EVIL HOUR (non-series)
Macmillan, London /St Martin's Press, NY (1986)
My third novel, published Macmillan, London/St Martin’s
Press, NY 1986. Hardback, paperback, large print.
No one was more stunned than Annie
Maddox when they found the body of Gerald Culver MP.
Because Annie, the manager
of the Wellington Hotel, Amblesea, was Culver’s mistress.
Enter Harry Lambert, ex-policeman-turned-reluctant-private-eye,
and there’s a new man in Annie’s life.
But her world is filled with menace,
because somewhere out there, along the edge of a wintry
sea, a killer stalks…
How did An Evil Hour come about?
I wanted to write a whodunit where a number of people who
had absolutely no apparent connection with one another
were murdered, for a reason that would have to be deduced
by the investigator. It was one of the ‘plots’ that
I had jotted down in a notebook, waiting for characters
and setting to come along. Then I was in Watford, and
saw a signpost to the Ministry of Defence Police HQ.
This got me thinking about the sort of thing that they
might investigate, and I realised that the terrorist-style
murder of someone in government could send the police
off on the wrong track, especially if the minister concerned
had a secret life that no one knew about. And as I thought
about that, I realised that I had the people for that
Did it work?
Yes, it did – I was very pleased with how the plot
developed when the novel was written, and with the characters
that emerged. And people, including reviewers, seem to
like it a lot, so it works for the reader as well, which
isn’t always the same thing! But one reviewer pointed
out that the minor characters were a bit sketchy, which
was true. I’d probably fuse a couple of the minor
characters into one if I were writing it today.
Have you written any more books about Harry Lambert?
No, though the odd thing is that he was conceived as a
series character, unlike Lloyd and Hill. But I felt that
I needed to let him develop a little before I wrote about
him again, and somehow it never happened. I might revive
Harry one day – I’m very fond of him. He’s
altogether rougher and tougher than Lloyd – he
was fun to write. I’ve thought of trying to develop
him for a TV series, hopefully one where I write the
Have you ever had a TV script produced?
No, but it was my first love, as it were. Long before I
thought of writing novels, I wanted to write TV plays.
That was in the days when they were all made in the studio,
on videotape rather than film. My tendency was to write
non-naturalistic plays, very unlike my novels, and in
no way connected with crime. I only completed one, and
I can’t honestly remember whether I even sent it
anywhere. I don’t think I did. I still think it
was a good idea, and I might dig it out and polish it
up some day, as a TV movie. I did write a half-hour script
for a BBC competition and got a sort-of ‘highly
commended’, but no cigar!