Lloyd & Hill Books
- Unlucky For Some
- Births, Deaths and   Marriages/Death in the Family
- Scene of Crime
  - Read extract
- Picture of Innocence
- Plots and Errors
- A Shred of Evidence
- Verdict Unsafe
- The Other Woman
- Murder...Now and Then
- The Murders of Mrs.Austin and   Mrs.Beale
- Redemption/Murder at the Old   Vicarage
- Death of a Dancer/Gone to Her   Death
- A Perfect Match
Other Books
- Record of Sin
- An Evil Hour
- The Stalking Horse
- Murder Movie
Writing as Elizabeth Chaplin
- Hostage to Fortune
Useful Info
- Chronological Order
- Translations
- Title Changes
- Lloyd & Hill interview
- Locations
- Lloyd & Hill on TV
  Buy the Book


SCENE OF CRIME (Lloyd and Hill #11)
Macmillan, London/Fawcett (Ballantine Books), NY (2001)

My sixteenth novel, published Macmillan, London/Fawcett (Ballantine Books), NY 2001. Hardback, paperback.

NB This was known as No Deadly Medicine until shortly before publication, and is given this title in the pre-publicity in some editions of the Plots and Errors paperback.

It’s three days before Christmas, and the Malworth Amateur Dramatic Society’s rehearsal of Cinderella, scripted by GP Carl Bignall, is struggling thanks to a flu epidemic that has hit the production.

But as rehearsals finally get under way at the Riverside Theatre, the police across town are entering Carl’s house – and discovering the body of his wife, Estelle…

Why was Carl so late for rehearsal? Why is Dr Bignall’s neighbour so reluctant to tell the truth about what he witnessed? And why is Dr Denis Leeward, Carl’s partner, sitting in his car, slightly bruised and in a state of guilty panic?

All Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd knows for sure, as he takes charge of the investigation, is that one of the people present at Dr Bignall’s house that night is a murderer…

Was the brevity of this one a deliberate antidote to Plots and Errors?
Yes. But while people were relieved that I hadn’t decided to do The War and Peace Murder Mystery as a follow-up to Plots and Errors, one or two of them felt that the characters weren’t as involving as usual, so perhaps I should have expanded it a little. But I really did try to do a short, sharp classic whodunit just to let them know that I hadn’t forgotten how. My American readers seem to like it a lot, but I’m not sure about the British readers.

And how long had Judy been pregnant by this time?
Three years, I think. Which is about seven months in Stansfield – or Shangri-La, as the locals call it.

Why did she have to be pregnant for three books?
Because I’ve got a thing about realism. Dixon of Dock Green might still have been in harness when he was eighty, but in real life, policemen retire as soon as they are entitled to their full pension, and Lloyd is getting perilously close to pension day. I went through a period of trying to stave it off by setting the next book about a week after the last one finished. But I’m a little more relaxed about it now, so time is moving a bit more quickly in the new one.

Is your thing about realism something of a drawback?
Yes. I can’t do the Dickensian thing of overdrawing characters or circumstances – I don’t like reading it, however good the writer, and I can’t write it myself. And I find it very difficult to forget about what would actually happen in a given situation in favour of something more flamboyant, or more exciting, or even just simpler. If I know that the police would bail someone to appear at court, I can’t make them throw him in a cell, even if that would suit the story. If I know they would keep him safely under lock and key, I can’t have them bail him, even if his being on the loose would be more dramatic. If I want the drama, then I have to produce a situation in which the drama would, or at least could, occur. I know no one but me would care. I can’t help it.

This novel was Americanised for the US market. Why is this sometimes the case?
Because the American publishers think that they are more accessible to their readers that way, I suppose. I don’t think it’s necessary, myself, and we certainly don’t seem to do it the other way round – the British read American novels as written. The spelling differences don’t matter at all – it’s the same word, no matter how it’s spelt. Where actual word usage changes, it’s true that British readers are much more exposed to American English than Americans are to British English, but even so, I think readers are capable of working out from the context what something means, and if it sometimes leads to the odd misunderstanding, does that really matter?

But does it matter that they are ‘translated’?
I think so. Translations seem to me to destroy something, because the two countries have different cultures and attitudes, and the language reflects that. American cars have hoods and trunks and run on gas along divided highways. British cars have bonnets and boots and run on petrol along dual-carriageways. American politicians run for office. British politicians stand for election. An American witness takes the stand and testifies. A British witness enters the witness box and gives evidence. A British man wears a vest under his shirt, an American wears his over his shirt. The word ‘gotten’ remains in British English only in the expression ‘ill-gotten gains’ – in American English it survives as the past participle of ‘to get’. The use of the language gives you a sense of the country, and some expressions simply defy translation anyway, so all I can say is vive la différence! (See Divided by a Common Language if you want more on this topic.)

     View the full sitemap
All the text and images in this site are copyrighted to Jill McGown © unless otherwise stated