I know this is a crappy picture. Sorry.

The talk with Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws this afternoon, however,  was quite a lot of fun.

It all started with a spotlight on a local author, John Bolland, who was given a chance to read a few pages from his own work – a crime novel written in Doric, which sounded like it was going to be an entertaining read. I need to find out if it was published, yet, or still in progress.

This was then followed by an interview of Robert and Hugh – with Robert doing much of the talking, I thought – and a follow on Q&A from the audience.

It was fun. Both actors are well at home with interviews, both have a great sense of humour, and a very down to earth, approachable manner. They clearly enjoy their new career as crime fiction authors.

As enjoyable as it was being part of the event this afternoon, there was very little I have learned in addition to what I had already read about the background to Hugh’s series. Except maybe that Lizzie, the dominatrix/prostitute girlfriend of his main character Rina, was based on a friend of the author’s. And that he used to work (playing in a band) in some of the dives in Soho that are described in the books.

I was somewhat glad to hear hear about his motivation for some of the plot/character choices in his books, as I had some issues with them (mentioned here). I still have issues with some of these choices – the, what felt to me like, gratuitous sexual violence, the depiction of some scenes, the lack of decent make characters – but I get what he was trying to do, and I still maintain that the Rina Walker series is a fun romp of a read (just with added “eeww” and “wtf” factors).

Apparently, I was not the only reader who was knocked sideways by the books. The interviewer was quite shocked by the fact that this had come from the man who portrayed the quiet and genteel Captain Hastings for decades – these books are as far removed from the image of Arthur Hastings as you can get. A turn that Hugh said was not planned by him, but just happened that way when he first “met” Rina “walking into that hotel in Acapulco, the opening scene of the first book Harm. 

With respect to Robert Daw’s books, I cannot say much. The setting in Gibraltar does sound interesting but I have not read the books. I may have a look at the library later next week.

I leave with one of the funniest parts of the Q&A, when a lady in the front row prepared her question with something along the lines of “I don’t mean any offence but you both are gentlemen of a certain age. What motivated you both chose much younger, more attractive women as your main characters …?”

Much laughter ensued.


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