This is probably one of the nastiest things I’ve ever written. A lot of that’s got to do with the setting – most of The Ballad Of Manky Milne takes place in a septic tank. Now, it might just be that I’m not as well versed in the genre as some people, but that doesn’t seem to be a very common location for crime novels. Vicarages, yes. The mean streets of London / Birmingham / Edinburgh / New York / Peebles: yes. Septic tanks, not so much.
I originaly wrote it for a Dutch crime collection (for some reason, at that time, I was getting asked to write short stories for the Dutch market nearly every other week. They wanted something ‘dark and nasty’. Challenge accepted. It was an added bonus when I managed to get it into Uncage Me, a collection of short stories in the US edited by Jennifer Jordan . It also appeared in the eighth volume of The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, and as a bonus short story in the Waterstones exclusive edition of Close to the Bone.