Last week, I was working on the final, final stage of my novel, Murder Served Cold by writing the dedication, acknowledgements and author bio that will appear at the front.
This was surprisingly difficult and caused me to think really deeply. Who to dedicate it to? There are so many people who’ve played their part in my writing journey and I agonised over who it should be.
Finally, I realised there could only be one person to dedicate this, my first full length crime novel to and that had to be my mother.
Mum was an avid reader and her great love was crime fiction. When I was about 12, she introduced me to Agatha Christie and I have been a fan of hers ever since. Over the years I have got very used to getting my ‘Christie fix’ from the television – those wonderful David Suchet performances as Poirot and, in my opinion, no one ever bettered Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple.
But last year, we were staying near Dartmouth in Devon for a few days and took a ride on the Dart Valley Railway the line that runs close to Agatha Christie’s lovely old house, Greenway. While we were waiting at Kingswear station for the train to arrive, I bought a copy of ‘The Big Four‘ to while away the time.
It was ages since I’d actually read any Agatha Christie – and I’d forgotten what a great story teller she was. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, so much so that I couldn’t put it down and was actually quite sorry when the train arrived. The Big Four made a perfect holiday read and there was something truly magical about reading it there in one of Agatha Christie’s favourite parts of the world.
Since then, I’ve had huge pleasure rereading many of my old Christie favourites, experiencing the various twists and turns of the plot through my own eyes and imagination, rather than that of a film director. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against film and TV adaptations and am a huge fan of series such as Shetland and Vera. But there is something really special about reading a book. It rewards the reader with a much deeper sense of involvement in the story than the more passive pastime of watching a film can do.
I have a lot to thank my mother for, not least for instilling a love of reading for pleasure in me, particularly at a time when as a first year Grammar School pupil, my ‘English literature’ reading for that year was Homer’s The Iliad! (In English, thankfully!)
So, this one’s for you, Mum. Although I have a sneaking suspicion no one ever reads these … apart from me, of course.
What about you? Do you read dedications and acknowledgements? Who would you dedicate a book to? And why? I’d love to know.
Murder Served Cold is due to be published October 19th and is now available to pre-order. Link here
Daily Prompts. August 16th-31st
for instructions on how to use these, see my post Writers’ Prompts. A limitless supply of story inspiration
16. Write about stealing something.
17. What is this life, if full of care/ We have no time to stand and stare? (WH Davies)
18. Giving in to temptation
19. Stolen moments.
20. A time to laugh, a time to cry.
21. Gratitude preserves old friendships and procures new ones. (Proverb)
22. On the eve of the funeral…
23. Going home. At last.
24. On this feast day of St Batholomew, patron saint of tanners and leather workers., write about the smell of new leather.
25. My mother’s birthday.
26. Rainy days and Mondays (song title)
27. If I had my way, I would…..
28. Summoned by bells. (To commemorate the birth of John Betjeman, born this day 1906.)
29. Missing the last train home.
30. Write about a fortune teller.
31. The longest mile is ……