AND THEN (Lloyd and Hill #6)
Macmillan, London/St Martin's Press, NY (1993)
My eleventh novel, published Macmillan,
Press, NY 1993. Hardback, paperback.
Victor Holyoak made his millions by selling state-of-the-art
security systems. In the end, even the most sophisticated
devices were no protection against the intruder who murdered
him in his own factory.
The millionaire’s death shocked the townsfolk
of Stansfield. But was there something they didn’t
know about their deceased benefactor?
Chief Inspector Lloyd is convinced
he had seen Victor somewhere before. Is his memory
playing tricks on him?
Or does the murky past hold the clues to a murder? A
murder that should come under the heading ‘unfinished
Did you write the two ‘time-lines’ separately?
No, I wrote it as it is read. I didn’t ever consider
writing them separately – I think they would have
read like two separate novels if I had done that. By
writing a ‘Now’ chapter, and moving on to ‘Then’,
I could keep cohesion, and keep track of ‘Then’ catching
up with ‘Now’. Just thinking about it exhausts
me, but it didn’t seem too difficult at the time!
What was your intention when you wrote it?
I had a vague idea for a plot where the investigation
of an old murder produced the clues that solved a new
one, and vice versa. I’m not sure that I actually
achieved that, but I got quite close, I think. And
when I was casting round for a plot for the next Lloyd
and Hill, I realised that the Now and Then plot would
let me introduce their back story, which I had alluded
to in previous books. It was fun fleshing out the allusions,
and I think readers liked finding out about the early
Was the series becoming as much soap-opera as whodunit
by this time?
I suppose it was, though I hadn’t really seen it
like that. I always try to give the readers a classic
whodunit with Lloyd and Hill, complete with clues to
its solution, along with the developing storyline. The
Lloyd-Hill relationship wasn’t planned, as I’ve
said elsewhere – it never has been, and never will
be. It just evolves, and yes, I think readers began to
like that ‘continuing story’ aspect of it
just as much as they enjoyed the crime investigation – perhaps
Does the continuing story give you problems?
In some ways, yes, mostly because of the time factor.
If Lloyd and Hill years were the same as ours, they
would both have retired some time ago! Judy was pregnant
for about three years, poor woman. But in other ways,
it makes my life easier, because the developing relationship
produces a different dynamic with each book. I try,
whenever possible, to make their current situation
relevant to the enquiry, and in Verdict Unsafe, for
instance, it was the focal point. The plot would never
have occurred to me without the continuing story.
What do you think of series characters who never age?
I think it’s very sensible! And I’m entirely
happy with the device when reading. Poirot, Miss Marple,
Morse…their situations remain the same, and so
do they. It’s comforting, and I have no problem
at all with it. But writing is a different matter – I
think I would have trouble with the artificiality of
it. But if I produce another series character, I might
just try it.
I think Conan Doyle had by far
the best idea about the problem with series characters
(as he did about many
aspects of the genre he can claim to have truly invented).
Holmes did age, and if his circumstances hardly changed,
that was because he liked it that way, like I do. Watson’s
circumstances changed from story to story. But the device
of Watson dipping into Holmes’s archives meant
that Holmes could be whatever age Doyle needed him to
be for a given story, while the time-frame covered a
couple of decades. So I might prefer to do something