Today I am excited to share my interview with Robert Thorogood, author of Death Knocks Twice with you. I do hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.
Two dead bodies. A family of suspects. One grumpy detective.
Reluctantly stationed on the sweltering Caribbean island of Saint-Marie, Detective Inspector Richard Poole dreams of cold winds, drizzly rain and a pint in his local pub.
Just as he is feeling as fed up as can be, a mysterious vagrant is found dead in the grounds of the historic Beaumont plantation. Immediately assumed to be suicide, DI Poole is not so convinced and determined to prove otherwise. Never mind that the only fingerprints on the murder weapon belong to the victim. Or that the room was locked from the inside.
Before long, death knocks twice and a second body turns up. The hunt is on to solve the case – despite the best efforts of the enigmatic Beaumont family…
‘Real You’ Interview with Robert Thorogood
Please tell Love Books Group little bit about yourself and your publishing journey before the questions. Plus anything else you wish to tell their members.
I’m the creator of the TV show, Death in Paradise. I also write standalone Death in Paradise novels featuring the show’s first detective, DI Richard Poole.
Describe yourself using three words?
Neurotic; melodramatic; incapable of following simple instructions.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I don’t quite know where the desire to tell stories comes from. But I love reading books above all other pursuits, and I know that when I write a novel, I’m trying to create something that will deliver all the thrills and excitement that I’d enjoy if I were reading it, rather than writing it (if you see what I mean).
What time of day do you like to write?
While I love the idea of starting at 10pm with a glass of whisky and only the hoot of owls outside for company, the stark realities of being a parent mean that I generally write 9am-5pm.
What is your favourite book and why?
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré. I read it (and the subsequent two George Smiley books) from start to finish every couple of years or so and am always captivated by the beauty of the writing and the sense of moral decay it has running through almost every line. When I was younger, I thought it was a ‘whodunnit’ and couldn’t wait to find out who the killer was. Now that I’m older, I realise that the killer is pretty much revealed in Chapter 1, and the greatness of the book is that Smiley also realises who it is from the start. I think it’s Le Carré’s masterpiece.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I had a fancy idea that I wanted to call it The Beaumont Inheritance – very much as a homage to the first Robert Ludlum book I read, The Scarlatti Inheritance. But I then realised that I needed something a bit punchier, and – ideally – with the word ‘death’, ‘murder’ or ‘killing’ in the title. So that’s how I came up with the title, ‘Death Knocks Twice’
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Oh yes, but I certainly couldn’t say who, as their friends of mine and would soon stop being my friends if they knew. Having said that, the character of my main Detective, Richard Poole, is a lot like the worst possible version of me. He’s neurotic, misanthropic, a cowardly stick-in-the-mud, and consequently, great fun to write.
What’s your favourite word?
This is an excellent question, and I’d have to say that the answer is ‘sponge’.
If you were a colour what would it be?
I’d love to say something vibrant like pink or yellow – any colour of the rainbow, frankly – but I worry that I’d be some awful Farrow & Ball paint colour that’s basically off-white and has a depressing name like ‘Faded Hope’.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
The story is meticulously planned beforehand, because – as with any murder mystery – the starting point is always the end: how can I hide the killer? Then, once I’ve identified the mechanism or device that I hope will divert attention away from ‘whodunnit’, I then walk backwards through the story creating characters, red herrings, plot points and so on. It’s a hugely demanding process because the book is basically written ‘backwards’, but it has to make sense and appear to be spontaneous when it’s read ‘forwards’.
Who is your favourite Author?
I have no one favourite author, although John Le Carré would be able to supply all my Desert Island Books. When it comes to murder mysteries, Agatha Christie is the person I consistently read over and over again; when it comes to contemporary British fiction, I adore Scarlett Thomas; and my American urges are entirely satisfied by Paul Auster. But then, I now realise I’m currently in a David Mitchell phase, and re-reading all of his books. Please don’t make me chose one author!
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
I think I’d have to have my favourite Detectives: Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and – although she was only tangentially a detective – Sally Lockhart from Philip Pullman’s brilliant series about her adventures. I’d basically pepper them with questions all night about what happened in the gaps in between what the books tell us.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m rereading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, mainly to find out if it really is as brilliant as I thought it was the first time I read it (it is).
Where in the world is your happy place?
Anywhere where my wife and children are.
If you had one superpower what would it be?
Being able to touch type properly so I don’t get shooting pains in my right hand.
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
I know I’m missing the point to say this, but I really wish Godot had turned up – and preferably in Act 1.
Are you working on a new project?
I’m currently plotting Book 4 in the Death in Paradise Series and loving it.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
The next thing I’m speaking at is Bloody Scotland in September. I’ve always wanted to go, and can’t wait to attend. ~ Bloody Scotland Website
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