PERFECT MATCH (Lloyd and Hill #1)
Macmillan, London /St Martin's Press, NY (1983)
This was my first novel, published
Macmillan, London/St Martin’s Press, NY 1983. Hardback,
paperback, large print and Soundings Audio Book (unabridged).
The news rocked the town. A woman’s body found
in a boathouse. And the woman’s last known companion
Missing Presumed Fled. To the people of Stansfield it’s
an open and shut case.
But Detective Inspector Lloyd – teamed up once
more with Sergeant Judy Hill – isn’t so quick
to jump to conclusions. To begin with he’s certain
of only two things. First, that nothing can stop the
reawakening of his tender feelings towards his colleague.
And second: in a murder enquiry
you don’t rule
What made you choose to write a whodunit?
I didn’t. I’d always read whodunits – my
mother was very fond of them – but it had simply
never crossed my mind to write one. I was trying to write
a ‘straight’ novel, and wrote a sentence
which I realised would be a wonderful clue in a whodunit.
(I can’t tell you what it was, in case you want
to read the book, because it would give the game away.)
So, a whodunit it became. I’m nothing if not pragmatic.
Did you conceive Lloyd and Hill as series characters?
No. I had no intention in the world of writing a series;
I made them a little too old. If you’ve read
the novels, you’ve probably noticed that time
is rather kinder to the people of Stansfield than it
is to the rest of us. In twenty years, I, and I expect
you, have aged twenty years – Lloyd and Hill
have aged just ten. But they have miraculously joined
us in the twenty-first century, nonetheless – fiction
isn’t bound by the same natural laws as the real
You’re Scottish. Why
is Lloyd Welsh?
I wanted him to be a Celt, but I felt that if my protagonist
were to be Scottish, it might pigeon-hole me. The troubles
were at their height in Ireland, so I was wary of making
him Irish, lest I felt obliged to give him an opinion
about it all. So, Welsh it was. I decided that his
family had come to live in England, as mine had, when
he was a child.
How much thought did you give
to Lloyd and Hill’s
To be perfectly honest, no conscious thought at all.
When Donald Mitchell opened the door to Lloyd in the
first chapter, I found myself writing ‘His first
thought…was that DI Lloyd was small for a policeman’.
Later, Lloyd ran his hand over his hair and felt his
bald patch – what can I say? He just did. Maybe
even he didn’t know he was going bald until then.
And Judy arrived the same way. Brown hair, I decided,
and brown eyes; she was new to the rank of detective
sergeant, and she had just arrived in Stansfield. And
that’s about as much decision as went into it.
The odd thing is that though
I have a clear picture in my mind of the incidental
characters in my novels,
the series’ leads – by which I mean Lloyd,
Judy, Tom, and, these days, Gary – are very hazy.
Their personalities are what I know – their physical
appearance is very much secondary.
Did you plan the love-interest?
No, not at all. When Judy appeared on the page, I just
felt that there was a history there, between her and
Lloyd. I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t
know where it would lead. I still don’t – I
have never planned anything that’s happened with
Lloyd and Judy, not even her pregnancy. I found myself
making her wistful about her childhood, feeling a bit
queasy and a little inclined to tears and thought ‘Oh,
hell – she’s pregnant!’