Today’s The Day! ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ Is Launched
Okay, I’m a newcomer to crime & mystery genre, unless you count The Girl On The Train.
Nobody counts The Girl on the Train. So you want to know what to read? Something less remedial, perhaps?
Yes, I’d like a good murder mystery with memorable characters.
You’ve come to the right place, squire. I’m your writer *taps chest*
Which one of your books should I start with then? The first?
Ah no, you see that’s what everyone does. But it’s wrong. The first one, Full Dark House, is the odd-novel-out, written when there was never a plan to write a series. But after that there are various books that provide entry points into the long-running story arc. The Memory of Blood is one. And, conveniently for this column, Hall of Mirrors is the other. And it’s out in hardback today in the UK.
What makes Hall of Mirrors different, then?
It’s a prequel. ‘The prequel to end all prequels’, according to one reviewer. In it, Bryant & May are young men, it’s the swinging sixties and we can see the early days of their friendship.
I hope there’s a murder.
There is, now that you mention it. Although it doesn’t happen for a very long time.
Because before you kill someone off, it’s a good idea to allow your readers to first get to know the cast. It’s a primary mistake some authors make, but you’d be surprised how often we’re expected to care about a character we barely know. I blame television.
So what’s it about?
It’s about 350 pages long. Sorry, couldn’t resist. In 1969, ten guests stay in an isolated country house for the weekend, but one of them is harbouring thoughts of murder. Young detectives Bryant & May are tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistleblower turning Queen’s evidence against a corrupt architect. The pair are obliged to attend the house party disguised with false identities, and so the scene is set for a country house murder mystery – except that it proves to be nothing like the ones in Golden Age novels; these are the dying days of the grand weekend, and now that the good times are coming to an end, the guests are betraying their desperation…
And you think this Hall of Mirrors mystery will be enough to get me hooked?
I don’t know. That’s between you and your monthly book-purchasing budget. But I’m rather counting on it. Mouths to feed, holidays to fund etc. I could do with putting a few biscuits in the tin – we writers aren’t in a very highly paid profession, you know.
I can tell from that jacket. Fair enough. Sounds like I should take a punt on these detective fellows. What’s unusual about them?
They’re really old.
Oh, forget it then.
Cheerio! (under breath) Wanker.