Easter is nearly upon us. As always my thoughts are never very far from Chester, the setting of my Detective Constable Dominic Strider crime novels & my home and workplace for 15 years.
It’s not a conscious thing I do, but I once realised that my Strider books tend to be roughly set around various public holidays.
The first, No More Lonely Nights (NMLN), happened over the August Bank Holiday period. The second, Long & Winding Road (L&WR), was in the run-up to Christmas. The third, Strider Begins: Road to Nowhere (RtN), took place over Easter.
Setting a novel over a public holiday, to me in hindsight, makes sense. It’s a short period of time so the action is speeded up and more frenetic, plus the holiday itself makes for an interesting background detail.
You could also have less people in authority around, if you set something on a bank holiday – say Strider wanted to visit the Council. He couldn’t because the offices would be closed. Wouldn’t bother him – he’d just break in anyway to find out what he needed.
The good old British weather is another great addition to these novels, creating a vivid and interesting backdrop. From the hot days and sultry nights of NMLN to the crisp, fresh snow that Strider trudges through in L&WR, and to the April showers that threaten to wash away evidence from the crime scene in RtN, the ever-changing British weather is almost a character in itself in my stories.
My fourth novel – which I’m halfway through writing – is set over the summer again, as the opening action scene takes place at Chester Races. The racecourse holds race meetings throughout the summer and early autumn period, so this makes for an ideal setting for Strider’s latest adventure.
But more about this novel later – I haven’t figured out yet how to end it. All I know is that Strider will be hitting old London town and taking down the villain in his usual inimitable style.
All of which leads me to bid you ‘adieu’ and have a very Happy Easter!!