Friday, 27 May 2011

Making a Killing

Maureen Carter is the creator of the acclaimed DS Bev Morriss crime series. Booklist USA’s recent verdict: Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss is quickly becoming one of the most interesting characters in British crime fiction.

A former BBC TV news journalist, presenter and producer, Maureen’s gritty police procedurals also reflect the influence and impact of the media during high-profile criminal investigations.

Here she muses – tongue in cheek – on a lesser known and light-hearted reason for writing crime fiction.  

Killing for a living can settle scores so satisfyingly. For instance, I didn’t know – had never even met – my first victim.  The leggy blonde Michelle Lucas appears on the first page of Working Girls – the opening title in the Bev Morriss crime series – by page two, Michelle’s clocked off for the last time. I despatched her as a favour for a friend. Let me explain…

This friend was in bits when her husband took off with another woman. As she related the sad news, the sliver of ice in my writer’s heart took on iceberg proportions. Almost my first words to her were: tell me what she looks like and I’ll bump her off. Hence the tall blonde’s sharp exit. Naturally, the names were changed to protect the…guilty.  

The irony is that as I wrote the book, I grew quite fond of the posthumous Ms Lucas. And the even bigger irony? The next time I saw my friend, her man was back in the marital home with his tail between his legs; metaphorically, at least. I learned two lessons: maybe I should have despatched the male in the first place. And: a crime writer can indulge – no, better make that, acquire – a taste for blood.

Ten years on since that first killing, there are now seven novels in the Bev series and off the top of my head I reckon I’ve seen off a score of villains in a variety of ways: beatings, stabbings, bullets, overdoses, death by express train. You name it… 

The vast majority of victims – I hasten to add – are totally imaginary baddies, but it’s rather good to know that if someone crosses me, I can wreak fictional payback. Revenge doesn’t even have to be fatal.  I encountered an incredibly rude, patronising GP a few years ago. Back at the desk later that morning, I created a fat guy with a comb over then threw in a Hawaiian shirt and halitosis for good measure.  It was purely a case of giving him a taste of his own medicine, wasn’t it? - Maureen Carter
The latest eBook version of Maureen Carter's Bev Morriss series, "Bad Press," publishes today.

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