And so it begins again…
Today I’m ready to start the new Bryant & May novel, ‘Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart’. The outline is locked, and the research beckons. I start by heading to (of course) Bleeding Heart Yard, where I first got the idea for the book. Then I start visiting London’s graveyards. I’m thinking Brompton Cemetery then Abney Park in Stoke Newington are my best bets, although I’ve recently used the latter. I’ve also used St Pancras and Highgate before. Can anyone think of underused but quite creepy small graveyards in Central London?
I’ll also be researching from: The Premature Burial (Poe), ‘Buried Alive’ by Jan Bondeson, ‘London’s Dead’ by Ed Glinert, ‘Criminal London’ by Mark Herber and many others, talking to shopkeepers and residents in the Bleeding Heart area and around Hatton Garden, looking up sections of Arthurian legend, arranging an interview with a doctor, then heading to the Tower of London to talk to a warder.
This is the stage when it feels that anything is possible. I have to tread a line between keeping the characters familiar and ringing changes, between covering social lives and criminal investigation, between humour and drama. And when it comes out I’ll still get put on science fiction and fantasy panels, even though most police procedurals are less realistic, with their serial killers and menaced members of the copper’s family.
And today a new threat arrives; New York City has just had its first-ever 24 hour period free of any reported violence; what are crime writers going to do if this keeps up?