The Demented Lady Detectives’ Club: Notes

Readers’ Notes
On our 40th wedding anniversary, as a gift to my wife, I wrote The English Lady Murderers’ Society. Now, on the occasion of our 45th anniversary I’ve followed with this sequel, which features three of the characters from the earlier novel. There are worse presents to give a much loved wife.

Appropriately, both of these novels are told from the point of view of women. This is a deliberate choice, made for two reasons. One is a matter of personal exploration: an attempt to discover whether the experience of marriage has taught me anything. The second is as a technical exercise to stretch me as a writer. It’s often said – probably with good reason – that male authors struggle to create realistic female characters. Those that they do create tend to be instruments to drive forward a male-oriented plot and there is little sense that the author inhabits the mind set or experience of his creations. I don’t know that I’ve done any better, but the criteria by which I invite you to judge “my” women are authenticity, empathy and compassion. If I haven’t displayed these qualities, then I’ve failed.

Given that I aim for authenticity, the humorous tone of much of the book may seem a contradiction, though it’s balanced here and there by notes of seriousness – even tragedy. This was a conscious choice that reflects the way I experience life and a preference for “light and shade” in writing, which to my mind makes it more varied and interesting. I take joy in my women friends and wanted to reflect this.

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