I was delighted when Allison and Busby asked me to write a second novel featuring Fran Harman, the Detective Chief Superintendent from Kent. She'd had a bad time in her first outing, and I thought it was time to improve her lot. But since she's a serving police officer, whose work has become her life, I couldn't suddenly take her and Mark on a wonderful protracted honeymoon in an idyllic part of the world.
Cutler's books certainly stand out from the herd. The Morning Star
Instead I thought I'd give Fran some contemporary crimes to deal with - and what more contemporary than the weirdly named happy slapping? And why not make her a crime victim herself?
I also updated bullying: it was bad enough when I was young, with name-calling and physical attacks, but the term hardly begins to describe the torment that computer-literate schoolchildren can inflict on their peers. Then I introduced a third contemporary problem, stalking - and a victim who was perversely in denial.
Just to make life even more hectic, I set Fran and Mark off house-hunting, possibly the most depressing and dispiriting occupation one can voluntary undertake. But Fran and Mark remain positive, and the last chapter leads into the next Fran Harman book
Allison & Busby
18 January 2007
In the excellent tradition of the previous stories in the series… an entertaining book that holds attention right to the end.