They say that inside every writer of hardboiled, hard bitten, hardbloodied crime fiction, there’s a nice little old lady who helps the police out from time to time, trying to get out.Usually because we’ve eaten her. But in my case I decided to give my inner cosy-writer enough rope to … well, not hang themselves, obviously. Maybe to produce some nice macrame hanging baskets in the shape of woodland animals.
So I embarked on a story about a little old lady, with a tartan shopping trolley on wheels, and a little Scottie dog. I think I was probably inspired by that beacon of delight, M.C.Beaton (if you havent’ heard of her, she wrote the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin books, and is great value on a panel or event if you get the chance to see her). And so Daphne MacAndrews And The Smack-Head Junkies was born.
Only one scene of nudity, very few naughty words, and only a little light beating to death. Quite the departure for me. I haven’t quite come up with another story for Mrs MacAndrews to star in yet, but look forward to the day she pulls on her surgical support stockings and clumps back onto the scene. Smelling of dusty lavender and Mint Imperials.
This was also the very first time I wrote about Oldcastle, the fictional town set somewhere between Dundee and Aberdeen. I liked it so much, I did heaps of other stuff there too.
Remarkably, Daphne and Co. were shortlisted for a Derringer Award: Best Longer Short Story. Of course I didn’t win. But hey ho.