final entry in his long-running and best-known series featuring the Scottish cops Thane and Moss.

It was an extremely interesting project to undertake and one of the lasting pleasures I've had from it is that I got to know his widow, Myra, and their daughter Sue. Myra died some years ago, but Sue and I are still in regular touch. She has kindly shared a couple of photos from the family album. The above picture dates from her 21st birthday and shows Bill, Myra and the three children. The one below is from the Knoxes' wedding day.

I'm delighted to say that Bill's books are now being made available again. There's a link to the very first Thane and Moss novel here. The big question in my mind with The Lazarus Widow was always: what will the family think about my effort? Sue has kindly shared her own thoughts, which are definitely reassuring from my point of view!

'My mum was with my dad for all her adult life. They experienced many ups and downs and moments of happiness and grief together.

When my father sadly died her practical nature chose to focus, in part, on the completion of his last book. He had dedicated his working life to journalism and it seemed unjust to her that a work of his should remain uncompleted. It was the ending or closure that she needed to see a job well done and to do his considerable talent justice.

That was not to be as easy a task as it seemed. The chosen writer would need a certain style and to be a fan of my dad’s work if the right feeling was to be present in the completed novel.

An additional challenge would be the lack of directional and plot planning evidence left for the brave creature who, once chosen, agreed to such a task. Not a single clue as to the intended ending or chain of events to reach that end was available. It was simply not the way he worked.

To read the completed work was a seamless and thrilling experience. A mixture of job extremely well done and a pleasing feeling of closure and completion.'  

Susan Ward MBE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the post Martin. I’ve just purchased the first novel as an ebook and notice that the second is due at the end of the month.