Yesterday, I attended a service to remember the thousands of men who lost their lives at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The uniforms, the marching band, the laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph, the lone bugler delivering the Last Post - it was very moving.
As a writer, my mind tried to imagine what it felt like for those men as they headed straight for the guns and certain death and how this bloody battle impacted on the mothers, fathers, siblings and children left at home. Needless to say, I soon had a full cast of fictional characters in my head.
As a crime writer, my mind soon had these fictional characters committing deadly deeds. I often toy with the idea of writing historical crime fiction and, with my latest novel almost finished, maybe it’s time to seriously think about it?
I love the idea of criminals being free to act in a time that was, in many ways, much simpler. There were no mobile phones, no internet, no CCTV on every street corner and no worries about leaving a speck of blood or a stray hair at the scene. On the other hand, without DNA and the advancements in technology, solving the crimes becomes much more difficult for our sleuths.
Years ago, I used to read a lot of historical crime novels. Recently - nothing. I can’t remember the last crime/mystery novel I read that wasn’t contemporary. I intend to rectify that and I thought a fitting place to start would be with the 2011 winner of the CWA’s Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award, The Somme Stations by Andrew Martin. However, as this is book 7 in his Jim Stringer series, it may be a while before I get to it. :)
How do you feel about historical crime fiction? Do you read it? Do you have any recommendations? I'm curious.