Lloyd & Hill Books
- Unlucky For Some
- Births, Deaths and   Marriages/Death in the Family
- Scene of Crime
- 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
  - Read extract
- Murder Movie
Writing as Elizabeth Chaplin
- Hostage to Fortune
Useful Info
- Chronological Order
- Translations
- Title Changes
- Lloyd & Hill interview
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Macmillan, London /St Martin's Press, NY (1987)

My fourth novel, published Macmillan, London/St Martin’s Press, NY 1987.
Hardback, large-print.

Sixteen years ago Bill Holt was jailed for life for the murder of two people: Alison, a lifelong friend whom once people had assumed he’d marry, and a private detective. He knew he was innocent, but jury, judge and all his friends declared him guilty.

Now he’s out on parole, and his first journey is back to the scene of the crime, the town where he’d worked and lived, and where he had shares in Greystone, his grandfather’s firm.

He found that fashion had changed, the currency had changed, even the railway station was different. The people were altered too, by age and by affluence and not by incarceration. But they were still there: Alison’s husband, Bryant, Jeff and Thelma Spencer, his cousin Cassie Stone, smooth Charles Cartwright and Holt’s ex-wife Wendy.

One of them was a killer and also a manipulator – one of them had framed him, and he’d spent sixteen years behind bars while the murderer grew fat and sleek on the profits of his company.

Bill Holt was a dangerous man.

Why is it called The Stalking Horse?
Because I had run out of ingenuity. Every title I suggested was turned down, and none of the titles suggested by my editor appealed to me. Eventually I was searching Roget’s Thesaurus, and came across ‘stalking horse’. The dictionary told me that a stalking horse was one used by a hunter to hide behind while stalking his quarry, and it seemed to me that the murderer could be said to have ‘hidden behind’ Bill Holt – so I suggested the title. They kept the same title in the US – and another book came out that same week with the same title!

What made you write it?
At that time, I had occasion to go to Market Harborough in Leicestershire quite often, and on the way there and back would pass Gartree maximum-security prison. All you can see of it from the road is the ring of powerful lights, and it never failed to make me shiver. Someone had not long before staged a rooftop protest there – someone that many, many people believed was innocent of the murder for which he had been imprisoned. The appalling thought of being incarcerated for years in a place like that for something you hadn’t done was what prompted the idea.

Didn’t some reviewers call the idea old-hat?
Yes, of course they did, because it is. But I was as interested in how Bill Holt would cope with the outside world as I was in the vengeance aspect, or the investigation. He came out to a Thatcherite Britain of millionaire whizz-kids and beggars in the streets, fast-food joints, murderous football hooliganism, a soaring crime rate, rioting strikers – that wasn’t how it was when he went in. While I don’t have him addressing any of these things directly – he had more pressing matters on his mind – he is permanently bewildered and adrift in a world he doesn’t recognise, and spends as much time in the past as he does in the present, because he’s more comfortable there.

Do you read reviews of your books?
Yes, I do. I think it’s important to know what people think of what I’ve written, assuming they’ve actually read the book, which isn’t always the case with reviewers. If I think the criticism is justified, I’ll bear it in mind. And good reviews encourage me. But the two that I liked best for The Stalking Horse weren’t good, and were both from the US. One reviewer said that it had strong overtones of Agatha Christie, while another said that like all Raymond Chandler imitators, I debased his language. While I own up to being a life-long Christie fan, I have never read a word of Chandler, so I plead not guilty to the second charge. But I maintain that I am the only writer ever to have been accused of copying both Christie and Chandler in the same novel!

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