A dead body. A hoard of forged banknotes. A gangster out for blood.
Newcastle, December 1955. Returning home after a weekend away, singer and amateur sleuth Rosie Robson discovers a man lying on a baggage trolley with his throat cut. After the police get involved, an attack on Rosie and her boss prompts Inspector Vic Walton to find a safe house for the pair. But the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of them and Rosie is forced to track down a possible witness to the murder in a bid to learn the truth. Can the canny crooner solve the mystery before a Newcastle gang boss catches up with her?
Set on Tyneside, Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow is book #3 in the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries series.
Without further ado, it’s over to Colin who is chatting about creating a book series.
I assume that other authors, like me, create a series of books (ie a sequence featuring the same characters or setting/location) so the expectation that whatever readers loved about the first book will prompt them to read the others. But do we do it simply to have the same group of characters ready and waiting, therefore making the writing of additional books (in theory, at least) a bit easier? Or might it be to cash in on something that proves popular with readers? In my case, I have to be interested in what happens to my characters to keep me interested. Once I begin to lose that interest, there’s no point continuing.
With my Blood on the Tyne series, I originally started out with the idea of a character who would be a sort of British version of some of those American classics, like Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer and Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer. Aside from the fact that these are all male characters written by male authors, I wanted to write something that had that same sense of noir (dark themes and equally dark subject matter).
But when I tried to come up with a kind of English private eye with Chandleresque witticisms and classic one-liners, it just didn’t feel right. Also, I already had Terry Bell (from the Terry Bell Mysteries series) who kind of fitted that role, albeit in a more laidback and naïve way.
Ideally, what I wanted had to make sense without seeming contrived, so instead of a male PI, I came up with an amateur detective but made her female. Making Rosie Robson an unwilling investigator, who just happens to be in the wrong place when the poop hits the ceiling fan, I came up with a woman who works as a nightclub singer and is forced to come back to her hometown of Newcastle for her mother’s funeral. In doing so, she gets embroiled in a murder hunt and meets a potential partner in the shape of Detective Inspector Vic Walton.
I also wanted her to be strong as well as a bit vulnerable, so popped her in the mid-1950s so she’d have to deal with the kind of sexist and misogynistic attitudes that were commonplace at the time, as well as countering ideas about women’s roles in the home and workplace.by
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