Evil for Evil and Bad Blood are the seventh and eighth novels in the series featuring DI Marjory Fleming. They are set in Galloway, one of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of Scotland, and its wonderful landscapes and seascapes always suggest ideas for the books. Evil for Evil is set on an island in the Solway Firth, where a skeleton is found manacled to iron rings in a sea-cave and DI Fleming’s investigation uncovers its terrible history, with a tragic outcome. In Bad Blood, Marnie, whose past is shrouded in mystery, comes to Galloway looking for answers that DI Fleming has good reason not to give her. She has the rare mental condition hyperthymesia which means she can remember everything that has ever happened to her – a dangerous attribute when she has knowledge that someone is very keen she should forget.
You have written numerous articles for stories and magazines so do you have a preference between this and novel writing?
Short stories are fun to write and I very much liked doing interviews both for magazines and radio; meeting people is always interesting. I did some travel writing too which I loved: Paris, St Lucia, Corsica, Malta – what’s not to like? But while I enjoyed doing that, writing books is my compulsion. It was my ambition from the time I could first hold a pencil and though it’s hard work, often frustrating and exhausting, it’s a tremendous privilege to have achieved the dream
How much does the view from your balcony provide you with inspiration for your writing?
Looking out to Edinburgh Castle, with a glimpse of the Pentlands in the background, is a joy but it’s very definitely a city landscape. My inspiration comes from my regular visits to DI Fleming country in Galloway.
You worked in education and broadcasting for years so what made you change your discipline?
Part of it came from family circumstances when my husband’s job took us from Aberdeen to rural Shropshire and the opportunity for media involvement wasn’t there. I seized the opportunity to build writing crime, which I had already done in my spare time, into a proper career.
Why is Scotland such a good setting for a crime novel?
The large number of excellent writers living in Scotland have created the ‘tartan noir’ genre, which chimes with the recently popular ‘Nordic noir’. Perhaps it has something to do with the long winter darkness that, in the case of the Scottish writers, finds an echo in the Celtic temperament and enters the Scottish soul. Scotland’s wonderful landscape and characterful cities, too, mean that there’s inspiration all around you, whether you’re Ian Rankin writing about Edinburgh or Peter May writing about the Hebrides.
Please tell us a bit about the character of Marjory Fleming.
When I started thinking about writing a series, I had a very clear idea what I didn’t want my lead detective to be. I didn’t want a loner with a string of lovers, a dysfunctional personality, a drink problem and a contempt for the law. I’d been a JP for ten years and knew lots of policewoman who seemed perfectly normal working mums, with husbands, kids and elderly parents, doing a difficult, demanding and extremely fulfilling job. Marjory Fleming (Big Marge to her junior colleagues) is the woman you’d meet if you went down the local nick. She’s tall and athletic-looking; her husband Bill is a farmer and her first case as an inspector (in Cold in the Earth) put her into conflict with her own community when the foot-and-mouth epidemic meant the police having to force farmers having to be forced to let killing squads on to their land. She has two children, who grow up along with the series.
What is next for you?
DI Fleming number nine – no title as yet. This one is set on the dramatic Solway Firth and the action takes places two years after a drug death in a group of decadent young people changes their lives. The 2014 Year of Homecoming brings them together again and old sins beget new ones.
Evil for Evil and Bad Blood are published by Allison & Busby www.allisonandbusby
Visit the author’s website at www.alinetempleton.co.uk