Several people who’ve read the initial drafts of my novel and the final pre-print manuscript, asked me how I came up with the idea of a forensic pathologist who travels back in time to 1887—taking modern-day CSI back to basics to solve a murder.
The novel combines forensic science with a traditional whodunit murder mystery.
Anyone who reads my book will see I am a fan of Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Having exhausted all their works, I searched for something similar. While there are many authors who write in the same vein, for me, they didn’t quite capture the plot complexity of a true whodunnit. And I didn’t want to read another story about serial killers, or a forensic thriller. The bookstores are full of them—for very good reason, they’re huge sellers written by immensely talented authors. But to me, I was finding the stories increasingly sadistic and the heroes high-maintenance, spending as much time navel-gazing as solving the mystery. These books, while entertaining, left me with an overall feeling of depression.
Yes, the world isn’t all rainbows and gumdrops; nasty people do nasty things. But there’s just as much, if not more, positives out there. However, it seems many of us have forgotten that - especially in the current global environment. The media, and society in general, prefer to focus on negative messages more than positive ones.
So, I wanted to read a traditional whodunnit that left the reader feeling uplifted.
As with many authors, you write the book you want to read.
But what was it about Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes that made them so compelling? Even now, they’re still best-sellers. Hollywood movies are still being made about them—Murder on the Orient Express starring Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp being the latest. And there is a second big-budget movie adaptation in production for Crooked House. Not to mention the TV series that are still popular.
Why, after over 100 years do readers continue to love these stories?
I believe it’s because there’s a specific structure to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes novels. This structure keeps the reader engaged and guessing from one chapter to the next. I also believe forensics and CSI are still popular with readers, even though both have been ‘done to death’ by TV, movies and books.
So, I’ve attempted to incorporate the structure of Agatha Christie and taken a fresh approach to forensic investigation by taking it back to when it first began. The time travel element is merely a device which enables me to take Sloane to a point in history where the whodunnit structure works. And time travel isn’t as far-fetched as one initially believes—Albert Einstein hypothesised it is possible and he was not someone prone to flights of fantasy. Time travel also throws up a lot of interesting moral dilemmas; these aren’t explored in Blood Will Tell but will be in future novels in the series.
Also, time travel was essential—the year Sloane travels, 1887, was selected for a very specific reason.
Once again, you write the book you want to read. For those who do read Blood Will Tell, they will see from the final chapter this isn’t the book I initially wanted to read. Blood Will Tell sets up for the sequel, the plot of which is the book I was searching for when scouring bookstores in search of something similar to Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes. Blood Will Tell was necessary to set up for this second book however it was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you have a lot of fun reading it.
I have almost finished researching for the second book and can’t wait to join Sloane and Luther in their next adventure.