At first glance it appears to be a straightforward shooting accident…
After ten years with the Greater Manchester Police, Detective Inspector Clare Morell thought she’d seen a lot of baffling cases; but newly assigned to deep in the heart of the West Country, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world. There are shepherds and Romanys, who speak in strange tongues; a Lord Byron lookalike army captain and a lethal killer who just might be an ETA trained hit-man. The strange lowland heath in the beat where she now works triggers an old childhood fear and there is the growing sense that her new home is not only disturbing but somehow threatening…
And then… there’s Ellis.
I really wanted to set the novel in a landscape I knew well. I lived in a South Dorset village for a number of years but did not start writing The Drop Pot Man until I had moved to a flat in the centre of Manchester. I think ‘distance’ helped.
I was also interested, from the outset, in using a writer’s (like a landscape artist’s) freedom to ‘alter things’. I really enjoyed applying this to both landscape and townscape. However, in both the descriptions of the area’s history and it’s contemporary social mores I tried to be as accurate as possible.
I was also determined, from the outset, not to use the landscape as ‘wallpaper’ nor even to create a strong, atmospheric, sence of place – but to have the landscape play an active role, to be a major character in the plot. This is probably best illustrated by the following:
Events are played out in a landscape of spectacular coastal scenery; of rolling downland, and of valleys of alder-lined chalk steams and picturesque villages, but, as the case develops, Clare Morell finds herself, more and more, in the strange lowland heathland, where the heady smell, the prickle of heat, the way sunlight stings as it bounces off the white sands and gravels, and especially the noise – not of birds, but the ‘chirp-chirp’ of the large jewel-green crickets, and the relentless buzzing of bees and flies … are not merely foreign to the eye, but an assault on all her northern senses. But there is something else here – in this place that triggered-off an old childhood fear – she has a growing feeling of a place that is not only disturbing, but somehow threatening …
Thank you, K Saunders and Love Books Tours
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