Monday 4 June 2018

#Monday Matters- #How did that Happen? with David Robinson

It's Monday again and my theme of 'How Did That Happen?' continues...

I've invited guest authors to interpret the theme title in any way they choose and, today, I'm delighted to welcome back David W. Robinson, my Crooked Cat Books author friend of a few years now. David was a 'technology-on-the-internet' mentor to many of the newbie numpties-like I was back in 2012 ( if truth be told, I still am). David is an extremely prolific author of different fiction genres and I can heartily recommend him to readers who enjoy humorous cosy mysteries, and to those who enjoy more gripping psychological thrillers. 

His cosy murder mysteries are intriguing and highly entertaining, with a delightful blend of colourful characters. He's here to share how almost incredible life-situations can morph into a scene in a novel, but I'll leave the details to David...

How Did That Happen?
It’s a question I’m often asked by readers of The Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, a series of 16 cosy crime novels, published by Crooked Cat Books. How did I create the characters, how did I decide upon the locations, the crime, the method, the killer?

One particular passage in The I-Spy Murders (Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #2) has generated more queries than any other. It has, according to legend, an air of unreality about it, a massive coincidence which stretches suspension of disbelief almost to breaking point.
Joe and his pals in the Sanford 3rd Age Club are in Chester where Brenda is appearing on the reality TV programme, I-Spy, and one of her fellow housemates has been murdered. Poking his nose in as usual, Joe takes a little time out for shopping in the city, and quite by chance he bumps into his brother’s ex-wife, Rachel. They are both the better part of 100 miles from home, and the chances of such a meeting are slightly above nil. 

Joe goes on to discuss family matters with Rachel and her second husband, Derek, and inevitably the discussion turns to argument. Isn’t that always the way? 

So how did it happen? How did I come to write this passage? The answer, surprising as it may seem, is it’s based on a real event, an incident that happened to my wife and I in 2011. 

We like to travel. Health considerations make it difficult for me to tolerate flights longer than about five hours, so we stick to Europe, and our preference is for Spain and the Canary Islands. But we also enjoy holidays here in Great Britain. 

Richard Croft -Public Domain
In 2011, we had already had breaks in Tenerife, and closer to home, Scarborough. In September, we opted for a few days in a caravan in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. 

Mablethorpe has a reputation for being full of ‘old’ people. It’s thoroughly unjustified. It might not be the liveliest seaside town in Great Britain, but it has a charm all its own, and it has the advantage that it is close to Skegness. Inevitably, we spent a couple of days in Skeggy.

The sun was shining, the temperatures reaching Mediterranean levels, and as we ambled through the town, we decided that a cup of coffee was in order, and we had our eye on a little, open-air cafe at the junction of Lumley Road and the pedestrianised lower part of the High Street. 
Skegness Clock Tower-
courtesy of David Robinson

As we drew near, I spotted a man who bore an uncanny resemblance to my ex-wife’s current husband (I describe him as her current husband because at one point, she was going through husbands at the same rate as I go through cars, and like my cars, most of her husbands were second-hand.) 

As we got closer I became more and more convinced that it was him, and if he was there, it was practically certain that she was. My wife went into the cafe to check, and came out wearing the kind of grim look usually associated with a diagnosis of terminal athlete’s foot. It was indeed my ex-wife and her husband. 

I was all for walking in the opposite direction, but my wife insisted she wanted coffee, and she wanted it there. You can probably guess that married twice, I know better than to argue, and we joined the ex-Mrs R and spouse. 

It was the most appalling conspiracy of fate. We live in Manchester, and we were 150 miles from home, she lives in Leeds, and she was 100 miles from home, and yet here we were drinking coffee, trying to be civilised. She and I have been divorced for almost 40 years, and by now most of the bitterness has faded. I’m not one to bear a grudge (but I do make an exception in her case). 

I was so gobsmacked by this unexpected encounter with a part of my life I prefer to think of as a black hole, that I elected to include it in one of my Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries. Given Joe Murray’s irritability, it seemed to be the perfect vehicle to let him vent his spleen.
And that’s it. For all the foregoing light-heartedness of the previous account, the contentious scene in The I-Spy Murders is a fictionalised account of a real event, right down to the family argument which followed. 

It’s not the only real-life incident that I paint into my novels. There was the famous appreciation of toasted tea cakes in The Filey Connection, for example, Joe’s health struggles in The Summer Wedding Murder and Costa Del Murder, and latterly, the architectural idiosyncrasies of the hotel in Peril in Palmanova. But that meeting in The I-Spy Murders is the most talked about, because of its unlikelihood. 

We’re going back to Mablethorpe later this year, and it’ll be interesting to see who turns up this time.

The I-Spy Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #2, by David W Robinson, is published by Crooked Cat Books, and exclusive to Amazon.


Learn more at: Amazon UK
and Amazon Worldwide

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Thanks for visiting today, David. Should you have any highly embarrassing, or sensitive encounters, on your forthcoming Mablethorpe visit of 2018, then I'm sure it'll appear as a humorous scene somewhere in your future writing! My best wishes for continued success all of your current and future writing. 


Mablethorpe -

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