Friday, February 5th, 2010
Q. What Sussex town is Harlden based on in your excellent book Grave Doubts, and how did you get the insight into the mind of a fiend such as Smith. Also, I was very impressed by your knowledge of police procedure. How did you learn that? Charles Thain, Worthing
A. Many thanks for your interest in Grave Doubts!
As you are based in West Sussex you might know the town that Harlden is based on; it is Horsham, where I grew up. However, I have added in a few features from Guildford (such as the ruin in Fatal Legacy and a river).
I’m not sure I can do justice to your next question but I will do my best. I did a lot of research (reading and internet) into the psychology of criminals who are sexual predators and sociopaths. Smith isn’t based on any one of them but the more I read the more I began to imagine him, his motivations and how he would respond to challenge and adversity. As soon as Nightingale effectively ‘stood up to him’ he would be bound to react in a certain way. Then the story took over as it always does.
The police procedure is partly again from some reliable reference sources but also – and invaluably – from contacts I have made in the police over the years.
Once again I’m glad you enjoyed GRAVE DOUBTS and I hope you are tempted to try other Fenwick and Nightingale novels. Best wishes. Elizabeth Corley