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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick. http://www.faysampson.co.uk

A Hero for All Seasons

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 31, 2010

My guest today, coming to us all the way from Manchester, England, is Dolores Gordon-Smith, author of the delightful and excellently  well-researched Jack Haldean Mysteries.  I have described Jack as the man you would want your daughter to marry:  Intelligent, reliable, loyal, decent and yet never boring.   The world needs more Jack Haldeans— Dolores alone has five daughters to marry off.  (Or is one married already, Dolores? I've lost count.)  Anyway, I wanted all our Deeds of Darkness;Deeds of Light readers to meet Jack because I think you'll find him fully as engaging as I do.  So, over to you, Dolores.

Why not, said Donna, do a blog? Tell us about the 1920’s and how Jack came into being. Especially, she added, his attitudes….

Well, by gum. I come from Manchester (just like Daphne from Frasier) so I’m allowed to say "by gum" when slightly perplexed. You see, in a way, Jack and his world have always been with me.

I’ve always loved classic detective fiction. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey and slightly more forgotten types such as JG Reeder, Roger Sherringham, Philip Trent, Anthony Gethryn and Dr Thorndyke. Add to that a deep and abiding love of PG Wodehouse and John Buchan you can see a predilection for the 1920’s and 30’s growing. Part of the reason is, of course, that the stories are so well written. By and large the detectives detect, the plot zings along and the lead character, to whom we entrust ourselves on our literary voyage, is, more often than not, someone who you wouldn’t mind being stuck in a lift with. It isn’t true of all interwar, or, as it’s sometimes called, Golden Age fiction, but it’s usually true.

Those Golden Age attitudes filled my imagination when I was growing up and certain truths, as it were, seemed to be self-evident. For instance, a hero should be a hero. And what are heroic qualities? Well, chest-drumming, unless you really are Tarzan, is out. These people were suave; good-mannered; self-deprecating. They’re great in a fight but they don’t boast about it. They’ve just won the First World War. They don’t like (see the First World War) extreme violence. They’ve had enough of it, thank you very much. They’re hugely inventive but never smug. They have a wicked sense of humour and a nice line in repartee. They’re utterly reliable and – this is my favourite brand – kind. They’re allowed – nay, definitely encouraged – to have moments of angst and secret sorrows – but they’re not emotional cripples. Even when they should be fussy old maids, such as JG Reeder, they’re interesting people to be with because such interesting things happen when they’re around. It’s not murders as such, it’s a murder mystery and we want to know what happens.

And Jack? Well, come on guys, I wasn’t messing around. If I was going to sit stewing at a hot computer for hours on end thinking about the man, by crikey, he was going to be worth thinking about! Fancy him rotten? I’ll say so. There’s another element, too. A classic detective is always an outsider in some way, so Jack’s a Catholic. Because I wanted to make him an everyday sort of Catholic, (rather like me, in fact!) I had to think of some credible reason why, in that Anglican world he’s a Catholic. So his mother’s Spanish and he’s got another layer of outside-ness and, English prejudices being what they are, cleverness is a bit suspect but we don’t mind foreigners, even part-foreigners, being dead clever. Which is just as well, because Jack has a mystery to solve…

Dolores has just made it possible for friends of Jack to read sample chapters of her books through her website: http://www.doloresgordon-smith.co.uk/ select Books from the menu.

 And I want you to know about Dolores' latest, hot-off-the-press news— she has just published an Ebook.  FRANKIE'S LETTER  is an all-new mystery with an all-new hero to fall in love with.  To read all about its publication, go to Dolores' blog:  http://www.doloresgordon-smith.co.uk/wordpress/?p=289 to download to your Kindle, iPad, PC, or your reading device of choice, go to the Kindle store at Amazon or Amazon UK.

 

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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