Around midday and in midweek, I felt rather as though on the set of a Midsomer Murders episode – the ITV detective series based on novels by Caroline Graham.
I was, in fact, at a stylish restaurant book-launch in Lytham for top crime writer Peter Robinson. Thankfully, Peter was a down-to-earth northerner, approachable and unassuming.
The event was friendly, too, and smoothly managed by local bookshop Plackitt & Booth. Peter (pictured) even accepted a copy of my latest novel though, unlike me, he didn’t pay.
There were lots of mainly lady diners, and my table companions were ‘singles’ who, like me, had come without spouses or friends. These were a retired wholesale book dealer from Wrea Green; a charming, retired teacher who’d driven from Bolton, then a lovely New Zealand woman who lived on a cattle and sheep farm when not visiting family in the Fylde.
Fiction reflects life and how enlightening it all was! Peter, we learned, often didn’t know himself whom his murderer was until deep into his stories. What we all love, you see, is a bit of a mystery and stepping into others’ worlds.
I told them my characters often determined the plots and surprised me, too. Minor ones sometimes proved more interesting and supplanted original heroes. It’s stranger than fiction, this writing business!
Peter also revealed a degree of ambivalence about the TV face of his books’ hero DCI Banks, the Fylde-reared actor Stephen Tompkinson; as well as having little involvement – or profit – in the series. Programmes are put together by “a committee” of executives.
This all confirmed my own suspicions about why telly crime is now – to me – so politically correct, over-dramatised, often confusing and, well, unrealistic...
Without the authors, you see, they’ve lost the plot.
* Read Roy’s books at royedmonds-blackpool.com, on Kindle or from Waterstones.