Many people have asked me, ‘where do you get your ideas from, for the plots of your stories’? The answer is, from all over the place! The most unlikely little things can spark an idea. For example, I’m still studying Castillian Spanish or Castellano, at the University of the Third Age, and finding it very stimulating, and challenging. Just one simple Spanish phrase, which I learned early on, ‘Vale, eso si que es’ became the germ of an idea for the mystery called ‘The Mayfair Strangler’. Since this story involves Don Pedro Garcia Manrique, Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, my knowledge of the principle language of Spain came in very handy indeed.
Another friend and colleague, who is an avid bird-watcher, (as am I,) helped me with some Old English names for wild birds. These names figure in a story called The Prodigal Quest, as does my bird-watching friend, Alan Crowder. He has become Calvin Crowther, in the story. Alan too preferred to be one of the bad guys!
Yet another friend and colleague, a quietly spoken engineer called Mark Lowe, who was at that time in the Territorial Army I believe, told me about an incident that had occurred with one of his own air rifles. I had never heard of such a thing before and immediately I recognised that this was the pivotal information for a compelling mystery called A Slaying in Suburbia. Mark appears under his own name, as a young solicitor working for the law firm of Faversham and Brinkley of Wardour Street. A Slaying in Suburbia is the first story in this collection of mine, and I like to think that the title resonates with the great man’s first story in his collection, namely,
A Scandal in Bohemia.
Although the above mentioned friends were the only ones to actually figure in the stories, several other work-mates asked to become characters in my book and were trying to suggest ideas for plots so that they too could be included! Happy days.